Friday, December 31, 2010

Sinned Too Much?

A dear friend of mine recently requested prayer for her father.  Seems the gentleman is up in years and in bad health and has never accepted Christ as his Savior.  The reason, he feels he has sinned too much.  This is burning my heart & soul.  So here I am writing my response to this assumption.

If you don't believe in God or you think Jesus is anything other than who He claimed to be, you might as well stop reading now and go on about your business.  But if you are at the place where you don't doubt there is a God and you know in your gut there has to be something about this Jesus, this Savior, but you have never accepted His forgiveness and gift of life please stay with me.  The Holy Spirit is dealing with you.  The Holy Spirit is drawing, wooing, convicting and trying to convince you of your need for Jesus and salvation.  And if you, like my friend's father, think you are too bad, too far gone to be cleansed and accepted by God that is a lie straight from Satan's mouth.  He knows the Holy Spirit is at work within your heart and he wants to stop you from responding to it.  This entry is for you.  May God bless my feeble efforts and use them to His Glory.

Years ago, I was privileged to sit in a study led by missionary Bill Hayes.  Bro. Hayes had made a list of all the excuses Satan puts in peoples minds to cut off the work of the Holy Spirit and had gone on to look up scripture to refute and reprove every single one.  As I read my friends request, I knew that "sinned too much" was one of these.  My old, worn out Bible has the trail of scripture marked out so that one could easily guide someone through these words.  So what I have to say here, draws in great part from those scriptures but the three main points I am making here come straight from the heart cry the Spirit lay upon me as I thought about her request.

Here are the three points: 
  • Sin is sin.  ALL and ANY sin separates us from God.
  • To say that you've sinned too much denies the finished work of Christ upon the cross and the power of God.
  • The Bible is full of examples of terrible sinners who were redeemed and found favor with God.
Sin is sin and God is God.  And God is Holy. 

Leviticus 11:44 (New Living Translation)

44 For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.

God is Holy.  That means he is set apart from us.  Apart from sinful, fallen man.  He is pure, clean and righteous. Holy.  As a Holy God, he cannot be around sin, part of sin, look upon sin.  Mankind assigns degrees to sin.  We designate the ones that most are likely to commit to be lesser than the ones that fewer of us commit.  We say to lie is not as bad as to steal.  That to steal is not as bad as adultery.  That adultery is not as bad as murder.  But EVERY sin, ANY sin set us apart from God.  Any sin keeps us from having fellowship with Him. 

Romans 3:10-20 (New Living Translation)

10 As the Scriptures say,

“No one is righteous—

not even one.

11 No one is truly wise;

no one is seeking God.

12 All have turned away;

all have become useless.

No one does good,

not a single one.”[a]

13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.

Their tongues are filled with lies.”

“Snake venom drips from their lips.”[b]

14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[c]

15 “They rush to commit murder.

16 Destruction and misery always follow them.

17 They don’t know where to find peace.”[d]

18 “They have no fear of God at all.”[e]

Therefore all have sinned and all sin cuts us off from God. 

But God in His love and desire to have fellowship with us became man in Christ Jesus and paid the price for our sins on the cross that ALL might come to Him and have everlasting life.  When Jesus said "It is finished." upon the cross he meant that God's masterwork, His plan of restoring man to Himself was finished - completed.  Jesus paid it all.  If we start to say that we have done something that Jesus didn't pay for, then we are calling him a liar.  We are contradicting God's own word.  If we say that then we are saying Jesus didn't do enough and God is not all powerful.  

Luke 18:26-27 (New Living Translation)

26 Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?”

27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

Romans 3:20-26 (New Living Translation)

20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

Christ Took Our Punishment

21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses[a] and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

As to the examples of men who were not "too sinful" for God to forgive and restore, look to David.  While king he lusted after another man's wife, had an adulterous affair with her and then conspired to have her husband killed.  Yet when he was made to see the magnitude of what he had done and confessed it and called upon God's mercy, God forgave him.  He was still used of God and their fellowship restored.  In fact the Bible tells us that David was a man after God's own heart. 

And there was Paul.  Once known as Saul.  In his own words:

Acts 26:9-11 (New Living Translation)

9 “I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene.[a] 10 Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers[b] there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. 11 Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus.[c] I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.

1 Timothy 1:15-17 (New Living Translation)

15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.

There you have.  A man on a mission to kill and persecute.  Directly opposed to God and His plan.  Yet he was FORGIVEN and used by God IN his plan!!  Paul's missionary journeys did more to spread the gospel to the known world at the time than any others.  And he penned 2/3's of the New Testament. 

No, one can not sin too much to be forgiven by God.  Jesus came not for the self righteous, but for the sinner.  One forgiven much is simply more aware of the vibrant new life they have in Him then the one who was forgiven little.  Don't hold back my friend.  Tell Satan to "shut up" and say "yes!" to Jesus today.
Other "too much" scriptures: 
  • Matt. 9:10-13
  • John 8:1-11
  • Luke 19:9&10
  • Romans 5:6-21
  • 1Cor. 6:8-10
Online searchable Bible.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

High Tech Redneck Mama?

Well, sort of.  About the same time I made my post about cell phones and technology, Bubba gave me his old second cell phone.  Main reasons being he had a contract for two phones anyway and I travel round trip 63 miles a day.  So, yes, I now have a cell phone with me most times I leave the house. 

No, I'm not chatting away 24/7.  I use it to call home and see if there's anything I need to pick up on the way home.  I would use it if stuck in traffic to phone ahead to work or the house and let people know why I'm delayed.  I'd use it to call for assistance if I needed it.  It's a handy thing to have if Pete & I go somewhere and leave Bug at home, so we can stay connected.

Do I text?  I DO NOT text while DRIVING!  And if you do, you should stop.  It kills.  Just as surely as being tanked up on alcohol and driving kills.  Once in a blue moon, I do send a text from the phone.  But 99% of my "texting" is really IM'ing for me.  I talk to folks from my computer on thier cell phones via AIM/AOL.  It's the best way to remind Bubba of something or ask him a question when he's at work, because he doesn't have to answer right then, he can wait until he takes a break.

My only living sister, Edna, is 19 years older than me.  She doesn't have a computer, but she has discovered texting.  She, nor I, will call one another very often, as I am usually at work during the day, and in the evenings we are busy with spouses, etc.  Besides, once we get on the phone it's hard to know when to get off.  Daddy used to tell Mama "Hell, Jesse Ruth, you could have driven over and sat down with a cup of coffee and visited in the time you spent on the phone."  So this texting connection has opened a marvelous way for us to say a few sentences to one another almost every day and feel like we know what's going on with one another, what kind of day we are having and how we are in general. 

Moral of the story?  Maybe that the kids have a good thing, just not necessarily the best idea about how to use it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What's New With You?

Here I sit, realizing how seldom I have updated in 2010. And how long it has been since I made a "newsy" entry for my online friends. Feeling blessed by the Christmas we just had, and hoping that yours was as well. So, I'll start by answering that question myself, and encourage you to do the same in a comment or an entry of your own.

This has been a year of growing, stretching and changing as a family. Rough spots in some places and smooth traveling in others. Individually, as a couple, as a family. I'm still at the same job, for the same pay rate, for the same hours. I've decided I want to invest more time in my blog this year. It's the only true hobby I have and I miss it. I'm reasonably healthy, happier with myself then I've been in ages and rolling with the punches.

Pete's still dealing with a medley of health issues with no positive answers. He slacked up this past year in work he takes in here at home, in large part due to never knowing how he'll feel and what he'll be able to do and people expecting, wanting things done quickly. But also because a couple of folks found it not necessary to pay him for his work. Maybe they think just because he cut them a deal on the price it wasn't hard to do....or they think it wasn't worth anything. But his ex-brother-in-law had us up twice this past summer to his lakeside home for Pete to help him work on his boat dock. It gave us all a couple of wonderful mini vacations. He's still cooking quite often and making delicious meals, preserves and such to share with us, his family and with friends. I think cooking is a real joy to him most of the time, while with me it is often just a chore that has to be accomplished. He raised a beautiful garden this year, but extremely dry conditions yielded us very little to put up.

Bubba has really been full circle! He started his year unemployed and on a down-hill slide. But thank God, he realized where he was headed and came to us for structure and has turned things around. He's working as a mechanic in a local shop. Not the biggest wages he has ever drawn, but good steady work with good people. He met a sweet girl and has since made her his fiance. All of this has seemingly had a calming influence upon him and given him a sense of direction. Why even today they are spending the day down at our old house, working on fixing it up after hurricane Rita and neglect, with an eye toward the day they can begin a life together in the home he began his life in.

There was no deer camp this year for the first time ever since Pete & I were married. Dues for these things are just too high under our circumstances. So we hauled everything from our old camp site home and Pete has set up a "camp" right outside! Complete with his little camper to cook in and the pitcher pumpPitcher Pump (PP2) hooked up for easy, handy water access.

Hannah is blossoming and becoming quite her own unique and special person. Still overall loving, happy and giving. Her grades are optimal and she has a passion for readingWarriors: Power of Three #4: Eclipse that she nourishes and a flare for writing little short stories. She is very basic and simplistic in what she needs to find comfort or amusement.

Of course the biggest story of the year is her and Pete coming to Christ as their savior. I knew they would, in time, some time. For He had promised it to me. But I didn't know when or how....never expected it to be this year...but that's another story, yet to come.

Now, what is new with you?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Autumn in the Piney Woods of Southeast Texas

That signature crisp feel in the air.  The deeper blue in the sky at night.  Cooler, darker mornings that make you wish you could spend your life snuggled down in bed.  It's been here, and then backed away as if trying to decide whether to proceed or not.  Autumn came on the calender near the end of September and it has been flirting with us in reality ever since.  Today I thought I'd share some of the rich beauty of our local autumn with you in a few pictures.

There you have it!  This is at the top of the hill headed into the Jack Gore Baygall unit of the Big Thicket National Preserve.  Looks very similar to the foliage in spring and summer.  By nature, our woods are made up mostly of pine, cedar, holly and oak.  The live oak keeps leaves all year.  So all year round you have green.  No eye catching, breath taking color here.  The exact tint of green changes to a degree, but there is no flaming red or brilliant orange.

But we do have the bright sun shinny yellow hues of the rag weed in most every square inch of land left to stand idle.  Which the brisk fall breezes pick up pollen from and deliver to our noses so that suddenly, "God bless you!" is the most often heard phrase around.  (Wonder if we said it more often without the sneezes if God would curb the ragweed for us?!)  Thanks to this plant, when we open our windows and try to save on the electric bill as the humidity finally slides below 70%, we awake in the night to find ourselves feeling as if we are drowning in drainage and arise in the morning to nauseated stomach.  Benedryl sales skyrocket.

We do have a sprinkling of pale yellow that sweeps through in some spots that are populated with sycamore, sweet gum or pecan.  The green fades out to that pale yellow and then quickly turns to brittle brown as the leaves float down and pad the ground.  Of course that cursed plant that came here from abroad and cannot be successfully rooted out, the talla tree does have the redeeming trait of bringing us our only reds and crimsons to be found on the horizon.  I have always wanted a red maple planted in the yard, just so I could enjoy the bright fall color it would yield.  But, alas, we've never gone and purchased one.  Perhaps one of the children might make a Mother's Day gift of one next year.  When I'm old and feeble they can wheel me out and sit me in front of it and amuse me for hours.

Simply put, if you want the splendor of fall foliage, Southeast Texas is not your place to get it.  Stick to New England.  But if you love Texas like we do, you just enjoy the cooler, less humid air and anticipate that first cool front cool enough to kill off the mosquitoes.

My friends and followers, the past two months since I last posted has been a busy, hectic time it seems.  We had the thrill of Pete and Bug each committing to Christ and following in Baptism!  But we also had the sadness of the departure from this world of a life long and good friend, Shot Walker.  I want to declare now that I plan to be flying in the blogosphere much more often in the weeks ahead.  So come by, get a cup of coffee and sit down by the fire.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Not Old: Fortunate

Recently read a post entitled Wanna Feel Old?  Read the Beloit College Mindset List. .  While I can't say that it actually made me feel old, it did make me reminiscent of an era that has passed.  My thinking ran and ranged from childhood memories, to my own experiences with technology, to my children's and their friends' craving to be instantly connected to one another 24/7. 

When Pete & I married we bought a brand new Curtis Mathis TV that came with a new VCR, free for a year.  At the actual time we got it, there were no stores in our town at which to rent a movie.  We had to make 25 min runs to a nearby larger town to rent VHS tapes.  Needless to say, we didn't use it much at first.  But before the year was over, there was a video rental store at the end of our road.   We used it more, our free year ran out, they wanted $1000 for it, so we said thanks but no thanks.  Four or five years later we bought one second hand.

In that case we were ahead of the crowd.  Other times we've lagged behind.  In the 90's Windows and the www started spreading all over.  Average folks were buying computers, going online.  In 2004, Pete brought home our first computer.  A second hand one from where he worked, running Windows 98.  We knew nothing about PCs.  Turned out it had no sound card, no modem and only a 3gig hard drive.  Now, we have almost 6gigs of music alone on our PC!  But it gave us our first glimpse of the www and gave Bubba the Office tools he needed for high school.

Phones.  When Pete and I married we were on a  3 party-line with rotary.  Within just a few years we were the only ones on the party line, but our rates were locked in.  We never upgraded to touchtone, just to keep our party line.  Once, when Bubba was small, a man from AT&T called trying to get us on caller I D.  Well, that would mean upgrading and more $ per month.  And as interesting as it might be we didn't really need it.  And I had a hard time making him understand why we didn't need it.  In fact, he got down right mad at me.  The conversation went something like this:

Him:  With caller ID, you'll know who's calling.
Me:  I'll know as soon as I answer.
Him:  But, you'll know before you answer and won't have to talk to them if you don't want to.
Me:  If I don't want to talk to them, I'll just say so and hang up.
Him:  If you miss a call, you'll know it. 
Me:  So?
Him:  If it were important you can return it.
Me:  If it's important, they'll call back. 

He didn't make his sale.  We moved later and with new service lost our party line rate, and while all new installs are touchtone, we still have NO extras at all on our line.  Our phone bill is approximately $25 a month...what's yours?

A couple more background tales, and then I'll proceed with what I came here for.

I remember when Bubba was in grade school we were going to be gone for the Thanksgiving holidays to our deer camp.  One of his little friends asked him what the phone number was there.   Bubba told him there was no phone. As their conversation continued, this little fellow couldn't imagine that we were going to a place with no phone, no running water, no electricity.  Just coal oil, firewood, butane and crickets.

A few years later when he was in Jr. high, some of my co-workers were decrying the $100+ they were having to spend on their students shoes.  They couldn't believe Bubba wore $20 Wal-Mart shoes.  I explained my reasoning; one, his feet were still growing.  Two, he was very rough on his shoes.  Third, his daddy earned his living in a pair of $120 Red Wing work boots....there would never be a day I'd spend more on his shoes than the ones that provided for him.

Now, I'm getting around to it.  Bubba reached high school.  More and more friends had cell phones.  Once again, there was no need, no point in him having one that we could see.  There was a pay phone in the school lobby.  If it were a crisis the office would call.  To and from school he was on the bus.  Then he was at home where we have our highly dependable land line. 

Eventually, Bubba worked enough and made enough at odd jobs and on breaks that he had his own spending money.  At first he used a lot of it to buy camouflage and other higher priced clothing.  Then he got into car stereos, amps and speakers.  Once he had his job at the feedstore and steady income, he got himself a cell phone.  Bully for him!  That's fine.  I have played with it and used it to make pictures to use on the computer before we had a digital camera.  We have borrowed it when we were going on a long trip and calls back to home would normally be long distance.  There's times we've been worried about him and found it reassuring to call and know what was going on.  After the hurricanes, he had service before we had our land line back. 

Technology in and of itself is neither good nor evil.  I believe God gifted man with intellect and skills to think, design, and craft things to help him explore his world, solve problems he encounters, etc.  But as Bubba reached his later teen years, my heart has cried for him and his friends and this whole must be instantly connected every moment of the day generation.  They rob themselves, cheat themselves, and often hurt one another with the likes of cell phones, texts, im's, MySpace, Twitter and such. 

They assemble together in twos or in groups.  There they are, face to face.  Time together with a good friend, a date, their buddies.  But they are constantly interrupted and caught up in outside contacts via their technology.  Conversations aren't as deep as they could be, there's no time to just chill and share silence together.

They make mistakes like every generation.  They hurt a friend, break-up, etc.  They make unkind comments, a joke goes too far.  There's anger. They have no time to be alone and reflect.  To cool down.  To feel sorry.  To miss someone.  To think for themselves without constant input from other persons and sources.  To pray.  To cry. 

I feel fortunate because I know what it is to wonder for hours or days if he really liked me.  That I've had time to kick, scream, cry, calm down and see things from someone else's point of view.  I've had long, rambling conversations with friends and family without distraction.  I've had the excitement and anticipation build to a fever pitch waiting to share good news or a surprise. 

I'm thankful that my children, though they may use social media far more than I ever have, have also experienced life lived slowly.  May their souls remind them of that when they need to unplug, wind down, recharge.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Beginnings - Remembering J-Land

Seems that recently an anniversary came and went.  One for AOL's now defunct journal (blog) community.  It was known to those who participated there as J-Land.  And it was a place unlike any other I have come across on the web. 

I stumbled upon it quite by accident.  Read a few journals and thought "this might be for me, the medium I was looking for".  Back then, April 2005, Pete worked full time and I was a full time housewife.  I was looking for a little social interaction with other women and an outlet to share my faith and experience in Christ.  I found so many warm, real people there!  A mixture of evangelicals, Catholics, atheists and a sprinkling of others.  The wealthy, the poor and a big slice of middle America.  With a smattering of blogs from the British Isles and elsewhere.  There were entries of the daily grind, life's tragedies and celebrations, thought provoking issues, cartoons.  We became friends there.  Extended family.

We made fun of AOL (AOhell), made suggestions to AOL.  They tweaked and tried to listen.  Tried to be as involved in our community as we were.  Then one day someone said journals weren't profitable for AOL and we were asked to move or save our materials.

Most of us came over to blogger.  Some gave up blogging all together.  A few looked for other hosting.  As devastating to the community as the move was, I don't think it impacted us as much as the fast rise of other social media, like Facebook, did.  I, too, tried it but soon tired of it's nonsense games and short, quick status updates.  It was like a steady diet of candy instead of meat & potatoes.  

So much has changed.  Among ex J-Landers, here on blogger and in my own life.  I had a son entering high school and a pre-schooler, now I have a young man and a girl going into middle school.  Pete & I have slowly changed places with me working full time and he at the house, doing what he can, waiting for answers to his health issues.

But one thing has not changed.  No, two.  I'll never forget J-Land and the folks from there that have helped, encouraged and enlightened me.  And I still love this medium first and foremost on the web.       

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Most Important Question

I've heard it put that the most important question in anyone's life, religion, philosophy, etc. is "What do they do with Christ Jesus?" My dear friend, Carolyn, has recently made a post that will help you explore that question and others. It is my prayer and hope that all who see this will go on over and read her words. "Who Do You Say I Am?"

Friday, July 9, 2010

Organizing Caneyhead?

Although provided with a full archive of entries, I find it very frustrating when I go to search and find a specific one. Some I know a certain person would enjoy and want to point that entry out to them. Sometimes I desire to read through an older entry before I post a current entry. And sometimes I just feel sentimental and want to re-read a special entry.

So, in order to help me find what I want when I want it, I'm adding some things to my sidebar. I invite you to explore them and use them to help you navigate your way around Caneyhead to find what you are most interested in.

First, there is "Search this Blog". Sometimes it gets me just where I want to go, but more often than not I am better off just doing a regular Google search to find what I am looking for.

Then below my "About Me" I am adding "My Personal Favorites". These are entries I either enjoyed making more so than others, or where I was striving to share something special. Sometimes about Caneyhead and my life....sometimes insights into my faith.

Next, under my link to Donna's Timeless Treasures, I have "Remembering Family" where I am attempting to list all my entries that focus on a certain family member.

Under my Honest Scrap Award I have added a cloud of labels I have used on different entries. I plan to work my way through adding other labels to previous entries to make them more easily accessible by subject matter.

And then, lastly, is the Blog Archive which though tedious to use does list every single entry ever made here.

So, keep your eye on the sidebar in the weeks to come. Never know what might turn up there that you missed out on the first time around.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Meeting The Family

By and large, Pete's family was big, loud, fun, warm and welcoming. But that didn't stop some of my first meetings with members of it from being odd or funny. I'm going to share a few of those experiences with you here:


One weekend Pete told me that his Aunt Irene had been wanting him to come, visit and kill some rabbits for her and asked if I'd care to come, too. I accepted. Irene lived down a fairly long dirt road/drive that dead ended on her property. An average size brick home behind a chain link fence. Irene was a widow and a diabetic that lived alone. Like so many in her family, she was warm, welcoming and loud. Ready to laugh and cut up.

She met us at the front walk way. Obviously excited and happy that Pete had put her on his agenda. As she ushered us inside and I stepped into her living room my eyes saw the largest collection of whatnots I have ever seen in my life! Every single space in the room was home to all it could hold. Fascinating! But I shuddered at the horror of having to dust each and every item.

Irene loved a hot, fast game of YatzeeYahtzee. So in no time at all she had the card table set up and ready for us. We played game after game into the wee hours of the morning and had a blast doing so. She was a cut up. And Pete loved teasing her. I laughed so much that night my sides were sore for days.

At the appropriate time after dark, we paused and Pete took his headlight out and his gun and shined all around and killed for her the rabbits she had been wanting. When he was through hunting he called me out. Seems I had a hold the rabbits while he skinned and cleaned them! (I was a country girl, but my Daddy never hunted or fished anymore by the time I came along. This was all new to me.) So after being a little grossed out and sustaining a few flea bites, I had been indoctrinated in the art of rabbit cleaning. For any city slickers, the flea bites were because the rabbits always have fleas, and the fleas go to searching for a new host not long after the one they are on is dead.

Irene was tickled and delighted. She could cook the fried and smothered in gravy rabbit she had been craving and had some for her freezer. We became friends and in the first few years after our marriage, I sometimes run errands or did shopping for her. Sadly, her heart disease took her from us before Bubba was born.

Hannon Rufus

One evening, Pete picked me up and told me they were having a party at his brother Benny's and that was our destination. Once again, down another long dirt road/drive in Caneyhead to emerge in a clearing with a trailer house and a host of folks outside under a large oak tree.

We pulled in, in Pete's little red AMX with Pete driving and me in the passenger seat. Perhaps I just wasn't thinking, but I went ahead and opened my own car door and stepped out. Immediately to see a small framed man, shirt half tucked in and half out, a two day stubble on his face, wobbling and swaying, walking my way with his arms outstretched and hollering "Hey, there darlin', give ol' Hannon a hug!" I had no idea who "ol' Hannon" was, but I was sure of one thing....I didn't want him near me or on me. I called out, "Pete! Pete, come get this person away from me!" Everyone under the oak was laughing, and even Pete when he came to my side was chuckling at me. He held out a hand and stopped Hannon a couple of feet short of me. He told him to slow down, hold on. She's new here. She's not used to this. Hannon staggered a little and quizzically looked at Pete asking what was wrong, he just wanted a little hug and a kiss. Pete put his arm around Hannon and led him away from me, explaining further that he had to let me get to know him first.

That was my first encounter with Pete's 1st cousin, Hannon Rufus. Yes, when he drank, he became a very lovable, clumsy drunk. But I later discovered a very genuinely warm and kind man when he was sober. He was a very hardworking, skilled hand. And everyone around would come to him to get their hogs scraped. It wasn't long before I would happily give ol' Hannon a little hug if he asked. Sadly, he's no longer with us either. Bubba got to know him, but Hannah was too small when we lost him to really remember him.


For many years there was an old cafe in town called the Bluebonnet Cafe. One morning after an especially late night, were were hungry and Pete suggested the Bluebonnet for a good breakfast. He was hungry for cream gravy and biscuits.

We went in and sat down. A perky, blonde waitress came over and gave us menu's and was delighted to see Pete. She had to hug him, teased him about finally coming by to see her. He asked for his cream gravy and biscuits. Probably too late for that, she told him. But he went on about how surely for him she could find some. Wink, smile, wink. She said how for him, she'd make it herself if she had to.

I didn't say much, didn't ask anything. Didn't know what to think. Thought it best to just see exactly what went down. Our food was served and it was good. We ate and she came back and forth checking on us and cutting up with Pete. When we were about to leave, Pete pulled out the money for our meal and an extra $20 for a tip, explaining he knew she could use it.

We were on our way out, and she come up and hugged him and said, "Thank you Bubba!"

This was my first encounter with Pete's baby sister, Darlene.


One weekend, Pete said we were going to go stay with his 2nd cousins, Punk and Janie at their camp at Bush Lake. I packed for the weekend, complete with all my makeup and contact lens equipment. About halfway into the camp it was like we fell off the civilized world. No real road, just a trail/road through the woods that reeked of stagnate mud. Only someone experienced in driving in these conditions stood a chance of getting through without a 4-wheel drive. We arrived to find a large rambling camphouse that was covered in old newspaper tin sheets! You could still read the old stories and advertisements! No electricity. No running water. An old hand pump on a well outside. A number 3 washtub at the back door of the camp was the only hot bath to be had. Or in the summer you could take a bar of Ivory down to the lake. There were beds galore! Old beds in three rooms....approximately 7 or 8. And many a night in deer season or the middle of summer, every bed was full. Chickens free ranging all around the surrounding woods. A small butane icebox in the kitchen and two old buckets kept full of water with a ladle sitting on a small table beside the stove. Large flaps all around the house that could be raised in warm weather. In the cold they were down and a big old wood stove in the main room was kept stoked and hot.

Janie was short, round and pleasant. She had no problem handing you a bowl of potatoes and telling you to get them peeled and cut up, or starting a bowl of fried cornbread mixings and telling you to finish it and get it on the stove. She had a habit of dipping snuff, which was my first experience seeing a woman use any type of tobacco other than an cigarette. She loved camping and hunting. Her and Punk would play 42 at a drop of a hat, for hours on end and many came just to play with them. But her love above all loves was white perch fishing.

Now every moment when Pete was not by my side Janie was talking about Pete or feeling me out about what I thought of him, how I felt. But the next day, after a big breakfast of pancakes she and her grown and married daughter, Sis, took me out in the boat for some perch fishing. Or at least that was their cover. This was actually a two and half hour presentation on the virtues of and the possibilities that could be Pete married to a good woman. Apparently, Janie had sized me up and thought me an acceptable candidate. And since Pete stayed with them most of the time in that period, she apparently had an inside track, probably from observance of him on how Pete felt and the possibilities between us. Janie had that way of watching folks and knowing almost more about them then they did themselves.

To sum it up, this weekend was totally different than anything I had ever experienced before on many levels. But I came to love Bush Lake, Punk & Janie, and so many of our best times and warmest memories center around them and that place. Janie turned out to be one of my favorite people in Pete's family, a good friend and a joy to be around. We got up to plenty of adventures and a little mischief over the years.

The beloved old camphouse burned down one year. A new one was built in it's place, but nice as it was, it lacked the charm and fun of that old original. We lost Janie in a car wreck. Lost Punk a few years later. All is gone. But none will ever be forgotten.

Friday, June 4, 2010

How Do I Love Thee?

Now, let's see. Where was I? Oh, I was telling stories, sharing memories of Pete & I. Leaving a legacy for my children, and hopefully amusing the masses at the same time. Don't let the title fool you. I'm not going anywhere near Shakespeare, after all, this IS Caneyhead.

No, instead, I am going to share a picture that Pete snapped for me the other day, with all of you. You see, Pete & I are oil and water. Salt & pepper. So very many differences between us. Yet, like my references, we share an underlying common thread or two. As oil & water are both liquids. As salt & pepper are both spices. We are both basically old fashioned. Both have a wild side. Both can be very devoted. Both can be very stubborn. Both very intelligent.

But, boy, can we contrast! I try to see every angle of every issue. Pete cuts straight through the middle. I was always early every where. Pete was always last minute or late. I tend to see the glass half full, he often sees it half empty. The things I like to plan out first, he does spontaneously. The things he will try to plan or script ahead of time, I'd rather let unfold naturally. I usually don't worry until something happens....he'll be quietly worrying at the first sign of trouble. He can accept people for what they are better than I, but I can be politely sociable with folks he'd just as soon not look at. When I get mad, I want to tell you why and if you don't listen I'll get louder and holler to try to make you hear me. If he gets mad, he says little usually, distances himself from you and sulks.

So, here we are proving I suppose that opposites attract. As a young married couple, one of our neighbors had seen us behaving as lovebirds and feuding with one another. He was clearing out and going through many items for a garage sale and ran across a picture someone had made and framed. Lloyd brought it over and gave it to Pete & I. Never has anything or anyone summed us up so perfectly as this picture. It has hung in our bedroom ever since he gave it to us. Many times I had tried to share it here....only to have it come out blurry. And I had tried to get some artsy, graphic people to recreate it for me. But finally, the other day, Pete took a notion to take it down off the wall and photograph it with the new Nikon CoolpixNikon Coolpix L22 12.0 MP Digital Camera with 3.6x Optical Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD (Red-primary) camera. It came out great and now I want to finally share it with you all......and leave this explanation for it for our children for all time.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Springtime in Caneyhead

I've been drinking in all the beauty of springtime lately. The softness of the air. The variation of all the new shades of green. The new growth, new life that is abounding. Wanted to share a little glimpse of Caneyhead here with you.


My handsome Stanley, born last Mother's Day.


Bug's Prissy horse. Blue-eyed baby! Will be three the end of June.


A logger-head turtle Pete found on the road. Brought home and released out by our pond.


A totally natural cock fight. When left to themselves they fight, but one will get tired, run away, hide, etc. It's just a jockeying for position thing....pecking order, if you will.


The beautiful potato patch by daylight.


Closer shot of the same potato patch by moonlight.


Nothing like sitting by a beautiful tee-pee style fire, listening to good music and relaxing!


Young, tender mustard greens. Yum. Twice this size now. And some are going to get cooked this weekend.


Twenty-eight baby chicks!


Fox squirrel in the pecan tree.

One of fourteen four leaf clovers we found last Sunday!

Hope you've enjoyed your glimpse into Springtime in Caneyhead. You can't imagine how blessed I feel to live here. I still love getting out seeing other places and things....but nothing compares to the peace that settles over my soul when I turn off the little Farm Market road and head toward my house as the woods close in and the pine trees cast their shade over me.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Local Issue - Commissioners Run-off Election

This next Tuesday, April 13th, is the run-off election for Hardin Co. Commissioner of Pct. 2. And I am making this entry for two reasons: to urge everyone who is eligible to go and vote and to urge those who do to vote for Dalton Morrow.

Many times people say that their vote doesn't matter, doesn't count because one vote more or less won't change anything. Of course if everyone thought that way, no one would vote and no one would ever be elected. But in this run-off election that way of thinking is totally wrong. One vote more than the other candidate is all that is needed to win!

Pete & I support Dalton Morrow for this position. Dalton has been working as foreman under Commission Pat McGallion and has already been saving the county money while getting the job done. His experience with equipment and knowledge as a mechanic (one of the best around...who do you think taught Pete?!) has allowed him to make quality purchases of equipment for less money, and scheduling maintenance and repairs in house has saved the county much more. He also has plans "to work closely with the other commissioners in the county to secure grants to improve our drainage systems and roads." He knows where these grants would serve us best.

I do hope you will vote and that your vote will be for Dalton Morrow. If somehow you don't know him already, you can find out more about him HERE.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Skipping Ahead and Looking Back

Normally, that would not be a very wise thing to do; skip ahead while looking back. But as I was sharing about how Pete & I first met here, most recently, I am skipping ahead in the story to mention we just celecbrated our 26th wedding anniversary. In this past year I have seen a tenderer, gentler side of Pete than I have ever known before. I've found him to show how he cares for me in new ways for him, expressly words. And I've experienced him sharing times and activities with me more just because he knows it's what I like, I enjoy or I want. I can honestly say that these things have took my breath away and made me realize I have before me the man I have always wanted him to be. That's a treasure! My love for him is richer and deeper than ever before and my desire for him has taken on new depths of passion.

Okay, I know some of you are about to gag on the sweetness of these words. I've also seen a jealous side of him that never showed itself before, that scares me when I see it and saddens me to think that I am in any way responsible for it surfacing. It is my hope that in this new year for us, our 27th, that he can let go of that entirely and just hold tight to and enjoy with me all the newness and joy we have otherwise found.

I want to direct you all to a post I made about my man, in honor of my man a couple of years ago. I think it fitting to share it here in this series I am doing for my children. If you never read it, I most certainly hope you will. If you did read it before, please humor me and read through it again. He's one a kind. An original. And he's my love.

This is Dedicated to the One I Love

Monday, January 11, 2010

As Cold Now As Then

Hard to believe, but it was as cold around here back in January of '84 as it is now.  Or at least we had plenty of cold weather and nights where we had to turn the water off to protect the pipes. 
Pete had took my phone number with him when he had left New Year's Day morn.  He had to leave early.  Said he had to work. Something about "pumping wells".  I really only half expected him to ever use that phone number. 
But he did.  And we started dating regularly.  Lord knows it's been awhile and the hows, whys and whens are fuzzy.  But I have a collection of memories and snippets from that time.  A very vivid one is that Pete was the most consistent man at things like holding my coat for me when I put it on, or helping me off with it, pulling out chairs for me, opening doors for and all of that old school chivalry of anyone I had ever dated.  If he ever missed a single time, I can't recall it.  So I always felt special and respected when I was with him.
I also recall how at odds Pete's nature was to how he lived.  By this I mean he had a childlike joy and thirst for fun in simple things.  Like a precious tow-headed boy.  But he was actually in his early twenties and had lived a fairly hard, grow-up quick sort of life.  The two things made him quite a paradox and I never knew quite what to expect out of him, from him.  He might call me on the phone and I might answer just to find playing in my ear "I Can Help" or "Rub it In" by Billy Swan.  Or he might surprise me by pulling a teddy bear shaped sucker out of his pocket for me. 
We went to pool halls a lot.  He liked to shoot pool and was good at it.  He really didn't care to dance and hardly ever did.  There were songs on the juke box he liked to play.  One was George Strait's "You Look So Good in Love".  He'd play it and laugh and say he was dedicating it to my ex.  That it was what he was saying now.  And he liked John Cougar Mellencamp's "Little Pink Houses". 
We also went to the woods spotlighting rabbits.  The first time he ever took me out for that I really was a little scared at first.  He was dressed all in black.  And we were too far out and away from any place I had been before.  I thought, "Lord, Barbara, what if he's a crazy axe murderer."  But it turned out all that got murdered was a rabbit or two and my Justin boots in the briar patches and mud.  Every time we went out, I dressed nice.....but I never knew no matter what we started off doing when we'd end up in the woods somewhere. 
I was very stern and committed to my promise to myself to make them call, make them pick me up, etc., in the beginning.  I remember once we had planned for him to take me to his mama and step-father's for the weekend and he called me and said the clutch in his car had burned up the night before and he couldn't come, please follow my directions and you come here in your car.  Well, I told him no, absolutely not!  If you want me down there, you'll find a way to come get me.  He hung up.  I'm sure he simmered and cursed a little.  Then he called me back and said "Look, normally, I wouldn't mind at all coming after you.  But my car is torn up right now.  I could borrow my mama's but I just can't see the point in doing that when YOU have a perfectly good car all of your own."  So I thought this over a while and finally relented and drove down there myself.  After all, it was clear he was very serious and I also figured maybe being somewhere totally new to me with people I had never met before, to have my own wheels might not be a bad thing.  His mama was so kind, so welcoming.  Pete had even convinced her to let us both sleep in the room he used when he was there....because he had told her, "she won't give me any, anyhow."  LOL  Talk about nine shades of red when I found out he had asked and told her that. 
But we did.  We slept with all our clothes on in that old bed, with the radio on all night long.  I don't know how many times it played "I'm Gonna Wake Up in Your Arms Tomorrow" but it seemed like every single hour.  (I had never been one to sleep with a radio or TV on, so I didn't sleep much at all.  Mostly just lay there in his arms and listened to songs.)
Back to the cold:  once Pete and I were about to leave my house and the weather was gonna be below freezing.  My stepfather was gone and I told him I had to cut off the water first before we could leave.  Pete offered to open up the faucet around back for me and he grabbed hold of the top of the chain link fence that separated the front and back yard, hopping over like guys often do.  In about two seconds after his feet hit the ground on the other side, Spot, my stepfather's pit bull got after Pete.  And Pete hopped right back over!! 
Just little bits and pieces of memories swirling around my head on a very cold January day.    
FREE Animations for your email - by IncrediMail! Click Here!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Barbie meets Pete

I decided to post some of "our" stories here on Life & Faith. In part, because I love sharing them, telling them. But largely motivated to save these stories for my children. So please come along with me as we go back to Dec. 31, 1983:

This December was on of the coldest I can remember. It was 17 degrees for a high on Christmas day! Very unusual for us. And I was 23 years old. I had lost my mom less than a year before and was still living in the our home with my stepfather, Polk, as we both tried to chart out what came next. Between work and my running the roads I was actually seldom there.

On New Year's Eve of 1983 I was fed up with men. You find one treats you right, and seemed "the right feeling" never developed. Find one with the right feeling and sooner or later they let you down. Coming out of a nearly year long relationship that had gone south for no explainable reason, I had made up my mind to simply do what I pleased, go out with whomever I wanted to just for their company. New rules to play by: don't phone them, don't go to them, don't meet them, don't spend a dime of my money on them. They could do it all or nothing. I wouldn't be used, played, toyed with any more.

So on this particular evening I was at home getting dressed up to go out dancing for New Year's Eve. My best friend (who was already married), Mary Lou, phoned me up to say "come out here with us for New Year's. Glen and Connie are playing." "No, I think I'm going somewhere else." "Oh, come on" she insisted ~she was very good at insisting ;o)~"Paul is gonna be there with his fiance and Ronnie says you have to be there." "Okay, I'll come out there, but I'm not promising I'll stay there."

So I finished dressing, pulled on my cowboy boots and got a good coat and left the house. I walked into the club to find the others already there. I ordered a drink and sat down with them. It wasn't extremely pleasant for me; hearing and seeing Glen and Connie brought back nostalgic memories of the past year. I half hoped, half dreaded Rocky might walk in the door. I wanted to bolt and run. Go somewhere else, anywhere else. But each time I was about to make my excuses and cut out, someone would ask me to dance or engage me in conversation and I'd end up staying on.

It wasn't long before us girls had to excuse ourselves to the ladies room. Being single, my eyes were perusing the men I saw along the way. Sloppy, ugly, obviously taken, drunk, old so and so....then I spy a tall, slender frame bent from the waist over the pool table. His hair looked like spun gold, shining under the Bud light hanging above the table. His jeans fit his rear just right. I nudged Mary Lou in the side and said, "Oh, look at that one! The only good looking guy in here." Mary Lou said, "What? Where?" Oh, hell, she was too married to notice. Coming back by the pool table upon exit of the ladies room, I tried to catch his eye, but seemed to fail. Oh, well, back into the dark recesses of our table.

Later on, a song started, Percy Sledge I think, and Mary Lou was obviously going to be mad at Ronnie if he didn't make it back to dance with her. So I went to warn him to high tail it to the dance floor. I walked up to find him talking to the handsome young man I had noticed over the pool table. Forever full of himself, Ronnie made some crack. And then the handsome young stranger leaned in between us, tapped the side of his cheek with a long slender finger and said, "give me a little kiss, right here." I pulled back a little and took in his face. It was kind, cheerful and full of mischief. His right brow was slightly cocked. Why not? So I leaned over and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. It seems Ronnie made some quick introductions. But suffice it to say, at some point he ended up over at our table. After Mary Lou and stomped his foot repeatedly, he had asked me to dance to a slow song. And he got up once again to dance to "Auld Lang Syne" as the clock struck midnight. As the lights came up and "Turn out the Lights, the Party's Over" started blaring from the jukebox he asked about us doing more tonight. I told him I was going home. Told him where I lived and told him he could come over and watch TV if he wanted to. He assured me he'd be there. I wasn't counting on it.

I walked out to my Mustang and cranked up, started getting ready to leave. Letting some cars pull out and get away from me. Noticed in the rear view mirror that my handsome young man was packing about 5 girls into an AMX. Well, he obviously got a better deal! So much for that. And I pulled out and headed home. I was surprised to find my stepfather had not returned from a family party he had gone to. Being an old night owl, I suppose. I walked through the cold house. Lit a couple of heaters. Peed. Was kicking my boots off when I heard a car in the drive and in just a second, there was a knock on the door. I turn on the porch light and opened the door to see HIM standing there! Wow. I didn't think you were coming, it looked like you were busy. He claimed the women I had seen climbing into his car, were his three sisters and a couple of their friends he had to take home before he came over. We settled down on the couch. Watched TV. Talked. He had given me three options of names I could call him, and I never could settle on one. Polk finally came home. I made introductions. Then Polk headed for bed. We talked some more. Cuddled and kissed a little, as much from the cold as anything. Not long after Pete said he'd better head off to home, that he had to work the next day. That he was a pumper and had to check the wells every single day. I urged him to settle down on the couch instead, due to the late hour, the 15 mile drive and the whole New Year's and alcohol thing.

(It was several months later when I heard the story from his sisters about that night after the club closed. They said he herded them into the car like cattle. And literally drove like a bat out of hell, leaving them scared senseless, to get them where they were staying that night. Claimed he fairly threw them out of the car when they got there, barely slowing to a roll. It was a good 30 mile round trip from the club, to there, and back down to my house. He made it in about 10 minutes.)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...