What a Day that will be


(Photo credit, someone’s cat Google images) Gotta love that face.

One week until Christmas break and I can hardly believe it. Life continues to ebb and flow around us here. Elaine lost her favorite cousin. She found out last night as we were sitting having dinner and I was so glad she wasn’t alone when she heard the news. This was a man who had me in stitches when we visited him in the place of her birth, San Angelo, Texas. He could have had a career as a stand up comic. His comic timing was a gift and along with that Texas twang, he was a natural. The first time I met him he came to add a room on her folk’s house. We walked up dressed in our Arizona casual clothes and he turn from the ladder and said………”Well, I thought you were gonna work? How you gonna work in those golfin britches???” I may have not got that quite right but you get the gist.

Because of my interest in seeing the Monastery he knew of we drove and drove on miles of dusty road until we found it in the middle of nowhere. They waited until I wandered around and took pictures and met the Nun where I got a pamphlet and got to see the Sanctuary. Actually, I think it all started because I wanted to see his goats. We met his son there (who has also since passed on) and I also took many baby goat pictures. At the time we regretted a day spent driving for miles, but now I am so glad we did that. It will always be a precious memory.

Here today and in Heaven the next minute. I say that because Gerry knew his Savior and I am so thankful for that. “What a day that will be,” as my Mom’s Aunt was known to say. I was thinking of the lyrics to that song that was sung at her funeral and here are some of the words:

There is coming a day when no heartaches shall come
No more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye.
All is peace forevermore on that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be……

What a day that will be when my Jesus I will see, and I look
Upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand and leads me to the Promised
Land, what a day, glorious day that will be…..

As for me. My writing has been minimal. The natural flow of words I once enjoyed has stopped. But I have learned there are all kinds of seasons. I just have to wait in my own advent of waiting. I do continue to pray in the wee hour before work.
Everyone who knew me at Desert Harbor knew that I prayed for the air conditioner to keep working. We were one of the last to have the original unit. When we left it was still running.

Now I pray for my car. The 12 year old bug’s windows sometimes don’t want to go up all the way. The lock that was on the glove box broke off. The other day the engine light went on and I prayed that it would go off and it did. I just keep saying, “You gotta keep this car running Jesus, it’s paid off!” It still looks good. In fact, the other day I found a note on the windshield wiper that said to give him a call if I want to sell it. My buggy is not for sale. We have a lot of miles between us, and I’m not ready to give it up.

Blessings and grace to you this Christmas from my prayer closet. Lori


Here I go again…..I had a paragraph written when the iPad just shut down. It saved two words. We awoke once again to smoke-filled skies due to fires both North and South of us.  I found myself staring at the sun as it rose bright orange. How often do you get to stare at the sun? I was wishing for my blue skies while others were enduring the horror of watching what they’ve worked for go up in smoke. They were having to wake up this morning without homes, pets, even loved ones. Just goes to show that on any given day, someone else has it worse than you, though that is small comfort when it’s you going through it. We did find out that two good friends made it out safely but it doesn’t look good for their home.

Yesterday at school the teacher’s brother-in-law come in and give a little talk to the kids for Veteran’s Day. He brought in all kinds of equipment they could try on. It was so very cute and the teacher took pictures of all the kids trying on helmets. Of course they have no idea of the horrors of war, thankfully. Abraham ran by excitedly  saying, “I am ready to go! I was born ready!” Yesterday was his Birthday and we found out he want to be a Veterinarian when he grows up. Layla turned towards me with the huge helmet wobbling on her head and both teeth missing in front, “Look Miss Lori!” It gave me the warm fuzzy feeling that happens often with 5, 6 and soon to be 7 year olds.

I kept Jacob occupied with a video to keep him quiet. He and I had our moments this week as every week. I get lots of sympathetic looks from all the teachers, principal and staff as I try to get him to get off the floor and walk to class or as I am wrangling him up or down the stairs. He is six and Down’s syndrome. He is cute and endearing and I have grown attached to him despite how frustrated I feel much of the time. On the plus side, I got an outstanding review from the Principal this week. It was much-needed validation that they are happy with what I am doing. (thank you God) the prayers have helped!

Whatever you are walking through this season my friends know that you are not alone. Those words ring hollow except when you know the God that went through the worst this world can offer for us all. The end of the story is victory. Every one of us can have a happy ending because Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. And that is what we ultimately have to focus on when our world is caving in around us.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

Car Dreams

Everyone who knows me well, knows about my funky car dreams. I have had them for years. Sometimes I am driving in a very small car with no bottom and I can see the road speeding along under my feet. One night I actually lost a shoe and had to go back for it. In that same dream I was able to pick the car up and turn it around and go get my shoe. What is great about the small car dreams is that you can park them anywhere.
Other times I am driving in half-light. It is almost light enough to see but not quite. It’s like I am driving without my glasses on in the dark.
Many times I am riding in a speeding car in the back seat and I realize no one is at the wheel steering or controlling the car. I hastily try to get behind the wheel, but I can never seem to get there. Sometimes I see a stop sign or an intersection where the light is red and I am powerless to stop the car. I usually wake up before I hit anything.
Other times I am going somewhere with no clue as to how to get there and yet I keep going anyway. Many times I am driving over a very high overpass with water on all sides. The view is breathtaking and it’s almost as if I am flying but there is an acute sense of fear as well. (Oh, I have flying dreams too but that’s another topic)
One thing I notice in all these dreams is that the car seems to be driving itself and turning itself but I realize that I have to get control before disaster strikes. I always wake up before it does.
Last night was something new. I dreamed I was driving backwards. I was driving my Dad’s old van and going from Lodi to Stockton (around a 15 minute drive) I was driving around 55 mph, all the time looking behind me and in the rear view mirror.
I woke up exhausted.
Dr. Freud would have a field day with me. But I actually think its pretty simple. God is telling me that it’s safe to let go of the wheel as long as He is in control.
I will save the “teeth falling out” dreams for another time.

Lattes in Church

It’s a curious phenomenon. Ever since bigger churches have started adding bookstores and coffee stands, I have noticed more and more people carrying their lattes into church. It kinda bugs me. Now, anybody that knows me, knows I have a passion for coffee and books. Nobody loves them more than I do, I just think there is a time and place for everything. Maybe it’s the Baptist in me. I think they should be able to put their latte down for an hour or so, at least in church.

Here in the desert, it is very hot and very dry, so I totally understand a bottled water in church. After all, the Pastor may have need of it. He might just have a coughing fit right in the middle of the sermon, or have a bad case of cotton mouth. You could be the hero, offering your water. But coffee is a leisurely drink. Something to have in the fellowship hall (remember those?) after church, with a bad store bought cookie or donut.

To be honest, I even have mixed feelings about having those places on the church premises, although I frequent them myself. It is confusing. I know the money goes to good causes, but even so, my legalistic side imagines Jesus coming in with a whip and tipping over the coffee cart and scattering books everywhere.

I know, I am mixed up.

That’s why I blog, to share my mixed up feelings with my fellow believers, and anyone else who will listen. I have some hangups, I know. I just feel a certain decorum and reverence should accompany church attendance, and yet I love it when our Pastor uses YouTube videos to illustrate a sermon point. And I love that he uses an iPad.

I definitely believe in laughter and humor at church. My Grandmother on the other hand, didn’t think laughter and church belonged in the same sentence. She also didn’t think there should ever be any guitars or drums involved at any time during worship and certainly no clapping or raised hands. She didn’t think church was the place to show any joy or expression of any kind.

She believed in paying attention……well, she paid attention mainly to what everyone else was doing. She sighed loudly in church and embarrassed us all. Bless her heart.

She also picked the quietest time to unwrap her Reed’s peppermint candy and offer one to everyone else in the pew. It also bothered her that after Amy got her divorce, she was still allowed to be the church organist. I can still hear her to this day……”She should be in the back of the church….”

Well, now you can understand why I have all these conflicting feelings about how church should be and how you should behave in it. Just last Sunday, I saw two of the shortest skirts I have ever seen, at church. I want to ask them, “Do you know where you are?”

And I am still surprised when I see tattoos in church, though I shouldn’t be. I do, however believe in drums, and guitars and raising my hands and laughing in church.

After all, if being saved from hell and living forever with Jesus isn’t a reason to rejoice, I don’t know what is.

Maybe I need to sit in the back of the church with Amy the organist.

The Gift of Laughter

A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Have you ever seen someone sitting together in a restaurant and they look like they never ever laugh? I was blessed enough to have been raised in a household where laughter was always present. I truly believe it is one of the best gifts a parent can pass onto a child.

My Dad and I got in trouble for laughing when we weren’t supposed to. My Mom used to separate us in church. Invariably we would see the same exact thing and that would start an avalanche of uncontrollable laughter. We went to a very somber Baptist church. I think they really thought laughter was a sin, and especially laughing in church.

The church I attend now, actually sometimes uses props and videos from comedians.

Sure there is plenty to be serious about these days. But there are plenty of things to laugh at as well, just look around!

My best friend and I laugh at something just about every day, though we disagree just a bit on what is funny, and I admit, my humor could be considered sick by some. I think it’s funny when people fall down or trip over carpets. But only if someone doesn’t get hurt. I figure if someone is doing a stunt on their own volition, then I have the right to laugh at them. Hey, I laugh when I fall down too.
Let’s face it, Charlie Chaplin didn’t get to be a star because he shot out one liners, but because he fell a lot.
Humor is one of the greatest gifts God gave us. To be able to laugh at ourselves means you can shrug off the stuff that you shouldn’t waste time on, so that you can take the really big stuff that happens seriously enough to be able to get through it with grace and God’s help.
My folks have been married for 62 years are are still laughing.
I called them from work the other day and they were just coming home from having the car fixed. Instead of their Minivan they were in the old Bronco. My Mom had nothing to hold onto to get in the car so my Dad was trying to push her from behind. He was laughing, and I could hear her in the background, “just get your hands off me, I can get in just fine.” Then I heard her start to laugh. They both started laughing so hard they had to hang up.

This is why I love them, and one of the reasons they have been together so long. Young couples starting out could learn a lot from them.

Many people in the Bible laughed, and there are references about God laughing. I think Jesus must have found humor in many things on this earth. I love to think what His laughter sounded like.
Laughter is the best gift…….Share it with someone today.
Then pass it on. Counting the gifts and the promises today…….

#933-945……Laughter, birds out back in the fountain, a new artichoke, okra reaching toward sky, peace in the garden, cloudy arizona skies, watching wimbledon on a lazy morning, fresh coffee brewing, full-bodied praise, upcoming trip to see family, technology that allows face to face conversation, all my blogger friends…..

Queen of the Mute

My Mom and I are the reigning queens of the mute button. I must give her top billing since she has actually worn the color off her mute button, and I haven’t even come close….yet.

This mute button issue has made others in the same room with us very annoyed at times. When my brother is over he takes control of the remote so he can have a direct line to any channel that Cops might be on. But sometimes my Mom gets control and when she does, it’s war.

His complaint is that she isn’t quick enough on the draw for when the shows come back on. He hates missing the first few seconds of whatever it is they are watching. If it’s a breaking news story I can understand it, you’d hate to miss the first few seconds of that. But the most you can miss on Cops is, “Put your hands where I can…..”

Anyway I digress. At home I let Elaine keep control over the remote. I don’t want the responsibility of the thing. The cats and I settle onto my chair, (a term I use loosely since they always try to squeeze me out of it), and also, we have much the same taste so I will watch whatever is on until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.

We are not really TV people anyway, we could shut it off for days and not really miss it. We have in fact. Elaine’s parents on the other hand, were TV people. Still are. Now that her Mom is living with us it is really interesting. When she gets the remote, you never know what you will hear from the next room. The other day she had the Spanish channel full blast. Also, with Alzheimer’s, she forgets what the remote is for at times.

One time Elaine was in the shower and her Mom handed the remote control through the curtain and said, “The phone is ringing and I don’t know how to answer it.” And she switches the remotes so that none of them will work, and then furiously punches the button and complains that, “I can’t get this thing to work.”

When they lived in their own home and we would go to visit, they would be sitting in the living room like mole people shades tightly drawn and TV hot to the touch from running Judge shows in a continual stream. I had no idea they had that many. It was extremely depressing to say the least.

And of course now that the Christmas ads have started I may have to take the remote until the New Year. Elaine is pretty good about it. All I have to say when they come on is….Mute, mute! And she does it, usually.

And finally the biggest reason this year that I may have to take ownership of the remote, whereby controlling when and how fast I can mute is this woman right here! She wins top billing in my book for most irritating TV ad personality.

The crazy Target lady. (Bless her heart)

She may just be the reason that my mute button is completely worn down by the end of the month.

Along came a spider

I was driving home a couple of weeks ago when it finally happened. The thing I always dreaded. The “what would I do if this happened scenario.” I was talking to my Dad on the commute home when I noticed something in my peripheral vision……a movement. Say it isn’t so. But there it was, skittering across the dash like it owned the place. A spider. Everyone who knows me knows how I feel about them.

I know they are God’s creatures. I know they are good to have around…..as long as they remember their place…..outside. I know they eat flies and other pests, and that their webs are works of art, especially when hit with morning dew. I really can see the beauty in that. But where there’s a web there’s an occupant. There it is, smack dab in the middle of that glorious creation…….along with all eight creepy legs that I imagine crawling across my face in the middle of the night.

That actually happened to me once and I never forgot it.

Surprisingly, Charlotte’s Web was my favorite book growing up, but no matter how my Dad tried to tell me to “let Charlotte live”  it didn’t matter. It only pulled on my heartstrings for a second…..right before I switched on the vacuum cleaner and sucked Charlotte right into her new forever home.

There it was, dangerously close, on my side of the dash. I held my breath and leaned over as far as I could toward the passenger side. Then it leisurely went across to the other side….I released my breath. It was tortuous. I thought it would help if I stayed on the phone and so I did, never letting the panic hit my voice. I was extremely proud of myself for exercising such supreme discipline and control.

That is, until it started to crawl, in that fast creepy way they have, right over to where I was sitting. Trapped. My hands gripped the wheel and did the only thing I could do.

I sped up.

Then the worst happened, it disappeared! I lost track of the sucker. Any minute I expected it to float down right in front of my face. The not knowing was worse than actually seeing it.

It appeared again by my left shoulder. That’s when all my self control and discipline went out the window. By the time I approached the Wal-Mart off-ramp I was approaching 80 MPH. I was in complete control of course, my hands never left the wheel except for once.

I barrelled around the corner and screeched to a stop in the garden center parking lot. By that time it had managed to make it all the way to the backseat floorboards. I should have let it go but I didn’t. I got a towel from the trunk and smashed it good.

I feel bad for killing one of God’s creatures….

If it just hadn’t been in my car.

Later I told my Dad about it. After the laughter subsided he told me he was impressed by my tremendous display of self discipline.

Imagining how it was…..

I was asked the other day if I thought Jesus sang…….like did He ever walk down the road and break into song? I said I thought He probably did. The Bible says He sang songs of worship with His disciples, and He was filled with the Spirit so, yes I believe there were times when He spontaneously burst into song. Just imagining that set my mind in motion. Can you imagine hearing Him sing, or laugh? Seeing His face light up with a smile?

I think sometimes it is hard for us to think of Jesus as fully human. But I love to imagine Jesus doing the simple things of life. Walking down the road with His friends, or maybe helping His Mom with a task around the house, sitting down to dinner with His family. It is hard for us, for me anyway, to imagine Him being silly or joking around. Did He tease His Mother? Pull a practical joke on His brothers or sisters? I like to think He did. He was after all, fully God but also fully man, and fully human. 

I like to imagine those simple times when He greeted His friends with a smile or put an arm around them while walking, lifting His face to Heaven while He prayed, or sang a song, swung a child around just to listen to them laugh.

I like this form of meditation, imagining Jesus and how it was….. I think that many times He probably felt very burdened when He looked out over the crowds, at the immensity of the need, the desperation. I think it made Him sad many times, when people just didn’t get the message, couldn’t grasp His love for them.

But I also think there were times when Jesus had to lighten the mood by cracking a joke.

The "S" Word

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

sub·mit (səb mit′)

1.to present or refer to others for decision, consideration, etc.
2.to yield to the action, control, power, etc. of another or others; also, to subject or allow to be subjected to treatment, analysis, etc. of some sort: often used reflexively
3.to offer as an opinion; suggest; propose

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church”—Ephesians 5:21-29

This is a tough concept for us, even in the Church, although it shouldn’t be. I think that these verses are some of the most misused and misunderstood in the Bible. They have been used by men, including clergy, to make women feel quilty about leaving abusers. They have also been used by women against other women…..but when we think of submit, we have to think of Christ first. He submitted Himself unto death. He submitted Himself to His Father for our good.
Likewise, in a Christian marriage, somebody has to be the deal breaker when it comes to major decisions, and that would be the husband. This is not to say that wife must ask her husband if she can spend the money for a broom, or ask him what brand of peanut butter to buy! (I actually knew of a woman whose husband made her ask for money for household items, and he had to approve the amount!)
This is not what this means…… 
To break it down very simply, in my own opinion and understanding of Scripture it looks like this: In a Christian marriage, both man and woman submit to Christ as He is head of the church. The husband and wife each have a responsibility. The husband has the responsibility to love his wife and be willing to die for her as Christ died for His church. That puts a huge responsibility on the husband, since he also must be accountable to God for how he treats his wife. The wife has a responsibility to let that rest on the husband’s shoulders and not try to wrestle it away.
This is as far as I want to go with this, it is Saturday and I am really in the mood for something more like this today!

Or this:

cartoons from Far Side….

When you know you shouldn’t

“Chuckles the clown bites the dust” courtesy of Google

There are few things in life more uncomfortable than being in a place where you know you shouldn’t laugh but you cave in under the excruciating pressure due to circumstances beyond your control. You feel it building inside you like a dam ready to burst forth, and worse, you are with someone whom you know beyond a shadow of a doubt feels the exact same way you do. You are both losing an impossible battle.

Under most circumstances laughing at a funeral would be totally inappropriate. However, certain events I have heard about would render it almost impossible not to. Those who remember the Mary Tyler Moore episode where Chuckles the Clown expires portray perfectly that particular kind of agony. Throughout the show Mary is astounded and disgusted with her co-worker’s insensitivity for making all kinds of jokes at Chuckles’ expense, however, when the priest starts the eulogy describing all of Chuckles the Clown’s characters, she loses it. The resulting show was one of the most highly rated, most famous and in my view most hysterical episodes ever.

There are a few moments I have heard about in my family and among friends where I can only thank God that I was not there. I’m sure I would not have been able to handle the pressure. In both cases, each were wonderful people who no doubt would have seen the humor in it.

“It was a dark and stormy night…..” sounds like something straight out of a Hitchcock movie, but it describes my Great-grandmother’s funeral. My Mom and Dad went to the funeral home to meet with the director who was right out of Central Casting, complete with ill-fitting black suit and dandruff like snow-drifts on his shoulders, and whiskey breath. They were led down catacombs of hallway to a stuffy back room where they sat and went over the service with Mr.Dandruff and his assistant. As lightning flickered the already dim lights, and thunder crashed outside, all they kept hearing was, “Don’t worry, everything is paid for!” They should have worried.

The funeral was held in a very old building on Pine Street that could have been a stand-in for the Bates Motel or a sanitarium. Flower arrangements were plastic, and very faded. The only saving grace was that a very nice minister showed up and did a wonderful eulogy. If he hadn’t they would have had Mr.Whiskey breath. By then, however, it was too late, the damage had already been done by a trio of singers. They lost control when the warm up started, which everyone in the service could hear. No amount of warming-up could have helped them. Now, my Dad had specified “no singers” but some well wishers no doubt wanted to make a contribution to honor my Great-grandmother. Whoever told them they could sing was badly mistaken.

After the very nice Pastor was done, they gave a huge sigh of relief, thinking it was all over, however, the singers were not done and they proceeded to start warming up again. Mom and Dad were front and center and in full view of everyone. The bench was shaking so hard from them trying to stifle their laughter that the faded pot of flowers threatened to topple over, and my Mom bit the side of her mouth until it bled. She says it was excruciating.

I also knew someone pulling a casket with a team of horses, when they hit a bump and the casket slid out of the wagon and the body came out. They were so mortified they kept right on driving! Tragic, no doubt, for the horrified onlookers and family members who hopefully were waiting somewhere out of sight of the carriage.

The last instance was a couple days ago. My Mom had an elderly friend who had survived the death of a husband and two grown sons before she passed on herself. She was known for telling jokes to anyone and everyone who would listen. She loved God and was a blessing to all who knew her. Even lying in the stretcher on the way to the hospital she told a joke to the paramedic. That was just how she was. My Mom attended the service with a friend of ours who also has a very healthy if slightly bent sense of humor. Everything was going along fine, again, until the singing started. They handed out the words to every song which made it worse, they knew just how many excruciating verses were left to be mangled. They were trying to harmonize, but as my friend said, “They should have stuck to the melody and gotten that right.”

Bless their hearts, I am sure they meant well.

As for Doris, she is now telling her jokes to the Angels in Heaven, finally home with her loved ones once more……

Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief. Proverbs 14:13

Disclaimer: I know there are certain instances where laughter is never appropriate, but I think that life is tough and we need to find humor in situations whenever possible. It is how I have gotten through my own grief. I sincerely hope I didn’t offend anyone with the subject matter. Lori