Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Random Test

Bragging time: These are my grandkids. I actually was able to get a picture of them all on the couch without any of them getting hurt! They are: #1 - Zach, #2 - Ethan, #3 - Hannah, #4 -Nate, #5- Kaleb, #6- Jeremy, and #7- Jacob. See how good you are at matching...

Who said:
A. "Ouchie's have blood in them and Mommy has to clean them and put a bandaide on them. BooBoo's hurt and you have to show them to Mommy and she looks at them to make sure they are ok."
B. "Mema, your Christmas wreath looks more fake than your fake tree does."
C. "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmma!"
D. "I'm too cute to wear pajama's!"
E. "Mema, my anatomy book shows how a baby grows...but it doesn't say how it gets out of its mommy. Would you read me that part?"
F. "Mema, I can play with your gameboy. Don't say no, because I know how to play it!"
G. At breakfast: "Mema, I'm hungry. Let's go eat at Mexico Viejo. I want a taco!"

Answer key: A - #6; B - #4; C - #1; D - #3; E - #5; F - #7; G - #2


Accomplishments:
A. Makes refried beans come out their nose on purpose.
B. Can recite a short story in 30 minutes.
C. Can recite the same short story in 30 seconds.
D. Requires 6 nurses to hold them down for tests.
E. Knows all the names of every villian in the Spiderman movies.
F. Can climb onto their windowsill and wave at the neighbors while taking a nap.
G. Eats off the floor.

Answer key: A - #2; B - #6; C - #4; D - #3; E - #5; F - #7; G - #1

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Silence May Be Golden

I have laryngitis. And I sound funny. How do I know?

On the phone: "Hi, this is Tammy..." hysterical laughter from the other end. I waited patiently and told them I was canceling my appointment. Person: "Thank you!" more laughter.

Called Theresa: "Hi, this is Mom..." hysterical laughter from the other end. Theresa: "Mom, you don't even have the pretty kind of laryngitis...you sound like a long time smoker!"

Kristi called me: "Hello?" "Uhh, who is this?" "It's Mom." "Are you sure?"

Daniel called me: "Hello, and don't you dare laugh!" long pause.... Daniel: "Uhhh, I didn't know I could call 1-900 numbers on my phone!" then hysterical laughter.

Called the church office: "Hi this is Tammy...." other end sounded very concerned: "Are you okay?!?""Yes, just laryngitis." laughter, of course...."You could be the prettiest bass at singing practice!"

Nate and Jeremy come to my door and I let them in: "Hi, Mema!" "Hi, Nate. Hi, Jeremy." Shocked looks....Nate: "Mema, what happened to your voice?!" Jeremy: "I know! I know! My teacher did this and she had a lost voice and she sounded just like you! It's ok, though, she found it later."

Sure hope I find mine soon...in the mean time, silence may be the better voice for me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Not At Our Beck and Call

We call out your name in as many ways as we can.

We fix your role towards us in the ways we need.

We approach you from the particular angel of our life.
We do all that, not because you need to be identified,
but because of our deep need,
our deep wound,
our deep hope.

And then, we are astonished that while our names for you
serve for a moment,
you break beyond them in your freedom,
you show yourself yet fresh beyond our utterance,
you retreat into your splendor beyond our grasp.

We are--by your freedom and your hiddenness--
made sure yet again that you are God...
beyond us, for us, but beyond us,
not at our beck and call,
but always in your own way.

We stammer about your identity,
only to learn that it is our own unsettling
before you that wants naming.

Beyond all our explaining and capturing and fixing you...
we give you praise,
we thank you for your fleshed presence in suffering love,
and for our names that you give us. Amen.

---Walter Brueggemann

Monday, October 08, 2007

Zoe Conference

Ten people from our praise team went to a conference in Nashville, TN this past weekend. To view our trip: Zoe Conference

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thoughts From Jeremy

I have been taking 3 of my grandkids to school 2 days a week to help out my daughter...Now I know why she blogs so many Jeremy-isms.

Jeremy: Mema, why is your car so little?
Mema: Because I don't have a lot of people riding in it.
Jeremy: Why do people have big vans? Because they have a lot of people riding in them?
Mema: Probably so.
Jeremy: Then I know who has the biggest van.
Mema: Who, Jer?
Jeremy: God does! Because he wants to have all the people ride in His van!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Stormy Weather



We had a beautiful light show last night. I'm working on night shots...I need to keep practicing, but I love God's powerful displays so much that hopefully one day I will do them justice in photo form.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Joy in Family and Friends

Shane had a wonderful lesson at Power Surge last night...the topic was Joy...not the old Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last kind of joy but the one that is strongest in the middle of the dark times, the storms of life. Our group discussed that peace had to be present first, then joy could be expressed. Not that we wanted the bad thing to happen, just that we acknowledged that it did and God was still in charge. The "emotion" of that fact was joy... we didn't have the power to influence the situation without faith in Jesus, and our power was from God in the form of prayer through Him.


Now you may be wondering why I have such a cute picture of Doug in the corner with a lesson of joy. Doug (an honorary member of our clan, btw) and his wife are living examples of joy. In the middle of really dark times in their lives they have exhibited the joy that the Father has given them in such sweet ways. Easy? They made it look that way (but also making sure everyone knew that their strength was from God). The picture was taken at Chili's and the basket on Doug's head (that is just too cute!) was from my grandson, K, who has Cystic Fibrosis. He had taken his left overs out of it and I had wiped it out and put it on K's head. We were all laughing (at least Mema, K, and sister Hannah were, their mom and dad were trying to teach manners) and passing the basket from head to head when it wound up on Doug, who was sitting behind us. K and Hannah stopped and looked petrified until Doug laughed. Then it was all fun and games!


I suddenly realized that the people at these tables, in the middle of Chilis, were exactly what joy was all about. K would go home to more treatments and meds and all the stuff that goes along with CF, yet the strength of God was flowing through him to laugh and love. His family, too, could stop for a moment and say "We have joy", as could Doug's. So my conclusion is profound: Because of Jesus we all have joy already inside of us, it is a fruit of His Spirit, but we know the strength of joy only when we consciencely acknowledge that we are growing in it and it in us. The world may say we have a lot of bad stuff happening, but God says we have a lot of joy growing, blooming and becoming more fruitful in all things and in the strength of it we can truly live a blessed life. So a big shout out to Shane for reminding us of joy, and for Doug for the object lesson, and a greater shout out to God who made it all possible.


So put a basket on your head and remind yourself of the joy you have! Hugs to all!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Like a Glass, Here is My Heart

My thanks to Danna (and Shane) for the title of the Dennis Jernigan song. The lyrics are just too good not to share...Thank you Dennis for listening to God!

Though I see right now through a glass rather dimly,
I can see enough to know I need You desperately.
Shine the light of Your true Living Word deep within me;
I know I need Your grace - I just want to see Your face.

And like a glass, here is my heart, and I see You rather dimly;
But You see clear within me cleansing every trace
of the dust I've let build up that's kept me from what I love dearly:
to see Your face more clearly.
I just need Your love and grace 'til I see You face to face.


There are times when I think I can see Your face more clearly,
Like the lifting of a mist as the sun reveals the day.
In this life I want to know You so well that when death's near me
I will notice no big change when I finally see Your face.

And like a glass, here is my heart, and I see You rather dimly;
But You see clear within me cleansing every trace
of the dust I've let build up that's kept me from what I love dearly:
to see Your face more clearly.
I just need Your love and grace 'til I see You face to face.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Home

We have a new house! Actually we moved in 7 weeks ago but it will be quite awhile before my grandkids stop calling it "Mema's New House". They are still working through the trauma of having other people living in our old house. And our "compartment", as our apartment came to be called, was never really Mema's house...I even told them I was camping there. (One told me it wasn't really camping because I didn't have a tent!)

But back to my new house. We have actually downsized about 700 square feet so I am having problems fitting all my stuff into the available space here. But in the process of weeding out 'stuff' I am finding the simplification process very refreshing. The apartment caused me to realize that I could live with much less and be quite content. I could clean the whole apartment in 30 minutes! My previous house would take a full day of hard work and I would be totally exhausted doing it. The new house...just perfect! I can clean it all in about 3 hours (including killing all the spiders, Thers) and really enjoy the rest of the day! And what a blessing to have people come in and feel comfortable, included and loved. That is what the openness of the house has created. I just can't wait for another get-together! We have averaged almost 2 per week so far...between church small groups and family dinners...and I love it! (Feeling left out? so sorry, just leave me a note and you will be next in line for tacos!)

Dennis Jernigan has a song that I cannot remember the title of...help me Shane...but it has a line in it that the sentiment is: I want to live so close to Jesus that when I die I won't notice much of a change. With all this new house stuff going on I suddenly realize that I really AM living in a tent, a "compartment", and that one day this body I have will take on a new look...it will become brand new and look like Jesus...I just wish that I could somehow live so close to Jesus that when I DO get my new mansion to live in, that I will already be familiar with the rooms, furnishings, look, feel, openness and love that is in that house that I will move in with joy and knowing that I am truly home. So I think I will start focusing more on furnishing my home on high...by doing good here on earth I could be building on my mansion: just imagine an accent wall made with rubies highlighting diamonds and opals...how cool would that be? And a banquet of tacos in my totally awesome dining room with built in remote to access anything I forgot in the fridge? And, of course, surround sound stereo system with constant access to nothing but praise and worship to our God! And the list of guests? Limitless! Priceless! and All Royalty! So just remember...you are invited to my house for a dinner of tacos...now and whenever we all get to go home.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Streetfighters and Warts

I took a chance last night...I said "something" to "someone" that was risky. It was preceeded by loads of prayer and much shaking of the knees, but I really needed to keep lines of communication open even if it meant hurt feelings. You've got to understand...I hurt, deeply, when I have said or done anything to hurt someone else. Doesn't matter if I didn't mean to hurt them...I still agonize over it. And to actually confront an issue, well, lets just say I get physically sick sometimes. It turned out very blessed (thank you, Lord) and communication lines are flowing again with love to boot! Then I read Terry's blog about Charles Swindoll and the quote he gave really opened my eyes to why I feel the way I do...and how important words really are:

So how do you deal with the tension of "shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves?" Let me give you a picture: you are standing with others, and all of you have sharp instruments in your hands. The first question is: "Are these scalpels or switchblades?" Both inflict injury to others, just in different ways and for different purposes. Be honest with yourself and others and commit to dealing with legalism and legalists as caring and compassionate surgeons rather than hostile street fighters. The temptation to do street fighting is very strong, and is the preferred method of the legalist. As a surgeon, you will be called upon to patch up those hurt by the street fighters.As a team of surgeons, ask yourselves a second question: "What are we here to remove--a cancerous tumor or a wart?" Pick your battles: forget the warts since they do not kill.

How many times I have done major surgery on warts! Thank you, God, for opening the eyes of the wise to express your love in such a way that we who are dim of sight can see clearly.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Playing Tag in Blogworld

I was tagged by Danna! Now I really feel a part of blogworld. Thanks, Danna, I love you!

Here are the rules copied exactly from her blog:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. Done.
2. Random fact #1...I love lists. Random fact #2...I am now the mother/grandmother of 15 kids. Random fact #3...My hair color is Mocha Splash chosen because of the name. Random fact #4...I used to be on a synchronized swim team. Random fact #5...I have 5 books I am currently reading and they are all awesome. Random fact #6...My cat, Luke, is helping me type this. Random fact #7...I have watched Star Trek Insurrection 3 times and never remembered that I had seen it before. Random fact #8...I have a terrible memory. Random fact #8...I have a terrible memory.
3. Done.
4. I will tag Derek and Michelle....all the others have already been tagged :0) so...technically done.
5. Done.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Whew! Made It!

Happenings since the last time I posted: 3 Birthdays, a 30th Anniversary, Mother's day, buying all kinds of stuff for our new house, Kaleb in the hospital :(, closing on our new house, buying all kinds of stuff for Derek and Michelle's wedding and rehearsal, packing, packing, moving, moving, moving some more, opening boxes...closing same boxes because of no where to put stuff, move stuff to garage for garage sale, really fun wedding rehearsal, really fun wedding, thinking I now have 8 kids and 7 grandkids, WOW!, tacos in the new house, Father's day, more tacos in the new house (for Derek and Michelle who were on their honeymoon...see Derek's blog), Willis has a date (waiting for update on that), unpack, unpack, put more stuff in the garage, kidney infection, chillin' because of feeling so rotten, remembering I have a blog, and Whew! Made it! Except for Kaleb's hospital visit and the kidney infection the times have been absolutely wonderful! And I am now thanking God for absolutely everything, good and bad, and thinking of what an interesting and fun life I have. And no I am not on those kind of drugs...just total appreciation of all things and life itself. Think I will go have leftover tacos.....

Friday, May 04, 2007

Jeremy-ism

"Hey, Mema! My pants have short-sleeves!"

Demons in the Backseat

From a Christian comic on TV (paraphrased):

I believe all children become demon possessed on Sunday morning. The normally compliant child runs like a banshee through the house, half dressed (although you dressed him only 2 minutes ago) slinging food on the animals and blaming his siblings for everything. The others follow suit so as to not be punished for something they didn't do. The correction from Mom and Dad start at a reasonable level only to escalate to yelling in a matter of moments.

"Tommy, where are your clothes?" "Tommy, please stop running." "Tommy you are grounded for the rest of your life!"

Once in the car, I sigh a futile sigh of relief and back out of the driveway. Then the demons put things into high gear. "He looked at me!" "He's touching me!" "He's breathing my air!" Well close your eyes, lean away, and stop breathing, I suggest. (Doesn't work, of course.) And soon I am yelling at the top of my lungs, swinging my arms toward the children in the back seat in an ineffective attempt to exorcise the demons before we reach the church parking lot.

I am swinging and yelling "Don't make me stop this car!" when I notice elderly Brother Smith passing me. (Please, God, don't let him see us like this!) God answers by letting Brother Smith smile and wave.

All through church service I anticipate the reprimand from Brother Smith and at the "Amen" he shuffles through the wave of people right up to me. "I noticed you were having problems on the way here...", he said pointing his righteous finger at my nose. "And I have a little advice for you." (Ok, here it comes...) "Next time you feel like taking a swing while you are driving, just hit your brakes real hard and you will be able to reach those little demons!"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Kodak Moment

There used to be a commercial by Kodak that ended in the catch phrase "This is a Kodak moment." It showed a photo taken by a persons' camera and given to someone to remember that moment forever. We all have those Kodak moments stuffed away in our memories....the first kiss...walking down the aisle...our first, second, etc. child...the first step, tooth, trip to the doctor, date...walking down the aisle...

But sometimes the Kodak moment is one that is a complete and utter shock...unexpected and painful. The kind that leaves just standing as Ephesians 6:13 says "when that (Kodak) day comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." But it doesn't tell you the rest of the story. That you may be left standing with your belt of truth so tight it cuts you through the middle. That you may be left standing with your heart pounding so hard that you know it will burst inside your breastplate of righteousness. That your ready feet hurt and are so tired and swollen that standing peacefully is really the last thing you want to do. Your shield of faith is so heavy with the arrows of satan that you can barely hold it up. Your head is pounding in the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit lies, tip down, in the mud created by your own tears. The only prayer found to be uttered is the one that keeps your fingers around the sword....

"...since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

And by the power of that Love I will stand.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I Love McDonald's!

I have a routine of grabbing a bite of lunch from McDonald's, driving out to our building site and eating while watching our new house being built. Today I decided to check on my daughter while driving to McDonald's. I called her house and caught up on all the days activities (sorry, I was driving and talking at the same time....we will discuss that later....) when I pulled into the drive-thru. "Well, sweety, guess I will let you go so I can order," I said as I rolled down the window. "Ok, Mom, I love you! Bye," she said. "I love you, too!" I replied, looking at the menu. The speaker at McDonald's answered, "Uhhh, excuse me?" ... .... ....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Gift of Hope

"...we (also) rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured our his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5.

I had to start out with that scripture in front of me. It is a reminder of where I have been the last few weeks and where I am (by grace) going. I started the year with a promise to "do in" TSOO (The Spirit of Offense). Nobel. Then for lent, I set up in MY mind the idea of doing good things for people in Jesus name and giving up of myself. I really thought I could have a checklist at the end of the day: 1. Called sick person (check) 2. Didn't yell at the person who cut me off in traffic (check) 3. Helped a mom in Walmart pick up after her kids who had ransacked the shirt section when her back was turned (check!). Now I can feel good about the lent day I have just experienced! I really gave up some Jerks, right? And I did things good on purpose, right?

And then God placed me in a very strange place. After a few "check list" days I had nothing to do. Not that there weren't opportunities, just that they all turned out weird. I would do a "check off" thing and feel absolutely awful and empty! I prayed for guidance, more love, more grace, wisdom, etc. And He answered.

I had just finished cleaning up our itty-bitty apartment, set the trash out on the front stoop for Derek to take to the dumpster when he got home in about an hour, showered and left for an appointment. Later in the day I was greeted with a "Notice of Lease Infraction" for putting the trash out on the stoop. It was only there for 30 minutes, (I asked Derek). He had taken it to the dumpster when he got home! Our neighbors leave theirs out in piles for weeks at a time and I get the Infraction notice for a 30 minute offense?!? My prayer came back to bite me along with my resolution to not take offense. The office was right. Our lease did say not to leave garbage sacks outside the residence. No loophole of how short the time might be...just don't do it. I took another garbage bag out and cleaned all the trash from around our apartment outside asking God to forgive me for being so petty thinking that a check list of good was the way to go. The real Jerk is Satan, deceiving us into thinking that our "acts" are what is important and by doing more of them God is impressed. He's not impressed. After all, looking down from the cross at my checklist attitude must have added to his reason for dying and made Satan chuckle at his success in hurting the Son of God a little bit more through me. That's when I realized that Satan was the Jerk I had given up for lent...not people after God's own image...the one, real, true Jerk on the Earth is Satan!!

A few days later came the bigger answer to that prayer. And it was a bit more personal. I have a standing appointment with Ms. Clairol every few months (and you thought my hair was natural at my age?!) Having only five minutes left in the process, I went to set the water temperature only to find out there was NO WATER! I frantically called the office and got the lady that had previously sent me the lease infraction notice..."Apartment 710 doesn't have water!" I gasped. "Oh," was her reply, "We have someone replacing a hot water tank in one of the apartments and had to turn it off. We never know when he is going to work so we can't give any notice of shutting of the water." "When will it be back on?" I asked, my head beginning to sting with the hair solution. "Maybe an hour or so...never know," she answered. Then she hung up...no apology, no words of encouragement...she just hung up. That prayer bit me again, but this time the Jerk was so clearly apparent I began to laugh! Then I realized my hair felt like it was on fire! I rushed to my daughters house with a towel on my poor head and rinsed the solution off 35 minutes late. I am waiting to see if I have to get a new haircut and style. So far I haven't lost more than tips of my hair. But that is a small price to pay for the lesson learned.

I have prayed everyday for that lady, that I have an opportunity to do something nice for her face to face with all the love God can plant in my heart. She is not the Jerk. She is the instigator of a very funny event (at least it will be...smile) and the real Jerk is the Spirit of Satan that tried to convince me that doing good things is a simple check list with no heart involvement. And TSOO that threw the option of offense in my face at a time he knew it would be hard not to claim my 'rights'! Thank you sweet Father for the glimpse of your wisdom and love, and allowing us all to participate, in different ways, in the great sacrifice that your Son experienced! Please continue to put to death the parts of me that are not like Him and raise up the Spirit you have given me to praise you in all things!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Green Thumbs

It's spring. Well actually it is still winter but with 70 degrees outside I can have my fantasy. My mom is probably spending the whole day outside pruning her trees and flowers. She has a bright green thumb...mine is brown so I really am amazed at what she can do with plants. She has been known to stop along a roadside in Colorado, dig up several baby Aspen trees, plant them in her yard in Oklahoma and have them survive Oklahoma weather! At one point she had a small grove of Aspen in her front yard that turned a beautiful yellow in the fall. She said my dad wanted a little bit of Colorado at home so she planted Aspen. Anyone who knows anything about plants knows that this is almost impossible to do. Aspen in Oklahoma. It's like snowballs in a rainforest...it could happen but not likely.

But back to the pruning. Mom prunes dead branches off all her plants. The dead can cause disease, she told me. But she also prunes live branches. This enhances the look of some plants and the fruit of others. Looking back on her canning lists she knows her stuff. And one look at her yard in spring, summer or fall will convince you to listen if you want to grow plants. But right now it all looks hopeless. The winter has not been kind to things outdoors. The ice storm was beautiful, in a way. The light playing off the ice could not be described adequately! But the damage left was awful. Large trees split down the middle. Smaller trees bent to the ground, never to stand straight again. Azaleas with holes where, in years past, there was an abundance of flowers. Mom has her work cut out (literally) for her. She morns what is lost knowing it will never be the same again in her lifetime. But in the middle of the loss, she will pick up her tools and go to work to make the destruction beautiful and productive once again.

I feel pruned. Yesterday left me wondering if I will ever get all the dead stuff off and really be productive for God. I am hoping to have a wonderful time helping and encouraging people but in past experience I know the challenge will be great. (I will be the object of 99 percent of the Jerks in our area :0) My daughter reminded me of a scripture we both struggle with in 2nd Corinthians 10:5...taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. Pruning off the thought process so that Christ's thoughts can become mine...oh that it were easy! But it is a battle against the storm of negative self talk and negative outside influence...and like the ice storm it leaves me thinking that the damage is too great to even try to clear out and clean up, much less that anything positive could come of it. But in the middle of it all, God throws another scripture out...that He is the vinedresser and pruner (John 15) and that any branch that does not bear fruit he prunes away and He repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. So I guess in my mental pruning I am pruned if I do think Christ-like thoughts and I am pruned if I don't. But it is God doing the work...not me! Taking out the negative and causing the positive to grow even more positive. All I do is abide and live in the Vine, Jesus.

My mom doesn't label her fruit trees. She knows what they are by the fruit they produce. They just stand there, through the storms, letting her lop off the bad and sometimes the good, and allow her to even dump manure on them occasionally. And at the right time the flowers and fruit appear. Oh that I can abide and stand in Jesus, Messiah, trusting the Father to produce the crop that He already is planning in me at just the right time. All I can say is thank you to the wise pruner who has the greenest thumb of all!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Giving up Jerks for Lent

My daughters' blog inspired me to change my own blog from "Does God Really Love Jerks" to the above title. After reading the Wikipedia description of Lent though, I decided that my attitude needed an adjustment...(ouch)....and my yucky day of dealing with (ahem) people should be turned around for the glory of God. (Ok...for those who are going "What in the world happened?" I will explain with two words...Insurance Referrals...'Nuff said.) Instead of giving up something though, I liked the idea of actively doing something: giving, volunteering, etc. So my Lent is Random Acts of Kindness. I will look for the person or persons throughout the day that I could easily ignore or, worse, be rude to, and ask God for a way to bless them. So in the reality, I am 'Giving up Jerks for Lent' by making them a focus of Gods' blessings...thus they become 'Kindness Opportunities'. Seriously, this will be a total attitude check for me! For those of you that are giving up things like coffee or french fries, when you crave those and start praying, be sure to include my name in your prayers. This is gonna be hard (but good :) and hopefully will be the beginning of a really cool habit.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Blender on High

We are living in an itty-bitty apartment for anyone who doesn't know. We have been having a great time camping here while we are watching the dirt at the site that is suppose to have a new house being built on it. We were told that something about the weather was holding things up...ok...that's probably true. In the mean time, we have discovered that our neighbors behind us smoke. The smoke travels through the walls in our kitchen and bathroom (the bathroom is actually bigger than the kitchen). We decided to take things into our own hands to solve the problem (having asthma and smoke in the apartment is not a good combination). We bought an air purifier. It worked great but we could still smell smoke. So we bought a plastic painter drop cloth and a roll of duct tape. We have completely stuffed every hole, nook and cranny in the bathroom and kitchen with the plastic and then duct taped over that several times. It works great! And if we have severe weather we are sure that the kitchen and bathroom will still be standing even if the rest of the apartment is blown away! A virtual safe room of duct tape!

Something different: Sunday Ethan (our grandson, age 2) pulled two chairs together and sat on the crack in the middle of them. "I'm sitting beside me!" he declared.

Some people have asked if it is true that I can actually retire as Supermom. It's kinda misleading, I suppose, to say that I am retiring. I am really just changing my super-focus. I will be known as "Mighty Mema" and probably do all the super-work I did before plus all the super-work for the super-grandkids! But some of my super-work will be taken over by my super-kids-in-law, thank goodness!

I spent a Saturday at Kaleb (6) and Hannah's (4) house a few weeks ago. I was changing the trash bag because we had filled it up with trash from McDonald's. I asked Kaleb "Where are the new trash sacks for the trash can?" "In the pantry, Mema." I proceed to look all through the pantry. "I don't see them." "Maybe they are at the back." I look all the way in the back of the pantry on several different shelves. "Still don't see them." "Maybe they are in the garage." I look in the garage in places I would have put them, still nothing. "Are you sure they are in the garage, I still don't see them." "They are probably up high." Again I search everything that could hold the box of trash sacks. "Still don't see them!" I yell from the garage. As I walk into the house I ask Kaleb once again if he knows where the trash sacks are. "Maybe they are in Mommy and Daddy's bathroom." I look at him closely and see a trace of his daddy in his eyes..."You really don't have a clue where the trash sacks are, do you!" "Nope!" he giggled and ran out of my reach! Hannah in the mean time had gotten in a bit of trouble with Papa. As I enter the living room I hear Papa say "Looking at me with sad eyes is not going to get your toy back!" "What if I move my eyebrows up and down like this?" she asked in the sweetest voice you have ever heard! Guess I had better get a PHD in manipulation to keep up with these two!

Jeremy: "Mema, can I go to your compartment?" "You mean 'apartment?" "Yeah, an partment!" later...."Mema, Yu-gi-oh has a 'do list' on his arm!" I need a hearing aid...for you who want to know..Yu-gi-oh is a cartoon that has a very serious game of cards going on that the players duel with....thus the 'do list' (duel-ist)......... Yeah...I know the feeling!

Firsts for Nate: Nate finally got to see his new cousin, Zachary, a month after Zachary was born. "Finally! Zachary came out!" and on the first time seeing our apartment..."Mema, are you sure this is all of it? You ARE camping!"

Then there is poor Jacob (2)...He is learning Spanish since both his parents were missionaries to Mexico, Okie from his dad and Aussie from his mum. He speaks very clearly for a 2 year old...just never know if the sentence contains just English or not! "Si, Mema, I like tannins (raisins) fo' a snack with agua."

Mighty Mema signing off....(cue super-music).....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Return of the TPD


'Tis true...Supermom jumped into action once again last week. Another frantic call from the lowly son, Derek, in distress once again in the dreaded North Tulsa area. This time it is 36th and Harvard (*whining* why so far!!!). His truck stopped...not stalled...not out of gas...it just stopped...in the right turn lane of 36th turning onto Harvard (I truly think the poor vehicle gets scared out of its wits sometimes. I will let you guess the why.) Supermom jumps into action once again...oh...already did that part. Grabbing my coat (yes it is still cold here) while talking to Derek, "Did you try to push start it?" "Yes, Mom, been there done that..." when I hear the unmistakable sound of a car horn, screeching, and a crash. I stop in my tracks, and I swear I hear my son say, "Hannah just got rear ended!" "Who's Hannah?" I ask. "What? No not Hannah...ME!" "Oh! are you okay?" "Yeah, I will call you back!" I grab more Elixir of the Gods (coffee, remember?) for obviously the cell phone needs extra power! Hannah...I'm thinking...why did he say Hannah...OHHHH...'Ann uh jus got rear ended'...good old Okie-speak for 'And I just got rear ended'. With that mystery solved and the extra dose of adrenalin I head out onto the highway. No foes in sight because it is past rush hour by now. Derek calls back. "Did you get the other drivers information?" I ask. "Uh...no." "Did you call the police?" "Uh...yeah. And I pushed my car out of the road with the help of a city worker. He saw the car hit me." "So are you going to get the insurance info?" "No." "Why not?" "The guy just hit me and left." "A hit and run!?!" I yell in disbelief. It is a C.O.P.S. episode once again!

(A little while later...) I arrive at the scene to find my son shivering in the cold. He runs to my car, jumps in and proceeds to turn the heat on high and stick his ears in the vents. Teeth chattering he tells me that the police are on their way and the guy in the yard beside us is the one that saw the car...it was a blue station wagon, old, and the guy was black with a hoodie on. That describes the last 12 drivers that I passed while driving there. The police arrive and we get out...shivering...to show him the damage while Derek tells him the story. I notice the police officer, Officer Griffin, is wearing short sleeves, has a buzzed haircut, and acts like he is in the middle of Tropics. No shivering. No jumping to keep warm. Just strolling along looking at the poor scared truck like it is 80 degrees (it is actually 24 degrees with a wind chill, I'm guessing, about -30). He offers to push start the truck and I accept his offer. No go...the poor truck is not budging. A backup policeman arrives and we are told that finding a guy that fits that description is like looking for hay in a haystack...they suggest not even filing the report because they know they won't catch the guy. But they would be glad to call a tow truck for us...no thanks. I still have the number from our last episode. Really nice officers, though...and the back up officer has short sleeves and a buzz cut too....and he's not shivering either. The two of them push the truck further off the road for safety and laugh about the 'work out'. Those are really tough officers! But in all honesty they were helpful and really nice guys!

We had the truck towed (again) to the auto shop, paid for a new gas pump ($500 this time), and went to eat at Mexico Viejo. Their salsa can warm you up quick! And there is nothing better than drowning your sorrows in enchiladas! This report was not on the TV and all in all was just an expensive misadventure of Supermom....by the way, Supermom is retiring June 16th of this year. Derek gets married on that date. Poor Michelle...guess I need to introduce her to the Elixir of the Gods. She's going to need it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

C.O.P.S. TPD Style

I am learning patience....aren't we all. I stopped praying for patience when God gave me my last two boys...I got the idea that it was a learning process and not a miraculous happening. So, this morning I am drinking my coffee, snuggled in bed with my cat purring at my side when the phone rings. Not a good omen. Phones that ring after 10pm or before 8am are almost always emergency related. Trying to keep the adrenalin from ramping into high, I answer it. It's Derek, with car trouble, not nearby but almost to school...in North Tulsa (dun-dun-duh!!!). I push the cat away (he gave me a dirty look), jump into my Supermom suit (ok..it's jeans and a sweatshirt), grab another cup of the Elixir of the Gods for Super Strength (coffee) and head to my Super Sports Car (my Vibe...hey, it's close!). Fighting all the evil fiends (rush hour traffic) I speed to the scene (barely going the speed limit...note the ice story in previous blogs). He had a flat and no way to change the tire! (This may require backup!) I call for a tow truck. The driver is unfortunately extremely busy with other dire circumstances and will require us to wait 1 1/2 hours. I decide to take Derek to school (he can always use more learnin') and return to the scene of the uhhh (crime?) situation where I learn my next lesson in patience for 1 hour and 45 minutes. The tow truck dispatched to our scene is late (of course! it's a lesson in patience...the old learning process!) and it leaves with the crippled truck just in time for me to go get Derek from school. This is where the Tulsa Police Department gets involved. I pick up Derek, head back to the highway on Peoria at 36th North when two police cars block us from turning onto 36th! We then look in front of us to see a speeding van with one tire running just on the rim and 19 (that's nineteen!) police cars chasing it! The two police cars that blocked 36th street join the chase down Peoria at high speed! I am breathless! We just witnessed a high speed chase with 21 police cars! What a reward for learning my lesson in patience! (The rest of the day was spent paying for the tow and repair of the truck to the tune of $300...but all in a days work for Supermom, eh?)
Note: This story is true. Just watch the news tonight. The tow truck will not be featured but the chase will be.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Take Your Medicine! Now!

Our family, like many others, have "challenges" that have dominated our lives and invaded our space over and over again. The "challenges" I am speaking of are not the common everyday annoyances like traffic jams, ice storms, computer glitches or even lack of electricity for over a week...these are the life threatening kind: Cystic Fibrosis, Clef lip and palate, allergic anaphylactic shock, stroke, blindness... Needless to say my adrenalin can go from zero to 1000 in less than 3 seconds...just the amount of time to hear, "Mom, it's serious...". Our family has found a great response to crisis: total and utterly hysterical laughter...yes you read right...laughter! The family members that are closest to the trouble are the ones that have learned to laugh the quickest and the hardest! Over and over again I am asked if that is alright, usually by the person laughing. My answer is a resounding and unashamed YES! We have found more humor in the hospital than the average person finds in a comic routine! (Kaleb, age 6, will give stickers to the nurses that can draw blood from his little arms on the first try...try imagining that without crying and laughing at the same time!) Others look at us like we are crazy but the ones I like best are the ones who join in!

We are not promised a perfect life with no problems just because we believe in Christ, but we are promised to be made perfect in Him. Being made perfect is not done without suffering...Christ suffered for us on the Cross more than we could ever imagine! "Jesus...for the joy set before Him endured the cross"...So that we could joyfully take up our own cross. Too many times I have focused on the cross I have carried and not on the Savior that had already endured it. Interestingly enough, if you carry a cross it must be behind you, on your back where you cannot see it or focus on it so you must focus on something in front of you...Christ chose to focus on joy. So when the going gets tough, and we question our hysterical laughter in the middle of it, just remember it is Biblical to laugh at trouble...("A cheerful heart is good medicine..."Prov. 17:22). Now, I think I will go find my medicine.

PS: You may honestly say now: "I love my new meds!" PSS: While I was finishing this, my hubby sent these, what a coincidence!

Some of the best HEADLINES FROM THE YEAR 2006
1. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
(No, really?)
2. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
(Now that's taking things a bit far, don't you think?)
3. Is There A Ring of Debris Around Uranus?
(Whaaaaaaat?)
4. Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
(What a guy!)
5. Miners Refuse to Work After Death
(Hmmmm)
6. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
(See if that works better than a fair trial!)
7. War Dims Hope for Peace
(I can see where it might have that effect.)
8. If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
(You think?!)
9. Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
(Who would have thought?)
10. Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
(You mean there's something stronger than Duct Tape?)
12. Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
(He probably IS the battery charge.)
13. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
(Guess the test group didn't weigh enough.)
14. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
(EEWWWW!)
15. Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
- Did I read that headline right?! -

It may be a little tongue-in-cheek for a more serious blog...but I will laugh at it anyway!!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Men in My Family!

Everyone around here knows about the weather...it's been the highlight of every news story for the past week..."Breaking Weather Report"....ok...time to tell the weather guys that after a week it is no longer "Breaking" news...we KNOW it's cold and icy! with more to come. I know some areas are in serious trouble, though, and my folks are in the middle of it. Their power went out on Saturday and they have been challenged by all the cold, ice and lack of just about everything! They were fortunate enough to get the last generator at their local hardware store and with it up and running they can at least power a small heater and the TV. Last night they were sitting in the cold when my dad gets up to check on the generator. "There's still one plug left on the generator and I think I know what to power with it," he told my mom while he headed outside. He came in chuckling to himself. "What in blazes are you up to?" Mom asked. (Sorry...she really talks like that, too.) "Well, I turned on the outside vapor light out in the field behind the house," Dad told her, laughing again. "Now all our neighbors will think we have our electricity back on and THEY don't!!!" I pray that winter doesn't last too long, for my parents sake...

And back on the home front...we have another 'man child' (his daddy's term!) added to the Clan! Zachary Wyatt showed up yesterday at 3:46pm weighing in at a whopping 7 pounds 8 ounces and is 20 1/2 inches tall with good looks to boot! Pictures tell the story: http://community.webshots.com/user/tammybowers He is doing great and will probably be home this afternoon, just in time for his first snowstorm *sigh*. We take the good with the not so good and praise God for an 'uneventful' birth. He is perfect in every way and mom, dad and big brother (along with the rest of the multitude of relatives) welcome him with warmth of love if not the warmth of weather!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Say Uncle? Never!

Do you remember as a kid "playing Uncle"? I didn't like to play but having an older brother, many time I was included against my will. He would grab my arm, thumb or toe and twist or squeeze and tell me to say Uncle and he would stop. Now the smart thing to do would have been to say Uncle and accept the "defeat" with whatever grace I could have mustered up, but not me...I had a big dollop of stubbornness from both parents and would hold my breath until I would have tears streaming down my face, but say Uncle? Never! I would have a sore arm for days with bruises the exact size of my brother's fingers but I didn't say Uncle so I "won". Was it the smart thing to do? I would have to say no. My relationship with my brother to this day is one that is marred with pain. Not just games anymore, real life scars that the abuse of alcohol and drug leave...twisted and bruised relationships, trust and lives. When I was younger I knew every hiding place in our house, yard and neighborhood that I would immediately run to if I saw him coming and as an adult I guess I have done the same thing...caller ID is a good thing to have if you want to hide.

With my New Year's resolution came the biggest brother of all 'bad'....Satan. He gave me every opportunity to give in to TSOO possible. (If you haven't read my previous blog on The Spirit of Offense (TSOO), now would be a good time to get filled in.) Being in the resolution mode I took them all with a grain of salt the first week and laughed at all of the holds Satan tried! I felt very strong and thought more of my resolution as a game of Uncle than the serious change that God was putting on my life...after all, that first week seemed easy! Now that the second week has passed I am thinking that saying Uncle might be the easiest thing to do...after all, I have a lot on my plate right now and I don't have time to deal with my attitude...so I feel myself hiding whenever I see Satan (or is it God?) putting an opportunity in front of me to feel offended. Instead of dealing with my own feelings and attitudes, I stuff the situation down. Instead of praying for people and blessing them, I turn away to TV or the computer to take away the problem and forget the offense for the moment. Instead of making the encouraging call to the person that has offended me, I talk about them to someone that is sympathetic to Me. So I guess in all sorts of ways I have said Uncle to Satan...something I wouldn't have done for my own brother I did to the biggest liar, cheater, and the one that hates me most...and I gave in.

Thank goodness we have a God and a Big Brother that allows us a win-win life! In repentance I am not 'giving up', I am getting help from my Big Brother Jesus to take the arm-twisting fingers of Satan off of my life and to let me hide in Him while He does the fighting for me. I just acknowledge that I am the little sister that really can't make it alone. All I have to do is remain in the family, praise, encourage and lift up everyone else on this earth to show them my Big Brother can and does fight for them too! To let them know (or remind them) that they too have this family available to them and they can develop a relationship in his love that defeats all the pain and suffering that Satan has thrown at them. And in doing that I remind myself of why I should never take offense...because Satan is the enemy, not other people who are fighting this fight just like me. So once again, I am standing up and facing TSOO and declaring with tears of repentance on my face and my Brother at my side, "Say Uncle? Never!"

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

...And the Spirit Came Upon Me

We have finally completed the Holidays! Yesterday we celebrated our traditional "New Year Christmas Day" and it was an exercise in excess once again! God has blessed us every one! In the aftermath I sat down to consider the new year and new beginnings. Last year I devoted to lowering my sarcasm level. I tended to do the Bell Curve over and over again with reminding myself to be less sarcastic and more encouraging but I think over all my encouragement level has gone up and my sarcasm has decreased (even though I have almost bit my tongue in two several times). For those of you who feel I still need some work in this area please feel free to comment...I really will continue in my endeavor.

Now for something new...ever notice that with the Spirit of Christmas comes another spirit? One that sneaks in the back door with that uncle or aunt (sister or brother, mom or dad) that kinda kicks the jolly right out of the holiday? I have named that spirit The Spirit of Offense (TSOO for short) and my resolution this year is to totally starve him to death! I will give him no food to feed on out of my mouth or actions, in fact I will slip him a bit of poisonous laughter now and then! And then totally ignore him as he writhes in anguish! When he tries to jab me with my own rights, I will lay them down on the floor where they are completely useless (unless I try to pick them up and then remind myself that TSOO is in control of them, HAH!) When he comes at me through words spoken in anger or thoughtlessness, I will leaven a bit of love into the conversation and make some bread of life out of it then not allow TSOO to have a bite of it! I will keep sweetness, kindness and gentleness at hand in a spray bottle to freshen the air a bit after I have kick him out of the house and then sic my big dog on him...my dogs' name is Prayer, and he is one tough dog! I have seen him wrestle The Spirit of Offense over and over again and never get tired of running him off! I then will protect my life with the best security system available...the Spirit of God's Word: J.E.S.U.S. Inc. (They are a company with three divisions...you get the idea :) All I have to do is enter the special code of praise and TSOO can never come back! That is unless I invite him....guess I need to go pet my dog for awhile if I am tempted to do something as silly as that. I will see how my new year's resolution holds up...it's a tough one this year, but a good one, don't you think?