Friday, August 2, 2013

Feeling Mighty Tiny

I have decided that if I ever get to feeling too big for my britches, I should just go stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon.  It is impossible to explain to someone who has never seen it, just how big it is.  Carved out by a mighty river thousands of years ago it is a wonder to behold.  I first experienced it as a 12 year old girl.  I don't think at that age I truly appreciated it but I do know that I never forgot it.  Quiet simply, it is unforgettable.

Last week Gary and I had the pleasure of taking Lauren, Lindsay and Emily to see it.  Gary had never seen it either so it was an exciting experience for him as well.  We drove from the 100 plus degree heat of the airport in Phoenix up to Flagstaff, Arizona to spend the night.  It was pleasantly cooler there among the pines and the thunderstorms were refreshing.  The lobby of the hotel the next morning was full of bikers and hikers.  Everyone was dressed up in their trekking gear and ready to explore the beauty of this unique area.  We set out for the South Rim of the canyon in our Crown Victoria
 rent a car that we dubbed the "family truckster" in honor of the movie "Vacation".  

Emily, Donna, Lauren, Lindsay, Gary at the Grand Canyon

We decided as we neared the canyon that we would go all out and take a helicopter ride so that we could really experience the vastness of it all.  After reserving a spot we drove on up to the canyon first, and in true "Chevy Chase" style and staying true to the movie, we walked down to the edge, shot a few pictures, stared in awe and then headed back to the car, uh I mean truckster.  Unfortunately we had been greeted by some menacing bugs. Around here we call them noseeums.  (no-see-um)  If you have never experienced the unpleasant sting of hundreds of invisible bugs all over your body, you can't fully appreciate our desire to hurry and escape the little devils.  We piled back into the car and hurried off to catch our chopper.

The helicopter ride was incredible.  The girls had never been up in one before and Lauren was a bit apprehensive before we took off.  I think she was mostly worried about crashing 3 weeks before her wedding day.  Thankfully her worries were unfounded and she will still be able to wear that beautiful white wedding dress.  As we boarded and put on our earphones, we were greeted by the voice of Frank Sinatra singing "Come Fly with Me".  It took about 5 minutes to get to the edge of the canyon and the rush as we burst over the edge and the earth seemed to fall away was thrilling.   Emily road shotgun to the pilot while the rest of us were in the back.  Through the headsets we were given a narration about the Grand Canyon and some if its history.   As we flew over some brave river rafters that looked like yellow ants on a chocolate ribbon I couldn't help but wonder what it must have been like to live there as an indian.  It's a rugged terrain and life must have been very hard for them. The flight was too short but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  If you every get the chance to experience the Grand Canyon from a helicopter, I highly recommend it.

As you can see from the pictures below, in the GRAND scheme of things we are very small.  The canyon was a good reminder to me of that fact but I don't really have to go all the way to the Grand Canyon to feel tiny.  I can simply step outside any night and gaze up into the big ole West Texas sky and marvel at how REALLY tiny I am in the universe.  Big or small, God made it all.  What a joy it is to be even a small part of it.

Hard to imaging that this goes on for nearly 300 miles.  It was a bit hazy this morning. 
From the top of the rim the river looks even smaller.  We were down in the canyon a little ways and I was using a zoom lens which makes this photo a bit deceptive.  It is over a mile deep and 277 miles long.  On average it is 10 miles across and 18 miles across at its widest point.

The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the only one of the seven that I have seen personally.  How many have you seen, what were they and would you recommend seeing them?   

Friday, July 12, 2013

Accolade and Applause

Why does our flesh crave attention so much?  Why is pride such a stumbling block?  Why do we cry out to be seen and heard?  Haven't we all at some point in our lives been star struck?  Haven't we all wanted to be like someone else?  Haven't we all wanted to be known?  Why do we post all those pictures and videos of ourselves on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?  Are we seeking notoriety of some sort?  What drives us to work hard at our craft or talent?  Why do we label those who don't crave the spotlight as odd, weird or eccentric?

I know that at some point in my life I have been guilty of all of the above.  I have had false hope in myself and my abilities on way too many occasions.  Too often I have taken the credit for something that I alone could never do.  Honestly,  though I would like to, I can't even take credit for anything good in my girls.  While 3 of them grew in my womb, I was not the one who formed them.  If I have ever offered them any good advice or have given them good instruction, even that came from God.  So while it's easy for me to rob God of His glory, in the end I must admit that there is nothing good in me unless by His will He put it there.

God makes us.  God gifts us.  All talent, wisdom and strength come from Him.  We are His creation for His pleasure.  We may work really hard to develop our talents, but in doing that, are we working for His glory or our own?  Are we using the talents He has supplied in us for His cause or our own?   "A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven." John 3:27.  Too many of us believe the lie that our lives belong to us to do with as we choose.  We live in the here and now and give no thought to our eternal purpose.  This does not just apply to the lost either.  There are many who are serving in the church all over the world who struggle with the same issue.

I don't have the answers to all the questions I've asked and probably never will in my time on earth.   I guess I don't really need to know all the answers as long as I know THE ONE who has all the answers.  Today I'm asking God to help me to serve with humility and grace and to cast out arrogance and pride.  I need Him to remind me at every moment to whom I belong.  I want Him to fill me with adoration of who He is in me and then let the "me" fade away so that all that is left to be seen is HIM!  Maybe it's time to sit courageously quiet on the back row and be the odd, weird or eccentric one.

"He must increase, but I must decrease."  John 3:30

Monday, June 24, 2013

An Apology of Sorts

Sadly I have been very busy lately with family and travel and unable to blog.  I am hoping to get back to blogging more regularly in a few weeks.  I'm heading back to Guatemala with a mission team soon and have been working hard to prepare.  I'm sure I will have so much to tell when I return and lots of pictures to share.
Thanks for checking in on the blog site to see if I've posted and thanks for your patience.  So until then enjoy a picture of my newest grand baby, Jase and big brother Deuce.  Grace and Peace to you!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Coming Fast and Passing Slow

Life sometimes takes us by storm.  It blows in on us like the West Texas sandstorm that barraged us this week with 60 mph winds that ripped off roofs, downed lines and trees and covered highways and houses (yes houses) with blowing tumbleweeds.  It often leaves behind a mess to deal with just like my garage that was full of leaves that blew in and sand that made its way into every window and door of our home.  I swept up the leaves, vacuumed up the dirt and washed the car.  While the dust is still settling from that storm I know that as we enter the month of March, there is a promise of more wind on the horizon.  Very soon I will need to once again, sweep up the leaves, wash the car and vacuum up the dust and dirt.  It's just what we do around here this time of year.  What takes nature minutes to do, takes us days to clean up.  I find that life is a lot like that lately.  It comes too fast and it passes too slow.

"Mom, I'm pregnant."  In the time it took to Melanie to breathe those words out, life as I knew it changed.  My thoughts raced ahead as I chased after them futilely trying to just be in the moment.  Sometimes the words "do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself", totally escape my mind.  I start trying to solve all the problems before they even take form.  The information of new life on the way came at me fast but the 9 months it actually takes that life to arrive is SO slow.

"May I marry your daughter?"  That one question took Thomas mere seconds to ask but once again life as I knew it has changed.  Thomas and Lauren will be marrying in what we consider a relatively short amount of time to plan a wedding.  After the proposal we shifted into an unknown gear that I'm sure is only available on the space shuttle.  Securing the church, the reception venue, and the date became an urgent task.  The dress is ordered and as it turns out in the nick of time.  We've viewed wedding invitations and discussed music.  We've worked on menus, talked to photographers and discussed  flowers and decorations.  It's an exciting time but I know that once the initial flurry slows it will pass slow as we wait for the day.

Dad has cancer.  Oh no!  Not the "C" word again.  Our lives were rocked 14 years ago with my diagnosis.  Hearing those words sort of makes everything shift into slow motion.  If you've ever walked that path you know exactly what I mean.  You wait for the diagnosis, you wait for the next appointment, you wait for the next test, you wait for surgery, you wait for the sickness to subside, you wait to feel better, you wait, and wait and wait.  Your life changes in an instant.  Gary's dad's news came at us fast but the treatment and recovery will pass slow for us all.

Yes, life comes at us fast.  Sometimes it brings joy and excitement and sometimes it brings anxiety and fear of the unknown.  I am thankful that I walk by faith and not by sight.  I am thankful that God goes before us and will never leave us nor forsake us.  I am thankful for a God who sees me and loves me and will tend to my every need.  I'm thankful that I have the courage to face tomorrow because my savior lives!  Let the storm howl and the dust choke out the sunlight.  Let the moments that change my life flash with the speed of lightening and rage with untold fury.  Let each day tick by slowly as I seek His will and sweep away the doubt and fear.  Come at me fast and pass slow.  With dust pan in hand, I'm standing on the ROCK!

I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  
                                                                                                                               Psalm 16:8

My inspiration and loves!
Lauren Elizabeth, Crystal, Lindsay, Emily, Melanie, Lauren Beth

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Anyone with children can tell you that there are those moments that just completely exasperate you.
Questions like, "Did you pick up your room like I asked you to do?", "Did you brush your teeth?" and
"Where are your shoes that I asked you three times to put on?" are met with a roll of the eyes or an, "I forgot.", or the ever popular, "I didn't hear you.".   How about when they not only roll their eyes but also stomp off grumbling.  You stand there looking at them wondering why they can't just listen and obey.  What is it that makes them just tune you out?

When Melanie was young I was at my wits end.  She never listened to me.  She required numerous requests to get her to do even the smallest of tasks.  She was such a cute and happy little girl but she never paid attention to anything I said.  After her older sister Crystal was diagnosed with dyslexia, I worried that Melanie may also have it.  She was having some problems in PreK completing tasks.  Dreading what they would find, I courageously had Melanie tested.  I wasn't sure I was up to the extra stress and tears of another child with a learning disability.  She was diagnosed with "audio discrepancy".  This is a big name for what is the inability to focus on more than one task at a time.  She was unable to process more than one request and if she was watching TV or engaged in something else I could just forget about her hearing anything I said.  That's right moms and dads, there is actually a name for some of those annoyingly disobedient brats, uhmmm I mean precious little children who never seem to obey the first time.  So after some therapy to retrain her processing and for me to learn how to make my requests so they were heard and understood my wits were saved.

Now, snap forward with me to present day.  The tables have turned and now it's me driving someone close to their wits end.
"What do you mean we are going out of town this week?!"
"You have a meeting tonight?"
"We have dinner plans tomorrow?" I spout out my questions with astonished tone and disbelief.  My questions are met with the same answers once again from my oh so patient and loving husband.
"Honey, I told you that."
"Yes, we discussed it."
"You know you never listen to me."
I would like to claim that I have audio discrepancy myself but I'm not sure he would buy it.  Do you think you can get it when you are an adult?  No, I must sadly concede to the fact that I just do not pay attention sometimes when he is talking to me.  Yes, poor Gary is quiet witless now thanks to me.

It's not that I don't want to listen to him.  I do hear him but I just don't really listen to all that he has to say.  Frankly, he goes into WAY too much detail sometimes for me.  For instance, I ask, "How was your golf game today Babe?"  He answers eager to share ALL about it, "On hole one I shot a par.  On hole two I hit my driver a little left and out about 20 yards from the green.  Chipped that up with my wedge and then putted in for a birdie.  I was out of bounds on hole 6 but managed to save par." And so it goes for most of the 18 holes.  How does he remember all those details?  Good grief, I just wanted to know what his blooming score was.  Spare me all the intricate details please.  All I really "listen" to is the final score most of the time anyway.

Sadly I often find my relationship with God to be the same.  I know His voice.  I want to listen.  I really, really do.  I want to know what He expects from me and what His next plan for me is.  Some days I find myself a bit too busy with my own agenda and what I am already doing than to really be still and listen to what He has planned for me.  Somedays I hear him but I'm not really listening to the details.  Thankfully, like Gary, God is very patient with me and my inattentive ways.  He loves me more than I can begin to imagine.  He keeps pressing in with the details of my life regardless of my need for a hearing aid.  He longs to lead me through every day if I will listen and obey. He longs to do for me more than I can ever hope or imagine.

So forgive me Father for our one-sided conversations and please help me to be a more attentive listener!
Oh, and if you would be so kind as to help me later today while I listen to Gary's details of today's golf game, well, that would be great!  Amen

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."  John 10:27

Friday, June 22, 2012


It's been over a year since we have wanted to do a cute picture of all 7 of the grandkids. This week we finally got the opportunity.  After celebrating my oldest daughter Crystal's birthday, we headed to the park.  Looking back now it might have been a better idea to wait and have the cake and ice cream after the photo shoot.  Fully loaded with sugar from the sweets we set out in 3 separate cars.  (It takes a lot of carseats to get all those kids everywhere.)  We arrived at our destination with smiles on our faces and thankful for overcast skies and a nice cool breeze.  This was going to be great!  

My photographer daughter Lauren gets everyone set with the help of her sister Crystal and the camera starts it's rapid fire of clicks trying to catch that just right moment.  I amused myself by taking pictures of my own of all the action.  That's right, I was of little help with the actual true photos.  When you are the grandmommy you get to do the fun stuff and leave all the fussing to the parents.

First pose baby Lauchlan decides to grab Annalee's hair.  Anna happens to be our most sensitive headed child but no tears since it was baby Lauchlan who dealt the injury.
We didn't last long here before it was time to move on.  Once released from the pose they all took off in separate
directions and immediately thought the photo session was over and it was time to play.  

After a few choice threats by the photographer, they regrouped and moved on to the next pose area.  Mckinlee whines because she has sand in her sandals but I quickly brushed it out and that crisis was over.  It took some compromise on who would hold the baby and who got to sit in the chair or on the ladder but we were still all smiling.  Yippee!

Deuce had a little trouble holding up his letter in this pose.  He likes to play and he loves his cousin Mikey.  It didn't take long for everyone to start complaining in this area.  Seemed that all that sugar made them very sweet and therefore extremely tasty to some bugs.  We are a little itchy at this point but we are still somewhat happy.  I think we might can get in a few more shots before the sun sets if everyone cooperates.  We gather up and head to a less buggy area.

All moved and reset and Miss McKinlee has had about all this picture taking stuff she wants.  Nothing will do, she is just not going to smile.  Mikey clasps his head in disbelief that we have to wait for someone to smile.  

Grandmommy decides maybe it's time for us  to make a silly face picture.  This gives us a little time to cheer up and possibly smile for just a few more shots.  Tanner is too cool to make a face for us of course and Kambri is just trying to hold a pose and a baby.

Looks as though one of those bugs flew up Deuce's nose and when Lauren counts heads she notices someone is missing in this pose.  Uncle Mike is having a good time playing with the baby.  Lauchlan is delivered and the photo taking proceeds.  

                                                          Crystal and Lauren think maybe we can get a quick shot of Grandmommy and all the kids so I hand off my camera to Mike and have a seat.  The wind kicks up a bit and by this time control is soon to be a thing of the past.  Check out Deuce in the bottom left corner of this picture.  The final blow is being dealt to Mikey's tummy as baby Lauchlan looks on!  Smiles turn to tears and it's unanimous, THAT'S A WRAP!  

So at the end of the day, Lauren did manage to get some good shots and we made a fun memory.  Now it looks like maybe we should go and work on our spelling!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Is it Really Enough?

Do you always engage when you are singing praise songs?  Do you really listen to the words and take them to heart every time you are singing them?  Do you really mean those words?  I would like to think that I do, but the truth is, I don't always.  Sometimes I sing along just because I like the tune or I've sung it a hundred times and I simply like singing it.  Honestly, sometimes I'm not truly worshipping when I'm singing at church.  Yes, I'm letting the cat out of the bag.  Sometimes  I am just a clanging gong in the Lord's ear and it has little to do with my aging vocal ability.  My mind often wonders and I don't always take to heart the words that I'm proclaiming at the top of my lungs.  

Another confession...I like to raise my hands when I'm praising.  Label me charismatic if that's not your thing.  It's fine by me.  Yes, I'm one of "THOSE people".  There were times when you couldn't have pried my hands from the back of the pew in front of me let alone get me to lift them in praise.  I've matured a bit since then and learned that we all praise differently.  I can't see me playing the tambourine anytime soon but I did do a great deal of dancing in Africa and Guatemala when I went to church there.  Maybe it was just a bit of the old saying, "When in Rome".  Truth be told though, I kinda liked it!  I've decided there is nothing wrong with being exuberant when we praise.   

Last month I was struck by a phrase in a praise song.   This particular time I was truly engaged in the words of the songs I was singing.  The overwhelming theme of two of the songs was God's love for us.  I'm singing along to a song I know I've sung at least 100 times and fully agreeing with every word out of my mouth when all the sudden, I felt a deep sense of sadness.  I'm joyfully proclaiming that the riches of Your love will always be enough, when I become painfully aware that not everyone can sing those words and mean them.  I'm also aware that there have been many times in my own life when those words were not true for me either.  

Is it really enough?  We sing about God's love being all we need but do we live our lives every day as though we truly believe what our lips are professing?  What about when we are alone or lonely?  What about when we have been cast out or abandoned?  What about when we feel utter desperation or fear?  What about when we feel defeated or cheated?  What about when we feel wronged?  What about when we get a diagnosis that shakes us to the core?  Do we believe with all our heart in those moments that God's love is enough?

We may not always believe it but it is true.  God's love is enough!  It can break through any barrier and through the blackest night.  It can cover over a multitude of sins.  It gives us hope when we have none.  In God's love we find our freedom.  We find courage to believe.  In God's love we even find the courage to believe that His love is enough.  

The bible says love never fails.  This means, it never stops, it is never insufficient, it never disappoints, it is never undependable, and it never falls short.  That sounds like it's enough for me!  

Gosh, I'm in the mood now to go do some praising.  If only I had a tambourine!  Hmm....