Saturday, November 14, 2009
Generally there isn't much color in El Paso in the fall. I've just returned from Louisville,Ky and Burnet, Tx where leaves blazed in glorious gold, red and orange. Here at home, things are more subtle. But, if you take time to take notice you'll see the beauty, the touch of God's presence, His signature helping us to remember that He is in all things, even leaves falling from their trees. This is taken in our backyard, I saw these leaves in our waterfall this morning.
Friday, October 16, 2009
(Pictures taken on the hike we took for my birthday, Dripping Springs.)
Rushing through the mall on the way to the parking lot, I noticed a small boy, about 4-years-old. He held a gigantic tube filled with red, blue, yellow and green bubblegum balls. He looked worried and his voice sounded scared when he said, “Mommy? Mommy, where are you?”
I leaned down. “If you can’t find your mommy, I know someone who can help.” I took the lead and headed for a near-by cashier. “They will call your mother over the intercom. Whenever you get lost you can ask one of the people who work in the store to help you.”
The man behind the counter turned toward us. “This man works here,” I explained, “you see the tag he wears around his neck.”
The child nodded.
I explained, “This little boy is lost. Will you please call his mother?”
The child peeked at the clerk from behind the Bubblegum tube.
“What’s your name?” the man asked.
I leaned in, trying to hear the whisper. The boy seemed unsure and shy as he mumbled.
“Peter?” I asked.
That’s when I heard a strange sound, like a whistle or bird call.
The boy’s eyes lit up. “I heard my dad!”
The sound came again and the boy turned. I saw a large man step out from the racks of clothes that were near-by. “Come here, you Rascal,” he said to the boy. And the child ran happily to his father.
Jesus said that His sheep know His voice and won’t follow a stranger. Of all the voices, mine and the store clerk, the one that brought comfort and joy to that child was the voice he knew, his daddy’s voice. Whenever we feel confused, or lost, we only need to tune our hearts to listen for the voice of our Shepherd, our Abba Father to know that all He is near by and there is no need to fear.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Ben and Caleb next to pink flowers (b/c Grammy asked them to pose)
It may surprise non-writers to know how insecure a writer can feel. It’s a constant battle of “who would want to read this anyway,” and “I have nothing valuable to say.” The problem is that type of thinking stops me from even trying and when I don’t write I am just miserable. So, I guess I should do it for my health and well being regardless of if there is an impact or not. . .
All that to leads up to this really good story (at least it was good for me.) I was just feeling like a big lug who should never try to write another story when we decided to SKYPE with our grandsons Ben and Caleb. It was pretty funny to watch them climb all over Josh while we talked.
Then Caleb, (who is three-years-old, and just over a bad case of the flu) said, “Grammy, what happened to the dragons in the forest?”
At first, the question confused me, and then I felt stunned because it’s been over 3 months since we’ve been together. “Did I tell you a story about dragons?”
“Well,” I said, “it’s fall now and dragons love fall because one of their favorite things is to go out in the woods when the leaves are falling and dance all around. Then, they look up so they can watch the leaves floating down through the air. They like it so much they throw their heads back and laugh. But do you know what happens when dragons laugh?”
His big brown eyes were full of wonder. (I told you SKYPE is wonderful)
“Fire spurts out. And each leaf catches on fire and the sky is full of bits of fire like great big fireflies. But then all that’s left of the pretty fall leaves is ashes.”
Now, I tell you that little story, not because it’s fabulous but because when we talked to our grandsons, the thing Cable remembered about me was a story. Something I just made up and can’t even remember. In his own way, he reminded me that I am a story teller, and I’d better keep on keeping on because little people—I love—and maybe others too, might be listening and just waiting to see what happens next. Thank you Caleb. This blog is for you. Love, Grammy.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
This is just a short update by way of photos.
Aimee gave birth to Egan on Aug. 26.
The next day we took her two girls with us to our Lodge where we met with Craig's siblings to celebrate his parents 60th anniversary.
Came home and the girls met their baby brother.
Please keep their daddy, Robert, in your prayers and he receives treatment for cancer.
Aimee, the kids and I are flying out to Indianapolis next week to see Robert. Then on to Sara's house so Aimee will be near-by during Robert's treatments.
Thanks you for your concern and prayers.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
We met with my sister, her family and my brother and his wife to celebrate our father’s 80th birthday. We have not all been together for his birthday in over 30 years—so it was very special.
I was once asked, (it may have been in a psychology class), to write down a saying that I heard my father repeat as I grew up. Here’s mine, “This is America, you can do what you want.”
Dad used to say this when I was a teen and asked his permission to go somewhere or to do something. Dad even repeated this phrase this weekend, so I know he really believes it. I’ve just decided that his often repeated statement is true—but only half-true. Does that make it a lie?
The other half needs to be spoken too. It is: every choice has a consequence. These consequences are either good or bad. It’s totally true that I have free will, and really it is God, not America, that granted each of us this freedom. I think it is a blessing and it is also a curse, because so often what we want to do isn’t good for us. I’m really not questioning God’s wisdom in giving us freewill, I am just evaluating the consequences of having freewill and a sinful nature.
Proverbs 15:32 says, “If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.”
So, if I only do what I want, or feel like doing, like over-eating and not exercising or being lazy, I am rejecting discipline and harming myself. This is hard for me right now. Life is full of challenges with Robert’s illness, Aimee’s due date approaching and the little ones living here. I find myself not even trying or wanting to resist eating all the sweets people are bringing over. But I won’t like the consequences.
For years I’ve struggled to grasp this concept and take it to heart and put into practice. Here is a poem I wrote when my children were young.
God has given me freedom.
I can decide
If I’ll face a challenge
And conquer it
I can choose
Who to follow,
Who to lead,
Who to love.
I can determine
If it’s worth my time,
If you’re worth the trouble—
Of if that’s worth the effort.
I can pick the words I write,
The things I read
The activities I ignore.
I’ve been created with freewill—
the power to choose. . . .
I have chosen Christ.
I have the privilege
Love to you all. Sue
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Today I'm showing off some of our beautiful grandchildren.
In one, I'm holding Emeline. She and her sister are living here with their mom. From morning to night she narrates her life! "I woke up." "I'm brushing my teeth." "I'm swimming with Ethne."
She has also taken to adding 'pie' after names. She says, "Mommy-pie" whenever she refers to or calls her mom. "Ethne-pie" when she talking of her sister and tonight I even heard a "Grammy-pie" It's so sweet.
The other is a picture of Sara's three children who live in Ky. We saw them recently but already miss them!
We learned at church today that all through our lives and especially in our 'old age' we are to declare the Lord to the next generation. My grandchildren are a focus for me. I want to be sure to be declaring the Lord to each one of them for as many years as the Lord gives me.
Friday, July 31, 2009
I took these pictures of roses in my friend, Marsha's front yard. We've been friends since high school! She and her husband, Larry, live in Santa Barbara, CA.
Many of you know the great challenge facing our family at this time. Our dear son-in-law, Robert, married to our Aimee, has testicular cancer that was not eradicated during 3-months of chemo. During that time of treatment their girls, Ethne 4 and Emeline 2 lived with us. Tomorrow they are returning, with their mom, who is 8 months pregnant. Their daddy is facing 4 or 5 months of treatment to perform stem-cell transplants in Indianapolis. After the baby is born, Aimee will take the children to Louisville to live with her sister, Sara and family, in order to be within 2 hours Robert.
A friend sent a video based on Eph. 2:10. See it here http://www.tangle.com/view_video?viewkey=849dc7c803281df74bb2&sp=1 It ministered to me in a powerful way. But after thinking about it I’ve decided I don’t really agree with the interpretation.
The skit focused on the word, ‘workmanship, or masterpiece’ and it used the image of God fashioning our lives, as a Sculptor, with a chisel and hammer. I believe the Lord does change us into the image of Jesus, but I don’t think that this verse is referring to the process of cutting away, because the original meaning of the word ‘workmanship’ is actually poem.
Sculpting and writing have some similarities but they are two different processes. I think that sculpting is all about taking away, removing excess, bringing out the hidden treasure.
Writing a poem is more about putting in. Finding the perfect word, choosing carefully, intentionally, lovingly. Only the right words get in. The selection process is exact.
Now, think of the verse again, ‘we are His poem.’ Individually He created each of us with great skill and care. He fashioned us with a purpose and our lives express exactly what He has determined. Each and every word has meaning of its own and together, we form a worldwide poem by being who we were created to be.
So, today I am taking delight in how I am made. Instead of believing the lies of the evil one, who accuses me that I am stupid or lazy, I am deciding that God made me on purpose and I will declare His Authorship by being true to His design.
This is our two grandsons Ben and Caleb (holding up hot dogs wrapped in foil)
We are His workmanship
For the second time this year, the Lord has shown me something new about my life verse. This is amazing to me since I’ve meditated on this verse since my teenage years and believe me they were a long time ago.
So, here it is, “We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which he has preordained for us to walk in.” Eph. 2:10.
In an earlier Blog I talked about how I suddenly saw that the word ‘walk’ and realized that the good works God’s arranged for me to do are just like walking. They are everyday acts of service to my family and being polite in traffic and watching what I eat. Nothing flashy or noticed by others, just simple works of walking in faithfulness every single day.
Okay. Now, to this new one. It’s the words, ‘we’ and ‘us.’ I’ve always applied this verse to myself, to my life, my calling, my purpose. But the good works I’m called to walk in have to do with others. Me—relating to and working with and being a part of His body. Bringing my gifts to my sisters and brothers, local and worldwide. Being faithful in my connections, intentional in my relationships. He’s designed us to function together, to do His work side-by-side and hand-in-hand.
There is more. . . (continued on next post)
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I swam today. That shouldn’t be unusual since it’s been well over 100 degrees and I have a pool in my backyard. Still having a pool and plunging in are two different things.
When I went out back, the sound of a large wing moving through the air caught my attention. I looked up to see a hawk leaving my waterfall to perch in the shade on the back rock wall. I felt startled by his size and magnificence. He was a bit scary—big and powerful, wearing a ‘don’t mess with me’ expression.
I’m used to little birds, but was so thrilled to see this visitor that I slipped back inside to grab my camera. As I returned I heard the hawk’s call but only caught a glimpse as he soared away from my yard to circle in the sky. I wish I could post a picture here for you to see how he moved effortlessly through the hot summer air. But I missed the shot, so put down my camera and got into the pool.
I’m thinking about this experience. First, if I had not decided to go swimming, I would not have seen that bird, and it was right there in my yard for me to see and enjoy. Also, I would have missed the cool wonder of the water. I know I love swimming, and at this moment can’t imagine why I don’t indulge every single day. It’s good exercise, since I like to sing and dance in the water, and I really enjoy myself. All it takes is putting on a swimsuit.
Reminds me to another place that I don’t always take advantage of, where I find refreshment and joy. Surprises await me when I go into the presence of the Lord. Being with Him make the rest of the day easier. I gain strength and my soul is satisfied.
There is no excuse, since we each have a standing invitation. “Oh Lord, give us hearts that hunger for you, seek you and find their delight in your presence. Every day, Lord, every day, let me come to be with you.”
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Emeline 'eating' a cookie. She simply licks off all the frosting.
Ethne used large scrapbook paper and cut it into strips and taped it up to decorate in preparation for her parents Easter visit. I was all her own idea and she accomplished it without my help.
I’ve been a Christ follower for nearly 40 years. Early on, I chose a life verse. Here it is: Ephesians 2:10 (New American Standard Bible) “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
I like it that I am His workmanship, makes me think of the Lord as an artist interacting with a beloved work (one that is in progress). The original word means ‘poem,’ so maybe I am, each of us, is a masterpiece of the Lord expressing Himself (creatively and precisely) through our lives.
I also really like that the Lord has prepared (beforehand) specific works for me. Not your works, my own. And so I don’t need to come up with my purpose in life or even for today, He’s already done the ground work, I just need to listen to Him and obey. I often thought of this regarding writing and how, when and what I’m ‘supposed’ to write.
Today, I saw something new. It’s been there all along, but I never really noticed it. It’s the part of the verse that says, “so that we would walk in them.” (Emphasis added).
Like a jolt I saw that the good works prepared just for me by God Himself are to be walked in. So maybe these are not the articles I publish, or novels I strive to write, or anything at all that has to do with the public or being ‘out there.’ Because out there doesn’t really reflect the way I spend most of my time.
Maybe these good works, loving prepared for me to walk in by my Creator, are the ordinary tasks of life. Like—walking around the neighborhood or cooking a meal for my husband, or being patient and merciful to my grandchildren. Noticing the store clerk or being kind when there is traffic. Speaking in gentle tones and encouraging those I love.
Walking is so ordinary. It’s taking one step after another every single day until we reach our final destination. (See my blog “The Daily Walk” for more thoughts on this topic).
This has changed the way I think about this verse. These good works are more likely to be the way I live my life, day in and day out, then what I did or didn’t do out in the public arena. Wow.
“Lord, help me to walk faithfully in the good works you’ve prepared for me. Right now, help me to be the best Grammy ever to these two precious girls living in our home. Amen."
Friday, April 03, 2009
Emeline puts a placemat down instead of the rugs.
Ethne gathers all the pillows and blankets to make a cozy place on the couch.
What’s it like being parents of preschoolers when your 50 years old? Here are two examples.
1. Craig comes home. He plops down. The overstuffed chair has more energy than he has. And, after a day of playing young mom, I’m breathing, but barely responsive.
Emeline scampers up next to me on the sofa and begins to sing, “Happy Day, To you,” over and over.
In between stanzas she laughs joyfully.
We look at her and our mouths inch upward.
“Isn’t she darling?”
“This would make a great movie.”
He nods again.
“Or even a picture.”
We both glance across the room to the camera but don’t budge. It might as well be locked in a safe and buried under 50 feet of snow, on top of Mt. Everest. I can’t prove it, but boy was she cute, honest.
2. Around eight o’clock that same night, as we were headed off to bed, Craig asks, “What did you do to your hair?”
“Nothing.” And I mean nothing.
He considers this in silence born of experience of being married over 30 years.
I explain, “I did wash it this morning and put stuff in it, but then that’s all, because I got busy.” That day I had managed to take care of the girls, drive to the airport, drop donations off at GoodWill and go to the grocery store but not brush my hair.
I figure that the best part of being old with preschoolers is that my hair is gray and so, when I forget to brush it, people simply click their tongues and whisper, “It’s okay, she’s old.”
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Our two young granddaughters are living with us while their mommy takes care of their daddy while he endures chemo treatments. They are used to us and our house but still they miss their parents.
Today, four-year-old, Ethne, had a mini meltdown over the way I styled or failed to style her hair. In the end, she sat in my lap, and cried while I rocked her. “I want to go home. I want Mommy. I want to go home.”
Poor darling. “I know. I know. I know,” I said. Then I explained, “Daddy is so sick that it would be very bad for him if we were there because we all are coughing and our sickness could make him worse.”
Meanwhile, Emeline was saying, “Radio” and found a CD to put in the CD player. She pushed the button and a song filled the air. “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me.” And we all joined in. By the second song, “He’s got the whole world in His hands,” Ethne was doing the hand motions.
Suddenly she got up and said, “Let’s go to the store now.” She crossed to the CD player, pushed ‘stop’ and took out the CD. “Let’s play this in the car.” So we sang songs all the way to Walmart. And I knew that praise and truth has a way of putting our feelings into perspective. I also determined to play more praise music around our house and in the car during this difficult time.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Five under five. That’s our household this week. Five grandchildren under the age of four. It’s fun. It’s busy. It’s exhausting.
This was going to be a week when our daughters and their children shared time here at our home. But then Robert was hospitalized so, of course, Aimee stayed with him while their two daughters came here to play with their cousins.
This morning, precious little 18-month-old Emeline was playing around my bathtub, which is a whirlpool type, surrounded by a wide area of tile with a step up to it. She tumbled in, hit her forehead and landed hard on her back. Poor little darling—plus she's cutting about 5 teeth. I hate it when anyone I love is hurting.
I think the Lord must feel like that. Why? Well, the Bible says we’re made in His image. So I believe that whatever we feel or think (that is good, true or beautiful) originates with Him. We don’t offer anything truly original. All things we come up with that are good are, in some mysterious way, a reflection of Him since we’re created in His likeness to reflect His image.
He never intended sin, suffering and pain. In fact, He is the one who rescues us from our sorrows and comforts us in our need and upholds us in our weakness. I thought of that when I lifted up little Emeline. As I held and comforted her and ached over her tears, I sensed that the Lord was also responding to Emeline’s small hurt and to the greater suffering of her parents. He is right there, close at hand, with open heart and listening ears, pouring out His compassion and mercy. I’m thankful He is such a great and personal God.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
It's been a hard week for our family. Robert (Aimee's husband) was admitted to the hospital on Monday. He had surgery for Testicular cancer, then found it had spread to his liver and lungs. I flew to help care for the girls so Aimee could care for Robert. The Lord is upholding us and we are believing for a full recovery yet preparing to face the challenges of the battle.
The pictures show the girls visiting daddy in the hospital and him making a funny face. Emeline holding her daddy's foot and the girls painting. I flew home with the girls on Saturday. Please be praying for this situation.
Sara and her three kids flew in last night so we have five ages four and under to fill our home with noise and our hearts with joy.
I guess I've held a lot. When we got to church and began to sing and people started to hug me and say they we're praying, I broke down. It felt really good to grieve and as a wise person has said, "if you can't cry in church, then where?" When we got home I had a nice nap and afterward felt so much better.
Love to all, Sue
Saturday, February 28, 2009
When I get back to El Paso late tomorrow night it will be 15 days since I've been able to sleep in my own bed. I'm looking forward to being home.
I left on Valentine's Day and arrived at The Cliff House at Pikes Peak, where I was greeted by 2 dozen roses from my sweet husband. I spent several days with 9 other writers, working hard on our novels. It was a very challenging and rewarding time.
Then, on to the 'Writing for the Soul Conference' at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. This was also a very intense time of learning about the craft of writing. Those attending were given free books, including the one pictured above (which Craig and I are both enjoying). While at the Cliff House, Jerry Jenkins gave us a lot of personal attention and has challenged each of us to excellence in our writing.
From there, I flew to Las Vegas to meet Craig for a medical conference. Our daughter, Sara, is here with her husband, Mike, and their youngest, Karissa (pictured). We've been eating really well and having a good time together.
Now, on to family news in need of prayer. Robert (our son-in-law) Aimee's husband, just had a cancerous testicular tumor removed this week. We are waiting for him to have a CAT scan to see what is required for treatment. Please be in prayer for him and for their whole family. Thanks so much.
Love to all. Sue
Thursday, February 12, 2009
My Friends, Eric and Kellie have bought their first house. Today, my friend, Debbie and I joined Kellie and prayed in every room. Here are a few pictures. (It's a wonderful place with very nice tile work).
The Daily Walk
Recently, while staying at a friend’s place in the mountains, I decided to go for walk. I followed a road that wound downward into a lovely valley. Deer eyed me while birds filled the air with song and a vista of pines greeted me as I strolled along. At the bottom of the hill, the street turned left and so that’s the way I went, spending time looking at sights and just enjoying myself. It may have been close to an hour later when I thought I should go back. So, I turned and looked at where I’d come from.
When I scanned the road I’d come down so easily, it looked extremely steep, nearly vertical. I gulped, wondering why I hadn’t chosen to go uphill at first so I could be facing a leisurely downhill stroll now that I was tired. But as much as I wished, I didn’t see a chairlift, or a friendly stranger offering me a ride back up the hill.
I made two decisions. First, I’d better get started since I had to do it anyway and second I wouldn’t try to set a speed record or even attempt to make this journey one of cardio exercise. I just wanted to make it to the top—still breathing.
I began to climb, slowly, one foot in front of the other, over and over and over again. The morning was still lovely and I noticed the clean crispness of the air when I unzipped my coat, since like it or not, my heart was pumping hard and my body heating up. But all in all, I found the hike pretty easy. To be fair, I wasn’t really hiking, I was just walking, slow. Remember, I determined not to rush things? Well, I didn’t. But I did make it, still breathing and sort of proud that I’d made it without too much strain.
Now I’m thinking about how our journey of faith is like a walk. Just putting one foot in front of the other over and over again and continuing without stopping, until we’re done. I’m not unhappy to say that most my days are pretty ordinary, pretty typical, pretty repetitive. Like walking. Not many exciting races or super bowls in my overall existence. I really think that life is won or lost in the way we face our everyday lives. When there’s a mountain to climb, we simply put one foot in front of the other and up we go.
The one activity that helps me the most to remain faithful and keep on going is regular time in God’s Word. I don’t do it well alone and so have found that a weekly Bible study where others expect me to show up with my study completed is a wonderful way for me to stay on the straight and narrow. That’s a good thing, because that path is where I want to be.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Above are some pictures of Ruidoso, NM. I enjoyed nearly a week of time alone there, in the mountains at a friend's place, while Craig was in India.
The Lord really dealt with me in ways that I needed (and after wards I did a lot of writing). When I got home Amy joined me at a Beth Moore conference and she talked on the very same topic as the Lord had been. It's like she unpacked it for me and helped me to understand His message more clearly. To sum it up:
I can't stay a wimp and do what God has called me to do.
I need to be Humbly Confident. (Jesus said, can't do anything without me and Paul said, I can do all things with Christ's help)
The only one that can throw away my confidence is me.
There was lots more. Amy and I made it into a video see it here:
and click on Living Proof Live - El Paso
Blessings to all
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Here are pictures of our two darling daughters-in-law, Amy -- Eric's wife (top photo)and Shauna--Josh's wife (bottom photo).
I guess I’m getting used to the grandchildren being gone, as long as I don’t think about it. But today, I remembered. I was making a breakfast shake so I could drink it on my way to the gym. That’s when I remembered a morning with 18-month-old, Emeline. We were in the den, and she was really trying to tell me something, but I just didn’t understand what she was saying. Finally, after many attempts, with her speaking as slowly and distinctly as she possibly could, I understood.
She said, “shake.”
“Oh!” I responded. “You want a shake?”
“Yeah,” she said simply. Then she headed toward the refrigerator to help me gather the needed ingredients.
So, today, in a flash, I remembered that encounter. It warmed my heart and I smiled. But then, I felt so sad and missed the girls so much. I wasn’t aware of the void in my life until I remembered them and the times we shared.
Is that why the Lord tells us over and over in His word to ‘remember’? When we remember, the times we’ve shared, and the things He’s done, then—
well—then we miss Him. Maybe missing Him will motivate us to stop doing all the other things we do and take time to go to be with Him. Why not take time to remember?
Friday, January 16, 2009
These beautiful pictures were taken by our son, Josh, who lives in Indiana! Caleb really wanted to go out and play, but only lasted about five minutes (it hurts to look at him.)
Like many others, January is when my husband and I make an attempt to shed the extra pounds we’ve gained. We increase exercise and decrease our calories. Since we’re not feeding a family any more our trick for dinnertime portion and calorie control is to buy frozen meals (on sale, of course) that are 300 calories or less (we really like the Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers). No sweets! This works well for us. In addition, here are my current favorite hints and recipes.
1. Sweet–Pea Guacamole
1 bag frozen peas (thawed or partial thawed)
1 medium (ripe) avocado
Salsa ½ - 1 cup
Combine in food processor and add garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. This is a yummy dip for fresh veggies for afternoon snacks.
2. Cream-cheese and olive spread
1 carton of fat free cream-cheese
1 small jar of green stuffed olives, chopped
Mix and enjoy on 1 slice of whole grain toast for a great lunch (this dip can also be used with veggies)
· Use fat free half and half
· If you use flavored creamer use half as much along with fat free half and half.
· When I’m really craving sweets I eat a Certs mint or chew up a flavored Tums! (They are mostly calcium).
I know it’s not my usual post but maybe someone will find it helpful (or send me your hints!) Blessings to all, Sue