Tuesday, April 19, 2011


When Edd and I first met he found out I mowed my own grass and did all the yard work at my house.  Without a man to do it and not wanting to spend my limited income, I didn’t think twice about tackling the job myself.  I just did it.   In Texas the grass grows quickly in the summer so every week it would need to be done again. I really didn’t mind though. 

I didn’t spend much time thinking about it, but did notice that Edd never volunteered to help me.  I knew he cared about me and wanted to spend time with me, but didn’t want that to be one of the activities we did together!  Later on he even told me he’d pay for me to get a lawn service if it meant we could spend more time together... but he wasn’t going to do it himself.

As time went on I learned why.

He tells stories about being a little boy in New Jersey and cutting the lawn.  He remembers being behind a push lawn mower (not motor powered!) and he and his brother Mark are holding their little arms up high so they can reach the bar to push the mower along together.  That is such an endearing picture to me.  When I suggested that they probably told their dad that they wanted to help with the grass, Edd always says, “No, I don’t think so!”  He remembers these first  experiences with mowing.   I asked how old he was at the time and says… “Young!”   He knows that because his family left New Jersey when he was only in the third grade.

There were four brothers in his family and two sisters.  Edd was the oldest boy.  He remembers leaving Conroe, Texas to go to UT in Austin for college.   He wasn’t around anymore to cut the grass at home. That’s when his dad hired a lawn service! 

Years went by and he mowed his own yard at various homes he owned.  After his divorce he decided that yard work was a thing of the past and he bought a condo.  Soon after that we met.  Yard work is just something he made a decision to not spend his time on anymore… he did it long enough… and if you knew my husband you’d know that when he makes a decision he usually sticks to it unless he has a very good reason to change.  It’s actually a good trait that I like about him.

I only had to cut the grass if I wanted to when I was growing up.  I don’t think my dad thought it was work for girls.  I remember doing it once or twice.  Growing up where I did in northern New Jersey was magical as I look back.  There were hills to climb and fields to run across.  There were wooded areas (safe wooded areas) and wildflowers to pick.  I spent much of my time outside.  I remember playing on cliffs pretending I was going to lose my grip and fall … but just in time I would get “rescued” by a handsome man… some kind of childhood knight-in-shining-armor type.

Now Edd only wants me to do the yard work if it’s fun for me.  So we get a yard service to do it because I would need to spend most of my day on our yard to get it to look half as nice as the yard guys do.  Now I plant flowers and do some weeding and projects I want or like to do. 

Funny to think while I was having my happy New Jersey childhood, my now-husband had no idea he was having experiences that he’d share with me someday.  He would someday become my real-life knight in shining armor.  And not just in regard to mowing the lawn.

Monday, April 18, 2011

heavenly day

It was a good day. I've learned to believe that any day that is without a crisis or one that is just normal and maybe even "ordinary" is a really good day. Today was.

Edd went to his work today. Even though he's been working from home for weeks now, he actually went into the office early this morning for half of the day. It was a big deal because he now has lost his hair from the radiation and can’t really hide the fact that he has cancer.  It’s hard for him but he got through it… and it was okay. He is good at his job and I'm sure people were glad to see him.   I just love this man.

Came home and we had an old friend of his over for dinner. Cooked some cheeseburgers out on the grill. The guys had a beer and I had some Shiraz. Just good stuff. Talked about life. The kind of day I love.

On another subject.  We are responsible for the energy we bring to any situation.  People don’t always realize what they bring with them and how they appear to others.  They wonder why they are perceived a certain way… but we all have a certain energy that comes with us wherever we go.  Positive, negative, encouraging.  There are people who consistently bring you down.  There are some people who are self centered and others who are others centered.  We are responsible for the energy we bring with us.  I want to be someone who brings positive energy.  Uplifting.  Oh, life is often hard, and challenging… and not always gentle and nice.  I don’t want to live ignoring that evil and hardship exists.  I want to be human... real and authentic... and admit my struggles.  But I would like to be able to see the good that can come out of the darkest of nights.

Some days are harder than others… but today was GOOD.

It was a heavenly day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

thoughts jotted down with a few pictures thrown in for my amusement (yeah that's a good title 'cause I couldn't think of one)

As time goes on our thinking evolves.  Our ideas about things change and so do our perspectives.  There are some things I just don’t believe anymore…. and plenty of things I do.

I just don’t have to have the latest gadget.  I’ve grown to relax over some things in life.   Just going into the Apple store recently was fun… and quite interesting in its busy-ness.  But I value simplicity more and just want to slow down.

I don’t need everyone to think the same as me or believe the same as I do.  I used to want to argue my point much more than I do today.  I just don’t care anymore.  Maybe that’s good… or maybe it’s not ….

Just because someone who looks or sounds intelligent says or writes something it doesn’t mean it’s true.  Degrees don’t necessarily equal the type of intelligence I admire or respect.

That I need to try the newest diet product, weight-loss pill, super food, meal plan, exercise routine, or miracle drink… each of which costs lots of money and is making someone rich and most of us (still) FAT.  Eat less and move more is now my motto and what I want to strive for each day.


That God wants to give us everything we pray for.  He can’t; He loves us too much. He doesn’t always give us what we want but gives us what we need.  I have more questions than answers but if He created me He must know what is best for me.  My greatest prayer is for faith to believe.

That no one can manipulate my emotions if I don’t want them to.  I’m not enslaved to the media or TV news shows to dictate how I am going to think or feel any given day.  Even if the worst does happen I will go on living the best life I can.

That just because someone calls themselves Christian doesn’t mean they are.  I have judged some wonderful people over the years because they didn’t fit into my very narrow mold at the time. 

Republicans are not more moral or “right” than anyone else.   I find myself in the middle most of the time and wish people would work together more.


There are all shapes of people in the world and none are better than others.  I’ve spent way too much time in my life fretting over my body image and judging others accordingly… and it’s robbed  me of joy I could have otherwise had! 

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. ~Judy Garland

Monday, April 11, 2011

childhood reading....

Some of my best memories are of my girls when they were growing up.  I loved being their mom. Thankfully one thing I will never have to say is that I didn’t spend enough time with them. 

Talking to my daughter Jenni the other evening reminded me of how wonderful those growing up years were for me.  I know there were struggles and no family is perfect but I am so thankful for the time we had to be together.  I hope they always know they were my priority and were loved. 

Some of the best moments for me were the countless bedtime stores.  Boy did we READ!  We would snuggle up together EVERY night and read before saying our goodnight and I love yous.   When they were very little there were picture books with few words.  I love books with beautiful illustrations but of course the words were just as important. As they got older the books still had wonderful pictures … but more words.  The stories became longer and more complex.  Later we moved to chapter books like Little House on the Prairie, Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and Strawberry Girl.


When thinking of my all time favorite children’s books, these will always be on the top of my list.  I think every child should have them read to them and should know they are deeply loved.


This story begins while a son has just been born. The story continues through the life of the boy until he is a grown man. The mother continues to rock her son to sleep singing "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be." Later, the role is reversed and he holds his elderly mother and says "I'll love you forever I'll like you for always as long as I'm living my Mommy you'll be." At the very end of the story, the mother passes away and her son is the father of a little girl, rocking her to sleep singing the same song that his mother used to sing to him.

It doesn’t get any better than that.  The story will definitely bring out a tear or two.

Corduroy was read and reread also. As the bear sits and waits for someone to buy him off the store shelf, there is also a little girl who is searching for a special toy to be more than just an ordinary toy; she wants a toy that will also be her friend.


The Little House is a book about the worries of a country house who watches many changes occurring around him.  I like its happy ending.


The Runaway Bunny is another favorite as are other books by Margaret Wise Brown.  I find it almost comical the way some people try to analyze and interpret some of these simple stories making them into something they were never intended to be.

runaway bunny

Some say this book is a treatise on a mother's smothering love or how awful it is that this bunny really hates his mother.  I choose to believe the story, written in the 1940s, is nothing more or less than an earnest expression of every parent's limitless love for his or her child.

Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.
So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”
“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.
For you are my little bunny.”
“If you run after me,” said the little bunny,
“I will become a fish in a trout stream

and I will swim away from you.”
“If you become a fish in a trout stream,” said his mother,
“I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you.”

And so it goes….

So many books…. Make Way for Ducklings, Apple Tree Christmas, Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Giving Tree, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Polar Express, Madeline,  The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Blueberries for Sal, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight Moon, The Pokey Little Puppy…  these are only a small fraction of the hundreds, if not thousands of books we read…. 

Time very well spent.

Friday, April 8, 2011

spring planting

I braved the hot Texas sun in the afternoon to scurry over to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  I figured since we are members I may as well take advantage of the Member’s Only native plant sale going on today.  I’m a sucker for a sale even if it’s just 10% off!

I want to see if the native flowers will be happier in my back yard than the poor petunias and impatiens that suffer horribly in the mid summer heat.  Even though those pretty little annuals are described as liking “full sun” they sure can’t mean the TEXAS sun. 

So I happily bought some Texas flowers today with names like Mealy Blue Sage, Blackfoot Daisy, Lance Leaf Coreopsis, Red Autumn Sage, Tahoka Daisy, Drummond Phlox, Square Bud Primrose and Purple Coneflower.  Hopefully they’ll like my yard and decide to stick around year after year.

flowers 002

I bought a young plant that I’ve wanted for over a year... ever since I saw how pretty it looked in the Fall.  It’s called American Beautyberry and will grow to be the size of a shrub or small tree.


I like the thought of planting these Texas native flowers.  I like that they are hardy and strong.  I think if THEY can handle the summer heat maybe I’ll be able to also!  I’ll be rooting for them… cheering them on!  I like that some of them can grow on cliffs and rocky soil. 

I’m still going to plant my basil  because we use the basil leaves all summer long to make pesto and other yummy recipes.  I’ll see if lavender grows well here too. Even their leaves smell wonderful!

flowers 005

On the other hand, if my planting doesn’t pay off and my little Texas flowers don’t make it, next year I’ll skip all the work and just make a financial contribution to the Wildflower Center!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

what if

There is something about a walk in the coolness of the day that brings to me fresh thinking and a clear stream of consciousness.  I think I should bring a mini tape recorder with me to record my thoughts because later as I return to my journal I  find the thoughts and ideas have vanished like waking from a dream.  Such was my experience again this morning.

As I walked I thought of my fragile faith.  There have been too many times when I have struggled to find God in the daily grind and my questions outnumber my answers.  I thought I was doing my part...seeking, praying, listening, waiting..and yet nothing.  Is that an element of faith? Believing even when everything seems dark? When you feel you're in a ship tossed about at night and your navigation system just isn't working?

As the wind pushed against me I was reminded how much more energy is needed when there is resistance.  It's obviously easier to walk when the wind is at my back.  We almost glide along.  Such is life... We push forward in spite of the winds of fear, and our body's weaknesses. It’s nicer when you can go about your day without worry or fear or challenges.  But that is not a life of purpose or growth or depth. It’s  not how we increase our strength.


I find myself pondering what ifs…The “what ifs” that, if believed, would make life easier, the road less scary.   Joy… if my faith were only stronger…. If I could just work out my salvation just a little bit more…..

What if the Bible, all of it, really IS true?
What if God really DOES love us, loves ME?
What if He will never leave me or forsake me?
What if He is preparing a place for me in heaven?
What if there really IS everlasting life?
What if we WILL really see our loved ones again and meet together at a huge banquet table?
What if we will really be where there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain when the old order of things has passed away?
What if God really DOES work all things together for good?
What if His eye really IS always on me… and He cares what I am going through?
What if God really did become man, Jesus, to show us what He was like and to die for our sins so we could live forever the way we were intended to?

I do think my small faith is at least as big as a mustard seed though so I hope God will honor that.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What a beautiful day! The air has been cooler and dryer and it's been nice to open some windows wide.

Edd's been having some balance problems and his ears are stopped up since getting the radiation so we went to see our old friend, Dr. Lindsay today who said he had some fluid around the ear drum. Hopefully the decongestant he prescribed will help my poor unbalanced hubby! This new development has been tough on him. He does tell me how he's feeling but mostly because I made him promise to!

Today we were talking about how everyone has problems and complaints. We certainly have our share but Edd said before cancer he had worries too and probably complained and worried at least as much then.  He said his "top ten" has just changed now. I guess that's true. As our perspectives and realities change so does what we worry about. Some things we used to worry about just aren't that important any more.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What love looks like

It’s displayed in a look of understanding between two people who would rather suffer themselves then watch the other one in pain.
It’s in the tears and the broken heart of one who has watched the dreams of another dashed.
It’s in the joyful happy heart of one who rejoices with another who has succeeded and overcome!

It’s in the gentle touch of one hand on another that silently says it will be okay, I’m here for you… I always will be.
It’s in the feet of the one getting up and bringing that first cup of coffee to another who would love getting it in bed.
It is reflected back to us in the eyes of someone who believes in us and would do anything to make us happy.
It’s seen in the middle of the night when the baby is crying and a tired mother shuffles over to feed, comfort and soothe like only a mommy can.
It looks like compassion in the eyes of someone who desperately desires to take the sting out of life for another.

It’s displayed by hurtful words that are left unspoken.
It is seen kneeling in prayer and pleading for God to make Himself real and present in the life of another who needs comfort and help.
It’s looking someone in the eye and listening, really listening, to the cries of their heart.
It’s acted out through countless decisions every day that put another first before yourself.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15