Thursday, November 29, 2012

Angels are out there...


LuLu-ism #54: You've got all you need... bless others who don't.
            That Christmas, she sat in our living room in the most comfortable chair we could find.  She was a large, old woman, and she talked funny.  Why mom insisted we invite her to Christmas dinner was beyond me.  My brother and I were instructed to mind our manners or else.  So after watching her inhale enough mash potatoes, gravy, cornbread stuffing and lemon meringue pie to ground Santa’s most reliable reindeer, we sat by Mrs. Parks and listened politely to her stories.

            I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere between pie and more pie, this generously-sized woman captured my heart.  We became fast friends that day and were to remain so until her death right before my wedding. 

            Her stories of her homeland, England, entertained me for hours.  Her hearty laughter and wicked sense of humor touched my core and awakened in me the most delicious possibilities.  She was a free spirit, a true woman of God and the best storyteller and dream planter I have ever known.

            That Christmas I learned many lessons.  Big is beautiful.  It pays to be polite, when your mother gives you that look, and true blessings are usually never expected.  But blessed I was by a very wonderful, very precious angel.

            This Christmas it could pay you to entertain the unlikely.  I know for a fact, angels are out there.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saddle up...

Nellie Rose- #8

Right now I’m living on overflow. My cup is so full I’m afraid I’m going to topple over. If you followed the blog last week, you know that Nellie Rose debuted on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Grandchild # 8 arrived before the midwife could and my son had to deliver his own daughter. Sweet mother Erin did her part as well and was fearless. She’s an amazing woman and mom.
So, what’s next? How do you follow something so wonderful? How do you keep from having a huge letdown after so much activity and joy? You don’t have to have had a new grandchild for the holiday to be full and all consuming. Family, children, food, and friends coming together to celebrate are such a gift. But… there’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there?
When the living room clutter is cleared and all the sheets washed and towels folded and put away, how do you get yourself back on track? As you know, this old gal has been on a quest for better health for quite some time now. Nothing like a huge twenty-pound turkey surrounded by dressing, mashed potatoes and homemade bread to challenge the calorie count.
You thank God for the joy. You thank Him for the bliss. Then, you throw the covers off, don the sweat pants and before you body has time to protest, you hop on your pink bike and pedal down the road. Break’s over. If Nellie Rose is going to get to know her grandmother, her grandmother was got to stick around. She’s got to be healthy enough to duck-duck-goose, to ring-around-the-rosie, to squeeze toes and take the piggy to the market. That little girl and I have tea parties to attend and patty-cakes to throw in the pan.
Ain’t no pecan pie gonna cheat this MeMe out of play dates with her girl. So, it begins again.  Saddle up, LuLu…

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Welcome Nellie Rose

Me and Miss Nellie Rose. She's about 30 minutes old here.


Dear Ones,
     Grandbaby #8 arrived today. A true day of Thanksgiving. Blessings to all...
See you next week....

Nellie Rose Cleveland
8 lbs. 10 oz
22 1/2 inches

Monday, November 19, 2012

Do I give You joy?


Thanksgiving Morning

Before my  family awakened
I began to form a list entitled
Reasons For Gratitude.
Then, halfway down the page
I pensively wondered--
Lord, do I give You any reasons
To be thankful for me?
                 ~ Ruth Harns Calkin
            "Father, do You ever prepare a feast of thanksgiving because I am?  Do I give You joy?  Are there moments in the day when You swell with pride and think, ‘That's my child!’
     "I cry.  You comfort.
      I lie.  You forgive.
      I hit.  You hug.
      I cheat.  You reimburse.
      I falter.  You carry.
      I turn.  You reach.
      "So, why do I feel that the oceans roar in my honor; that the highest mountain has my name on it; and that the gardenia's sweet smell reminds You of me?"
      "I am called the light of the world and the salt of the earth.  But You molded the earth, and under Your fingernails the clay still lingers.  It was Your lungs and Your kiss that awakened life from nothingness."
       "I know love.  You lived it into existence."
      "Do I give you any reason to be thankful for me?  Barely, at best.  But thankful you are, so blessed I am."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Save Biker Deb...


LuLu-ism #52: If you ignore your pink bike for too long… she will get revenge.

LuLu here. Yeah, I know, you haven’t heard from me in a while. There’s a reason for that: I’m in the garage gathering dust! I am not a happy pink bike.  Biker Deb has wimped out on me. “It’s too cold….it’s too windy… the Cowgirl hurts!”
She needs your help, folks. She’s fallen off the bike. Not literally, but you know what I mean. She’s at a crossroads. Her journey to better health has hit a snag. She missed a day of riding because of bad weather which has now lead to two weeks of not riding her pink bike… me! But that’s not the worst of it. Biker Deb has this flawed philosophy that when she messes up in her exercise program she might as well mess up in her eating choices, too. She needs a good swift kick in the Cowgirl… and I need your help to give her one.
Biker Deb needs inspiration. She needs encouragement. She needs accountability. She needs quotes. Yeah, you heard me…quotes. She’s a writer. Words mean a lot to her. Help save Biker Deb from herself. Send her your favorite inspirational quotes… quick. You know the ones I mean—the little sayings, stories and quips that put a fire in your belly, that push you off the couch and onto your bike (preferably a pink one). Sayings that convict. Stories that touch. Quips that make you want to embroider them on a pillow or tattoo them on your forehead.
It’s critical, friends. She’s at the point where she either throws up her hands and sells me in a garage sale, or she gets back in the saddle and Girl-up. We’ve all been there. We’ve all been on the brink of losing everything we’ve gained. Help us.
I will not be happy if I find a tag tied on my basket that reads, “Make me an offer.” Biker Deb and I are soul mates but half of us have lost their way. I’m counting on you. Get me back on the road with a happy biker in my saddle.
From the garage,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"When I grow up..."

"When I grow up, I want to be a dog!" proclaimed my youngest son when he was just little bitty.  He held on tight to that dream for a very long time.  I was starting to worry that maybe he would marry a poodle or something. 
When I was young, I wanted to grow up to be a veterinarian and own Walter Farley’s Arabian black stallion. I didn't come anywhere close. 

Dreams change.

We make decisions along the way that have dictated where we are now.  While some dreams as worth holding on to, others should be allowed to give way to the people we didn't expect to be. 

I am surprised by who I am but not disappointed.  I don't lay awake at night pining away for a lifestyle I do not have.  I've made choices.  Some of the paths I've chosen have been deliberate; others I have eenie-meenie-minie-moed my way through.  Yet, when I look back over the brush I have trampled and the broken branches I have left in my wake, I find that God did not take his eyes off of me once, and I did and have done the best I could do.

I accept who and what I am.  Sure, there are things I want to change, but there's no one else I want to be. 

That son is now 33-years-old, and no, he didn’t grow up to be a dog. But, he does the best monkey imitation I’ve ever seen. And, he wrote this great song about a squirrel once. However…we do have to constantly remind him not to scratch behind his ear with his foot…


Thursday, November 8, 2012



 When my children were little, every day I’d send them off to school with an assignment:  Learn something new.  So when my first grader came running home with backpack flying and shoelaces flopping and declared,  "Mom, I can spell spit!"  What could I say?  It was something new.

            My "wonderment" is decreasing with age.  You know the  "Twinkle- twinkle-little-star-how-I-wonder-what-you-are" kind.  Aging is hard on my body, but it's much worse on my spirit.  I'm lazier.  I give up more easily.  I don't initiate.  I stay put.

            Kids are full of questions and adventure.  They rejoice in presents and the discovery the gifts bring.  We adults are given presents every day, but much too often they sit unopened and discovery is pushed aside.

            What keeps us from opening our gifts and taking a peek?  Is it fear?  If so,  are we afraid of failure or success?  We have the power to move mountains, but it's been a long time since I've met anyone who even wanted to.

            How long has it been since you learned something brand new, or explored, or just wondered, "Why?"  Come on!  Untie the ribbon.  Take the lid off.  Close your eyes and hold out your hands, you may be in for a big surprise!
After all, LuLu wouldn’t be in my life right now if I had not of decided at age 60 to start riding a bike.

            You LuLu is waiting…


Monday, November 5, 2012

Foretastes of heaven...


“I created you with the capacity to experience foretastes of heaven.”                                          ~Sarah Walker- Jesus Calling

The other morning while reading from the devo book I’m using, that quote stuck with me. Foretastes of Heaven… what could that possibly mean? And, had I ever felt like I had experienced anything like that? Once I starting thinking about it though, all of a sudden I was overwhelmed. I’ll list a few for you…
…. The look of pure, eager love on my groom’s face as I walked down the aisle towards him… heaven came near.
… The births of each of my sons and the first time their tiny fingers wrapped around mine, the world became perfect… and, heaven came near.
  Every time my 85-year-old mother wraps her arms around her 61-year-old daughter, I experience unconditional love… and, heaven comes near.
… Every time a sunset takes my breath away … heaven comes near.
… The mornings I wake up after a storm, throw back the curtains and am greeted with the most perfect shade of blue painted in the sky… heaven comes near.
  The hope that flooded my heart when my husband’s last PET scan was cancer-free… heaven came near.
  Riding LuLu on a summer morning as the earth first yawns… heaven comes near.
   The perfect ‘bite’ of sweet and salty… heaven comes near.
    A prayer uttered in private, mixed with tears and longing… heaven comes near.
   Standing in a hospital room as I watched each son hold his first-born, and a tiny fist reached up and… heaven came very near.
Foretastes of heaven… are all around us if we just … look.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Little Thngs...


After a several days of sniffling and body aches I woke this morning feeling a bit better. There is life after a very bad cold. As I sit in my ‘girl chair’ (a big, overstuffed blue flowery chair in my office) and look out my window, I see a blue sky. The hot tea I’m drinking soothes me. The house is quiet and warm. Life is good.

Reading my horoscope this morning in my girl chair it said to be thankful for the little things because they are what are truly important in life.

Personally, I think horoscopes are silly.   Still, I get a kick out of how many days in my life I was suppose to meet a tall, dark, handsome, stranger and come into money. 
Anyway, for once I agreed with what I read.  I know that the little things in life are more important than money and power.  But it seems I spend a lot of my time trying to convince myself of that truth.  Usually it's when I want something I can't have, or lost something I really didn't need.
I do believe it.  The tinkle of a distant wind chime, curtains blowing in the breeze and a bluebird sitting on the fence post are simple reminders of a wealth that can't be bought.  A hug from a sweaty, happy child and giggles brought on from being squirted by a lawn sprinkler are what make summer, well--summer!
A dandelion offered in love makes up for all the roses given in deceit.  A surprise party that was truly a surprise and a shared soft drink on a hot day can't be beat. And, a comfy chair, hot tea, a healing body and sun breaking through the clouds should be valued above all riches.
The best things in life are free.  The little things in life are priceless.

May you day be filled with little things,