Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday Lunch at Nonnie's

The family came over for lunch today--we had the typical Texas fare of brisket, potato salad, cole slaw and red beans. I went to the Farmer's Market at the Factory yesterday and came back with canteloupe, banana peppers and heirloom tomatoes, so we had that too, along with a peach pie I picked up there. It was all so good, if I do say so myself. Martin's Barbeque Joint just down the road has brisket like we eat in Texas (not pork, beef). I will have to say their hot sauce is HOT, HOT, HOT. So glad I also got some mild sauce.

When I was young, we often went to my Granny Dobbins for Sunday lunch. The cousins usually came over from Anson and we played on "the gallery" (porch) while we waited to be called. As I remember, the kitchen was on the back of the house with the dining room just next door. We had the usual Sunday fare of either roast or fried chicken with gravy. My mom and aunt would contribute several dishes, and we always had a feast. I wish I could remember what we talked about, but I was not interested in that--just in how soon the cousins and I could go back to playing. My cousins were girls (Wanda and Linda), and I didn't get to play with girls much.

One of our favorite things to do was to explore the forbidden garage of my step-grandfather. I am sure it was forbidden because we might find something to hurt us, but forbidding it made it even more exciting to let ourselves in. We also went out to the chicken house to see if we could scare the chickens--also forbidden. Frightened chickens don't lay eggs as well, and the household depended on the eggs. Some of my scariest experiences surrounded gathering the eggs for Granny Dobbins. I was always afraid of being pecked or of seeing a chicken snake. I remember my grandmother had several glass white eggs that she put under some of her hens, but I forget what they were for.

Times have changed so much in the last 60 years that I think most kids believe that eggs originate in the yellow boxes in the grocery store. How sad.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Paper Dolls and Polly Pockets

I remember sitting in the living room floor carefully cutting out the paper doll's clothing with the little white tabs which were used to secure the dresses to the paper doll. I got a new paper doll set for my 10th birthday. I didn't have much patience then for the flimsy paper which more often fell off the paper doll than stayed on. But all the girls were ga-ga over paper dolls, and I was glad to have my own set.

My grandchildren now play with Polly Pockets which is their version of the paper doll. Polly is much easier to work with and much more chic. Easier to work with that is, if one has very small hands to secure the clothing to the doll. Polly has shoes that are so small a whole wardrobe of them would fit in a teaspoon. Yet, I have watched Maddie and Ella sit and apply the clothing very diligently. I guess they are learning what makes a good wardrobe and what colors go together. Polly has her own car--a convertible which matches her clothing and animals whose sweaters also match her. It all makes a lovely scene and brings lots of pretend time.

As I watch the girls play, I can imagine their own designer clothing being worn on a runway somewhere by a model skinny enough to fit under a door. Chanel and Dior, move over. Here comes the Polly Pockets-trained generation.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reading at Wayne Reed

I spent the morning today reading at Wayne Reed Christian Child Care Center--an organization begun and supported by Otter Creek in the inner city of Nashville. It is an attempt to make a better life for the children of the projects, to keep them safe during the day, and to give them a better start in school. It is one of our best works.

Reading to two-year-olds is always tough, but having a fire drill before you begin to read is a double challenge. However, they liked the book and the gummy fish I gave them after reading Possum Magic. The next thirty minutes I read to the Pre-K kids and that went much smoother. They liked In the Small, Small Pond and had very pertinent comments about every page. I could tell they had been read to a lot, because the titles of other books kept coming up as the animals in the pond were discussed.

After it was over, I got a hug from each student--what a delight!

Monday, July 23, 2007


Have you ever finished a book and cried because it was over? Millions of readers did just that this weekend as Harry Potter came to an end. What a testament to the joys of reading! Thoreau said, "How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book." Many will look back on July, 2007 and remember the 7th Harry Potter book.

Rowling will remember it always too as she spends her fortune. Borders sold over a million and a half copies alone. I remember the furor when the first book came out and certain people wanted to ban it. Librarians and readers got up in arms and saved the books from would-be book Nazis. The books have themselves promoted an upsurge in reading (especially among boy readers) that the reading world has not seen since readers in the 1800's couldn't wait for the next chapter of the Dickens novels.

Although Harry is fantasy, I think this quote from Hemingway fits the series: "All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really happened and after you finished reading, you will really feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ectasy, the remorse and the sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you get so you can give that to people, then you are a writer."
Ernest Hemingway, 1934

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Christian Music

This morning on the Brian Mason show, he highlighted the career of Keith Green who has been dead 25 years this week. As he played some of his music, I thought how much Christian music has changed from its beginnings with Green, Sandi Patty, 2nd Chapter of Acts, etc. Even Amy and Smitty have somewhat faded in recent times while all kinds of rock groups with strange names have hit the charts.

It is difficult for me to listen to Christian radio these days--too loud, unintelligible words, no singable melodies. Oh, well, Zoe will have a new cd in Sept., and I hear that Michael W. Smith will have a new Christmas cd this winter.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Blink of an eye

In our last stint with Anne Lamott, we discussed the chapter "The Blink of an Eye" in which she writes about how fast life goes. That is no new thought--the Bible is full of such reminders. But just that day, I kept the grandchildren, and I was hit again with the truth of it.

Sam came flying in with his beautiful hair combed, in a T shirt with an alligator that said "Chomp" and his little khaki shorts and I knew when I saw him that I was seeing Sam at 17--good-looking, preppy, going full-blast. And he is only two years old!

"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses
itself in the sunset." Last words of Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator

Friday, July 20, 2007

I Feel Rich When...

I feel rich when....

I go to the Brentwood Library book sale and buy 6 paperback mysteries for $3.00

I can afford to buy craft things to do for Maddie and Ella

I can afford to stop at Starbucks for a strawberries and creme

I hear the rain on the roof and know it is helping grow my peonies

I can go Publix on Monday and get two rolls of paper towels for 1 cent

I get into the movie on a senior discount

I get a Netflix movie in the mail and know that it only cost me $2.00 or less

Something I have had in my closet for a while still looks good

I drop off a big bag of stuff at Goodwill

I get the 10 cent discount at Kroger gas

I clip coupons out of the newspaper and USE them

I figure I am spending only 53 cents a day for the Tennessean

I can IM a friend in Abilene and not have to pay for a phone call

I feel rich when I look at all my other blessings from God and marvel.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Later Day Saints

Before I left Highland, I did not participate in the 39ers even though I was qualified by age. I just was not ready to lump myself in there.

Today I spent an enjoyable day with 9 other Later Day Saints from Otter, and I felt very comfortable. I don't know what happened in the interim....

We toured Belmont Mansion and then ate at the Standard down town. I do not know why someone has not written an historical novel about Adelecia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham. Stories I have heard about her rival the heroine of Gone With the Wind.
She was married four times, always to the richest man around and, indeed at one time, she was the richest woman in Tennessee. Her gumption, grit and intelligence were well-known. Her mansion at Belmont mirrors some of her excesses and her collections. Well worth the $9.00 fee for the tour!

And we Later Day Saints enjoyed one another too. I can sit and listen all day to Mary Williams and Bernie Arnold tell stories.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pastiche of riches

Yesterday was a day full of worship. The morning service was a grouping of hymns, Bible readings, prayers, a meditation and a video about riches. Tim was out of town.

The video was from Rob Bell--an up and coming young theologian for postmoderns. It was called simply "Riches". I appreciated his comments on our lifestyle as juxtaposed against our voiced commitments. One of the repeated ideas in the video is how much we put our lives into the hands of materialistic public relations hucksters.

During the service, Brandon allowed time for a meditation of our true riches. We were to take cards and list everything we could thank God for. Such a nice use of time in a worship service--quietness and time for thought.

Sunday evening we put ourselves in the capable leadership of Jeff Berry for an evening of wonderful worship.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Harry in the Afternoon

I spent the afternoon today with Harry Potter. One of the joys of the series is that one gets to revisit places one has grown to like and see the people who are there again. It is kinda like a family reunion.

I enjoyed this one more than the others because it seemed to have more human emotion. It is strange at first to see the "children" so grown up and handsome, but they do act adolescent in the movie, and that is fun to watch.

I regret that Maggie Smith was only a walk-on in this one--she only had about five lines. The additon of Mrs. Umbrage was delightful and well-played by the actress. Daniel Radcliff as Harry gets better and better as do Hermoine and Ron.

Looking forward to the next one.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Polly Pockets Diplomacy

None of the ambassadors to other countries or members of the UN have a leg up on my granddaughters in the field of diplomacy.

Maddie and Ella are currently enamored with little Polly Pockets and her endless array of tiny costumes: hats, skirts, sweaters, boots, purses, pants--most of them smaller than the end of an adult thumb.

Watching the girls bargain yesterday for bits and pieces of costume, it struck me that they were learning conflict resolution and diplomacy. Occasionally, one of them does go off in a huff or dissolve into tears, but generally they trade and deal until both are satisfied.

Maybe we need to send them to Washington.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

For the Beauty of America

No matter what state you live in, if you can drive down the highway in the spring and enjoy wildflowers and a billboard-free vista, you have Claudia Alta Taylor to thank for that pleasure.

Ladybird Johnson beautified our country as no other person has in her quest to plant literally millions of wildflower seeds and trees. The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 was signed by her husband Lyndon Johnson and dedicated to her.

A strong woman, I think that only she could have understood and adored her strong and eccentric husband LBJ. They are two Texans who changed the country for the better. If only their legacies (hers in beautification and his in civil rights) could be emulated by another Texan in contemporary times.
Well done, Ladybird! Thank you for all the bluebonnets.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Techno Jitters

I am so far behind in meeting the challenges of new technology. I do not have an iPod, nor an iPhone, nor do I know how to download music on my computer, etc.

Yesterday's paper was full of the implications for our beloved music industry ( a 13 billion dollar business in Nashville alone). The implications were not good. Everyone is losing money and stands to lose more money until they, the govt. and the consumers can figure out what to do about the illegal downloading of music. I have only one thing to say--it is illegal and it is stealing, unless you pay for it.

On a related topic, Dr. John Kemeny of Dartmouth Univ.
said several years ago that there were two areas he did not believe any computer would ever be able to accomplish: the areas of creativity and value judgments. I hope that is true--these two areas belong to humanity. It can be said, however, that humanity has not been too good at using either one lately.

If we were more creative, surely we could find some way out of this horrible war, and if we were using value judgments as God would have them, we would get out today. I don't know--maybe the computer would be better at both of those. Science fiction tells us no.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Encounter with God

In another lecture class, John Mark Hicks took off on his new book in saying that worship is not about what we do for God or do for each other in community, but rather is about an encounter with God. He comes there to commune, conform us to his image, and to consecrate us to God's mission.

As we commune, he is drinking with us and we should be experiencing his presence as a community. So a lot more is going on than just eating little bits of crackers and drinking a drop of Welchs.

This idea of the presence of God in the assembly has always been viewed somewhat skeptically by my fellowship, as has God being beside us every day in real presence. I think we have not gotten over our quarrel with the charismatics and their very real beliefs that God speaks to us on this earth as well as through the Bible.

I think it is time to let go of all of that and relax in the knowledge that God continues to talk to us where ever we are--does He speak in a distinct voice? Not to me. To me, He speaks through what the Quakers call a "nudge in the mind"--it is very real and unmistakable. He is not there to whisk us from Satan's grasp, but to say to us, " What are you doing in God's name?" He is whispering "I love you, even though I know what you just did." He is shouting, "Nothing you can ever DO will make me love you less than I do right now." His voice is the nudge that sends me to Wayne Reed to read; his voice is the nudge that sends me to take food to a family that needs it; his voice is the nudge that makes me stop reading his word for information and ask, "What is it saying to me, Judy Thomas?" His voice is the urge to call someone on the send an encouraging seek out someone at church who looks greet visitors as the make donations to the Nashville Rescue Mission.... to teach class, when it so much easier just to go to class....ah yes, all those nudges....

Monday, July 09, 2007

Devoted Disciples

Listening to Randy Harris is one of my favorite things. One day last week he spoke about how people would look if they were true devoted disciples of Christ:

1. They would be people of peace--peace inside, peace with others and peacemakers in the world. We must also teach our children to be peacemakers.

2. They are fearless--willing to take risks. They are more interested in being faithful than in being safe. They have learned that when they walk out on a limb, God will be there. In the comfortable middle, we really rely only on our own resources.

3. They are deliciously joyful--joy which comes from knowing that God loves them unconditionally just the way they are. (how often we need that affirmation and encouragement--although I have heard it a 100 times, I still teared up when Randy said that). He went on to say that God loves us "relentlessly".

4. True devotees of Jesus are humble people. We need to lighten up and get rid of our pompous know-it-all attitude.

5. They know that God is love. And thus, they need to be a people of love.

6. They are people who take holiness seriously--get better at being good and being separate. Separate from the values of our world. Materialists are not taking holiness seriously.

Randy also said that according to a poll by David Olsen the actual number of American people who are in church is today about 17.8%. When our grandchildren grow up, the number will probably be only 10%. I can see our grandchildren being converted by missionaries from Africa or China.

Have you grown any spiritually in the last 20 years? I think we all have a lot of work to do, so that this secular world does not completely overpower us.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

More About Lipscomb

Being on the Lipscomb campus this week was a nice respite from daily duties.

The campus is under a large amount of construction, but parking was easy and the buildings I was in were very comfortable and welcoming. The new Ezell Center is a wonderful facility--Wow!

They are working on the their bookstore and cafeteria, redoing Collins Auditorium to make a world-class place for their music and drama depts. and building an apartment complex similar to University Park at ACU.

I must say that my impression of Lipscomb has changed significantly since I have moved to Nashville. It is making a name for itself in the community as wells as serving its students better.

I am always glad to see educational institutions advance.

Lipscomb Lectures

I spent most of the past week at the Lipscomb Lectures a.k.a.
Summer Celebration.

Two things struck me:

First, how small it was in comparison with the ACU lectures; hence, fewer choices for listening.

Two, the quality of the selections was excellent for the most part. I got to hear Randy Harris who is one of my favorite motivators and Rhonda Lowry for whom I have the greatest respect as a presenter and God's woman.

Jerry Rushford's presentation on the pioneers who braved the Oregon trail to go to the Northwest was astounding.
Full of old letters and journals, funny stories, and great faith. It made me think about my passion for trying to persuade folks to write their spiritual autobiographies--they not only later inspire family, but perhaps a whole lectureship. What a treasure we have in those who have gone before us--if we only knew them.
Thanks to Jerry, thousands in the Northwest are learning about their forefathers and foremothers.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy Birthday, Maddie

I can't believe Maddie is 6 today. See Brandon's blog for pictures of this beautiful girl. Her birth was such an exciting gift. I couldn't wait to get to Nashville to hold her--now I can hold her any time. What a blessing!

I think Maddie and I share a special feeling--that may be the way it is with first grandchildren. I am totally unprejudiced when it comes to reciting her many gifts besides her beauty. I do think she is going to be in the arts some way, as she has that predilection.....When she asks me to draw something, I am at a total loss, but she always compliments me on whatever I have drawn. The last time I babysat at night, we were looking at the book Tails which has a beautiful picture of a peacock in full regalia. I later came back to the room, and she had drawn a gorgeous replication of the picture on the Etch-A-Sketch. I wish it had been on paper--I would like to have kept it. She seems to have a gift for the piano (again another area in which I do not shine). She played me a few bars of "Ode to Joy" which she just picked out by ear by herself. She is thoughtful in an abstract way that most 6-year-olds are not. I look forward to her development.

She is my princess.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Freedom is not free.

I love history--I think John C. Stevens at ACU is to blame for my love. What a wonderful teacher of the things that matter about our country!

Jesus said to "Render to Caesar the things which are Caesar's." What shall we render to our country? I think loyalty,gratitude and respect are in order. There is no other country in the world where people yearn to go as they yearn to come to America. There is no other country in the world which gives so generously to others who need help.

I remember learning about the debate over the Marshall Plan after WWII--shall we help those who fought us rebuild? We did and built a European Union. While we may lag a bit at times today, we are still helping other countries survive.

Is America a Christian nation? No, I believe America is a nation full of Christians ready to pour that cup of cold water all over the world. I think the attempt to identify nations religiously misses the whole point-- that while we individually love our country, we are also trying constantly to "render what is due to God." It is fortuitous when the two renderings can come together.

It is my belief that the song America the Beautiful comes close to being a hymn about our country. We should everyday ask God to shed His grace on us and to crown our good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. Let's drop all this drivel about immigration and welcome those yearning to come here as our forefathers and foremothers were welcomed. That is brotherhood. It is also brotherhood to help those immigrants who need help learning the language, rather than denigrate them because they don't know it. It is brotherhood to welcome them into our churches as we welcome all those who look like us--what a travesty when some are turned away because they do not talk like us or look like us. It is my belief that one of the lectures we will get in heaven is about unity and the things we have done to prevent it.

So, God bless the U. S. A. and thank you for the land in which I was born.

Monday, July 02, 2007


I have a little plaque in my bathroom which says, "The best things are not things." And that is so true--the intangibles are what really make life full and rich. For me recently, some of these things are:

Meeting someone new and discovering that we have mutual friends and love them

A call from #1 son just to talk

Watching movies we both like with a new friend

Attending Sunday classes and finding one that really speaks to my soul

Noting Sheryl holding Sam and seeing that their hair is absolutely the same raspberry-honey blonde color

Anticipating the new Zoe recording

Hearing that wonderful "bulfroggy" cicada sound of a southern night

Having long-legged Maddie curl up in my lap for a few "I love you's"

Learning how to make an Orange Julius at home

As Melodie Beattie wrote, "Each moment in time we have it all, even if we think we don't."