On Eagle's Wings

On Eagle's Wings
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Welcome to Wednesday Hodgepodge and my answers are below. If you want to join, copy the questions to your post and then link over to Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. I have come to look forward each week to the questions and reading as many of the others' answers as possible.

1. July 24th is Amelia Earhart Day.  Earhart was the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  What's something you've recently accomplished solo?

Well, gee. I guess it’s been a long time since I accomplished something “solo” that was of any import and made me jump up and down and say, “Whoopee!” ;-)

2.  What's one product you use that never ever fails?

Can it be possible on this earth that there is something that never, ever fails? There is one product I use that has proved successful for me over the years. That would be my Giovanni styling gel and Root 66 paired together for my very fine hair. Good stuff.

3. Have you found your place in the world? Where is it?

I believe so. I’m secure in my relationship with the Lord, what could possibly be a better place? As far as the world goes, I am content and blessed with my family and believe my calling is to being wife, stepmom to the bonus kids and Nonnie to the grandkids, honored to serve them and my church family, and just enjoy the life I have been blessed with and that we have been able to contribute and assist others.
And, as far as my place in the world location-wise, it was 28 years ago that my first husband passed away suddenly and rocked my little place in the world. The plan I had shortly after was to pull up stakes where I was and head back for the safe place of the town I grew up in and be with family. After I began my search to re-locate, I began to feel that the Lord was telling me He had something for me right where I was and that I should stay there. That was one of the best decisions I ever made and so glad I listened to Him.

4.  Worst movie you ever saw?

So many bad movies we have walked out of, but one that stands out is Waterworld.

5. What's the last fun thing you did?

Yesterday we took the kids to the Rainforest Splash Park and had a blast watching them enjoy the water. It was a lot of fun to watch them and also fun for me to be out in the sun and splashing around with them. It was a beautiful day.

6. The month of July is named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar...ever been to Rome? What's your favorite Italian dish?

We visited Rome in 2002 and saw all the sights, ate gelato, pizza, and other delicious foods. One of the most memorable things about that trip was the train ride from Venice to Rome - we went by Orient Express. What a luxurious train! (And everybody was decent - no murders on the Orient Express that trip!)

Chicken Scallopini!! (lasagna, chicken Parmesan, chicken marsala, (hee-hee - lots of favorites)!

7. What is one piece of advice you'd offer new mom Kate Middleton?

To relax and follow her instincts as a mom so she can enjoy her son.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Our friends from Florida have been here since the first week of June, and I have grown accustomed to seeing them so often - almost every single day. Now they will be leaving us and I am sad to see them go. This seems to be a pattern in life when I find a friend who is such a kindred spirit.

The news reports are so disturbing and it seems that many things are being stirred up unnecessarily in order to create more discontentment. It was refreshing to watch the news about the new prince and see the parents beaming with pride at each other and their son.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Scaredy Cat

Here we go again!! It's that time of year to vacate and venture into new territories of exploration.


While it is always exciting to think about a new adventure, it brings up those old anxieties again .. leaving the comfort zone called home. It is certainly something I wish I could get to the bottom of, and have tried to analyze it many times, but ... probably best not to go there.

DH and I have been to many different and exciting places ... traveled all over Europe, been to Israel a couple of times, Greece and Turkey, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, cruises, and have tons of souvenirs, photos and memories to show for it. (I tell you this only so you know it's not like this is the first time we've ventured away from the home territory.)

The vacation itself will be a good one, but unfortunately it also involves figuring out a few little details a lot of work such as how we will get from point A to point B in a city unfamiliar to us. Chicago!!! That is the part that is scary to me!  See, I was hardly able to type this for biting my nails thinking about it. Yes, I've been to other big cities, but my preference is to know someone will be waiting at the airport watching for us, waving a big sign, and then directing us from one place to the next.

Yes, yes, I know, I know. I will get past this ... again. I really don't mean to be a scaredy cat.

Once we get out of the big city and on to the "real" vacation, I think we'll be just fine. Chicago is only the starting point for what should be a fun train trip to see a few of our beautiful national parks out west.

P.S. All things in perspective now, and I can truly tell you that laughter is the best medicine. 

Last night I asked my friend Alice about the airport in Chicago, since she has been there many times. Alice is one of the sweetest, dearest, kindest persons, so you have to know that she wasn't laughing at me, but when I expressed my concerns and anxieties crazy unfounded worries to her, she absolutely erupted into peals of laughter. We had the best time just laughing over my having made a molehill into a really big mountain.

Yessirrreee! If anybody can do it, I can!

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, 
but a good word makes him glad."
(Proverbs 12:25)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Okay, here we go. Here are my answers to this week's Indulging in the Hodgepodge from Joyce at From This Side of the Pond
You can answer the questions on your own blog then link with Joyce and the others to read everybody else's answers. 
Thank you, Joyce.
1. Picture postcards were first printed back in the mid-1800's and deltiology is the official name for postcard collecting. When did you last send a postcard?  Receive one? Do you save postcards sent to you? Do you collect and/or send postcards when you travel?

I always have to fill out a postcard at the doctor's office so they can then mail the card to me. So kind of sort of, I mail postcards to myself here in my own town.
If I strain my brain, I think maybe I mailed postcards from Greece a few years ago. Back in the old days, (when I was more faithful about keeping photo albums), in addition to taking my own pics, I would buy postcards of the sights we visited. My little camera really couldn’t do justice to many of the things we saw and so I put postcards in my album alongside my own photos, so I could remember all that we saw and did.

2. What treat do you most like to indulge in while on vacation?

I wonder if it might be trying new foods, desserts without guilt, and shopping. It’s always fun to come away with a useful and lasting souvenir, such as earrings or an article of clothing which I will usually wear until it turns to rags.

3. Are you good at hiding your feelings?

Joy, happiness, excitement and relief I can’t hide.
Other feelings? It depends on the situation and the people involved. I can hide my disappointment or anger and hurt, but sooner or later, my facial expression or quietness will give others a clue that something isn’t quite right. It happened just this past week-end that I found myself in a situation like that, but I did manage to hide my feelings.
4. Does your town/city/county still deliver telephone books to your home?

Yes, and they instantly go to recycle. I have no need for them.

Do you check the yellow pages when searching for a local business number or has the Internet replaced the phone book in your home?

The Internet has replaced the phone book when searching for restaurants, shops, that kind of thing. When I need a local business such as a plumber or carpet cleaning service, I refer to a local research book to find the companies with higher ratings.

5. Would you rather be first or last?

When answering questions in a group setting or ordering in a restaurant, I want to be last so I can have time to give a little thought to my answer. Also, if I hear someone else’s answer, it will usually jog my memory. If it is something that might be painful, I would just as soon be first and get it over with.

6. July is National Park and Recreation Month (in America, but everyone can still play along)...where and when were you last in a park?  Did you participate in any recreational activities while you were there?

The last national park we visited was the Smoky Mountain National Park. We rode the train through the park, but I don’t think riding a train counts. We didn’t hike and I don’t remember there being any other recreational activities offered.

7.  What was one of your worst ideas?

Hmmmmm. I usually think my ideas through because my husband will take off and go with them, so I have to be careful about voicing ideas.
When we moved into our current house, there were two ugly mesquite trees in the far back yard. My idea was to have that portion of the back yard landscaped with native plants. Good idea. But, I trusted the landscaper totally on what to plant. Bad idea. My plan was to surround the native mesquite trees with plants so DH wouldn’t be harmed by the mesquite thorns when working in the yard. But geez, on both ends of the area, the landscaper planted yuccas which had killer needles on them so that you couldn’t work around them without being seriously stabbed. We also didn’t give a thought to the fact that future grandchildren would be playing in the back yard. After they came along, it was a must that DH and son had to remove the yuccas and the mesquite trees.


You can see the yuccas on the left and behind the mesquite tree. Those things were HUGE by the time we removed them and I am so glad they are gone.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Very thankful the past few days for the changes in the weather. To have temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s in Texas in July AND rain is such a blessing. Rain during a drought is a treasure. I know that to others, rain can be a scourge and seem never-ending.
But ... looks like the heat will be back today and chances of rain are gone. It was great while it lasted, and I enjoyed all of it.

Not having ever watched the TV show GLEE, I had never heard of Cory Monteith (I know, I know ... my brother says "what planet are you living on?") until his death this week. What a tragic end to what sounds like a very talented person at such a young age. Here is a statement from a news story.
"Despite his demons with drugs and alcohol, multiple sources have said Monteith was as happy as can be with life, personally and professionally."
And a close friend said, “____ was just a great guy,” added a close friend. “He touched so many lives.”
I know nothing about this person except what the media reports about him and what his friends say. What I am thinking about is how very sad it is that a person can seemingly have everything this world can offer in the way of fame, talent, money, and relationships. But what does it profit a man if he has the whole world and loses his own soul? When I read stories about these kind of tragedies, I usually skim over the story to see whether any mention is made of that person's faith. I want to know if he knew the One who could save him. I want to see a testimony of what he believed. It is always my hope that somehow they did know.




Monday, July 15, 2013

From Around the House

A beautiful sunrise last week
Three turtledoves
My Miniature Schnauzer Trudy is one tough little trooper. She is 14 years old, still chases rabbits and barks wildly at squirrels she sees through the front door. Bless her heart, the last couple of weeks have been hard for her. Being so old, her joints are stiff, and one morning (I think she forgot to stretch) she fell down the stairs. :-( She limped a little, and also rested for a couple of days, but she didn't seem to be in pain. A couple of days later, I came running down the stairs, eyes straight ahead, and guess who was lying in front of the door at the foot of the stairs? Trudy! I never saw her and stepped right on her. Not even a whimper did she make ... she just stood up and shook. When I tried to make it up to her with a treat, as she backed up, the iRobot vacuum caught her back legs. Would you believe that today when she sees me coming, she gives me a wide berth?
Trudy keeping an eye on things
(and keeping away from me)
 I have been managing to keep plants alive in spite of the lack of rain.

The hibiscus doesn't look real


Today is day two of clouds, cooler temps,
scattered showers,
and I'm lovin' it!

In July? In Texas?

 Rain!!!!! Rain!!!!!! Please stay for a while.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I'm late, I'm late ...

Well, I suppose there are no deadlines here in Blogland, but nevertheless, it would be nice to stay up-to-date on posts.

Here are a few pics from the past couple of weeks.

Mama couldn't get their swimsuits on them fast enough
for some fun in the sprinkler and the hot tub with Grandpa.
And they wouldn't stand still for a pic - Kate is trying to hug Jack here.

I think I will have a grape popsicle next.

Pancakes and bacon are the traditional breakfast fare at our house when grandkids are with us. Lots of bacon! And Kate wants to be in the kitchen with me to measure and stir the pancake batter. She is such a helper, bringing her stepstool so she can assist Grandpa in placing the bacon on the griddle. She stirs up the flour and sugar and eggs, etc. for the pancakes. Setting the table is another task she does while the bacon and pancakes are cooking. (And when the bacon is done - it is put away until after the pancakes are eaten because otherwise, breakfast would consist of nothing but bacon for them! ;-))

Nothing fancy and it does get a little messy here.

Notice how close those oj glasses are to the edge of the table?
(You might also notice that Jack has considered himself "done"
with that little high chair on the right!)

This was funny to me. The clean-up of spilled oj
seems to be pointing a finger at someone!

No, no, no. Jack's not behind bars for the little spill!

Kate is getting so tall.

Jack says anything she can do, he can, too.

Grandpa Rocks tee-shirt

Kate's artwork
this is Max and Ruby
(from Nick, Jr. world)

The Gaithers' Homecoming always included a song called "Old Friends." What a great song and timeless truth. There's nothing like old friends.

Over the past few years, DH and I have made some new friends, each of whom quickly became old friends. They've been with us through some hardships, and the times of celebration.

The bad news for this particular little group of friends, is that one of the couples - Fred and Alice - moved to Florida three years ago. The good news is that when they come to visit, we just pick right up where we left off and continue on.

In spite of everybody's crazy schedules, the past few weeks have found us getting together for some of the best times because Fred and Alice have been in town. Sweet times of fellowship, and reunion with our little group.

We have so much fun, I kind of keep it pushed to the back of my mind that soon they will have to return to Florida.

Three dear friends,
Cindy, Carol and Alice

From the top down:
DH and Nonnie
Fred and Alice
Albert and Carol
Lloyd and Cindy
When these four couples get together, there is always, always, a whole lot of laughing going on.

*Old friends, after all of these years, just old friends,
through laughter and tears,
old friends, what a find, what a priceless treasure, old friends,
like a rare piece of gold,
my old friends, make it great to grow old, old friends,
with all I will hold to old friends.
Now God must have known, there'd be days on our own,
we would lose the will to go on, that's why he sent friends like you along.
Old friends, you've always been there, my old friends,
we've had more than our share, old friends,
we're all millionaires, in old friends.
(*I thought this was written by Bill Gaither, but can't seen to verify that.)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I'm a little late, but here are my answers to the questions to this week's Hodgepodge from Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. Answer on your own blog, then be sure to go over to her blog and add your link at the end of her post right here.

1. What's something people might ask you for help with?
Spelling. Research. Recalling things - dates, events, trivia, etc. (Since I am doing this in kind of a hurry, hope nothing is spelled incorrectly.)

2. What's something you might ask someone else for help with?

A pretty long list - help me do something creative, crafty, sewing, decorating, shopping (or how to make the change over from Google Reader, thank you, Sandie).

3.  Did your family take summer vacations when you were a child? If so, where did you go? If you're a parent, did/do you plan summer vacations with your own family? Did/do they resemble those you took as a child?
Our family vacations were usually centered around out-of-town relatives. We would stay in NW Arkansas and visit with family. While there, we would have cook-outs, go swimming in the rivers or creeks and sometimes we would take short overnight trips to tourist areas nearby, such as Eureka Springs, Roaring River, Table Rock Lake, Marvel Cave and Silver Dollar City.  A couple of years, we traveled to Illinois with relatives to visit other relatives. :-) One year my Dad took us to Six Flags.

DH and I took the kids on similar trips, such as to Turner Falls and to Lake Murray, Lake Fork and Lake Lewisville. Since we had a ski boat, we would usually rent a cabin for a few days and spend most of the time water-skiing. We also went to South Padre Island. Usually our vacations with the kids were in the winter on ski trips, but one year we took them to a resort in Cozumel to snorkel, scuba dive and just play on the beach.
4.   Pool-lake-ocean...which one is most appealing to you on a hot summer day?

If it is Texas hot, I will take a cool, refreshing pool.

I would love to spend time at a beautiful lake up north somewhere in the summer. Maybe at one of the great lakes or somewhere in Montana surrounded by tall trees and lots of shade ... Lake Louise in Canada. To me, that would be most refreshing on a hot summer day.

5.  Have you ever justified using the expression, 'you gotta be cruel to be kind'?  Was it really  necessary or were you rationalizing?

I’m not sure I’ve ever used this expression. Is this the same as tough love? So far, I don't think I have had to.

6.  The Journal of Psychology recently mentioned the results of a survey identifying the ten most hated foods as-liver, Lima beans, mayonnaise, mushrooms, eggs, okra, beets, Brussel sprouts, tuna, and gelatin.  Of those foods, how many do you actually hate? Anything you'd add to the list?

Liver is at the top of this list. Yuck. The small, green Lima beans would be next. This list is interesting. Some of my favorites are tuna salad made with mayonnaise. Sautéed mushrooms are great, and I will eat them raw, too. Love omelets, but don’t really like eggs cooked any other way. I like pickled beets and roasted Brussel sprouts.

Gelatin? Are we talking Jell-o? I don’t hate it, but don’t eat it. There is a recipe in one of my Betty Crocker cookbooks for some kind of jellied chicken. That looked quite disgusting and would be on my list of hate.

I think I must be a foodie.

7. What's your favorite book or movie set in a beach or lake town?

Finding Nemo? ;-)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Just came back from the grocery store. It. Was. So. Expensive. I wouldn't mind so much if we didn't eat out so often! But on my way out of the store, I had to smile as I watched an older guy giving his shopping cart a hearty push out of the store and then jumping on to ride down the hill in the parking lot. He did that all the way to his car. What little hair he had was silver, he was probably between 65 and 70, and wearing the proverbial Bermuda shorts with black socks almost up to his knees. :-)
Thank you Joyce for interesting questions. It's always fun to read everybody's answers.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day 2013

Thankful for those who are serving and for those
who have made the ultimate sacrifice in other countries
for our freedom here in this country.
They go to distant places and live like this:
so we can live free, work, and enjoy our families, friends,
and the fruit of our labors. 
Just random stuff.

As best I can recall, growing up most years our tradition on the 4th was that my Dad would take us out to the fireworks stand to buy lots of sparklers, fireworks, rockets that he would load into a pop bottle, and other fun items which he would "set off" for our entertainment.

But one year he decided our family would pack up and go to the drive-in movies to celebrate the 4th. Now this was a very unusual occurrence for us as we had NOT been to the movies in probably ten or more years. There were a couple of reasons for that ... Movies were pretty (very) much frowned upon by our legalistic religion and therefore off-limits to us as we were growing up. A secondary reason would have most likely been the expense of it.

But on this particular day, Dad changed the rules and said we would go. Two reasons I can think of why. First of all, there would be fireworks afterwards and, secondly,  the movies playing at the local drive-in were triple westerns: The Comancheros with John Wayne,  The Hanging Tree with Gary Cooper, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance with Jimmy Stewart. (Really, I think the second reason was secretly the first.)

Any other time, it might have been an exciting thing to go see a movie, but at age 14, the idea of going to the drive-in with my whole family crammed into the car to watch nothing but westerns in the heat, and with my hair in curlers and a bonnet covering them was just too much for my immature (somewhat bratty?) mind to handle. (It is still puzzling as to why it was necessary to have my hair in curlers Every. Single. Night. I do not know the answer to that.) Last, but not least, since my friends in school were allowed to attend movies on their own, I confess it was a little embarrassing (extremely mortifying) for me to be seen out like this as though I were a child.

Independence Day does bring back many good memories (which does include the one described above). Camping, water-skiing, swimming in the War Eagle River in Arkansas, fireworks, sparklers, hot dogs, sunburns. I will never forget one day we spent all day playing in the river having so much fun in the sun. That night was misery for two very sunburned sisters who had to share a twin bed with NO AC, and a fan blowing in the room the whole night stirring up nothing but heat. Torture!!!

27 years ago, DH and I took the kids to a night under the stars  in Dallas. We sat outdoors on a blanket watching Reba McIntire perform, and then fireworks afterwards. What a great time and I will never forget it as it was my last night to be with them before my trip to Seattle for my brother's bone marrow transplant.

Over the past few years, we have celebrated with friends watching the fireworks overhead from their party boat on the lake. Other years, we have also enjoyed hosting the fireworks' display across the cove from our own back porch. From there, we can watch it all without any hassle and then just come back into the house and hit the sack!
A couple of years ago.
That is what we will be doing this evening. The kids are coming over to play and it's always fun watching and listening to them in their excitement as they make memories, too.

I think it will get this little guy up and moving!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Here are my answers to this week's questions from Joyce From this Side of the Pond

1. What's one simple small pleasure on your summer 'to-do' list?

I think I am enjoying it even as I answer these questions. Sitting on my patio on July 2, sipping my afternoon cup of coffee, enjoying the shade, a breeze, bug free yard, and temperature at only 87. We are talking Texas, baby. These are temps I was praying for back in the spring.

2. Do you have strong feelings or opinions regarding the immigration debate in your home country? Feel free to share your thoughts, but please play nice.

Yes, I do. Yes, we are the country that welcomes the immigrant, the alien - "Give me your tired, your poor...". But please, if they are not willing to follow the laws that govern our country to become a citizen, will they have respect for our laws if all is given to them?

3.  What's something in your home or wardrobe that could be described as 'star spangled'?
The grandkids' bedroom.

4.  Is your house set up for a party?
If you mean the layout, yes. If you are asking whether I have it set up for a party for the 4th, no.

5. What one never-before-visited city in America, would you most like to see?
Washington, D.C.

6. Your favorite red food? White food? Blue food?
Strawberries or tomatoes or Red Velvet cake (too many possibles)
Coconut cake or mashed potatoes (eeny, meeny)
Blueberry cobbler
7. What freedom do you value the most, and why?
Freedom of speech I suppose is basic to the others, especially since I prize my freedom of religion.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I had a random thought earlier, but it seems to have slipped away from me. 
I feel blessed to have lived my life  in this country, enjoying the freedom we have and the opportunities we have no matter our background. We have taken too much for granted, and sometimes it seems if we do not appreciate it, we may find that it will have slipped through our hands. 
Thank you, Joyce, for the great questions to think about on this Independence Day.
And everyone said, "Ahhhh, ooohhhhh, that's my favorite!"

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Noah's Boat Bash

This past week-end was the birthday celebration of
our grandson, Noah, who turned 5 on Sunday.

Birthday boy! He will never be 4 again!

We left early Friday morning with our car loaded to the top ...
and with Miss Kate on board.
She was all dressed up for the party, bags packed,
and ready to go with Nonnie and Grandpa!!! :-)

Since the celebration would be on a big party boat at Lake Travis,
dress was a little more casual.

Birthday donuts! And Noah's candle had a soccer ball on it.

Mama serving birthday donuts to 22 kids!
Kids seem to have a natural understanding about donuts,
don't you think?
A pic of a boat like ours
We parked here - a really great spot for the
kids to dive from the boat AND
the cliff!!! Yikes!

This is a shot taken from a video of Brady
diving off the top of the cliff.
Good grief!!! These kids are brave.
I think he had fun.
Noah swam and played non-stop in the
water only coming on board for donuts or
to jump off the top of the boat.

The prized Skylander watch.

Yes, I can tell you what time it is.

Grandpa chilling with the kids. It was blazing HOT outside!
  Lucky for Brady and Noah that their best buddies next door
have a pool to cool off in.
Looks friendly enough
Until ...
Boys and chicken and water guns

Strong man. One hand.

Brady is such a helper to his Mom and Dad.
He is always the first to pick up toys, or help with a chore.

iPads hold such a fascination for kids. 
Brady is always up early in the morning to greet me and
we have the best visits.
On Sunday morning, he read a Bible story to me
(from a real kids' Bible, not the iPad).

The kids spotted this frog in the shrubs.
Amazingly enough, it was Kate who grabbed the toad
and then let boys put him in the little box which they have ready
to welcome whatever new creature they might find.

Kate's first ride in the Jeep with Brady and Noah's Dad

At the end of a fun-filled day, getting a good picture has certain challenges
for Nonnie and Papa, but the kids are always cute!

On our way home
(Nonnie had to count out loud each zero Kate had drawn.)

The cause of this peaceful look?
I'm sitting still.
 One of the hardest things for us to do when we go visit these precious boys
is to say good-bye as we head back home.

And here are Brady and Noah just before
they said their fond farewells to the frog.
I bet the frog had no sad feelings about the end of this relationship.