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 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.