Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Time is flying – backwards – hee hee!  July was a month of road trips.  WOW is that fun! 
I started the month with World Cup playoffs – I love football!  (Both kinds – the kind where the game is actually played with the feet and the kind America plays!)  I think if the whole team had played as well as the US goalie, we’d have been in the playoffs – good word for ME!

July 4 found me with my family watching fireworks in Denton.  FUN FUN FUN!  Took me a loooooong time to get home from there – tried a new shortcut – ha!

Next day (5th) I drove to Gainesville and met Tobey (#1 daughter) and her hubby Chad.  This is the start of the “LUCY AND ETHEL” roadtrip!  This year we decided to do photo shoots in silly shirts, crazy glasses and goofy hats.  Will see if you agree!

We didn’t leave until Tuesday because I have ESL lessons on Sunday morning and Monday night.  So we spent Monday doing errands at home – and making stepping stones.  Made quite a few – great memories.

Our first day out, we stopped in West, Texas for a few photo opps.  Can hardly see Tobey in this pic but it is the official West sign.


Can you tell we’re wearing our Sunday best?    We takes our road trips seriously!                

First stop was in Georgetown where we met up with a friend from my Abu Dhabi days - Carrie Eubanks and her kids.  She only had Joseph, Nathan and Sarah when they lived in Abu Dhabi but has two gorgeous girls added to this flock from overseas.  I didn't get photos of anybody but Nathan and Joseph and me - sorry!
   Love these guys!
THEN we went to San Marcos for a visit with our "donkey" friends - Trisha and Ralph.  We shared our silly shirt pics with Trisha - only her shirt wasn't so silly!  I posted donkey pictures last month - check em out.  Those babies are adorable!
I'm not sure Trisha acts silly until we come by - just sayin!

Along the way we shared our silliness with the weary travelers on the road with our new moustaches!
Mine's cuter I think!
One of our favoritest places is Buc-ees - and the biggest one EVER is outside San Marcos/New Braunfels.  They've got SO MUCH STUFF in this store - love it!

We stopped over at cousin Linda's in Portland and had dinner with her baby girl Kristin and hubby John.  Had a great time visiting and talking marketing for my books!  And eating - too busy to take photos - hee hee!

THEN, on to Corpus Christi and long time friend Jack.  (Tobey calls her Aunt Janice) Jack and I go waaaaaaay back (we plus Trisha were "We Three" in the University of Corpus Christi days) and SHE was the first to see our sweet Tobey.  Jack got to go up in the nursery, dress Tobey and bring her down to us - she and Tobey have a TIGHT bond!  And this may all be scuttled when she sees this photo - hee hee!
So, here's the story.  One of Jack's
most favoritest things is taking her guests on a dune buggy ride of the beach.  Tobey just wanted to put her feet in the water and do some shell hunting.  WELL, no sooner had we started off than the big black clouds gathered.  Tobey got out to "shower off" from her sand adventure and KABOOM - down came the flood.  No windshields, windows or doors in these puppies and we were all SOAKED - including Jack's older sister Joyce.  OH BOY - fun!  

We came home and dried off and then went out to eat at a yum Mexican restaurant - couldn't resist getting a photo with this ginormous rooster!
And yes, the food was FANTASTIC - even with a big rooster bodyguard hanging out!  We also worked in a trip to Goodwill - I LOVE HANGING OUT THERE - ya find the most amazing treasures!  Can you BELIEVE somebody actually threw this away?!   Tobey said if my eyes were on straight then my nose was crooked - hee hee!

We had one more stop - this one a short one outside Brookshire (near Houston) where my cousin lives in an airplane hangar!  This is my sassy cousin Dee Ann and her hubby John beside their plane. Tobey wanted to sit in it - so we've got a shot or two of her in the cockpit - but trust me, we never got out of the hangar!

We got home tired and weary but had SO much fun.  Got Tobey to the airport early Sunday morning - she had to run to make that flight.  WHEW - and it was only the 13th of the month.

July also brought a mini-reunion.  AAA friend Kay Bacon and her sister Jean Rae drove up from Waco and we teamed up with another former Angleton High School teacher who JUST HAPPENS to be my neighbor!  Carolyn Teague!  We had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and went for a short shop at Sprouts.

And then ... my Mexican daughter Rocio came to Dallas with her family for a visit.  I picked up Roci and her daughter Rebekah and took them to visit my son and his family.  Roci lived with us when Tori was a baby and now she's an English teacher herself!  FUN!


Thursday, October 23, 2014


Yup - it's been that kind of month.  Still working on purging excess items in my closet, drawers, garage, kitchen.  UGH!

Had the first ever Merry Hearts Lifegroup after church the first Sunday in June.  My son and his family came along with a former country/western singer and his wife.  What fun we had listening to Gaither DVDs and then trying out the songs ourselves!

I'm still working on data entry on Mondays at my church - and still teaching ESL on Sunday mornings and Monday evenings.  It's really fun to be back in the saddle of teaching again.  I left most of all my resources in Hong Kong so I'm searching frantically online and through my books - plus ordering textbooks.  Thank goodness for friends at ULI in Tulsa who are clueing me in to good texts for beginners.  We have a new student - a Spanish lady who's been in the US over 20 years.  Makes the class lots more fun to have more students.  I hope someday we can have a real school - but I'm getting ahead of myself!

This month is a great one for reunions of sort.  I started out to my family reunion in South Texas and made some fun stops on the way down - and back.  First I stopped in Temple to visit my friend Kay Bacon.  We had breakfast before I left in a fun shop where she found this sign:

After breakfast, I drove to Marble Falls where I met up with Janie - another AAA friend.  We had lunch at the Bluebonnet Cafe and then I was off to San Marcos. This is a photo of Janie and me but NOT at the Bluebonnet Cafe.

Then it was on to San Marcos to spend the night with my long time friend Trisha and her sweet husband Ralph.  They raise miniature donkeys and Ralph makes stuff.  Like bird feeders and yard flowers - oh yes, I'm all over that for when I get home!

Next I drove to my hometown of Angleton where I met up with the 3rd AAA friend, Kathy Duncan.  She's the beauty in purple glasses in this photo - we were talking and visiting too hard and fast to take photos that day.
Out in the country outside Angleton lives my cousin Anne.  We were joined by cousin Robert from Little Rock, Ark. and the Zilch began.  Each person in this goofy game gets 6 dice - look at the ones they gave ME!  (I still won - most!)  You can tell from the photo below that we are ALL smart! Right? 
This is a photo of me with my precious Aunt Cooter.  She's in her 80's and is one of my favoritest people!  The other photo is loads of cousins - some don't look very happy but we DID have fun!  My son and his family drove all the way from Denton, TX to join us - and then headed back late that night!

I drove up to Huntsville to stay overnight with Janice - #4 of the AAA girls.  I got to see all of them but sweet Shirley - this is Janice but not at her house.  We didn't take any pictures that visit - too busy yakking!
I got home Sunday night late and just have to say - WHEW!  Best part of the trip (almost) was finding out about PALEO - thanks Kay Bacon!

That week my BFF Linda came from OKC and we shopped and played and had a blast.  Linda headed off home early on Saturday the 21st of June and I started packing.  BIG THINGS going on this month.

On Sunday the 22nd, I taught my class, went to church and then to the airport.  I've been blessed to be a part of the ICRS (International Christian Retailers Show) by my publishers - Evergreen Press.  I didn't get to Atlanta until 5ish that afternoon and by the time I took the train and walked all over town, I got to my hotel at 8:45!  I dumped stuff and ran over (not really ran - more like limped) to the convention center where my great friend Donna was waiting with .... MY BOOKS!  
I got there too late for registration but Donna had arrived earlier so she picked up the books.  I am IN AWE of how beautiful this is! WOW!  We heard Phil Robertson - and Alan - of Duck Dynasty and I finally got to bed long after midnight!

The next morning, I was racing over to the convention center to get registered when I ran into ... yeah he fooled me too!  Name's John Morgan and he's a "W" impersonator!  Nice guy!   
I also "ran into" Mart Green - of Hobby Lobby and Mardel's.  I got to tell him a big thank you for bailing out "our" university (Oral Roberts University in Tulsa).  Sure would love to have my book in your store, Mart!

My publisher's booth was right across from the Charisma BUS - talk about good location!  It was gloriously fun - I signed/gave away 100 books in 2 hours!  That's Brian Banashak, owner of Evergreen over my shoulder.  I'm BLESSED!

Left: Don Piper, author of "Ninety Minutes in Heaven"  Right:  the developers of the new movie "Let the Lion Roar."  I also got to meet Rick Renner, author of "Sparkling Gems from the Greek" - one of my heroes.  WHAT A GREAT EXPERIENCE!  Thank you, Lord for this - and thank you Evergreen Press for having faith in me!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


What a happy month!  I purged my house of things I don't need.  Rented a storage closet and got a lot of things out.  Donated a dresser and bookshelves.  NOW the fun begins!

I even learned how to make chalk paint and re-did a formerly dark wood/wrought iron dresser for my guest room (which I call a Prophet's Chamber).

I gave away the big dresser and mirror so now I'm working on filling the wall with LOTS of mirrors - and my sweet Tobey made me a huge "flower" out of an old Shakespeare book - perfect centerpiece!
Methinks it's PERFECTLY perfect now!

Re-entry into life as a US person has been ... interesting!  But hanging out with family, church friends, and neighbors - it's just been fabulous.  My wonderful handy-man friend has come over 2-3 times and we're beginning a huge project on those railroad ties which used to hold up the slope on which my house is sitting!  This is going to be major - the house is cracking in the middle.  I've known for a long time that the dirt was slowly sliding off into the street but now it seems the house is too - oh boy!  Trimming trees, spraying for critters ... total immersion, eh?

I got a big surprise from the Bedford Police on the 27th of May - a SPEEDING TICKET! Yes I was going too fast and yes it was a construction zone - but I did NOT plan on spending $300 right at this time.  Believe you me, I drive the speed limit now!  I guess that police officer was having a very bad day - and he surely didn't know I' d just bought a CHAIN SAW - ha!

AND I got new house numbers!  For the first time ever, this house has numbers - ain't THAT grand! I call my house "Villa Shalom" cause it's full of peace! Hopefully, yours is too.

REACHING BACK to April 2014      .....     NEW BEGINNINGS

Well now - into each life some poo must fall.  And a boatload fell into mine the end of February - and now, here I am back in Texas.  Betrayal is NEVER fun - on any level.  "Nuff said!"

A painful parting with my precious Shakespeare - he was so very weak and frail and those eyes were just begging me to let him go.  I couldn't bring him back and bury him in our yard - I just had to leave him in the hands of my sweet vet and trust I'll see him again!
Rest in Peace, my little love.

So, Dickens and Janey and I arrived at the airport in Cairo just before midnight to prep for our loooooong flight back to Texas.  We were met by Latif - the expiditer provided by the company - who quickly found out that there had been a mistake on my ticket and I had only booked ONE DOG in the hold and one CAT in cabin.  Both cats were in their air carriers - Janey's too big for cabin! You can't imagine what a stir we made at the airport.  TWO huge bags, two cat carriers, a carryon and a frazzled me.  What do we do?  I cannot leave her.  I cannot go back ... getting out of Egypt was HARD! The airline (Lufthansa ROCKS) agreed to take my carrier AND my carryon as checked luggage at no extra cost.  See the shrink wrap?  That's my carry-on - which had my LAPTOP in it! OY VEY!

Latif went out on the midnight Cairo airport street and found a plastic gym bag.  He and someone at the airport cut holes in it and THIS is what my precious Janey rode home in - in Business Class.  She was an ANGEL!  She couldn't turn around - barely ate - but slept all the way home.

And then the tricky business of getting all this stuff home - thank goodness for sweet Daphne who picked us up in her big Volvo, helped get Janey into the carrier and transported all of us home.  Of course, there was the mandatory stop for cat litter - and half-n-half for my coffee!

Janey has forgiven me - especially since I've fixed her a cozy place to watch birds and squirrels! Dickens - well he's old and getting senile and can't quite bring himself to try and get along.  But we're coping.


And once again - BOXES!  This time only 120 or so!  But they arrived, were unpacked and the settling began.  Getting out of Egypt was very painful but it is SO WONDERFUL to finally be home and safe and "out" - honest, transparent and humbled.

My major project has been this horrid yard.  I first began with weekly trips to my favorite store - Lowe's - to purchase plants in the "sick plant" department.  I planted rose bushes and Mandevilla vines along the fence - now Janey and I have a pleasant view from our prayer closet.


AFTER in transition

It's starting to take shape ... I'll show you more as progress evolves.  Suffice it to say, that turning into the driveway now makes me smile.  I needed a "happy place" and this is it.

Loving getting to spend time with my son and his family - and driving up to Tulsa to see my sweet daughter and her hubby.  And of course, being able to join my church family is over the moon wonderful!  All in all, it's GOOD to be home!  The biggest difficulty is pronouns for me - I now have to switch from "us" to "me" and from "we" to "I" - but I'm learning - hee hee!

My first Monday back at volunteering brought a very special surprise.  Two sweet people, newly arrived from IRAN and needing English help.  Voila!  ESL classes at DFW New Beginnings have begun.  We have Sunday morning lessons and Monday night lessons and I am LOVING it!

The book is almost ready.  Finishing up edits and proofing cover designs - SO exciting.

No matter what life throws - God is bigger.  No matter the hurdle - He is able.  Life is GOOD and God is GOODER (don't tell my ESL students that though)!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Vol.1, No 14
11 October 2003

Long Time No Sea

WELL – though it seems an eternity since I posted a “mews,” it’s really been only the LONGEST WEEKS OF MY LIFE!  (Okay – just seems like it.)  I was “grounded” from the sea because of a sciatic nerve problem and thought my mewsing was over for the winter.  NOT SO!  Been back in the coooooooooooold water 3-4 times – even the starfish are hiding in the cold.  I wonder where they go?  Deeper water?  South for the winter – but, er, this IS south!  Or maybe just under the sand?  WHATEVER, they are hiding cause it is COLD down there!

Anyway, today I had a “smack you in the face with it” revelation and have been chewing on this for awhile.  Thought I’d share it with you.  Guess what?  I’VE GOT A FEELING EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE ALL RIGHT!  WHY?  Jesus is in MY boat!  (p.s.  He’s in YOUR boat, too!)

This morning, I read the story of the storm at sea in a devotional book.  Now picture this:  Tiny boat, 12 disciples and Jesus, deep water, middle of the night, black dark, STORM!  As the boat is rocking and rolling on the sea, the disciples are in a state of panic.  I can picture them trying to bail a boat full of sea water with a thimble, can’t you?  They are yelling at each other, frantically trying to figure out what to DO to fix this mess – AS IF!!!  Oh, yes, and where is the main character in this scenario – in the back of the boat, FAST ASLEEP!

Finally, after an eternity (so it seemed to them) of trying to figure their way out of this problem, somebody remembered Jesus was with them (are you getting this????).  They wake Him up!  NOW, step inside my shoes for a moment and listen to my heart.

Jesus (as I picture this) groggily steadies Himself in the boat, speaks to the winds and the waves (GUESS WHO, BOYS!  It’s your CREATOR speaking!  KNOCK IT OFF!), then slowly sits down and points those incredible eyes at the disciples.  He doesn’t have to SAY a word because in their spirits, they are hearing … ‘DID YOU HONESTLY THINK THIS BOAT WOULD SINK AND THAT YOU WOULD DROWN --- WITH THE SON OF GOD IN THE BOAT!’

Anybody reading this in the same “boat” with me???  I’ve been trying to figure my way out of the current mess (bailing the sea out with a thimble) while Jesus is calmly snoring IN MY BOAT!  How in the world could I ever think that He would let me drown if He is in the same boat?!?!?!  He brought me here!  He opened the doors to get me where I am!  And if this boat sinks, I figure there’s a bigger better one waiting to rescue me/us – right around the corner!!

While repenting for my lack of faith, I picked up my Bible and read of the woman with the issue of blood.  Mews #2:  This woman had to fight crowds to get to Jesus.  She had faith to believe that if she just touched His clothes, she would be healed – but because of the time she was living in, she actually had to FIND HIM and TOUCH HIM!

Guess what?  Though heaven is a noisy place – with billions of angels singing and praising and glorifying Jesus and the Father – all we have to do is WHISPER “Jesus” and He says “SH!  QUIET!  My daughter/son is talking to me!”  We can have His attention with a whisper!

I don’t know about you folks, but I think THAT will PREACH!  When your “boat” begins to rock and roll, remember you don’t have to GO anywhere to find help – just whisper His Name and TRUST HIM!