Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Somewhat Revealing Entry

From the Palace to Triumph
It was the late 70's, early 80's.  On the heels of the Urban Cowboy craze.  John Travolta; Spurger, TX and Gilley's club in Pasadena.  (Incidentally, I live just about 30 miles from Spurger, Tx ... and Travolta pronounced it wrong in the movie.)
The Palace was the first large and fancy dance hall in Beaumont, TX.  There were large one's before (Lady Longleggs) but none that were fancy.  One half of downstairs was a large restaurant, the other half a nightclub/disco....yet the DJ spun almost entirely country music.  The upstairs had an auditorium where you could hear some of your favorites in rather small live concerts.  The other part of the upstairs was a second level of the restaurant that ringed the first level.  You could sit upstairs and look down on everyone dining below. 
I was a regular.  In my Levi's, western shirts, brown felt cowboy hat and Justin boots.  Brown hair in curls to perfectly frame the edge of my hat.  Ate in the restaurant a time or two.  Attended several of the concerts upstairs, including Conway Twitty and John Connaly.  But mostly, I frequented the disco.  
I never even discovered I could dance until after I was out of high school and of legal age. (18 back then in Texas)  But I learned I had a knack for it.  Two-step, cotton-eyed Joe, shottish,  waltz, jitterbug.  I became a regular when I got back from a two year stint at college.  I'd go all by myself many times.  Often no cover on girls.  Walk in, look over the crowd, pick out the fellows I planned to make eye contact with, order a drink and have a seat.  Usually not seated too long.  I'd stay and close it down.  Sometimes go with others for breakfast somewhere, sometimes just go home.  Suppose I was a good enough patron to get invited to their private Christmas party two years in a row.  For the employees.  I think the bartenders and bouncers got to pick which patrons to invite.  
I had fun.  Lots of fun.  I drank.  Sometimes I was loud.  Sometimes too loose.  Occasionally downright drunk.  Met plenty of guys in my adventures there.  But none ever panned out to be relationship material.  Often cried when I was alone, as I seemed so alone.  Sort of like Johnny Lee's song about "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, Looking for love in too many faces."  
Time marches on, I met my Pete.  Settled down.  Had Bubba.  Lost my desire to drink or be nursing a hangover.  Desired to be a Mama like Mama was. Tienamin  Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Stormin' Norman chasing Saddam out of  Kuwait.  All theses things got me to thinking and pondering more and more on the truths I was raised with.  Constant feelings of unhappiness, anger, sadness.  I was out of control towards everyone around me.  I picked up the worn copy of The Living Bible my mom had bought me for my 16th birthday.  Started reading through a few underlined passages.  Wondered how I had forgotten them.  Started reading the whole thing.  Couldn't read it fast enough.  Couldn't put it down.  Read.  See how far off course I was.  Cry.  Pray.  Repent.  On and on.  Bubba was almost three.  And I knew, my place was back in church.  
I was a lost sheep.  Jesus called to me through the words I read and the desire to read them.  He restored me to the flock through the prayers and tears.  I had gone from the "Sugar high" of fun and revelry to the "Bread" of life more abundant.  Peace within.  Joy without stimulation.  
I don't know just how long the Palace operated.  It started going downhill.  Times changed and a new craze came along.  The building had been vacant and for sale for some time.
But now it is a place of triumph.  For that is what it is called, Triumph Church.  Can't no one tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor!  This congregation bought that building and did the same thing that God did with me.  They rearranged the inside.  They threw out what was useless to them.  They built new things within those same old walls.  The basic structure is the same.  But the design, intent and purpose is evident in the building.  Somewhere to worship God.  A place to bring glory to Him.  A testimony to what He did and can do.
Yeah, somewhere in that building you might find a small piece of something original.  Just as I am still me.  But you see something very different now there, than you saw 25 years ago.  Just like me.    



  1. thanks for shairing that entry.
    i know we all need an "eye opener" sometimes ... we all need to fall in order to get back up right
    have a good night
    <3, emily

  2. That was an amazing story Barbra.  You echo my own life in a lot of ways- different cultures, but the same circumstances.  I haven't quite reached the point yet with the unhappiness and depression- I still go through regular bouts with them, but like you pointed out- God does amazing things where you least expect them.  It's that expectation that keeps me goin' on.  Thank you for sharing that.  By the way- I went to Gilley's oh, must have been nearly 20 years ago now.  That was before country music really caught on up home.  Had fun and I can always say- Hey!  I was a t Gilley's!    Take care- love Carolyn()

  3. I like this entry. I loved to dance but no drinking for me. Just good exercise. Paula

  4.  BARBARA ,

  5. Isn't it wonderful how we find the Lord....right where we left Him....Hugs from KY....Ora

  6. Barb-Funny we are located far apart, have never met, BUT you could've been writing about me. I thank Him for calling me too. God Bless you!!

  7. Hi Barbara - I found your journal through reading Gwynn's.  What a wonderful entry and a wonderful return to the family of God. He is so amazing and is so quick to forgive us. It's a wonderful, amazing, scary yet exciting journal we are on. Please feel free to visit my journal sometime!  I will be back to visit yours. Hugs, Caroline

  8. I so envy you living in Texas ya know. ::sigh::  Anyway, this was a great entry.  Well written.

    But I have to say being at the dancehall sound like a dream to me.  Hehe!


  9. I loved this entry!  Our lives are so empty when we shut God out.  I think one of lifes hardest lessons is that by giving your life over to God you only then can be free!


  10. hello friend love this entry so true of all of us i bet hope you have a great weekend you and your family are still in my prayers God bless kelley

  11. That was a wonderful entry!!!


  12. hey I did the urban cowboy then also...LOL LOL I love to dance an dI was good...
    I miss dancing...don't miss the hangover thought lol lol
    donna in TEXAS

  13. Hi Barbara!

    Thank you...finally an entry that didn't make me cry!  Must be tired....I get emotional when I'm been working to much.  I loved to dance when I was young. I still like to ... just don't have the "swing" I did then! lol My hang out was the Days Inn.  I just drank enough not to be shy!  But all that stopped when I married my policeman! He believes people in high positions (or public) should set a good example.  So I had to be "good".  But that's ok, I love my new life (12 yrs), my husband and especially my God! Even though he (God) had to smack me to get me to listen!  lol  I know, I know we've had that discussion before. He did too smack me!  lol

    Have a great day!

  14. Beautiful Testimony of GOD's Faithfulness and Love

    And How Wonderful HE is, to STILL Love us, and take us back!!!

    Growing up loving JESUS, I never thought I'd be a 'black sheep' one day - lost
    out in the dry wilderness of sin...

    but I was

    I never forgot GOD nor JESUS nor that I was lost and in danger of hell fire
    being away from GOD like that.

    It happened when my marriage broke up.
    Unable to finalize the divorce, I was 'living-in-sin' and worse! An unwed mother!
    Twice! Finally I just couldn't take it anymore.  
    I'd  always pray: "JESUS!!! HELP me! I've gotten myself and my life all messed up.
    YOU came to seek and save the lost - here I am... please, come and get me!"

    -after 5 years being someone's woman and not their wife
    That was it!
    N-O-B-O-D-Y   A-N-Y-W-H-E-R-E
    is worth going to hell for.

    With GOD's help
    I said goodbye and never went back

    ~~~GOD's cleaning up my life
    I've been back in church for almost 3 years now
    even teaching Sunday School for the little children

    I still get sad that I let GOD down- how could I have done that?
    (oh, and worse!)
    yet, GOD's mercy and forgiveness and cleansing from the filth
    is available still to me- to all who truly repent and want GOD and
    HIS WILL in/for their lives.

    HE's the only one who can clean up/fix up a broken life, and restore dignity
    ...wash away the shame and stains of sin.


    (hah, well, I hadn't meant to leave my testimony- just thank you for yours.
    Thank you for sharing, Barbara.)

  15. What a good testamony Thanks for shareing

  16. LOVED reading this testimony. Amazing love....



So glad you stopped by! Come 'round any time. ~ Barbara

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