Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brandon's Brithday

Several years ago on this day, I was lying in a bed in Hendricks Hospital holding a scrawny, crying, red little baby.  We named him Brandon Scott (Brandon is my maiden name, and Scott comes from a wonderful friend of the family Scott Hayes). 

Time passes so quickly; I wish could remember all the fun times we shared over the years; but they all add up to a glorious enriching of our lives with this baby.  I just wish Sam could see him grown up.  He would be so proud.

Many of the things I see and hear these days remind me of times with him.  Bands recently performed on a field near me, and I remembered the days when Sam and I followed the Wylie Band and Brandon all over West Texas to football games for four years--how many is that?  40 games, maybe?
I recently met someone from Seymore, and I immediately could picture that football stadium with the band marching in the West Texas wind.  A friend's granddaughter recently won regional in the UIL vocal contest.  I remember sitting with Brandon waiting to find out if he won that while in high school.  (He did.)  Brandon recently helped choose the Sing Song Hosts for next year--and I remember all the fun times associated with his winning that role and performing for his dying father.  This week I spoke to a group aboout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn being America's finest novel, and I thought of the performances of Big River in which Brandon appeared with us watching proudly.

So tonight we will celebrate with all those memories crowded in my head:  Happy Birthday, Babe! I love the way you love God and love me.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

21 Years

Hi, Hon,

It's Sunday, the 14th of October 2012; Brandon, Sheryl and I just got back from Atlanta where the Zoe Conference was held.

I can't believe it's been 21 years since that last night at Hendrick Hospital 5th floor where you died surrounded by us and many other loved ones.

You would have been so proud of Brandon this weekend leading Zoe, praying very mature and deep prayers to God as he led the conference in worship.  I burst my buttons every time I watch him and Sheryl so ably and spiritually bring others to the throne of God.  I am so, so sorry you did not get to know Sheryl.  You would have adored her and she you.  And I know those three little red-heads do love and adore you, even though they have never seen you--Brandon has done such a fine job introducing you to them as their Poppy.

21 years does not mean our loneliness for you has diminished--and it is not just on this day that we think about you. You are always with me, and I know that Brandon thinks of you every day--we just wish you were still here in the flesh.  There are always so many things that come up to talk to you about; and so many things I wish I had said when you were still here--well, one day soon--

I miss you deeply tonight.

Saturday, October 06, 2012


It seems that at my age, ponderings come so often; as I look back and forward.

Today, I am pondering the early death of a friend at Otter Creek--Diana Reed.  At 56, she was alive with energy, laughter, and service.  Yet now, she is in heaven basking in the love of God and his reward for loyalty.

Those of us who are left are asking why, why, why and shaking our heads in disbelief at the happenings of the last week.  I came a long time ago to the reality check that I would never know why such things happen; I can only believe in the goodness of God and in his work in our lives.  That, however, does not mean that I cannot yell, scream and cry as David did.

God, please  bless Wayne and the boys in this sad time and give us all eyes to see that we need to cherish those around us that we love because life is so short.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another year at ACU

Opening day ceremonies at ACU this year were stupendous as usual--so emotional for many memories:

Teaching at ACU was the highlight of my life as a teacher.  I loved every minute of it--even climbing to the third floor to my office and classroom.  I miss it so much--it was  nice to be seen as some what of an expert in a field, even children's literature.  It was nice to be a "professor" and to be able to hold forth to those who would teach children later on.  There was something to be said for having experience in a real public school classroom before teaching college students.

I loved marching into Moody with other profs on opening day resplendent in our robes and being introduced as "the heart of the university".

I loved the "March Grandioso" and the Grand Choir--still great today!

I loved the very positive statements made about ACU by today's and past speakers.  Students need to hear about what a wonderful school they have come to attend.

I loved those first days of cracking open the new textbook, greeting the new students, and seeing my teaching friends after the summer.

This school Abilene Christian University meant so much to my life--I pray that my grandchildren can attend and share the wonders.  Maddie will be there in 8 years , a 2020 freshman.  I will be looking down on her, Ella and Sam watching them in purple and white, making the wildcat sign, hanging out in the student center, living in the dorm, and singing the school song...."Oh, dear Christian college we love you..."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Watching the new freshmen move into the dorms Saturday brought back many memories:

My dad struggling up the stairs to second floor McDonald with the bookcase he made me for college; my mom's hands full of hangers of clothes she made and bought for me to wear in this new venture; me carrying my books and suitcase.  Opening the door and seeing the bunkbeds, the tiny closet without a door, the formica covered desk and bureau and two lonely chairs, all in a room no bigger than our porch at home.  Of course, having the bathroon down the hall was a wake-up call as to just how stringent this journey was going to be--no suites with their own baths like  other dorms--just green, brown, and cheap.

But, oh, the glorious days that followed:  excellent teachers like James Culp, wonderful friends like Ruth Copeland, fun job in the library, working on the annual staff and traveling with the debate team--wouldn't have missed it for the world!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Oh, no! Not again!

I didn't like the news on NPR this morning as I awoke.  I was in Dallas at the Texas Library Convention when Columbine happened.  Now, an insane man does it again! Oh, God.  The enemy is working overtime!  So sorry for the families of those who died and those who were hurt.  I grieve for those who have guns and a grudge who do not know You.  Please put your hand of peace on their hearts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


It is such a joy to follow the recording sessions of the Zoe Group this week in Nashville.  These people have been together for over ten years, singing, laughing, and inspiring thousands of church people.  Check out Brandon or David England on Facebook to see some of the pictures they took including a new photo for professional use.

I have loved all nine of the group and others who have joined them--they are so dear!

Looking forward to the new recording "Faithful" soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Charles Siburt

Part of my childhood died today of cancer.  Charles Siburt, prophet, teacher, preacher, friend was part of my growing up years.  I was a teenager when his family moved to Hamlin, Texas to minister.  His father was probably the best preacher we ever had--and his mother was a true jewel.

Charles was a wee bit younger than I.  He, his sisters Myra and Elva and I did what teens do in a youth group.  We traveled to surrounding churches for youth meetings where we ate and sang; we played silly games in the "parsonage" (his parents so graciously hosted many a youth meeting), and we talked and talked.  Little did I know that very chunky little kid would grow up to be a giant in the church--one who frequently saved churches from imploding; one who taught young preachers how to save themselves; one who taught many classes at ACU on church growth and organization.  Sam and I took one of his classes at night.  Although his classes were usually full, this class was very small--only us and one other couple.  I don't remember the other couple, but I do remember the wise words that fell like rain on a church elder and his wife.

I don't know why people like him can't live to be 90; that is a question I will resolve later when I ask about Sam, but I do know that in his short life, Charlie did more than any one man could do in enriching the church, loving his family, and living a joyful life in Christ.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Finishing Ecclesiastes

We are coming to the end of our  study of Ecclesiastes tomorrow with Chapter 12.  I will miss my old pal Solomon (if he is the author, and I think he is).  He has taught us many things worth remembering:

God is in charge of our lives.
Our lives are a gift from God meant to lived in joy.
It is duty to lives our lives "under the sun" in enjoyment, eating, drinking, working, and enjoying our spouse.
This book is not a downer, but a tribute to God's love and care.
Wisdom trumps all other traits we might possess.
Death and old age are certainities.

I have enjoyed teaching the ladies' class, and I will miss it.  Thank you God for the opportunity to share your word with eager listeners.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Where joy and sorrow meet

The Zoe song refers the the cross; however, I had a weekend which meets the description too:

Attended the funeral of my friend Colleen Durrington.  Such a gracious and intelligent lady who died mysteriously--they never figured out what she had.  I shall miss her, and the educational world here in Abilene will be greatly diminished with her loss.

Then the Langfords, Delbert and Beverly who are the parents of Brandon's friend from junior days Jennifer were here bringing a granddaughter (who looks's just like her aunt Jennifer) to the current High School Day.  We met at Highland, worshpped together, ate Mexican together and surveyed old times.--It was great fun.

The Langfords and I then attended the funeral of Harold and Jeanette Lipford's daughter in Fulks Theater.  Susan was one of a kind, and the funeral suited her--because she planned it during her dying days.  Cindy Hudson, her sister, gave a wonderful eulogy.  Hated seeing Jeanette and Harold so pained.

At the same time as the funeral, Brandon and Sheryl were moving into their new leased house with the help of about 10 volunteers.  I went by after the funeral and enjoyed watching the beehive of activity, remembering the day I moved into my house.  Maddie was the first to get her room ready, of course, and she was enjoying unpacking the boxes from storage.  The house is perfect for them--light and airy with four bedrooms and TWO bathrooms, actually two and half.  I can't wait to see what Sheryl can do with it.

The service Sunday was about Highland's vision for the next ten years--a very full and appropriate vision for our church whose aim is to use all our gifts in the inner city.  The ministry team outdid themselves.

So joy and sorrow met yesterday.  Thank you, God for both.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Light from the Grave

"Let no one weep over their sins, for forgiveness for all has burst with light from the grave.  Let no one be afraid of death, for the death of Jesus has freed us all."
St. John Chrysostom

The promise of forgiveness is true--A most precious and coveted promise.  Christ is risen and life triumphs. 

What a gift!

We celebrated Easter in joy with song, worship, fellowship, ham, egg hunts and unbridled thankfulness for God's redeeming love.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Object Lessons

In the day when Sam and I used to teach 4th, 5th and 6th graders at Minter Lane, we called them object lessons. And with Sam as the creative wonderful teacher he was, they were so much fun.

Not half as much fun as Jonathan Storment's use of a baby lamb at church on Palm Sunday!  I think half of us cried and the other half  oohed and ahhed as Scott Perkins carried the bleating lamb down the aisle.

It was a perfecly planned worship with much praise and glory flowing. The kids waved palm leaves and helped us sing from the stage.   Loved it, and I got in line to pet the lamb just like the kids.

So much better than the old days when our tribe ignored Palm Sunday and Easter with sermons from Acts.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Watching Them Grow

It is a joy to be in Abilene with my grandchildren.  I am really loving watching them grow and change.

Each has his/her own personality and characteristics:  Maddie is the artist, writer, soft-spoken (except when she screams),  loves to read and is an excellent student.

Ella is our effervescent sprite with her own opinions. She is good at math, creative, helpful and loves to cook.

Sam just lost his first front tooth.  He is a red-haired ball of fun who loves to run, play soccer and has lots of friends--I am told that on the schoolyard, kids gravitate toward him; he also loves to draw.  And he is the sweetest, most obedient boy--I love that!

Thank you Lord for these days of watching!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Monkey Town" revisited

Well, it seems that the Scopes trial in the '20's didn't settle much in Tennessee; now instead of Dayton, Tn being a laughing stock, the whole state is.  The Tennessee Senate just voted 24-8 for a bill which protects teachers who wish to teach "alternate
scientific theories" from prosecution.  This allows creationists and change of climate deniers  to promote their theories in science classes.  Opposed by nearly all the science associations one could name, this silly bill opposes intellectual pursuits of students and further damages the name of religion in the state. The Tennessee House had okayed the bill last year.  So they thought about it for a year and then passed it.

Yes, I do believe in evolution--one cannot observe nature and  doubt evolution.  YES, I DO BE IEVE THAT GOD CREATED THE WORLD, and I am willing to give Him the respect that He could have created it the way HE WANTED TO.
Who am I to say that He couldn't have created it in six days or with a big bang? Or taken millions of years to do it?

By the way, the Hebrews did not have many words for time as English does--when
translating anything to do with time, it was translated "day".  Hmmm.  And of course, most of our translations are based on the Hebrew Bible.

I am no theologian, but things like this raise my blood pressure.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Retired Handicapped Status

Herb Patterson's story on video yesterday made me think about what I can spend the rest of my life doing since I cannot walk very well anymore and must sit down often--docenting at the NCCIL is out; subbing in elem. libraries is out (although I never thought about subbing much--it is my idea of hell), standing at tables at book sales and other fund raisers is out, etc.

What I think I can do is teach--I love teaching, and I think I can do a credible job.  I am teaching Ecclesiastes in ladies' class this semester, and I have agreed to teach Sabbath in our Sunday school class in June--so I do have some gigs to look forward to.  Anymore openings?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

What a Day!

International Women's Day was created in 19ll to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women throughout the world.  March is also Women's History Month.

I hope you know that it wasn't until August, 1920, that women received the right to vote when the 19th Amendment was passed. Unbelievable that it took that long to "allow" women to participate in one of their inalienable rights.  Shame on the men who kept them from voting, who imprisioned those who marched for this right, who still do not "allow" women some of the rights they deserve.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Limbaugh is Getting His

The flap over Rush Limbaugh's rant about Ms. Fluke continues--I did not hear the actual radiocast, but have heard it played over and over by several stations.  He is loing sponsors, as he should.  He is causing The Republicans trouble, yea!  He is finding that his big mouth does not charm all people.  I personally hope he has to resign because no one will sponsor him.  I am sure he has enough money to live on the rest of his life.

A pox on his beliefs and those who applaud him.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

74 going on 75!!!!!

I treasure each birthday--it always means that God still has something for me to do or finish.

George Washington and I have birthdays together, but actually George was born 11 days earlier because the calendar was changed.  When I told Sam that G. W. and I had birthdays on the same day, he asked if we were the same age.

It was a very good day; lunch with good friends, savoring the day before with Quartet, and ending with Ash Wednesday. I will celebrate with the family later.

My class on Ecclesiastes is going well--lots of lively discussion with the sages who attend.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Each Day I'll Do....

The title is from an old hymn from the 30's--it came to mind when the 10th person of the week asked me, "What do you do all day long?"  It seems that when one is retired, others think you would have to look for things to do. 

I never have to look--things just find me.  Today, for example, I had to do lab tests for my yearly physical at Abilene Regional which is far away from where I live; I am finishing up writing my comments for the Lament Service we are having Sunday night; and then working on Chapter 1 of Ecclesiastes for teaching my class next Tuesday.  Along the way, I hope to have time to read the newspaper and do the crossword. 

In her new book, Lauren Winner says, "...glimmerings of hope keep interrupting my day."  I pray that hope interrupts me today too.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Have You Read......?

A recent survey found that on the average household bookshelf there were at least 80 books the owners had not read.  How many do you have?  I think I have more than that.

I don't know what the problem is;  maybe I just like to look at them.  Or as a retired librarian, I like to pretend I have a library.  Or is it just greed?  There is no way I will ever read them all unless (God forbid) I am bedridden for several years.

Why then do I keep buying books?  It is a puzzlement...... Lately I have been buying books I had to read, like books for the book club, or books for Sunday class, or books about Eccelesiastes to help me in my studies.  I yearn for a good book just to enjoy reading!  Know one?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Sam!

This would have been my hon's 79th birthday!  Born on Friday the 13th--a perfect day for his puckish personality which compelled him to use plastic spiders, roaches, flies, snakes, etc. to other's disadvantage; it compelled him to stuff frightening dummies for the enjoyment of others; and to think of other devious plans to prank others.  All in good fun--his.  Because people loved him, they quickly forgave him for any uncomfortable moments he caused and often tried to get him back (usually failing).

He was a kind, compassionate man who loved children, his job as a teacher and principal, and his family.  God was #1 on his list of those to be adored, and his life and conversation showed it.

I often wonder what he would have been like in old age because he never seemed to age.  He loved me and his son Brandon with all his heart, and we returned the love and high esteem.  I wish there could have been more days to spread the love.

I read at Thomas Elementary yesterday, and had to pause under his portrait in the hall and think about how much he would have loved his school (although he would have been very shocked and humbled by the honor of having a school named after him.) 

Happy birthday Sam Thomas -- wonder if heaven has birthday cakes?  Maybe angel food?  With ambrosia and divinity on the side?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sifting and dusting

I'm sifting through Christmas cards; saving pictures and enjoying the cards one more time.  Got the Christmas tree down thanks to the BST and Sheryl. So those little pieces of leaves from the tree have to be vacuumed--honestly, they seem to breed in the corners.  Dusting is a must too--quotidian tasks after a great time!

Pictures are mostly up in my house.  That makes such a difference in making the space seem like it is really mine.  Plus, I get to look at them each time I enter a room. 

Thank you God for such menial, small tasks that make us happy on this day in January.