Tuesday, November 29, 2011

May I See A Raise of Hands

That's what happens when I look down and my 14 month old grandson is raising his arms for me to pick him up.  I'm in love.  The older he gets and the more he does that I know he recognizes me, knows I'm somebody special, the more in love I fall.  The more smitten I become.  When he reaches for me from someone else's arms (preferring to be with me) or cries when I leave the room...my heart just melts.  There is nothing like being a grandmother...nothing.  And it just gets better all the time!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nothing Quite Like the Sound

Nothing quite like the sound of quiet gentle rain falling on leaves.  Sweet.  Relaxing.  Rare.  An hour of listening.  Slowly the house starts to wake with other sounds, creaking, clanging, jingling dog tags and whispers.  Doors start to open, coffee starts to perk, voices get louder and the baby starts to stir.  The house becomes alive with family.  I love the holidays.  I love my family.  Nothing quite like the sound.

Encourage One Another

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

First Official

Today is the first official day of retirement...retirement effective 10/31/11.  Up not too early, walked 3.2 miles.  Next, horseback riding an hour or two.  Yesterday, first day of geocaching with my friend whose been doing it for years.  She's found over 1800 caches.  Yesterday we found 11.  Started making my morning smoothies smaller, less calories.  Would love to walk off 5-10 pounds before Christmas.  Would love to walk at least 2-3 miles a day average, that's 14-21 miles a week; well really I'd love to walk a lot more than that but hate to commit to something not attainable or doable.  Since my last day at work I've walked 16 miles, only didn't walk 1 day (6 days off walked 5 days=ave 3 miles per day.  We'll see how it goes.  Hate to, but better throw out the rest of that homemade strawberry cake!

Encourage One Another

Friday, October 28, 2011

Anyone Interested in a Follow Up?

This is the email I sent back to my friend the evening of the first email, retirement day @ 10:30pm.
"This is the first moment I've had to sit for a second and let you know how the day went.  Once I got it out of my system to you I prayed every moment before leaving the house that I would not cry.  I prayed once I got to work.  I dropped a couple of little gifts and some cards off to my friends before 8am so they would be at their desks when they arrived at work.  Then I didn't cry anymore.  I spend an hour or so getting some old adoption stuff, addresses of families, names, photos etc off my computer.  I heard from two of the adoptive families I still keep in touch with...sweet sweet emails.  Had a big lunch with friends from work, they invited me; my boss treated me.  I went down at the appointed hour with my best work friend to the party.  Several were there but many more showed up.  We kept waiting on my sister, who was about 15 minutes late.  All the sudden she walks in the door.  I hug her and sit back down.  She acts a little funny, then comes to sit down.  I look around and my fantasy comes true.  Little Hays comes toddling thru the door!  and J (my daughter) and J (X husband) follow.  It was truly wonderful.  I felt so blessed.  We spend the evening together and they are leaving after breakfast in the morning.  Overall, its' been a great day  Them being there kept me focused off the actual leaving the office for the last time...shutting down my computer...leaving a forwarded voice mail.  John stayed til I left and walked out with me .  In my apartment later I hugged him and thanked him for coming and he told me he knew it was where he was suppose to be today!  So, there it is
A good day after all.  I have a downstairs full of sweet gifts and cards and saw a room full of people who wished me well me well and my condo filled with people I love, my family.
God is good."
So there you go.  The day could not have been much more perfect unless my bnl had been able to be there too.  He was out of town.  I am blessed though and the day was too.
We all had breakfast together day one of retirement then my family went back south.  It was wintery outside went to feed my pony (not nice enough to ride) and then I lit my fireplace and unpacked boxes the rest of the day.  My sister invited me for chicken and dumplings and the World Series that evening.  Another good day.
More about retirement in the days to come.

Encourage one anohter

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Retirement Ain't for Sissies

Here is how I woke up feeling this morning...my last day at work in my 2 weeks short of 26 year career...
This is an email to a friend.

"I'm waking up on my last day of work before 5am and not feeling so great.  I'm hoping you'll just listen to me vent/rant or get my feelings out so i don't have to carry these to work today.  I'm feeling very sorry for myself and maybe I'll delete this before sending it.
this is not the way I wanted to wake up on my day of retirement...alone.  Alone is not how I saw any of my life.  I saw it being happily married to someone I loved and someone who loved me...fairy tale.  I did not follow in my parents footsteps.  I did not follow the role models that lead my life.  I screwed it all up.  I screwed it up with two marriages that ended and left me alone.  I'm waking up alone with my dog in my bed, who I love dearly, however, he is not able to show me human love, human touch.  
This job has been a huge part of my life.  It actually lasted a year longer than my marriage.  I was married one month short of 25 years.  I am leaving my job 2 weeks short of 26 years.  I devoted much of my life to my job, and unfortunately had to do my job above my family on many occasions.  My husband told me once that I was "used up" because of my job...that I had nothing left to give.  I'll never forget that.  I know my job had a lot to do with the failure of my relationship with my husband.  It was just fuel to an ever  burning fire.  I never got from him what I needed to keep doing this job...understanding, appreciation for working hard, for holding our family together financially and keeping a job that kept us in insurance and other benefits (that ultimately would have benefited him).  He just wasn't capable or willing to help me thru it...so i used riding, friends, and other things to help me survive....anyway...here we are at the end of it.  
I have been very emotional about my retirement since deciding to do so.  I am leaving some really important projects behind.  There have been many rewarding aspects to my job, helping kids find homes being the most important.  They probably would have found them without me, but somehow maybe I helped facilitate a few.  The last four years in this particular job helped me make it to 26 years with very little stress...it was the perfect job to finish out my career and get me to retirement for which I am grateful.  I am grateful to this job for it's benefits, it helping me get my child thru college, for my 401k and my retirement annuity.  I am grateful....and I'm sad.  
I did NOT want to have a retirement party and my supervisor insisted.  While I think she has some guilty feelings still about my retirement and how this all came down, I wish she had just appreciated my request and left it alone.  I have now to make it until 2pm and what ever happens inside that room, whether 2 people show up or 20. I have to wait to see if people say anything nice or say nothing at all.   I have to make it thru that party without my husband (as I no longer have one) and my daughter who lives too far away.  I have to make it thru that party knowing my daughter is glad it's over.  I have to make it thru that party without my long time working friends who are still in Gonzales.  I have to make it thru the day with an empty office to sit in for hours and a house full of boxes of shit that was in my office that I don't need in my home...that I don't need period, but wasn't ready to send it to resale yet.  Pens, and pencils, and pictures, and do dads, and just crap.  I have to make it through one more meeting in my office with a board member about our Christmas project that I have handed off the torch to.  I have to act normal all day and stuff my feelings just to make it through, like I did for years in order to endure the tragedy and trauma of abuse to children on a daily basis.  Sort of ironic to going back to denial and stuffing feelings on my last day of work.
I have to admit too I've had this little fantasy in my head that my X, my daughter and my grandson would show up for this stupid party...end of my career...that they would somehow talk to me on the phone during the morning while they were secretly driving up in the car...and when I walked in the door to the party there they would be...unlikely and doubtful...
On the other side, I know my sister will be there (my bnl's in Houston this week).  Four of my best friends at work in Midland and  two of my board member chair/presidents from out of town have said they will be there and my boss.  So that's 8 people and other staff will show up to eat cake.  Oh, my volunteer from downstairs will be there too.  I just hope they all keep their mouths shut and we just eat cake and go home.  I thought about saying something too but I hope I just keep my mouth shut too.  I hope it's all over before we know it.  I don't want to cry.
On the other side, I am free to do what ever I can afford to do.  I am free to ride my horse daily, walk daily, spend time with my sister, visit my daughter and grandson and whatever else God leads me to do.  I suspect I'll have to or want to go back to work eventually, however I hope God leads me to the next great thing in my life.  I just bought some new riding shoes and pants to ride in this week...so I"m set for that.  I've tried to stock up on a few things I always need so when my income goes backwards I'll be a little ready for that.  We have our plans for Thanksgiving set...my sister, bnl and I have rented a house in Austin and will be going there to try to work in TG with our three kids.  We are headed back to Wimberly but a different house for Christmas to again try to accomodate them and be closer so they don't have to travel...they have less time off with their jobs.  My sister will be retired then too.  

Anyway, I'm praying God gives me what i need for today to make it thru here, be grateful, see the cup full, see the future in a positive light.  A world wide open, opportunities abound...freedom to do His work, whether volunteering or in another type of job.  Something fun, something I've always wanted to do but maybe didn't know it or didn't think I could.  I guess it's ok to feel a little sad...I mean I just do.
Thanks for letting me vent and feel sorry for myself (without feeling you will judge me) and just get this out of my system.  I feel better.  Maybe I'll put this on my blog site...no one reads it anyway!  It's called "Meanderings of a Happy Girl", who just today, isn't so happy.

Encourage One Another

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Got Three Days

Three days is a Pat Green song I love.  The lyrics don't match my situation...but the truth is "I got three days!" left of work.  There is some uneasiness I have to admit...some "what am I gonna do" thoughts going through my head.  I hope I remain calm.  Three days, I got three days.

Encourage one another

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Closer It Gets

The closer retirement gets, the more surreal it becomes.  I mean, is it really going to happen?  I've had some thoughts about saying..."oh, no, never mind, I don't think I want to retire after all".  But then what would my boss do...she's counting on having my job to have her job...so no, that won't work.  I just have to trust that God is still leading, still listen for Him and move forward.  I think just sitting quietly and listening instead of talking and moving all the time is the way to hear the answer.  So come October 37th R, just sit still.

Love One Another

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I've Still Got It

Three days ago I was innocently eating at Mr. Gattis alone.  We had just finished our Sunday's Child shoot and I was partaking of a "comped" lunch by MG.  The bus boy/man came be and said "Hi, my name is Luis.  Yesterday was my birthday.  My boss lady made me some brownies, I was wondering if you wanted one"?  I said "uh well, I'm having a late lunch (it was 2pm already) and I'm having an early dinner (meeting a friend for Chinese at 5:45p) so I better not.  How old were you though" I asked..."68" he said!  He said "Have you ever heard of the Texas Roadhouse?"  I said "yes, they have really good bread".  He said "They have really good steak and shrimp too and that butter".  We agreed they were good.  Then he said "if you'd like to go sometime to eat there we could or are you married?"  I quickly said "well uh, I'm in a relationship"...agh!  I mean really ya'll, I've never been asked out by an employee of a restaurant where I was eating.  Isn't that a bit, well, I'm not sure what to call it, but I wondered if his "boss lady" knows he asks out the clients?  We/he chatted a few more minutes and he left wishing me a good day and said "well if you ever want to go to Texas Roadhouse give me a call".  Thankfully he did not offer his number.

Encourage One Another

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Skip in My Step

OK, have I told you I'm retiring!   The struggle to get to the retirement decision was a difficult one.  It created lots of stress and heartache during the process.  However, coming out on the other side has been a blessing.  While I still have some sadness that comes over me in leaving the projects that I love, like Sunday's Child with my partner Tatum from CBS7, the whole idea of retirement is starting to sink in.  The idea of not getting up to an alarm, not wearing make up every single day, not rushing home to lunch and then back to work, not having the weight of work on my shoulders four or five days a week…those are good ideas.  The idea of riding my horse any time I day I want to, walking (finally) daily again, having lunch with friends, hanging out with my sister, my daughter, my grandchild, spending time with my family…those are good ideas, blessings in fact.  They are creating a noticeable skip in my step. I mean literally, I feel lighter.  Could that possibly be?  Maybe I should check the scale.  And in looking at me, I wonder if anyone else has noticed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Remember Pen Pals

I purchased my condo about 4 years ago.  When I moved out of the big house I left many things behind.  It was really time to start new, leaving the old life behind.  And actually, the "old life" or life from a much more simple time is a design theme I love.  I talking about a much more simple time, the 50s and 60s.  My condo was built in the 60s, perfect.  It has not really been updated a whole lot.  So I decided to continue that theme.  Anyway, I went to the "trade days" in Fredericksburg in August 2007.  It's a great event, sort of like a big antique/flea market with lots of cool stuff.  I was specifically looking for a chandelier to go above my dining table.  I had seen one in a condo that was for sale but the light fixture was not.  I told the realtor that day I was interested in that chandelier if the new buyers wanted to sell it.  I wanted one similar to that one.  At the market in one booth, I found one I liked a lot, along with a very nice lady.  She and I struck up a conversation.  I told her about the one I had seen and what I was looking for.  Talking between us just came easily and we had much in common with our love for old things and our talents for sort of making something from nothing.  I have no idea how long we talked but I finally told her I wanted to look a little more.  In the trip I didn't find anything else I like better, however, hers was a little smaller than I had planned for.  I told her how much I liked it however, it was not exactly what I was looking for.  I got her email address and phone numbers.  We visited a while longer.  There was just something about this instant relationship but I could not put my finger on it but I could feel it in my bones.    
Months went by, probably three.  I got a call from that realtor, the new buyers in fact did not want that chandelier and wanted to "give" it to me.  Wow, what I gift.  I had it installed above my dining room.  It looked fabulous!  I email my new friend to tell her this story. Some time went by.  I can't say how much.  I emailed her again.  She was no longer employed at the same place but someone there had seen the email and forwarded it to her.  She and I began emailing each other regularly.  We became "pen pals" of sorts, like in the days I was a child.  In school we wrote some letters to kids overseas.  I don't even remember if they ever wrote back.  But my friend did.  We began to share intimate details of our lives.  We shared out faith.  We shared our thoughts and our suggestions.  We became incredible friends.  While she is not old enough to be my mother, she is a bit older, and wiser by far.  She always had just the right thing to say.  We shared information about our children, our spouses, our families.  To date we have been friends over 4 years.  We have only talked on the phone once (when I was nervous about applying for a new job that would have created a move for me) and seen each other twice…  The second time only recently when we went to Roundtop/Warrenton Antique Weekend.  We met there, shopped, and then I went to her house and spent the night.  We visited like old friends.  We shared some ideas and dreams.  Then we slept.  We traveled back to Warrenton the next day for more shopping and sharing.  Our lives finally included talking sharing in person, meeting some of her family (she had met my daughter when she was attending A & M in College Station ), hugging each other hello and goodbye and talking into the night like best friends.  She gave me a book about blessing others.  She is truly a blessing to me.  Although we do not see each other often, our relationship is something special.  It is a gift.  I thank God for her.  Our friendship will last for a lifetime.  I can feel it in my bones. 

Encourage One Another

Friday, October 7, 2011

Plop Plop Fizz Fizz, Oh What a Relief It Is

OK, earlier this week I spoke of missing then relocating my watch...much relief there.
Well, there's been a concern hanging over my head for about 6-7 months now.  In April, the owner of the property and barn where I keep my horse told me he was selling his property.  He and his wife were tired of the country and were going to sell their home and move to town.  I immediately became concerned about losing the place where I board my horse.  Months went by but about a month ago I received the dreaded phone call that he had sold it.  He said he had told the new owner about me and my horse and I'd have to talk to her about what was going to happen.  I asked him to give her my name and call me as soon as possible so I could see what was going to happen.  I never heard from anyone.  This week I had decided to ask for her number and had planned to call her.  On Wednesday I went to ride in the evening after work.     As it turned out, she was at the property when I drove up.  I introduced myself and told her I had been wanting to talk to her.  She said he never gave her the number.  But what she also said was "nothing had to change...he is fine where he is".  She mentioned some things they were going to do to the property, but that he was fine right where he was.  I was so relieved tears came to my eyes.  I told her I was fixing to retire and looking forward to riding more often and hoping I would not lose my place to keep him.  She was really nice and very close to my age.  Once again this week my concern has been relieved.  Another prayer answered.

Encourage one another!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Memories...like the corners of my mind....NOT

OK, what do you do when you remember something a certain way and evidence proves your memory is totally wrong.  It's scary really.  Here's the deal.  I was going out of town to see my grandson...he loves this rubber Timex watch that I have.  I decided to wear that watch to go visit instead of my gold watch...and to leave my gold watch at home.  I didn't want to take them both.  Well, when I got back from the visit the gold watch was not here in my house.  I could not find it anywhere.  I was thinking it had been taken.  When I finally called my friend to say it was missing, they went to look in their bathroom where I had stayed.  Guess what...the watch was there.  NO WAY!!!  I did not take it.  No really, I did not take it, I left it here on purpose.  I have NO IDEA how that watch got there.  I have NO MEMORY of taking there, taking it off, putting in that spot...NONE.  So while I am very relieved to have found it (as I was sick all day at the thought of no longer having it) not remembering anything about it...That's scary.  So ok, if I'm going to lose my memory, I hope I lose it all and soon so I won't remember when I forget or forgot something.

Encourage one another (especially those with fading memories).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Babysitting Plus One

My daughter asked if I could babysit on Thursday.  She was going one direction and my son in law another.  My boy needed his Annie!  So off I went.  He and I rolled balls, went swinging, played with the train, he crawled, oooched, walked, sang and danced for an hour or so.  I got a text that "dad's" plans got canceled and he was on the way home??  "Oh my" I thought as it is always a bit different when caring for him when one of them is home too.  Dad arrived about the time I was feeding my boy.  For some reason he wasn't too hungry and didn't eat a whole lot.  Usually he eats you out of house and home...today he just wasn't into it.  I pulled off his high chair tray and picked him up to clean him up.  Dad (who I love DEARLY) took him from me and said "I'll give him a bath".  I said "you'll give him a bath"? and he said yes.  (Oh no I thought to myself).  He swooped him off to the bathroom.  Next thing I know he's reading to him, turning on his nightlight and white noise, putting him into bed, and closing the door.  "Good law" I'm thinking, I said "I didn't get to tell him good night".  I rushed in, picked him up, gave him a kiss and laid him back down.  He was out like a light.  I have to admit, while loving my snl, I was very disappointed I did not get to finish my love of bathing my boy and putting him in bed.  Sometimes when he is really tired he lets my rock him a few minutes before putting him down.  I love that, it's just the sweetest thing.  It all works best when I am there alone with him.  Oh well, I know there will be another opportunity...I am his Annie after all!

Encourage one another

End of an Era

On Thursday, one of my dad's best friends passed away.  Gil and my dad had been friends for years.  Their wives, Marie and my mom were best friends.  They loved each other like sisters.  My mom passed away first and several years later Marie joined her in heaven.  Gil and my dad talked a lot about their wives, their lives, and the feelings about life.  They were both lonely without their true loves.  They shared many things with each other that they never shared with anyone else.  My mom and Marie did the same.  They also prayed together and they loved each other's children...us.  When my dad passed away a little over a year ago, Gil was very sad being the last one left behind.  He grieved for all of them.  Thursday he joined them.  There is no doubt a big domino game with their original partners was being played when Gil went home!  We will miss you all!

Encourage one another

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Few and Far Between

Tonight I was suppose to babysit my grandson.  He is just starting to recognize I am someone of significance and he reaches his arms out for me to pick him up.  Oh how I love that!  Both my daughter and son in law were to be busy with activities this evening.  I happen to be in town and fortunately for me, I got the call.  My son in law's activity was to be outside and for heaven's sake guess what happened?  It rained!!!  His activity got canceled.  He came home early.  He ended up giving the baby his bath, getting him ready for bed, rocking and reading to him and putting him down.  I was sad and disappointed.  The days are few and far between that I get to take care of my baby.  It is nice when he and I are all alone so we can focus just on each other.  Anyway, guess I'll just wait for another opportunity!

Encourage one another

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Think I've Said It Before

I am an old soul.  My heart just loves things old...old movies, old furniture, old toys, old TV shows, old do-dads, old aprons, old music, old stuff.  Those things just make me smile, make me long for, make me dream of what I could do with stuff if I had it, make me wish I had not gotten rid of stuff I had but got rid of.  My brain just starts trying to get creative.  It's just automatic.  Then I starts drumming up memories and thoughts of when my mother had that or my grandmother used one of those things or where I was when I watched that show when I was little.  I believe it's ok to be an old soul.  It was a quieter time, what seems to be a more peaceful time, a less technical time...  I wish for the old times.

Encourage one another

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wild and Free

That was the status of most of the horses I saw last week!  Some were truly wild, and living in the wild, and never been touched by human hands as far as I know.  Then others who live closer to civilization and many have been mistakenly fed or gotten too close to and tamed too much for their own good.  Those now will wonder into areas where people inhabit and in fact have been been run over and or taken captive.  They have become somewhat of a nuisance due to people feeding them and then them coming to close looking for more food or water.  Still there were others, who had once been wild and later captured through the BLM, perhaps had been auctioned off or left in long term holding pens, who were now set free again.  Those actually had been gentled and tamed, though are not ridden.  So there was a wide variety of the ones I photographed.  The truly most amazing ones were the wild ones.  Even those have been surrounded with big equipment, trucks, and people developing pipelines for gas in the forests where they live.  While they were once afraid totally of people they now will tolerate them to some degree and do not automatically run, but hang around more out of curiousity that anything.   The days were filled with early mornings and ran into the night.  There was not much rest on this trip and we were searching out these animals most of the day.  The trip was lead by an amazing photographer, Lynn Pomerantz, who is very knowledgeable about all the horses and areas she took us too.  These are the nice comments she wrote to me in an email after the workshop.

Hi Robin,
Thank you! And thanks for lunch today and for coming to the workshop. I so enjoyed your company. Hope you will stay in touch. Send me a few of your favorite jpegs from today. I think you have a really great eye. So many of your images reflected a very "fresh" way of seeing. The technical stuff is available for anybody to learn. The seeing part is another matter and I really think that part just comes naturally to you. Really hope to see some of those images in the photo contest.  Hopefully, a light will turn on in your head regarding your job situation. It woul be nice if that happens for me as well!
Have fun in Santa Fe and safe travels.

Several of the places Lynne took us to may no longer be places the horses remain.  The BLM is rounding them up even as I write this to be moved into long term holding pens or to be auctioned off.  Blessings I wish for all wild horses and may they continue to roam free as long as they live!

Spend Thrift

My daughter might absolutely freak if she knew I took her/my baby boy into two thrift shops today.  She hates those and says they smell.  I on the other hand love to "treasure hunt" in those.  First shop, no luck.  We even searched the book section but found nothing noteworthy.  OK, second stop, bingo.  I found a fabulous stone khaki colored barn coat from Eddie Bauer and an Old Navy denim jacket!  I actually went in looking for a worn well and washed flannel shirt to leave at the ranch, but decided $3.99 was too much to pay for those and bought these instead.  For the price the EB will make a great car or riding coat and the denim I can wear with anything to work.  Now all I need is some COOL weather.  Jesus willing it is not too far away!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Two Days and Counting

Three days from now and very early in the morning, I'm leaving on a trip to New Mexico.  I'm going on a photography expedition, a workshop to photograph wild horses.  There will be only 4 of us, including our photographer/instructor.  I have stressed over what to take, what to pack, what to buy to be ready for anything that might come up.  I'm losing sleep over it.  Mostly I'm concerned now about how to carry my camera and lens' the easiest and my binoculars.  They'll all hang off of me if I let them and somehow i want that to be easier than harder.  So I'm still stressing a bit over that, but it'll all be fine I'm sure.  I've got new clothes and new hiking boots, and virtually a new camera.  In fact i wish I knew more about the camera than I do.  I'm taking a camera class through Midland College starting next month.  I'm looking forward to the cooler weather and opportunity to see wild horses.  It's on my bucket list.  I'll be blogging about it from today moving forward.  I'll be adding photos once I get going.  Til then...

Encourage One Another

26 is 2 1/2 Away

I have been working for the state for just under 26 years, just under half of my life.  For about 20 of those 25 plus years I have been working a 4 day work week...a huge benefit, a huge bonus.  Today I was told I was losing that.  The state has recently red-lined, fired, re-purposed, rifted whatever you want to call it, some almost 800 employees.  My boss was one of those.  In their disrespectful way of trying to make that right to some, and shift the system, they are trying to weed me out.  They want my job. They want my job to give to my boss.  They have called and asked me to apply for another job, but in the meantime have taken away the most important thing to me, the 4 day work week.  They want me to either retire or apply for and take this other position.  The person over the entire region has made all these decisions that are affecting everyone.  They have my boss acting like a pawn, they have her graveling for work, doing anything they ask her to do.  She is currently jobless and desperate.  So while I will string them along as long as I can, not making any decision until the last minute, applying for that other position but not necessarily accepting it if they offer it to me, they can just wonder what's what and what I'm ultimately going to do.  But one thing is for sure.  I want to allow and give as little time as possible of my thoughts toward the person responsible for all of this.  She will get what she deserves, I believe that with all my heart.  What goes around comes around.  One way or the other.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Blessing Was Mine

On Sundays there's an older lady who sits on a street corner up the street selling newspapers.  She's been on that corner for months it seemed.  As it turned out, she's been sitting on that same corner on Sundays for over 2 years.  She waves and smiles to everyone who goes by.  You can't drive by without wanting to smile and wave back.  She just sort of brightens your day.  I have felt compelled for months to stop and talk to her.  But I haven't.  I have, in fact, felt compelled to take her a little gift and something for her pup..but I haven't.  I picked up something for her one day...but it wasn't right.  Friday, I finally found something for her, a scarf.  I really wanted a flower so she could put on her hat...but couldn't find one.  So I bought this pretty yellow scarf instead.  I also made her some chocolate chip cookies.  I put them in a little metal tin.  I wrapped her scarf in tissue and tied it w/ some twine.  I packed a little plastic bag with some treats for her pup.  This morning I delivered them.  Wow, can I just say wow.  I introduced myself and told her that I appreciated her friendliness and her smiles and waves on Sunday's.  I told her I had wanted to stop for months but hadn't.  I told her I see her every Sunday on my way to ride my horse and on my way back home.  She was appreciative of the gift.  She told me she lives close by (which I figured because she rides her scooter to this corner).  I told her if she ever needed anything to call me.  I'd be happy to run to the store for her or help her do something.  She said "I pay someone $10 an hour to do things for me like change a light bulb or do something I can't reach".  I said "no I don't want you to pay me, I just want to offer to help you with something like that if you need help".  She said "well all I really need is someone to pray with me".  I said "I can do that", but I was almost speechless.  She proceeded to tell me some about her life, how she became a Christian 10 years ago; how on Christmas eve ten years ago Christ finally reached her; how even though her father was an atheist and a Jew she always believed in God; she told me about her troubles with her daughter who just got out of jail; she told me she sometimes gives the papers away to folks who don't have money to pay for it but need one to look for a job or a place to live; that there are lots of people with many troubles in the world; that she used to drive a big truck, she was a truck driver; that she writes poetry and songs and often sings while she is there selling papers; I heard about her son and granddaughter who live in Dallas; about her saving her money so she can buy a car so she could drive herself to Dallas and take her dog too...lots of things I learned about her in our short visit today. She quoted scripture, she told me she never gives up, she said God will always come through if you don't give up.  She told me obedience is very important in that result.  She told me the best gift you can give someone is a prayer.  I told her she was very wise.  I felt very blessed.  I gave her my card with my phone number and address on it.  I asked her to call me any time.  She told me she would call me when she got home so that I would have her phone number too.  Her name is Mae...Mae Mae to some.  Her pup's name is Brat.  Although I haven't heard from her this afternoon, I am hopeful she will call.  I have prayed for a Christian friend.  This week God sent two.  If she doesn't end up calling, I'll stop by to see her again next Sunday's when she's selling papers.  I know she'll be waving and smiling at everyone who drives by.

Encourage One Another
The best gift you can give someone is a prayer!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Needle in a Hay Stack

I think I have written enough about my horse that you know he's very important....Love him if you know what I mean.  Here's the deal though.  It's not just not raining where I live, it's not raining anywhere.  There fore, there is no hay, or very little. Literally they are hauling it in here from North Dakota.  Finding hay locally, especially round bales, is like finding a
'needle in a haystack".  There just are very few.  When you do find them, they are very expensive.  The one I just purchased today is twice as much as the one just like it that I purchased in June...no Really!  I mean it's the same exact hay...there are just so few of these bales around that if you have any you are sitting in the cat bird's seat!  Nothing like sitting in the cat bird's seat as there is plenty of money to be made.  So, ole Mose is standing around the hay ring today, happy as a clam, chompin' on some grass hay and swishing his tail.  My brother in law described him today as "fat as a town dog"...well OK, he is still in pretty good shape and I do feed him well.  I don't like thin horses.  I also did a "first" today.  I had that big hay bale loaded in the back of a pick up and drove it to the barn.  Then I got up in the trailer and unloaded it by pushing it off.  It allegedly weighed 880 pounds.  I'm stronger than I thought.  I literally prayed all the way home it would not fall out the back of the truck onto the street.  When I made it to the barn I breathed a huge sigh of relief and said a prayer of gratitude!  You never know what you can do until you try.  Yeah me!  So, in the meantime, if you see any hay for sale on the side of the road...call me...I need another bale!

Encourage one another!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stream in the Desert

Sometimes, if you keep you mind open, you have no idea what you may find somewhere.  Most of what's left out in the country in west Texas is red dirt; dry blowing red dirt.  Anything green you might see in this area is in town where it can be watered or dollar bills in your wallet.  It is truly like a desert out here.  A little while back Mosey and I were just plodding along in the cotton field.  He's a plodder, a mosier, thus how he got his name.  He is generally not in a hurry to get anywhere and most likely if he were a person he would always be late.  However, he would be the least likely one to have any stress.  Anyway, the farmer had begun to irrigate his cotton.  We can see the sprinkers and occasionally even ride through them.  Well, on the way through the cotton patch we stopped at the central irrigation point, where the water comes out from the well and into the sprinklers.  There was a huge malfunction there and LOTS of water was coming out of that unit and not going out into the system.  It was creating this pool of water and a stream that was flowing out into the field…just like a running stream.  It was fabulous.  Mosey immediately tromped his feet into the mud next to the pool and lowered his head to get a cool drink.  Just like if we had been walking by a creek.  He was in heaven.  God was blessing him with a cool fresh drink of underground water.  He drank and drank.  

He thought it was even better than drinking out of the water hose which he loves to do.  We were surrounded by the tall green cotton plants and drinking from a running stream.  All we could see around us was the green plants, the blue sky and the running water.  Eventually he pulled his head up, stepped back out of the mud, and headed east again on down the cotton row.  But just for one moment we were somewhere else in time, in an oasis, in a beautiful place.  Just for a moment we were in a dream…and we lavished it.  So me and ole Mose, we keep our eyes open for those moments, those little pieces of time when you can be someplace else, even if only for a moment.  You never know when they might crop up.

Surprise, Surprise

OK, I would never expect to find what Mosey and I found yesterday while riding….a pony.  A brand spanking cute hairy white pony lose in a dirt red plowed field.  He was trotting around close to another horse that was across the fence from him.  He was in a bit of a tizzy you could tell by his behavior.  He was pretty frantically wanting inside that fence where the other horse was.  He was about 50 yards from us when he finally saw his riding up.  I stopped Mosey for a second so he could get a good grip of what he was seeing…but then again he has never seen a teeny tiny pony like that.  Well it looked like him, sort of white only about 1/4th his size.  So in a hurry, in a lope, here came the little pony.  He stopped short about 6 feet from us.  I got off to see if he would come up to me…but he would not.  I got back on and let him come up to Mosey.  They greeted like old friends.  Mosey was amused.  He never pinned his ears back or looked nervous.  He just stode still and waited while the little pony tried to figure us out.  After a bit, we started walking again toward his friend across the fence.  There were some other horses across the fence too and I figured that is where he came from.  However, I could not see a way to get him back in there.  I suspected the little guy (by that time we figured out he was a guy) would stop by his horse friend and we would just keep on going.  Well, that didn't happen.  The little guy took off after us and kept coming.  I wasn't sure what to do.  There seemed to be no way to get to the road where the houses were across that fence.  We went up another fence as I could see his tracks had been up that way as well.  Again, another dead end, no way to get to that road.  Well, we had to head home.  Time was running short on where I needed to be later.  I hoped again he would go back to his "friend" across the fence when we rode back by there.  However, he did not.  He was going with us.  The little white pony was taking about 4 steps to our one, but come along he did.  He'd get behind and trot to catch up.  Then he'd get behind and canter to catch up and run in front of us.  He was determined to stay with us no matter what.  We traipsed along across roads and plowed fields, and back through the cotton field about 6-7 miles.  I tried hard to stay away from the paved roads so no cars could get close to him.  We were almost to the barn when we passed a colt in a pasture and the pony decided he had gone far enough. He just stopped.  He was however, right on the roadside.  Mosey and I rode on toward the barn.  Mosey however, did not want to go on without his new friend.  He kept trying to stop and kept looking back at every opportunity.  Finally we made it back to the barn.  I rinsed Mose off, fed him and put away my saddle.  I drove back up the road as I was going to call 911 and tell them about the pony and stay until someone arrived to get him.  Unfortunately he was no longer there.  I drove up the street back to the cotton field to look to see if I could see him heading home.  Nothing.  So I drove back toward the barn.  Looking off to my left I saw him…in the BACK of a PICK UP!!!   I pulled in to tell the men there what had happened.  Apparently someone had seen the pony on the side of the road, recognized him and called his owner.  His owner had come to pick him up.  I have no idea how they got him in the back of that pick up but I'm guessing the little guy was very glad he was not going to have to walk back home.  He looked quiet and calm.  Maybe Mosey and I travel back that way some time and hopefully see our friend inside his fence where he belongs.  We will give him a little wave.  I just love a happy ending.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Blue Jay

Sounds of the Blue Jay

I've heard it before.  This morning, I heard it again…the song of the Blue Jay.  He's loud.  He's big.  You cannot mistake his song.  It's different.  It brings back memories.  Memories of when I was a little girl.  I remember early mornings, lying in bed in my upstairs bedroom, the window open.  I could hear him outside.  I could hear the rustle of the leaves blowing in the fall breeze.  It was so peaceful, so restful, so innocent.  This morning when I heard him, I wanted to be back in that place, back in the safe place of my bed in my parent's home as a little girl.   There was nothing then that could hurt me.  At that point, nothing really had; no tragedies, no deaths, no lost loves.  All of what was to come, was still a mystery, still the unknown, unbelievable that such things might happen in my future.  As a child I was hopeful.  I had big dreams of true love, of a marriage like my parents had.  Was there any reason not to believe that that too could not happen to me?  No, no reason at all.  They loved, my parents.  They sacrificed for us.  They lead us down a golden road of patience, faith, and unconditional love.  As he hugged us hello daily when he got home from work, my dad would give us brightly colored bubble gum balls.  We looked forward to that. Isn't it funny that such a simple gesture formed a life long memory.  Our immediate family was close.  We were close to our extended family too.  They meant something.  We spent time with them.  We enjoyed each other's company.  We had big meals together with wonder food and fellowship.  There were good cooks in our family.  There were traditions in our family…turkey and dressing, Christmas Eve with my dad's family, Christmas morning with Santa at home; Easter Sunday dress up clothes, Fourth of July fireworks, sparklers and homemade ice cream.  Those were the days.  Those were days I remember about my childhood.  Those are the days that the sound of the Blue Jay brings back to me.  Lazy days, lying in my bed, dreaming of tomorrow…of a life full of just more love.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's A Little Like Riding A Bike

When my daughter was a baby, I don't believe I ever thought about for one moment what it would be like to take care of a child again, after her.  I don't think I thought for one moment about a grand child.  I don't think I thought for one moment if I would remember things I did as a mother and how that might affect taking care of a grandchild later.  Not for one moment.  Not one thought.  I'm sure I was concentrating on the moment I was in, the child I was taking care of, and how taking care of her was just, well, mostly instinct.  I mean because who really gets lessons in parenting?  Who really takes a class on "how to be a parent"?  Who has time?  We just do it.  We get pregnant, we give birth, we parent…the end.  Some of us do it better than others.  Some of us don't do it well at all.  Some of us eventually have proof by how our children turned out that we either did a pretty good job, or a crumby one.  Looking at my child, somebody did something right.  God blessed me with a fabulous child.  And I'm absolutely sure He had a ton to do with that!
So here I am, however, some 26 years post baby of my own, getting an opportunity to care for my 8 month old grandchild…for three days no less.  No for a few hours, not overnight, but for almost three full days…by myself!  Wow, they (the parents, my daughter and son in law) must really trust me, they must believe I did a pretty good job (on her); they must believe I am worthy of taking care of their most precious gift from God.  Wow, what an honor.  They know I have only cared for him by myself for about 24 hours…I did ok then, nothing bad happened.  They know I have not parented or cared for a child for that length of time in over 26 years.  They know me.  They honored me.  They gave me a few instructions, handed him over to me, and drove away in a car, and headed off to New Orleans for their anniversary.  Wow, cool!
And you know what?  We did OK, my baby grandson and I.  He was actually fabulous (which also tells me what great parents my kids are).  He and I just hung out for three days.  We didn't get to stroll too much because it was just entirely too hot and humid.  We both love to stroll.  I love to walk and he loves to ride.  He just watches and sits quietly for as long as I'll go.  We've walked 4 miles in one day before…we like it.  This time, we didn't get to leave until after 8 or 8:30 and after 45 minutes or so the sun was up and the humidity was high.  We enjoyed it while we could.  But before we strolled he ate.  Can I just tell you, that boy has not met a food stranger.  He loves to eat.  He loves everything my daughter has put in front of him.  He puts everything in his mouth.  Everything is a possible food opportunity!  He even put a baby chicken in his mouth at his Easter photo session!  But you gotta be fast.  You gotta get that spoon up to his mouth in record time.  He swallows and immediately wants the spoon again.  If you don't get it there fast enough, he'll holler out "Hey lady…where's the food!"  Watching him eat is a sight to see!
And we played on the floor.  Who knew I could stay on the floor so long.  Stackable toys, musical toys, chewable toys, he likes them all.  And the belly crawl, he's got that down to a science.  He can move across a room in record time.  He can grab the dogs food in record time.  He inspects the floor with every move so you better have any little do dads, dog food bits, fuzz, etc up off the floor because when he finds it….food possibility!  In his mouth it goes.  No telling truthfully what that boy has ingested so far.  He can pick up the tiniest thing with his two fingers.  He gives it a good once over then in his mouth it goes.  You gotta be quick to get it before it goes in his mouth.  When he ever gets up on his knees, he's gonna be double trouble.  He doesn't stay put much.  If you leave the area he follows.  He hollers then he follows.  I think he was saying "hey lady…where are you going…here I come"!
The boy also loves to swing.  Also a bit hard to do in such hot weather…but we managed to do it anyway.  Once the sun moved off the porch, we were swinging.  He loves that too.  When I finally figured out how to move the little tray out of the way to get him in, it proved to be much easier getting him in and out.  He never was ready to quit, I just thought it got too hot.
Talk about jabber.  That boy is a talker.  No idea what he is telling me but it is a story worth telling.  He is very very verbal whether it is to tell you he is hungry, tell you to get the food in faster, tell you he is tired, or just tell you a story…he is a talker.  Jabbers like a bird…a big bird.  Yack, yack, yack…baa baa baa…daa daa daa.  If you can make that out…let me know.
Bath time needs to pretty much be in and out at this point.  No messing around in there.  Just "get 'er done"…and on with bedtime.  He napped and went to be like a trooper.  He gave a little cry out, a little shout out for just a few minutes each time I put him down, but it was minimal.  He just went right to sleep.  Praise God!
One of the coolest things was when mom and dad called on Tango and he could see them via video on my iPhone.  He absolutely knew them.  He hollered and reached out for the phone.  He wanted to see them in person.  He got a little upset but ultimately was ok with that.  They of course were happy to see that he was doing fine, still healthy and living life.  Tango is a good thing!
Overall we, me and my baby grandson, had a fabulous time.  I think he eventually knew that I was the one caring for him.  I don't believe he really recognized me or knew who I was (his grandmother Annie) or anything like that.  But I do believe he knew that I was the one temporarily in charge and that I was going to be sure he had everything he needed.  He knew that I was going to take care of him.  He just had a good feeling about that. 
So next time they ask me to keep him I'll be a little more reassured that I can do a good job.  Even though he'll be doing more things, like crawling on his knees or even walking, I'll know I can care for him no matter what.  I guess caring for children is a little like riding a bike…you just don't forget how to do it. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day One of Treatment One

Today was my sister's first day of chemo.  She spent 4:45 minutes in the doctors office, about 2 hours of that in the chemo room. 
Every time I would think of that poison going into her vein it made me think of the guys on death row waiting to be euthanized.  It was that same
Feeling/thought in my mind…ugh. My brother in law went with her for the treatment, so once again I was just on the outside waiting to hear from those
On the inside.  It was counting down the minutes, the texts, the almost there, almost there minutes.  Everybody else in the world going about
Their business like it was nothing.  For us it was life changing.  Like when someone dies and everyone goes home and back to their lives and you are still their
Dealing with the aftermath.  Well supposedly the "aftermath" doesn't start until between 24 and 48 after.  My brother in law did really well on sending me texts
This time and keeping me in the loop of what was happening.  He even sent me a photo when they got started.  My sister was looking at her IPhone and smiling.
Turns out she was playing Spider Solitaire.  She said when she called when she was through…"that was nothing".  So until something else happens
we'll just keep moving forward…my brother in law, my smiling courageous sister and me.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Benefit BBQ Judging

OK, truly I had been looking forward to the annual BBQ that benefits the place I work.  I am sort of the liaison between the staff and the folks at the BBQ so it was my job to get volunteers to judge the event.  I had about 9 folks volunteer along with a couple of husbands, and 7 and two others showed up.  A good turn out I thought.  We found our places.  Some of us were at the "finals" table where we only had to judge 10 of the very best.  But I had to do that FIVE times.  At the other preliminary table they were judging TWENTY NINE entries.  Seriously just thinking about that made me feel sick.  Let me fill in a blank here...I don't really even like beef.  This was primarily a BEEF contest.  Of all we tried, which included fajitas (only one was decent), brisket (all bad), ribs (one stand out), chicken (I could have eaten any of them for dinner) and desserts (several stand-outs). Oh, I forgot to mention between each entry we were to douse our tastes with crachers or cheese or grapes.  So the amount of food eaten was outlandish!  Actually judging the desserts was an honor and I was selected to be part of that judging team. By the time it was over I was more than ready to go.  I had stayed and helped hand out the awards.  It was a good day over all and I'm sure a lot of money was donated.  Oh, did I mention that after the judging I was invited to a little party for my sister.  I got there about 7.  Guess what was for dinner?!?!

Encourage one another

Friday, April 29, 2011

Christian Royalty

Well, who would have thought I would set my alarm for 4:54 on April 29, 2011.  Yesterday I was looking forward to sleeping late today.  However, last night there was so much talk about the royal wedding today, I decided I wanted to be a part of this history...even if only by television.  I had seen an itinerary yesterday which was down to the minute about everything.  It included who left where when; who arrived where when; what they would be riding in and what time the actual wedding started...after everyone arrived of course.  I don't now much about the Royals, but I suspected that the times would follow exactly as they had stated.  So I set my alarm for just a few minutes before 5am.  Sure enough, at that point Cate had just gotten into her car and was riding to the church.  She got there at 5am (our time) on the dot!  When everything was ready she and her dad strolled down the aisle.  She looked very happy.  She smiled all the way to the end.  William and Harry were waiting at the front of the church for her.  There was some whispering that went on, some more smiling and then the service.  The ceremony was very traditional.  The vows were sweet.  The priest started the ceremony with "every wedding is a royal wedding.  We are all children of the "King".  Wow, knocked me over.  After the traditional vows and William put the ring on her finger they sat down.  A service was held and he spoke about faithfulness, commitment, love, and forever.  He spoke of Jesus throughout the ceremony.  It was truly fabulous.  There was no mass, no communion, no big Catholic hurrah.  It was simple, sweet and beautiful.  At the end of the service the priest said a blessing for everyone watching.  I felt a blessing in my heart.  That was cool.  When they walked out of the church they both looked happy.  He looked a little more nervous than her.  They boarded an incredible open horse drawn carriage and rode to Buckingham Palace...still smiling.  After they went inside the palace it was going to be awhile before they were to kiss on the balcony.   So I set the alarm again for 7:20am this time and took a little nap.  Sure enough, right after I woke up again, they walked out onto the balcony and shortly thereafter, William kissed Cate.  It was short but sweet.  They waved, talked, smiled and took it all in.  In a few more minutes William kissed her again, creating history.  No prince had kissed the princess twice on the balcony after they were married.  I was so glad I had witnessed history first hand.  I'm sure the wedding has been played a zillion times on YouTube today.  I didn't see William drive Cate off in their sports car in real time.  But what a way to leave...in their own vehicle, and not telling anyone that they planned to do that.  They are going off someplace secret on their honeymoon, then going home to a 5 room home where she will cook dinner daily and William may even mow the yard.  They just want to be normal for a while...until they become the King and Queen.  I suspect that will be years from now.  In the meantime, the prince and princess hopefully and prayerfully will live happily ever after.

Encourage one another

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

So What's With the Pink Bed

OK, about 4 years ago I purchased a pink fuzzy dog bed.  I know I know, I have a male dog, but the bed was so soft I could not resist.  He loves it.  Always has.  Problem is, so does his cousin, Annie.  I don't know who loves it most.  And when the other one is around, the other one HAS to have it.  Last night Annie was having a sleep over with us.  I'm off doing my thing and next thing I know i hear this terrible wailing.  I'm thinking someone is hurt.  One of the dogs is hurt.  I find them.  Ikey is in the pink bed.  Annie is in the red bed wailing, shaking almost like she is having a seizure.  I touch her and she looks up at me like "what".  I say "what are you doing".  She looks over at that pink bed and actually thinks I'm going to run Ikey out of it and let her in it....uh no!  I have seen her stand over Ikey while he's in the pink bed.  She cries and cries and then she lumbers into the pink bed WITH Ikey.  I have seen him just let her and he stays put and I've seen him get up and just give it up to her.  But truthfully, I've never seen anything like it. They quite making those beds years ago.  Sad, but may the best dog win.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gravel Roads of Texas

Have you ever driven down the gravel roads of Texas ?  You can truly see some of the beautiful back country.  You never really know where you might end up.  Last weekend we decided to take a drive in the Jeep and just cruise the back roads again.  Some of the cemeteries on those back roads are really pretty, peaceful and quiet.  Whole families end up there, back together again.  Well I hope they don't end up there, but their gravestones comment that they were once here and maybe a hint about their personality; like "beloved mother" or "faithful father", "hero" or "sister and friend".  Even though it's been dry as a bone most everywhere in Texas , these pastures down south are still green.  One we saw was laden with tall flowing green grass and huge beautiful big oak trees.  The kind you see with horses or cattle standing under them or one that someone had taken a picture of.  Truly it was a glorious site.  The cattle grazing in that pasture thought so too.  They were fat and lazy looking.  Many were just lying in the shade they were so full.  We saw lots of windmills and water troughs, old barns and tree swings.  There is a ton of oil drilling going on in that area and pipelines are being put in everywhere.  Lots of land has been cleared and ditches have been dug.  One day lots of oil and gas will be flowing under that country.  We saw where folks lived that we knew lived in "the boon docks" but never really knew where that was.  Names on mail boxes gave us some clues.  You can't travel that country without seeing a few jack rabbits, wild hogs and an armadillo or two.  They just make that country what it is.  We headed back to the ranch with the sun setting in front of us.  Once we got back we spent the rest of the evening just resting and feeling the breeze blow and listening to the coyotes howl. 

Encourage One Another

Happy Trails