Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No Rusting

It is almost 9 p.m. and since 9 a.m. today I have been to Bible study, had lunch with two friends, shopped for, and mailed a birthday card to my darling Baby Girl, shopped for a special "before Christmas gift" for Gracie, bought senior dog food for the one and only Scooter, checked out knit pants in 4 colors yet all in the wrong sizes, stopped in for a Vanilla Diet Fountain Coke at 7-11, taught seven violin students and wondered for half an hour where another one was, and been to the gym for a Body Flow class.

And now...the details, or some of them. At the Bible study I learned that I am published! Yes, I was totally disgusted that there was no review of the Barrage! concert I attended on November 8, so I decided to write an article and see if it would be published. And it is! With a by-line! Here.

Bible study...totally awesome, informative, and juicy. I mean, Beth Moore can really teach about sex in marriage and make you glad you were there to hear it! Wising Up is just a fabulous study of Proverbs. those friends. We learn so much from each other and they support me and pray for me. I regret so much that being in the work force has compromised female friendships in many cases. When our great-grandmothers got together to can food and to quilt, they bonded in friendships that were cherished for decades. Our mobile society has weakened those bonds, but Bible studies, email, Skype, and, of course, lunch do help preserve them.

Errands...I don't mind this kind. The first card I read was perfect for Baby Girl, and I'll see her and bake a cake next week. She will be 24 on Friday. And Scooter is nearly the perfect dog, so of course I want to keep him fed. He thinks I don't notice, but he sleeps on the red sofa at night. And leaves tiny patches of white fur behind. Or lets the magazines slip into the floor. I'll bet he hates that, since he has no hands to pick them up and cover his trail. He's really sneaky. The vanilla diet coke was pleasant, and the gift for Gracie is perfect, but the frustration level rose considerably when the pants were too baggy and there were no other sizes--even in their on-line store.

Teaching...I think my students are really ready for the Saturday morning ensemble recital and will entertain to the fullest measure (that's a music pun). Very noteworthy. And some of them may have learned something this week after all!

Body Flow...I hot pedaled it home and took Advil and hit the heating pad while eating a bowl of soup. This was a tough one.

Time to hit the computer/keyboard for some more composing/arranging of Christmas music. Or sew a stocking. Or wrap some packages. Or something. Can't just sit here! I might rust.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Confessions of a Marmee

While Pioneer Woman is confessing her true feelings about the Dominican Republic trip, I should probably confess my true feelings too. When the Rowdy Girls mom, my beautiful oldest daughter, first mentioned the plight of the Ike folks in Austin, I was horrified. But I didn't do anything. My own cousin, her husband, and my Aunt were here, taking refuge from the storm. They didn't have electricity for about 2 weeks, and on the TX coast, that's very uncomfortable. But over time, as my family recovered and found most of their property intact, I began to pray for those in Austin. Thinking about these little babies and young families, who could be my own grandchildren or children, just broke my heart. Finally, on Nov. 1 I knew God was telling me to get involved personally. I'm a little slow sometimes. But my biggest problems are too much--eat too much, work too much, too many clothes, too much stuff. How could I sit here and think about those who have no job, are living on food stamps and FEMA extensions in hotels, are in Austin in November and own no winter clothing?

So, last week after emailing people from ten different churches, I collected funds and gift cards and we were able to make a difference. Two of my daughters are involved now. "L" still does all the leg work for the evacuees, and she succeeded in getting FEMA to extend through Thanksgiving. Two families have returned to Galveston. Two families intend to remain in Austin and are actively looking for jobs. We are now looking for a donated computer set up so one of the moms of a medcially fragile baby can work from home.

My whole family is arriving next week for Thanksgiving and I need to be purchasing and wrapping some Christmas gifts to return with them, but I'm having so much fun coordinating fund raisers and depositing money in a special account! This will be a holiday full of Thanks Giving.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday

Today I got to do some of my favorite activities. I made bank deposits twice. Gave three sacks of canned food to the Food Pantry. Watched Beth Moore’s Wising Up: A study of Proverbs DVD with my Bible study ladies at my church. Today’s subject was for wives and it was excellent advice and insight. Afterward, I went to lunch with two dear friends and prayer buddies. I shopped for a toddler girl who I will never know, but who will receive a shoe box full of cute things, generously provided by Samaritan’s Purse. Every year since my daughters were little our family has participated in Operation Christmas Child, also known at our house as Operation Shoe Box. I love choosing a gender and age bracket each year and filling a box with essentials like soap, towels, washcloths, combs, toothpaste and toothbrush, flashlights and batteries. After the essentials are purchased I head for the goodies. I can usually fit in crayons, markers, pencils (colored ones), tablet, stuffed animal or doll, clothing (pants and hoodie, Dora Explorer panties), tiny purse with hair jewelry, and lots of hard candy. Ironically, there is no room left for shoes in a shoe box with all the other items carefully rolled, unpackaged, and fitted “just so” without a single space left over. We usually top it off with a family photo and a letter to our Christmas Child.

Please notice that I made two bank deposits. Through the Rowdy Girls Mommy, our oldest daughter, I have become involved with a woman in Austin, “L”, who is helping Hurricane Ike evacuees in that city. Their stories would break your heart, much like the stories of the Dominican Republic children in blogs by Pioneer Woman. Each family has its own plight, its own difficult situation with hurdles to clear before returning to Galveston. Most of them have medical needs and were evacuated from the hospital on the island to a high level care hospital in a major Texas city. Some of them have fallen through the cracks with FEMA and are either not receiving aid, have been placed on the back burner, or are not notified that their aid is being extended until well into the eleventh hour. They are stressed, living in a hotel of FEMA’s choice, at the mercy of private individuals because Texas agencies are not coming to their rescue, and being overlooked by our senatorial offices as well. “L” is undergoing cancer treatments herself, and yet she is tirelessly pursuing every path that opens for aid, for paying expenses, for caring for elderly couples, extremely young mothers with preemies, and for your regular everyday families as well.

Two families whose situations stuck in my heart are the “Grandmother family” and the “preemie family”. The first is a 60 year old grandmother with custody of 5 grandchildren and has had her elderly mom with her as well. These children are ages 8 months, 2,4,10, and 13 years. Grandmother is sincerely seeking employment.

The young preemie's mom cannot return to Galveston because the 32 week preemie is too fragile. There are no medical care facilities, no hospital, and no services in Galveston. The mold and infection risk are very high and the doctors believe that little preemie is too high risk to return. Therefore, she must look for an apartment on the mainland and has no money for deposits. Even with a medical letter of necessity from the doctors, FEMA is still dragging their feet. It was after 9 p.m. last night when extension was granted past Thanksgiving. They were prepared to be evicted at 11 a.m. today. That is just an example of the stressful circumstances.

With these and other facts gnawing at my spirit, I decided to DO SOMETHING. I know people here in my city and they are deeply loving and compassionate. I sent email to representatives of ten churches, and in due time, help arrived. I sent two Wal Mart gift cards in Monday’s mail and have another to send. By noon today over $600 in cash had been deposited in Aunt Kak’s account so she can convert it to cash for “L”. Late this afternoon I received a call from a friend whose brother lives in Austin and whose church wants to become involved directly with the evacuees. And I know this is not the end of the love pouring out. It was a wonderful Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Next?

Although I would have preferred that John McCain is now the president elect, because of his strong stand on defining life at the moment of conception and his defining marriage between a man and a woman, I am proud to live in America at this historic time. I remember when my high school class was integrated and one of my best friends was E, a highly intelligent black man who became the first member of the National Honor Society at our school. He was an honor graduate of the class of 1968, a particularly trouble filled year, speaking of civil rights. In that year his only ticket out of our small town was as an intellectual, since he was not a stellar athlete. He accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy and served our country as a pilot, eventually retiring in New Jersey. I would be interested to know if he voted for Obama or McCain, being both an African American and a Navy man.

Anyway, I digress. Since McCain/Palin is not in our future, I could not express my feelings any better than this post at the LPM blog.

Yesterday was also a turning point for Nannie. We followed up with Dr. T, the neurosurgeon, who told her there are no major significant changes in her MRI since last year, and therefore, nothing he can do for her surgically. He referred her back to Dr. M, sports and pain medicine specialist, for a consultation about a nerve stimulator. Our next appointment is December 15--a long time when severe pain is an issue.

I woke this morning with a sense of newness and anticipation, but not quite knowing for what reason. I trust that God is steering this nation in His direction, and that He is giving our family wisdom for pain management as well.

Monday, November 3, 2008


You can see the slide show designed by CB from photos of our trip to Sea World with the Rowdy Girls here. It makes me smile.

Here are a couple of other reasons why I smile.

Miss Gracie Flower

Jonah, a.k.a. Woody

The entire set of costume photos for Woody and Flower are here and here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

GUNS UP!! there is no joy in Austin,
mighty Bevo has struck out!!!

This definitely isn't baseball, but I couldn't resist the reference to "Casey at the Bat" in comparing my Alma Mater, dear old Texas Tech in their fabulous, awesome win over UT, the perpetually number 1 ranked University of Texas. I have sat in the stands in absolutely horrible weather and watched Tech win and lose. I walked to the stadium for the game against Texas my freshman year and the stands were so full I couldn't even get in, so I listened on the radio.

Watching Tech's lead dwindle from 10 points to nothing, to going behind by a point with 1:29 left in the game was a heart stopping experience. Tech scoring that last touchdown and the extra point with :01 left was enough to raise my normally low blood pressure to above average. Go Raiders! The class of '72 loves you!