Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dog Days After Christmas

Nope, not depressed.  Just dog-sitting Cisco and Bear for a while.  They are generally well-behaved except when Cisco is biting Bear's tail and getting retaliation.

Our Christmas Day was just as wonderful as expected--presents, fun, good food and church.  Maddie read part of the Luke account and Ella was Mary in the nativity scene.  Brandon and Sheryl led worship.  There was a bigger crowd than I thought there would be. 

The girls got some handsome clothes and hats which they wore to church.  I told them that they looked as if they stepped out of Mademoiselle.  I don't think that magazine exists anymore, but they were so stylish.

They received a Wii and the game Just Dance.  It was  SO  fun to watch Sam perform the dances like a pro.  His daddy would not perform.

Went to see War Horse with Ronnie and Darla.  It is a good movie for the family--except for some scenes of WWI which are realistic.  The horse gets tangled up in wire from the barracades.  Although predictable, I enjoyed the film.  I think it will be nominated for the Oscar.

I hope to see Sherlock Holmes for sheer entertaiment this season.  And, of course, can't miss Tom Cruise.  Looking forward to Meryl Streep's Margaret Thatcher too.
Why do all the good movies come out at once?  The family and I enjoyed We Bought a Zoo.  Recommended except for one word which could have been left out.

All, in all, I think we had a very merry Christmas.

I already miss the Christmas carols on the radio.

The weather is weird; it is supposed to almost reach the 70's this week.  It was very cold on Christmas Day, like winter is supposed to be.  As they say, in Texas one has to wait only a minute until the weather changes.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

It is actually snowing in Abilene, Texas as I write this--melting as it touches the ground; but it is still snow....what a way to spend Christmas Eve! 

We are having chicken spaghetti tonight as we open presents at my house--all my gifts to them.  Probably will have trouble getting the kids to eat with the gifts under the tree calling to them.  I was cooking Brandon's requested hash-brown casserole while the Christmas carols were playing on the radio, and I couldn't help but remember those days at Potosi when I did the same thing on Christmas Eve.

Tomorrow, I will go to the kids' house for Santa and opening more presents, then to church.  We are having Sharon's brisket for lunch  YUM.  It all sounds like lots of family fun which it always is.  Very often there is a tinge of nostalgia or longing as we remember the days when Sam was here, and we spent the holidays either in Pasadena or Groesbeck and sometimes at Dorothy's house in the Woodlands.  Those days are all gone, but good memories still remain.  Those memories thrust at us to try to create those good feelings for Maddie, Sam and Ella.  I hope that is happening.

Then Monday the carcass of Christmas will remain with the attendant boxes, tissue, wrong sizes, and credit card bills.  HOWEVER,  it is worth it to watch children enjoy the days.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On, Donder and Blitzen!

I read to Sam's class yesterday at Thomas Elementary.  It was so fun; but even more moving was the thrill in Sam's eyes  as he watched me read.  I gave them a little history about Clement Clark Moore, the author of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" or as he titled it "A Visit from St. Nicholas". 

And we discussed the difficult words like "coursers" ( do you know what they are?) and sugar plums and "threw up the sash".  Bruce Whatley's illustrations of this old classic are beautifully surprising.  And he adds a little side story about the man who saw Santa.  It was such a trip to ask them questions and hear their answers.  Kindergartners are very imaginative.

And to top it all off. Brandon was there after eating lunch with Sam, so he took some good pictures.  They  are on facebook.  Sam has Nyla Rideout Davis for his teacher.  My Sam and I taught her in Sunday School at Minter Lane, um, years ago.  And now she has grandchildren.

Thank you God that children still enjoy good books, and that I got to read to them.
By the way "coursers" are a team that pulls something, like a team of oxen or a team of horses.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a goodnight. (This is the correct way to end the book as Moore wrote it.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Are you looking for a place to put tax deductable money  at the end of the year?  Try Reading is Fundamental  This organization provided 4 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources last year.  I know it is hard to believe that there are millions of children in the U. S. who do not own a book of their own--but that is true.

We have today 33% of 4th graders who cannot read at the most basic level.  Less than half of the families in the U. S. read to their kindergarten children on a daily basis.  THIS IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE FOREMOST INDICATORS OF DOING WELL IN SCHOOL LATER.  Speaking of later, forty million adults in the U. S. can't read well enough to share a simple story with their children.

As a recent communication from RIF says, "these kids aren't just falling behind in school, they are falling behind in life.

RIF is the only organization of its kind; since its founding in 1966, RIF has provided more than 380 million books for children to choose and keep.  RIF works through schools, libraries, child care centers, Head Start programs, Boys and Girls' Clubs, hospitals and homeless shelters.

83cents of every dollar given to RIF goes directly to support these literacy programs.

Give a child a big hand up and donate to RIF:

Reading is Fundamental
P. O. Box 96897
Washington, DC 20090-6897

Friday, December 16, 2011

And so the month goes... The Joy of December

Mark Twain once said, "Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until day after tomorrow."  Hence, the blog suffers from being put off.

This is a month of many wonders:  the decorated houses (some beautiful and some tacky), the bustling mall, the Dollar Tree store where one can buy for $1 what used to cost $3.95, crunchy leaves and softly falling rain (here in Abilene, thank goodness!), the rewards of getting most of the packages wrapped, and knowing that one only has one more thing to buy, radio stations that play continuous Christmas music, receiving picture Christmas cards from friends, the Christmas musical at church and more and more.....

It is also a month to grieve :  for all those lost in Iraq (THANK YOU LORD, OUR TROOPS WILL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, JUST AS PRES. OBAMA PROMISED), for the bad news about Liam Lowe, for the invective still being spewed in debates and in Congress, for those who will have a missing person in their Christmas celebration, and for those who entirely miss the point of Christmas.

It is a month to look forward to:  Santa's visit, the children's musical at church, the day or night when all the presents are open (and one can breathe a sigh of relief that the present is enjoyed and fits), sharing Christmas lunch with family, a quiet night for sitting in front of the fire, drinking hot chocolate and admiring the "kid-decorated" Christmas tree, reading the new books under the tree, hearing Maddie read "The Night Before Christmas", and more and more....

It is a month when one hears the mention of Jesus and his birth everywhere!

Thank you God for this month of wonders!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Good and the Ugly

Is  there anything more fun and more maddening than Christmas shopping?  O, for a magic wand to just wave and have it all complete.

In her book 1,000 Gifts, Ann Voscamp suggests that we give God gratitude not only for the good, but also for the ugly--that is, things that make us stop and realize how blessed we and have been.

There are so many good and ugly things happening at Highland these days--sicknesses and death; baptisms and disappointments; beautiful decorations and sad people.  Good news and bad news.

Thank you God for Jimmie Gomez and her life encouraging others.  Thank you for the apparent good news about Liam.  Thank you for the life of Judy Fisher and the beautiful eulogy at her funeral J. New gave.  She is why we have women in the ministry.  Thank you for the promise of a life after this one--it is such a comfort to know we can mess up here and still go to be with You.  Thank you for those good
thoughts that pour out of people as they drop off food for the Food Bank and feed 8,000 people a holiday meal (Thanks HEB).  Forgive  us for forgetting some of the people we serve now  when the holidays are over.  Thank you for the wonder and excitement in the eyes of children as they pour over Christmas catalogs and search the internet for gifts.  Forgive the old curmudgeons who scrooge their way through Christmas--they don't know what they are missing.  Actually they are missing the whole point.  Bless those who are sad these days for various reasons.  Help us to not overwhelm them with our joy.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Here with us

Christmas and Christ were ushered in last night at the Paramount Theater in Abilene.  Brandon, Sheryl and about  40 others presented a wonderful Christmas  performance which not only honored God and Christ, but moved many people in the audience to tears in several places.

The band was great, the soloists terrific and the songs sung (many of them new to me) were heart-stirring.  The next-to-last selection "Jesus Saves" rocked the house--it is one we need to learn acapella.  SO MUCH BETTER than the old "Jesus Saves" in our hymnals.

Betty Hukill, the executive director of the Paramount, came in and took a picture of the stage.  She said it was the most beautiful Christmas set they had ever had.

Thank you, thank you to all those who worked weeks on it--definitely one of my  favorite spiritual experiences!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Owning a house

Finally after six months, I am now the proud owner of my house at 918 Reeves.  I am amazed that I have owned three different houses in less than ten years.  No wonder I can't find anything!!  I do remember where things were in Nashville--problem is, I'm in Abilene now.  I guess it will all just take a while to feel really grounded in the house. 

It is nice to know that this little piece of brick is mine (as long as I pay the payments), and that we can finally hang all the pictures.  Isn't it strange how much difference that makes in feeling at home...  I am really tired of stumbling over them on the floor.

The gremlins must know that the house is mine now; I just spilled a glass of orange juice on the fireplace and carpet.---thank goodness for Resolve.  The air outside smells of rain, and it has turned cold--we are supposed to get a real "norther" this weekend.  I am really enjoying the gas heat in the house--so much warmer.  This is the first gas heat I have had since living in Potosi. 

The kids came over and decorated the tree on Monday night.  Brandon asked if I minded a "kid decorated tree".  Mind??? I love it!!! So much better than having to do it myself.  The tree also makes the house seem more like my home.

Thank you God for my new-to-me warm house.  May you be honored inside its doors!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


"A wistful yearning for something past"  says the dictionary.  I have been a little nostalgic this week of Brandon's birthday and my 49th wedding anniversary.

I drove out to our old house in Potosi to see how the red maple we planted in front of the house is doing--it is beautiful.  It turns red from the inside out--green leaves around the trunk and gorgeous flaming red leaves in front.  Wish I had one here.

Sam would have been amazed at the change on Potosi Road--so many housing additions.  He used to say that he bet a mall would one day be near our house. So far it is only a convenience store and a fire station, but he may be right with all the people around.

I, however, am so glad to be living in town a little closer to things.  And I do have other trees in my backyard to look at--an old gnarled mesquite, some fruit trees, including a fig tree and others I can's identify.  When God created, he went all out to do trees of all varieties.  One that I am missing here is the magnolia tree (one I call the Christmas leaf tree since all Southerners use them for mantel and mail box decorations).  I know they must grow in Abilene; I just have not seen one yet.

Christmas is stealthly entering my house and brain.  I am playing Christmas music in the car and living room and making lists because the time seems so short between Thanksgiving and Christmas!

My favorite time of the year!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Big Day

He wasn't the billionith (sp?) child born--but he was the most important in my life--my one and only.  Today is the 42nd birthday of Brandon Scott Thomas.  Looking back on that cold November day when we brought him home to Potosi, I can't help but think of the blue blanket (made by Pat Phillips) in which he was wrapped,  and the Manhattan Supper Soup she brought by--yum.  We have eaten it every winter since.

We put him in the bed borrowed from Wanda and Fred Hughes, wound the little nursery rhyme mobile (still have it somewhere!) and hoped he would sleep a little while.  Sam and I both just stood, looked and sighed over this treasure from heaven.

After listening to him cry for what seemed like hours, this little treasure lost some of its luster.  Fortunately, my mother was visiting, and she knew just the right technique to soothe him.    Sam and I wearily shook our heads about what we did not know about babies.  We were bound to learn a lot in the next few years, and we enjoyed every minute around our red-haired, blue-eyed explosion.  He made our lives exciting, energetic, (sometimes frenetic) and full of laughter and joy.

While Sam is gone, Brandon still does those things for me.  I thank God every day for this sweet baby and fine man he has put in my life.  I can't imagine my life without him, without all the memories, and without each day's joy.  What a treasure!

Happy birthday, Babe.  I love you.  Mom

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Age-Old Question

With the death of  an ACU student, killed last weekend in an auto accident, comes the eternal question, "Why?". 

Here was a girl fresh and new in her young adulthood going on a mission trip--killed quickly in a wrecked bus. 

Why? Why did she die, while evil terrorists  still live in  Afganistan?  Why was the death necessary?  Why didn't God lean down and change the circumstances?  Why?

No human can answer these questions.  God is God and we are not.

The spiraling circumstances continue in this world of pain and sorrow; but, God is in this place and He weeps with is as He did at the tomb of Lazarus.  And so, we trust in Him and go forward in His grace

Thursday, November 03, 2011

An attitude of gratitude

We have been reading Ann Voscamp's book 1000 Gifts in ladies' class this semester.  Listing the gifts of each day helps bring to one an attitude of gratitude for all that God has done.  That is the premise of the book.
I like the premise; however, the writing is verbose and repetitive.  She really needed a good editor.  But every now and then, she comes up with some beautiful description.  I would recommend this book for the premise and her occasional good words.

I am on 275 on my list and I thought I would add today's weather to it.  The wind that blew in today has the bite of winter in it.  And I am a fall-winter person who likes to huddle round the fireplace with an afghan around my lap and a book in my hand.  So # 275 is the bite of winter in the air today.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The heritage of the table

The communion speaker spoke Sunday of the table's heritage in our lives, and its power to draw us into community if we let it.

I had to think back to the various scenes in my history with the communion table.  In my spiritual memoir, I write about the weekly Sunday morning ritual in my sleepy home town Hamlin, Tx.  The table was always covered with a sparkling white ironed cloth which the table director ceremoniously folded as the ritual began.  The servers (all men and always only men)dressed in suits and ties marched  down the aisles and lined up in front of the table with their hands crossed over their stomachs.  The grape juice and crackers were prayed over, generally with a doleful prayer emphasizing the death, blood, bones and burial of Jesus (but rarely the resurrection).  There was never a song during the ceremony--but maybe one before it started.  The whole ritual took about 10 minutes.  Each evening, the same thing was repeated for "those who were providentally hindered" from attending the morning service.

Then there were the communions at youth meetings, sometimes outside near a rough cross or around a campfire.  These were usually preceded by a homily noting that we should "search our minds to see if we were worthy to partake"--I don't think that was in the Christ-instituted one.

At Otter Creek, communion was often served on Wednesday night during vespers.  The setting was candle-lit and often served by a woman or a woman and a man, with the communicants coming forward to the table which featured wine and unleavened bread.  The screens were often filled with beautiful Renaissance art.

At Highland, we sometimes ask the whole congregation to come forward on a Sunday morning.  Songs are included before, during and after the ritual.  It is truly a time of bonding, because we get to see more of our community than the back of their heads.
On other Sundays, men, woman and children often serve the church down the aisles.  Again in other Sundays, members gather in small groups in the corners of the sanctuary to partake very personally in
scenes which look very much like a family meal.

All this to say, I have experienced many kinds of communions.  I believe they all have their place and are blessed by God. 

I am thankful that I have a Maker who not only desires that I have communion with Him, but who also desires that his children come together as a family for the remembering.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gains and Losses

Not a good week for the Rangers!  Maybe next year!  I guess Academy will have send all those World Series shirts (with the Rangers on them) back.  Seems a waste.

Really cool weather is here, and I tried out the heater in my house for the first time---I have never had one that heated so quickly and so warm!  Thank you Lord.  You knew I needed warmth for my thin blood and quaking bones.

Maddie and I played a game similar to Scrabble last night, and she won--and we had a good laugh when she made up a word to gain points, and I said "What is that?"  She pronounced it phonetically and just laughed and said "I made it up."  It looked like a Russian version of an English word to me.  What a girl--she is way ahead of the rest of her class in a math race too.

And Ella, sweet Ella, was thrilled when I let her make pumpkin cupcakes this morning--she christened my new Kojie apron.  Ella loves to cook, and she also got to do another favorite thing:  Plant a flower--hope it doesn't freeze.  But I think mums are almost industructable.

It is such a joy to be here close so I can watch them grow and change and enjoy life.  Maddie hand-printed some Bible verses for me to put on my fridge.  She has such a beautiful hand, unlike her grandmother whose handwriting is quickly deteriorating into hen scratching.

When they come, we usually watch the Disney channel, and I am always struck at the insistence of their marketing--always pushing new programs and new products and new stars.  No wonder they make billions a year.  I rather resent it, although I am glad that there is one station my grandkids can watch anytime of the day and night safely.  And I really do like their new program "Jessie".

Today I am going to watch some of the programs I recorded while the Rangers were on--love that DVR.

I just might take time to read a book too.  I am anxious to get into Mike Cope's new Megan's Secrets

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trail Days

Since the last post, many things have happened--can't remember them all, which is why I need to post every day or so....I can't believe how full each day is.

We are going through One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp in our Ladies' Bible Class at Highland.  I am enjoying the book, although she is over the top at times--verbose and repetitive.  She needed a good editor.  However, the premise of the book is very affecting--listing for yourself 1,000 gifts of God in a journal to motivate the attitude of thankfulness to God in yourself.  I have made several presentations on the idea of seeing God in the everyday mundane things which surround us.  Perhaps I should have written a book about it as she has done--I understand the book is selling like hotcakes (now what does that mean?)  At any rate, I am now on 270 in my journal and going strong.  It is a wonderful idea worthy of praise. My latest entries happened last night when I kept the grands--271.
Seeing the thrill of my granddaughters as they received the small bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion I got at the hotel this weekend.  272.  Seeing Sam's face as he surveyed my freezer and saw popscicles (sp?)  273.  The warmth in my heart as I watched them play with their father's wagon in the driveway.

Another big happening was my trip to a family reunion in Lubbock this weekend with my two cousins, Wanda and Linda.  This is a yearly Carpenter-Brandon reunion.  I am not big on family reunions, (which is strange, given my interest in writing spiritual autobiographies)  but decided I would go.  I had a wonderful time meeting strangers who are in my family tree. I met a first cousin of my dad's who looks very much like him, although shorter in stature.  I couldn't keep my eyes off him--so much like Ollis Elton Brandon!  At any rate, I found out a lot about my dad's family and gathered some pictures of my great-grandfather's "home place" in Winnsboro, Texas.

I have volunteered to teach Ecclesiastes in Ladies's Class next semester, so I am gathering a library of books for study.  That is always fun.  What is not fun is paying for them.  I taught this class at Otter Creek about four years ago, and it went well, so here goes again ( I will miss Sandy Collins, my co-teacher).

So many years have passed, but we it seems we can't keep our minds off the Holocaust (nor should it ever be forgotten!).  I saw the movie "Sarah's Key" last week--from the book of the same name by Titiana deRosnay.    Sarah locks her younger brother in a secret closet as she and her family are taken away, saying that she would be back to get him. (She too is a child and has no idea where she is going).  Months pass, and she is desperate to get back to him.  Unexpectedly she is able to escape....to find him dead, of course, in the closet. The rest of the book tells the story of the journalist who began to do research into these incidents in France who found herself living in the very same apartment where Sarah lived.

The book details the collaboration of the French govt. with the Germans to get rid of the Jews--a fact almost lost to history.  There is a lot of French in the film with subtitles, but that did not bother me.  The movie is just as riviting as the book.  Our Otter Creek book club read the book when it first went to paperback.

Must go and get ready for the World Series--Go Rangers!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011


The conceopt of coming home has always touched my heart.  Homecoming at ACU is  special to me and my family.  I believe we really do bleed purple!  One of the float featured a hospital situation where the IV had purple blood.

Best of all the weekend, besides seeing people we love, was the musical.  While dated in some ways, The King and I contains some of my favorite musical music.  And the dance scene never fails to thrill me.  I have seen three (I am old!) of the King and I productions at ACU, but I do believe this one was the best.  Thank you ACU theater department--you did it again!

Worship on Homecoming Sunday is always special; but yesterday was even more so because I was led in by my son and daughter-in-law. Sheryl sang "Redeemer" and made all of us cry in joy.  Thank you Sheryl, daughter of my heart.

It was  fun to see the grands so into Homecoming and ACU.  They have new ACU shirts and wore them to church Sunday morning.  It is surprising to have figured that Maddie will be in the freshman class of '17 if I counted correctly.

Thank you Lord for homecomings.  We look forward to the grandest of all when you come.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


This is the 20th anniversary of my husband's death in 1991. (Actually he died a little after midnight, so officially it is October 14th).  But this was the day on that Sunday when we spent all day watching his every movement and listening to his breathing, surrounded by family, friends and it seemed hundreds of ACU students.

Shortly after his death, an oak tree was planted in the courtyard of Austin Elementary where he spent so many years as a teacher and principal.  One of his teachers and friends, Renee Collins wrote the following  thoughts which are now on a plaque in front of the tree:

          Sam Thomas  (1933-1991)

One man's life:

Seconds of direction and advice

Minutes of jokes and laughter

Hours of sharing and encouragement

Days of tenderness and compassion

Weeks of leading and teaching

Months of strength and endurance

Years of knowledge and wisdom

a Lifetime of love.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rain, rain, rain!

Thank you Father for the soaking rain!  We are refreshed and pliable and ready to pull the weeds out of  our lives.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Magical Universe

"The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."

It is so easy to miss things as we go through our days--so easy to miss some of the gifts of God strewn upon our way, as the song says.  For example, as a new season is turning here, it is easy to miss the first few signs of that--leaves slowly floating downward to the ground, a slight breeze from the north, the earlier darkening of the day...but, yet, it is fall here in Texas.  Currently at 3:13 p. m. it is 88 degrees and was 56 this morning!  So different from 110 and 78.  Who knew that it would finally get cooler and we could rejoice at God's universal order? 

Maddie has her first braces--Brandon's facebook has a neat picture.  But I didn't know that they made braces in shapes until Maddie came by yesterday and showed me her heart-shaped metals.  So cute!  And magical.  We have come a long way from George Washington's horse's teeth to heart-shaped braces.

I spent almost 2 hrs. this morning being examined and grilled by a new doctor.  I was so impressed!  She let nothing slip by, and she was quick to offer solutions to small problems that had been bothering me.  I highly recommend a woman doctor for women.  They empathize so much more readily--magical.

It was a glorious time Sunday as our church came forward to be served communion.  I was fortunate enough to be one of the servers--such a blessing to look into the eyes and touch the shoulders of so many I love and so many I do not yet know.  One of the eye-opening things was our company of really tall men college students.  I had a hard time looking them in the eye without hurting my neck.  There were so many good-looking men and beautiful college women.  It was truly a commnuity-building event for me, and I hope for others.  When we do something like we did on Sunday, it always makes me wonder why we don't have more "innovative" approaches to communion.  It was definitely not the "let's see how fast we can get this done" approach in the early days of the church, nor was it the "let's sit in rows in front of one another , and get a guy to start the elements down the aisle." approach.  It was a sitting around a common table or rock and really remembering the man who had not been gone too long with bread and wine.
In short, it was magical.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monarch Migration

The monarch butterflies are here as part of their 3,000 mile migration to Mexico--we get a front seat to their beauty as they hang from trees, covering the limbs in orange and black.  Some of them are so huge, they look like birds from a distance.  This Texas state insect replenishes on our flowers and in our ponds ready to finish their journey. 

Who can look at them and not believe in Creator God????One would have to be very dense to try explain away this yearly migration on the same path as a yet further evolution of that wet amoeba.  I know that Abilene is seeing thousands right now, and we will see them again in late March (it is said that some of the same butterflies will come back).

It makes me want to read Isaiah 40: 12-26 again and again.

Thank you Father for the work of your hands and mind.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This Week

I am fortunate to be able to attend Summit this week--I have heard some very good speakers say things I never thought I would hear at ACU.  Susan Campbell, author of Dating Jesus was forthright and very convincing about the importance of gender equality in the C of C and the damage the opposite can do to our growing girls.  She would have been amazed to attend Highland a couple of Sundays ago when mothers were standing behind their 7-12 year- old daughters, helping them learn how to serve communion.  It was a very bright moment for me, as I was one of the committee members who recommended more equality for women at Highland about 9 years ago.

Yesterday morning, I was fortunate enough to hear Jim Reynolds and Lisa Holland speak to how we can nourish and encourage artists in the church.  They were funny, profound, and candid about our shortcomings in that area.  That is one of my soap-boxes, but I will write on that later.  Needless to say, the church needs their creativity and imagination so badly.  Thank you, Jim and Lisa!

Rachel Heald Evans, author of Evolving in Monkey-Town spoke about how much faith was enough.  She concluded that faith which takes risks is enough, and I agree.  I was thrilled to see so many students in the audience listening to her story of doubting her heritage as "super Christian" and coming to a risky faith.

And then--I got to hear and see Josh Graves, my former minister at Otter Creek and a very good friend---sooogood to hear his voice and comments.  His topic was about why young adults were leaving the church.  He had a good crowd too, although he was in the Teague classroom and the outside noise sounded like a circus was surrounding us.  Surely there better classrooms available at 4:00, Brady.  Anyway, I am looking forward to hearing Josh again today and also Max Lucado at Moody.  I am predicting a future when Josh Graves and Jonathan Storment fill Moody as the go-to preachers at Summit. 

As a cap for yesterday's events, I attended the Women for ACU dinner.  If people only knew what these ladies have done for ACU, they would marvel.  Bob Hunter was at the door when it was over, greeting people--so good to see him looking healthy!

What a blessed day.  Thank you God!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Emily Dickinson called autumn "a little this side of snow."

I love the season, and it has begun here!  It is 66 degrees outside, and it rained last night (for five minutes).  But the promise of fall remains--I am ready for pumpkin pie, turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce and fallen leaves.  We all swell with thanksgiving during the season, and I am ready for that too--I've heard too much negative talk in the news lately.  We must remember what we DO have and cherish, as opposed to what we DON'T have and covet.

Thank you Lord for those promises.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Answers to Quiz

Is anyone reading?  How did you do on the quiz?  Here are the answers:

1.  Tom's girlfriend if Becky Thatcher.

2.  Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts.

3.  The two cities are Paris and London.

4.  The famous pig is Wilbur.

5.  Max Lucado is celebrating his 25th year.

6.  The help worked in Jackson MI.

7.  Max found his warm dinner waiting for him.

8.  Unbroken is set in WWII.

9.  Green is the very visible color.

10. Richard Foster celebrates disciplines.

11. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

That was fun!  Have any questions to ask me?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I love Quizes About Books

Here is a little quiz for my readers about some commonly read books:

1.  Who was Tom's girl friend in Tom Sawyer?

2.  What is the name of the school Harry Potter attends?

3. What two cities does Tale of Two Cities cover?

4.  What is the name of the "famous" pig in Charlotte's Web?

5.  Who is the preacher from San Antonio that celebrated his 25th year in publishing  with the book Outlive Your Life?

6.  In what southern city does The Help labor?

7.  In Where the Wild Things Are what does Max find waiting for him when he gets home?

8.  In what war is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand set?

9. What is the most noticable primary color in GoodNight Moon?

10. What does Richard Foster celebrate in his best-selling book?

11. What color fish follows in this title One Fishl, Two Fish, Red Fish,  ???

Can you answer any or all of them?  I will publish answers tomorrow.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

On Reading and books Again

Am I a bibliophile?  Guess so.  That is an English word that should be spelled bibliofile. Oh, Well...

Time for a little quiz:  What are  your favorite books of all time?

Although I have read many, many books, mine would have to be.....
(drum roll)

    1.  To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
     2.  Eat This Book, Eugene Peterson
     3.  The Help, Katharine Stockett
     4.  Traveling Mercies, Anne LaMott
     5.   Dakota, Kathleen Morris

If you ask me tomorrow, they might be different, as I tend to like whatever I read.
I do not waste my time reading boring books, except for a book club requirement.

And yours?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Inventive Ministry--Tea for Four

"See how inventive you can be in encouraging one another to love and good deeds...."  Hebrews 10:25

Last week three lovely ladies from Highland brought me tea.  They came with a basket full of tea, cups, cookies, even hot water!, and napkins.  We  sat and  had lively conversation for about two hours.  They do this once a week--going to new members, the elderly, shut-ins or others who need a lift.  What an inventive ministry!

It was a great encouragement to me, and a time of sharing good conversation and ideas.  Loved it!

What kinds of ministry are out there that we haven't even thought of?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Read early

According to the AP,  recent research has found (again!) that experiences in preschool can predict outcomes several years later.  Children whose preschool teachers read with them more and talked to them using sophisticated vocabulary had better language and reading skills in fourth grade than kids whose teachers did not engage them.  (Time, Sept. 5, 2011)

Take that! those of you who feel Headstart is a waste of the taxpayers' money!  So many studies have found exactly the same thing.  When are we going to believe it?

Read to your child not matter his/her age--great benefits for the rest of their lives.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tradition and Pagentry

I attended ACU's opening ceremonies yesterday,and as always, was awed and impressed with the traditional elements--the parade of flags, the reading of Paul's sermon  on Mars' Hill and the singing of "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name.  Chills

I also remembered with fondness walking with all the other teachers through the auditorium in our robes--a showing of respect for the academic area of the university.  I remember  being impressed with some of the more unusual robes--red and yellow.  I got along with my blue hood.  I do miss that showing off as we strode to our seats above the stage.

I miss the excitement of the first day in class--seeing what students I had, meeting them, sharing tidbits of our lives, and getting ready to meet Cinderella, C. S. Lewis, Katharine Paterson, and all the glorious illustrators in Childrens' Literature.  Those were really fun days for me and I miss them more than any other segment of my teaching days.

Today I am wondering where the time went?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Dome

Rain is falling as I write in Hawley, C-City, Stamford, Winters, but not in Abilene!
Is there an invisible dome over this city?  Strange.  There are thunderstorms predicted for the county, so maybe...

I do pray that Irene will not act as predicted and that the major cities up east will be spared--too many people, too many tall buildings.  They have already had an earthquake this week--they don't need another weather happening.

Friday night football begins tomorrow--gnerally viewed here as one of the most important entertainment venues around.  I must say, I do miss the excitement of the games, the smell of popcorn, marching in the band, sitting on the very uncomfortable bleachers and gossiping with my fellow band members. (Football was secondary.)  There is nothing that pulls small towns together like a good football team.

Dear Father, 
Please bless those young men who play--keep them from harm, broken limbs, concussions, heat strokes (105 predicted tomorrow), sprains, and spinal problems...what fools are we just for a little entertainment!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School days

I get restless and emotional these last few days of August because schools have always been a part of my life, and I treasure my time as a teacher-librarian.

I loved going to school with the kids on the first day at Sam Thomas Elementary.  There is actually a front page story and very nice picture of Sheryl and Sam in the Reporter-News today.  I loved watching the kids interact with the principal ( who stood at the front door and greeted every family unit); and seeing the wide-eyed wonder of the of both the parents and the kindergarten children (didn't see any tears); I loved absorbing the atmosphere of the clean school and the future days of promise; and, I must admit, I missed being a part of it--  NOT ENOUGH TO GO BACK TO IT THOUGH!

August-September have always been new beginning months for the Thomas family, and this year especially with new job, new school, new community.  I pray it may be a wonderful one for us and all the others who know what an opportunity a new year brings.

I can't wait to hear what the kids bring from school about what they are learning and seeing, just as I look forward to seeing how the new year shapes Brandon and Sheryl.

May God bless us all as we strive to take Him into our days and months.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are You Settled Yet?

That is the question I am hearing now that most of the boxes are unpacked.  And my answer is NO.

Actually a surface Yes is what I usually say, but I truthfully cannot feel settled until I close on my house.  The house is under a guardianship in North Dakota, and evidently the children of the owner are not agreeing with each other about the sale.  The legal proceedings have not even started, and I was supposed to close on the house June 25th!  At this rate, it may be Christmas.

But as with the sale of Brandon's house, all this will come in God's timing, and I am trying to make the best of it.

Meanwhile, when Sheryl gets a few minutes, the pictures are going to go up on the wall even if I don't own the house yet. So there....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rick Perry Announces--Run Away Fassssst

While it defies belief, Rick Perry believes he can be president.  Anyone who thinks he will make a good one, look at his track record on line about the cuts he has made to Texas schools and social programs.  His touted jobs hooraw--most of the jobs were low income.  A great quote in this week's Time, (speaking about people who might think that Perry is an intellectual lightweight,) one of his own strategists said, " Perry benefits from an uncluttered mind."  And so he does.

And yes, I know he comes from my area and his folks are nice people.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Help

Well, they finally did it.  A movie does justice to a book.  The Help was all I had hoped it would be and more.  A cinematic treatment of a sensitive subject is sometimes more emotional than reading the book (some might want to debate this). 

The packed house in the movie (mostly women) applauded when the movie ended, and many stayed around outside discussing the movie.

All actors did a fantastic job portraying the characters created by Kathryn Stockett.  Some should get Oscars.  I hope the movie will be nominated--it will give a nod to serious, well-done drama.

Now, I want to read the book again. As I thought the first time I read the book, the people in Jackson MI must have cringed when the book was published.

I also want to see the movie again--to bask in the 50's when I grew up, and to see the things I missed.  Some lines were dropped because of the audience reaction.

At any rate, this is a must-see movie, especially for those who are children of the 1950's.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Henry Miller said, "We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate."
I so agree!!! Been doing that this morning on my porch in the cool weather (caused by rain last night!) reading Victoria Magazine--my very favorite of the many mags I take.  Gorgeous pictures, good writing from the artist in residence, rich recipies--it takes a while to read and absorb.

Going to see the movie The Help today--can't wait!

Spent a nice evening last night with Denice Emery, an old friend.  We reminisced about out mutual friend Vicky Smith who died in February.  We miss her so much--Abilene is diminished by her absence.

I've been listening in the car the The Pastor, a memoir of Eugene Peterson.  It is excellent as usual.  I hope to share it with some of my favorite pastors.  Peterson remains my very favorite spiritual writer.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm Baaaack!

It is ages since the last blog---several people have been asking when I plan to write again.  I really have not been inspired--still processing that I am here in Abilene again.  I have not closed on the house yet--so looong.
Yet hopeful soon.

We had 5 minutes of rain yesterday--nothing to brag about, but I saw children playing in the run-off with little boats.  It was the first wet stuff since Easter--we are burning up!!

I have joined Hendrick Health Club desptite all the protests of my body.  I realize I really need it to stay active, although I prefer to sit in my chair and read a good book.

Just finished Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand; slow start, but riviting to the end.  It is a book men would enjoy too--all about WWII , B29's and Japanese prison of war camps.

I hope to see The Help this weekend.  The book was a favorite of our book club.  I am anxious to see how it has translated to the big screen.

I will try to write more now that I have begun again....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Signing off for a while

This the last blog for a while; my computer is being disconnected tomorrow, and I am moving back to Abilene--the van will be there Saturday.  I am leaving beautiful Nashville after seven wonderful years.  Today was was long and tearful at church and small group, but it is a blessing to have so many wonderful friends who will be friends forever.

Thank you Nashville for your beautiful spring, summer, winter and fall.
For your lovely southern hospitality
for the blessings of the Otter Creek Church
for my sweet book club, the Church Chicks
for the Patterson small group who listened to me and actually agreed most of the time with what I said
for the best preacher in the realm--Josh Graves
for the elders at Otter Creek who are still growing in the Lord and showing the church their courage and faith
for your country music, entertainers, the Ryman, TPAC, who have all entertained me
for the Tennessean, a newspaper worth reading (compared to others in my experience)
for Davis and Kidd bookstore (now closed) which showed me what an independent book store can be
for all the wonderful places to eat  that do not exist in Abilene (but I am going back to good Tex-Mex food and Sharon's barbeque
for your small-big town feel which welcomes all comers
for the excellent health givers I have encountered, especially Bill Serafin
for the cool air (most of the time)
for the many venues of Civil War history and Nashville's love for  preserving it
for my little house in the burbs--just my size with nice neighbors
for the location of my house, 5 minutes from Publix (what am I going to do without Publix?), Kroger, the gas station and Starbucks (people in the drive-through know my name!)
for the caring spirit of Otter Creek that reaches into the inner city where people are homeless and hurting

Thank you God for all of these and many more memories of Nashville.
Thank you, thank you, and good-bye.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Next?

Found out that my seller in Abilene can't close until July 21--but the good news is that they will allow me to move into the house and pay rent until then--THANK YOU PEGGY MANNING!!!If my dear readers in Abilene or elsewhere need an excellent realtor--she is it!!!!

Meanwhile, trying to juggle doctor's appts. and cancellations, get my diabetic shoes before I leave, get utilities on in Abilene (what is is this craziness with electricity?)  Deregulation has not accomplished anything but trouble and expense for the public and more money for the companies split.  As usual, the little man gets gutted.

Although the moving company is packing most of the stuff, I am trying to pack some of what I call "Thomas Treasures".  The contents of the Mow's chest, Brandon's old toys, books I want to get to first, etc.  What a pain to see all that I have collected in seven years living here--talk aboout materialism.....forgive me Lord.

I plan to be on the road a week from tomorrow headed to Abilene.....please pray for smooth transition.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

House Sold, Next Step

Thanks be to God the house sold last weekend!  So blessed in this very tough market!  Now on to the other problem--finding a house in Abilene--not many available in my price range; but there will be one somewhere.

We are all in the throes of goodby parties and that sinking feeling that it is all really happening.  There are so many people and so much about Nashville that I shall miss.  Heard it was 111 degrees in Abilene last weekend--the cool weather here is something I will miss.  But enough of that--we are going to the beach later this week to dip in the water and forget what is coming up.  It will be so fun to be with the family for a while.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Abilene, Here We Come

You have probably already read Brandon's blog about our new opportunity in Abilene, Texas.  And that we are moving this summer.

I will move when my house sells--may that come soon.  If you are interested in a one-level (we call them ranch houses) 3 bedroom small house (1304 sq. ft) in a quiet neighborhood just outside Nashville and near Nolensville---come quickly. My address is 8253 Ramstone Way, Antioch (or Cane Ridge) TN 37013.  There are pictures on the Friedrich Clark web site.

I am having open house this Sunday May 22nd 2-4 p. m.

This is a perfect house for a grandmother who is wanting to come to Nashville to be near family, or a newly married couple wanting a first house.  I love this house!  It has a fireplace, an attached garage, separate shower in the master bath, it faces woods in the front and even more woods in the back, so that no one can build in front of the house. I have turned one of the smaller bedrooms into a study, and the master bedroom and living area have tall ceilings (there is a term for the ceiling, but I cannot think of it.).  I have a wonderful handyman who has fixed everything up, so we are ready to go and sell.

As far as moving, as you know, I moved here to be with my children and grandchildren.  It has been wonderful to watch the growth of the grands--I would not have seen this if I had not moved.

I love Nashville, I love my house, I love all the friends I have made here, I love Otter Creek church and Josh Graves, I love my small group, I love my book club,  and my very close friend Doris Colvett.  All have been exceptionally good to me, and have made this Nashville experience one I shall always treasure.

But I am followng my children and grandchildren back to Abilene with an excited heart for all that awaits us there.  God has great blessings for us there, I am convinced.

Come buy me house so I can leave!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Libraries are important, as are the librarians who know all

In these days when states are cutting funding to schools, and schools are cutting libraries, librarians, nurses, etc.  Remember what Philip Pulman wrote:
"Libraries remind us there are things above profit, things that profit knows nothing about...things that stand for civic decency and public respect for imagination and knowledge and the value of simple delight."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Weather These Days

I grew up in "Tornado Alley" in Texas--Hamlin, Texas near Abilene.  However, I have never seen the weather situation as demanding as here in the last few days--the wather stations were on 24/7 showing radar and tracking tornado warnings (and now flood warnings).  There were some tornados near here, but no deaths, thankfully.  So sorry for Tuscaloosa.  I heard the Antioch sirens several times--it is enough to scare one to death!

And the question comes, if one is alone, does she go to sleep, or stay up all night and watch TV or listen to the weather radio? Do I really go into the closet, or do I stay out and watch TV?

There is something going on with the weather??? Such a large area of storms  and so much rain!  Yet, Texas is dry as a bone.  May be Al Gore is right.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Graduation Anniversary

I was fortunate to travel to my 50th Graduation Anniversary from ACU recently.  What a blessing!  Brandon went with me to help me navigate walking.  We mostly ate and fellowshiped about old times at ACU and how much the campus had changed since 1961.  An old film made in the late 50's about ACU was shown, and it was striking--all the females were wearing dresses or skirts, the males were dressed in "golf shirts" and khakis.  Buying books and registering for classes was done with pen, paper and adding machines.  There were very few trees on the campus.  The barracks and hutments were still up and full. 

We met in the Hunter Center which is luxurious and so fit for large and small meetings.  Trees and flowers were in evidence everywhere.  However, it was not a Chamber of Commerce Weekend in Abilene--the wildfires burning 40 miles south threw smoke and ash into the whirling wind.  A sandstorm joined them, and we couldn't see very far in front of our faces. Wow! 

At any rate, it was fun; we were treated like royalty.  I must say, we all looked pretty good for our age, even though 178 out of 300 in our class have gone on to glory (the largest mortality rate of any class so far).

ACU gave me so much--inspirational teachers, a great career, and lots of fond memories.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Things I Love about Nashville

There many things I have talked about to love in Nashville.  Right now, one thing is the lovely mix of red tulips and yellow pansies all over town--glorious!!!

And another thing today:  I went to Target to purchase boxes for cleaning out my linen closet--There was no motorized cart immediately visible--TWO employees went looking for one for me. When the one they found wouldn't work, another employee left her post at the cashier line (there was no one in line to pay out) and fiddled with the cart until it worked.

When I got ready to check out, another employee offered to carry the boxes to my car for me and did so with cheerful conversation.  Is this the meaning of Southern hospitality?  One can readily see why I prefer Target over Walmart!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring in Tennessee

Well, it's finally here, balky thing!  There is no more beautiful place in the spring than Tennessee.

The white pear trees are especially full this year, and they look like cotton bolls as one looks into the forest of trees--quince bushes (peachy pink), the redbud trees, yellow daffodils, red tulips, and the very interesting state tree, the tulip poplar (whose blooms look like tulips on the end of the limb), and the thousands of yellow forsythia  are all trying to outbloom each other.  Even the pansies are still hanging on.

What a majestic palette God has given us this year.  Thank you, thank you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Overnight with Maddie

Maddie and I finally got in a visit.  We had Chinese (P. F. Chang's Sweet and Sour) I love this item in the freezer--the chicken is wonderful and the accompaning fruit is very good--can't beat pineapple in a sweet and sour sauce.  Then we watched The Tale of Desperaux. Bolt (love that little dog) and went to bed to read.
Maddie is a prolific reader; she is now reading Louis Sachars Wayside Stories.  I had a copy of There's A Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by the same author for her to take home.  He is funny.  I got a Junior Thesaurus and showed her how to use it.  She already knew what it was.

This morning after the required Toaster Strudel breakfast, we played Apple Scrabble and SkipBo.  Maddie is very good at words; I need to buy a regular Scrabble game and see how she does at that.

The we got out Brandon's Lincoln  Logs (wood, not plastic) and she designed and built a two-story hotel, with a very fancy fence around it.  What a girl!

Loved it all.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vicky Smith

My friend and teaching colleague died over the weekend from a horrible cancer .

Vicky and I shared a hall in the English Dept.  She was a larger-than-life character--very straightforward.  If you didn't want to know what she thought in aces, don't ask.  Although she was very conservative, we had some really deep talks about the church.

She and I were virtually the only Democrats (except Mel Hailey) on the ACU campus, and we liked nothing better than to get people riled up.  We always decorated our end of the hall with election posters, pictures and buttons.

Vicky was an excellent, dedicated teacher who was very vested in her students' lives.  They trusted her with their problems, and she always had a spiritual answer for them.

Vicky enjoyed my bringing ideas from the public school classroom to her--she so wanted to move away from just lecture--which she did and the students loved it!

We swapped books, ideas, philosophy, and funny stories.  I loved that girl and will miss her.

Jesus, thank you for opening your arms to Vicky Jan Smith.  That is a great comfort.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snow Again

I am sitting at the kitchen table watching the birds land on the bird feeder.  It has snowed about 2 inches of fluffy snow again--our 7th snow event of the year!
I am drinking Fresh Market's Christmas Blend and eating their pineapple coconut nut bread (to die for!).  My computer has been down for several days, and I am trying to get caught up on all the business of my book club and ladies' bible class.  It is a good day!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Swift Transition

I found out yesteday that my friend and teaching colleague at ACU has a vile form of incurable cancer--which was just diagnosed last week.  She is already in Hospice Care.  Vicky Smith is a larger than life person, an excellent, creative teacher.  She is single; her long-time friend Denise is caring for her.

I am just so sad and angry at this disease!  We need to throw billions of dollars at it to find a cure!
Please add Vicky and Denise to your prayer list.

Our days are so sweet, and they ARE numbered.  Make them count.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fisher Gone

Nashville's world was turned upside down last night with the announcement that Jeff Fisher was leaving as coach of the Titans.  He has been here 16 years and has become not only a favored coach, but also a contributing citizen to  city life and charitable causes.

He seems to be a kind, optimistic gentleman who has had more than his share of troubles with his team this year.  If it is announced that he was fired, many will rouse up in arms against Bud Adams the 86-year-old owner of the team.  Adams has seemed to be slipping into dementia the past year--it remains to be seen what has happened.  It may be that Fisher is fleeing to a less troubled team--he will probably get another job in a week.

At any rate, I will miss seeing him on the sidelines and in the news.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More snow!

Days like today make parents appreciate school even more!  We are out again for the 4th series (count 'em) of  snow days!

I thought Pres. Obama's State of the Union was good, although not as passionate nor inspiring at the one in Arizona.  It was subdued, as was the audience.  He is right, we do sell ourselves too short--we can and are pulling ourselves out of this dark period and moving forward.  May we do it at a faster rate!

Glad to see his ratings up--I want him to succeed and be reelected.  Some of the projected folks who are thinking about running are creepy and scary.  I do not know how they think they can win.

Tennessee has a new Republican governor; we will see if he can outdo Gov. Bredesen.  He did not begin on a positive note though.

I thought the Texas Legislature was poor at governing, but Tennessee has them beat!  The bills that have been offered and passed  since I came to Tennessee are a mockery of government for the people.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thinking about College

I heard a commentator say that fewer and fewer students could go to college in the years to come because of the cost.  Then a recent newspaper article cited a research study which said that very little is learned by the student in college, no critical thinking, literary skills, skills which can be used in the "real" world, etc.

I would just like to say that this small-town girl gained so much and changed her life by going to college.  Of course, I had to work my way through by staying out a year after high school and working every day of my college career from 1 to 5 in the office of  Foremost Dairies.

We didn't even know what critical thinking was then (50 years ago), but I learned it and literary skills in the classes of teachers like Dr. William Culp (English), Dr.Orvil Filbeck (Education), Dr.Bob Johnson (Bible), Dr. Rita Garrett (English) Dr. Dale Hesser(English), and others whose names escape me.  Majoring in English was the best thing I ever did, and it
 prepared me for wide experiences after graduation. I later became a librarian after attending North Texas State University.  Oh yes, I also got a masters in Secondary Education.

The challenging classes, the dorm life, joining a social club, clashing political  and religious discussions with friends on the debate team, traveling with that team (Until college, I had never been out of my little geographical area) all changed and enriched me.  I can't imagine what I would have become had I not gone to Abilene Christian College (now University). I am certainly a better person now that I would have been.

So I am supporting higher education with my money and my advice today.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Good movies

It is almost unheard of--to see two good movies in  one month!  First came The King's Speech--wonderful acting and a great boost to speech therapists everywhere.  Then Saturday, Doris and I saw True Grit.

I really didn't expect much for this remake, but it was funny, well-acted, almost poetic at the end, and the soundtrack was old hymns.  The young girl was excellent, Haylee somebody, Jeff Bridges was Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon a very funny Texas Ranger.  I don't see why it was not nominated for the best Golden Globe.  Maybe because it is a remake?  It was way better than that garbled mess Inception.

I am wishing I had seen The Social Network.  Could it be better than the two I saw this month?

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Yesterday I finally got Christmas in allll its boxes.  Why does it take so long to take it down?  Now all I have to do is find space for all the boxes in my garage.

I have been in for 5 days because of the snow and ice--I'm ready for me some Starbucks and a trip to the grocery store!

I have loved being in--I never get stir-crazy--there is so much to do.  Besides, there are all those books to read too.  I think I have begun at least five books in the past month, so I must finish at least one of them.  I did finish Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton.  It is our book club selection for this month--a so-so book with strong characters.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day

Today was a no school day--the school buses could not get on all roads.  Maddie and Ella came and spent a few hours with me--they helped me finish taking down the Christmas tree and cleared most of my driveway of snow and ice!  They are great help, and they think it is fun when they do it. 

I loved watching them explore and play in the snow.  They followed bunny tracks back to the woods as far as they could, slid down the berm with their sleds, and managed to get covered in snow.

We also had a tea party, of course.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A New Year

I just finished preparing my date books for the year--yes, I have 2--one for my purse and one by the phone.  One can't be too organized!

Birthdays are noted with the age of the day, some appointments circled.  The monthly book club sits alone one the second Thursday.  Phone numbers are listed at the end of the books, including doctors' offices.

Why is it we cling to these books?  Because they tell us that future days are coming with the promise of celebration and excitement.  Because, in my case, they help me to feel more organized and secure because my memory is slipping more and more.  Because they keep me attuned to the needs of others--birthdays, the month I take food to others, the day I read at Wayne Reed, etc.

If I had a Blackberry, I'm sure the process would be easier, but that's a future purchase.  Now, I rely on paper.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Robert Frost must have stopped by the woods on a day like today:

     Whose woods these are I think I know.
      His house is in the village,  though;
      He will not see me stopping here
      To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My woods are filling with snow as huge flakes fall making a white down duvet for the trees behind my house.

The birds are fighting over seed at the bird feeder, their yellow and red beaks a sharp contrast against the snow.  A fat dove flies in and wins the fight.  The small gray birds fly away to wait.

What a beautiful day here--the snow is wet and heavy--the kind that sticks to the branches of the trees.  I hear that my grandkids are having a ball in it, sledding, throwing snowballs and building snowmen.

Me?  I am not sticking one toe out until it melts.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Christmas Letters

Christmas letters and fruitcakes have similar reputations.  I am one person who enjoys both!  The Christmas letter or note gives the writer more room to share important events, ages of children and their growth,  what the year has brought to the family, and maybe a few little brags.

I just finished my 23rd Christmas letter and am in the throes of getting them in the mail at this late date--today is Epiphany--the end of Christmas.  I enjoy doing the letter, even though I sometimes protest that I have nothing to write.  I enjoy looking over the year to see what has happened and writing about my grandchildren.  I enjoy decorating them a little bit (perhaps someday I will know how to put pictures with them or even send the letter by e-mail with pictures the way Brandon did this year.)  I enjoy looking through my address book to see who I have added , who has moved and  those with whom I no longer correspond--they have moved and I don't know their address or sadly, have died this past year.

I hope that those who receive them will enjoy them too.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Must-see movie

The movies have not been that great this year, but Doris and I saw an excellent one last night.  The King's Speech tells the story of George VI, a reluctant king, who stammered so much, he could hardly be understood.
Public speaking was torture both for him and for the audience.  His wife found him a speech therapist who cured him of the problem, helped him see the reasons for his stuttering, and became his friend.  Colin Firth, who plays the king should get an Oscar.  Geoffrey Rush who playes the teacher should too.  Why can't all movies be thoughtful, entertaining, and just plain good???

I remember seeing pictures of George VI and his wife during World War II.

Christmas has come and gone

Wow! what a fast two weeks!  We had so much fun at the Opryland Hotel.  It is definitely Nashville's jewel.
Our rooms were very nice.  We enjoyed room service for breakfast each day--quite a treat!  We saw the Rockettes, did the Ice show, shopped--their shops are great places for stocking stuffers.  We rode the boat in the Delta--the kids looked forward to that  and we oohed and aahed at the beautiful decorations--the poinsettia tree was especially beautiful  The kids swam .  The hot tub was fun because when entering the pool area from the tub area outsid, steam would encompass the body.

Santa was good to all of us--as especially unique gift was the beautiful snowfall which began Christmas Eve and ended Christmas Day.  The kids were able to use their new sleds to slide down the hill in the back yard.

And we had a feast for lunch.  So, it was a wonderful day and time.