Sunday, August 20, 2017

SUMMER READING...

I've started a funny habit...checking out books that sound interesting to me, then if I don't get hooked pretty quick, I just move on to something else.  So I get several at a time and end up maybe finishing only one of them.  These are the ones I've read this summer that were the best!


Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock  This is a fictional story of two sisters in a rural town and how they comfort each other with an abusive father. A little hard to read at times, but gave me more empathy for people in this kind of situation.  Crazy twist at the end!


Modern Mindfulness by Rohan Gunatillake  This one gives you exercises to think about as we manage all the information coming into our lives on a constant basis.  I'm constantly looking for ways to simplify!



At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider  An account of a family of five as they take a trip around the world.  Her thoughts as she struggles between the love of adventure and new experiences but longs for home. Loved her insights but I no longer think I would like to do a trip this long.  :)



Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu   Basically what this book said to me was to let others do things - so what if they don't do it just like you? Drop the perfectionist tendencies.  Good for leaders and Moms.



Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth  This book is  a guide based on the teaching in Titus 2 about the older women teaching the younger.  It examines the character traits from the passage and gives questions at the end of each chapter for older women and younger women to help them examine their lives.


The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon  The true story of a young woman in Afghanistan and how she provided for her family during a difficult time under the oppression of the Taliban.  I gained a lot of understanding about their culture and how this war has affected their families.




Monday, August 14, 2017

HOW ABOUT YOURS...



How's your routine?

Sometimes we feel we are just going through the motions. Our heart is not in our work. I am constantly striving to make my life a fluid movement with God as the Master Teacher.  Still, sometimes I stumble and fall out of line…

I was able to join my husband on a business trip to New York City recently, where we attended a musical production.  It was fabulous to say the least!  Gifted, well-rehearsed performers in a beautiful theatre with gorgeous costumes, music and lights put on a wonderful show.  It was a thing of beauty.  I’ve watched a lot of high school productions, too, as my children performed through the years.  I loved them all – how can you not when it’s your child and their friends?  Some of the kids were gifted performers and excellent with the choreography, some were not.  Some reminded me of snappy cheerleaders; some like a herd of elephants!  But with time they became more confident and the movements become more natural and beautiful.  They gained stage presence and became something truly enjoyable to watch.  Their heart was in their performance and it showed in their smile. 

How about your life – your routine? Does your heart match your movement?  No matter what comes, we can be confident as we live life, because as believers we have the actual Spirit of God helping us. Galatians 5:25 reminds us “if we live by the spirit to keep in step with the Spirit.” We keep in step by paying attention to the Word, listening to the Master Teacher, and practicing! Rely on Him to make your routine into a thing of beauty.

Sometimes I wish I was a dancer; with beautiful movements to match the music.  But even more, I hope my heart for God shows in the rhythm of life as it comes. 





Sunday, August 6, 2017

NYC SOLO (MOSTLY)...

A business trip came up for The Hubs in New York City recently, and I had the opportunity to go, even though I would be on my own most of the time.  I jumped at the chance, since it had been 9 years since I'd been there.  I have to say I had a little apprehension, but all went well and this is one time I have to admit I love technology!  I used TripAdvisor, Mapquest, Uber and Google Maps a lot!

 I did a lot of things, but my favorite thing was the Original Greenwich Village Food Tour.  Not only did we stop in a lot of shops/restaurants to taste different foods, but we also learned a lot of history about the neighborhood.  Our guide was funny and knowledgeable and the three hours flew by!  He also had our names memorized before the tour began and was really good at engaging the group and encouraging friendships among us.  I only wish I had done this tour the first day so I could have gone back and eaten lunch or dinner at some of the places!




Another thing that was special was meeting a friend's daughter for lunch!  She has lived up there for 3 years, part of that time earning her Master's degree.  We had a good visit and she recommended a free exhibit at the Fashion Museum that I went to after lunch.

There's an area called Chelsea Market that is a great old Nabisco factory turned into a little mall of specialty shops, food booths, and restaurants.  I walked through once with The Hubs and decided a return trip was needed.  One morning I went and I was buying something and started visiting with what turned out to be the owner.  She was so sweet and said, "I have a gift for you!" She proceeded to give me furniture oil and butcher block oil from the same maker of the notecards I bought.  She said it wouldn't sell because their customers were all young people with IKEA furniture - Ha!  Anyway, I accepted the gift and managed to get home with it by checking it in my luggage.  Who says New Yorkers are unfriendly?  Wasn't my experience!

I also visited the Guggenheim, took the wrong subway to get there, so had to call Uber to rescue me!  That was a wasted 30 minutes and $33!  The Tenement Museum was a great hands-on history lesson but I think I would have enjoyed it more had I gone in the morning.  I was pretty worn out by the time I got there (had to go at 3 p.m. due to early tickets being sold out).  Live and learn!

With our love of outdoors, we managed to do several things together that were fun and great exercise too - walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, walk the High Line, and bike along the Hudson River to Battery Park.  The bridge walk was really crowded but the other things were great!



Being solo was a little out of my comfort zone for exploring NYC, but I do feel like I have a new confidence in myself.  It's always good to stretch yourself!  What better place to do it?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

WHEN YOUR KIDS INVITE YOU SOMEWHERE...

WOW, How fun for the tables to turn and all of a sudden YOU are invited someplace by the kids!  It's started happening with Mother's Day at my daughter's house and now a weekend lake trip with my son and his sweet wife!  

We stayed at her parent's mobile home that had a gorgeous view of Lake Tenkiller.  It was a great time of reminiscing for us, especially since my parents owned a lake house and boat there for many years before my Dad's death in 2001.  At that time they sold it all and despite our best intentions, we've only visited a couple of times since then. 

Ready to check out the lake - including Tucker!











 Happy 26th birthday to our son!


Beautiful sunset from the deck of the cabin! We enjoyed this special time with our kids.  Kinda fun to not be in charge but just going along with what they had planned.  



Monday, July 17, 2017

SHREVEPORT VOLUNTEERING...

Like many volunteer works, you leave with a sense of fulfillment from some small task, and awareness of how much more work there is to do!  We participated in a type of mission work this past weekend in Shreveport, LA.  It was interesting and such a blessing to both me and The Hubs.

We first heard about this from a friend at church.  She participates in the Fuller Center for Housing Bicycle team.  The team does long rides across the country, spending nights in church gyms along the way, and participating in building works the Fuller Center does in different areas of the United States.  The ride she was on started in June in San Francisco, and is going across the entire country to Atlanta!  Can you imagine?

She asked us to join the team to encourage them as they stopped in Shreveport for a building project. We drove down and got there Friday at dinner time and were treated to dinner with the bicyclists at the Fuller Center.  In typical southern hospitality, we were served home-made Gumbo, rice, salad, chocolate cake, and sweet tea!  It was delicious!  We heard a presentation about the Fuller Center and were given some instruction about the work we would do the next day.  After the dinner they told us there was a balloon festival nearby on the LSU-Shreveport campus.  So all of us piled into two vans and our vehicle and went to check it out.  I had never been to a balloon festival before.  It was awesome! For King & Country was playing a concert there and also they had fireworks!

A table centerpiece at Friday night's dinner at Fuller Center NWLA


 Balloon festival

I had my first experience "glamping" with the team in the Fellowship Hall of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament church.  It was the right price - FREE.  We got up early and were on the job site at 8 a.m.  We split up and did jobs like installing hurricane clips, painting, caulking, framing a shed, cleaning up the job site, mowing, etc.  We also met the future homeowners and the wife was able to stay and work with us that day.  It was hot and humid and we worked hard until 2:30 p.m. Some of the group went to work in their store of donated building supplies also.  






After cleaning up and resting the Fuller Center took all of us to a restaurant renowned for it's "All You Can Eat Catfish."  It was a great time! One of the things I enjoyed most was finding out where the different members of the bicycle team were from and asking the older ones about how they trained.  Would you believe they have several 70+ on this 9 week bicycle tour? 

One of the craziest things was our sleeping quarters.  It was, well, vintage, to put it nicely.  As we returned from the restaurant and flipped on the lights, we saw something running across the floor. And then we saw 3 or 4 more of them.  The Hubs took care of them for us.  Let me just say Louisiana grows much bigger cockroaches than Oklahoma does!  After someone reassuring us that "at least roaches don't bite," I zipped myself up as much as I could in my sleeping bag.  I finally fell asleep!  



We went to church with our friend the next morning and went by the grocery store for her to pick up some things, then said our goodbyes.  We left with a sense of appreciation for the Fuller Center for Housing, and a sense of wonder in the way God works in the lives of people.   
























Tuesday, July 11, 2017

RED RIVER, NEW MEXICO...40 YEARS LATER

We had a family vacation way back in the 70's to Red River, New Mexico - hadn't been there since!  But for my Mother's 75th birthday my sister and I wanted to take her somewhere nice and cool for that special day.  We chose to visit Red River again after all these years.  The size hadn't changed much but there are many more small hotels and condos, along with restaurants and shops.  No big name hotel chains or big box stores.  It's really charming.  You can walk to everything!  We had lots of good times just chatting, laughing, eating out and challenging Mom with a few adventuresome activities!
 Lots of cute places for pictures downtown

At the restaurant at the top of the mountain

Riding up on the ski lift - a 30 minute ride




Mallette Park and cracking ourselves up over selfies!

Mountain tubing

Renting a 4wdrive for a few hours and going up to Greenie's Peak
Hike in Mallette Park


We did spend an afternoon in Taos, too!

At the Mexican Imports store and Taos Plaza

Bent St. Cafe for birthday lunch - so delicious!

Thankful.