Saturday, October 6, 2007

Last Chair. First.

With permission... I share the following story....

This week was incredibly tough for a certain musician we know and love. Music, notes, sounds, rhythms.... are so much a part of his very being. In many ways, it is like breathing for him. It comes so naturally and yet he still practices daily.

He was out-of-town for a few days and had not taken his trumpet with him due to the circumstances. Although... it would have actually been quite welcome. His practice time had been next to none when it came time for the chair test. Much to his disappointment, he received last chair out of five. He played the notes too quickly.

He shared with his two biggest fans about what he felt like was his failure. Just the week before he had been first chair and had gotten to perform in front of a large crowd with cheers and applause. His pride.. his ego... shot down. He was angry. He was mad at himself. And completely disappointed. And then......

His two biggest fans reminded him about the fact that his being first chair more often than not... means that the others behind him do not know what it is like to be in his shoes. To be able to say, "I'm first chair." or "I played before a large crowd with cheers and applause." How they must feel angry, mad at themselves, and completely disappointed. Their pride and egos shot down.

He listened carefully and absorbed the word being spoken into his life... his heart.... his breathing.... While there is nothing wrong with wanting to be first chair... there is something wrong when one cannot be happy for others they call friends because they are so engulfed in their loss. For when individuals remember it takes more than one when playing in a band..... their loss is another person's gain.... and the band can play on... at times even better to a large crowd with cheers and applause... or especially for an audience of One.

He ended up realizing the error of his way and has gotten himself right. His two biggest fans even more so proud of him now than all the times he has been first chair. For there are lessons learned from being last that are beyond priceless.......

Sometimes we need our eyes to be wide open so that we may truly see.

Thanks Travis for allowing your story to be shared.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Interruptions Part II

(Yet, there was this nudge inside of me that said, "Just say 'no'.") I did..... say no....

Today is Friday... This morning, the phone rang... Brother G and his wife were called to help someone... Someone with a real need. As it turns out... it not only helped this individual but it answered some questions for us as well.... Answers that will be used as we seek to minister to others....

We used the fact that we were close to the Hrt Ctr and stopped to visit with HB. His feet looked awful and he kept rubbing them together..... I offered to put lotion on them since I knew he couldn't reach them. As I was in the restroom getting the lotion.... it hit me... When I came back out with it... I looked at HB straight in the eyes... I asked him if he would prefer Brother G to do it for him instead of me... He did... It was sweet and tender as he got down on his knees to tend to this precious man's feet... He had spent countless hours doing that for dad.... Sweet memories..... We talked for a bit longer... As we were getting ready to leave... hugs and kisses as usual... except this time... HB asked me to pray. One thing he knows about me... I will not pray certain ways unless I am convicted to.... He cried while I prayed and just squeezed my hand. Today is his wife's birthday... This was the first time in 2 and a half weeks she has not been at the Hrt Ctr by 7:00 a.m. She was going to be there shortly after we left..... By this time HB had already had lunch...

We hadn't been home long this afternoon... when the phone rang again. Brother G is on his way back to another city we were at earlier today.... Parker is home from school now... Travis will be before long.... Austin needs to be picked up from the little store at 5:00..... And dinner will be ready at 5:30..... it's only been on the stove since 6:00 a.m. after all...

Funny enough? That nudge was right... I did need to say no. Ah... THAT VOICE....

What needs to be interrupted in your life this moment?

Words. Hearts. Search. Action.

Every week, Parker, has various things he is required to do with his spelling words. This week part of the assignment included making a word search for the following words:

  1. beautiful
  2. correction
  3. factors
  4. lately
  5. peaceful
  6. spotless
  7. vacation
  8. business
  9. current
  10. grid
  11. loveable
  12. punishment
  13. suddenly
  14. weather
  15. coastal
  16. education
  17. happiness
  18. ocean
  19. reachable
  20. tides

As I was looking over the words.... various things came to my mind with each one. Some that will actually require action now. Thank you Mrs. Willingham.

What about you?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Eyes. Ears. Feet. Hands.

This morning Parker had an eye doctor appointment. I drove to the school to pick him up. We had the most in-depth fascinating conversation as we drove into town. To say that he makes me think is putting it mildly.... He may only be nine.. but he can make his mamma's head spin due to his wisdom and knowledge..... most importantly... his love for God and therefore, others.

While we were at the eye doctor, each one who was with us took time to explain what they were doing and why. They could tell that he was truly interested in learning. I could tell, as could they..... he was paying very close attention to what they were saying. For the most part, he could repeat the information back - if you were to ask him. Not just for the sake of repeating it but because he had truly grasped it.

After it was determined that he, in fact, does need glasses.... we walked over to where the frames were kept. He only had to try on two pairs before we found the ones that truly looked like they belong as a part of Parker. Remember... the boy does have auburn hair... (shhhh it's also red.) He then said, "One reason why I am excited about having glasses is that I won't have to sit in the front of the class to see the board. Someone else who needs it more than I do can have that spot. I'll gladly sit in the back." He thanked the young woman who had been helping us and told her he looked forward to seeing her again when it was time to pick up his glasses. She just smiled at him.... and then at me.

Parker's dad and I had told him this morning not to take a lunch to school today. We weren't sure he would be returning to school based off what he might need done at the appointment. So, when we were finished and he was able to return to school after all.... we decided to go on a quick lunch date first. We went to the place we like to go together and ordered our food. He looked at me and took our cups... He then said, "Mom? What can I get you to drink?" He proceeded to get my drink and his along with putting the straw in each one, and also getting napkins and ketchup. He told me to go ahead and sit down.... He then offered to pray and made sure to include those who had just helped him at the eye doctor's office to be able to see better while he was holding his mother's hand.

When I walked Parker back into the school and had taken care of business in the office.... we started down the hallway.... he was going to go one direction.. and I another.... He stopped.. and walked back to me and kissed me on the lips right there in the middle of the main entrance.

As I sit here with the quiet of the house... just the slight hum of hubby's laptop computer.... I cannot help but be beyond thankful.... for some of what Parker and I were talking about on the way to the eye doctor appointment was.....

It is important to hide Scripture in your heart... and let it permeate your life.

The Word is Alive...... Where do you need to be eyes, ears, feet and hands?

Liquid Living.

Last night found me in my usual spot in the foyer of the hospital. There were bodies yet again all around. Coming and going.... some asking for directions to the area of speciality they were needing. Others.... walking with their heads down not wanting to be known and yet.... wanting to be understood. The seen and the unseen alike.....

In through the main doors walked a woman that I consider a dear friend. She also happens to be in the parenting class on Tuesday mornings. We immediately walked up to one another and hugged. The look on her face - no price tag could do justice on. She shared with me that she went home after the class and spent an hour with her husband talking about all she learned. He happened to be home... they were alone to actually talk..... I don't believe in coincidences. Neither do they. She was about to bust. She was on fire. And frankly.... it was pouring out into my own life and that of another sweet friend who was with her.... No doubt it will be poured out into the lives of their children..... and whomever else He would have her share with. Taking what is taught and actually making it a part of our lives..... our daily lives....

There's this man who I talk with on a regular basis while at the hospital on Wednesday nights. Last night was no different... And yet it was.... He had looked up the church my cousin was a part of. The church had a picture of him along with the information about the visitation and the service on their website. It was a small part of the main page.... It spoke volumes to this man in ways that I am not sure he fully understands yet... I pray one day soon - it will pour out from his life into that of others... Others he has contact with every Wednesday night especially.

One of the Titus 2 women in my life asked me to teach a marriage class in the spring. Several individuals have been asking me about that for a while now. Especially some of those in the parenting class.... I smiled deeply and had to laugh. For one thing He has been pouring into my heart lately, as He so often does over various seasons, is the reminder that while we can put things on our calendar....... only He truly knows what tomorrow holds... His timing.... His plans...

Liquid living..... Pouring out what He pours in... How full or empty is your jar?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

That Voice.

There's a voice that for over thirteen years now I've had the pleasure and privilege of loving...

Ummm that voice I just heard... If I wasn't looking directly at him... I might not have realized it was Travis I was hearing speaking to me.

There is a message in there about HIS voice... What is HE saying to you?


What's a parent to do??? Well, I turned it down of course...

Hey, Juls? Your Ain't Nothing But A Hound Dog got me in the doghouse with Austin.

Teenagers. Whatever happened to my...... space...... again anyways?


On THAT Subject.. My Answer.

It is not my intent to act as if nothing significant is happening with our local church body.

It is my intent and firm belief however that what is needed now is prayer and a real sense of thanksgiving for seasons of life.... for the individuals who are a part of them in ways at times not completely understood.

For Faith.... Hope... Love.... to breath alive in each of us.... and out to others.....

That is my answer.

Grace to you.....

City Lights. Dark Sky. Worship.

The city lights were bright last night as we headed into the big city to see HB. He is back at the Heart Ctr.

When we first arrived, HB was a little busy. E, the man taking care of him for the night, started telling us what all was happening to HB. He hadn't gotten far when he suddenly said, "You are a daughter right?" We told him that we are like family as well as hubby being one of his pastors. He walked into HB's room and said, "D & Camey are here. Is it okay if I tell them about you?" H said, "You bet." He came back out and continued to share. We walked down to the family waiting room where we stayed until E came to get us.

Upon walking into HB's room, I went up to his bed... leaned over and kissed him on the check. He grabbed my arm and then my hand and said, "Man, I've missed you two." I continued to hold his hand while E was doing various things to him. We listened as HB talked. He knew why we hadn't been around and told us how sorry he was for the loss of Dennis. We then sat down beside his bed.... hubby on one side... myself on the other... We had just missed his precious wife.

We visited with HB for a good while. Then, as we were getting ready to leave.... we held hands and started praying together. E walked into the room and stood by the door as we were praying. When hubby said, "Amen." - E said it too. E is an Aggie... HB is too.... Life is funny at times even when they are serious. Hubby and I each hugged HB and kissed him on the forehead. And of course, "I love you." was said amongst us. Like I've said before..... we do not agree with HB on every single subject and yet there is a love so deep that it can only be explained because of HIM.

As we started on the way home..... soon the city lights were gone and there was nothing but dark sky... That's what happens when you live in the country.... Hubby and I talked some and then started listening to the radio. Every now and then..... there were lights..... Yet, mostly darkness.... Funny how the sky can go from being various shades of blues, whites, yellows..... and then blacks... grays..... Hmmmmm...

As we drove the hour back home..... We worshipped. We sang. We praised God.... For even when there is rain that falls down on our lives.... there is this hope that surpasses any understanding. There is this peace that no matter what the next moment holds..... He holds it all in His hands.

Like Pastor Mike said on Monday during Dennis' celebration service.... Faith. Hope. Love.

Where do you stand with each of these? Are they evident in the moments of your life?

And do you know His Amazing Grace?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Lately there has been, what seems like, an unusual amount of interruptions in our schedules. Funny enough? As I posted in regards to Mae.... "my time with her has been extended past September.. God's plan permitting..." or something of the that nature.... This is the first week of October. I will not be taking care of her this week. I have said "no".....

We arrived home last night. This morning, I found myself wanting to hide under the covers. Yet, it is Tuesday again... How does that happen? So.... off to the parenting class I went... Oh, class was great as usual... yet, I couldn't shake it.. The silent prayers.... I knew someone we care about was in trouble. Serious trouble. He was... he is.... He was Care Flighted back to the hospital this morning from our highly secure gated community. He just got home yesterday.

As I was sharing with a sweet friend at the little store.... life is like that... I wanted to stay under the covers and yet there was this commitment to keep to those in class. So, I went. It would have been easy for me to say "yes" to taking care of Mae on Friday of this week. Yet, there was this nudge inside of me that said, "Just say 'no'."

Currently, I am waiting for Parker to walk in from school. Then, off to take Austin to the foot doctor for another check-up from his surgery. Yes, there is that part of me that desperately wants to be at the hospital already with HB. Yet, there are some things of life that must come first. Actually... individuals.... relationships.....

I see the school bus now.... I must go now....... Please pray....

Community. Church Body. Christ.

This morning as I sit here reflecting back over the past few days.... I am in complete awe once again.

Dennis passed away on Wednesday night. So, on Friday morning... my mother and I headed down to Boerne, Texas. Immediately upon walking into their house... it was clear... he was truly a major figure in their community. Not only Dennis... but his wife Cathy, Dennis Ray Jr., Robert and Sarah as well. Why major figures? Because they poured into their community a love that can only come from Him.

After we spent some initial time with them... we went next door to where we were to be staying to freshen up. I must confess... after hearing that the six of us plus Uncle Joe and Aunt Paula were all going to be staying there... I was a little curious to meet this family and to see their house. Ellen greeted us at the door and opened up a serene retreat. We were to make ourselves comfortable..... eat their food, swim in their pool, relax in the hot tub, play with the dogs, read on the porches....... Why? They considered themselves blessed to have them for neighbors.

Friday night, as strange as this may sound.... we went to the high school football game. The team was a huge part of their lives. In fact, I cannot begin to share the countless stories I was told by members of the team about my cousin Dennis. The players all had his initials (DS) on the backs of their helmets. Robert did not play but lead the team out onto the field. Robert, Dennis Ray Jr., and Cathy were on the sidelines of the game the whole time. Player upon player coming up to them and hugging them. There was a moment of silence in memory of him. The game was dedicated to him. The team won after a nail biting game. They had already won before the game started... Cousin Dennis loved each one of the boys as if they were his own. Some do not have earthly fathers who claim them. He provided them with unconditional love and support as only possible through Him.

Throughout the moments of each day... there were members of their church there... bringing food, answering the phone, doing whatever needed to be done around the house... taking out the enormous amounts of trash that kept collecting... Funny thing is... I did not know a single stranger for there were none. Conversation after conversation... hug after hug... it was clear... when the church body is what it is meant to be... we are one in the bond of love.

More to come....... My cousin Dennis cannot compare to Him. Christ is truly the Famous One.