Sunday, April 18, 2010

Close Call!

If you know me, you know that within the past six weeks we have had to put our dog, Teddy, and a cat that adopted us, Frankie, to sleep. We have a hard time coping with "empty nest" (lack of a dog) and a co-worker had two puppies for which she needed to find homes, so we became mom and dad to Charlie and Lucy.

Friday afternoon when I got home from work Dan met me at the back door and said that the puppies had vomited all afternoon. He was in the process of cleaning up the puddles of plant matter they had thrown up in their crates and on the utility room floor. You know puppies, if it's there, it's in their mouths. I guess they must have eaten something in the morning while I was getting ready for work, because they stay in the house during the day. They were really, really sick. I decided to get online and check on the toxicity of the plants in our backyard  pots and flower beds. I was particularly worried about the sago palms.

Wow, did I get an education. Sago palms are one of the top five most poisonous plants in the world. Every part of the plant is poisonous to humans and animals. If a pet ingests the plant, there is pretty much no hope because it destroys the liver. When I read that, Dan and I put the puppies in the car and headed for the Veterinary Emergency Clinic. They vomited all the way there and back. When we signed in at the clinic, we noticed that there was a sign warning about the dangers of sago palm. Why haven't we known this before? Why isn't there a warning on those plants that are so readily available at Lowe's and Home Depot? Even though I wouldn't expect children to put a part of the plant in their mouths, you never know what could happen.

The vet treated the puppies for their dehydration and vomiting and told us to watch them for the rest of the weekend. When I told the technician that we had sago palms, she said we would just hope and pray that wasn't what Charlie and Lucy ingested.

This morning the puppies seem to be back to their old selves, running and playing. We have learned a lot through this experience. I went to the ASPCA web site and got a list of plants that are toxic and could cause death. There are many sites that give the toxicity levels of common plants to humans and pets. Would you believe: lantana, azaleas, hydrangeas, aloe vera, kalanchoes, snake plants, scheffelera, hostas, caladiums, and lillies to name a few? Those are the ones in our back yard. Any future landscaping will be done with the list of non-toxic plants in hand.

So...guess what Dan's been doing?

Don't fence me in!

Not only will Lucy and Charlie be unable to get to the plants, Katie and Hannah won't be able to get to the pool. Both are good things! I don't think it looks bad, either. We'll put some (non-toxic) plants in some pots next to it and it'll look like a part of the landscaping.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Springtime in the Backyard

No, we don't have any bluebonnets (see last post), but we are enjoying other newly blooming plants like this bouganvillea. We paid $2.98 for this plant at a closeout sale at Lowes several years ago and this is the first year that it has really bloomed. I think we got our money's worth.

The Indian Hawthorne has been lovely.

We've just planted some miniature roses, geraniums, and lantana.

We were sitting out by the pool when we noticed something zipping by. We think it was a hummingbird, but we're not sure. It loved lantana.

We know that it won't be long before the dog days of summer here in Texas, but we're loving it right now!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Springtime in Texas

I know that I’m not an impartial observer, but it seems to me that there’s no prettier place than Texas in the spring…especially this spring. It seems that the colors are more vibrant this year. Last year we were still recovering from Hurricane Ike and we had lost a lot of our tree cover. I don’t remember the dogwoods, red buds, etc. being as beautiful. Also central Texas was in the midst of a severe drought which affected wildflower growth.
But this year…
These pictures were taken by a friend of a friend and they speak for themselves about the beauty of a country road in central Texas in the spring.

Springtime in the city hasn't been too shabby, either. I was driving to a school to do some observations this morning and I just wanted to burst into “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!”
The sky was crystal-clear. There was a little breeze.
And guess what I saw in the neighborhood?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O  men of little  faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. 34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day. Matthew 26:28-34

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Scripture

One of my favorite scriptures is found in the book of Lamentations, which was written by the prophet Jeremiah after the destruction of Jerusalem. I have the verses posted on the wall of my office right above the computer so that I have a daily reminder of one of the attributes of God's character. (You would be surprised how many people have commented about it!)

Jeremiah says, "My soul ... bows down within me." in Jer. 3:20. He paints the picture of total despair and hopelessness. But then he says:

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.
The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul. "Therefore I have hope in Him." Jer. 3:21-24

I also love the hymn, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," written by Thomas Chisholm

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.


Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


Thomas Chisholm was born in 1866 in the state of Kentucky. He wrote over 1200 hymns, such as: "Living For Jesus," and "O, to be Like Thee." But the hymn we remember the most is "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." Chisholm did not write this hymn because something great and miraculous had taken place in his life. No, he wrote this because over his entire life he had learned to see the greatness of God. At the age of 75, he wrote:

"My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now. Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

U-Turn Days

I came across this sweet post, "U-Turn Days," this morning at Gypsy Mama. She tells the story of her two-year-old vomiting in her lap and how that changed her day and her perspective. That vomit became a metaphor for so much more. I also enjoyed reading the comments because we all experience those kind of days, whether we are a mom with toddlers or a grandma with grown children. Because those of us who are believers live in a state of grace, we take the vomit that is spewed forth in our lives (from whatever the source) to the Lord. He cleans it up and we move on. 

Friday, April 9, 2010


I know that it is too early for Mother’s Day, but I’ve had my mom on my mind a lot lately. It’s probably because Dan had a birthday last week and is fast approaching mom’s age when she died. Also, since January we have had two new moms and babies in the family which has reminded me of the joy, privilege, and responsibility of motherhood.

My mom died when I was 33 after a three-year intense battle with breast cancer. Although I was thrilled because her battle was over and she was at home with the Father, I was devastated that I would no longer have her presence in my life. She was my best friend and the glue that held our family and extended family together. She provided wisdom and trustworthy advice for me as I developed in my role as wife and mother. When she died I felt rudderless in a sea of uncharted waters. I wasn’t ready to be the “matriarch” of the family. Not that I didn’t have a loving husband or sister, but I wanted my mom, because she had traveled this path before me, to help answer the questions:

  • Who am I going to call to share the news that Amy made the dean’s list, Erin made drill team, Dan got a promotion, we got a new house, the girls got accepted at UT, or I got teacher of the year?
  • How do you make it through the preteen and teenage years?
  • How do you keep on going when a child breaks your heart?
  • How do you teach the “facts of life?”
  • How do you send your daughters off to college?
  • How do you "be" the mother of the bride?
  • How do you "be" a mother-in-law?
  • How do you cope when you hear the word cancer? Or when you are told that you will never regain your hearing? Or that your nephew needs a kidney transplant? Or when someone calls to tell you that your daughter is dying?
  • How do you "be" a grandmother? How is it that you can love someone more than your own children
  • How do you adjust to an empty nest?
  • How do you grow old gracefully and maintain your sense of humor, especially when you look in the mirror and see your grandmother (ha!)??
My mom may not have been there to mentor me through the ups and downs of being a wife and mother, but for 33 years she lived a life that pointed to the One who does have all the answers and He has sustained me in my journey with abundant grace.

The last week or so of mom’s life she was comatose. One day her eyes popped open and she said “Mama?” as she stared at the space at the end of the bed. I know that when I die, I too will be reunited with my mom in Heaven. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:26-30

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Weekend 2010


I hope that everyone had a blessed Easter! We began our weekend by keeping our two little granddaughters on Friday while their mommy and daddy went house hunting. They are hoping to move to the suburbs north of downtown. We’re excited because they will be closer to us!

Grandpa was putting the finishing touches on our new fence and I was planting some flowers. My grandmother used to say that you never plant your garden until Good Friday. We didn’t plant any vegetables, but managed a few flowers with Katie’s help.

Yippee, I’ve got me some tools! (And isn’t this outfit just the cutest thing for gardening!)

IMG_1502 Okaaaaay…now how does this work?


I think I’ve got the hang of it.


Wow, I can rake and dig at the same time…who knew that I was ambidextrous?IMG_1505 I heppin Gampa.


Hmmm…where to go next?

IMG_1507 These flowers need a little help.


The satisfaction of a job well done!



We usually attend church on Saturday night. So last night we met Amy and Chris and the girls and Tony and Judy for our Easter worship service. And it was a glorious corporate worship experience! There is nothing like several thousand people singing “He Lives” and “Because He Lives” from their hearts…especially when you’re sharing the experience with those you love. We also had a soloist who sang “I Know that My Redeemer Lives.” It was very moving.

The pastor’s sermon was on the reality of life after death. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, this life on earth is not all there is. We will all experience resurrection, followed by judgment, and then God will give both the “wicked and the righteous” the desires of our heart. Those of us who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and are Christ followers who desire a closer walk with Him will join Him in Heaven. Those of us who have spent our lives either ignoring God’s call or running from Him will also get the desires of their heart – separation from Him for all eternity. It was a simple but powerful message.


Today we had Easter lunch at our house. It was the traditional Sunday meal from my childhood of roast beef, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, salad, and Texas sheet cake for dessert. I think everybody enjoyed the meal (especially Katie, who looooves her Grammy’s roast beef).





The Easter bunny came to Grammy’s, too!



I’m “smiling pretty” ‘cause the roast is almost ready!

IMG_1518 “I hungy!”

IMG_1519 Hannah was trying to “smile pretty,” too.



I not only garden, I can cook. Those mashed potatoes are yummy!


Where are those eggs?


Daddy, I thought the Easter bunny brought me that chocolate egg!!





I hope your Easter was full of love, peace, and contentment!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

He Lives!

As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Whom I myself shall behold. And Whom I shall see and not another. Job 19:25 & 27

I pray that you experience the grace and the power of the Resurrection this Easter.

Friday, April 2, 2010

It is finished!

My sins

The picture above is from Mustard Seeds, a blog written by a lovely young Christian mom who is striving to sow the seeds of faith in her young children. Her post from yesterday gave me a fresh reminder of what Jesus did for me when he carried my sins to the cross.

Surely our griefs (sickness because of sin) He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him. And by His scourging we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Isaiah 53:4-6

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.  Romans 4:25