Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Solitude

Solitude is not something I am comfortable with. I recommended "solitude", just yesterday, to my friend, Pam. I told her it would be good for her to have some "alone" time. I like solitude every now and then, but it is only when I want it -- not when it is forced on me. I am finding, at this stage of my life, that I am actually getting better at being alone and I use the time wisely.

Today, however, was one of those days when I did not want solitude. I drove to Granbury and took my mother in law to the doctor. She was not feeling well, not talking to me, and did not seem interested in anything I had to say to her. So, I sat quietly. I do not do this well. I have things to say. You may not need to hear it but I need to say it. I took Mom home and she did not ask me to stay (which she normally does). When I told her that I better go she said, "OK, thanks for coming." Got in my car and started the drive back home. I see my cell phone and pick it up to call my brother in law and my husband to tell them about the doctor's visit. Oh no, I have NO service -- I still cannot talk to anyone. So, I sing. I sing until I get to the spot on Hwy 377 where I KNOW I have service. Stewart and James both seemed to be busy so I still did not get to get all my talking in that I needed to do.

I drive on down the road and a hunger pang hits me. It hits me with a vengeance and it tells me exactly what it wants. My stomach seemed to be growling "MEXICAN INN - I want it bad!" I love their chips. They are like big Fritos with extra grease and very warm. I thought about just buying a bag of Fritos and taking them home to put in the Microwave -- not the same, sooooo not the same. I grab the trusty cell phone and call my cousin Sheryl thinking we can have lunch and enjoy some time together. She does not answer her home phone and she does not answer her house phone. By this time, I am sitting in front of Mexican Inn.

I went in alone (thank you very much, Sheryl) because the hunger pangs beat out the whole "solitude" thing. I hate to eat in restaurants alone and I normally REFUSE to go into a Mexican restaurant alone. You see, if you are alone, the waiter knows YOU are the one who ate all the chips. I broke my own rule today. I was seated in a booth near the front where I immediately felt "on display" and of course, chips were immediately brought to me. I placed my order and began to snack on what I had come in there for in the first place. I became absorbed in self justification when suddenly, blasting into my thoughts like Proud Mary coming into the harbor, "Mam, I will get you another bowl of chips and salsa. Your meal will be out shortly." I then bowed my head to pray. OK, so she knows I am the one who at all the chips. There is normally a good turn-over in restaurants and she will probably never see me again. (Just my luck she will show up in my salon tomorrow.)

I am way too weird. I have way too many idiosyncrasies. I leave the restaurant in a very hot car and continue with my own thoughts -- my solitude. Solitude that I did not want but God needed. God needed some time with me today. As I am driving I look down at the temperature. Another day over 100. (Does ANYone know where the degree sign is on the keyboard? I cannot find it anywhere.) I pray for rain. Then, out of nowhere and very randomly, I thought of a song I heard many years ago. I believe it was written by Marsha Stanley. It goes like this.

So many times in prayer
I've wondered if God was there
I felt like a motherless child
Heaven seemed so far away
And it seemed there was
No need to pray
Then I felt those everlasting arms

Forgive if you will my Lord
For doubting your precious word
I feel so ashamed that I failed you
You've been such a precious friend
And the one on whom I could depend
And thanks for those everlasting arms

BENEATH THOSE EVERLASTING ARMS
ARMS THAT HOLD ME
ENFOLD ME
AND KEEP ME FROM ALL HARM
WHEN I'M DOWN AND OUT
THEY LIFT ME OUT
AND I FEEL NO DOUBT WHATEVER
I FEEL SAFE IN THOSE EVERLASTING ARMS

Through the years, the Lord has brought that song to my memory. I was only about 10 years old when I first heard it at Youth Camp in New York, but it has been with me all these years. I do not know where Marsha Stanley is today. Was she/Is she married to Bobby or was it Billy? I do not know if that is even her name now. But, I do know this, if God gave her that song for no other reason, God gave it to her for me. The words of that song have sustained me through the years. I am safe in those everlasting arms. The arms that hold me, enfold me, and keep me from all harm.

So, when you have days of solitude and you even feel it is forced on you, do not despair. God may be wanting to talk to you. God may be wanting to just hold you in His everlasting arms.

Be still, and know that I am God;
Psalm 46:10

Just so you know: I did not eat all of even the first bowl of chips. She took it away and replaced it with another fresh bowl (which I did not finish either. I ate 1 tamale and 1/2 of 1 enchilada but none of the rice and beans or the tortillas she brought -- my rationale was that those were too fattening.) I tipped her rather well because she brought a to-go ice tea without me asking for it. She may never see me again and I may never see her, but I wrote on the receipt, "Have a blessed day!

Thank You, Lord, for this day. Thank You, for speaking to my heart so gently and sweetly. Thank You for reminding me that I am always IN your everlasting arms. You hold me, you enfold me, and you keep me from all harm. Bless my sweet waitress today. Thank You for the solitude you allowed me today -- just to be in Your presence -- shut in with You, in a secret place. Amen

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Difference














We all know there are differences between man and woman. That goes without saying. That is why we marry each other -- it is our differences that bring about babies. The main difference between man and woman is the brain. Not only are we built entirely different with our own needs exclusively for our gender, our brains are wired totally different with our own individual way of thinking. Women NEVER think like men and men NEVER think like women. God made us this way because God has a sense of humor. Surely He does.

Anyone who knows James and Karen know that we are entirely different. James is methodical, habitual and anal. I, on the other hand, am NOT (sooooo NOT). These are characteristics about James that I admire and love. I strive to be more like him but it does not come natural. It does not bother me one bit to have my shoes (even more than 1 pair) in the living room, under the table or even in the kitchen, while James' shoes are neatly in the closet. His storage building (and I do mean HIS) is so neat. I wish my side of the closet was as neat as his storage building. He puts everything back in its place. I do not even know where the place for most of my stuff is. I do not believe this is a woman/man thing. This is just personality traits and they can be for either gender.

After all these years of marriage, a very funny thing happened Sunday morning. I was running a little late. It takes me just a little longer to do my hair than it takes James to do his. I make up the bed everyday. On his work days, James gets up at least 3 to 4 hours before I do so I HAVE to be the one to make up the bed. This past Sunday morning, James, being ready before me, begins to make up the bed. I had already thought to myself, "that bed is not going to be made up today". I watch from the bathroom in my peripheral vision. It is quite comical. While James is anal about most things, he does not have a clue how to make up a bed. I could not help but crack up laughing. I believe he was offended by the look on his face and he did mention that it was a lot better than what I had intended to do. My very anal husband is not so anal about things that are not his expertise.

As you know, this is MY blog. If James wants to blog, he can do so. Since this is my blog I will show the pictures I want to. Notice, there are no pictures of the closet we share. Also, I should mention, I am slightly A.D.D. James is not. There are few things that I am anal about and the things I am anal about I cannot stay focused on long enough to achieve, which then exploits my other little problem -- panic attacks! When I DO make up the bed I do it right. Though, most mornings I make up the bed while brushing my teeth, watering the flowers, folding clothes (which accounts for the dryer sheets we sometimes find under our pillows) and taking my meds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Above pictures:
The first pic is MY way. The second pic is James' Sunday morning bed.
The funny thing is, if you know us very well, one would think it was quite the opposite.

NOTE TO JAMES: I love you just the way you are. I love your ways and I appreciate you more than you can know. Thank you for always making me laugh. Laughter is one of the things that has made us who we are as a couple. I always appreciate your help. Thank you for accepting and loving me just the way I am. You are a Prince. You have to be a Prince because we all know I am the Princess!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I Saw You













On May 17, I posted a blog called "The Swing" using the picture at the top of this page. You can scroll down and read the blog again because "The Swing" is the inspiration for "I Saw You".

On the morning of May 17th I went outside on the deck and took a picture of the swing. On the morning of July 12th I went outside on the deck and took a picture of the swing. What a difference a couple of months makes!

I have always been a person who wants what I want right then. I do not want to wait. If I decide I'm going to collect something -- I go buy the collection. I remember one time my best friend, Jeri, and I went to Canton to the big flea market. I had told her I thought I was going to start collecting plates for my kitchen. I wanted to hang a collection of plates above my kitchen cabinets. Well, I bought a $200 collection that day. Birds of a feather must truly flock together because Jeri spent almost that much on iron pieces and crosses for her kitchen. Why can't we just collect? No, we want it now. (Plates are not the only thing I have done this with. Let's see, there were tea pots, picture frames, Dalmatians - let's not go into that one, jewelry, hair accessories, purses, etc. -- Yes, I am a bit impulsive. It runs in the family.)

I love flowers and plants but I have never been good with them. See, why grow something you can BUY already grown? It's that "waiting" thing again. I believe I must be maturing some now because I am finding that I really can wait. I have always had the ability to decorate. One reason is because I can see in my mind what I want and how it will look all put together. When we were looking for houses, James had a hard time with houses that were occupied. I can go into a house fully furnished and totally ignore their furnishings -- I can see MY stuff in that house.

I realize now that seeing into the future does not bring the future to the present. Being able to see ahead sustains us. It gives us hope of what is to come. It gives us something to look forward to. I believe God is teaching me a lesson through all of this. An awesome trait very few of us have is patience. It is such a cool thing though to have patience to see God bring to fruition those things He has promised. How many times do we try to manipulate God and our surroundings to bring about life the way we think it should be? It works so much better if we LET GO AND LET GOD.

My flowers and "The Swing" are such a major accomplishment for me. I have cared for my flowers DAILY. When James and I went out of town, my neighbor watered them for me. When Mandi and I went to see my mother, James watered them for me. They must be cared for and they must have time to grow and mature. It is impossible for their future to come about any other way. It takes time to grow and mature. So it is with me. I cannot have my future NOW and I can never allow my past to dictate my future.

One day I stood on that deck and saw into the future. I saw my flowers growing and I can still see those vines I will have some day. I am learning and I must take it slowly or it will be overwhelming. This morning as I stood on the deck I actually talked to my flowers. Don't laugh -- people talk to their plants all the time. Most of us talk to ourselves. So, I said to my flowers, "I SAW YOU."

Remember the little song in "The Swing"? Well, today I sing it this way.

I saw you in your future
and you looked much better
than you looked right then.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cousins

I am so blessed to have a very large family base. Some of my earliest memories are of my cousins. I have 9 first cousins and many second and even third cousins that I have relationships with as an adult. I am not sure how all the "once removed" and "twice removed" stuff works but I am pretty sure I have some cousins that should be removed (more than once or twice).

My mother is a Davis and we have a Davis Reunion EVERY year on the second weekend in June. You will never have to wonder when the reunion is going to take place. It is a set date and a set place at Lake Palestine. I love going to the family reunion because I get to see all my cousins. (This is where we see some that should be "removed".)

Now 48 years old, grandmother of 5 with 2 on the way, I have found 2 cousins, in particular, to be my best friends. It is so neat how you can go years without talking to them or seeing them and then all of a sudden you are back together again and we are those little girls playing in our bedrooms, sharing dolls and Mr. Potato Head.

I'll begin with my FIRST cousin, Kerri (close family and friends still call her Kerri Jeanne). She is about 2 years younger than me but I think she is brilliant. She always has an answer for my question yet she only gives her opinion if I ask for it. That is one thing I really love about Kerri Jeanne. She is very knowledgeable yet she is not pushy with her wisdom. I lost contact with her for many years and in just the past couple of years have I gotten to know her as an adult. This is amazing to me. Most of my memories of Kerri Jeanne is as small little girls playing with our other siblings and cousins. Her sister, Robin, is just 1 month younger than me but she usually got paired up with my sister, Lisa, when we were playing. I think that is because Lisa and Kerri Jeanne were the stronger willed. Robin and I played along with just about what anyone else wanted to do. Kerri Jeanne and Lisa were the leaders -- they didn't need to play together. Kerri Jeanne would stand up to Lisa (the oldest of all of us) and you just didn't do that. So, Robin and Lisa, Karen and Kerri Jeanne. Then along came Diana, their baby sister who I think may have been a surprise. She was like a doll for all of us to play with. So, even today, it is Karen and Kerri Jeanne. I loved her as a child and I love her even more as an adult. She has a wonderful husband and 2 beautiful daughters that I truly adore. Now, she has added a precious little granddaughter into the mix. Now when we get together we talk about our parents (her dad and my mom are siblings) and then we quickly get into the grandchildren. It is fun having grandchildren together. My time with Kerri Jeanne is priceless. When she leaves me I feel refreshed and I feel loved. She has a soothing spirit about her that I have found most comforting. If she tells me she will pray about something for me, I know she will. She is very busy in her life but she is always good for her word. Kerri Jeanne is a treasure.

Moving along to the next cousin. My THIRD cousin, Sheryl. Sheryl, though a third cousin, has probably been my closest through the years. Sheryl and I literally grew up together, rode to school together, married about the same time, and had our children together. We wore each others clothes, shared baby clothes, and many experiences. We have laughed, we have cried, we have giggled. I was there when her children were born and she was there when mine were born. She had Danny and 9 months later I had Mandi. I had Josh and nine months later she had Cara. Not only are Sheryl and I still very close, our daughters are close. They talk on the phone and email back and forth. They too are having babies together. Mandi and Cara are FIFTH cousins and their children will be SEVENTH cousins. I think that means that they are far enough down the line to marry. Their children could be idiots but it wouldn't be because they married too close in the bloodline.

I spend a lot of time with Sheryl. I love her so much. She always makes me laugh. I can cry with Sheryl and I can be REAL with Sheryl. She knows everything about me. She has known me as a bratty little kid and she knows me as a bratty adult. She builds me up and makes me feel good about myself. Yet, she can correct me with just one of her little looks. She knows how to put me in my place but she does it in love.

Sheryl has two wonderful children, 2 precious grandchildren and another one on the way.

We have been little girls together. Now we are mothers and grandmothers together. The other day I had the pleasure of being with Kerri Jeanne and Sheryl at the same time. How cool that was. I felt like I was surrounded by love and I was. I was with 2 of my most favorite people in the world at the same time. Two women who have fed into my life ALL of my life.

Sheryl and Kerri Jeanne, I love you, I love your husbands, I love your children and I love your grandchildren. I loved growing up with you and I love growing old with you.

Families come in all different types of packages. Love the family you have and be thankful for your family. Reunions are important -- it's the one place you can pick up and it's like you never left off. Cousins can do that -- cousins have so much common ground. Cousins have history. History is our memories and our happy memories are what sustains us on those low times in our lives. I have uncles and aunts that have been there for me in really hard times and I know they would be there for me again. I am so blessed to have my uncles, aunts, cousins and my extended family. I wouldn't take anything for my precious memories and my precious family.