Friday, August 28, 2015

The Beauty of Simple Things


Yesterday, I snipped a handful of Golden Thryallis from the yard, tucked them in a vintage canister, and, just like that, it felt like a poetic summer afternoon in the kitchen.

When life takes more than it gives, the beauty of simple things can offer a brief respite from the long and winding road. 

Until next time, sweet friends, I hope you enjoy a peaceful weekend and savor the beauty in each day.



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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dressing Up ~ A Lost Art?



On a warm Sunday afternoon, I dropped by a convenience store on my way home from church to pick up a loaf of bread. Business came to a screeching halt as patrons gawked at me as if I had just touched down from somewhere far away.

At first, all of the stares rattled me. What was the deal? Was there toilet paper trailing behind my black leather pumps? What?

As I left the store, I could feel eyes following my every step.

It took a while, but it finally dawned on me what the commotion was all about. I was dressed in my Sunday best and appeared to be the only person in the store in what I call “real” clothes. Everyone else had on stuff resembling pajamas or underwear. I guess seeing me decked out came as a shock. What kind of a nut was I anyway, dressed like this on Sunday morning?

The truth is, folks don’t dress up much anymore—period. Students at some of our local high schools are allowed to wear pajama bottoms to school. Honestly, they are. Casual Fridays in the workplace look more like head-to-the-beach-day. Attend church services at just about any place of worship and you will see people filing in wearing everything from wrinkled T-shirts and Bermuda shorts to tight jeans and skimpy blouses.

It used to be that people dressed with class when shopping, when boarding a plane, when visiting those in the hospital, when attending church, when dining in a fine restaurant. What happened?

I am not against dressing for comfort, but  tight jeans are not worn for comfort; a loose skirt would be much more comfortable. And how could a wrinkled T-shirt and Bermudas be more comfortable than say a Polo-style shirt and a pair of ironed slacks?


Be he young or be he old, there's nothing sharper than a man wearing a suit.


And in the words of Coco Chanel, "Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman."

I remember a few years back when the corporation I worked for decided to alter their strict dress code, allowing business-casual clothes on a daily basis.

It turned out that most employees ignored the “business”  and went overboard on the “casual,” showing up in tank-tops, flip-flops and flowered shorts, even though the new policy “prohibited” such things. I suppose the corporation was so large that it proved difficult to enforce the rules.

Since my boss continued wearing a suit and tie, I dressed accordingly. And I was very glad I did the day he rang from a meeting with the CEO, asking me to deliver some documents to the boardroom. Imagine my embarrassment—and his—had I sauntered into the room wearing my purple flip-flops.

I am not suggesting that we go back to the days when people wore their finest clothes while shopping, or out to dinner, or boarding a plane, but I would like to see people putting more thought into what might be suitable attire for certain occasions. It would also be nice to see dress codes enforced in our schools. Not necessarily a standardized uniform, but no pajamas, please.

Until next time, dear friends, maybe I'm in the minority here, but I tend to agree with whoever said: "One can never be overdressed." 

***

Images via Google


Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Musings ~ The Weekend Report

On Friday afternoon, twin sister and I drove to our parents’ home, two hours away, just the two of us. Road trips together—big ones, small ones—always bring a certain pleasure for two people with identical DNA. We may go for miles and not talk. Other times, we may go for miles and not hush. Either way, we’re comfortable together. 

We’re not young women, but, in good times or bad, happy or sad, our hearts still carry the spark of our youth.

I was all set to blog about our blessed weekend, but twin sister beat me to it and her words are just as good as mine, so no need for me to repeat myself when you can hop on over to her gentle place and read all of the details, including Mother's plum cobbler.

The photos below are ones I captured of my dear old daddy, working hard to keep his property maintained. Even at 88, even after having suffered a major injury from a fall in 2012, he is still one of the strongest men I know.

You have to look closely to see him over against the fence with the weed-eater. This is only about one-fourth of his property and even though we've offered to pay to have it kept up, for now, he still enjoys the work. How blessed he is, as are we.






Every trip home reminds me of how rich I am, rich in all the things that matter.


As I write, Sunday is coming to a close, another day crossed off the calendar. I can hardly believe August is almost over. The weather continues to be hot, but this too shall pass, as it always does, and my yearning for that first cool snap will be answered in the sweet by and by.

Until next time, sweet friends, thanks for keeping me company here. May your week be filled with good things.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Glimpses of Home







It is in the simple things of home that I am nourished and fed.

Thanks for keeping me company here in this quiet space, where I reflect and sometimes ramble. 

Your visits and kind words mean so much. 

***



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Take Time to Just Breathe and our 35th Anniversary

Dear friends, in the midst of a sizzling summer, the rain finally came yesterday. Not the downpour we needed, but enough to wet the earth and fill the cracks. For weeks, I had yearned for it, hoped for it, and, when it came, I couldn’t resist raising a window, the rhythm like music to my ears.

August is a busy month—family birthdays on both sides of the family, and one very special anniversary.


The Man's family gathered for an afternoon of fun in the sun recently, celebrating summer birthdays. The event found our darling Arabella (aka cupcake) meeting some of her relatives for the first time. She made a splash and took home the prize for best swimsuit, wouldn't you say?


A week ago, we drove over to my mom and dad’s place so they could enjoy a little time with cupcake. Two hours there and two hours back makes for a very long day, but to see the smiles on their faces made it worthwhile. I know they won’t be here always and seeing their great-grands brings them so much joy.


Well, well ... The Man and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary over the weekend. For the life of me, I don't know how it can be 35 years already, but there it is and here we are. 



We interrupt this blog post to say we've changed just a teeny-weeny bit since this photo was taken.

Moving on ... 

On Wednesday, we climbed aboard Cloud Nine and traveled to one of our favorite places, the charming San Antonio—the same place where we spent our honeymoon all those years ago. I’ve posted a number of times about the lovely Alamo City, but I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned the Tower of the Americas



The Tower of the Americas has an interesting history, dating back to the 1968 HemisFair. We’ve dined in the revolving restaurant several times, and it’s always a first-class treat. The best plan is to reserve a table about 30 minutes prior to sunset. That way you get the city views by day and by night—breathtaking, both.

Even though we couldn't stay gone from home for long, our time away served us well. My spirit had been needing space for awhile, space to decompress, if only for a few days, to let go of the things that drain my mental energy, that weigh heavy on my heart. 

Through the years, I’ve learned to listen, to take heed when my body and spirit prompt me to do, or not do, something. Perhaps that’s why people walk around in a steady dismal state—they don’t listen to their heart, to what their spirit is telling them. 


It’s natural to put off what we know we need to do, simply because it’s not convenient, but sometimes you have to step away from the tight places and take time to just breathe, to gaze skyward, to stretch your arms wide, to place your feet firmly on the ground. It isn’t a magic potion; your problems won’t disappear. But time away can offer clarity and strength, renewed hope, and peace. Wonderful peace.


Until next time, sweet friends, I wish for you gentle moments and soft words. Thanks for keeping me company here. 

***

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

On the Ebb and Flow of Life

Dear friends, I hope you are well and enjoying what’s left of summer. Except for a few breezy days spent at the ocean, the heat has mostly kept me indoors, almost unbearable it is. Outside, the grass crunches beneath my shoes, begging for rain, while inside, the air-conditioner plugs away, trying hard to keep up with the heat and humidity that is Southeast Texas.


Mornings are the most tolerable, and I find sweet pleasure in watching summer's sun linger in unexpected places around my home.

In the last few months, from deep inside, I have been both happy and sad. Life has a way of giving and taking, like the ebb and flow of the tide. Sometimes it brings unexpected treasures, filling us to the brim with joy. Other times, it takes treasures from us, leaving us empty and spent. It’s not a new thing. Life is made up of seasons, always a melody of mixed notes.

I sometimes ask my heart to switch tunes, to give me happy whenever I’m sad, but it pays me no mind. In times of grief, loneliness, confusion, hurt, longing, or despair, we can walk around with a smile, but there’s no fooling the heart. The heart beats out the notes. The heart knows the truth.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t joyful notes mixed in with the bleak ones, and thank God for them. But there are seasons when, despite our wishes, the dark chords ring the loudest and the longest.

Last year, friends of ours lost their 19-year-old son in a tragic accident. And while they have discovered happy notes since that horrific event, at the end of the day, it is the dark chords that are played over and over, because, as heavy and woeful as it may be, grief can’t be rushed through; it must be lived out, its timing unique and personal. Eventually, I’m told, the chords will change to lighter notes, making way for happier days and space for joy to enter the grief, light overtaking the darkness, one small step at a time.


Yesterday, I sat at my dining room table in the familiar place where I enjoy quiet moments of prayer and devotion, the afternoon light pouring in. As I held my darling granddaughter close, her face pressed soft against mine, we gazed out the window and I thought of the blessings in my life, the bounty of treasures that God has so graciously given. And although there are still somber chords that must be sung out, played out, lived through, I’ve discovered the sad notes of life have a way of making the sweet ones that much sweeter.


Until next time, dear friends, I trust the days of August are especially kind to you.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Children ~ The True Victims of the World


I'll never forget holding my granddaughter in my arms for the first time. I had almost forgotten what a delightful thing it is to hold something so exquisite and pure. As I watched her little face make all kinds of expressions, I was consumed with love and remembered the words of the psalmist David when he wrote, "Children are a gift from the Lord." 

At the same time, while I rejoiced for so many reasons, a part of me ached for so many reasons. Such innocence, such vulnerability, such helplessness. 

Children are the true victims of the world, the innocent sufferers, powerless to save themselves from the decisions of others. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, a life of crime, divorce, family conflicts, or a lack of insight as parents, children are the real casualties of society.

Have you ever watched the television drama, "Intervention"? It'll break your heart in a million pieces, children left to fend for themselves, while parents are strung out on drugs or alcohol, unable to care for themselves, let alone their brood of children.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture, and one that showcases how much value God places on children, is found in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew. As Jesus spoke to a crowd of people, the disciples gathered around. Suddenly, one of them asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

“Except you be converted, and become as little children,” Jesus said, “you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Why would God choose a little child as the perfect model for those who strive to enter into the kingdom of heaven? Here are some possible reasons:

Children trust their parents to do what’s best for them.
Children are tender-hearted, not too proud to cry.
Children don't worry about tomorrow.
Children believe all things are possible.
Children enjoy life and laugh a lot.
Children forgive quickly.
Children love easily.

Whenever I look at the photo here of my daughter giggling many years ago, her innocence still tugs at my heart. It's been said that children are unstained jewels dropped from heaven. Indeed, they are. And they should be treated with the greatest of respect, and handled with the greatest of care.


In the latest disturbing undercover video, Dr. Savita Ginde, Vice President and Medical Director for the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, is heard discussing selling body parts of aborted babies with the people posing as representatives from a  human biologics company. Part of the exchange is between the doctor and a Planned Parenthood medical assistant. As they are surveying the pieces of an aborted baby in the lab, the doctor can be heard, nonchalantly, ticking off the body parts that she sees. She says, “Stomach, heart, kidney adrenal … I don’t know what else is there.” The assistant says, “Arms.” The doctor then says, “I didn’t see the legs. Did you see the legs?" After a moment, the assistant happily proclaims, “And another boy!”

As someone said today, “These people are operating with less than a soul." 

The current outrage over Planned Parenthood's willingness to sell body parts from aborted babies is well and good, but it is way overdue. Since 1973, abortion clinics have been slaughtering babies. There’s just no easy way to put it. As much as some try to sugar-coat abortion, it stops the beating of a heart, and does so in a barbaric way. I've written about abortion in the past and while it's not a subject we're comfortable talking about, I feel a moral obligation to speak out for the unborn babies who have no voice, no choice, and I will continue to do so for as long as there is breath left in me.

Until next time, dear friends, please pray for the little ones, both unborn and born. Without a doubt, they are the true victims of the world.



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