Time for Fun & Games!

 TIME FOR FUN & GAMES!

Let’s see how much you know about Christmas trivia!

1. The carol “Silent Night” was first played on what instrument?
a) A harp
b) A pipe organ
c) A Guitar
d) A kazoo

2. Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in?
a) 1944
b) 1895
c) 1976
d) 1492

3. The name of Scrooge’s deceased business partner in Charles Dickens’  A Christmas Carol was …?
a) Bob Crachit
b) Jerry Cornelius
c) Bill Sykes
d) Jacob Marley

4. In North America children put stockings out at Christmas time.  What do the Dutch children use
a) Old hats
b) Beer mugs
c) Shoes
d) Stockings, just like everybody else!

5. Which name does NOT belong to one of Santa’s reindeer?
a) Comet
b) Prancer
c) Klaxon
d) Blitzen

6. In Guatemala, Christmas Day is celebrated on?
a) January 6
b) December 25
c) October 31
d) Never

7. Good King Wenceslas was king of which country?
a) Abyssinia
b) England
c) Bohemia
d) Gondor

How did you do?

For more trivia and the answers to #1-7,

check the new post on Tuesday!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Posted in Christmas, General | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

So who’s Calling the Shots…?

 

 

Do you ever turn on the news or read a newspaper or article and wonder who is calling the shots?

I remember a time when I heard or read the news and I didn’t feel sad or mad or depressed. It was long ago when the world was a gentler place and people respected others. And now I am wondering what happened to that world. Where did the hate come from? Will my grandchildren and their children grow up in a world filled with hate and strife?

The words “who is calling the shots” kept invading my mind until I finally paid attention to what was running through my head. Some of you understand what I’m talking about because I have shared that I don’t plan stories, they find me and demand to get out of my head. They won’t hush and I can’t think of anything else until I let them out. This is one such story …

The other words that invaded the peace of my day are “divide and conquer.” Combine the two and I’m guessing some of you know where this is going. The more I thought about it the more is realized it is not the government, it is not the covert groups that are prevalent in America today, it is not the hate groups or the people who blindly follow them, and it is not the Russians or the Koreans or any other country.

I look around and see no true remembrance of the past, no honest recollection of the hearts of the men who formed America with the desire to create freedom, respect, and integrity for all men. I see history being altered in the name of political correctness, but the reality is the past is cast in stone and it cannot be changed.

And then I remembered King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible saying “All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” And I realized this is nothing new. The battle of good and evil was going on in King Solomon’s time and it is still going on today.

It is not a battle between people today; they are being used and deceived by the greatest enemy of all time. The one who was around in King Solomon’s day, the one who wanted to be like Almighty God, the most beautiful angel God ever made, the angel who fell from heaven and made earth his domain.

So who is calling the shots?

Who is trying to divide and conquer our world? Who wants to take our attention away from the most important thing in this world? It is the same enemy who roamed the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve lived there. It is the enemy who enticed Eve to test God and eat from the forbidden tree. He put a doubt in Eve’s mind and she and Adam ate the forbidden fruit and were sent out of their perfect dwelling place. And he is still putting doubts in our minds. He is Satan, the serpent cursed by God.

Satan, everybody’s enemy, is alive and working overtime to deceive you and me, to divide and conquer our world, and to destroy America.  He is the one calling the shots.

So what can we do in the face of great evil? How do we defeat this invisible enemy? We cannot, but Almighty God had a plan. He sent His Son to live as a man and do what you and I cannot. Jesus defeated Satan when He died on the Cross and He rose from the dead. Jesus has paid the price and invited all those who hear His voice to become His brother or sister. He made the way easy for you and me.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
That whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal live.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
But to save the world through Him.    — John 3:16

This is what American has forgotten. We have left Almighty God out; we have forgotten that Jesus Christ died on that terrible cross for us. We have left Him out of our hearts and our lives. And He is waiting to be asked back in, to be a part of our lives.

The angel who tried to be like God, the great serpent, the ultimate deceiver, Satan himself sees this and has moved in to occupy the space meant for God in people’s hearts. His greatest weapon is still deception which divides and conquers people.

BUT, there is a bright side. There is one more powerful than Satan—the one who will call the final shot is Almighty God and Jesus Christ. There is a plan and we are seeing it happen in the world today.

Jesus said ‘Watch out that no one deceives you…
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines.
These are the beginning of birth pains.
You must be on your guard.   — Mark 13:5, 8-9

So who is calling the shots?  Almighty God and He is raising His voice.

He is calling us to know and believe in His Son Jesus Christ who came and lived on earth and died for us. Jesus promised us His peace, not as the world knows peace, but the blessed peace of knowing we are assured of eternal life and a forever home in Heaven with God where there will be no hate or strife or bigotry or pain or death, and where joy will reign forever.

But that’s in the future, I thought, and I’m not young, I can’t rally or protest or run for office. There is nothing I can do about the condition of the world today.

And then I thought again…Jesus prayed and I can pray.
So I’m asking you …

Pray for America to return to Almighty God.

Almighty God is waiting to hear from each of us …
He is the one calling the shots!

 

Picture credit:  A Cloudy Day in Irving, TX by BKG

Posted in America, General, God, Jesus Christ | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

At My Mother’s Table …

 

 

 

Have you ever wished you could go back to childhood and eat another meal at your mother’s table? I would so love to do that one more time.

There was certainly nothing fancy about the little house where I grew up in Dallas, Texas, but thinking about it brings back golden memories of my youth and lots of wonderful meals. Unlike the houses of today there was no den or family room so much of our time was spent around the table in the kitchen, this was the heart of our home.

I remember the milkman tapping on the back door, calling out a cheery Good morning, milkman, and coming right on in. Doors were always left unlocked whether anyone was home or not, just imagine what would happen if we did that today. He would check the icebox, yes, that’s what mother called it even after she got an electric refrigerator. The milkman would see what we needed, milk, butter, or eggs, and put the new items in. The milk was pasteurized, but not homogenized and the cream rose to the top. Mother used to pour the cream off for me to drink; she believed children needed to have real cream. And to this day, I’m not very fond of milk, but, oh, how I love real cream!

I remember coming in from grade school and running straight to the kitchen to see what as cooking and to sneak a bite or two. One of my favorite snacks was when mother had pinto beans cooking on the stove and she would give me a small bowl of them, the wonderful taste lingers in my mouth even now. There was no recipe, she just cooked and seasoned to taste.

I remember World War II and the difficulties of war rationing. Mother loved to cook cakes, pies and cookies and the biggest hardship for her was the lack of sugar.

But mother and her friends would get together and trade food stamps they didn’t want for ones they did want. She also learned how to substitute honey and molasses and mother kept those wonderful smells and tastes in our home.

Mother was the COOK in our home, I was never allowed to cook very much; food was too expensive to be wasted. There were a few things I could do such as stir the yellow coloring into the margarine. When margarine first made its appearance it was white and you had to mix in yellow food coloring if you wanted it to look like butter.

Mother had a huge collection of recipes, some from her mother and grandmother along with lots from family and friends. She treasured each and every one and wrote little notes on the recipe cards telling the year she got it and who it was from. She would also make notes on the card about who she cooked it for, such as Made this for Christmas 1971. And tucked in among the recipes were other little treasures, notes, jokes, poems, and a 1923 Children’s Party Book. There are even recipes for catsup, condensed milk, mincemeat, fudgsicles, pimentos, and how to make lye soap!

One of the jokes I found was:

Mother:  Tommy, I wish you’d be a good boy.
Tommy:  I’ll be a good boy for a nickel.
Mother: Why the idea! When you father was a boy he was good for nothing.

When I started trying to divide up mother’s recipes between my daughters and me, I found I could not give any of them up and a cookbook, At My Mother’s Table, was birthed. It was a labor of love and done on the very first Mac computer. Needless to say, there were lots of things I could not do on it such as page numbers! It would be so much easier today!

September 5 is mother’s birthday and I want to say Happy Birthday by sharing one of her recipes, my dad’s favorite cake. Nothing pleased my dad more than good food and good company and nothing pleased mother more than cooking!

SHERRY POUND CAKE
Bernice Hayes 1940

2 stocks oleo (I would use butter now)
1-3/4 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 cups flour
1 small bottle sherry flavor

Mix sugar and oleo and cream good.
Add eggs one at a time and beat good.
Add flour then sherry.
Bake in greased and floured tube pan at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOTHER!

We all miss you and would love to sit at your table one more time!

 

Picture of mother and dad at their 40th Wedding Anniversary Party 1982
Picture of US of America War Ration Book May 5, 1942

Posted in Birthday, General, Memories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Glimpses of Love and Eternity …

 

Every so often in this life I have a glimpse of that special thing we call love

Every so often in this life I am blessed with a glimpse of what I call eternity

This happened to me a few days ago. I was at a gathering of friends and we were listening to a singer. Someone said he sounded like a combination of Dean Martin and Nat King Cole. He had that low mellow voice that wrapped you up in the songs, and I’m guessing evoked memories in everyone, I know he made me remember.

Music has a magic way of awakening feelings, of transporting us to other times and places. It has always been a huge part of my life in one way or another. In high school, it was the big bands and canteen dances. It was fun and laughter and celebrations of the end of World War II. Hearing big bands to this day brings back those feelings of happy times, the war was over and life in America was good. It was people loving people, white picket fences, home cooked meals, and apple pie —golden times.

Marriage to my high school sweetheart brought another type of music. It was the years of Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Louie Armstrong, and Nat King Cole. It was Too Young, Because, Moon River, Shadow of Your Smile, Lara’s Theme, As Time Goes By, and many others.

My husband and I used to share a glass of our favorite red wine while he strummed the guitar and softly sang those songs to me, many times sitting before the glow of the fireplace on cold winter evenings—truly golden days.

And then there were the special times when Bill would sing Scarlet Ribbons and Sunrise Sunset to our daughters. I loved watching their faces while their daddy was singing to them. It was the look of love shining from their eyes, my heart swells with joy when I remember—oh so wonderful golden memories.

So today when I hear those songs I am magically transported to another time and place, to winter evenings in front of the fireplace with Bill softly playing the guitar and singing, to picnics in the den floor, and our daughters roasting marshmallows in the fireplace and laughing with their dad, and my tears threaten to fall, even after forty long years—memories of love.

My mind was far away from this present year of 2017 as I sat listening to the singer several days ago. I was sipping a little red wine when I was brought back to reality by the touch of a friend. He saw and knelt down beside me and softly spoke a few words to me, he saw the tears that threatened but had not fallen. I want to say thank you to a very perceptive friend, your gift of compassion and caring touched my heart—glimpses of love.

I think maybe our Lord gives us encouragement through other people. I believe He spoke through my friend to tell me He knows my heart and He cares, even after forty years. And I wonder how often I miss that still small voice that speaks to us of hope and love. It isn’t always as visible and audible as my friend kneeling beside me—glimpses of eternity.

And I wonder, am I so consumed with my own pain that I fail to see the pain of others.
My friend saw and he spoke a few words that lifted my heart.

And I pray, open my eyes, Lord,
that I may see with love the heart tears of my friends.

Posted in General, MacArthur Hills, Memories | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Bears or Mine Fields, There’s Always Light at the End of the Tunnel

 

 

 

This past Easter I wrote a story about Light at the End of the Tunnel and remembered some of the tunnels I have been through in past years. I was far from thinking I might be encountering another tunnel in the near future.

Getting older doesn’t matter, that’s only a number. The real thing about aging is dealing with the many losses we suffer, the heart-ache of losing the one you love, and twice for some of us, along with the physical things that happen to this earthly body we inhabit—all these are truly mine-filled testing grounds. Definitely not for the weak—it’s been said many times, you have to be very strong to get old!

The past couple of weeks another tunnel reared its ugly head and the light at the end dimmed a little. It started with a knee that decided it did not want even an ounce of weight put on it. The knee is totally gone, bone on bone, saith the doctor, the only thing left to do is surgery, all else has been tried. So knee surgery was set for July 24 along with the many appointments you have to go to be poked and prodded and checked.

Then a scare at the urologist with some tests, ultrasound and another one that’s difficult to pronounce much less spell, and accompanied by two biopsies. Adding a bit more darkness to the tunnel was the eye doctor who found a spot on my retina she said could be cancer. She called me at home and said if I was having surgery this had to be checked out first and referred me to retina specialist. He put me through a 3-hour examination with the brightest lights you can imagine.

My world filled with mines ready to blow and I felt like I had stepped on some of them. Couple all the tests with my inability to walk without a walker and finally I had to have a wheelchair to get to the retina doctor. Have I mentioned the knee kept right on hurting regardless of what else was happening? Any one of these would have been enough but all together…let’s just say it was rather overwhelming!

In the midst of this and for the second time in my life, the Lord put the following verse in front of me in the middle of the night.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God,
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. –Isaiah 41:10. 

So I hung on…I admit my grip was a little shaky.

The knee surgery date was changed and rescheduled for July 31. Okay, I decided. I can deal with that, a rest from the turmoil is good. I need to recover from all the anxiety.

Then some answers started arriving, the biopsies came back negative; no cancer! Hallelujah!

The spot on retina is a freckle, only 1 in 3,000 every turns cancerous. Did you get that, a freckle on the back side of my retina—you tell me whether or not our Lord has a sense of humor!

Yea, this is better. I’m hanging on a little tighter while struggling to get around in my home!

I’ll give you three guesses to deduce what happened next—the first two don’t count. The surgery date was changed again and rescheduled for August 14. Now I have asked lots of friends for prayer and I have to give them still another date, hmmm, they are going to get tired of hearing from me! Plus my incredible daughters and granddaughters are now making the third written chart to show which one of them would be staying with me for the ten days following surgery!

That brings us up to today and I am asking, what is happening here? For the last couple of days, my knee has been gradually getting better. I don’t need the wheelchair but I’m still depending on the walker, I don’t quite trust the knee yet. However, I can walk around my house with only my cane which I have been doing for several years. The pain has lessened a whole lot and I can put weight on that leg, and I’m ignoring the loud pop and crackle noises that took the place of pain!

So I’m watching and waiting. Today, I listened online to a sermon by my pastor, Dr. Andy McQuitty of Irving Bible Church, about hope. The text was from John 5—about Jesus healing the man waiting by the pool of Bethesda. Pastor talked about practicing joy in the face of trouble and trusting in the Lord; that we matter to the Lord, and He values each of us greatly even though we may be broken and wounded.

So, my friends, I’m waiting to see if the knee continues to improve. If there is no pain, why have surgery? Surgery is still scheduled, but earthly schedules can be changed.

What I do know for certain is that the Lord is here to heal me either with surgery or without it. Of course, I prefer without! Either way, He will carry me and uphold me. And in the meantime He is asking me to be joyful, so I reach up with my right hand and hold tight.

Whether there are bears or mine fields to go through and get past, the light at the end of the tunnel burns bright. No matter which way this goes, practicing joy is a declaration that darkness cannot win!

 And I am all right, I’m in His Hands!

 

 

NOTE: Sermon at irvingbible.org, go to messages and click on July 23 or latest sermon. It may be a couple of days before posted—it is so worth watching!

Picture credit: Taken by me on a driving trip in Alaska in the 1990s, and we didn’t get out of the car.

Posted in General, God, Jesus Christ | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dad’s Story…The Great Depression, Bonnie and Clyde, and a Red Dress

 

 

 

Remembering my dad today has brought to mind a question he loved to ask—tell me what The Great Depression, the big city, Bonnie and Clyde, and a red dress have in common. Now on the surface they have nothing in common, but its dad’s story!

My mother and dad, Homer Hayes and Bernice Davenport, got married in 1932, right in the middle of the Great Depression. They left the farm and moved to the big city of Dallas, Texas. More than 15,000 people were out of work and on relief, and all were searching and scrambling to find work. No job was too small or too menial. If it paid a few cents, someone would grab it and be grateful. A job meant food for their families.

Dad was one of the lucky ones who found work. From 1933 until 1938 he delivered ice for fifty cents a day, now those were ten-hour-days back then—do the math. He started before dawn, loaded the blocks of ice into a truck, drove over the dirt streets, and stopped at the houses on his route that had an ice card in the window. Ice cards had a large number on each side, 25, 50, 75, or 100. The card was placed in a window showing how many pounds of ice that was needed. The ice man would grab the block of ice with huge tongs and throw it over his shoulder which was covered by a leather sheath. He’d haul it in the house and place it directly into the icebox.

Iceboxes were really “iceboxes”, not refrigerators. They were made out of wood and the part where the ice was stored was lined with tin. There was a hole in the bottom of the unit so that as the ice melted the water could drain into a pan. I remember mother sliding the pan out and emptying the water on her flower bed. Food was kept cool, not cold, and nothing was frozen. Children would chase the ice truck down the street in hopes of getting a few chips of ice to eat, a definite treat in hot Texas summers. Air conditioning was sitting out in the yard under a shade tree!

Dad loved to tell how he could have bought as much land as he wanted in the Trinity River bottom for less than fifty cents an acre. The first levee was built in 1928 in an attempt to control the flooding of the river. Dad always said that there were two reasons he didn’t buy any of this land. First, the Trinity River was like the Mississippi, it had a mind of its own, and you never knew when it would flood. And second, fifty cents was a whole day’s wages, and he had to feed his family and pay rent.

The next job dad got was climbing poles for Dallas Power and Light Company at a dollar a day. His salary doubled. He felt like he had struck it rich. Linemen were always on call as soon as bad weather hit the city. We knew that when the storms came and the wind blew hard, the phone would ring and dad would be called out in the middle of the night to repair lines. I remember crawling in bed with mother during those times. It always scared me to think about dad climbing the pole to work on electric wires during a storm.

World War II began as the Depression was ending in 1941 and large numbers of men rushed to enlist. Patriotism and love of America was at its height. DP&L froze a small crew of linemen deemed necessary to keep the city running. Dad was one of these men. After Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, he tried to join again, but was still on DP&L’s frozen list. He always regretted that he didn’t serve in the war.

On Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941, I was at my best friend’s house and we were on the front porch playing jacks when her father came out and said, “Girls, I need to talk to you, come on in the house.” His gentleness and concern while he was telling us made an indelible impression on me, my first glimpse of the thread of God’s love. He started by telling us that we were all right, we were safe, and we didn’t have to worry. Then he told us about the attack on Pearl Harbor and that America was officially at war. He didn’t scare us, but he did explain what it meant for our country to be at war.

Nearly every family we knew had someone in the war. Every day when my friends and I walked to and from school, we would watch the windows of the houses we passed for a Service Flag. If someone from that house was in the war there would be a blue star on the flag hanging in the window, sometimes more than one. If a family member was killed, the blue star was replaced with a gold one representing the ultimate sacrifice. A silver star stood for someone who had been wounded in action. The war and what sacrifice meant became very real to us. Every time we saw a gold star appear, we’d rush home to tell our parents.

Dad stayed with DP&L until the mid-forties when he got hit by lightning. A lineman was strapped to the pole when they climbed. Picture a heavy leather strap wider than a belt going around the pole and the man’s body. The man had spikes on his boots, and he climbed by slamming the spikes into the wood pole and pushing back on the strap for support. When a man was working on the electric connections at the top of the pole, he dug the spikes in and leaned back on the strap so that his hands would be free. This is where dad was in the middle of a dark and stormy night when lightning struck him. It hit dad on the hand, traveled through his body and came out his foot leaving him unconscious. When the other men that saw this happen, saw dad hanging limply by the strap, legs dangling, they thought he was dead.

There were no big trucks with extension ladders or buckets to lift men up and down so one of the crew climbed the pole and carried my unconscious, over two-hundred-pound dad down the pole in the midst of a blinding thunderstorm and frequent lightning strikes. It was only by God’s mercy that dad and his friend survived. There was a small hole in dad’s thumb where the lightning went in and a very large exit wound where it came out his foot. The rubber sole on the boot he wore was completely melted. Do I need to tell you that dad never climbed another pole? After that, he went to work for a company wiring new homes, repairing old ones, and staying on the ground.

Yes, dad came to Texas in a covered wagon when he was a little boy.

 And yes, he broke his back when he fell off a ladder and then drove home to tell us.

 Yes, it’s true — mother and dad sat and talked with Bonnie and Clyde one night at a watermelon stand on Jefferson Avenue in Dallas way back in the 1930s.

 And yes, the threads of God’s love were stamped indelibly on and around my life even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time.

 So where does the red dress come in, you ask.
Well, truth will out — my mother wore red when she and dad married
in 1932.

 Thank you for being my dad
And
Teaching me how to live and love

Posted in Dallas, Fathers Day, General, Great Depression | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Little Rain Must Fall … Or Raindrops Falling on My Head

 

 

 

I love rainy days.
I love to curl up in my soft, overstuffed chair with a cup of tea and some cookies and listen to the rain.
Of course, I also have a book in my hand, it is perfect reading weather. I love the sound so much I have a machine that plays gentle rain sounds when I go to bed at night. You can even download the sounds of rain on your cell phone or computer at rainymood.com. Caution: it will relax you and could put you to sleep!

It was an ordinary Friday. I did errands in the morning and ended up at the grocery store as I usually do. A few clouds dotted the sky and the sun was peeking through when I left the store with a basket of groceries. I glanced up at the sky thinking the weatherman was wrong again it was going to be a nice day.

Was I ever wrong! I was putting the groceries into the trunk of my car when the sky opened up—it felt like someone or something threw a bucket of water on me. Dare I even mention that one of my earlier errands was the hairdresser? Now this was not a gentle rain, this was not Dancing in the Rain type of drops; this was a sideways gush of water almost knocking me down.

I quickly shoved the dripping sacks into an already water-soaked trunk and hurried to get in the car. When I opened the door the wind shifted and the invisible entity poured water on the seat—there was a puddle where I had to sit. Feeling somewhat insulted I sat down in it and drove toward home, I had no choice.

You can imagine the feeling as I squirmed in water with more water dripping out of my hair and down my face—not good, not good at all! Now I am not much of a singer, but alone in the car is another matter and songs kept running through my head, Come Rain or Come Shine, Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head, Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall, and Willie Nelson’s Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, and I finally had to laugh. There are just some situations that are so ridiculous all you can do is laugh. After all, it was very clean water from Heaven!

I got home and dripped my way through the house and got out of the drenched clothes, and I mean all of them. I had a doctor’s appointment so I rushed to dry my hair and repair the mess as best I could. I unloaded my car, and it took three large, thirsty towels to soak up the standing water and another to pad the driver’s seat. I made the appointment in a relatively dry condition—however my mood was still a little wet.

Some days you just can’t win—it was raining when I came out so without hesitation I joined the group of dry people sitting on benches under the portico and waited!

I’m sure there is a moral to this story and something I need to learn, but I’ll leave that to your imaginations with this final thought….

“Be still, sad heart! And cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Posted in General, humor | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Light at the End of the Tunnel … Then and Now

 

 

 

I woke up early thinking about tunnels and how there is always light at the end of a tunnel, evidently I had been dreaming about them. This picture was in my mind and I knew it was from an album I made of a trip in 1975, and I had to get up and find it. My coffee and I spent several hours looking at the pictures and shedding happy tears remembering when I took my parents to visit Washington, D. C.

We drove the Skyline Drive in Virginia and the trees were in glorious October color—after the first seven tunnels carved their way through the mountains we quit counting. Each tunnel was different, some twisted through the mountain, others like the picture went straight through, and all varied in length.

Later in that trip we had the experience of a very different tunnel. It was the 17-mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connecting Virginia Beach and Cape Charles, Virginia. When we started driving onto the bridge it felt like we were driving into the ocean, after about three miles the bridge dipped and disappeared under the sea into the first of the tunnels. It’s a very eerie feeling, the tunnel is well lit, but you know you are under the ocean and you can hear the roar. It comes up about midway and there’s a restaurant, gift shop, view points, and a fishing pier. After spending time there, we got back in the car and drove the rest of the way; you have no choice at that point because it is the only way to get back to land. There were two more tunnels and lots of low level bridges before we reached the other side.

The one consistent thing about tunnels is they all came into the light at the end. It doesn’t matter if they have blasted through a mountain or gone under the ocean; it doesn’t matter how long or short they are, what matters is that the light is always there.

Now you know my mind works in strange ways and I began to see that we all go through different tunnels in our lifetime. The so-called Texas winter of 2016-17 was one such tunnel for me, it never really got cold and allergies ran rampant from October to April. The dreaded pollen kept me down and out, and I backed out of nearly all my activities. However, there was light at the end—at long last my allergies seem to be under control.

I’m remembering many other tunnels in my life, times of day-to-day boring activities, times of taking care of a very sick loved one, and times of grief when I couldn’t see the light. I’m thinking you might be remembering a few tunnels you have gone through, too.

The thing is—the light was always there if I looked for it. The light of the world came wrapped in human form more than 2000 years ago. This little baby who was born in a manager grew up and took on himself the sins of the world when he died on a cross, but the light didn’t stay out. He defeated death and forever brought light to this world when He rose three days later.

He became the light for me at the end of a long tunnel of grief years ago. This tunnel began in 1977 when my first husband died. Bill and I met at thirteen and when he died, my world shook, my security was gone, and I didn’t seem to fit anywhere. I began searching for what I called peace of mind. My search came to a climax in a restaurant parking lot when in desperation I threw up my arms and cried out to God “I give up, do with me what you will.” I’m sure people were staring at the crazy woman talking to herself, and yes, I was crazy—I had reached the end, I could not go on alone.

The Light was waiting for me at the end of that tunnel and the Lord showered His peace over me. As time passed I found that sorrow and grief burned up a lot of unnecessary things in my life, however, it also brought gifts. One gift it presented me with was my self. It showed me who I was in Christ, and I began to realize what it meant to be a child of the Living God.

After my mom, dad and I drove under the ocean through that long Chesapeake Bay Tunnel and came out on Virginia Beach, we stopped to view the waves. My dad promptly got out of the car and walked to the edge of the water. He bent down and rolled his pants legs up and went wading.

 

“Now, I’ve seen everything,” he said, “I didn’t think I’d ever see the ocean, much less get to walk in it.”

I don’t know if you can see the grin on my dad’s face but it was a big one, and mine was too. Seeing my dad’s face light up with joy made the long drive through that dark tunnel was so worth it—what a special gift that was.

Tunnels—they show up in many different ways, its part of life and they are not all easy ones and we struggle to reach the light. What we have to remember is that the Light of the World is with us even in the tunnels…and that is what makes the darkness disappear.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said,
            “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”      –John 8:12

 

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Reminiscing about Time … From a former Caretaker of Clocks

grandfather-clock

 

 

Tick tock, tick tock
grandfather clocks, chiming clocks, anniversary clocks, table clocks, handmade clocks, digital clocks, battery clocks—these were a few of the clocks ticking away in my home.    Tick tock, tick tock…

At least that’s what they were supposed to do! Tick tock, tick tock—my husband loved clocks and when he was here they never seemed to stop. Since he’s been gone, there was always one or two silently demanding my attention, and I attempted to keep them going because he loved them. Somehow, if the clocks were ticking and grandfather was chiming, I felt better…

And then I moved. Grandfather came with me and has refused to tick or chime again, but time hasn’t stopped, it continues on in its perpetual journey. I sometimes wonder if the clocks that didn’t come with me still tick or if they stopped too. Tick tock, tick tock…

Clocks have been on my mind lately as the seconds and minutes turn into days, weeks, months, and years. Do you know that by the time a person reaches the age of 75, the clocks and watches of this world will have ticked away nearly 2.5 billion seconds! Trivia, yes, but my nit-picky mind just showed up, and now, I am wondering if God has a clock.

In 1947, scientists created what was called the Doomsday Clock to symbolically show how close the world was to a nuclear holocaust. It is based on nuclear security, sea levels, atmospheric carbon dioxide, global temperature differences, arctic sea ice, emerging dangers, cyber threats, bio security, and other threats.

In 1953, the hands were set to two minutes before midnight after the U. S. tested a hydrogen bomb. Since then the hands have been reset and pushed back more than 15 times.

In 2011 when I first wrote about the Doomsday Clock, it was 5 minutes to midnight.

In 2015, it moved from 5 to 3 minutes before midnight.

And 2017, the minute hand has moved again from 3 to 2-1/2 minutes to midnight.

Throughout the centuries, many have tried to foretell the future and set the hands of God’s clock by predicting the hour of Christ’s return. And yes, we’d all like to know so we could be ready. The Bible makes it clear that God has a timetable, but Christ said no one knows about it except the Father (Matthew 24:36). It appears that God’s “eternal clock” is ticking.

The Bible also tells me that “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Oh, yes, I‘ve definitely had a few days that seemed a thousand years long. I bet you’ve had some of those, too.

There’s a lot about “time” in the Bible, five hundred references to be exact. Many of the verses tell us there is a time and place for everything. In other words, my timing and God’s timing may not always coincide. Ecclesiastes has much to say about timing.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a  time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
–Ecc. 3:1-8

God says that “All the days ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be.”(Psalm 139:16). I struggled with this when I watched my husband’s last days crawl slowly by while he was trapped in mental confusion and in a body that couldn’t move without help.

Tick tock, tick tockthen I remembered that God’s eternal clock is not dependant on the man-made Doomsday Clock—that God is not hampered by age and infirmity. God has no problem talking to a confused mind, and I was and am comforted because I know God and my husband spent lots of time together during his healthy years.

The conundrum of time is that it’s always changing. Across this country are several time zones and still more around the world. Of course, we can’t forget the confusion of daylight savings time. I remember when I was a child it felt like an eternity from Christmas to Christmas. Now, it seems I just get the decorations put away and I have to get them out again. The clock seems to be ticking faster as I get older.

So I ask myself, while I am healthy in mind and body…
Did I make this day count? Did I start and end my day with Him?
Did I do what God planned for me, what He has written in His Book?
Am I making the most of the seconds, minutes, hours, and days that God has allotted me?
Did I really value my time today, realizing that beyond earthly time lies eternity?

Am I casting my shadow in eternity, or only in this fleeting world?

The eternal clock is ticking …

Tick tock, tick tock

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Love and Marriage … Remembering January 22, 1982

1982-wedding-reception-jan-22

 

 

 

 

Ray and I would have been married 35 years today and I’m remembering a wonderful man.

Ray  came on the scene in the midst of my grief at the loss of my first husband and during my battles with Almighty God. I’m fully convinced God sent him to me.

Ray, my bull-in-a-china-closet husband—those of you who knew him understand this, was patient and kind. He understood; he had lost his wife of many years the year before.  He prayed for and with me for five long dark years. He told me after we married God had made it clear to him that we would marry someday. He said he didn’t want to tell me that before because he was fearful it would scare me away!

Love and marriage in older years is different from the falling in love of the young. We’ve had a lot of life experiences and we see differently than we did in our young days. It was the slow steady growing of a deep love that blossomed over time. And eventually we made a loving caring decision to share a life together. It is two people who look at one another in full realization of each others’ personality, including faults, and make the choice to love.

There have been two incredible men in my life, two men who could not have been more different and two completely different lifestyles. Having lived both marriages, the young falling in love one and the mature choosing to love marriage, I want to say both can be wonderful, one is not necessarily better than the other, just different.

Being a writer, I tend to look at my life in chapters and there was a long period of solitude between these two chapters. Not a happy one, but one filled with grief and the struggle to find out who I was without a husband and to find a purpose in life. Lots of wakeful nights filled with tears, hot milk, and candlelight while wrestling with Almighty God over being alone.

Somehow God always makes Himself very clear in my mind. He lets me rant and rave until I am worn out and have no other place to go then He steps in and says, “I’m here. I’m waiting for you. When you settle down, we’ll get on with your life.” He never rushes me. He is a patient, merciful, and generous God who waits for each of us to find our way to Him. And when we do He says, “Welcome, I love you.”

When Ray departed for his heavenly home in 2011, the dark days settled in again, but not the wrestling with God this time. I knew He was with me and would carry me, and He has. Getting old alone is not what I would have chosen, and truthfully I wonder why it has to be, but I no longer question God’s plan. My days were written in God’s book (Psalm 139) before I ever came to be, and while I’d like to know more, it’s probably best I don’t. I’d always be worried about the future and not living in the present. Remember, the present moment is really all we have; yesterday is gone and tomorrow never comes.

Day by day, I often close my eyes and remember the many blessings and happiness of the chapters of my life secure in the knowledge that God walks with me every day. So where am I going with this long tale—I’m not really sure except to say that the only one who will be with you every day and every minute of your life is Almighty God. And He never fails you.

For the rest of the story—I’ve been assured the best is yet to be, and I’m excited to see what unfolds each day, and what will be beyond this earthly realm. Life is not over when we leave earth and move to heaven!

I’m not certain how things work in heaven, but I do know that my Bill and my Ray will be waiting for me. There will be a grand reunion with rejoicing, and all will be made right with no more tears or sadness.

And what a day that will be, so until then …

Happy Anniversary to my dear Ray…
Thank you for so many loving years filled with fun and laughter…
Remembering my Ray today …
January 22, 1982, with joy in my heart.

Posted in Anniversary, General, God, marriage, Wedding | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments