Thursday, December 23, 2010

"A Classic Christmas Song With A Fruity Twist"

Since I began this blog in May, I have had the privilege to write about a variety of subjects. I attempt to follow the leading of the Lord, even in the most challenging and ridiculous topics. We forget that God himself said laughter was like a medicine. The year of 2010 has been one of the most challenging years of my married life and for some of my dearest friends as well. Had it not been for the "joy of the Lord"... well, I'm just not sure. So being true to form, I choose to celebrate this most holiest of seasons by remembering everything that Christ purchased for me, including my joy.

My escapades with produce prompted more than one unexpected response. People have called, e-mailed, and stopped me to say they will never view produce the same. A new best friend that has followed the Blog from the beginning purchased a Wal-Mart Gift Card for ME to buy more produce!!!! How priceless is that?

Of all the reactions, I must admit this "Classic Christmas Song With A Fruity Twist," written by one of my new best friends, is my favorite. She said this was my Christmas Card from her and I could do with it as I pleased. I added a picture and am sharing it with you. So as they say, once your food has been served, "Enjoy!"
On the First day of Christmas my True Love gave to me...
A Pineapple in a Pear Tree....


On the Second day of Christmas of my True Love gave to me...
Two Apricots, and a Pineapple in a Pear Tree.


On the Third day of Christmas my True Love gave to me...
Three Mangoes, two Apricots, and a Pineapple in a Pear Tree.


On the Fourth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me...
Four Personal Melons, three Mangoes, two Apricots, and a Pineapple in a Pear Tree.


On the Fifth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me...
Five ‘tangy’ tangerines...four Personal Melons, three Mangoes, two Apricots, and a Pineapple in a Pear Tree.


On the Sixth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me...
Six Grapes a hanging, Five ‘tangy’ Tangerines...four Personal Melons, three Mangoes, two Apricots, and a Pineapple in a Pear Tree.


On the Seventh Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me...
Seven Stacks of Strawberries, Six Grapes a hanging, Five ‘tangy’ Tangerines...four Personal Melons, three Mangoes, two Apricots, and a Pineapple in a Pear Tree.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me...
Eight Packs of Peaches, Seven Stacks of Strawberries, Six Grapes a hanging, Five ‘tangy’ Tangerines...four Personal Melons, three Mangoes, two Apricots, and a Pineapple in a Pear Tree.


On the Ninth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me...
Nine Bags of Lemons, Eight Packs of Peaches, Seven Stacks of Strawberries, Six Grapes a hanging, Five ‘tangy’ Tangerines...four Personal Melons, three Mangoes, two Apricots, and a Pineapple in a Pear Tree.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me...
Ten Banana Bunches, Nine Bags of Lemons, Eight Packs of Peaches, Seven Stacks of Strawberries, Six Grapes a hanging, Five ‘tangy’ Tangerines...four Personal Melons, three Mangoes, two Apricots, and a Pineapple in a Pear Tree.


On the Eleventh Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me...
Eleven Plums a Plenty, Ten Banana Bunches, Nine Bags of Lemons, Eight Packs of Peaches, Seven Stacks of Strawberries, Six Grapes a hanging, Five ‘tangy’ Tangerines...four Personal Melons, three Mangoes, two Apricots, and a Pineapple in a Pear Tree.


On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me...
Twelve Delicious Apples, Eleven Plums a Plenty, Ten Banana Bunches, Nine Bags of Lemons, Eight Packs of Peaches, Seven Stacks of Strawberries, Six Grapes a hanging, Five ‘tangy’ Tangerines...four Personal Melons, three Mangoes, two Apricots, and a Pineapple in a Pear Tree.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! HOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO! HEHEHEHEHEHE! Merry Christmas to all, and may 2011 be the most fruitful year yet!






Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Gift of Time

The Christmas Season as wonderful as it is, not only heralds the celebration of the Christ child’s birth, but can serve as a poignant reminder that another year is fading. In between the hustle and bustle of Holiday preparation you take a mental inventory….deep sigh, “Where did this year go?”

Time...you can’t buy or steal it. Who knows if it really does any good to beg for it?????

It is amazing that as an educated society we are so controlled by an inanimate object known as the clock. Cuckoo birds sing about it, the fashion industry decorates it, and the stars record it - time.


Even God Himself used time to set boundaries. He stepped back from this creation and declared, "This is good."


Our mirrors, pictures, videos, hospitals, nursing homes, and cemetery markers serve as a constant reminder as to how fleeting time is. Our biological clocks are forever ticking in the background of our days and nights.

Time restraints ranks at the top of our stress lists. We stay up way too late and get up way too early trying to cram more of it into our lives. The demands of time wreak havoc in every arena.

We celebrate time with birthdays, anniversaries, Bar Mitzvahs, graduations, and feasts.

Regret is the painful reminder of how often we have misused and abused this gift. We curse, mourn, and recklessly wish it away. We are terrorized and tormented with it. The judicial system allows the guilty to be sentenced by it.

We allow the medical profession in their most educated guess to set terms and limits on our time. Multiple disease processes and trauma erases memories of it.

Time is like a shadow…elusive to the grasp. Unfortunately, after a night of frivolity, there are occasions we don’t even remember what we did with it. Time carries its'own load of  both lies and truths.

Managing time is an industry unto itself. They have designed day-timers, calendars, watches; and clocks to help us better organize our lives. Consultants are paid exorbitant amounts of money to help our companies better organize our time and make us more efficient. We can be penalized or compensated for our time.

Man’s own ingenuity has figured out a way to seemingly control and manipulate time. Man has devised a way to divide it into zones. Daylight Savings Time allows us to advance and reverse it. Typically we just waste it like the sands of the hourglass.

Men and women alike are looking for the fountain of youth to hide the ravages of time. Society has made it a criminal offense to reveal the truth of the amount of time you have lived here on earth. Time’s trademarks of wrinkles and gray hair are no longer symbolic of honor, but shame.

We are rarely satisfied with the dispensation of time that we have been allotted.

We spend endless amounts of money to insure it. We medicate, drown, ignore, and totally disregard the value of time. We take it for granted.

We carelessly spend it like there was no tomorrow and selfishly guard it like it was Fort Knox. We believe the lie that time is our enemy.

There is NOTHING..I REPEAT…NOTHING that escapes the effects of time, not even our eternal destiny.

Ultimately, time is the gift of God. In His all knowing wisdom if we had needed more or less of it don’t you think that He would have changed our portion? Time is a season for us to share, love, and to bring honor and glory to the ultimate Time Keeper.

At this late date, if you are still desperately seeking the perfect Christmas gift, turn life off and give the most expensive thing you have to offer—your time.

Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for believing my time was my own.

Without the gift of time I would NOT be writing this Blog, learning new computer programs, or about to launch a new website. Without a doubt, all of this would have been impossible.

Thank you to those who have given and offered so freely of their time and support. Thank you to their families who so generously shared their time.

Prayer is hard work and requires the sacrifice and investment of time. Thank you to the faithful intercessors who cover us with the 'fire by night and the cloud by day.'

Thank you to my Godly husband who has invested most of his lifetime supporting and encouraging me to go for the gold. My precious husband who unselfishly has given me his energy and time when he himself seems to be running on 'Reserve."

Thank you to the readers for your gift of time. With all of the choices available, I do not take for granted that you would take the time to visit Modern Orange and leave encouraging comments.

As I reflect on my own personal 'Time Account," I leave you with a few timely quotes.

The only gift is a portion of thyself.

Time the most precious gift one can give. Each moment is unique because it will never happen again…the gift of your time spent with others is the ultimate display of unconditional love.

“Since time is the one immaterial object which we cannot influence—neither speed up, nor slow down, add to nor diminish—it is an imponderably valuable gift.” Maya Angelou

"Every morning you are handed 24 golden hours. They are one of the few things in this world that you get free of charge. If you had all the money in the world, you couldn't buy an extra hour. What will you do with this priceless treasure?" Author Unknown

"If there was ever a time to dare, to make a difference, to embark on something worth doing, IT IS NOW." Author Unknown, from Words of Encouragement for Teens

"Your greatest asset is your earning ability. Your greatest resource is your time." Brian Tracy

"Time and words can't be recalled, even if it was only yesterday." Yiddish Proverb

"An inch of time is an inch of gold but you can't buy that inch of time with an inch of gold." Chinese Proverb

t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for-now)

Friday, December 10, 2010

The High Cost of Favor

Mary’s pregnancy tests were not celebrated with little test strips turning pink, baby showers, toys or embossed birth announcements. The nursery for Jesus was not remodeled, papered, painted or furnished with the latest Jenny Lind furniture. His bassinet was a feeding trough. He was not born in the latest new tech birthing center with soft lights and the best of doctors, but a stable that was cold, uncomfortable and smelled of hay and manure.

Mary and Joseph’s first born was not brought home in designer baby gowns to a gathering of doting grandparents and family. Joseph and Mary did not read through all the latest baby books or consider their family tree in deciding what to name this mystery child.

This child was born in obscurity. His birth was announced only in the supernatural realm. Heaven had a mandate to protect Him from the murderous sentence that had been pronounced on all the male children 2 years old and under in Bethlehem and the surrounding districts by King Herod.

The most innocent of innocents burst through the Virgin womb with a death sentence around His neck. The place of His birth began the prophetic fulfillment that He was born to be slaughtered - Migdal Edar, “the tower of the flock”. In ancient Israel this was the exact location where lambs were raised for sacrifice and ceremonial slaughter. John 1:29 truly “He was to be the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.”

His first outfit may have only resembled swaddling clothes, but in truth, He was clothed in the unseen mantle of Destiny. Only a select few of God’s creations recognized this Gift of God!

By social standards he was considered illegitimate, cloaked in shame. The nagging question always plagued Him, who really was the Father? No DNA testing was available. The only place I can locate any record of Jesus being celebrated during the 9 months of pregnancy, was by another unborn baby that had also been destined for a life of isolation, misunderstanding, rejection and premature death…John the Baptist, and his mama.

DEFINITION OF  FAVOR
(1): friendly regard shown toward another especially by a superior (2) : approving consideration or attention


: BEHALF, INTEREST : in favor of
a : in accord or sympathy with
b : to the benefit of :
 in support of A VERDICT IN FAVOR OF THE ACCUSED!

Much has been taught and written about the “Favor of the Lord.” The subject of favor has even been the foundation of ministries.

Psalm 5:12 (Amplified Bible) For You, Lord, will bless the [uncompromisingly] righteous [him who is upright and in right standing with You]; as with a shield You will surround him with goodwill (pleasure and favor). This scripture indicates that favor is a separate blessing to be desired, and bestowed by the Lord as a reward for the righteous.

How many times have we cried out and prayed for favor in every conceivable situation without much consideration for the cost of this grace?

The Birth of Jesus Foretold


Luke 1: 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
** Favor put demand on Heaven. ** Favor is not delivered by the lower echelon of God's army but, God's own messenger angel, Gabriel. **Favor may take generations to manifest.** Favor may require you to put on your seatbelt and a helmet. **Favor will require an extra measure of God's grace, mercy, and total faith that He will be with you in whatever He requires.


29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel[e] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
**This new found blessing was causing great turmoil in this child's soul. 


34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”


35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
**This teenage girl, with reckless abandon and faith, sealed her fate and that of her child's with her own words.**

Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
** If she could have been totally honest, I am sure there were times she wondered if she had made the right decisions.**

Luke 2:34-35 (New Living Translation) Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
** A bittersweet prophecy about  this child produced as a result of God's favor. A prophecy that would strike fear in the boldest of mother's hearts.**


Luke 2:40 (New Living Translation) There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.
**The same grace and favor that had come on the mother of Jesus the Christ had now come on her beloved child…..The same favor that cost the mother of Jesus her future would NOW cost her Son his.**


video

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Power of Thanksgiving


Prayer of thanks: A prayer that offers thanks to God

Giving of thanks: An expression or an act of giving thanks

Public acknowledgement or celebration of divine goodness


Time and space does not permit me to do an in depth teaching on the subject, but I would like to share my most recent observations.

I have been pondering, "The Power of Thanksgiving" for weeks as the date of a long anticipated family reunion inched closer. Thanksgiving has been a matter of choice in between my husband’s ongoing medical treatments and my mother’s nursing home visits.

The Thanksgiving Holiday heralds the beginning of frenetic cleaning, shopping, cooking, and socializing. Excited as you are to prepare, I think it can be very challenging to allow a thankful attitude to remain the focus and prevail as grocery carts are driven over fresh pedicures, or you are driving circles in the parking lot until you are woozy waiting for a parking spot that is closer than the North 40.

Sometimes I think it is not until the day after Thanksgiving do you realize the true meaning. After the last goodbye hugs and kisses when it is time once again to vacuum the large, medium and small footprint memories out of the carpet. Distance, time, and health restraints make the treasured moments more valued….

There are vast numbers of scripture references that refer to thanks or thanksgiving. The Psalms reverberate over and over with the shepherd King’s heart of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was the Key to Increase

Mark 8:6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

Although Jesus was the Son of God, his thankful heart had created an assurance with his Heavenly Father that He would always hear his cry.

John 11:40Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you and [a]promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God? 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.

The night that Jesus Christ was betrayed He was in the midst of serving His Disciples their last supper. He was able to give thanks for what was meant for His destruction. He had a secret - He knew the ultimate offense would be used for the salvation of mankind. Jesus was able to give thanks for what He had taught his treasured Disciples. His mission was almost complete, and He was now confident this knowledge would keep them in the trying days to come as well.

Mark 14: 22And while they were eating, He took a loaf [of bread], praised God and gave thanks and asked Him to bless it to their use. [Then] He broke [it] and gave to them and said, Take. Eat. This is My body. 23He also took a cup [of the juice of grapes], and when He had given thanks, He gave [it] to them, and they all drank of it

Ephesians 4: declares how we should be using our mouths and that is possible to give thanks from our prison.

Thanksgiving can be a sacrifice that will produce a harvest.

Hebrews 13:15Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name

It is possible to give thanks at all times.

Ephesians 5:20 At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

As God’s handiwork we struggle to determine the perfect will of God for our lives. We may never know who we are to marry, where we are supposed to live or work, but scripture states…

It is possible to fulfill the will of God in your life by simply being grateful.

I Thessalonians 5:18Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

Thankfulness can be cultivated.

Colossians 3: 15 -17Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Finally, I believe our heartfelt thanksgiving is the AMEN to every good work that God created in
Genesis 1.

As my heart has processed this previous year, and taken inventory of the past day’s events, I have just one more thing to say...

Philippians 1: A Love That Will Grow 3- 6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

hmmmmm......maybe I will wait one more day to vacuum.


                                            t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for-now)










Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To Everything There Is A Season (like it or not)


Ecclesiastes 3:1

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; {to refrain from: Heb. to be far from}

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace

This had been a particularly emotional day. Many changes taking place in my life and those I hold dearest.

I was standing at my kitchen window and observing everything that was going on outside, all the while trying to process the range of emotions.

Our little area of the country had desperately been crying out for rain, and the heavens had answered. The temperatures had dropped, and the mist of rain made the atmosphere grey. The squirrels were scurrying frantically along the fence row doing what squirrels do, totally oblivious to the weatherman’s threat of thunderstorms. The entire scene looked like a fresh watercolor painting – paint brushes still wet with creativity.

The winds had escalated. The trees seemed to be in a tug of war, and they were losing. Their limbs were waving in the winds responding to the force that was assailed against them.

By now, the leaves had lost much of their strength being evidenced by their color or lack there of. Although, each leaf was in a different state of transition, they seemed to dance with grace as they fell to the rain soaked ground. I became fascinated with the process.

These mighty oaks were forced to relinquish complete control over their destiny. I watched in amazement as these pillars of strength bowed to the providence of God. One by one they released their covering and succumbed to being stripped bare – totally exposed to the elements.

It was then the Lord began to speak these words of truth to my heart and teach me a life lesson from my own backyard. He said, “The favorite part of a tree’s life is when it is lush with life and fulfilling its’ purpose and providing shade/shelter or even fruit. The harsh elements are being used to force My creation, (the tree) into its’ next season, perhaps, not one of its’ own choosing, but in accordance with My divine plan.” GASP! Selah…think of that.

It was a fresh revelation for me to realize that everything has an expiration date whether it be visible or not…not just leaves, but our very lives.

It is our frail humanness, selfishness, regret, and ultimately lack of trust in God that makes us want to hang onto our loved ones long beyond their expiration date.

As the leaves piled higher and higher I no longer viewed them as a nuisance to be swept or raked, but a gentle reminder…that obedience is better than sacrifice.

Slowly….reluctantly…. trustingly…..I am releasing my grip. In due season, the wise old trees will bud again with renewed hope…and life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What is the proper salutation for a Blog to honor our Veterans?

It is a day that for those who fall into this category, and their families, is so emotionally charged. A majority of people will mark through the date with a black pen when in fact; it should be marked in red.

How do you define the color of shed blood - the blood of victims and victors alike? The solemn wave of flag lined streets and overgrown, neglected cemeteries serve as a grim reminder that freedom isn’t free.

I graduated in 1970. Many of the guys I went to school with were drafted into the Vietnam War. The same guys that I ate lunch every day with, laughed in class with and maybe dated came back as amputees or not at all.

I still remember the sting of hot tears and mingled mascara when I received the call that one of my very best friends had returned as a quadriplegic. I slid down the kitchen wall and wailed.

He had been one of the most handsome in the school and the funniest. I seemed to always be his target. He organized the football team to pick my Volkswagen up from its parking spot and place it in the main hall at school. We talked everyday about everything.

He was so ashamed of his injuries he would not return any of my phone calls. He never really came home.

As a country, we have expressed our gratitude and grief in many different ways. Nothing seems quite adequate. Thanks to a very dear friend and gifted young man, I would like to try and say thank you one more time in one more way. With his permission, I am sharing the expression of his heart through the video he put together in honor of this Veteran’s Day - 2010.

As a side note….just as I was in the process of downloading the video to my Blog site a piece of paper flew out of one of my art folders. This paper was totally unrelated to art, but was completely related to this Post.

This paper detailed a message dated November 22nd, 2005. It was a statement informing friends and family that my cousin’s vehicle, while serving in Iraq, had been struck by an IED. He was the Battalion Commander and had been the only one injured (that day). This was a fresh reminder that the God of this nation has not forgotten him or his comrades.

video

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Part II: A Woman Never Outgrows the Need To Be Beautiful To Someone

Ministry takes whatever form our hearts need.

Several years ago our daughter attended Bible College, and had the opportunity to go on a mission’s trip. So what’s the big deal about that? People go on mission’s trips all the time.

First of all, you would have to meet our daughter to fully appreciate this story. Upon first impression, you might count her out. It’s not just because she is our daughter, but she is simply gorgeous. With her long eyelashes and perfectly manicured nails, she looks like she would be much more comfortable adorning the cover of some beauty magazine than sitting under a mosquito net.

Plus, this was going to be an extremely rigorous, dangerous trip. The ministry team would be going into the jungles of Mexico. The ministry they would be serving for two weeks had already experienced the heartache of several of their ministry team being attacked.

If you took a closer look you would find that under all the make-up, latest fashions, and Cosmetology License was such a shy, gentle spirit, and a pure heart of compassion. She would not be denied! Our daughter had made her mind up, and was praying to be one of the 20 that would be chosen. There were the nay sayers that told her there was no way she would be selected. Which, honestly, would have been perfectly fine with me. The only problem…the Lord had spoken to my heart and informed me just how important it was that our daughter be a part of this trip. So even before the announcement, I began compiling a letter complete with a list of scriptures to pray while they were gone.

We knew up front there would be very little, if any, communication. We also knew that among the students allowed to make this trip the majority were male, fiery upcoming preachers. We had to trust that our “little girl” armed with her Bible, and hair cutting equipment was being aimed into the perfect will of God.

Upon her return home, we had a Sunday afternoon housewarming party to thank all the friends and family who had made it possible for her to go. After the cake and punch we all gathered around to hear of her exciting adventure. They had been spared  any real danger, or encounters with real jungle animals. What she did encounter- face to face- was the will of God for her life at that specific time and place.

The missionary’s wife in the camp where they stayed shared a secret with our daughter, not knowing she was a Cosmetologist by trade. She confessed that one by one, she had come to terms with letting go of the everyday conveniences that we all take soooo for granted, with the exception of one. She longed for the day she could travel back to the states and have a “Spa Day.”

Our daughter choked back the tears as she described how in the middle of a jungle, 5,000 feet above sea level she had been able to fulfill the longing of one of God’s servants. Ministry takes whatever form our hearts need.

A Woman Never Outgrows the Need To Be Beautiful To Someone.
(To be continued)

t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for-now)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

PART I: A Woman Never Outgrows the Need to Be Beautiful To Someone

Many, many years ago there was a young lady in our church who, to be politically correct, was a midget. People assumed because this person was unusually short, that she was also handicapped. SOOOOOOOO WRONG! She was very bright and articulate, but few had taken the time to find that out.

A dear friend of mine had befriended this lady and her husband. Their lives consisted of more challenges than the average person could endure. At the time her husband was both an alcoholic and was battling cancer, not to mention their financial difficulties.

After a few visits to the church, and just plain being loved on they both gloriously gave their hearts to the Lord. Their faithfulness was admirable. It was close to the Christmas Holidays and our newest church member had joined the choir and was going to sing in the Christmas Cantata. I felt the Lord impressed me to make an investment in this woman in the form of a shopping trip and a day of beauty. Little did I know she had NEVER had this experience.

When two of my best buds found out what I was up to they wanted to be included in on the adventure as well. The plans were made. I made an appointment for her at the local beauty school for the works…hair, make-up, etc.

I prayed about where to take her shopping. In the morning newspaper were the BEST coupons to one of my favorite stores. I also prayed the Lord would stretch our finances. He did! Without knowing it we all arrived waving the same coupons! We had three times the amount of money to splurge. The Lord also told me to bring my camera, which I promptly forgot. Being more obedient than I, my other bud pulled a camera out of her purse. YAHOOOOO! We were on our way!

I have never had so much fun in my life!!!! We laughed and cried everywhere we went. The entire beauty school sniffed and dabbed their eyes as they watched this precious soul get transformed before us all. They donated all of their services.

My “little” friend cried as well. She had the hair dresser turn her around and around in the chair to see her new ‘do’ from every angle. I had determined that she had naturally curly hair and if she would allow the girl to cut it quite a bit all of those glorious curls would pop into place. WA-LAHHH – Just as predicted!!!!

Once we arrived at the store we all three went in different directions to make our own selections for our beauty candidate. Just one little problem….she did not have a clue as to what size she wore. All of her clothes were hand-me-downs that someone would cut up and alter for her.

When the sales clerks realized what we were doing they were WILD! They were running in different directions waving their opinions in the air yelling across the store, “Hey, what about this?” Clothes, hangars, and price tags were flying. We looked like a game show!

Each time we threw an outfit over the dressing room door our ‘little’ model would step out and turn round about for our applause whether it fit or not. Even though we found the correct size, everything was still about six inches too long, both the arms and legs. A precious saint of the church agreed to do all of the alterations for free.

We worked every discount we could find. In addition to the new church clothes and a bit of jewelry, the coupons made it possible to buy her a red winter coat and gloves. We were high with excitement!

We were running out of time and money, but I felt the Lord prompt me to ask her what kind of shirt would her husband like. I nearly fainted when she very accurately described a plaid western shirt, but only with pearl button snaps. She knew his size. Where were we ever going to find anything like that in such a short amount of time?

I told the girls to hold on while I ran next door to the men’s department. There on the sales table was the shirt she had described just waiting for me to pick it up for delivery. I was hysterical!

These sales clerks were not privy to what was taking place next door and just probably thought I had missed my hormone shot. I don’t remember exactly if I kissed that shirt or not, but I would say from the strange looks, YES, I did.

Our newly dressed friend was so exhausted, she actually asked us to take her home!!!! We did not know she was ill. On the trip back to the church we prayed for her healing. By the time she crawled out of my vehicle, she had a complete makeover and a healed body. Her little face was flush with the presence of the Lord. WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY!!!!

The night of the Cantata I met my friend early in the church bathroom. Look out! I was a woman on a mission. Armed with every beauty paraphernalia I could single handedly carry I was going to help her get dressed for her debut. I felt like I was wrapping a present. When she stepped out on that stage she looked like the “Christmas Star.” I could hardly contain myself.

She has never been the same, and neither have I.

(To be continued)….

t-t-f-n ( ta-ta-for now )

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Mother's Journey

What started out to be a nursing home disaster ended up being a nursing home miracle.

My mother, known lovingly as Grand Mary, lives in a land far, far away. Does she live in a foreign country or another state? No to both, she lives in a land, that without God’s intervention, a land of no return… Alzheimer’s. It’s a world the patient enters totally alone. Not even their memories can go with them.

This morning began with a meeting with the nursing staff. I was informed that my mother was in the last stages of level six out of seven stages of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, coupled with Parkinson ’s disease. In addition, the nursing home had undergone many staff changes that was affecting everyone.

It was now evident that my mother would require more care than ever. This would necessitate a room change and careful consideration as to the location and the temperment of her new roommate. My mother had been so unhappy that we all faced these changes with with much, much prayer.

The home’s new hairdresser had not yet arrived . My mother’s rapid physical deterioration and need for an overdue haircut made her barely recognizable to anyone I had ever known much less my mother. My mother had once been a petite little blonde that very much resembled Doris Day.

What good could possibly come out of this negative report? The day was heading South before my second cup of coffee.

The onset of this horrendous disease puts the best of relationships to the ultimate test. The deterioration of the mental capacities is accentuated by the physical limitations and the disappearance of communication skills. The exasperation of watching your loved one disappear daily before your eyes is gut wrenching. I compare it to the attempt to grasp a shadow.

Key facts about Alzheimer's disease

5.3 million people have Alzheimer's

172 billion dollars in annual costs

7th leading cause of death

10.9 million unpaid caregivers

Lack of pre-planning and inability to make decisions force feeds you into the epicenter of your loved one’s most private affairs.

As if there were not already a laundry list of symptoms associated with this disease. The disease itself brings a devil all its own – called “ Blame.” Alzheimer’s patients can become unpredictable with the full range of emotional changes, even to the point of becoming violent. There has yet to be published a pamphlet or support group formed that can prepare you for the personal heartache of this disease.

My mother has lived a solitary life and was best known for her independence. Our relationship could be described at best, challenging. Alzheimer’s not only erases the good memories, but the bad as well. Perhaps we still had a chance. Life’s circumstances has forced me to love her at arm’s length.

At the height of our conflict the Lord gently reminded me that He alone chooses the family dynamics and we must trust His decisions regardless of natural circumstances. He also spoke these words to me… Proverbs 31:28a “Her children stand and call her blessed….” Not because she did or did not win the “Mother of the Year Award.” He further said, “This was one of the main purposes’ of my life. “ WOW! God was depending on me to stand and bless my mother in every stage of her life.

More and more with each visit her eyes would fill with increased desperation and silently plead for help even from the one she has believed was her ‘betrayer.’ Consumed with guilt. My mother’s loss of control translated to my loss of control. I very much love my mother and deeply admire her ability to overcome horrendous tragedy in her life.

Maybe if I had never seen hundreds of miracles or experienced them myself this would make more sense. I wondered if my prayers were making any difference in my own mother’s life. I needed to know.

NEVER HAVE I NEEDED MORE GRACE!

I decided to take matters into my own hands, and if she could not go to the beauty shop I would bring the beauty shop to her. After all, this was the second generation of my family to be here. My beloved grandmother was in this nursing home for five years. The staff would give me the keys to the tiny beauty shop and I would cut and curl my grandmother’s hair. I do not have a license, I would just pretend I was drawing a picture and would paint with the scissors and make-up.

I wiped my eyes and went to gather my supplies. Armed with shampoo, scissors, a variety of sprays, mousse, nail polish, lip gloss, etc. I was determined to reclaim my mother to the best of my ability.

As feeble as my mother now is I knew I would need help, so I enlisted the help of my husband. What should have taken an hour max. took a full two hours. She could not remember the most basic of instructions, “Hold your head down or be still.” Every cut was a challenge. My husband painstakingly and lovingly helped guide her head for her new hair-do. He pulled the chairs and her into every necessary position. He held her trembling hands steady as I painted metallic gold polish on her nails.

With every clip, life came back. She was very aware and thrilled as to the transformation. Ten years disappeared. Hair dried and curled, lip gloss applied…”Welcome back Grand Mary!”

Just as we were reveling in the excitement of my mom’s make-over one of the staff members walked in with a quilt that had been missing for two years. Not just any quilt, but one of the last hand-made quilts made by my grandmother! She asked my mom, “Is this yours?” My mother remembered, and cried.

Her trip back down the hall was like being in our own private parade. She glowed amidst all the o-o-o-o’s and a-a-ah-h-s. We rolled her back to her NEW room, with her NEW hair-do, and her Old quilt. I tucked her in with my NEW grace and surrounded by her mother’s hand-stitched love. I had not seen that kind of peace in her face or eyes in years. She looked up at me and said this was a wonderful day and when could we do it again? Soon mom … I pray …. Soon.

P.S. Just tonight I discovered from a long time employee of the nursing home that mother had been moved into the same room and spot my grandmother spent her last years. I hope my heart can stand it.



t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for-now)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Make Way! A Dream Is Comin Thru!

For once I am going to take my own advice…….

The fact is…. life never stops throwing curve balls. The main issue is how you deal with them. Do you hit a foul, walk, strike out or hit a home run? Without total focus, energy and full concentration you can lose the game for your team. This analogy is hysterical seeing that I am the most athletically challenged and uninformed of our entire family.

It is far too easy for everyday life to take so many bites out of you and your day that the people you love most get so little of your attention. Silently, very good things can become unhealthy, and hazardous to both you and your family’s health. Unfortunately, if you do not recognize the disorder in time, there can be fatalities. By the time you decide YOU have time…..they may have moved on….or physically be gone.

If your priorities are not in order a dream can steamroll over you or unknowingly become an idol in your life. Actually, I am in the process of several of my dreams coming true, but imbalance can knock the shine off or even suck the life out of it. Honestly, as I watch my life-mate struggle, the things that have called and demanded so much of my time and energy pales in comparison to the real needs.

I have learned that as a woman, our own agenda can interfere or even prevent us from fulfilling the first call, as a wife, to be a help-mate. Yes, a clean house and home-cooked meals can take precedence over our Day Timer, outside relationships or yes, even ministry if these are the priorities of our husbands. The words keep flooding back…”What good is it to be a public success but a private failure?”

No one, but the Lord knows how excited I have been to have succeeded in designing and illustrating my first blog. To finally give voice to what has been dormant for so long. This may sound like I am quitting, but nothing is further from the truth. It has become necessary for the health of the dream and my husband to take time to regroup and get my houses(s) in order.

* Combo of clip Art
I have shared earlier that my husband’s current health challenges have forced us to make different choices. One of the major choices we have made is to have a building built and placed on our property. In addition to additional storage, this would be the new home for High Art Forms Studio. This in turn, will free space up in our home for my husband’s new office. So…within the next two weeks I will have a dream parked in my backyard, and my husband will be able to sit behind his desk once more.

Nevertheless, all of these changes will still necessitate a move on our part, but with our children being at the helm this time. All of our storage contents will have to be u-hauled back to College Street.

Given the current circumstances…doesn’t this seem financially risky? YES! Doesn’t this seem physically demanding? YES! Haven’t you been frustrated, angry or scared? YES! Hasn’t this hurt your pride to ask for help? YES! Are you going to quit? NO! NO! NO! I may go home to be with the Lord with pen and paper in hand, BUT NO!

From the very beginning the blog was to be the first step of many, but my ultimate goal was to develop a website. As I seek the Lord more diligently, and tend to the needs of my husband, the blog posts and Face Book interaction may be temporarily less frequent.

The newest movie release “Eat, Pray, Love” may be great entertainment, but as I look closer at the movie title, for me, it is a reverse of God’s commands personified. So please excuse me as I powder my red nose, wipe my swollen eyes, and together with King Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:1) get our house(s) in order.

As I process the process I covet your prayers. I pray that you will always save a sweet spot for MODERN ORANGE and the Flynn’s in your hearts.

Habakkuk 2:2-3

Then the LORD said to me,

“Write my answer plainly on tablets,

so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.

This vision is for a future time.

It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.

If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,

for it will surely take place.

It will not be delayed.




    Ta- ta- for now.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

'Miss Effie"

Clip Art ( I did not draw this, but wish I had )
If I am known for anything by my family, it’s my love for a “fresh cup” of coffee. So much so, I carry my own creamer everywhere I go! Alas, our closest Starbucks is forty-five minutes away. Living in a small rural town McDonald’s makes this daily treat possible. My kids lie down in the floorboard of the car, because, much to their chagrin, I always ask, “Do you have some fresh coffee that’s been made in the last few minutes?”

This has become such a ritual of mine that I believe I am actually part of McDonald’s training manual. The longtime employees that know me put on a fresh pot when they see my car coming around the corner. I truly have been spoiled rotten!

For a couple of years before McDonald’s changed to their Columbian brew, I received the same treatment from the little gas station on the corner in a neighboring town. Each morning I was greeted by a very robust Afro-American lady known as ‘Miss Effie.’ She was missing most of her front teeth with the exception of one gold tooth. Her hair was semi combed, but the one thing that was never missing was her love of life and people.

I looked as forward to seeing my buddy as I did my fresh cup of coffee. When she saw me coming she always stopped whatever she was doing to give me her undivided attention. She would say, “Mornin Dahlin’ ready for your coffee?” I loved her!

'Miss Effie' was blind to skin color. Neither bad news nor bad people intimidated 'Miss Effie'. Bits and pieces of conversations revealed she was intimate with life’s hardships. This was a relationship built unconsciously through repetition.

I often wondered if she knew I had an overwhelming desire to take my cup of coffee and snuggle in her armpit. This beautiful brown faced, grey-haired woman made me long for my grandmother. It was my understanding she had been the caretaker of her ill husband and grandchildren. She was a caretaker not only of her family, but humanity. She never flinched whether she was mopping up someone’s drunken mess or a child’s spilled soda. There was a comfort just standing in her shadow.

I knew she was well advanced in years and was working out of sheer necessity. When the Christmas Holidays rolled around once more I felt an urgency to bless Miss Effie with a financial gift. Out of deep respect for her, I did not want this to be a source of embarrassment - so much prayer was devoted as to how and when to give her the gift.

When the time came, I discreetly gave her the envelope. Her response was anything but… Although I thought the gift might be a blessing, I was not prepared for her response. That day ranks as one of the most emotional days of my life. She opened the envelope and lifted her hands toward heaven and started shouting at the top of her lungs, “THANK YOU LAWD! THANK YOU LAWD!” She laid her sweaty brow on my shoulder and wailed….so did I.

The store was packed, but for a moment in time the anguish of a heart’s prayer cry was united with mercy's answer. I was so overwhelmed by her unashamed thankfulness. I kissed her on the cheek and weakly made my way to the car. I laid my head on the steering wheel and just sobbed. That was the last time I saw Miss Effie.

This relationship lasted until I changed my morning routine. I made new friends along with the good coffee, but I still missed my buddy.

Several months later I had a tug on my heart to go and check on my longtime friend. When I pulled up I didn’t see her out front. She was probably in the office counting the money. I looked around, but could not find her. Someone else was working in her place. I said, “Where is my friend 'Miss Effie'?” A look of deep sadness crossed this pretty lady’s face, “Oh honey…..'Miss Effie' has passed.” My heart was screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I didn’t get to tell her good-bye. By this time tears were streaming down both of our faces. Once more I weakly made my way to the car. I laid my head on the steering wheel and just sobbed.

In our day of ever increasing speed and technology where youth has become idolized – make no mistake about it - there is always a need in our society for the Senior Citizens in the workplace. I am grieved and ashamed at how easily we take the 'Miss Effie’s' in our lives for granted, and presumptuously assume they will be there forever.

Till we meet again my friend…. in the sweet bye’ n bye.
  
      t-t-f-n (ta- ta- for- now)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Hello from Heaven

For the last several years I have been experiencing a bit of an unusual phenomenon.

Very often while I am out running my errands children, (all different ages) will wave, no conversation, just a wave. I’ve taken notice of it, but didn’t have the full revelation until the other day.

My husband and I had gone for one of our daily lunch “quick bites.” We went to one of our favorite restaurants in a neighboring town. I was circling the parking lot looking for the perfect parking spot when I saw a little boy walking in our direction.

Not giving him any further thought, I continued to search for a more convenient space when something caught my eye. To my surprise, he was waving at ME! He was waving with such exuberance I now gave him my full attention. I was greeted with a grin so wide it barely fit his face. I realized that he was approximately 11-12 years old, and he apparently had Down Syndrome.

No one was more surprised about what happened next than ME. It was as though he had reached out with his chubby little hands and was squeezing my heart into. Tears sprang out of my eyes and down my face. So much so, I had to regain my composure before we could enter the restaurant.

What had just happened? How did this unknown child have the ability to step right into my space and invade my heart? Could it be that he was so close to the age of our grandson, or his apparent vulnerability?

He was innocence personified. Did he walk with angels? Or simply in his very noncomplex way he was loving everyone he came in contact with in this very complex world. I felt so privileged that I had been given the opportunity to cross paths with this very unique little being. Not knowing all the reasons why, I just lifted a little prayer on his behalf. Regardless, he was a very bright spot leaving a lasting impression right in the middle of my life.

I know there are no chance encounters. Did all of these waving children sense I had just returned from my own grandchildren’s home, and had a very real ache in my heart?

Could it be because I am built like a marshmallow and they had never seen one moving?

No, I simply decided that I have a very loving Heavenly Father and He was just waving HELLO to me through His wonderful, small ambassadors!

t-t-f-n (ta - ta - for - now)

*NOTE:  The cupid with the heart is NOT one of my original drawings, but the marshmallow with the red lips is!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Planted Flowers Today. Jeremiah 29 - Turning Your Captivity

I finally obeyed the Lord... I planted flowers today.

Why Sister Flynn….that’s just awful! PRAISE BE TO GAWWWWWDDD – don’t you obey the Lord every day? No, and neither do you? Even our New Testament example, the Apostle Paul, was not one hundred percent obedient, although, he loved the Lord with all of his heart and ultimately gave his life for the Gospel. Apparently it was a daily struggle that gives us all breathing room.

The story behind the flowers…..Anyone who has known the Flynn’s for any length of time knows that when our son, his wife, and our then 2 year-old grandson left our hometown thirteen years ago to further his education, our hearts went with them. In addition, we now have an eleven-year old granddaughter. The deepest desire of our heart was to be there every step of the way.

People would say...they are only four hours away so what‘s the big deal? The point is...if they were 30 minutes away it has been our goal for us to be there within touching distance. I wanted to prepare the Sunday dinners like my grandmother did. For us it has been the biggest deal, and have been praying for twelve years to make the move.

My husband and I took an extreme leap of faith, at our ages, in hopes of fulfilling our dream. We took all the necessary steps in order for this to transpire. When we closed our business we also closed my studio. We didn’t just turn the keys in on our building, but every rough draft of my children’s books, stories, sketches, and teachings were packed into storage....AGAIN.

In the process, I even had one of the most detailed, specific dreams I have ever experienced! I just knew "My" plan was to begin AGAIN…..when we moved.

There is one thing I have learned in my walk with the Lord. If a scripture from the Word of God or someone speaks a logos word that pierces your heart, you may as well go and get your ice pack and lie down to brace yourself for the big "UH-OH."

This "UH-OH" has been coming for months now, and taken many different forms. We have experienced a major hiccup on the road to Dreamville, and have experienced an unforeseen change of events that no one was prepared for. My husband’s recent health crisis and surgery has drastically rearranged our lives.

As “Plan B” has been unfurled….the Lord revealed the building of my dreams was HERE!!!!!  OH NO!!!! NOT IN THE MOVE, BUT RIGHT WHERE I AM!  RIGHT WHERE I HAVE BEEN!  OH NOOOOOO!  PASS THE ICE!

I did the most adult thing you could do. I cried, and cried, and cried, and cried.... The Lord spoke very gently to my heart and told me it took this long for him to show me. He said my heart could not have taken it any sooner. I cried some more.

As if that "UH-OH" were not enough, the Lord spoke specifically to me several weeks ago to plant some flowers. I had pretty much quit planting live flowers, because everyone knew we were moving..."Hasta La Vista, Adios, just plain ole' bye ya'll!" So I half-way obeyed. I did buy some beautiful flowersORANGE of course. Just one problem….I never planted them. I just couldn’t! That seemed so permanent. Even my poor husband determined to keep them alive watered them, but to no avail. They ultimately bit the dust. No big deal – right?

WRONG! I thought I had gotten away with it. Then lo and behold…We were introduced to a powerful new ministry, “Expected End Ministries”, and a fresh voice in our life by the name of Katie Souza. Her teachings were everything we knew to be true, had taught to some degree, and experienced on a limited scale.

Then, "UH-OH", on one of her teaching CD’s, Katie speaks of a very personal surrender experience. As Pooh Bear says, “I began to have a rumbly in my tumbly.” YUCK! I hate that- when that happens! I feel my emotions trying to go into the fetal position.

My previous post about our little journey out of town was to visit a conference where Katie Souza was ministering. We could never have anticipated what a life changing experience this would be. She does not know us from a load of coal, but God does. In the midst of her teaching she quotes from Jeremiah 29. I know that passage. Verse 11 is the one we have always hung our hats on, and one of my favorite all time scriptures…but GULP…has anyone read or quoted the verses prior to the fun part?????

Jeremiah 29: LETTER TO THE EXILES – EXILES!!!

1 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King Jehoiachin [a] and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) 3 He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:

4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them," declares the LORD.

10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Babel was not only a place of exile, but a place of "confusion." The word 'CAPTIVITY'  means, "A FORMER STATE OF PROSPERITY!"  CAPTIVE means, "ESPECIALLY IN A DISGRACEFUL SENSE!" Hello, this means your disgrace is going to be on display, made public for all of your friends, family and otherwise to see! Often times God is a God of if's (requirements) before you can inherit the blessings of the then's.

"UH-OH!" PLEASE PASS THE ICE - AND THE POTTING SOIL! I looked these passages up in many translations hoping this would say something different. Don’t misunderstand – my roots run deep where I live, very deep, and I love my heritage, but I thought my future was somewhere else.

Could it be? Could this passage be a profound clue to turn our captivity? Could a pot of $2.99 end of the season flowers and fresh revelation of God's Word be the key to release all the unearthed junk and release my heart? Just as when God commands us to pray for our enemies, this prayer, very well, is for the sake of our enemies, but ultimately it is the method by which we secure our own release. The bigger issue is…can we trust God when it appears we have lost all manner of control? Could it be that God is trusting you with captivity for the release of a city, a nation, your future generations?

As I have chewed, and chewed, and chewed....I have determined that captivity may be far more involved than the prison sentence, that our conference speaker Katie Souza, was once sentenced to - but just as hopeless.  Captivity could be our marriages, our health, our finances, our relationships, even our ministries. Captivity could be traditions of men, evil imaginations, strife and offenses, addictions or unfruitful cycles, fears....only you can identify the cell block of your soul.

God is ALWAYS faithful to confirm His Word to your heart. In the midst of the conference schedule, my husband adjourned to the church's prayer room to pray prior to one of the services. He was joined by one of the church's youth. We learned that precious child was known as Morgan. Once more...she did not know us from a load of coal, but God did. She gave my husband a scripture not knowing any of his circumstances.

The last night of the services we had the privilege of visiting with both the Pastor and his wife of this wonderful church. This man of God gave us a gift.  He did not know us from a load of coal, but God did. He gave us
one of Morgan's prized paintings.  He had no way of knowing that I was an artist or the significance of the colors. This painting of ORANGE FLOWERS growing out of a dead black tree trunk depicted how God had turned the captivity in this child's life

How many of you know….the Style Magazines will tell you that for a woman; streaming sweat, stinging tears, and black smudgy mascara would be a major faux pas? It’s ok - I will just avoid all the mirrors in the house, for I rejoice knowing it is a beautiful sight to my Lord. It is the perfect picture of a surrendered heart.

t-t-f-n (ta- ta -for - now)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Welcome To - - - - - -'s BBQ

Soooo after a refreshing few days away and attending a wonderful Christian conference it's time for the Flynn's to return home and share their adventures.... of course!

It's time to go to beddie bye the first night of our stay. The room was wonderful! I knew it had been a long time since our last hotel stay, but I was in for a shock! You know the ole' sayin', "You can take the girl out of the country...but you can't take the country out of the girl."

I looked for the cords to close the curtains - there weren't any! In their place were long circular handles like you would see at the circus. You know.... the ones acrobats or athletes would use to accomplish their daring feats. 2 tired and feet 2 swollen 2 give it 2 much thought I maneuvered the three pairs of curtains and rings to get them closed - at least for the first night!

Our mini-vacation landed us in a beautiful, little historical city. Fifteen minutes from where his father lived for twenty-five years and is now buried.

In between conference meetings we dashed out for a quick lunch. There was a sign out front that promised all you can eat home cooked everything. Only one little problem....we were dining off-peak lunch time.  Everything we requested the waitress shook her head, "Nope." They were almost out of the home cooked  everything.  Very disappointed, we were trying to choose an alternative. A guy passed our table with piled-high  plates of food - enough for a small army. Now we knew why they were out of the home cooked everything.

Quickly running out of time we decided to have the home-made chicken salad with home-made potato salad. I only thought I had tasted every creative chicken salad recipe imaginable. Not yet! I DID recognize the plain white sliced bread, lettuce and tomato. The other stuff not so much.

On the other hand, the potato salad was out of this world!  It became almost embarrassing and was tempting to ask the Senior Citizens Bus Tour Group to turn their heads while we licked the bowls.

The bad chicken salad was worth it, because as we were scarfing down a home-made piece of chocolate peanut butter pie, a movie star walked in....Cruella Deville!  Imagine! You know the wicked character from "101 Dalmations?" My husband kicked me under the table.  I kept staring at her waiting for her to pull out her fur coat, elbow length gloves, her star spangled cigareeete holder, or at least a couple of puppies out of her pockets. The solid shock of white hair smack in the middle of a jet black bubble bouffant was all I had to go on.  Reluctantly, I left the restaurant without her autograph.:o( *I did not draw Cruella, although, I wish I had).

Between the long hours of driving, and sitting in the conference for a couple of days, by the time we headed back to our hotel room I looked like a walking, talking marshmallow. Everything was swollen!

I hobbled into the hotel room to tackle closing all those curtains, again. As I stood there studying those round rings I commented to my husband that they really did look like the things on a trapeze that you put your legs and feet in to swing in the air.

He never looked up from turning back the covers and said, "Don't even think about it...you're so swollen and all."  No need to comment, he was already snoring.

The conference was an amazing gift to us, but it was time to head home.  Ordinarily that would not be a big deal, but this meant at least one more meal on the road. So my husband made the executive decision since he still had a hankerin for something homemade.

We pulled off in - - - - -. We drove up and down the road  trying to decide which of the two places we were going to eat. My husband parked our SUV in the midst of all the pick-up trucks. The majority of trucks had camouflage fishing boats behind them.  I'm feeling pretty iffy. My husband says, "Hey, how bad can this be?  The sign says - - - -'s blesses America?"

It was pretty evident that we were the aliens among the locals. Too late to leave we had already been seen and the waitress was standing there. She looked like one of my grandmothers. Right over the table was the smeared list of the homemade specials of the day. Only one little problem....we were dining off-peak lunch time.

I told my husband I needed to go wash my hands. The restrooms were all but in the middle of the largest table in the restaurant.  The sign on the door said, "TURN REAL HARD."  If  I could hear all the people at the table that well.....hmmmmmm.

It was my husband's turn.  In the meantime, another local wandered in and joined a couple already seated.  He announced loudly that he was sorry he could not shake their hands because he had been spraying "SQUITO DOPE!" He continued...that 'SQUITO DOPE"  only ran em' off for a few days. My husband arrived back at the table and said his sign said, "STEP DOWN."

By now we had been served..V-E-R-R-RY scary. The waitress added a homemade blackberry cobbler to my special.  After the first bite I understood why she was giving it away. Being unsure of where the ribs had come from that I had ordered....I enjoyed the only thing  I could be sure of ...my drink. I watched grandmother pour it out of a can. The place continued to fill up with more and more camouflage.  That was our queue to go. 

Swollen toes, still hungry, and everything - I waddled to our vehicle, my husband just shaking his head (again). Until the next  time we have the nerve to leave the house.

t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for now)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tis' The Season for Produce....

Tis’ The Season for Produce….unless you have severe allergies or your name happens to be Cathy Flynn!


My episodes with produce are becoming almost iconic! (Please refer to former blog, “The Runaway Watermelon.” Clearly, I have some unresolved produce issues! I may be the only person that has been banned from that portion of the grocery store. That seems to be the department where most of my adventures begin, other than walking into the men’s restroom!!

THE TOMATOES I: My husband and I were in a hurry. To save time we divided our very short grocery list, simple, right? He was going to get his favorite cereal, and I was in charge of the tomatoes.

Now my husband is 6’2” and every stride makes up five of mine. I once saw a refrigerator magnet that describes me perfectly. It had a picture of a very fluffy lamb, and said, “Ewe’s not fat…Ewe’s just fluffy.” Enough said! The reason this information is pertinent to this story…my husband had fulfilled his part of the assignment in short order, and was headed my way…ready to go!

I was busy perusing the tomato bins to determine exactly which lucky gems were going home with the Flynn’s to adorn the top of their BLT. I was trying to make BIG decisions. Do I buy a bunch of little ones and cut them up – or the hothouse tomatoes that did not resemble anything I had ever eaten?

Deep in thought, because I needed to hurry, I heard someone saying just how much the cherry tomatoes had changed her husband’s life. I looked up and realized this very attractive lady was talking to me, all the while picking out the ripest packs. She continued…”You know, I married an older man, he is a lot older than I am.” She winked and said, “I mean a lot older. He owns his own business and works 60 hours a week. He is never sick, but must have his snack of cherry tomatoes every day!” WHO KNEW? “And, by the way, we are very wealthy and I have a new Jaguar parked out front. Just because we are rich…I still buy these tomatoes when they are on sale. His kids don’t really care for the tomatoes, but my husband gets grumpy if he doesn’t have his daily dose of tomatoes. He eats them like candy.”

Barely taking a breath, she gasped, “Everyone is jealous because I married him. We have a blended family, but no one likes tomatoes like my husband.” My head looks like a bobble-head doll glued to the back dashboard of a car, as I do not believe my ears. Now ‘MY’ husband, who is only two years older than I am, but maybe could use a couple of tomatoes, has arrived on the scene with the’ Breakfast of Champions’ in hand.

He arrives just in time to see my “new friend” pull out her wallet and with one vale swoop unfolds an entire fan of photographs (How did she fit all those in her purse and still lift it without a crane)? She is now pointing with a very long, newly manicured fingernail to the pictures of her very healthy older husband, and ALL of his children! As she is identifying them one by one and their ages, my husband is standing on one foot and then the other.

Once I was able to get a word in edgewise, I thanked her kindly for her advice and helpful information on the health benefits of the cherry tomatoes. Of course, I congratulated her on her new marriage -then my husband and I bolted for the door! My husband looked at me and said, “That lady seemed really glad to see you. Where do you know her from?” You would think by now – he would know better than to ask!

THE BANANAS: As we are unloading the umpteen loads of groceries, my husband is pilfering through the bags looking for his bananas. He has already planned his breakfast for the next morning. After being together almost 40 years, he has determined that it is much safer and healthier if I do not fix breakfast early in the morning! For both our sakes I do not venture past the coffee pot.

I buy bananas often, my husband doesn’t realize that it is possible to eat his cereal without them. Now, I consider myself as an experienced buyer of bananas. Chiquita and I are best friends. I should know if I bought bananas or not.

Down to the last bag, my husband looks very disappointed and says, “They are NOT here.” I know they are, and to prove a point I whip out the sales receipt. Proof! Three pounds of bananas @ $ .49 a pound. There is the receipt, but where are they? How many places can a banana hide? Even if you can’t see them, you can certainly smell them! We made multiple trips to the car, and searched under the table to no avail - Still no bananas today.

Exasperated, I called Wal-mart. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they have mistakenly been left out of my bags. “No maam (amidst more than one snicker) there were no bananas turned in at the customer service desk.” We both gave up on the mystery of the missing bananas, and just went to bed.

Fast-forward FOUR days. Did I mention that on the same shopping trip I also purchased the cutest flip-flops? I decided my new find would be the perfect complement to my outfit that day. I opened the closet door to be met with the most repugnant, but recognizable, odor. Could that be the smell of bananas wafting from my closet floor??? The answer is YES! I was laughing so hard my poor husband came to investigate the uproar. There they were…..of course, a sack of black bananas! I had been in such a hurry to get the groceries in that I had thrown the bananas in the closet with my new cutest flip-flops!

As usual, my husband was just standing there - shaking his head (again). He says, “I really don’t mind paying for them, but I would like to eat them!” Now if we are missing any produce or dairy products we check the closets first! LOL


THE CUCUMBERS: My least favorite thing to do is shop for groceries, and I was almost finished. Just a few bananas and I am through! HALLELUJAH!

I passed through the produce department just in time to see this older lady waving something green in her hand and over her head. She was talking to someone who appeared to be her son. His appearance was very impressive. He was immaculately dressed, with hands in pocket and a sweater casually draped around his shoulders. He could have been a model had he not been standing squarely in the middle of the local produce market perched between The Vidalia Onions and the Kumquats! Apparently, this dapper young man had brought his mother grocery shopping.

She said (without turning around), “Is this a squash?” Looking at me out of the corner of his eye he answered her, “I don’t know! You are the one that was raised on the farm!” Anyone who knows me very well knows that when I think something is funny….I laugh anywhere, any time!

Still laughing – I make the mad dash for the bananas. I watched in amazement as they quizzed other shoppers, plus the produce manager, over every purchase they made.

H-m-m-m-m….‘Heads’ it is a squash – ‘Tales’ it isn’t.


THE CANTALOUPE: We jump in the car to head to my husband’s latest doctor’s appointment. He wrinkles up his nose and says, “What’s that smell?” Oh dear…..I knew I was forgetting something! It would not be so bad if we were not experiencing a heat wave and it’s usually at least a 101 degrees in my SUV.

It really didn’t take much searching to determine the culprit. There lodged under the seat was the largest, mushiest cantaloupe you ever saw. So what’s the big deal? It was fine when I bought it.

RECIPE TIP OF THE DAY: DO NOT (under any circumstances) leave unattended cantaloupe in the hot, hot car for more than four hours at a time. CAUTION – IT WILL BAKE! As the scrubbing bubbles say, “E-E-W-W-W!”


THE TOMATOES II: Once more, after recovering from my last tomato trauma, I was bravely going to shop again. With new found resolve, I was reaching for the only, barely ripe tomato in the entire store. I was interrupted to hear a voice say, “Put those back! They are expensive and no good!”

I turned around to discover one of the cutest little ole’ ladies I have ever seen. Although, she was shorter than I am, she spoke with great authority. “Honey, you need to buy these.” (Of course, the magic cherry tomatoes).

I was fascinated and completely forgot about the tomatoes! My new friend was color coordinated in her lavender ensemble, tan pumps, red fingernails and red lips to match, soft grey curls, and beautiful jewelry. This was my kind of girl, and I was very interested to know what she was saying. This little doll now had my undivided attention!

“I’m 93 and have just bowled two games. I bowl every week ya know. (No I didn’t) My sciatic nerve is actin’ up today, and I have been to the Chiropractor.” As she was reaching for two more containers of the cherry tomatoes, she continued… “My mother and sister lived to be 98.” She stopped in the middle of a sentence and waved me off, “Have a great day honey…bye.”

H-m-m-mI wonder if they sell these things by the case.

One of my favorite, former Pastors once told me that the Lord would give me ideas for witty inventions. I FINALLY HAVE IT! The Produce Department should have yellow tape and red lights. The produce should be marked with hazardous warning labels, built in GPS systems, expiration dates and alarms for people like me! I know there are personal shoppers for everything imaginable, maybe, just maybe, I should consider…

t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for now)