Tuesday, April 30, 2013

ZZZZZZZ.....Sleep, glorious elusive sleep!

Make no mistake, I wanted very much to participate in the challenge again this year.  Especially, more so, since I chose to write from the point of view that I was talking to my children.  Sharing, saving and preserving memories, thoughts and feelings with them.  But I'm darn lucky if I get 61/2 hours sleep a night.  My job, the drive and errands keep me away from home a good ten hours a day.  That leaves very little time for blogging, relaxing, cooking, chilling with hubby or Bug and everything else in my world.  So, I am incredibly glad it is done.  I look so forward to have a little time to sit in a comfy chair instead of a computer desk chair. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yummy, Yummy Kitchen Time

This is a stretch.  Let's face it, the last of the alphabet is a bummer.  But I've a a blast in kitchens with loved ones over the years. 

Everything from me helping Sarah make sugar cookies and tea cakes and decorate them for Christmas, to me and my niece Paige stirring up chocolate chip cookies so we could eat half the dough while they baked and even when me, hubby and his cousin Bill simmered venison hash all evening while we shot pool.  Each of us going into the kitchen to check it, and each adding our on little twist to it each time.  Awesome results!

But of course some of the most precious was when my children were there under foot or "helping" me.  When Bubba was still a baby, I'd put him in a bean bag in the corner of the kitchen while I cooked.  If he woke I'd sing to him or make animal noises the whole while to keep him happy.  We made our own version of a Beach Boy classic "dishy, dishy...oh, baby, now me got to go" that we'd sing while we washed dishes together.  Him standing in a kitchen chair pulled up in front of the sink.  Later, Bug toddling around begging for a FROZEN french fry or pie of breaded okra!

With both of my children there was lots of grating nuts and cheese with my old circa 1950's Mouli Shredder.  Sifting flour and baking powders, cream eggs, butter and sugar.  All towards the goal of a yummy desert or a plate of fudge for us all to enjoy.  And all the fighting over bowls and spoons and beaters to lick whether it be custard, or meringue or what!  And the begging for a small cup (usually the 1/4 cup measure) to be filled with some ingredient left plain for them:  pecans, coconut, chocolate chips, cheese, etc.

I suppose if love makes a family, the kitchen makes a home.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Sure, I cheated a little to get that X for today.  Bug would have had me talk about all my ex's because she is almost 14 and very into all of that sort of thing right now.  But I'd prefer to save that for our "girl talk" sessions.

Back in March, I teamed up with Carolyn and posted an article of hers on fitness and it got me remembering all the things I've done with my children outside over the years.  The ways we had fun and got a little exercise together.

It started with puddle jumping with Bubba when he was a toddler, to make sure he wouldn't be a goodie-two-shoes who was afraid to get dirty.  (That lesson took too well.)  Then we often had swinging sessions at the house or at the park.  When I'd push him in the swing in our back yard, I'd sing "It's a Wonderful Day" by Elvis or our own special version of "Swingin'" by John Anderson.  Sometimes we'd throw a Frisbee around in the yard.  And then there was one summer where we got to go to the pool in Silsbee quite often and swim and dive together.  Swimming has always been my favorite sport, favorite activity.  Then we had to leave that behind because Bubba found they were practicing racist policies on who they admitted to the pool.

We also did a lot of yard work back then.  Mowing.  Raking leaves and stickerballs out from under the two huge Chinese Chestnut trees.  And even inside, we stayed busy because I was an avid housekeeper then.  (You'd never believe that now!)  If you do it right and do it often, that's a lot of work.   But doing it together, with the stereo playing or us singing it could be a lot of fun.

By the time Bug came along, we were in Caneyhead with more room and little country roads that opened up a few more possibilities.  The three of us would get a ball and play "monkey in the middle", where two would try to pass the ball back and forth and the third would be in the middle trying to grab it.  We've even gone out and just swung each other around and around until we fell down.  We still played Frisbee at times, all of us or just Bug and I.  And thanks to the basketball goal, we could now play horse or pig.  We rode bikes up and down our road together.  Made a few excursions down the hill.

Bubba being an older boy now, had us go out and hike in the woods.  The three of us even went into the Sanctuary off of 327 and hiked way out past the trail and set on a sandbar by the creek and had a picnic.  Bubba took us down to the gullies by the house once.  And then later he and Xena the Boston terrier ended up in the newspaper because they led some folks who had been exploring down in the baygall to the gullies.

Then for one year, maybe two, we had a large pool set up outside.  Bug and I spent a lot of time in that.  I taught her to swim there.  (I have been Red Cross certified in Intermediate Swimming, Basic Water Rescue, Canoeing and CPR.  A little factoid about your mama.)  We'd cool off and relax there most every evening, swim some laps and play some water games.  Moonlight swims to.  Watching the stars.  Good times.

Bug got a soccer ball.  Never has played it as a sport, but really enjoyed it at school and would have me get out and kick it back and forth with her with imaginary goals posted.

Then of course there have been the myriad of impromptu games of washers or horseshoes.  Sometimes just our little family, sometimes with loads of extended family and friends.  Bubba, I'm sure can remember all out basket ball games down at Granny's house at family gatherings and the times the whole gang played volleyball.

We've even had badminton set up from time to time in the yard to play together.  We've made a few excursions out to bowl or to play put-put golf together.  Done our share of swimming in the Neches River or Bush Lake in the earlier years.  A couple of summers ago, Bug had a blast swimming and fishing off of Uncle Jim's pier on Sam Rayburn.

And don't forget the horse riding that Bubba and even I participated in with Daddy.  Shame that he doesn't feel up to it anymore to share with Bug.  But she's done her fair share of walking, stalking and hunting deer, squirrel and rabbit with him in the woods, just as Bubba and I have done.

So, I suppose even though none of us have ever participated in organized team sports, we've always been a fairly active and outdoorsy family.   And I feel fairly certain it is a tradition that will continue. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


I'm just 3-5 years old.  We are living in Carthage, TX in a rent house next door to the woman who owns it, Willie Thompkins.  Daddy was running a pool hall there.  He had been hurt on the job and that's how he provided for us.  I'm guessing Willie was probably about ten years older than Mama, as she had a grown up daughter that I believe was older than Edna or Sarah.  I have some vivid memories of Willie, that place and her house.  So, in no particular order, I share some with you here.

Willie's yard.  She had a glider that set under an arch that had vines growing up it.  I thought that glider was one of the most magical and special places!  It was near the property line and I could sit in it even if I didn't actually visit Willie.

In the back yard she had a picnic table.  I remember us celebrating what was probably the 4th of July with her there.  I remember there were hamburgers and the best french fries ever!  Hand sliced and fried.  That's where the secret of soaking them in cold water before frying came from...and just getting the edges golden.  We had watermelon and Daddy played leap frog with me.  A truly golden day for a little girl like me.

Willie's house.  Her house holds several memorable things for me.  One is how in a little alcove area between her living room and her bedroom, there was a little stand/table just for her telephone.  I adored it.  Was fascinated by it.

Another fascination was her garage.  Willie didn't drive.  She took cabs.  Her garage was shelves and shelves and shelves all filled with issues of the Readers Digest.  In date order!  I thought it wonderful and wished I could explore them all.  But I couldn't read yet.

Then there was Willie the person.  She must of been a very special soul.  She couldn't eat sugar, but she kept Oreo cookies for me.  Anytime I came over I had Oreos and milk at her kitchen table.

Also, the first time Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer came on TV, they must of been promoting it extensively.  I say that because Willie had Mama bring me over to her house to watch it.  I really don't remember if her TV was just bigger than ours, or if it was color instead of black and white.  I do remember how scary that abominable snowman was!  And how sad those misfit toys were.  That's where the tradition began for me and I've watched it every single year since. 

And then there is the dress.  The little silky red and white gingham dress with all the red petticoat made into it.  Lace and beads adorning it.  Velvet ribbon around the waist.  Still in the cedar chest. Willie made me that dress.  And I have a very vivid memory of wearing that dress to a football game and Daddy telling me to stop standing up in the stands and peering between the cracks at the people below.  He said that TV cameras would show my hinnie to the whole world.  I don't think there were any cameras.  I think he just said that to make me sit down.

Daddy got all well, work picked up and we moved back to Silsbee.  But Mama and Willie wrote to one another through the years.  And as soon as I could write anything, I began to write her, too.  At first just a note scribbled into Mama's letter.  Later letters of my own.  Me and Willie corresponded through the years and across the generations.  This continued on up until around my graduation from High School.  Finally I received a letter from her daughter, Sue I think, who told me her mom had passed on.

Suffice it to say, this is one person I hope I can look up and reconnect with in Heaven.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Visions & Dreams

Before I relate to you the things I plan to relate,  I want to clarify my basic beliefs regarding ghosts, spirits, and things from beyond.  Because of what the Bible says in many different places, I believe that once a person dies, their soul goes on to it's final destination, never to return to the earthly realm.  So, I absolutely do not believe in ghosts the way modern paranormals or the superstitious would have you believe.  I do however believe there are spirits.  There are spirits of light, which are the Holy Spirit and the angels...and there are spirits of darkness, which are the demons that serve Satan.  That forces one to acknowledge that when they encounter something that seems other worldly it has to either be a visitation from God to give reassurance or direction or comfort to us when no other way seems adequate.  Or it is a demon sent to lead one into false hope, wrong desires, create confusion,...anything that ultimately leads to death and destruction.  That is why God constantly tells us in His Word to stay away from phsychics, fortunetellers and such.  God does not reveal his will that way and we are to trust him for our future without knowing the whole picture.  Also He knows any that claim to do that sort of thing either is a charlatan or is in league with the Devil, whether it be by design or deception.

With that clearly stated, let me get on with what I came today to share with you.   Your mother has had experiences.  Numerous times.  They have occurred totally unwilled or uninitiated by me.  The first time happened when I was about ten.  We were planning a trip to Uncle Hightower's to pick up half a steer his son Geary had raised and butchered.  The closer to time to go it got I "felt" extremely that I should not go, that it would be bad for me.  That I would hurt very badly.  I begged Mama to let me stay with Edna or Sarah.  She made me go.  She thought I was remembering the last tummy ache I had from me and Kim's run to the store loaded with snack money.  I knew it was more.  I knew I had never felt what I felt before.  But I didn't know how to express it.  We went.  I had fun.  I was laying on the backseat of our Falcon 500, playing with a puzzle. (No seat belts or seat belt laws then.)  We headed home and was stopped at what was the only red light in Kountze then, when a man who had worked the graveyard shift at some plant fell asleep while driving and ran the red light from the opposite direction, crossed three lanes of traffic and hit us head on.  Daddy suffered broken ribs and a cut on his leg.  Mother hit the windshield and got a U-shaped cut on her forehead and a brow full of glass.  I was thrown up into the back of the front seat and apparently my mouth was split open by the ashtray embedded in it.  Two teeth were knocked loose.  Later, after the hospital and we were back home, Mama told me she was sorry she hadn't listened to me.

Years later.  I'm a young woman in college.  Mama is about to marry Polk, Jr.  Sarah is driving her van loaded full of women to go see Conway Twitty at the Palace.  We are calling it Mama's bachlorette party.  There are me, Sarah, Alice, Mama, Mary Lou and others in the van.  All of a sudden I get the strongest sense of foreboding about Sarah.  Centered on Sarah.  And it feels so urgent!!  All the small talk in the van goes silent in my ears.  I look at Sarah, smiling, laughing, smoking a cigarette, sunglasses perched on top of her head as always.  And something within me says with authority "pray!"  So I begin to pray, something like this.  "Lord, not my precious sissy.  Not now, not like this. There are too many women in this van. Too many mothers. Too many lives changed forever.  Some would loose every woman dear to them.  Please Lord."  The feeling subsides.  We go on to have an awesome, memorable night together.  Before the summer was over, Mama and Polk got the call in the night saying Sarah had been bit by a copperhead and was at the Silsbee Hospital.  Home from college, they told me they were going and why.  I was totally unconcerned.  Mama said it would all be fine, Sarah was sitting up talking and laughing at the hospital.  I went back to sleep to be wakened later by Mama when they had come home.  Awakened to learn that Sarah was dead.

Also, near this time, I was home from college.  Polk was reflooring the house.  He and Mama were living in his little rent house.  As much as I was happy for Mama to have found love again...even though I genuinely liked Polk, I was disturbed that right away they wanted to make changes to the house Daddy had fixed for us.  I grieved inside.  Afraid they were going to erase every memory of Daddy.  One night I was lying on my room in that house thinking those thoughts and crying.  Not knowing what if anything I could do about it without seeming a hateful, spiteful person.  (I need to preface this with the fact that the old Frigidaire stove with the cafe doors had always set in that house and was still there.  And every single time my daddy had ever walked through the doorway from the dining room into the kitchen the pans in the bottom of that stove would rattle.  His were the only footsteps that did it.  No one else.)  So I was laying there miserable and lonely when I heard footfalls coming from the back door.  They sounded so familiar!  And then, as they passed that old stove and entered the dining room, there is was!!  That rattle!  And on they proceeded, right out the front door.  I felt warm and safe and loved and most of all totally reassured that Daddy would never be forgotten by anyone who knew him.  That no one could erase the memories.  With all my heart, I believe God allowed an angel to walk through that house that night, just like Daddy did because He knew how much I needed that reassurance and He knew I thought I could tell no one how I was feeling.

A few more years pass.  I meet and marry your daddy.  I tell him about these things of course.  And I ask him to promise me if I ever tell him "I KNOW it won't turn out well"  that he'll listen to me.  He does.  Just like someone who doesn't believe it will ever happen does. 

Now it's the night we are in the black jeep riding up near Junior's.  We had been all down in the baygall.  Pipelines, mud.  We were coming back up the hill and nothing would do him but to shine the clearing on the incline coming back up.  We made a circle and the headlights revealed nothing.  I start feeling very antsy.  Very nervous.  I beg him for us to just ease on home.  But no, he gets the bright idea to climb the hill back up to the compressor instead of traveling the road.  I'm trying to tell him "I know" it will end badly.  Every fiber of my being is screaming get out now.  When I can't stop him, I finally bale out on him and walk up the hill.  The engine roars.  He tries and slides back down and guns it and tries again.  I never know exactly what will happen.  So, now I watch in fear, wondering if the jeep will roll over backwards on him.  I silently pray.  Tears are streaming down my face.  Finally, through much effort and noise the jeep crests the hill and enters the small clearing by the compressor station.  He's like, "What was all of that about?"  And I'm like, don't you remember?  He keeps insisting I get back into the jeep.  I still don't feel it is safe.  He promises we'll just idle home.  I finally relent and climb back in, once again silently praying.  Praying that the feeling be wrong.  We go less than 20 yards down the road and the front end falls out from under the jeep.  On a small little road with no traffic.  No major harm.  No real foul.  Thank God!  Of course then we walk up to Junior's and you know what happened then.  LOL 

The next major time, it happened was when we had been married almost 13 years.  It was just before Christmas.   Only this time it came in a dream.  I was sound asleep.  A beautiful, young blonde woman came to me and started to talk to me like she was a friend.  Her words I don't remember, but she was talking about your daddy.  And she was saying how first she'd do this, and then I could do that, and then she began to laugh evilly and her voice started to sound more and more gradually like a hiss.  Suddenly I screamed, NO! and awoke.  I was so scared I literally shook.  I asked your daddy to hold me.  Just hold me.  I didn't understand what was coming, but I knew it was pure evil.  That Satan was about to sift me like wheat.  Three months rock on.  Our anniversary passes.  And one night on the side of the road a car I chased down stops.  I get out and there is the woman.  And then comes the hardest time of my life.  And also the grandest time of my life.  For I was totally grounded in God at that time with a vibrant prayer life.  I still am not sure if that dream was a warning from God so I'd recognize my adversary, or if it was a taunt by Satan because he was so cocky and sure he'd win. 

Years go by.  We are living in Caneyhead.  I am going to Wiley Mae church.  I have a habit of taking the church roll and praying for the members.  I have the roll divided into equal portions, one for each day of the week.  It wasn't the day to pray for her.  But her name kept jumping into my mind.   Okay, Lord, I'll pray for her.  And I did.   And tears began to fall as I prayed.  I get up and get started with my housework.  But over and over the persistent, urgent voice is saying "Call her."  I try to say not now.  I need to get some things done.  But over and over the voice fills my brain and I finally relent.  I whisper a prayer and dial the phone.  She answers.  I ask her how she is.  She says through great big sobs, "Today was so hard.  All I could think was how much easier to just end it all.  The illness.  The suffering.  Just end it now.  But I knew that was wrong.  So I prayed that God let someone from church call.  That I'd take that as a sign it was His will for me to go on.  And then you called."

Roll on down a few more years.  A very good friend of your daddy has come by the house hoping to visit with him.  He was recently gone through a divorce.  And it has been oh so very rough on him.  Daddy is inside sick and doped up with medicine.  So I go out and talk to him by his vehicle awhile.  I just feel as we converse that this person is thinking of going home and ending it all.  I beg him to come in and eat and stay on our couch.  I say all the usual platitudes about how time heals all wounds and such.  He finally shuts his door and leaves and I feel so certain to my core that I have not dissuaded him, and that he will attempt to end it all before the night is over.  So I came inside.  Got my Bible and entered the bedroom.  I prayed, with tears streaming, and asked God to help me open the Bible to the right place.  It opened in the Old Testament.  In a Psalm.  I don't remember which one.  But one where David is at his wits end and about to despair.  I began reading the verses and praying them out loud to God.  Not as my words.  Not as David's.  But changing them to be words offered on behalf of the man who left.  It took some time.  I felt so much.  It felt as if I was actually feeling what he felt.  When I was through I was spent, exhausted.  I turned off the light and said my own little prayer and went to sleep.  Nothing happened that night.  Nor anytime since.  Real threat and answered prayer?  No confirmation this side of Heaven, but I think so.

I have had many, many more urgings over the years, though none so demanding or intense.  I try hard to be faithful to them and respond.  But I am human and sometimes I am just tired or self absorbed.  I've also had what I consider lesser dreams, where I actually have a conversation with someone and months or years down the road I realize I am standing there having a conversation I have dreamed and it feels all so deja vu.

I share these things so that if you may have inherited any of them, or God gifts you with any of them you'll not feel odd or ashamed or scared.  As long as they do not deny the Written Word or Christ, my best advice would be to simply obey them.  And always respond with a covering of prayer.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Who doesn't have things they'd undo if they could?  For me with the two of you, I'd undo some of the things I said to you.  Some of the times I doubted you. Some of the times I took your word for something.  Some of the times I didn't stop what I was doing or had planned for your ideas.  I'd undo sometimes when I may should have stood up for you more.  But I can honestly say that overall I have no major regrets of how I raised either of you.  In the big scope of things I think my love and the values I tried to impart came through.  And for that I will ever be grateful to my Lord for getting my attention when Bubba was a just a toddler and turning me back to Him, rededicating my life and allowing Him to truly be Lord.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Now I See

"He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind,   now I see." - John 9:25 KJV

I was pondering the words "now I see" today.  Thinking what all things could prevent one from seeing.  I came up with only three:  blindness, absence of light, and obstacles.  With that introduction I give you the following.

now I see

Here the emphasis is on the word I, for there had been only blindness before and now I see.  Blind to the fact that I was a sinner.  Blind to the fact that God loved me anyway.  Blind to the saving grace through the sacrificial death of Jesus that he offers to every one of us.  But I saw my sin as God sees it.  I believed God's love and confessed my sin to him.  I accepted Christ's free gift of salvation.   Now I see because the Holy Spirit lives within me.

now I see

Emphasis on the word see.  There were dark corners in my world and in my mind that prevented me from seeing.  There were obstacles of anger, self will & indulgence, long standing attitudes of my own and others.  Slowly, through the Word of God and the Guidance of His Spirit, light began to illuminate the dark corners and I could see the things He wanted to clean up or remove from my life.  I could see the blessings and gifts He wanted to put in their stead.  The obstacles began to melt away and fade until I could see my way to forgiveness, see God's will for me, see the need of others and see my attitudes change even when others didn't change with me.  Now I see because the Holy Spirit has taught me.

Now I see

Emphasis on the word Now, because for the first time ever I really and truly see!!  See the deeper meaning in life.  See now what is truly precious.  See God's provision for me and others.  See God's will at work in my life and through my life.  Now I see ...and I'm never going back to the blindness and the darkness!  I know where to go to dissolve, remove, get over or around the obstacles!  Jesus sought me and bought me and now I see.

Now I see, won't you?

Monday, April 22, 2013


It might be strange to some that I have so many memories centered around trees.  Then again, why should it surprise me for anyone to find me strange?

My earliest tree memory involved the giant oak at the end of our walkway in an old rent house we lived in on Cooks Road when I was 7-11 years old.  My feelings had been hurt, or maybe I'd been scolded, but I packed the little tan overnight case and announced I was running away from home.   Daddy looked over his newspaper and wished me luck.  I marched out of the house and down that walkway sure they'd come running after me calling and begging me to stay.  But they didn't.  So I sat down in front of the oak on the side that faced the road and waited.  Waited for what seemed like ages.  The smells of supper wafted out the screened windows and after me.  Still, no one came.  Tears hot on my face and indignation raging in my soul, I meekly returned to the side door of the house as the crickets began to sing their song.  There was no big to-do, no lecture, just, "Oh, you're home and in time for supper."

My next big tree memory came just a few years later.  We had moved to 1122.  I was outside and Daddy had recently came in from work.  I was climbing in the chestnut tree in the back yard by the garage.  I teased my daddy I could climb higher than anyone.  He didn't seem impressed.  So I mocked him a little.  And soon he was climbing the tree in his work boots.  He had to be close to 50 at the time.  He went way beyond where I had gone.  Mama joined us outside calling up and telling Daddy, "Clayon, you're gonna kill yourself."  Suffice it to say, I never did manage to out climb my daddy.

Flash forward about fifteen years.  It's me and your daddy living on 1122 now.  I'm pregnant with Bubba and got a huge belly early.  And the pecans are ripe in our three trees.  I'm crawling around on the ground on my hands and knees to pick them up, as I just can't bear to bend over to do it.  Those pecans were the fullest, sweetest pecans I ever ate and I was not about to let them go to waste. 

Jump about 5 years down the road, and there is Bubba climbing every chance he had in the huge Buford Holly in front of the porch.  Going high!  Me wondering what it would cost to get a young arm set.  Daddy, you met your match in your namesake.

About the same time, when we were gathered with the rest of Daddy's family at Paw Paw's house, they started talking about the huge old oak....biggest ever, that they used to go play around when they were kids.  We all got up and went off into the baygall and soon enough they found it.  It was massive!  I have never seen such a thing before or since.  We all took pictures out there around it.  And they should still be around...somewhere!

Another six or eight years go by and we are living at Paw Paw's old place.  Bug is a preschooler.  If she goes missing, one of the first places to check, if the figs are ripe, is in, under or around the huge fig tree by the house, picking them and eating them as fast as she can.  It becomes her climbing tree for fun.  And her refuge to hide and sit and cry when her feelings are hurt.

I've enjoyed reminiscing about the important trees in my life...hope you have too.  Cherish these memories and keep them. 

Stories & Song

Stories have abounded in my life as a child, and I sought to pass them on to each of you.  Have a few common threads running through our childhoods.

Growing up myself, my daddy would often regale me with totally made up stories.  Tall tells of his own telling.  With over exaggeration abounding in his arm movements and facial expression.  Sometimes I'd ask for a standard tale, and suddenly Little Red Riding Hood was safe with the Three Bears.  I don't know if he couldn't keep them all straight or if it was just more fun to him to tell them that way.  

Mama on the other hand, sang me songs from her youth and read me story books.    Most of her songs came from a chorus book she kept as a teen.  Records being a luxury in the 30's and early 40's, her and friends would write down the words to popular songs in blue song books.  Then when they'd get together they'd sing the songs, just like they had heard on a radio or in a movie.  Mama sung me things like "Red Wing", "Won't You Come Over to My House?" and others.   I sang many of them I had memorized to you as babies and small children while I rocked you or lay in bed with you.  The old blue song book was getting frail and tattered.  Aunt Edna had it copied down and made copies for us.  In the mess we call this house, I have no clue where my copy is.  

I had story books as a youngster including "Wiggle Tail", "Sneezer", "Jolly Jingles" and "Mother Goose".  Mother would read these books to me over and over.  Not with as much inflection as daddy put into his stories, but it was always soothing to hear her low, light voice reading to me.  Later when I had first learned to read, I read them over and over to myself.  These same stories I read to each of you as babes, along with newer fair that we picked up along the way.  And today, for the first time I shared one with Baby Ruth that had been one of Bug's favorites.  

It's my hope that the love and warmth and time spent quietly together will transcend the generations and pass on to each of your children and even theirs.  It yields a continuity to each life along the way that connects even Baby Ruth to my mother she'll never know this side of Heaven. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Recent Events

Well, recent history is more like it.  The two of you, your lifetimes in this world have included experiences that no one of my mother's or your grandparents generations had experienced.  I can mark history making events that coincided with each of your early years. 

Right before Bubba was born, we had President Reagan asking Mr. Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!"  Through a behind the scenes letter writing campaign, the Russian Government did tear down the wall.  And for the first time in mine & your daddy's lifetime German's enjoyed a whole Germany.  Then the Soviet Union broke up into separate states and for the first time any living American could remember, The USSR was not our scariest enemy.

Bubba I held you and nursed you as the protests in Tien An Men Square in China played out before our eyes on evening news broadcasts.  Young Chinese students standing down tanks and demanding their voices be heard in Communist China.  You don't know what this means in a country where the population is controlled by forced abortions.  Where they have had the ability to field an army the size of what the Bible speaks of at Armageddon since my teens.

Then came the first Gulf War.  We took part as the nation for the first time ever held hands all the way across the mainland of America to pray for our troops and God's deliverance.  We stood in front of First Baptist Church in Silsbee to do this.  Then the war was over immediately and it was our "technology" that got the praise for it, instead of our God. 

Hannah Bug was a toddler running around our little house under my feet as the news came pouring across the TV screen as the American Mainland was attacked in the 9/11 suicide missions.  Bubba was at school, daddy was at Uncle Tommy's building cabinets.  Nothing ever felt as good as all of us back together under one roof that evening!  That's when I became obsessed by the news for the longest. 

Then 2005 rolls around.  We all watched as New Orleans was swamped by a hurricane.  I was so fearful that the Superdome would turn into the world's largest swimming pool and drown the victims it was trying to protect. 

Hardly any time passed and there we were under the gun for Rita.  On the one hand, no one living in our area could ever remember being affected by a hurricane.  By the tornadoes one spawned on the "bad" side yes.  But not by the actual storm.  On the other hand, there was New Orleans as proof something could happen for the first time.  Being on the highest piece of ground in Hardin County and being too broke to go away and stay anywhere we made plans to ride it out at home. 

Yet my blood still ran cold as I read the last minute warnings coming from the hurricane center, saying as many as 1/3rd of the trees could come down with her winds.  We took every safeguard we could think of.  I did more than I ever would have if it hadn't of been for New Orleans recent devastation.  As it came in we all sang together.  Cuddled.  Watched and listened.  And prayed.

We came through it in one piece.  And every detail is recorded in my Storm Stories.  What struck me the most was how it effected people like Polk, Jr.  One of the Greatest Generation.  That won WWII and built America into the land flowing with milk and honey.  It seemed to shake him to his core.  He never seemed the same after Rita.

I mention some of these things because they are part of you.  Part of what you should carry forward in your lives.  Milestones for Texas, America and the world. 

Friday, April 19, 2013


Quilts.  The old timey kind of quilt is an amazing thing to sleep under.  They had cotton batting in the middle, not some new miracle fiber.  A good quilt had weight to it.  And they were stitched by hand, not on sewing machines. 

The pieces they were made of were actually just an accumulation of scraps of material leftover from dresses, curtains...anything the women who made the quilt had made in the past year or two.  It was a beautiful way to use the leftovers, what could of been waste.  Many things in bygone days were put to use that way.  Those who lived this way were the first & foremost recyclers.  They recycled not with an eye on the environment, they recycled out of need and to stretch a buck. 

Feed sacks and flour sacks became garments.  Jars were washed and saved for home canning.  This is the generation your grandmother, Jessie Ruth, came from.  I remember always being covered by a quilt or multiple quilts in the winter months.  I remember a quilt was taken along for picnics and other such outdoor activities. 

There should be a stack of quilts in the far left corner of the attic in our old house.  Most of those were used during my childhood.  They all became tattered and worn in different ways over the years of use.  Who made them?  I'm sorry I can't tell you so & so made this one or any other such thing.  I know mama and her sisters knew how to quilt.  I know that mama's first mother-in-law, Mama Epsie, was a quilter.  Did she or Mama make them all?  Did Mama Ruth, mother's mother, have a hand in any.  I don't know.

It has always been my dream to take them to a master quilter.  To have them restored and put back to use within  the family.  But funds for such an endeavor has always stood in my way.  I haven't given up.  Perhaps there is still a chance I can do that and divide them between you before I pass on.  Then again, I may never be able to.  But now you know the story behind them...as much of it as I know.  And perhaps it will be one of you who can breath life into these masterpieces once again.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pages...why does your mother write in a blog?

I thought perhaps you might wonder why your mother writes and posts on a blog.  So, I'll answer that for you.

We had just gotten our first computer, a hand-me-down from daddy's job with Larry Parks.  We bought and installed a modem and picked up an AOL disc and suddenly, we were high-tech rednecks.  As I was poking around on it when I was home alone, I found an area of AOL called Journals (or J-Land).  I thought to myself, look any AOL member can start a journal.  That might be fun. 

As I mulled it over, I realized it would be a perfect avenue for me to share my experiences with and lessons from God with other women.  I had promised God I would.  And there was a burden in my heart to find new avenues to do so.  So, Life & Faith in Caneyhead was born.  If you go back and read from the beginning you can see me sharing these things.  Being faithful to His leadership.  Along the way, I met some amazing Christian women.  Some still follow me and blog themselves.  I've had two precious souls pass on to be with the Lord. 

As I did this, I realized how very much I missed writing.  I hadn't written for anyone but me since I left school.  I enjoy it.  It is no work at all for me.  I have a thought, I sit down and I type.  I just try my very best to capture and express what I am thinking and feeling at that time. 

And this avenue that I've found makes it so much more fun!  Others come by and read what I've wrote.  Some are touched.  Some cry, some laugh, some question. 

I probably will never be a super mega blogger.  I don't follow fads or trends.  My writing, all of it, if still for me or the Lord first....everyone else is just invited along to join us.  I may never earn any money of consequence from it.  But then, it's a hobby to me, not a business. 

But it has its rewards.  I have gained friends that I feel I know in flesh and blood.  I've found I'm not as strange as the meaning of my name suggests.  I've had the honor of recording history here (with my Storm Stories).  I've been able to lighten someones day.  I've moved people, connected with people.  I have a folder in my email titled Proof of His Faithfulness.  There I've saved aways comments or emails from readers whose lives were touched or troubles were helped by what I wrote.  That is something beyond anything I could imagine when I first started out here.

And it is also a labor of love to you.  Because even if my time in front of this screen seems silly to you now, I know all too well how precious what is recorded here can be one day down the road.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What is it?

On a whim, I stopped on my way home long enough to photograph this and thought I'd have a little fun with it here on L & F.

I'm asking all of my readers to try to identify this contraption.  Please, no cheating off of someone else's comment. 

Be serious or be ludicrous.  Either way is fine with me.  I'll post the actual answer on Sunday. 

Only one person ventured a guess.  :(   
But I'll tell you now it is a workover rig set up on an oilwell about a quarter mile from our house.

Our Days Together

Our days together when you were little and I was home with you was precious.  I was blessed to be home with each of you approximately five years.

When Bubba was small I was all about us trying to go and visit family I seldom saw.  I'd try to find ways to let him "help" me with my housework.  We'd sit down after lunch while I rested and watched soap operas.  He'd often be beside me in the little orange school chair Mama rescued from O'Neil before they tore it down.  We'd color or play with play dough.  He'd make snakes.  I'd make hogs and rabbits. 

I did most of the mowing back then.  Sometimes he'd follow me around the yard in his car or on a bike.  Sometimes he'd play with his Tonka trucks.

Every day I tried my best to have us both clean and supper on the stove by the earliest time Daddy might be home.  But he was seldom home that early.  Occasionally, if I knew he'd be later coming in, we'd rake in the yard, I'd fire up our little grill just for wieners and we thought we were having a blast.

Often times I'd put old records or tapes on the stereo during the day while I tended to things and we'd dance to one if it caught our fancy, sing along at the top of our lungs if the mood hit.
Sometimes you'd have me come out and get in an old hoopie frame that set on the ground and you'd pretend you were driving me to Bush Lake.

All the while during our days, I'd be drinking it in.  Often thinking how I needed to tuck the smell, sight and sound of you away in a bottle to save.

Fast forward about 10 years and Bug is here with us.  A different house, different time in our lives, different personality.  Some things were very similar. 

With Bug, I was more about getting her down to see your Granny often, since the older set was vanishing.  And when Bubba wasn't in school, of course he'd be with us.

We also did our share of coloring.  And Bug's favorite way to play with playdough was to use my cookie cutters to cut out shapes.  Then she'd line them up and sort them by color and shape in rows on the table.  Even as a toddler her "Monk" tendencies were showing.  ;)  (In the grocery store, I'd lose her behind me on the isle, as she'd stop to front the items and make sure all the labels faced the same way.)

To get outside, we'd usually go for walks around the yard back when she was in a stroller, stopping to see all the animals.  Or ride off down the road on bikes once she had mastered hers. 

Unlike her brother, she'd usually take a nap in the afternoon during my soap operas.  And I'd get the rest and relaxation my 40 something self needed. 

With Daddy working building cabinets with Uncle Tommy instead of in the oilfield, he was more often home at a regular time.  So now, if we were outside in the evenings, it would be all of us.  Cooking over the open fire.  Classic country on the radio.  Friends and family stopping by.  Washers and forty-two. 

There were new activities available to us.  Picking dew berries at the compressor station to make cobbler.  Rainy days finding me and Bubba sitting Bug in her high chair and trying endless hair styles on her.  Baby beautyshop! 

While cartoons were a treat I rented for Bubba when he was sick, Direct TV made cartoons a ready treat for Bug.  And we'd all watch the really good ones, the classics together.

Just the same as before, I longed to drink it all in.  Savor it.  Save it.  Like a treasure chest in an attic I could open and bring out and relive each moment.

I breastfed with both of you.  Bubba was a lazy nurser that had to be supplemented.  By six months, he had gradually nursed less and less until I was dried up.  I cried myself to sleep that night.  Bug on the other hand, caught on and never slacked up.  She was 18 months old when I decided it was ridiculous that she still nursed twice a day and consulted the signs for the feet, stuffed my bra with cabbage and weaned her.

With Bubba, we tried in vain to get him to sleep in his own bed.  So it ended up him on my arm each night and me saying "Shh...now think in your head like Pooh Bear".   With Bug, I didn't even really try to make her stay in the baby bed.  She went to sleep each  night laying flat of her back beside my back with one foot cocked up on my hip.

Talk time.  Talk time with Bubba was laying in the bed together, saying how we needed to go to sleep and then one of us would think of  "one more thing" we just had to say.  We'd giggle and cry.  Finally in the wee hours we'd fall asleep.  I'd give anything to steel you away from  you wife for just one night and do that again.

With Bug, talk time by and large has been in the kitchen, or as I tuck her into her bed at night.  Again, laughter, tears.  I must go lay down...well, just one more thing. 

I hope each of you know how very much I have valued my time with you.  Life and circumstance sometimes demand we say not now, and how I wish it wasn't so.  For the fullest days of my life are those I simply spent with my children.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Naughty, Naughty

Let's face it.  Every child is naughty sometime.  Even a good one.  Back before I ever had a child, daddy had a couple of friends stop by.  One brought two little boys with him.  The men began to shoot pool together in the living room.  I tried all I knew to make these kids happy.  A snack of cookies.  Showed them our assorted games.  They'd say they wanted one and as soon as I got it out and set up for them, they'd change their mind and want another.  This was beyond anything I had seen before.  They noticed a bowl full of hard candy on our coffee table and asked if they could have a piece.  Why sure.  As I was going about being a hostess to them and the men, I realized these kids were getting one piece after another, sticking it in their mouths, and then spitting it in the trash can only to turn around and get another piece.  You know your mama.  Have all you want, but don't waste it.  Their daddy was busy and oblivious to what they were doing.  So, I pulled out one more game to try to draw their interest.  And when they went into the dining room to check it out, I quickly opened the drawer on the table and dumped the candy in.  I returned the empty bowl to the table top.  And set down in the living room to relax.  It took no more than ten minutes for those two to tire of the new game and they headed back into the living room straight for the candy bowl.  Their eyes got big when they saw it was empty.  They looked at each other.  Then they looked at me.  I simply steadily returned their gaze.  Then I got up, went into the dining room to pick up the last game, and went back to my housework.  I left those horrid, hyper brats to their daddy to deal with.  Within 30 minutes, he was saying his goodbyes and they were gone.

I hope and pray neither of you were ever such a problem for anyone.  But you did manage to come up with a little naughty mischief of your own.

Thankfully, neither of you were ever truly bad kids.  Seldom really naughty.  And now that the years have gone by, it can actually be funny to talk of your childhood ventures into naughtiness. 

Bubba had three that stick out vividly.  The first, he was about 5 years old.  His cousin Holli was over.  They were playing in the back yard.  I was starting supper and would look out and check on them every 15 minutes of so.  On one peep, I saw feed being thrown from under the shed into the yard.  Outside I went.  When I got under the shed, much to my amazement all of the feed was on the ground.  I knew you knew better.  So, I asked Holli what happened.  But you asserted yourself and said it was you.  Your idea.  Later it came out that you didn't want to see Holli in trouble.

Cousins also led to your next big naughty.  Levi & Chris were over spending the night.  Daddy let you boys stay in the old Paw Paw camper.  Seemed like a wonderful adventure to give boys of about 8 and 10 years old.  Every hour one of us would walk out back and listen and look.  On one of my turns, I noticed things were suspiciously quiet.  (For reference, quiet kids are usually kids being bad.  Not good, as one might think.)  So, I crept out close enough to peak into a camper window.  There y'all were, with what looked like a reefer off an old Cheech and Chong movie.  Come to find out, you boys had taken a sheet of notebook paper, pulled some alfalfa hay out of a bale and rolled it up!!  Yeah, Daddy set y'all straight on that.  Wasting his expensive hay! 

And your worst naughty escaped happened when Bug was about 2 years old.  I had raked and burned leaves in the fire hole earlier that day.  The top looked like just leaves.  But simmering underneath was a coal hot bed.  You were outside to play with Bug.  And being over 11, I trusted all would be well as I tended to some things in the house.  Suddenly you burst in hollering to come get Bug.  I found her stroller and her in the fire hole.  She had tried to get out of it and her little bare feet had slid down passed the leaves and into the coals below!  I snatched her up and ran to the kitchen sink to start cool water over them. It was soon apparent she needed more.  So I ran a tub of water, loaded us into my Probe, and off we went toward the ER.  You holding her feet in the water and blubbering over and over "I'm so sorry, Bug"  Seems you had been hot-rodding her in the stroller.  Had tried to jump the firehole or some such thing.  Had thought it funny to leave her stuck there, never realizing the danger under the leaves. 

Bug's own naughty episodes were much milder by comparison.  Probably the difference between a little boy and a little girl.  She drew in marker on the back of a beautiful couch I had just been given when we added the trailer on the back of the little house.  And then once she had her own room, when trying to copy her brother, who had posted a note on paper to the front door of his bedroom, she had once again got out the markers and wrote on her door.  All of this before she started school.

I remember her locking herself into mine and Daddy's bathroom and then panicking and crying because she couldn't figure out how to get out.

But her worst stunt was cutting off a lock of Daddy's hair once while he slept.  We all know how he is about his hair!  He noticed.  He suspected.  He complained.  But it was a long time before we ever admitted his suspicions were true, fearing for Bug's life. 

Thank God, your stunts reaped no serious life altering consequences and we can look back now and laugh. 

Monday, April 15, 2013


When I found out Baby Ruth was on her way to this world, I was honestly excited.  But I couldn't wrap my mind around being any one's granny. I had just reckoned with entering a new decade.  Still hadn't made it all the way through menopause.  Had just remembered who I was, who I had been before children.  Before being some one's mama or some one's wife.  A part of me was petrified.  Afraid I'd loose my identity all over again.  Afraid I'd be labeled old and insignificant and put out to pasture. 
All the while we waited for you, Baby Ruth, I insisted you'd have to call me something cute and hip like My Barbie Doll.  Nothing anyone linked to being "granny".  I'd be there for you, but I'd still be me.  Still wouldn't be old. 
Then on April 10th, 2012 you were on your way into this world.  I entered the birthing room with your parents, your mother's mother and her mother and your mom's twin.   I saw your mom near exhaustion.  I saw the doctor's eyes above the mask as he watched the monitor.  I looked at the monitor and I felt the tension in the room.  I saw your daddy grasp mommy's hand and lean down.  Whisper in her ear and their eyes locked.  With one more gigantic push that she managed from somewhere deep inside, you slid into the world.  There was much relief all around.  Then I noticed the the doctor silently, intently rubbing little circles on your chest.  Concentration in his eyes.  As if encouraging you like one would a race horse on a track, "Come on, come on!!  You can do it."  Finally!  The heartbeat and breath he was searching for.  The cord was cut and you were on your own.
And nothing mattered anymore.  Who I was, or what anyone thought.  Call me anything.  Just call me.  Just be here.  Stay here.  Grow here and let me be a part.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Bug had requested that her Mama write about old boyfriends.  I intend to write about only one:  Bobby L.  I have no way of knowing where life has taken Bobby...and I wouldn't cause him embarrassment for anything in the world.  Henceforth, the L____ for the title instead of his actual last name.  You'll just have to take my word for it that it started with an L.  As to why I chose him to write about, I believe by the end of the entry it will be clear to you.

It was Halloween, and Michele and I were in high school.  We were in togos and crusin' Silsbee.  Ended up down in Lumberton to see what might be going on there on Halloween.  It was there at the Sonic that we ran into Bobby.  In his letterman jacket and his Camero.  To show how times have changed, that muscle car got a whopping 8mpg. 

Michele and I spent the evening hanging with Bobby and his friend.  Numbers were exchanged and Bobby and I started dating.  In many ways Bobby was the All American Kid.  In some ways he bordered on wild.
He had a little baby bobcat he called Spud.  Spud would hang onto the padded steering wheel of Bobby's Camero and ride round and round.  And he had an old, old arthritic, grey haired chihuahua that was given to him when he was a baby.  He was a Senior in high school at this time...so you know that dog was long in the tooth.

He turned me on to a delicious treat.  Take a honey bun.  Warm it 30 seconds in the microwave on a plate.  Melt butter all over the top and eat with a fork. 

Me and some unnamed friends would often load up and go with or follow Bobby down to Beaumont.  He had an older friend there named Rod.  He lived in one of those older homes near downtown Beaumont.  He had something rigged up to make it seem that his stereo was controlled by friendly ghosts.  It was freaky.  The bad part was the guys would smoke marijuana.  Yeah, I tried it.  I didn't really care for it.

One night we got into some mild vandalism.  I guess you would call it that.  Sitting at Rod's.  Talking about ghosts.  Looking for a thrill.  We loaded up and went to an old abandoned two story house.  We didn't really have to break in....as there was an unsecured entrance.  Flashlights in that old empty house on a dark night.  We were already scaring ourselves silly.  There were abandoned wheelchairs in the home...made it seem even creepier.  At the time it only seemed like victimless fun.  But now, well it looks different to me. 

One evening Bobby asked me to come down.  Said we were going to eat steaks with his older brother and his wife, watch movies.  Sounded like a nice plan.  The dinner was good.  There were two toddlers running around.  I was not much of kid person at the time.  But they were no problem either.  Then things turned weird.  They put the first movie in.  It was porn!!  I had never watched porn and had no interest whatsoever in watching it.  But what really bristled my hair was that they were going to watch it with those children running around underfoot!!!  I told Bobby I had to go, and walked out.  He came running after me.  What's wrong?  Don't you see?!?!  I had no idea that was what they planned to watch, he said.  In front of their kids!! That's definitely not right.  Bobby said he understood and it was okay. 

That's when I knew I had to rethink what I was getting caught up in.  Everyone I had ever been around had, had similar values to me up until then.  What a crisis!  We cooled it a while.  Then Bobby came to Silsbee one night and flagged me down.  I got in his Camero, but soon discovered he had weed in there and ordered him to take me back to my Capri.  He did.  We talked.  He claimed he never had done any drugs at all until he had been injured in football.  Said a coach had hooked him up with pills to kill the pain so he could keep playing.  That smoking dope was a step down from where he had been.  I told him that was no life or future either.  That if he wanted to hang with me, it'd have to go.

In subsequent conversations he told me of a girl who had moved away.  Pregnant with what was supposed to be his child.  Showed me a worn picture in his wallet.  He expressed deep longing to one day have a connection to his child.  I sincerely wished him the best, that that would happen one day for him.

Bobby graduated and joined the military.  I saw a picture of him in his dress uniform.  Handsome.

I later graduated and went off to college.  Contact with Bobby was severed.  Or so I thought.  One weekend I was home for the weekend.  Mama said some boy had called in the past week.  Said he'd try again on the weekend.  Imagine my surprise when the call came in and it was Bobby.  He was so excited to talk to me.  He almost cried as he related to me how he had cleaned up his act in the military!  How he had found the girl who was the mother of his child!  How he had a place in the child's life!  I believe marriage with the mother was in the plans.

I was genuinely thrilled for him!  And surprised and honored he thought enough of me to call and relay these turn of events to me.  And then he told me how MY standing up for what I thought was right had influenced him and made him want to do better.

My point to both of you in this story is that you never know how much influence you have on a life.  What it may mean down the road.  It wasn't easy to stand up for what I felt in my core when there was a cute, funny, warm football player involved and I was just a teen. 

In later years, I came to know that it was the Holy Spirit who was jealousy guarding me that helped me to do that.  Even though I had yet to have a real, personal relationship with Christ.  Makes me really wonder what other stories might await me in Heaven.

And Bobby, wherever you are, I wish you all the best.  You gave me a gift unlike any I received since.  Thank you! 

Friday, April 12, 2013


I've always had a love affair with kites.  Or maybe it was the idea of kites.  Thinking I could loft one up in the air and then lay back on a grassy knoll and just watch it soar and float above me in a blue sky.

Or perhaps it is because my first experience of kite flying was with my sister Sarah down at our house on Cooks Road in the jenny pasture.  (Jenny was a female donkey - hence her name - that my Daddy had bought to plow his garden)  I was somewhere between 7 and 10.  Sarah showed up with a kite.  And out in the pasture we went.  She would run and laugh and smile.  I'd run and romp.  We got our kite up and it'd stay for awhile, but then the stubborn Texas breeze would die down to nothing and the kite would crash.  Then we'd start all over again.  And that was the essence of my memories of Sarah....laughter, smiles and a childlike love of anything that seemed simple and fun. 

I tried my best to pass that experience on to both of you as you came along and entered that age.  But nowhere that we ever lived had such a wide open space without trees or power and phone lines.  So our actual kite flying was less successful.  I just hope that the love and the smiles and the laughter got handed down. 

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