Friday, May 17, 2019


I grew up with 3 siblings, all older than me.  My interests were different than all three, which meant I spent my free time alone in my imaginary life, feeding my dolls, mothering, teaching.  For the first 8 years, I had few friends, and none who lived nearby.
A spike in building took place in my neighborhood which brought a change in my friend status.  Girls moved in all around the neighborhood, turning quiet days alone into days filled with knocks on the door, cartwheels in the yard, performance competitions, singing, games, gymnastics camps and slumber parties.
I fulfilled my dream of motherhood right out of high school, and in fits and starts, established myself as an adult, not knowing what direction I was best to go.  In eventuality, with a psychology degree, a certification in special education, and a family complete with yours, mine and ours, I stopped teaching after 7 years to homeschool my "ours." This included managing an interdenominational choir for middle schoolers, complete with musicals and traveling concerts.  I led worship, secretaried, media'd and kept books in church for 10 years, while raising children to love the Lord.
My children have all moved on, 3 moved off to other states. I now spend my days singing oldies, playing games, planning art workshops, hosting coffees; I play pool, Bingo, Pokeno and have poker nights.  I dance in the dining room before dinner to the music from my upbringing and that of others, who delight in their "youth."  I arrange Powerpoint slideshows of smiling seniors enjoying - again - interests from their lives past.  "You have so much energy" they say, some standing up from their chairs to dance with me, beaming, with their feet safely planted on the floor, their arms moving wildly. For those moments, for both them and me, we are not an age. We are simply ourselves, delighting in doing what, in our past, gave us joy.  It's what we love, and if our bodies allow us, we will spend our days wringing life out of every moment we are given.
Mine is a life carefully woven, by a masterful hand.  I have joy unspeakable, which I'm allowed, paid even, to carry out daily with my people.  The smiles on their faces feed my desire to help them find quality of life.  I was led to this moment, beginning the journey, at 8 years old.  The music my father and mother played on phonograph records - Harry Belefonte', The Tijuana Brass, Limelighters, Mahi Beamer, Andy Williams, Beethoven and Bach - all now delight these individuals I have the pleasure of nurturing. The singing - we croon together, and we know all the words.  They pick themselves up because the music and their memories demand it, and they obey with only a bit of hesitancy, a sparkle, and then triumph.
I have come full circle. One would think I'd dutifully resign myself to the next 'stage' of my life, of an empty nest, slowing down and preparing to sit and watch as others dance. Well, no. That is not the way I was made, and I will regale my seniors up to their ends and myself to my end.  The gifts of God - music, movement, art, poetry, socialization - they are to be enjoyed while we have life, and we do.

Monday, January 28, 2019

O-Dark-Thirty with Nonny

My mom and I are not good sleepers. Well, lets rephrase that:  My mom has a terrible time - we've been chasing a solution for several years, and now she's doing better than ever before, but still, 5 hours is a good night, and she's up with coffee by prob 3am daily.
When I was teaching special ed, in my 30's, I would do  the wake-and-worry thing. I'd go ahead and get up and grade papers or plan.  These days, I have figured out how to go back to sleep until I'm up to see Dan off at 5:30.
But then, there's coffee with Nonny.  I almost can't wait to text my mom after Dan's breakfast and lunch are in his backpack and I hug him goodbye. It's my morning Mom-ritual.
I take a pic of my coffee and text it to her. Then we pick up where we left off yesterday. She tells me what's on her mind, how her sales are doing at her shop, about the stuff she's going through in her space so she doesn't leave it for us kids to go through.
My mom is 82. She is relatively high-tech, so we text nearly every morning at 0-Dark-Thirty (thanks, Mabee!)  Sometimes I wake at 3 and FB tells me she's "active," so we'll text a bit and then go back to sleep - I will anyway. Mom might dose.
I realized this morning that will be a ritual that I'll miss.  I accidentally woke up my sister by cross-texting my mom in a thread that included Mabee (sis) and Jack (bro.)  I realized my mistake immediately, but my sister began to comment.  It occurred to me then that once my mom goes to Heaven, I'll have no one to text first thing, or during the night, or to send coffee pics to.  Mabee renamed the convo "O-Dark-Thirty" and went back to sleep.

Because the world revolves around us, I imagine everyone loves my mom like I do, prob like everyone thinks about theirs. Only I know I'm right. Haha.  Everybody loves Nonny. She's fun, she's cute. She's smart. She LOVES and loves and loves.  Knows everyone. Says what she thinks, and there're bits of wisdom mixed in.  She's everywhere at once - still. If I chance to pop in to Goodwill, I can pretty much bet she'll be there.
Every teen goes through a period where they think they're smarter than their mom. Mine lasted maybe 5 minutes. My mom is amazing.

Gail: I'm running out of creamer.
Elizabeth: I have none! And it's yucky....and ice cream is not covering it!
Snow coming! Tuesday
Gail: I have coffee! Come over!


Gail: Think God will let you text me from Heaven in the mornings? I love our conversations. <3 I'll think about you every single time I drink my coffee.
Elizabeth: Every time I find this stuff, I just can't bear to pitch I'll put it in a safe place.... I don't even remember most of the stuff!
Gail: Ok, but don't put the totes in the attic yourself.  Stack them up and wait for Andre.
Elizabeth:But it's dominating my living space. You'll have some laughs. A bargain at $5 a tote!  Yes, God will let us text... He's used to us....and when folks hear about it they'll think you're nuts!🤣

Oh, if only it was easy to keep all these conversations.  What can I say. I'm loving my mom.  And I want to keep her forever.  But someday, to her delight, she will fly just like she and Daddo have planned.  And I will have to figure my morning out.  There will be a missing puzzle piece in my life that will only be replaced when I follow her Home.  Mom, I love you. Text me if you can.  I'll pay attention. It will be my shell, my penny.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

My Tool-less Hands

I am faced with a task for which my hands have no tools.  Attempts to complete it would be futile - like the bird who tried to flap himself through my garage window last fall.  However visible the trees, he was not going to flap through to them.
But the bird did succeed in getting my attention. I, who opened the door, set him free from the futility of his attempts. He might say that his attempts were successful. So might I, indirectly.
When I face a dilemma for which my hands have no tools, my voice must take over.  I must get the attention of One Whose tools are sufficient. And if it is His Intention to open that door, He will.  Then again, he may intend to open a window.  Or, it could be that there is a plan I couldn't possibly foresee.  I won't know until it happens.
But I can trust Him, as He's responded repeatedly to the voice of His helpless child.  It's often in a way I could only marvel at afterward - a way I in my finite mind, would never have predicted. And so, He gets the glory - for how could I possibly assume it?

Monday, October 1, 2018

You Can Do What You Do - Part 2

In 2016, I'd become fit over several years by losing weight through eating right and running -- yes running.  I had been focusing on the lives of my children while neglecting being physically active, for maybe 15 years. My last two kids were fairly self-sustaining, in college part time, and having assessed my state, I decided running would not kill me, and that I was healthy enough to give it a go.
This blog from 2016 chronicles my conclusion ( that what you practice you become better at, and that it really can be that simple.  For me, at that time, though not what I'd call "easy" (it surely was a commitment,) the relationship between determination to keep placing one foot in front of the other, and health was simple. And it paid off. I was running for several years, had a new outlook, chased my grandbabies without issue.
Then injuries set in.
The one that took me down was Plantar Fasciitis in both feet.  PF is, in my case, an overuse injury.  I ran too far too abruptly.
I tried the various approaches to getting better, but it got worse. Running through it was not an option.  In the course of my attempts to get better, I decided not to run - I was so desperately hoping that if I rested it it would actually get better.  It has..... but it hasn't.  It's a lingering plague.  It's been close to 2 years.
Well, my podiatrist tells me that some people just run through it.  I'm at the cusp of a decision to try.  My feet are stubborn. I've had Physical Therapy - it is very expensive and can go on forever, and though there was some improvement, it just didn't want to go away completely. So I've come to the conclusion that the rest isn't helping at this point.  It's time to get back on the road - or try anyway.  Dieting, for me, has never resulted in more than negligible weight loss without exercise. PLUS I LOVE to go out at 6am (oh it can be a shove to get myself out that door) and hear my footfall, smell the grass and dirt, take in the stars, PRAY, and watch the sun come up.  I have many many pictures that I posted on FB of the most beautiful God paintings from my days as a runner.  I have found no substitute for the time I spend with Him out on the neighborhood streets a few mornings a week.
If all I do is walk, I know enough to be assured that however far I go walking, I'm nearly as fit as if I ran the same distance.  So walking, if it's all I manage, still affords me a beautiful light show and a time of talking to my Lord about His art.  I need that grounding. I crave it.
So, I'm putting this out there. I'm going to try.  There is no health like that gotten from fitness. And when I am fit, I feel wonderful. 
I'll start with walking with short spurts of running.  Over time, the proportions will reverse.  God willing, it will get easier and then pay off.  I'll chronicle my progress here.  I take pics of sunrises, and I'll put them up here.  I get revelations from my talks with Him on my runs, and those will go here too. Dear Lord please help me!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Good Men

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.  Edmund Burke

You're a Christian.  Don't buy into the implication that the only recourse to injustice is to be meek. It's a lie meant to silence you. Things that are unjust must be dragged into the light, not hidden; not ignored.  When salt has lost it's savor it is no good but to be trampled underfoot.  
You can believe that those whose ends justify the means have no problem speaking up.  You need to speak up if Christ is in your heart.  He is entitled to a human voice to influence a human world.  We cannot sit back and ignore the dark.  If you are paying attention to what is going on; if you feed your spirit with fellowship, prayer and the Word; if you feel your indignation to the injustice around you welling up within you to speak out, then it is your duty to do so thoughtfully and unequivocally. 
Be compassionate. do your research. Consider carefully. But speak out when evil, or just plain carelessness with the effect of evil, presents itself.  Evil that goes unchallenged lives on, even grows.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.  Edmund Burke

Friday, July 27, 2018

Prayer for a New Home Owner

Photo Credit: @CynthiaJamesPhotography

I have paint on my elbow, on the floor of my tub, and on the flange in my kitchen sink.  The main portions of my home are now spotless, the newly installed carpet is vacuumed first thing each morning, as daily, since last Sunday, I have made myself scarce while a different realtor and family have walked through my home to determine if it is for them: This home that Dan designed where we brought up 5 children; this home where Charlie and Sam were raised from birth; where the pantry door jam documents the height of our babies and our ferrets. 

I have ordered a new window pane to replace the one that was broken during the airsoft war Charlie and his friends waged in the back yard.  My faithful friend Ana carefully painted the closet where D.J. would pile blankets for a nest at night. We left the clouds that Meghann and I painted on the ceiling during her preteen years - left it for children who it will certainly delight. I've painted over the message to D.J. from Brian, written in toothpaste on the inside of their bathroom cupboard.   I gently removed the vinyl shoeprint stickers I'd placed on the hardwood floor so little Sam and Charlie would put their tiny shoes where I could find them. We have installed trim in the places that we were always too busy living our lives to trim before.

Our children have now grown up and moved away to live out lives and values that were nurtured within the walls of this home.  It's been 5 months of full time work preparing this home to be sold, and throughout I sensed that it isn't chance that will determine who walks in and decides to purchase it.  It has been lovingly prepared, specially for one family whom God wants to bless.  This is not just a place. It's an atmosphere where God has been continuously welcomed since 1994.  Many blessings have taken place in this home. So too have many challenges to our humanity.  And the love remains.
We are not just preparing a neutral living space for an unknown group of people. In my mind, there is a particular family for whom we've been preparing. Each room we've taped off, painting with care, replacing switch plates, and attending to details. We are preparing a Gift, from God to them.  It's been done with love, soberly, knowing there is a reason it is for them specifically, and that they will happen upon our home on the day appointed.

So now we wait and anticipate.  On the other side of this decision of the recipients, Dan and I will move on, with only pictures of our former home, and the memories that remain. The next chapter of our lives will begin with grown children, grandchildren, and grandbabies to come.  But for this family, it is a new beginning in what used to be 'our' home that has been covered in prayer for 24 years, and lovingly prepared for them.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Adventures Ahead at the Brick House

We are at a turning point.  Dan and I have been preparing this house, where we've lived for 24 years, to put on the market.  The only things I have left to do is caulk the tubs and paint parts of the outside. Dan has a longer list than I. The roof contractor comes Monday. 
As I look around, I'm no longer nostalgic. I'm just "finished." I want to present this home to its next owner, pristine and complete.  These  walls are painted, sufficient furniture and paintings just so, while the home that we've gutted and prepared to occupy next is filled-to-the-gills with stuff that, if here, would hinder the staging of this home for sale.  The other house, "The Brick House," looks like an explosion - one I cannot attend to until this house is on the market. Then I must go through 24 years of belongings, culling them until I can stand to live around what remains.
So..... the job is nowhere near done, but what we've done here is (near) done.  And it's beautiful.  The photographer comes next week. The inside is so pretty - unlike it ever was while we've made our memories in it.  The front door is painted aqua and ocean paintings throughout are a hint of what pleases me.
I pray that this is a gift to someone that is beyond their expectations. I imagine that the care we've given this task was specifically planned by Him to give a certain family pleasure - that they've wanted this very home for some time, and that they'll know it the moment they see it. 
Last October, Dan approached me, and then my daughter and son-in-law, Jimmie, with his "idea," which we have since worked toward as an inspiration - a prophecy to be fulfilled. He and I would sell our home, which we'd before planned to stay in forever, and purchase his mom's, in a nearby neighborhood that required near-gutting and renewing.  Meghann and Jimmie'd outgrown their home with 4 children, and dreamed of renting it out. They would rent from us in Nana's house,  now "The Brick House," and we would each occupy a half.
I'm happy to say we're coming to the next stage in this journey.  In one week, it'll be on the market and we can turn our attention to constructing a master bath in the home we're moving into - the last requirement in this process that began last October.  This has been my job, day in and day out. I'm often reminded of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and that we've dwelled for the last 9 months in the bottom - the most basic of needs - physiological - preparing our new part of the world to provide food, warmth and rest. His theory is that, when you occupy that spot in the hierarchy, you cannot move on to anything else until you have securely attained those basic things.  It's what all my energy is given to, from the time I awaken every day.
What we have accomplished! And now I will pass this home on to a God-chosen family, knowing what awaits me at the Brick House - as I move on to what Maslow would call "belongingness and love," sharing coffee in the sunroom with my lovely daughter, her kind husband and 4 sunshiney girls.