Monday, October 31, 2005

The season

I have been too busy celebrating Halloween to blog--so fun to watch Maddie and Ella react to the holiday. They made Halloween cards for me this weekend. I used them to decorate my car for Trunk or Treat.

Trunk or Treat was a blow-out event! So many cars, so many kids. What fun. There were toddlers dressed as pumpkins, many spider men, and 4 year old princesses. Pretending is so good for the brain.

So sad to read Stephanie's blog (a link at Brandon's blog) to find out about Kyle Lake. A young man who was just beginning to lead the church to new heights. I just can't figure this kind of thing out.

Friday, October 28, 2005

True or false?

So Libby has been indicted for lying. Sounds like his boss (Cheney) needs to step up and bail him out by telling the truth.

I am so tired!!!!! of wondering who is telling the truth in Washington on a lot of topics. All those proverbs about lying and telling the truth need to be read aloud on a loud speaker at the Mall in Washington--might sink in--or not.

"A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. Though his speech is charming, do not believe him" Proverbs 26:24-25

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Christmas is coming

All the signs are here--Christmas will be celebrated again this year. Even as Halloween fades, Santa appears. From now until January 2, we will all have fun and spend money.

As I viewed the pictures on Brandon's blog today, I thought what a fun time for kids!
And for adults who are watching the kids and their various reactions to this season. It was always my favorite time to read to kids. There are some good ones out there that aren't gory, but scary.

Maddie gets very excited about celebrating most anything. Last night she was wiggling and giggling and couldn't wait to get on stage. She told her daddy that she loved standing on the stage. She and Ella are so much fun to watch. I am soooo glad I am here. Baby Sam will dress up next year, I am sure.

Thank you God for the excitement of children over little things. May we view the things you have given us with such excitement.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Parade of Bible characters

Our parade of Bible characters passed before the congegation tonight. Characters ranged from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to Moses and the burning bush.
Maddie was in a trio of little girls who were spiritual gifts--each wearing one of those huge gift bags with tissue coming out of the top. Ella, unfortunately, is sick tonight. I love it when the church lets children know that they are a part of the community of believers and are valued and loved. Highland often has the "little singers" come forward and take part in the worship. There is a children's musical there too every year. What a big deal! I know it is work for the parents and children's minister, but glory to God for their willingness to let the children come to us.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Soup and Solitude

The aroma of homemade soup spread itself around my house yesterday as I made the first batch of the season. It was one of those let's see what I can find to put in this without going to the store kind of vegetable soup. Luscious, if I do say so myself!

Brandon's description of the stations at his praise team retreat made me want to participate. The noisy room was a good idea. My topic last Sunday was silence and solitude. I read somewhere that we are bombarded by as many as 3,000 advertising message a day. How does one get around that? What is the most obnoxious noise in your life? Someone in the class said the beeping sounds machines make as they are backing up. My contribution was loud TV commercials with raucous music.

How does one get around that? Only intentionally. The intentional twist of the wrist as one turns off the TV and radio (both at home and in the car), the purposeful setting up of a place away from the main area of the house where one can be quiet. Nancy Hutchinson said that John Wesley's mother (Susanna, I think) had a special chair where she sat and pulled her apron over her head. When her many children saw her there, they knew she was not to be disturbed!

Richard Foster suggests taking "little solitudes" like getting up before anyone else and spending quiet time in the kitchen with your cup of coffee, or finding a park for your lunch. I have another friend who sets up shop in a rural cemetery when he needs quiet time. My friend David Wray (who lives outside of Abilene) does not turn on the radio on his way to ACU. Instead, he uses that time to pray and meditate. That is not always possible in heavy traffic, however. Alexander Campbell had a very special study built outside his home (octagonal shape) with shelves for all his books and room for only one person, him. We build bonus rooms, theater rooms, wine cellars, and glass porches on our homes--why not build a place of solitude?

What do you do to turn off the noisy world?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pumpkin Time

Pumpkins are appearing in yards and porches around Nashville. Pumpkin patches are lying in front of many churches.

Pumpkins are beautiful vegetables which have been around for centuries. Shakespeare mentioned the "pumpion" in The Merry Wives of Windsor. And then there are Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater and Cinderella. 90% water, the orange balls have been touted as cures for freckles and snake bite. The Native Americans cut them into strips, dried them and then wove them into mats. The early colonists cut off the tops, scraped out the seeds, filled them with spices, milk and honey and cooked them in the ashes creating the first pumpkin pies. I wonder who came up with that idea? Today, Libby's Pumpkin Pie in a can will present a delightful version with whipped cream on top, of course.

They are a part of the beauty of autumn, and I thank God the creator for this orange touch in the landscape.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The drugstore cherry coke

What could be better than a drugstore cherry coke? Certainly not the sweet syrupy stuff in bottles now.

Reynolds Drug Store in my hometown served the best cherry cokes--as I remember them they had a slight bite. They were served in a glass which said Coke on it. You had to pull your straw out of a long glass cylinder. Sitting on the vinyl seats sipping a cherry coke was the best experience of the 50's. I will say that a Coke float comes a close second to being best.

Reynolds which was next door to where my mother worked always had several defining smells: at the front where the cosmetics were sold there was the wonderful perfume smell. As one walked to the back where the prescriptions were picked up, the smell began to be medicinal. The Reynolds had several antique shelves of medicines closeted behind glass doors which always made the medicines more mysterious and unusual.

At the front of the store were the magazine racks and the racks which held comic books (remember them?). These were the days before magazine covers were x rated. I always enjoyed seeing all the different titles from venues I never entered. The men's magazines were mostly about hunting and fishing not naked women. The women's magazines were mostly about keeping the home, not about how to satisfy one's partner. And then there were those about travel, home design, etc. One section I always frequented were the movie magazines--I always managed to buy at least one a month after I finished my coke. More about that collection later. Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds for the pleasure you gave a small town girl.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Marking a day

My mom died of melanoma 29 years ago today. I still miss her--her smile, the way she loved Brandon, and all the things she taught me. Some of the things that stuck are: The place to be on Sunday and Wed. night is in church.
Cleanliness IS next to godliness. Nothing makes a family happier than being in a clean house with warm food on the table.
Reading and education are important.
Serving others graciously doesn't mean an act that might be written about in a newspaper, but a jello salad or a casserole to a needy family would do just fine.

I am sorry I did not get her long slender fingers and curly hair, but I will settle for these important lessons.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Book club

Our Otter Creek book club had its first meeting today--it was fun! We shared our thoughts on Philip Gulley's Home to Harmony. It got 5 stars all around. It is similar to the Mitford books, but I think better in many ways. For one thing, there are laugh- out-loud stories and characters in the book like Dale, the elder, who knew just enough Scripture to be annoying, but not enough to bring transformation, and or Bob, Sr. who created and led the Live Free or Die Sunday School class who left the church when the preacher called his hand on wanting everything his way. The minister later said, "...I recognized Bob's departure for what it was--a gift from the Lord." We know the people of the Harmony Friends Meeting tha Sam Gardner pastors--they live in our town and go to our church too.

The chapter called Roger and Tiffany recalls the Thanksgiving Sam and his parents spent with his brother and girlfriend. Seems Tiffany was a vegan. Sam's mother was worried that Roger had joined a cult. When the visitors discover that Thanksgiving dinner is to be macaroni without the cheese, small wormy apples(pestucide free) a plate of lettuce, a bowl of kiwi fruit and a glass of herbal tea, there is a quick trip to the store for a turkey breast, potatoes, cranberries and a 2 liter bottle of RC cola. Mom sits down with Tiffany and reads from Acts 10 "And Peter became hungry...." They all rose and ate, even Tiffany.

There are seven other Harmony novels I can't wait to tackle. What fun!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sam A. Thomas Elementary School

Sam A. Thomas Elementary School was dedicated on this day in 1992. It was a fine Sunday afternoon with many, many friends attending. Sam's sister Dorothy was there. Ronnie Lorenz and I spoke. Brandon sang, and we were all terrifically proud.

Sam, however, would have been embarrassed. He never wanted to be the center of attention, and he could have given you the names of twenty other people who deserved the honor more than he. Nevertheless, his family was proud that his career in education and his life with children was honored in that way.

Keep up the good work Thomas Texans!

Monday, October 17, 2005

What to do with doubt

I know several young men right now who are in the throes of doubt. It is not a pleasant place to be. Resting in God is so safe and comfortable, that when one slips out of it--not a happy place.

What can be said to these fine young men with young families? By the way, they are still holding on to a semblance by coming to church, which I think is a pretty courageous thing to do for the sake of their children. I don't know what to say to them except God is still watching and waiting with his arms wide open and his heart full of forgiveness. I did say to one yesterday that if one expects all questions to be answered, he is expecting something that will never happen. At age 67, I have at least learned that. Yet this whole situation tears at my heart--in prayer for them wholeheartedly.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Saturday in Tennessee

We made it to Hilmont Camp--the retreat was fine--very nice ladies from the Tusculum church here. The trees are beginning to turn out in the hinterland. As in the Abilene area, it all starts with the sumac tree. Every early fall we drove out a stretch of land between Abilene and San Angelo to see the trees. The sumacs were beautiful. I can't imagine what the next few days will bring. It has been cool--40's at night and 70's in the daytime.

I was so tired, I went to bed at 8:00 last night. It felt really good. We ate lunch at Mere Bulles this morning and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. As always something strange happened to Brandon. A waiter dropped a glass, and a shard of glass hit BST in the forehead and it began to bleed. Of course, the girls were alarmed, but in the end it was harmless.

Thank you God for good times together on your day. We praise and love you and your son.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Rest in Him, but don't get comfortable

Thanks to everyone for the sweet comments on yesterday's blog. Love you all--even bloggers I don't know.

Headed tomorrow for Hillmont Camp to speak to a ladies' retreat. Their theme is Rest In Him. My reply is Rest in Him, but don't get comfortable. I am looking forward to it. My friend Margie Roeder is taking part of her Saturday to navigate the way--I have a great penchant for getting lost. Pray that my words to them will be inspired by God.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Samuel Alexander Thomas 1933-1992

On a warm October evening 14 years ago, my husband Sam Thomas died of prostate cancer. After a valiant effort, trips to M. D. Anderson, doses of experimental drugs and much pain, he went home to his beloved father.

That Sunday had been one of watching and waiting. Many friends had come by to check his progress, the halls of 5th floor Hendrick Hospital were lined with college students and friends, some in prayer vigil. Sam's room was full of those who loved him. His sister Dorothy, his mother, Brandon, Ronnie and Darla Lorenz, Sally Gary, Shellie Braddock, me and others.

A few minutes after midnight on October 13 after being a coma for several hours, he sighed and left. Sam was beloved by students, parents, administrators,and the school board in Abilene's educational community. He had made his mark at ACU's education dept. which often sent students to observe him. After his death, a new school in the district was named after him. Each school where he had served as principal planted a tree in his honor.

He had literally helped build Minter Lane Church of Christ where he served as a teacher, deacon and elder. His funeral was in the building which still holds the nails he hammered. The building was much too small for the crowd.

Sam was famous for his compassion, wisdom, and excellent teaching. He thought he wanted to be a minister when he came to ACU in 1951. However, after watching his niece's and nephew's teachers and Mrs. Gilbreth at the ACU Campus School, he changed his mind, stayed an extra year at ACU, and earned a degree in Elementary Education.

His first job was 5th grade in Port Arthur, Texas where he stayed for five years. After deciding to work on his masters, he returned to Abilene and began work at Fair Park Elementary (now closed) under his wonderful friend and mentor Scott Hays (Brandon's namesake). Later he was appointed principal at Bowie Elementary. He was principal at Austin Elementary when he died. He loved his job so much that toward the end, we would put his wheelchair in the truck, he would drive to Austin. There the sweet custodian would unload the wheelchair, sit Sam in it and push him to his desk where he would stay until 4:40. (He never left before the majority of his teachers were gone.)

Those who knew him are full of "Sam Thomas stories." We are still hearing some today we never heard before. Sam loved jokes and pranks. He would often put plastic snakes or bugs in the back of his teachers' boxes. But, of course, there would always be a piece of candy and an encouraging note there on Monday morning. He kept up with the birthdays of everyone he ever knew. When he died, I got a letter from a Port Arthur student who said he had received his birthday card earlier in the year.

Samuel Alexander Thomas was a wonderful husband and father. He and Brandon had a very special relationship (Brandon's 13th year was a little difficult) which has spurred BST to be the sweet father he is today.

I miss Sam today as I have missed him for the last 5,000 plus days. Hi, Hon, say hello to God for me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The kingdom

One of the groups at the Zoe Conference tried to define kingdom. I know, the Bible says, "The kingdom of God is within you." We all know the kingdom that Jesus spoke of it is not political. I am from the generation that was told the kingdom was the church and therefore we could not pray the Lord's prayer because "the kingdom has already come." Talk about a misinterpretation. Yet, we could not define kingdom in the group I was in. Is it the Manifestation of Jesus within which causes you to do what he has comminssioned you to do?

Personally I am with Tony Campolo who has written The Kingdom of God is a Party.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Groggy and Full

What does one say about a time so full of information, fellowship, worship, and praise? Actually, I think orgy would be a good description. The Zoe Conference was just that.

While some did not like the new format, others did. I think it depended on what group you wound up in. Personally, I would have liked more of the speakers in the tracks and less of the group. My groups often deteriorated into "my church" doings instead of the personal reflection called for.

Outstanding moments:

Donna Hester's presentation of women in Matt. l
All of the praise sessions
Jeff Walling's Matthew
Zoe Group singing He Was There
Having Maddie lean over to me and say while Sheryl was singing "Living Prayer"
"Mommy is a good singer!"
Watching Ella direct Zoe as they practiced.

And happenings at the Thomas Inn:

The hot water heater did its job superbly
We all got places on time
Everybody said they slept well (Even Hainey whose mattress pump wouldn't work. She used her own trained breath to blow it up)
Kaye and I had a few good hours shopping, talking and fellowshipping before the crowd
got here

Phew! I am tired, but it is a good kind of tired.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Having fun

Kaye and I had a great time today hanging out at David Kidd one of my very favorite places (I HATE that they are moving to the mall--I don't like mall parking, etc.) But I guess I will continue to go anyway.

Just got a call from Abilene and will have one more guest this weekend--making five of us sleeping, and showering in my little house--it will be fun and like a dorm slumber party. Julie Danley is joining Kaye, Hainey, Sally Gary and me. Pray for the hot water heater--it has not been tested to this point yet.

Hello, Nashville

Yesterday, my friend Kaye and I were privileged to have a tour of Nashville led by Linda Giddens. Linda is so vivacious and full of Nashville history and facts. We really got a good well-rounded look at the city with lots of history (which both Kaye and I love) thrown in. Our favorite story was about AnAlisha ? Hayes Cheatham, etc. (she was married 4 times) a strong Nashville woman who gave land, money and her home and the name to Belmont University.

What joy, Linda. Thanks, thanks, thanks. Kaye and and I are having more fun than monkeys on a banana tree.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


I prefer autumn to fall as the designation for this beautiful season because the word itself sings.

I am a fall and winter person. The pumpkins are appearing everywhere now--bright, golden globes. And orange has taken over the grocery stores. Kroger had a whole, long shelf full of Halloween candy dressed in orange. Gourds and stalks decorated Fresh Market this morning, and I actually found some Honeycrisp apples there--haven't partaken yet, but I hear it on great authority they are Washington's best.

I finally got out all my Halloween stuff last night and enjoyed seeing what I had.
I think schoolteachers have more seasonal decorations than most people--but is so much fun to put it out year after year and to add new things too. I always look for the Oreo cookies with orange filling to put in my glass pumpkin cookie jar. And for the pumpkin and candy corn candies to put in the candy jar (Why are they so good?).

I am looking forward to the turning of the leaves so I can be a true leaf-peeper. I don't have to go to New England, all I have to do is to drive through the Cane Ridge community around the corner.

Happy autumn! And thank you God for your fingertips drenched in color as you made this season.