Thursday, December 31, 2009

so why this blog name and what's up in 2010

When I started blogging I wanted a place where I could put my thoughts, feelings, observations, advice, wisdom, funny stuff, recipes, etc. It all seemed pretty random and although I'm a just-the-facts kind of gal at work, I do tend to ramble when telling stories, which I love to do. Plus it's my blog so I could be totally unfettered by any expectations other than my own.

I've lived most of my life taking care of people. I'm a first born, an over-achiever, with a much younger sibling, inattentive parents, and a mother-nature kind of heart. When my parents divorced I was 16, went to work full-time while finishing high school and then to college. I married at 19, was a mom of 2 by the time I was 22 and have spent the bulk of my adult years married to my best friend and raising the two most incredible daughters.

In the last few years, I've cared for my alzheimer's dad until his death in November. So now I'm reassessing. What does life look like in 2010?

I'm still married...26 years and counting. I want to spend more time dating my husband. Enjoying the freedom we have as a couple without children at home, without great responsibilities from others. I want to find more things to do together. I want to serve together more. Be involved together more.

I'm still a mom...but my daughters are 23 and 25 and discovering what their lives look like as adults. I enjoy watching, participating, supporting...but I'm an observer now, not a coordinator. :-)

And then there is me. What do I want to do for me this year? I want to know God more this year. Spend time with Him. Listen to Him. I want to do more art, learn more, express more, develop more as an artist. I want to get into shape this year, but not by dieting and exercising on a plan...I want to invest in my health and longevity by changing habits, making the effort to invest in me. I want to get more manis and pedis.

I want to dance more...sing more...celebrate more! Life is too short and moves too quickly not to spend a little time every day celebrating that today is a gift! Tear that wrapping off and get to the good stuff. Hug someone you love, HECK, hug someone you barely know. Play a game, do a puzzle, go for a walk, snuggle more...and remember always God loves you.

peace.

Monday, December 28, 2009

trust AND follow

So I had this thought hit me yesterday. We were at Frontline with our daughters and the guy speaking made this comment "It's good to trust in God and to follow Him..." and it hit me, do I only trust? Am I really following Christ?

I have watched my life be built, brick upon brick, layer upon layer, on an unshakable foundation of trust in the Lord. I have faced all manner of events and situations with the absolute knowledge that I trust God and I know He has a plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11-14 is one of my life passages of scripture.

But do I follow Him? Do I stop, look and listen to where He is leading me? Or do I set off on a path, knowing He'll take care of me, trusting in His ever-present help in times of trouble?

Honestly, I don't know. But if the thought hit me that hard, I think I need to find out. God is subtle with me that way. Kind of like a hammer to the head of a nail. But really, sometimes it takes that with me. I reach the end of my chain at a dead run and like the old cartoons, it pulls tight, lifts me off my feet and BOOM! on my butt I sit.

So, here I sit. Pondering...what does it really, truly mean to follow Christ? Not the Sunday school answers that pop into my head, but the heart-felt, will-bending, I-know-that-I-know kind of answer.

Well, I'm going to find out.

peace.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Timely Reminder


My friend, Jen, posted this the other day and I wanted to share it with you.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this Christmas poem, Christmas Bells, during the American Civil War, 1864. It appears in many Christian hymnals under the title I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, however, the fourth and fifth stanzas, which speak of battle, are usually omitted.

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
"There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”


With all the talk of war, inflation, recession, unemployment, healthcare, etc... I just wanted to remind myself that greater is HE that is in me, than he that is in the world. I am rejoicing today for my Savior is born! And I'm resting in the knowledge that He has already prevailed with Peace on Earth and Good Will to men.

peace...and Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's UPtime America!

If you see injustice, STAND UP
If something needs to be said, SPEAK UP
If you make an appointment, SHOW UP
If you make a mistake, FESS UP
If you’re overstepping, BACK UP
If you get behind, CATCH UP
If they knock you down, GET UP
If you’re out of line, STRAIGHTEN UP
When your boss instructs, KEEP UP
When your elders speak, LISTEN UP
When your teachers teach, SIT UP
When your preachers preach, WAKE UP
When your country calls, MAN UP
Ladies too... WOMAN UP
When the fight is over, MAKE UP
If you’re being hard, EASE UP
If your heart is closed, OPEN UP
If you want to buy something, SAVE UP--
It’s not an entitlement, so SHUT UP!
If you make a mess, CLEAN IT UP
If you drop trash, PICK IT UP
If a car is waiting for you to
walk across the street, SPEED IT UP
If you’re cold busted, GIVE IT UP
If people fall down, HELP THEM UP--
Not the government, YOU STEP UP
If idiots start fighting, BREAK IT UP
If the music is wholesome, TURN IT UP
If the message is poisonous, THROW IT UP
If your words are vulgar, CLAM IT UP
If your words encourage, KEEP IT UP
If your pants are baggy, PULL THEM UP
If the belt’s too loose, CINCH IT UP
If your fly is down, ZIP IT UP
If you’re dressed half naked, COVER IT UP
If you can’t afford stuff, PASS IT UP--
No “bailouts” folks, PONY UP
If you made a promise, you BACK IT UP
And you can take your whining and PACK IT UP
It’s called personal responsibility, so TAKE IT UP
This country was founded on it, you can LOOK IT UP
It’s the American way people, so TURN IT UP
Because when life gets boring, you SHAKE IT UP
When life is good, you SOAK IT UP
When life’s unfair, you SUCK IT UP
When life is funny, you can YUCK IT UP
When life is sad, just LOOK STRAIGHT UP
And life’s too short people, so LIVE IT UP!


Or you can watch this or go here.

I have always told my kids that their response is their responsibility. She just takes it to a whole new level.

We are so blessed as a nation that we have become lazy and selfish. It's time to give it up, stand up and get this nation headed in the right direction - UP!

This was my motivation for today, just thought I'd share.

peace

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas in Oklahoma





One of my favorite things this time of year are all the Christmas lights. Here are just a few I've seen this year. All these photos are from my phone. Hope it lends some Christmas spirit to you!

peace.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Never done this before...

Ok, so for a long time, my husband and I have celebrated our anniversary in November by taking the day off and doing all our Christmas shopping. We love it, it's peaceful, no one else is out and walking across a parking lot is not a near death experience!

NOT this year...I was out of town, he was out of town and life invaded to the point that we are now 11 days from Christmas and I have 1 present purchased...and it was online.

Now I'm not saying panic has set in...it has, but I'm not saying!! I went to Walmart for groceries and barely escaped with my life. And that was INSIDE the store, I'm not even talking about the parking lot!

So hubbie and I are now making a plan. I'm wondering what stores are open at 1:00 am, would we be safe to shop then and how much can I get at Walmart and 7-11?

Those gift cards are looking better and better...and besides, they buy more after Christmas right? RIGHT? I mean that could be my reason...couldn't it??

peace?? :-)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thoughts for today...

It's been pretty quiet at work this week. I'm grateful for the slow down, but it does give me time to think...here are some of the random thoughts I've had.

I was calendaring some work items and saw my dad's b-day in January, just couldn't make myself take it off the calendar for next year.

Andrea is graduating from college on Saturday, wonder what new dates we'll be celebrating next year?

Is 2010 the year I'll lose this weight?

Wonder what my future (as in they aren't even dating anyone kind of future) sons-in-laws birthdays will be?

Wow, it's 2010 already!

What day of the week is Jim's 50th b-day on? WOW, I'm married to an almost 50 year old!! (2011)


I'm not sure quiet time is good for me. Too much thinking, too many possibilities. But it also gives me time to reflect on good things. I try to be a grateful person. I think it's important to recognize goodness everywhere you can.

So here's my grateful list:

I'm grateful for my relationship with God. He is my strength, my comfort, my guide, my peace and my safe harbor. I cannot imagine life without His ever present goodness in my world.

I'm grateful for my husband. He is my best friend.

I'm grateful for my daughters. They bring me such JOY!

I'm grateful for my mom and sister. For my brother-in-law, my niece and nephew. They add color to my world.

I'm grateful for good friends, long-time friends, new friends, twitter friends, facebook friends...The support and love they offer without strings, a constant source of encouragement to me.

I'm grateful for a job I love, with people I love, doing work that daily impacts the souls of men, bringing hope where there is very little, and welcoming people into an eternity with Christ.


OK, so time isn't so bad. It's refocused me and I hope it has blessed you and challenged you to take some time and be grateful as well.

peace.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Winner's Circle

Another timely reminder of God's love from Max Lucado's When Christ Comes. Hope it blesses you!

"The Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free." Ephesians 6:8

For all we don't know about the next life, this much is certain. The day Christ comes will be a day of reward. Those who went unknown on earth will be known in heaven. Those who never heard the cheers of men will hear the cheers of angels. Those who missed the blessing of a father will hear the blessing of their heavenly Father. The small will be great. The forgotten will be remembered. The unnoticed will be crowned and the faithful will be honored.

The winner's circle isn't reserved for a handful of the elite, but for a heaven full of God's children who "will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him" James 1:12


Did you notice that last part? The part about love? That really is all, God loves us and He wants our love in return. No works, no ultimate sacrifices, no grand deeds...just a loving relationship. Accept His loving offer of salvation through Christ's love displayed on the cross and enter into the Winner's Circle. I'll be there waiting, too.

peace.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dad is at peace

The phone rang at 2:30am this morning, hospice telling us that dad was declining and we needed to come. So I went.

Jenny was there as I walked in the door, eyes dewy and sleepy. Dad was breathing, intermittently and shallow.

We talked to him, joined hands and prayed over him and told him it was okay to go on home. We spoke in quiet tones as we watched the life our dad lived for 70 years slowly ebb away. He didn't struggle, he just slowly stopped breathing.

We made our phone calls, began collecting ourselves, and made the trek home. Our conversations have been about details and plans to be made. Arranging our week to make space to say our final goodbye to dad.

Truth be told, we've been saying goodbye a little at a time. Alzheimer's steals so much for so long. We've said little goodbyes all along the path of this journey.

So now the time has come. We are grateful for the support of family and friends. But most of all, we are thankful for the goodness, grace and support God has showered on us during this most difficult journey.

And we are at peace.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I think I'm missing a gene


Not for any other reason than I hate to shop. I don't like crowds and there is NO deal that would make me want to get out of bed at 3:00 am to go buy something.

I don't understand it and to be very honest, I don't want to. I know many lovely people who get very excited this time of year. Their plans are made, their sale papers are marked, and their wallets are ready. (I hope with cash). Personally, I will be very sure not to clog the lines or get in their way. I will be home. Warm, snuggly and relaxed.

I'm also at the point in life that I don't want something else to dust. Give me the gift of an evening of games, dinner out, a girl's night or a movie. I don't need or want another whatever to clutter my full home. The older I get the more I realize that owning stuff is a fine line too easily crossed over...soon your stuff owns you.

So here is my plan. I will not go shopping, I will stay home. I will not make a Christmas list of stuff but of times I would enjoy. I will offer to others gifts that I believe will touch their hearts, even if they take my time and energy. I will not wait until Christmas to give the most important gift I possess, love.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Be ThankFULL!

peace.

p.s. the cat pic is Henry, my sis' cat, and it's just because. :-)

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Christmas Carol



I got to see the newest version of A Christmas Carol and I loved it!!

The animation is incredible, the 3-D is a wonderful touch and I would highly recommend it. I would not take small children, it is dark and scary in some places)


I have always loved the Albert Finney version called Scrooge. But then, I love musicals!!

So get yourself ready for the season and go see this film.

peace.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm Official

I've recently joined the Okie Bloggers, as you can see to your left, and I somehow feel more official now.

I've blogged about many things during my time with a blog. Gators, kids, marriage, alzheimers, boyscouts, faith and just stuff. I blog to put my thoughts about things somewhere I can find them. If you have read them along the way, that's the bonus for me.

I named my blog Ramblings of a creative mind unleashed because I am sort of random. I have often said I have a trivial mind, I know little bits about a lot of things. Enough to be dangerous so I've heard. :-)

Anyway...today's randomness is laughter. I love a good laugh. I follow The Pioneer Woman mostly because she makes me laugh. She lives her life with remarkable humor and joy. I enjoy that a great deal.

I also enjoy my friends Dwayne and Barb. They like to laugh, a lot! We play cards monthly and I never leave their company without at least one good guffaw! Here they are...


My friend Ellen is also a favorite to have a giggle with. The first time her daughter-in-law met me, we were so caught in the throws of laughter, she thought we were drunk. We weren't. We don't need to be...although being a little tired does help, we just get funnier and funnier. :-)

So here's my advice today -- go have a good laugh! Laughter is the Best Medicine according to Reader's Digest and to me. Life is tough and hard and God has given us the gift of laughter as a release. Give yourself the gift of laughter today. If you can't find it yourself, maybe this will help, my GIFT to you.

peace.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Memory Walk 2009



So we went, we walked and we'll remember. I think the most overwhelming aspect of the walk was not the number of people (over 700), or the music or activities...it was one woman's story.

Maria's family suffers from familial alzheimer's. Her grandmother died of it when she was in her 20's, she never knew her grandmother without it. Maria's mom has it and her 17 year old son has never known his grandmother without it. 3 of her aunts and 3 of her uncles have it. Out of Maria's grandmother's 13 children, that makes 7 children with alzheimer's. Maria's family begins showing symptoms in their late 40's or early 50's. Maria looks to be around 40.

As I listened to her story, I felt such sorrow for this family's legacy. As devastated as my sister and I have been by alzheimer's dad's slip into oblivion, we have no concept of the curse this family lives under.

Looking at everything, here is where I come back to. God is good, all the time and all the time, God is good. He has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams and our biggest hopes. He has supported us, provided for us, given us peace that passes all understanding. I can't fully explain the hope that resides in me but I know where my hope comes from. And I am truly grateful. I cannot imagine living this life without the abiding presence of my Savior, my Creator.

Thank you for supporting me in your thoughts, your prayers, with your flowers and the names of your loved ones, and with your money.

I am more determined than ever to raise the awareness of people about this devastating disease. Maria's family deserves a new heritage.

peace.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

From my friend, Ellen

This post was written by my dear friend, Ellen. Her mother also lives with alzheimer's. We are making this journey together, hand in hand, heart to heart. We understand each other and our stories are similar.

Just click on the title above and I hope you are touched by her post. I was.

peace.

Monday, October 19, 2009

the Voice of Truth

I have always loved "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns. I think in many ways, it's been my mantra in life. I am a self-proclaimed Pollyanna. I really do believe God is in control and things will work themselves out, regardless of the voices I hear.

Recently, it's been a little more difficult, but I still believe none-the-less.

In Isaiah 43:2 it says "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

It's comforting to know God is always at work on my behalf, but did you see the "through" part? God will be with me WHILE I'm passing through the water. He promises the river will not sweep OVER me and I pass through. He says when I'm WALKING through the fire, I won't be burned.

Well, the good news is I've been going through it. The better news is I have known each and every moment that God is with me. He is my good shepherd, my comfort, my provider, my strong tower. He is my peace in chaos, my salve when I feel wounded and my support.

Here are the song lyrics:

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
"Boy you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don't seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
The Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

I will listen and believe
I will listen and believe the Voice of truth
I will listen and believe
'Cause Jesus you are the Voice of truth
And I will listen to you.. oh you are the Voice of truth


So I'm listening...

peace.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

2 Weeks from Today

I'll be doing something I've never done before. Something that is so exciting, a little scary and I'll need help accomplishing.

I'm walking in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk. And no, I won't need help walking. :-)

If you have read this blog for long, you know my dad has alzheimers. You can read more about him here.

You may have also read about me, my sister and our families doing the walk here.

If you have, would you consider supporting us? Would you give a little bit of money to help end this life stealing, family burdening, horrible-awful-no good-very bad disease?

I cannot fully express our greatfulness. If alzheimer's has touched someone you know, you understand.

One more thing, if alzheimer's has touched your life or someone you know, tell me their name, I'll make them a flower, and I'll wear it while I'll walk. I'll wear it and we'll all say together that it's time to end this plague. Post a comment here or email me at gr8fulg(at)gmail.com.

Thanks again for your support!

peace.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I love Oklahoma

I was born here and for most of my life, I've lived here. I got married in Oklahoma and have raised my family here, too.

It is so exciting to me to see the rejuvenation of our city. Bricktown, MidTown, and Downtown are once again full of people, life, music, art and great food. We need more things to fully flesh out the area, but we're working on it.

I sometimes grow weary and a little impatient with people who complain about the short-comings in OK. Have you been to the OKC Museum of Art, Bricktown, Civic Center Music Hall, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, IAO Gallery, [Artspace]at Untitled, the Paseo? And that's just the beginning!!

And foodies? Here ya go! Eat Local in OKC

I remember as a child, not going to Downtown. It was dark and lonely down there. A trip to the Civic Center was an occassion for conversations about safety, stay by me and walk quickly.

But we're doin' fine Oklahoma. We taken the challenge and we're seeing the benefits. For those of you who don't know about us, we are a strong, resilient, kind, generous, funny group of folks. We are educated, refined, redneck, cowboy, ballerinas, orchestral musicians, professors, football players and so much more.

The waving wheat still smells sweet but so does the scent of renewal and revitalization.

I'm proud to be an Oklahoman. We're not New York or Washington DC or Austin or anywhere else...but we're good and we're getting better. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. We know we belong to the land and the land we belong to is grand!

peace.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Looking at Life

My life has been defined by so many stages.

I was a kid for a while. I was a teenager, but only until 16.

My parents divorced, we moved to another state and my mom and I became roommates, sharing the responsibilities, bills and raising of my 11 year old sister. I ceased being a kid and quickly became an adult working 35 hours a week and finishing high school. We survived.

I went to college at 18, married at 19, became a mom at 20. I was then a wife and mom. Staying at home when many women were "having it all, being it all". At 22, I had my second daughter and life was defined.

My children are now 22 and 25. I am now an empty-nester. I work full-time. I'm a wife. I'm an aunt, sister, daughter and care-taker of my alzheimers dad. Some day I maybe a mother-in-law, maybe a grandmother.

But most of all, I'm just me. The things in my life and throughout my life God has used to shape me. I haven't always liked me, but I'm liking me more than ever. I've been given so much, filled with so much, and I'm really glad I'm at the point of life that I enjoy sharing what I have to offer. I really do love my life. It's not always pretty, but it's mine.

I'll keep it and I'll be me. Are you glad you are you?

peace.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Couldn't have said it better...

Guest post from my sister Jenny...

My Dad, Jim Pitts lives with advanced Alzheimers.
3 months ago we had to move him into a fulltime nursing care facility. My sister and I assist his nursing home in caring for him and providing for him. Our families together are walking in honor of who he is and who he was, not who he has become because of this horrible disease.

We are determined to make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. By participating in the 2009 Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk®, My family is committed to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer research, care and support. Michael, myself, Brandon and Emily hope to raise at least $100.00 each to help.

Currently more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's, and 78 million baby boomers are at risk – unless we find a way to change the course of the disease.

I want to do my part to fight this disease, but I need to ask for your support! Please make a donation to help the Alzheimer's Association advance research into prevention, treatments and a cure for Alzheimer's. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide.

On behalf of myself, my family and the millions of Americans who are living with this disease, thank you for supporting my efforts. We're on the MOVE to end Alzheimer’s!

Here are the links to our fundraising pages, we'd love your help! Send us a flower to wear too! Click here for flower info.

Jenny's Page

Glynis' page

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The measure of a man



It's been a week. So in the last seven days, alzheimers dad has become very violent, hallucinating frequently, combative and cranky. He's thrown his cup at the wall, hit people, tried to strangle a nurse (she's fine), yanked out IVs, and is constantly chattering to these very small children he sees running all around his room. He has been checked in to a geriatric psych ward for a full evaluation...medical, mental, emotional, etc...he's been on quite a roller-coaster ride this week. It has not been pretty.

But, this is not my dad.

My dad is a big cowboy. He's a glassblower and a fabulous cook. He can fix anything, make anything and can tell the best stories because he's been a Boy Scout all his life. He loves to hunt and fish, go camping, go anywhere really. He is a generous man, willing to help anyone that will ask or anyone that is in need.

He was always great with teenagers. They loved him! He'd sing silly songs, he chaperon trips, he was always up for an adventure.

We were never rich, far from it, but I never knew as a kid that we were poor. We always had people around, we were the fun party house. Not the liquor kind of party, the turn your house into an amusement park for Halloween kind of house.

So here is what I've decided. I will remember my dad. My memories of him are built from a lifetime with him, not a disease that has claimed him and changed him. I am sorry the people who now care for him will never truly know him, but I know him.

So this year, I'm walking in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk on October 24. I want to walk and remember. I want to walk and share. I want to shake my fist in the face of this awful, life-altering disease and say You Will Not Win. And I want you to help me.

I've come up with an idea. I love giving flowers to people. I refuse to only send them to funerals. So...print out this flower, do whatever you want to it, send it to me (address below) and I'll wear it while I walk. Flowers for Jim, my dad. If I get thousands, that would be awesome. I promise, there will be pictures!

Here's our team. We'd love your support, and thanks!

S&S Productions Team


Alzheimer's Association


And I will remember.

peace.

Flowers for Jim
PO Box 8793
Edmond, OK 73083

Friday, September 18, 2009

The cost of Alzheimer's

There are all kinds of facts and figures about Alzheimer's. I've posted some of them below, taken from the Alzheimer's Association website.

But the facts and figures don't really tell you the cost. My dad has alzheimer's. He was diagnosed at age 65. Until he was 67, he didn't let us help. He thought he was in control, the "brain thing" was just something he needed a pill for, like his diabetes. He was being scammed by a man named Bubba. We were unable to protect him. Taken for every cent he had, agreeing to thousands of dollars in debt, he was in a financial hell hole when he called us.

"Bubba's gone, I can't do this alone any more, I want to move to Oklahoma" was all he said when he called in the Fall of 2006. We had no idea how bad it was. But we helped, we moved, we put our lives on hold to get him here. He's our dad.

For 3 years, we've managed. We've seen small slips, some larger than others, but manageable with help. Until this summer. We felt he was becoming a danger to himself, he was just not managing any more. So we made the decision to put him in a nursing home. He has taken a huge downward slide. He is no longer really himself.

This week, I was on vacation. Every day, we received a call. Every day, it was worse. He's incontinent, he isn't eating, he has difficulty walking, he threw a pitcher, he hit a nurse, he threatened an aid. I went to see him and he was more occupied with the "children and animals" in his room than he was in interacting with me. I'm not convinced he knew me.

Today, they are admitting him to the psych ward in a hospital to evaluate him. Mentally, physically, medicinally, the whole kit-n-kaboodle. We don't know the steps ahead or the costs. We are observers of this life for which we also feel responsible. With no financial resources, we are also at the mercy of the system our government has in place to care for the elderly and indigent. Such a maze.

I don't know how to anticipate or prepare, so I can't. But I can wait up on the Lord and He will renew my strenghth. I can pray that the peace that passes all understanding will be present. I can trust that many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's plan that prevails. And I will.

We must find a cure for this disease. The devastation is not an isolated, individual thing. It affects everyone touched by it.

The financial costs are well documented, staggering and growing at an astronomical pace.

The emotional costs are without measure.

Here are some of the statistics from the Alzheimer's Association.

• As many as 5.3 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s.

• Alzheimer's and dementia triple healthcare costs for Americans age 65 and older.

• Every 70 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s.

• Alzheimer's is the seventh-leading cause of death.

• The direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer's and other dementias to Medicare, Medicaid and businesses amount to more than $148 billion each year.
These are just a few of the facts in our new report, 2009 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. The report is a comprehensive statistical abstract of U.S. data on Alzheimer’s disease that includes:

• prevalence
• mortality
• the costs of Alzheimer care
• caregiving
• a special report on Mild Cognitive Impairment and early-stage Alzheimer's

As the deer pants for the water so my souls longs for God. He is my strong tower, my safe harbour, my strength and my song. I will rest in Him and wait on Him. I will pray.

peace.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm a closet beauty queen

I have always loved all things beauty pageant. I remember as a kid being allowed to stay up for the Miss America pageant. I almost always fell asleep before the end, but if I could have stayed awake, I had permission. 10:30 was late for me then...really, not that much has changed...hmmm.

Anyway, the girls were pretty, the dresses amazing, the talent-well some were really talented and the others tried hard. I could imagine being just like them. I have owned tiaras and boas. Except I am not, nor have I ever really been a girlie girl. But just like my barbies, it was nice to dream.

These days I'm drawn to shows like Toddlers & Tiaras. But for very different reasons. It's like a train wreck in tiaras. Are these really the kind of lives my remembered Miss Americas must have had? Oh gee...that really scares me. I know it's all for the kids and they LOVE doing it ***cough,gag,cough***. Really? How do they know?

I am amazed at the primping, pushing, training, sculpting, and the money that goes into these children's pageants. Do these kids have any idea of the world outside of manis & pedis? Is their $3500 dress...(sorry, I didn't spend that on my wedding dress...wait, I didn't spend that on my WHOLE wedding)...necessary?

I have 2 daughters, we've watched pageants. It never occurred to me to begin this process in their lives. I hope the parents of these little girls and boys remember that childhood is fleeting. It lasts only a short time and there is so much for these little souls to absorb before they are grown. I hope this is not all there is to what they are passing on to their kids. I hope the TV representation of these homes, parents, & kids has been edited for good TV, I get that, I've done interviews. They take 30 minutes of video and cut the 30 seconds they want to use and it says what they want it to say. Some of the facts however, are just the facts.

Here was the quote of the week for me. Coach to contestant..."Honey, you just can't get 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag." Well, coach, you can, but it's not pretty.

So here's to all the contestants, we love to watch, we cheer with you and cry with you. When the day is over, go play!!

peace.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reflecting on 9-11

I think as an Oklahoman, I feel a special connection to the people of NYC. They helped us during dark and unsure days after the Murrah Building bombing in OKC. I remember feeling great compassion as the days and weeks unfolded after 9-11. Knowing the pain, sorrow, joy and confusion that were all wrapped together for the people and survivors. I prayed this for them then and I pray it now.

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Lord God,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Amen.

peace.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Encouraging

Have you ever thought about how you respond to encouragement? I hadn't really until today.

I am sometimes embarrassed by encouragement. I am sometimes a little overwhelmed by it. Sometimes, I miss it because no one noticed. Mostly, I try to share encouraging words with other people because I love to encourage others.

I love to say good job, you look great, I appreciate you. I love to tell my kids I'm proud of them, they are so great, they are so smart, so beautiful, such great people.

I love to tell my husband he is my hero, my best friend, my support. I love telling him I'm proud of him. I love how hard he works and what good care he takes of me.

I don't know why receiving compliments or encouragement is so difficult. I feel so warm when I do receive it. I think I believe it, I think I even like it.

Today I was told I was talented and creative. Immediately, in my head, I said "oh sure, anyone can do what I do. I'm really not that special, he's just being nice." and then I thought "I believe him on everything else, why doubt he's being sincere now" and in the 2.5 seconds it took for all these thoughts to run through my head, I also remembered to say "thank you, that means a lot to me" out loud. As the words left my mouth, I wondered if I actually believed them. I took a little time to let them sink in. You know what, I do believe them. I am talented and creative. Other people can do what I do and some of them, even better. But that doesn't lessen the truth that I also do them well. I have been blessed by God with certain gifts and talents, I will use them to bring him glory and to feel his joy.

So here goes. I will be more encouraging and I will learn to receive encouragement in a more gracious, accepting way.

How about you? Thanks for reading my blog. I hope it's a blessing to you.

peace.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

To those of us born between 1930 and 1979

A good friend sent me this email. I don't know who wrote it, but it reminded me of the simple days of childhood. I hope it makes you smile.

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate bleu cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. WHY? Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K..

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo' s and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We played in the street, fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were NO lawsuits from these ACCIDENTS. YES real ACCIDENTS.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them? CONGRATULATIONS!

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

peace.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I believe

I love this story. I saw it happen. I just wanted to share it with you.



Something Strange Happened On The Way To The Mosque...Closed Mouth & Open Eyes!

Saturday August 8th marked the second of the three days dedicated to conducting Open Air Meetings in the predominately Muslim areas around Mombasa, Kenya. We had already seen almost 2,000 people come to Christ as Savior. However, no one on the project – Nationals or US Team members were expecting what was about to happen.

It was a typical mid August Mombasa afternoon – temperatures were in the mid 70’s. The sun was shining, and the streets were teeming with people. The teams were at various locations preparing to preach the Gospel. This particular afternoon was a life changing afternoon for one special young man – Husein.

Husein woke up early Saturday morning – this was his routine. He had a very important task to accomplish – it was his responsibility to call his fellow Muslims to prayer. All over Kenya – you can hear the call to prayer as the speakers blast the invitation several times a day. When Husein got to his assignment however, he could not speak. He knew he was supposed to call the people to prayer – and he tried again – but nothing would come from his mouth. So – he just started walking the streets. In the early afternoon, Husein could hear someone preaching about Jesus. He started walking in the direction of the preaching. While he was on his way to the meeting, he encountered one of the Leadership Development Institute participants. It was in this one-on-one witnessing encounter that Husein came face to face with Jesus. Husein accompanied the LDI participant to the Open Air Meeting – Elias was giving the invitation, as the meeting was coming to a close. Husein made a public profession of faith at that Open Air Meeting. After the service, Elias was spending some time doing follow-up and gave Husein the admonition to go home and tell his family, especially his father that he had accepted Christ. Husein knew that this decision would be a costly decision in terms of his earthly family and life to this point.

Husein heeded the instruction of Elias and went home to tell his father. His father met him as he came to his house. Husein's father began plaguing him with questions about why he had not called the people to prayer, and why he had not participated in the prayers throughout the day. Husein then told his father very clearly that he had been saved – that he had accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. His father had the expected reaction – he was infuriated. Husein's father insisted “If this is for real. If this is what you have really done, then you need to call the leader of the Mosque.” Husein did just that – he called the leader of the Mosque, with his father watching and listening and told him the account of his conversion to Christ. His father then told him – “We don’t eat dogs, and we don’t eat pigs…you need to go.” This father had just called his own son a dog or pig – and since they don’t eat those animals they had no use for their own son.

Husein waited until the time came for the 10PM prayers. Knowing that his father would be away from the house Husein made his way home for the last time. He planned to pack his things to start his new life with Christ. When he got home again, he found his sister there. His sister told him that all of his things had been burned except for a shirt and a pair of jeans that she had been washing – she had saved them for Husein. Husein spent that night all alone on the streets of Mombasa – but not really alone – for he was in better company than he had ever been – he was living in the presence of Almighty God.

When Husein awoke on Sunday August 9th he made his way to the church that was near the Open Air Meeting he had attended the day before. He participated in the worship service and when the invitation was given for anyone who had received Christ the day before at the Open Air Meeting to come forward for a time of prayer – Husein moved from his seat to the altar.

That afternoon, Sunday Aug. 9th (less than 24 hours after his conversion experience), Husein attended another Open Air Meeting. During the meeting, Husein approached Elias and asked if he could share his testimony. Husein was no stranger to these kinds of meetings – in fact a second part of his former life as a Muslim had been to attend these meetings and be a detractor and to hold meetings in which he would openly criticize Christ and the Christian faith. This time, he took the stage with a totally different – delivered – message. He stood before the crowd in the public market place in his own neighborhood, a predominately Muslim neighborhood, and said, “I want to tell you that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He died and He rose again. I was against that. But I tell you it is true…I met Him.” Husein had met Jesus Christ!

That evening as over 325 participants in the Leadership Development Institute and 39 members of the US Team listened; Husein gave a vivid testimony of his conversion and faith in Jesus Christ. Later that night the national pastors rallied together to take a small offering that was used to buy Husein some much needed clothes. Our key national leaders met, and agreed upon a place for Husein to be taken to be cared for and discipled.

On Sunday August 16th, Husein attended church in his new community. Word had already spread about the converted Muslim that had moved to town. Every seat in the church was filled and there were many who were standing outside listening through the opened windows. Husein stood again before a mass of people he had never met and shared the same testimony “I want to tell you that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He died and He rose again. I was against that. But I tell you it is the truth…I met Him.”

When God shut Husein's mouth – He opened His eyes. Husein now has eyes of faith – he has a Message to share. He is a life that was forever changed through the faithful witness of one man. Husein is one of over 3,800 that gave their life to Jesus Christ during our three days of Open Air Meetings. Husein is one that matters to God and one through whom God in mighty ways. Husein is one that you have prayed for, invested in, and ministered to as you have strategically partnered with Reaching Souls International.

He is one and if he'd been the only one, the whole trip would have still been worth it. I love my job!

peace.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Looking Forward

I have to say that my vision has changed. Being in Africa, seeing Africans, opened my eyes.

I now see my life through changed eyes. I see the blessings that have been heaped high all around me. My loving and supportive husband. My terrific daughters. My family and friends. Running water, electricity, walls, floors, ceilings, and doors. Food to eat, clothes to wear, and shoes.

I have a great job with awesome people. I am so excited to go to work each day and tell the world about what God is doing through Reaching Souls International.

There is so much I take for granted. I'm hoping that my new vision will help me see. I'm praying that God will keep the scales He removed in Kenya permanently gone.

I do have one regret. We have 300 faithful men, waiting for the support they need to be raised, so that they may be launched into the field to spread the Word of God. I wish I had it to give. Just $100 per month. That's all. It's a middle class wage in Africa. MIDDLE CLASS! For $100 a month, thousands will hear the message that God loves them. Thousands will come to know Christ as their personal Savior.

I will start where I can and pray for more. I will shout it from the rooftops. I will not stop until the work is done.

Can you see it? I can.

peace.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

I think part of me has always known this. There is no place you can rest and renew like home. The smells, the familiarity, the comfort are all there. I know I easily take them for granted when I'm here and miss them desperately when I'm not.

Home took on a whole new meaning for me recently. Due to the Kenya Air strike, flights were canceled, people were stranded, planes were grounded, chaos ensued. We came very close to being stranded in Nairobi. Even the American Embassy was closed and their life and limb number, disconnected. It was the most bizarre of circumstances in one of the most neglected places I have ever been.

Due to the absolute diligence and persistence of our CEO Dustin, we made it out. 3 countries, 4 airplanes, 5 airports, 5 days, no change of clothes, 1 shower, 103 hours of travel.......coming home = PRICELESS.

I have never had an experience like this one. I hope never to again.

There is no place like home.

peace.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Can't choose....

My daughter asked me to bring her something cute back from Kenya and I can't choose. Could you?

peace.



Thursday, August 06, 2009

More Pictures...


The children of Kenya are captivating! The ones that live along the road near our compound have begun to recognize our vans. They start yelling "Jambo!! Give us sweets" as soon as they hear us coming.

Their smiles are bright against their little dark faces and the worries of the world you begin to see on the older children, teenagers and adults have yet to bring the signs of concern to their little faces.

As they walk to school, their bright uniforms contrast against the constant green of this tropical world and the brown of the streets and shops lining the roads.

The traffic here is constant and crazy! People, animals, vehicles, carts, bicycles, motorcycles are all vying for the same space and at a rapid pace. Honking horns are used as a communication tool and the side of the road is their social networking space. Cell phones are abundant, even in the midst of rubble and chaos. Quite a juxtaposition of my little corner of the world.

We are so blessed.

peace.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Mombasa...the journey continues



I thought I would just share some sights of my trip with you today. Enjoy!

peace.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

I made it to Mombasa!



I'll start by saying flying is not my favorite. I appreciate the speed of the travel, but being stuffed into a little seat, not being able to move, surrounded on all sides is just not my idea of a good time. But, to get to Kenya, it's the only way to travel!

And I'm here! My ankles are the size of a great piece of firewood. Vanity has been reduced to worrying only about not stinking too bad. It is warm here and humid. Even though this is winter for Kenya, it's much like an Oklahoma spring to me. God has blessed us with a breeze and as I look out over the Indian Ocean just a few feet away, I am blessed.

We traveled for 2 days, unpacked and sorted most of yesterday and today, we are finally rested and looking forward to the week to come. Tomorrow, over 300 pastors and 100 of their wives will register for the Leadership Development Institute, which is why we are here.

What strikes me is that even in this absolutley beautiful country, so rich in many resources, inhabited by a generous, joyful people, the poverty and struggle is ever-present, ever with us. I look across the manicured grounds of our compound across a great rock wall to the Indian Ocean. Standing at the wall are people who are selling their wares, offering rides on camels, children who cry out "we are the poor" and it breaks my heart. But I cannot fix it all. I cannot change their worlds.

But Jesus can bring them hope and He is what I share with them. He is why I'm here. I'm so grateful God sent me to Africa for such a time as this.

peace.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Girl's Night Out

I have to start this post by saying I've never had many girl friends. Girls can be silly, petty and mean. Especially before the age of 20. I've always gotten along better with boys. I had lots of male friends growing up. They were cool, comfortable and straight forward. If you smelled bad, they told you. If you looked stupid, they told you. If you didn't do anything about it, they noogied your head until you did. No gossip, back-biting or petty stuff. Just truth and consequences. I could deal with that.

But through the years, my friend dynamics have changed. I still have some wonderful male friends but now I have a few, really close girlfriends. I treasure them. We treasure each other. I also have an extended group of ladies, whom I consider friends. We have much in common and enjoy get-togethers on a more cyclical basis. And then, I have my TwitterChix!!

Twitter is this social media phenom that makes you share your life in 140 characters or less. It's all the rage and the cool kids are doing it. Just kidding, it is an amazing connection tool. It's breaks down the first meeting barriers. No nervousness, no pre-judgment, no supposition. By the time you actually, if ever, meet someone because of Twitter, you've already been conversing. You, in essence, "know" each other. The conversation just continues, not awkward, not stagnant, just friendly. And then, the Tweet-Up happens!

This is an event, promoted through Twitter, by connected twitterers, that allows the conversation to move to the face-to-face realm. I've been to three. One just for moms and sponsored by Metro Family and Malena Lott, one full of Chocolate and Jewels, sponsored by Samuel Gordon Jewelry and Fat Daddy Sweets and then last night. No sponsors, just Chix!

Last night, we got together for a Girl's Night Out at Iguana in Midtown. 18 Chix, all ages, all walks of life, all stages of life gathered around a common table and had an absolute BLAST!!

We ate $1 tacos, for it was $1 Taco Tuesday and we talked! LOUDLY, boisterously, and constantly! We laughed...from the moment of recognition ME: "Hi, I'm Glynis Crawford" OTHERS: "OH, YOU'RE Glynis Crawford!! HEY!" to the very end of the evening after the group photo, lots of hugs, goodbyes and the rains came down.

It was an amazing evening. I love these gals. They have supported me through transitions, wished me great days for my upcoming Africa trip, encouraged me to share when I get back and made space for me in their lives. We have had numerous conversations on all sorts of topics, they have expanded my horizions and opened my eyes to a bigger, beautiful, diverse world. I hope I have returned their kindness, their energy and their generosity.

I think the next half of my life will be marked with LOTS of girlfriends. I'm excited about that. I am blessed.

peace.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two Quick Thoughts on which I'm Ruminating

"I bring my void here for filling; it is my poverty God needs. With my want the Lord builds palaces."

Kilian McDonnell, from "A Place to Hide: Light On," in Weavings

"Lord, let me know clearly the work which you are calling me to do in life. And grant me every grace I need to answer your call with courage and love and lasting dedication to your will."

Saint Meinrad Prayer Book "Vocation Prayer"

peace.

Don't send me to Africa

I remember when I first became aware of missionaries and their work. I thought it was amazing that people could feel the calling of God to go share His good news with people in other lands who had never heard of Him. I did not feel that call.

Usually a missionary would come to our church, talk about their amazing adventures and trials, we would take an offering and sing "Here Am I, Send Me" out of the hymnal. I always remember singing kind of soft because the thought of God asking me to go to Africa scared the living daylights out of me. I didn't want to go to Africa. I didn't want to be sent. I wanted to stay here and support those "other" people.

When my husband and I began supporting Reaching Souls International, for the first time, missions made sense to me. Supporting and training National Missionaries to reach their own people for Christ was brilliant. They have no language barriers, no social issues, they can't be kicked out in times of political unrest and the message will go on. Plus, for a minimal amount of money ($100 a month) they are supported in a middle class lifestyle allowing them to be in full-time ministry. I could support this, I wanted to support this, and I wouldn't have to go to Africa.

Then about a year ago, my life changed. I was working for a great organization, but the demands on my time were excessive. Weekends and evenings on top of 40 hours a week was more than I wanted to continue to do. My alzheimers dad was needing more attention and I wanted more of a life. One day, my husband had lunch with a friend. He told my husband they were looking to fill a position on staff and wanted to know if hubbie was interested. He was not, but only because it didn't fit his skill set. But it did fit mine. The position was at Reaching Souls International. I submitted my resume, did my interviews and soon had a new job. And I still didn't have to go to Africa.

But my heart changed. I started listening to the stories of those who had gone. I started catching the vision and understanding their passion for the lost and dying in Africa. I started doing research and understanding that the average life expectancy in many African nations is 42. 42!! I'm dead already. What if I had never heard? What if no one had come to tell me that God loves me? Jesus died for me?

When did my heart change? When I stepped out and said "Not my will, but yours be done." And then I met Freywell.

Freywell is African and one of our in-country leadership. He is one of the most joyfull people I have ever met. His smile lights up the room. His presence brings joy. Then I met Emmanuel. He's young and on fire for God! Then I met Paul. He's older, wiser and so driven to see his country changed for God.

And I knew, I wanted to go to Africa. Here am I Lord, Send Me. I want to see, to touch, to witness, to sing, to love, to share, to cry and to walk the dirt these people walk.

SO, I'm going. I leave Thursday for Mombasa, Kenya and my prayer is God will so move in and through me, I will never be the same. Send me to Africa, I'm ready to go.

peace.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Watching the bubbles

I heard on the radio this morning that part of disaster training is plunging the participants into a pool of water attached to a heavy sled. They are taught to free themselves, remove their visors and then wait. To orient themselves, they are taught to relax and watch the bubbles before they begin to swim. Bubbles always rise. Then they follow the bubbles to the surface.

I wish I had known this in the 5th grade. 3 times a week, I would go the YWCA to take swimming lessons. I already knew how to swim, but it was during 6th hour and swimming was more fun than whatever I would have been doing at school. They taught us to swim, dive, haul people out of the water, etc. It was kind of like a junior lifeguard program. Part of the diving was learning how to go off the low board and the not-so-low board but there was one other board there too.

See, here's the deal. I don't really have a fear of heights. Falling is a different story. But peer pressure has an interesting effect on me. I either find much pride in being the only resistor or I fall willingly into the crowd, another lemming perched on the precipice of disaster. This day, it was option number two.

I'd been diving off board number one and two for most of the weeks we'd been going to the Y. Tuck your head, hold your hands up, roll off the board with just a slight jump. Got it. But board number you've-gotta-be-kidding-me was a no go. Until, everyone I went to class with called out "Let's all go!" One by one they lined up, willing sacrifices to the high board god. One by one they climbed up the ladder and somehow, I found myself with a very bad case of team spirit. "OK, I'll do it!" Cheers went up, little legs went up, we all went up the very tall ladder.

Once I reached the top, there was no going back. Too many behind me, too much pride to sit and cry, so I walked out to the end, tucked my head, put up my arms, didn't look down and just jumped. It was like slow motion, I heard someone yelling..."tuck in, tuck in", I felt myself falling, and I opened my eyes just in time to realize I was going to do the world's biggest belly flop. POW!!!

I hit the water flat. Everything stung. I couldn't breathe. Somehow, I rolled over, saw the lights (and not only the ones in my head) and floated up. I didn't swim, at least I don't think I did. I couldn't move really. I got to the edge without help, I guess I was moving at this point. No lifeguards had jumped in. And I sat.

I can proudly say, I jumped off the high board that day. I can also say, I have never done it since and won't ever.

But what if I had been prepared? What if someone had actually taught me how and how not to jump off the high board? What if someone had told me to tuck into a ball or go feet first and once I hit the water, to watch for the bubbles?

How much of life do I run into, unprepared, get the wind knocked out of me and never try again?

I'm much less likely to do that now, but it doesn't mean I don't. I think my walk as a christian has been much the same way. I dive in head first, belly flop, stop breathing and retire. The problem is, I dive in without reading the manual. God has given me a great head's up in His word. Everything I ever need to know is in there. But I have to stop, look, study, listen and prepare...and then jump knowing the leap is a leap of faith.

So here are my prayers.

"When I called you, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted." Psalm 138:3

"When you pass thru the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass thru the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk thru the fire, you will be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of the, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

He knows when to jump, which direction the bubbles are going, and I'll keep my eyes on Him.

peace.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What's in a Name?

All my life, I've both loved and hated my name. Glynis. It's unique to be sure, but as a kid I never found it on a pencil, those little license plates or a keychain. It has both plagued me and set me apart. I almost always spell my name in conjunction with saying it. "What's the name on that order?" "Glynis. G-L-Y-N-I-S."

I find it interesting the numerous responses I get when someone learns my name. I also enjoy the numerous misspellings. Most people respond by saying it's unique, beautiful, interesting, or they just look at me with a blank stare. It has been spelled Glynnis, Glennis, Gleyniece (my personal favorite), Gleynis and the list goes on.

So what really is in a name? My name means "Of the glen". Wow, world changing potential there! When we chose our daughters names, we just liked them. We had no idea names could mean something. Way before baby name books were popular. Or we were just clueless.

I have a dear friend who recently changed her name. At some point in her life, she became aware that the name chosen for her represented someone who eventually caused great pain in her life. Because of who the name represented, my dear friend was reminded every time she thought of her name of the pain. So she set herself free from the reminder, she took a new name. A name she chose because of the wonderful things it represented.

Makes me think of this scripture...Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." and this one...Matthew 1:21 "She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he is the one who will save his people from their sins." and lastly...Phillipians 2:10 "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;"

A name can be a powerful thing. Something that defines us, identifies us, sets us apart. Jesus' name has the power to save, heal, redeem, comfort, rebuke and surround with love. Call upon his name and he will meet you where you are. Call upon his name and he'll give you a new name, new heart, new life and a new future.

What names are you calling yourself these days? Is it time to change your name?

peace.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Unexpected

I have had several unexpected moments today. All of them have warmed me inside and I wanted to share them with you.

Hope you enjoy them too.



Shouldn't all weddings start this joyously?

Next is the story of a young man, T. Abandoned by his druggie, alcoholic parents, trying to finish high school, work, support himself and dream of going to college. An unrelated gentlemen heard T's story, felt compassion and gave him a truck. He has also promised to keep an eye on this young man and help T go to college. Just because he can. Wow.

The last one is this...TRON

I LOVED this film as a kid and I am SO looking forward to seeing this movie.

It's been a good day.

peace.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Community

I'm hearing this word a great deal recently. We have missional communities at church, professional communities, communities we live in, even a Twitter community. I do love Twitter...

Anyway, I'm going to a different community than I've ever been to before. A community where orphaned children live on the streets. Support themselves by whatever means necessary. Surrounded by another community where adults either ignore, support or exploit these children. Surrounded by yet another community of government officials who turn a blind eye to the suffering of their people to line their own pockets and care for their own needs. Surrounded by a much larger community, called the world, who sometimes notices, sometimes helps, sometimes chooses to look away.

I'm going to this community for a short time. I hope to be effective while I'm there. I know they will leave an impression on my heart for the rest of my life.

I will come back to my community changed forever. I hope I'm ready, willing and able. But I rest in the knowledge that in my weakness, God's strength is made perfect. 2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

What do your communities look like?

peace.

Monday, July 20, 2009

By our love...

I read this scripture today, 1 John 1:8 "If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

Let me start by saying I come from a family that loves to judge others. Gossip abounds. They sit on their fat hineys, making comments about people's weight, place in life, etc. They are not rich, they are not famous, they are just plain, ordinary people. Church people no less.

That is where I sometimes draw the line. Church people -- Christians.
Not always equal.

I see many people walking in church doors, sitting in their "assigned" seat (or at least their expected one), listening to the music, the preacher, the prayer and walking back out. Going to lunch, being rude to the hostess, not tipping the waitress or better yet, leaving a Bible tract instead. Going home, starting all over again for the evening service.

I also see many people walking in church doors completely broken, repentant, ready for something else, something new. And you know what, God meets them there. Right where they are. Lifts them up, embraces them, challenges them and surrounds them with other Christians who know exactly how it feels to be loved.

Here's the deal. They will know we are Christians by our love. 1 Corinthians 13 states that pretty clearly. "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."

I look at life this way, I am a christian, it's not something I do. I believe in the One true God, I believe he sacrificed his only son Jesus Christ as provision for my sin and I believe his Holy Spirit resides in me to be my counselor and guide. I also believe and acknowledge that without God, I am nothing. I'm a noisy gong, a clanging symbol because God IS love. I am incapable of true, unselfish, fully engaged love without him. I also believe I have been forgiven much. And as much as I have been forgiven and will need forgiveness in the future for I am human, I do not have the right to sit in judgment of others. We each have our own sin.

Some of us wear it literally, I turn to food instead of God. I celebrate with it, mourn with it, pass time with it. Some of us wear it secretly. Some of us justify it. But we all carry it with us. My sin is no different than yours. I will not judge you, please don't judge me. That is God's job and his alone.

So here's my plan. Let's all navigate this thing called life together. Let's embrace each other, accept each other, support each other, share with each other, and truly, wholly love each other.

Jesus did. He ate with those who were despised, he touched the untouchable, he made friends with the unreachable, he walked with the dejected, defiled and debilitated. I am hoping to absolutely emulate my Savior. No proclamation needed. The Bible has already been written and it doesn't need my help, only my action.

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

peace.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

old tapes

We all have them. Things said to us, done to us in the past that replay themselves in our present. I have erased many of the tapes from my life. I hope you have as well.

It gives me great comfort to know that there is a purpose for me. I'm not just some random gathering of molecules. As an artist, each piece I create has purpose, vision. Some are just for joy. Some are for a specific person or purpose. Like this one, it's for Lisa. She loves these colors and vintage things and birds. I hope she likes it.


I want to share with you something I read this morning. Hope it blesses you.

God's Signature by Max Lucado from In the Grip of Grace

"Before I made you in your mother's womb, I chose you." Jeremiah 1:5

With God in your world, you aren't an accident or an incident; you are a gift to the world, a divine work of art, signed by God.

One of the finest gifts I ever received is a football signed by thirty former professional quarterbacks. There is nothing unique about this ball. For all I know it was bought at a discount sports store. What makes it unique is the signatures.

The same is true with us. In the scheme of nature Homo sapiens are not unique. We aren't the only creatures with flesh and hair and blood and hearts. What makes us special is not only our body but the signature of God on our lives. We are his works of art. We are created in his image to do good deeds. We are significant, not because of what we do, but because of whose we are.

peace.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I love to tell stories...

I was reading a friend's blog, thanks TootieD, and she tells good stories.

It reminded me of a story from my 14 year old days.

We had come to Oklahoma City from Farmersville, to celebrate the holidays and see friends and family. During one of our days here, Mom decided we would all go see Mrs. Pace in Elk City.

Mrs. Pace was a dear, elderly woman who had known my mother since her teen days when they worked together at the Children's Center in Bethany. We had grown up visiting Mrs. Pace in her little house where the candy dish always held lemon drops and it always smelled of hand lotion and face powder. We would sit, listen to the grown-ups talk, hear the stories and the news updates and eat lemon drops. Mrs. Pace would always tell me how pretty I was and remark on how much I'd grown. She was a sweet lady and even as kids, we didn't mind the visits. Did I mention the lemon drops? :-)

Anyway, on our trip to Elk City this one winter day, we loaded up the 56 Ford with all three dogs, 2 parents, 2 kids and we headed out. But not before we had prettied ourselves up right. We all put on our Sunday finest, I remember my outfit well. I was 14 after all. SO, I had on my jeans and a lovely blue sweater. I had on my best copper and blue eye shadow and my brand new rabbit fur coat. (Didn't know the details of rabbit fur coats at the time, all I can say is I'm sorry little rabbits I didn't know.) And we set out.

As always, the dogs were excited to be traveling. Jenny and I were in the back seat with Brenda, our little black furry mutt, Snoopy, our cartoon dog look a like and not the brightest dog we'd ever had and Maggie, mom's soul mate and our half shepherd/half chow family guardian.

As if Maggie knew a storm was coming, she roused and jumped to the front seat with mom. About that same time, Snoopy started to whimper. Then he started spewing and not from his mouth. POOP! shooting everywhere on everything. It didn't last long but the coverage was significant. Once it stopped, Snoopy was happy. Wagging his tail, running back and forth...yes, you can imagine. Dad pulled over as quickly as possible and we all bailed out. Discovering the extent of the damage, we did the best we could with the towels we had on hand and finished our journey to Elk City.

Mom was the only one in the car unscathed by the explosion, so we dropped her off at the nursing home and the rest of us went to the nearest carwash. This was my dad's solution. So in December in Oklahoma if you had passed the carwash that day you would have seen 1 child, 1 teenager, 1 man, 3 dogs and one car all bathing in the carwash. My rabbit fur coat...well, it was never the same. Snoopy got that high colonic he'd been craving. We all got a good power wash. We were only slightly damp when we returned to visit Mrs. Pace.

She didn't seem to notice and even in the nursing home, she still had lemon drops. We had a nice visit, we listened to stories and heard the news, and we enjoyed the lemon drops.

peace.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Half as much and more than plenty.

Several things have recently collided in my life to make me aware of one very important thing. If I had half as much, I'd still have more than plenty.

Now before you jump and run, hear me out. Really...I'm applying this to one area of my life. Food. For now.

We've all heard that America is fat. Oklahoma is fat. Well, here's the honest truth, so am I. I don't eat tons of junk, I don't eat tons period. But I do eat more than I need...obviously.

I've been struggling with it for some time. Not too seriously or I wouldn't still be struggling, but thinking about it none-the-less. I'm going to Africa soon. There are overweight people in Africa, but it's because they live on rice. They have few choices. I don't struggle with a lack of choice or availability. I could do better.

And then it hit me, seriously hit me. Food poisoning. Threw me out of the eating game for 48 hours. It was gross, painful, and eye-opening. I think my stomach shrunk two sizes that day. Very Grinchy...

But what it did was allow me to say no. No I don't need to finish that plate, I pay for it either way. No I don't need to have seconds. No I don't need to feel guilty about it. Grandma isn't watching and Dad didn't fill my plate for me. I'm not being wasteful I'm being wise.

So I'm eating half and I'm hoping this sticks with me. So far so good. I feel better when satisfied only and not stuffed. For all you thin eaters out there, I know this is not new news to you. But for some of us, there is a huge learning curve to be mounted and overcome.

And...I am an overcomer. So much of my life is witness to this.

So here's to the Full Years to come with only half. I know, sounds crazy, but it just may be the answer, at least for me.

peace.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Impossible!

Impossible for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage. Impossible for a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage. And four white mice will never be four white hourses. Such fol-de-rol and fiddle dee dee of courses. Impossible! But the world is full of zanies and fools who don't believe in sensible rules and won't believe what sensible people say.. and because these daft and dewey eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes impossible things are happening every day!

And today was one of those days.

I'm a rose colored glasses, pollyanna kind of gal. I love happy endings, laughter, spontaneous singing and I believe the potential to be the best you can be really does exist in all of us.

My hope and faith was renewed today. I moved my 70 year old alzheimers dad into a nursing home. He went willingly, peacefully and seem relieved. The nursing staff was very friendly, very helpful. The home is comfortable and welcoming. From the chickens in the courtyard area to the tiny finches in the TV room, life abounds in the place. Something I never expected in a nursing home. Something I was thrilled to find.

I hope you never have to face what I did today. But if you do...

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.


I felt the love of the community surround us today. I am grateful God held us all in the palm of His loving, almighty hand.

peace.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Moving Day



Tomorrow I put my dad in a nursing home. I know lots of people do it, there are some good homes out there, and sometimes it's a necessity. This is one of those times.

But I honestly never thought this would happen.

This is just not the way my family does things. We grow old, we die. Very few of my extended family have lingered with an illness that required 24/7 care. If they did, they were married and at home.

My great uncle Grady just died. He was 97, still lived in his own house, played golf 3 times a week, mowed his own lawn and bowled in a senior's league. (They had to put him in with the 70 year olds cause their weren't any other 90-somethings playing and he still beat them).

My grandma, my dad's mom and Grady's sister, is 93 and living in a retirement community. She is still in charge of the world, always right and if you don't believe me, I'll give you her number and you can call and ask.

And then there is dad. He's 70. Because of alzheimers, his journey will likely end in this nursing home. Alzheimers is nasty. It has stolen his mind, his memory, his golden years. It has stolen the future I always thought we would have with him. I'm feeling relieved, cheated, joyful, guilt-ridden and just plain mad.

If we can spend billions on any given day for any given reason, WHY can't we find a cure for this heinous, dream stealing disease. Did you know that there are diagnosed cases of alzheimers in children as young as 6? SIX!!!!

I promise to do something. I do not want to see families lose loved ones before their time. I do not want to see dreams die. I do not want to believe this can't be stopped.

For tomorrow, I'll move my dad. I'll cry my tears. I'll try to make him comfortable in his new surroundings where he will be safe.

But watch out future days, I'm coming for you.

peace.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Reconnecting

I've been on Facebook for awhile now. Connecting and reconnecting has been fun. It has allowed me the ability to communicate with folks I'd lost touch with and to enhance contact with people I still see around.

After 45 years, I've met a lot of people. I haven't lived in one place as long as I have now lived in OKC, but I did spend some rather formative years in a couple of remarkable places.

The first one was Farmersville, Texas. I moved there from Dallas when I was 12, right before the 7th grade. You know that awkward, unsure, gangly phase of life we all go through? Yes, that was when my dad decided "goodbye city life" and "green acres we were there!" It was and still is a small town. When I lived there, the population was around 2000. My class had 30 kids in it and that was the entire seventh grade. It has grown significantly since I lived there, but the town square still stands and some parts are relatively untouched. Although McKinney is quick approaching from the west.

My memories of Farmersville are warm and wonderful. Kind of frozen in time actually. They were some of the happiest days of my childhood, full of good people and fun times. It was also the last place my family was still whole. That might have something to do with it. It was the last place life was relatively easy for me. I was still able to be a kid and I was. I was naive, awkward, innocent, involved, excited, and driven. I wanted to be noticed and yet cringed when I was. I excelled at school and went relatively unnoticed socially.

I joined the band and my second year was first chair. In Farmersville, you either played football as a Fighting Farmer, danced with the drill team as a Farmerette or marched and played in the band. Football games were town events and I loved them. I knew everyone around me, but was an outsider in many ways. I was the new girl. I hadn't lived there my whole life, so I didn't have history and I was terminally shy.

I loved my church youth group. I felt most accepted with this wonderful group. Our youth pastor was an outsider as well and I think that helped me feel like I was part.

I had the regular crushes and broken hearts. I had the excitement of sports from both the player and spectator vantages. Being 5'10" by the seventh grade kind of helped that! Yes, I played basketball.

But band was where I allowed myself to cut loose a little. We worked together, traveled together, competed together...we were a team. I joined the flag corp, cause their outfits were cuter and my newly acquired teen body looked better in them. I loved the band dances and the band banquets. My favorite date was Kenny. He was such a nice guy, so cute.

I remember working up the nerve to call his house, sometimes it took 3 or 4 times before I could dial the whole number and let it ring. My heart would be pounding, my pulse racing, and the phone would ring. Would he think I was weird? Would he roll his eyes when he heard my voice thinking oh great it's her? Would he say yes? No? Who else could I ask? Did I really need a date? Everyone else would have one. Always. 3 seconds later...someone would answer the phone, Kenny would get on, I would ask, he would say yes.

We'd coordinate colors with his aunt in town on the flowers, she was THE florist you know. And we'd dance. For one night everyone was equal. Everyone was accepted. Everyone had fun. And by everyone, I mostly mean me. I'm sure everyone else did too, but that wasn't really my focus honestly. Even looking back now I still feel the excitement of belonging. I was there, with a date, in a pretty dress, with color coordinated flowers. All was good. Even if my dad did chaperone every time. :-P

Through Facebook, I've reconnected with Kenny. He's married, a father of 2, and a music minister. None of that surprises me. He was always a sweet guy. He always said yes, even if he really didn't want to. I'll never know and honestly, I'll never ask. I like the picture in my brain and in my scrapbook somewhere of 2 awkward, gangly blond kids with braces smiling like crazy at the band dance.

Thanks Farmersville for the best kid days of my life. Don't change too much. Thanks Facebook for the memories and for reconnecting me to the days of innocence I have sometimes let be overshadowed by what came after we left.

peace.