Pathways of Life...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Have a Merry, Merry Christmas...2008

A Christmas Version of
1 Corinthians 13
(thanks Jana for the pic... :D

If I decorate my house perfectly with big, red Christmas bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, lots of tinsels and glitter....but do not show love to my family and other people,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, candies and pies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, ....but do not show love to my family and other people, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity,..... but do not show love to my family and others, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails....but people do. God's Love is Perfect!

Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust,
but giving the gift of love and kindness....will endure and is the reflection of Christ.

Help the world remember that....Forever, Jesus is the reason...
for this beautiful season.

Because of His grace...

we always have 'someone to turn to' when trouble hits.

Because HE LIVES...
we can live forever.

May you Celebrate, laugh & enjoy every fiber of His goodness. gifts and graces....of this wonderful holiday season of remembering the Birth of our Lord and Savior.... and may we all Bless others along the way!

with hugs....Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ring those Golden Bells...loud & clear!

Golden Wedding Bells that is....
Yes, this is OUR FAMILY PHOTO as we celebrated this past weekend our wonderful Golden Wedding Anniversary--what fun! What a treasure.

Front row: Matthew, Zoe, Josh
Second row: Kori, Papa & Grama GG (me)
Back row: Wayne & Jana; Kelleye & Dewayne, Eston
via~~~~ Jana's new awesome Cannon digital action camera

As most of you know, Music & Laughter is the very soul of my being and my life. Thus both come from wonderful PEOPLE!!! Times like this in life are sort of like... our Lord is up there in the Heavens and He sprinkles down billions of sparkling little stars of laughter, giggles, smiles and tiny little moonbeams that have sounds of musical notes.... floating freely about the skies above us all, then it suddenly gravitates giant earth shaking, vibrating musical bells, like the ones in church bell if they are shouting out to everyone to listen: join the laughter, join in the song, sing with every fiber of your being. God is closer than ever!!! It's Christmas time! Celebrate Christ. Celebrate life. Celebrate Jesus!

Yes, this WAS the neat feeling of this weekend of celebration. Not just a 'moment to remember' but a lifetime of treasures...all shared with any and all. I am so thankful and humbly grateful to everyone that touched my life...our lives....not just the last 50 years for our lifetime.

However, now it is time for CHANGE. Change is not always easy to do. For most of is somehow a lot easier to stay in our own little comfort zone. I have totally spent the past year preparing for this last weekend. I did this out of need to overcome....the physically & mental destruction caused by cancer and it's required treatments---each & all is very painful, very hard and often days get 'darker' than the night. No one knows until they wear the shoes...and every pair of shoes fit differently for each person.

So, to start off my, I decided to WRITE. (or maybe it was God's choice???) I would hope that my honesty in self writing would be to bring some one HOPE,,,encouragement and/or possibly....identity of like situations to others.

Naturally, the freshest thing on my mind is 'Memories'. What is better than that? The GOOD stuff, makes us feel good....and then that bad/not so good stuff....well, that was usually horrible but THAT IS our most 'learning time' of life.,,and sad to say.... you're darn sure NOT going to Forget it all that easy! ha ha
So, in looking back at the last 50 years...I have fully determined that it has actually been like a "County Fair"...a carnival...3 ring circus...all combined. ha ha

First let me say, "I love the Fair". I served as an executive board officer for eleven years for the huge Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo and loved being referred to... officially as a "My Fair Lady". The position had plenty of ups and downs and it wasn't always on the "Midway".ha ha Now today, I see my life actually BEING sort of like those awesome years---at the County Fair. ha ha

As a little girl, we always went to the County Fair. All my teen years I was fascinated by the 'barkers' out front of the entrance gates. They used to yell out ''Come, Come to the Fair. Everybody listen up! Laaaadies & Geeeentlemen Come see the Greatest events of the World, Come see the 2 headed pig! Come see the Lady with the 5 ft. beard. Come see the man cut in half by a sword and walks again. Don't miss the world Fattest man! Come see the lady that was cut out of the belly of a Boa Constrictor and lived...True stories, yes, yes ...True events....THINGS YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE and will never see again, Come to the Fair! Get your tickets right here. Popcorn, Peanuts...feed the giant elephant. Come see our beautiful Grand Champion livestock. Come TASTE the world's greatest pies. Come, come, come to the County Fair, Don't miss it."

Yes, all my young life, I heard THE CALL to 'go through the gates'...enter the awesome 'County Fair", see and live the 'greatest SHOW ON EARTH....(you know: love & marriage, go together like a horse & carriage....and 9 months later the baby carriage stuff)...come one, come all, join in, don't miss out!!!

So, as a 16 year old teenage girl and my love, a 17 year old, we wandered around OUTSIDE the gates of the county fair for two years. With starry eyes, sparkling smiles, laughter & giggles and tons of sweet, sweet kisses and few chocolate malts and burgers... in our 'hottest little rod car' in town...we WATCHED...from OUTSIDE the gates of the fair grounds. Two YEARS in fact.

Then on my 18th birthday and after graduating High School, my beloved gave me a tiny but beautiful little engagement ring! Oh, how I adored it. After alll...we NOW had TICKETS to go to the COUNTY to see the to get to DO and BE a part of this awesome exciting event that EVERYBODY had talked about alllllll of our lives. (MARRIAGE) Wow, It Can't Be any better that having a 'ticket to the County Fair". Wow, how blessed we were---or at least in our youth...this is what we thought!

Well, we stood in line for our seemed to be sooo long....took so long....but FINALLY on December 6, 1958 at 8 PM, in our largest community church...all our family came together and we all had such fun as we 'entered the huge golden gates" of the beautiful COUNTY FAIR...(marriage) church bells rang, music everywhere, friends cheered, we quickly grabbed a bite of a beautiful wedding cake at the entrance and took a sip of their strawberry/pineapple Baptist punch and then we RAN as fast as we could....... to SEE it all....everything that the County Fair had to offer----to experience every try our ride every ride on the Midway, to see the awesome animals...and even the freaky SIDE SHOWS....WE RAN as fast as we could ...yes, TO DO IT ALL. (in the distance all our family and friends bid us farewell, blessings and friendly waves for success in our venture.)

Off we went. First, at the County Fair, we jumped from the beautiful sunlight of day, into the deep, lush, warm darkness of the 'Tunnel of Love'. The air had the scent of sweet sweet flowers and ferns. The darkness closed around us...sealing us away from the world...tiny little sparkling lights glittered here and there along the way & in the reflections of the smooth waters surrounding our Boat of Love" We clung together. And together we tasted the sweetest gift that God gives... as we traveled very slowly through that long, long tunnel of love.....magic and secret voices of two one.

With joking humor...The World said we stayed in the tunnel much too long...but we...disagreed with the world and felt it was far too short a visit. Finally...yes, we are required to exit that precious warm tunnel and suddenly STEP OUT in the blinding brightness of sun rays...of change...of new things to see and new things to experience ...all as part of the County Fair! We would jerk our heads to the the right...we saw all sorts of wonderful...inviting things at the smorgasbord of events served at the COUNTY FAIR! It alllll looked so exciting and enticing. We wanted IT ALL!!! We stopped to taste the awesome pies, cakes, peaches and preserves at the baking, everything tasted so good and boy did we love to eat--- at each and every display. The County Fair was such fun! And wow---We LOVED the music! The jazz, the Hobbyhorses Calliope, the noise...the excitement--bells, drums, horns & zingers-- on every corner and in every crevice. We loved it all. We tried to do almost everything.

THEN we saw the animals... We ran to them. ----Oh, how sweet, especially all the 'little baby animals'. How could anything BE any cuter? We watched and laughed at them all. They were so cute. We were especially drawn to the beautiful little red and white Texas Hereford bull calves. Blue ribbons around their necks. Champions! Their little white faces and turned up pink noses---truly tugged at our hearts. So precious...innocent...lovable and adorable!

Then suddenly the MASTER of ceremonies of the whole COUNTY FAIR...saw us watching the cute calves and He kindly walked over and said, "May you both be blessed, for I am here to bestow a very special gift to you. I have been watching you watch all these little cute animals----I am here to 'present you a Free little calf of your choice to raise for the next 18 years because I know you will do your very best to take good care of this beautiful little thing.'

Quickly as we could, we chose the cutest one, took his little rope and led him away as "our own little precious Gift from the Master!

Sometimes our cute little calf loved to jump around dancing, always laughing, putting on a show....always the 'center of attention' everywhere we went. He loved to perform. He loved the cheering. Together my love and I laughed, hugged and kissed our precious gift as we watched every dance he made and treasured everything he did.

It seems like about 8 minutes passed and then in the other end of the barn of the County Fair we all three came across a pen of beautiful little tiny fluffy SNOW WHITE baby LAMBS that had tiny pink noses---just like the little calf----and I ran back to the MASTER and begged him to allow us to have just one of the little darlings. Much to my surprise...and my love....the Master said "oh sure...I KNOW you will give your best to take care of her and give her a good home"

Oh my, could life be any better? Two little gifts, both so cute...both so good...both the greatest of gifts from Thee MASTER of the County Fair. We were sooo blest!

Oh life was beautiful. The County Fair simply Could Not BE ANY BETTER! Then we saw the FERRIS WHEEL. The gigantic wheel twirled gracefully...up into the sky...into the floating white clouds. Could anything 'look' more beautiful. Absolutely not! The awesome music played the beautiful Vienna Waltz. Dreamy thoughts crowd the human mind as you look up to see the gentle swinging baskets of laughing riders....soft clouds float leisurely nearby as birds dip down to see the excitement below.


We safely tied our two little GIFTS, they were our treasures & special gifts from the Master they are secured in safety, taken cared of---we joyfully climbed aboard the huge Ferris wheel at the County Fair!!! At first, our basket rocked a little in a fun sort of way. We quickly locked our steel bar for protection. The attendant stepped over and double checked our bar for safety.

The music starts, we begin to rise. Our hearts are racing. We look at each other. We laugh. We hold hands gently. I lean closer as we rise higher into the air. Somehow my chest seems to be about to burst in anticipation of the unknown---only fun and laughter can lie ahead. We have watched all the others before us. Around and around we gently flow. The soft gentle winds whisk past our faces, it feels so neat. Oh, this ride is so delightful...much BETTER than I even believed it was going to be! Wow, what fun. I lay my head over on his shoulders...he nussels his head back down upon my mine--we are lost in this sweet dreamland of fantasy. So sweet, so blessed.

BONK! We HEAR a loud clonk. We feel ourselves thrust forward! We hit the brace bar of protection and fly back against the now VERY HARD seat...that once seemed soft. The music has stopped. People are screaming! We are AT THE VERY TIP TOP OF THE FERRIS WHEEL...rocking precariously back and forth! We look down at the attendant. He looks up at us and yells...."everything is Okay, don't be afraid...we have a little malfunction...but all is okay, I'll have you going in just one moment."

Wow, that was good to hear. Our hearts were pounding...but once again we began to laugh because we trusted the man below to know that all was okay. We liked trusting people. Life was a blast. There we sat at the top of Ferris Wheel...sitting quietly....WATCHING the whole world below us.... we then looked to the east.... and saw the glorious horizon of beautiful trees, a distant city, the sun made the world glisten. How beautiful it is up here!!!

To the north we turned & saw the beauty of the awesome open prairies, crisp neatness of fields of that only God could create.

To the west were awesome gigantic purple mountains...we saw the beautiful snow caps...great ski lifts and rustic winter cabins, evergreens beyond belief...places where we had skied as a family, we saw amusement parks, forest, flowers, gardens, oil derricks, windmills, thousands of cattle, horses and to the south we saw beautiful oceans and seas where many ships and giant sails, majestic resorts, motor coaches, traveling friends and where we had walked the beautiful beaches, vacationed on massive cruise ships on the open waters of grace with its beautiful dancing porpoise and fish of every color, kind and shape.
Above us...from our view of the world on this Ferris wheel at the County Fair...were birds of every kind and sort, all gliding silently through the air, seagulls to cardinals, eagles to buzzards and falcons. There were also the giant recreational aircrafts (of family members and close friends)... floating liesurely through the clouds. It was awesome to view the world from the top of a broken Ferris wheel....on a 50 cent ticket.

Watching the County Fair from the top of the Ferris wheel was an absolutely unexpected thrill...even sometimes when things got to be very, very scary when we thought we would fall to our death----but true to his earlier words---as the attendant called out "here we go, folks, got it fixed, enjoy the ride!" The music started up again and we gently rocked and rolled, around and around; it was so wonderful then slowly we then found our way back down to the the ground safety...thrilled to have had the awesome VIEW of the world...even tho it was rather scary at times.

Quickly we grabbed up our two little thrilled that all was safe and secure, laughing and chatting...we made our way around the rest of the awesome Fair grounds. Lots of sights to see. Lots of things to Do. We saw the crazy man who 'ate the fiery swords'. We viewed the two headed pig...the pig that could count coins, the chicken that sang and counted. We saw the Fat man sitting behind the wind blown curtain. We bypassed the Beer Garden , the Strip booths and Girlie peep shows. Our Gifts didn't need that! (smile)

We saw the man cut in half; a lady get her head cut off and put back on, we listened to every type of music that was presented all around the Fair. We rode every ride that seemed safe. We tried every thing that seemed wise. We laughed, we cried, we fell down lots of time, we always got up and tried again. We travelled to every booth that we could. We played most of the games along the way. We played the games of luck---we lost some--we won a lot. We were encouraged. We were disappointed.

Then we came upon the 'Tilt-a-Whirl" ride. In my youth---I loved the speed of this machine, so when we heard it's music in the distance...we ran. We quickly bought our ticket. It cost a little more but we thought it would certainly BE WORTH will bring us the 'best time ever'. A friend walked by and called to us, 'you two please be don't want to get hurt.'' We yelled back, "okay' thanks, it's going to be fun."

Together, eagerly, we looked each other in the eyes and jumped right in, jerked down that protection bar...banged it make sure it was latched properly. The attendant did the same. Laughing our heads off---the motor reves up---just like a real live 500 lap race---we are tide in and READY TO GO!!!

We are laughing our heads off....knowing we are about to be beaten from side to side...but in reality that we wouldn't be hurt! The motor roars louder.....and louder! We spin and we spin....faster & faster...faster....suddenly wham---the machines slides us to one side...then the other...back and forth--twirling--- as we RISE HIGHER UP INTO THE SKY. We are twirling....we are sliding. We are laughing....screaming...holding on for dear life. We grip the safety bar with every muscle of our bodies. Swirling, laughing.....

SUDDENLY the safety bar Pops..... It flies out.... away from us. I grip it with all my strength. I cannot see my love anywhere. I am spinning through the air. I know death is below. I know that pain is coming. Instantly I Hit. then zero, blank, silence, alone, the unknown.

Finally I begin to awaken and feel nothing but pain. Pain from the top of my head to the tip of my heart hurts worst of all. I can't see my love anywhere--- but I can hear his voice, his moaning, his cry for help,. I open my eyes. My vision is so blurry...I can't make out anything at first. Finally I am able to see that he is right beside me. He is rolling in pain, groaning and calling my name. All I could do is whisper to him "I'm here".

We lay there the dirt...people walked around us....over us...ON one one cared... I could hear the laughter of others. I could hear the music but it wasn't playing for me anymore. I could feel the earth shake around the people rushed by me and my love---- as we tried to dodge their huge feet ...their cutting shoes....each one that stepped on...crushing our broken bodies.

We saw old friends come and go,.... many actually stepped right on us and never looked back.... or even seemed to realize that they had actually stepped on a dying human being. Yet, there we were...someone no different from them--and no one would stop or reach down; they did not see.

We lay there together we had never, ever hurt before, undeserved pain but yet ours to bear, alone. We kept staring into each others pain filled eyes, knowing each others pain filled bodies... and yet helplessness to change our situation---as the world passed us by. We each dug our fingers deep into the earth around us..grabbing for anything....trying to get up...trying to raise our heads up---to find hope.

Without strength, we often fell back down into the dirt, feeling unwanted trash drifting near us and deeper we sank into the hardened ground around us. Dirt built up upon us as the people above quickly walked past throwing dirt into our painfilled faces. The dust filled our teeth...our noses...our mouths. We could not understand. We began to grip each others hand. Tighter & tighter we clung to each other. Slowly....very slowly....Strength began to imerge. We were soon able to gather both of our hands together until we could sit up in the dust of that dirty County Fair grounds that had once been our greatest JOY.

We now held both hands...we drew ourselves up to our knees in that filth and trash left behind by people who didn't stop or care. We prayed. All we could hear was Carnival Noise in return. All we could smell was burnt stuff, stale beer and bad breath of other people walking past us.

We still did not have enough strength to rise. We stayed on our knees, holding hands together---we continued to pray. We whispered prayers...we cried together, we cried our prayers even and held each other close but we still didn't have the strength to 'get up' and walk with the crowd.

We closed our eyes; praying on.... in each others arms.... and gradually from the unknown,..... the Master of the County Fair appeared. Gently He reached down ...and like two feathers...He lifted us to our feet. He quietly brushed away the dust that had gathered upon our clothes & broken bodies and with the sweetest, warmest voice.... whispered to us that "No, dear ones, I am here...I saw what happened and I am sorry.... because... I know... that you did not deserve what happened to you ...but I allowed it to happened so that YOU will help other people.... who might also be innocent and yet trampled beneath the feet of others. Innocent people get trampled everyday and no one knows what it is like until they too suffer. You see, I, too, was done this way and just like you I loved them, I trusted them and yet they turned on me too. Like you, I gave my all and I was spit upon and called names...but You now will find knowledge, compassion, understanding and wisdom from all of this.... and you will eagerly FORGIVE THEM...just I did a long time ago. Then, you will know the real meaning of JOY, Happiness and eternal peace---for you ARE MY creation and I love you".

As Jim and I celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary.... with lots of bumps and bruises.... we most dearly treasure all the good that has happened to us as we trodded year by years around this little 'County Fair'.... with 1000's of experiences, both good and not so good but mostly we KNOW we are blest and that we were CHOSEN.... and equally...that we have also earned many Degrees of Knowledge & wisdom (from the Master) from the hurts and pains of life.....that most people cannot know or have...until they are 'down in the dirt', helpless , hurting and hopeless.

It can be physical illnesses, financially brokenness, mentally depleted or spiritually wounded---a million forms of pain...never created by the Master of the County Fair---but He watches silently and steps in and brings back the sonshine, the smiles, the laughter, the joy of life...humbly,
forever and both the worthy AND the unworthy. God is Still God...Thee Master is Forever Thee Master!
I can easily say, "I LOVE the COUNTY FAIR; it is never dull, there is always something new happening and each new change will be a rewarding challenge to conquer. I do not plan to return to the SAME old Fair Grounds. My future goals are for newer adventures, greater experiences achieved by a weaker aging body but a heart that is determined to be all that I can be....see all that I can see, learn all I can and laugh and sing through every event....even my failures.

May you have a very Merry Christ' we all face changes for New things in our New Year to come....this being our #51.... hugs & blessings.

Thanks for an awesome 50th Golden Wedding Celebration...the unbelievable beautiful Professionally Perfect Golden Wedding Book of Memories and photos from & of all of the kids...Thanks a million. for all the compliments, gifts, phone calls, cards---we love you all----
& as Santa says "and to all a Good Night"....ha ha Be blest!!!

(this is me and our 4 grandkids decorating our Christmas tree at dedicated!!!