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


Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring ... A time of refreshing

Springtime ... that time of refreshing and renewal of all things. The time of year that is proof of God's bringing to life dead things. Plants, trees, people.

Every spring since 1996 the postman delivers to my mailbox a brochure announcing the ladies' spring retreat the last two weekends of April. That little brochure brings to remembrance the many retreats I attended and that I can re-live with a yearning to return ... until I remember that I am not quite as young or brave as I was in the past.

If you are looking for a retreat where you can just go and be pampered, Brookhill Ranch is not the place for you. Down country roads outside Hot Springs, Arkansas the ranch is nestled in the hills and was built about 40 years ago by Hettie Lu (pretty cool name, huh?) and her husband. The camp would be a summer camp for kids where they would teach them about Jesus and how to live a successful Christian life. Rustic ... bunkhouses ... down home food. After a few years, parents who brought their kids every year and heard about all the fun they had asked begged for a camp for them, too.

The first year I attended one of the ladies' "seminars," about 14 of us "older kids" caravaned together, leaving behind husbands, kids, jobs, (troubles and our comfortable homes and beds) to go stay in those bunkhouses. What an adventure. The bunkhouses are in the woods. Dark woods. The windows are screens with canvas covers. The beds are wooden bunks with pillowtop mattresses. NOT! Bring your own bedding, covers, towels, etc. Bathrooms and showers within short walking distance. What a trip! If you like to camp out, this is for you. Even if you don't, it can still be a great experience and over the years, we have shared so many good laughs about the times we had in those bunkhouses. Laughing, sharing, talking, tears. Women snoring????  Oh yes.

So, we learned after that first year of roughing it, there was a special place for lodging above the kitchen in the main pavilion that was called the Upper Room. This room was actually heated (a lot of the heat came from the kitchen below), and had indoor bathrooms. (Arkansas nights in the spring and fall are quite chilly - and you are warned that in every brochure.) Rain is another possible and we have experienced that as well - running through the woods to the main pavilion. Finding out about the Upper Room and making it our goal to stay there on the next retreat was "uppermost" in our minds. When we finally "made it", there were 32 of us all up there together. We had a BLAST!! PC's we were, getting to stay in the "Upper Room." (Funny though, a lot of those ladies still snore even when indoors.)

But the little hardships out in the bunkhouses or in the crowded bathrooms (steam rooms - 6 or 8 ladies in a bathroom taking showers, hairdryers adding heat to the steam, ladies trying to see themselves in steamy mirrors) were nothing to be compared with the wonderful times of praise, worship, fellowship, getting away from the routines of our everyday city lives, and just having so much fun.

Every year Hettie's retreat had a different theme, and she and her team decorated just about everything that could be decorated all over the mountain and in the pavilion according to that theme. They were so creative. She and her team were able, through teaching, drama, dance, and singing, to re-create the aura of being in a little town somewhere in Israel where Jesus walked and mingled with humanity. Twinkling lights all over the ceiling of the pavilion and grapevines and well ... this gives you somewhat of an idea. I'm really not a descriptive person.

I get a little misty-eyed though, thinking about the love that Hettie displayed to every woman who came. She was no spring chick when we attended our first retreat and she is now about 81 years old and still teaching. That woman of God could preach it and still be standing when the rest of us were falling off those hard folding chairs.

The meals that were served, communion on the mountain, and always, always, Hettie had special little gifts for each of us. I have saved every one of them and display them in my home because the memories or the lessons are so fondly remembered. Two of them are especially precious to me because they were special little gifts to me from the Lord. A tambourine was one of the first surprises (something I had always wanted to play - :-D) and the other a tallit (prayer shawl from Israel). Now DH and I have travelled to Israel twice and neither time did I buy one. But on the way to the retreat that particular year, my dear friend, Tamara, and I were talking about Israel, and in telling her some of the highlights of that trip, I shared with her how it had been my regret that I never had bought a tallit. That night ... you guessed it!!! That was our special gift from Hettie. A tallit from Israel with the priestly blessing on it from Numbers 6:24-26. What a blessing that was to me. Another one of those "God kisses."

There were always the beautiful times of praise and worship and enjoying Hettie's granddaughter, Jessica, and others, whose gift was ministering in dance. It was so lovely and so reverent.
Graceful, worshipful dancers
Glowing faces

Eating out(side)

I will have to say that the bottom line of our times at Hettie's was the people we got to bring with us to share these blessings and the fun. A couple of them - their lives were changed forever by being brought into new life with Jesus Christ. Hettie's aim for each of us was to go back home shining the love that had been shared and giving back to the loved ones with whom we lived each day.

In the pines

A quick stop to shop at Cracker Barrel on the way home.
Mutt and Jeff here with sweet Twala in the middle. ;-)
(I'm the tall one - the short one is my
very dear friend Bettye)

"The LORD bless you and keep you;   
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;   
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring is springin'

Spring won't officially arrive for a couple more days.
But Spring Break arrived LAST week in our area.
And what did it bring with it?
A visit from two of our favorite guys.
YAY!! Brady and Noah came to see Nonnie and Papa.
Grandkids had fun hanging out at the park.

Noah likes to pretend he is an animal.
Here, he is a wolf and Kate is serving up the meat.
(Kate has an ice cream store at the park,
but Noah told her wolves don't eat ice cream,
so she had to run out and get meat for the wolf man.)
Brady and I went for bike rides together.
Noah took a break from being wolf man
long enough to have some real ice cream.
Other things we did
Cosmic Jumping
Jack loved the trampoline
Way too fast for my little iPhone camera.
We all had fun coloring pictures and drawing.
Noah has his iPad close at hand
to keep an eye on his movie.
Speaking of iPads and iPhones, our world is so full of gadgets,
while busy in the kitchen, I looked around.
I noticed Grandpa taking a break with the TV.
The boys' Mom, Sara, was busy at work on her laptop (really working.)
Kate was cozied up with her little movie on one of the iPads,
while Brady and Noah were sharing one together.
And, of course, since I had my phone with me,
I decided to snap a pic of each of them.
As soon as I took this pic,
the "big struggle" for control began. Oops!!
So much for those sweet moments of sharing.
(Really, these guys do share a lot!)

Later that night, after baths and getting everybody in their pj's ...


Captain America discovered and made good use of
my old Walkman around his waist.
 The kids love sleeping on a pallet on the floor,
but they especially love the airbed.
Great fun for them
to get in a little more jumping before settling down
to watch an animated version of Heidi.
Sleepover with Nonnie and Papa
(I was glad they enjoyed this little movie so much as
Heidi was one of my favorite books)
 The next morning, we had waffles and
Great memories with four of the BEST kids ever!!
(and I'm not kidding!)
We love all of them and each one is our favorite!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dallas Blooms ... again

Another glorious day at the Arboretum.

It was a day perfectly suited for
strolling about in this gorgeous setting,
with dear friends,
a picnic on the greens,
visiting on park benches,
 and just enjoying the wonders of God's creation.
Thinking that someday we will enjoy all the beauty
in Paradise ... without the concrete!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Friend - a Hero

My dear friend's daughter has an amazing story, which I have shared here previously.
This is National Mobility Awareness month and Liz has been nominated as a Local Hero. If you would please, I would so appreciate your checking out the link and voting for her. Her story is tremendous!

I know this young woman personally. She is amazing. She is a great source of inspiration to all who know her. Her determination and positive attitude have resulted in major victories in her life. Winning this van would be an awesome blessing for her and for her family. Please vote for her and feel free to share the link.

Vote for Liz

Thank you.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Today is a beautiful day ... simply because God made it.
And getting over the loss of an hour this morning.
"In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you"

Friday, March 8, 2013

Finally Home

We just received notice that DH's Uncle passed away last night. The news wasn't a surprise, as he has been sick for quite some time and had been moved to hospice earlier this week.

What a blessing for his family who live out-of-state, that he knew he was dying and was able to ask for them to come home for good-byes. So wonderful that they were able to be with him these past few days.
Good-byes are hard, but at least they do provide closure. That is something that, due to circumstances or distance beyond my control, I have not ever experienced with loved ones who have passed.

After receiving the dreaded call about my first husband, it was too late by the time I arrived at the hospital. On the day my Mother died, she had been on the phone with my sister who sensed that something was very, very wrong and immediately went to the house to take care of her. My Mom just barely made it to the door to unlock it so Sis could get in and call an ambulance. My brother, who had just undergone a bone marrow transplant in Seattle was in isolation at the hospital. Being the donor for my brother, I was also there when our beloved Mother died.

Today is the 22nd anniversary of my Dad's passing. Actually, it is the anniversary of my hearing of it. After the death of my Mom, my Dad lived alone. Although my brother and sister both lived in the same town, and regularly visited with him or checked on him, this particular week was just one of those weeks where no one had checked in with him for a few days. The weather was bad, my brother was very sick himself (still recovering from his transplant), and my sister stayed very busy with two toddlers. I lived out-of-state. We were notified of my Dad's death thanks to the concern of his neighbor who hadn't seen any sign of my Dad and noticed the newspapers of the past couple of days hadn't been picked up. This kind neighbor called the police who then broke in the house and found him. He had suffered a massive heart attack.

The police were clever enough to check the telephone and call the first number on the speed dial, which was our house, and so that is how I received the news.

The telling of these details seem so bizarre, but I was thinking of my emotions on that day and the sadness I felt because sometimes death comes suddenly and leaves no time for good-byes. Although I have envied those who get to experience the sweet good-byes as their loved one leaves this life, the comfort I have found is that there were no regrets about anything that needed to be said or forgiven with my loved ones. The sadness for me is that no family member was present, but my heart is comforted in that I know that they were really not alone as they went through the valley of the shadow of death.

One day I was walking out of a local hospital after visiting with an old friend, who was 95 at the time. He was tired and weary and wanted to go home to be with the Lord. He was ready. As I walked out the door of the hospital, there was a wheelchair with a woman holding her new baby. She was surrounded by other family members and everybody was hovering over and excited about the new addition to their family.

All of a sudden, a thought came to me about these two scenarios. This new baby was going to its new home where the welcome would be great and the family would now have this child with them in their home.

My friend, Vern, was also going to be going home soon. And this Scripture from Psalms came to my mind and I loved the thought of it. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."

Think of it! Death is not mourned in heaven when God's kids are coming home to be with Him forever! How awesome is that? Heaven is rejoicing and it is precious to our Father when His kids are finally with Him in the place He has prepared for them.

Finally Home
When engulfed by the terror of the tempestuous sea,
Unknown waves before you roll;
At the end of doubt and peril is eternity,
Though fear and conflict seize your soul.

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God's!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

When surrounded by the blackness of the darkest night,
O how lonely death can be;
At the end of this long tunnel is a shining light,
For death is swallowed up in victory!

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God's!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!   
by L.E. Singer


Monday, March 4, 2013

Wanna Be's

Somebody posted this on FB recently and it sparked a pretty fair number of comments from all the ladies remembering these dresses from the 60's. It certainly triggered a lot of memories for me ... most of them kind of funny now .... not so funny then.

Once upon a time, there was a young girl in elementary school who could. not. wait. to enter junior high because it would open up all kinds of possibilities, i.e., phys. ed., swimming lessons, home-economics, sewing, cooking, etc. Really. So my "wanna be's" at that young age were to grow up, meet Mr. Wonderful, fall in love, get married, be a homemaker, and have lots of children, this was a very exciting prospect for me.

My first learning experience in home-ec in 1960 was a huge disappointment. First up on the teacher's agenda for us to learn in the "cooking" department was how to make melon balls. I had never seen anybody go to that much trouble to eat melon. At our house, it was sliced according to the number of people present and then we held it in our hands to eat, (always on the back porch for the seed-spitting contest), or we ate chunks of canteloupe in a dish with a fork (the idea being to keep the kitchen clean from sticky fingers). The shaping of melon balls was not my idea of cooking.

Next on the list! We were finally going to begin working with the fabric and pattern we had selected (that had been dictated in the required list of supplies), along with pattern, scissors, tape measures, markers, and whatever other tools we would need for the project.

First instruction: "Girls, unfold your patterns, place the fabric on the table with the pattern on the fabric and pin the pattern to the fabric. We will cut the fabric on the 'straight of the grain.'" (Keep in mind these words were spoken over 40 years ago so my memory may not serve too well.) I did as instructed, although I was clueless in my understanding as to what the straight of the grain was.

"NEXT: DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT, begin cutting your fabric until I have come around to make sure you have placed your fabric for cutting on the straight of the grain."

Being a youngster who was very easily intimidated by the scary and threatening voice of this teacher, what do you think I did? Do you think I waited for her to come inspect my work to be sure it was done properly? Wouldn't that be the normal thing for an easily intimidated person to do? Of course not! I began to cut because I did not want to wait and I was also afraid of her or maybe I thought she would skip over me. What was I thinking? Apparently, I wasn't thinking at all. Fear is a terrible thing and can cause you to make very dumb choices.

Sure enough, she came my way, and when she saw that I had already proceeded to cut and ... HORRORS!! against the straight of the grain, she lost it. She screamed at me! Scream may be too harsh a word, but the tone of her voice was quite severe and everybody in the entire class heard (of course they heard, seeing as how the room was completely silent except for the shrill voice of the teacher.)

My pain and humiliation were great! And now I can remember no more of that horrible class, nor do I remember whatever happened to the materials. I do recollect that the fabric was turquoise and that the plan for it was to be a simple, straight skirt. (Or "tight skirt" as we called it!)

(And by the way, what goes around usually comes around, as they say. I heard that another young lady in her class experienced a bad moment as this teacher scolded her and literally "threw up" all over the teacher! And no, I am not snickering over that. Teachers have to put up with a lot.)

Whatever happened with the turquoise skirt didn't matter for long, because shortly after that experience we moved across town making it possible for me to start with a blank slate at a new school and a new home-ec teacher. This lovely teacher taught us to bake cupcakes, set table, and basic things my Mom had already taught me. As far as the sewing class, I don't remember finishing anything started there. Sewing and I were not to be companions that year (or any other year because during my sophomore year, I put the zipper in the bottom of the back of the shift dress). Plus, my attitude was pretty stinky about the move my parents had made, and having to leave all my friends behind. It took me about a year to adjust to this move.

I also discovered in junior high that I really wasn't that interested in learning to swim in Phys Ed either. Swimming classes took place during second period. There were no portable hair dryers in the "old days," and so, after swimming in the very embarrassingly revealing, thin tank swimsuits, one had to shower, attempt to dry off with a too-short towel (in front of a lot of other girls), and go to the next class with wet hair.

The tent styles pictured above came out during my senior year in high school. So very cute, however, when my Mom took me shopping that spring, we butted heads over those dresses! Mom had always sewn our clothes and, as we grew older, we also got "store-bought" dresses to mix in with the clothes she made for us each year. I love my Mom, but she just did not understand tent dresses and, if I were to have one, it would have to be worn below my knees because when you bent over in one of those! Woo-hoo! Peek-a-boo. We had a bit of an argument over that one.

Patterns, pincushions, sewing machines ...  being struck down with flu the first year I was married found me in a delirious state! Having told my husband that if only I had a sewing machine, I would be able to sew, he promptly went out and purchased one for me. (I told you I was delirious, but I think he must have been too!!) After recovering from the flu, it only seemed fair that I should at least make an effort again to sew. I must say that I did a beautiful job of sewing and ironing the seams, making excellent darts, and lo and behold, a stand-up collar! But alas, I never put it all together and the pieces eventually made their way to the trash. Oh yes, the sewing machine did bring a small profit at a garage sale years later, but I still have my sewing box filled with needles and thread, scissors, and other various and sundry items, and it comes out occasionally when a button needs to be re-fastened. So much for sewing.

As to the other "S": swimming. Swimming lessons became of monumental importance after a trip to South Padre Island one year with DH and the kids. One minute I was standing in water below my knees and the next minute the sand shifted and the current swept me under. Panicking, I honestly believed I was going to drown and, unfortunately, I was bringing down DH and the kids with me as they tried to save me. Thank You, God that did not happen and we all made it safely to shore. You can know that as soon as we returned home, swimming lessons were a top priority!

As I recall these memories about sewing and cooking, I'm really thankful that DH says they are not even on the list of what his expectations are of me as his wife. See? I DID meet Mr. Wonderful!!!

This has become my "wanna be" over the past years.

"Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life."