Thursday, February 27, 2014
Most of my friends have fur friends. They are just as devoted to their fur friends as we are to Miss Molly. Are we all a little crazy....Maybe. I'm not sure we care; we just know our fur friends are family. They are there when we are sad. They are joyful when we take time to play, and they love us unconditionally. When we get ready to leave the house Molly puts on her sad, poor me face. She can look so pathetic, we feel guilty for daring to have a life away from her. Her demeanor when only one of us leaves is totally different. She's still sad, but she knows that one is staying with her. When we both get ready to head out, she cowers on the steps and milks that look for all she can. Now when we come home, she is ecstatic. She jumps and dances around, and can hardly contain the joy in her little body.
Dogs always know when we don't feel good. Molly snuggles especially close, and every so often she will look at whoever is not feeling well, as if to say, I'm here. It will be O.K. She also knows when she has done something wrong. She is mostly very well behaved, but she does like to chew on sticks she brings in from outside, various pieces of trash, and sometimes fingers. When she knows she has gone too far, and we say her name sternly, she knows she did something that wasn't right. Last night she brought a pine branch in and chewed it up on the bed. The other day she went downstairs and brought up stairs the wooden boot puller we have by the door. It is a little heavy, but she got it upstairs. Of course she knew she was wrong to chew on it, so hasn't touched it since.
A lot of Facebook is also devoted to fur babies. Those that are lost, or hurt, or sick, are worried about, prayed for, and stories shared. If a friend loses a fur baby many respond with prayers, and sympathy. We have all been there, and we all know that pain. There is a huge community out there that posts about dogs that have been rescued, dogs that need fostering, and dogs that need forever homes. Not one of us questions our passion for our fur babies. We know God hears and answers our prayers, and we know our friends love their dogs, and all other dogs as much as we love Molly. There are almost as many pictures of our fur friends on Facebook as of our grandchildren.
I would love to know what Molly is thinking sometimes. She is such a busy, inquisitive little soul. On walks, she is here, there and everywhere. She hears noises that either scare her, or distract her. She constantly looks back at me, as though to say, are you still there, Mom? She likes to see people and other dogs. Max lives next door, and they get excited when they see each other. When it gets warmer, they can play more often. We have been walking further when the weather allows. Molly loves to walk around her new turf. I am sure she is convinced it is all hers. There are times in a day when Molly runs up to wherever I am, and looks at me, almost excited, almost anticipating. It is then I ask, "do you have to go outside?" She jumps up and down, and the look on her face, says, "I thought you'd never ask!"
I love watching her sleep. Sometimes she moves her feet, and I swear she is chasing something in her dreams. Sometimes she snuggles her wolf, and sometimes she chews on his Jose in her sleep. The best look of all is when she wakes herself up, and looks at us, like she doesn't know why she is awake. That cute confused look soon melts away, as she sinks once more into sleep.
When we lost Samson last spring, we didn't think we could ever love another fur baby as much. Molly changed that. It is not unlike children. You love them equally but differently. Samson was a lot like Molly in some Terrier ways, but they are different personalities, and each have their own little stamp on our hearts. Samson never liked the vacuum, but he would just leave the room. Molly attacks it, and tries to bite it. Samson loved dry dog food, Molly won't eat it. Things in common, playing ball, walks, other dogs, and sleeping under the covers at night. One thing that will always be true, is that our fur babies are family, and life without them is a little more lonely, a little more empty, and with a lot less licks. Molly is our focus, and our life with her is filled with joy.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
No conversation ever got started without words. We can't talk, or write, or read without them. Words are some times very small, some are bigger. They have power, depending on how they are used. I am a wordsmith, which the dictionary defines as someone who works with words. A skillful writer. Now I do not claim to be especially skillful, but God gave me a love of words, and has blessed me with the gift of writing. From a very early age, I had lots of books. I am told, I held them upside down, and pretended to read. When I really learned to read, it always came very easy and my love grew. My first passion was the Nancy Drew Mystery series. I still have my collection. Words we read, words we hear can be a source of so much in our lives.
When you think about it, there are love words, hate words, funny words, and hurtful words. The words we say can be especially important. Reading words are selected by us, as to what we will read, and they may never go any further than inside our own heads. Words that come out of our mouth can be a whole other deal. Words can either encourage, or build someone up. They can bless someone, make someone feel loved, or make us happy. Words can also destroy, tear someone down, and make them feel unloved, hated, and hurt. I grew up with very little praise or acceptance for who I was. I was made fun of, put down, and told I would never amount to much of anything. Those words stayed with me, buried deep down inside for many, many years. They colored my world, my choices, and my actions. God has since taken those words away, and replaced them in my heart with love, understanding, and His words, and encouraging people in my life.
Everyone needs encouragement from time to time. We all need to know that we are important, and that we are worth more than jewels or gold. I now have many encouragers in my life, and I in turn am able to encourage others with my words. There is a childhood lyric that says, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." I tell you that is not true! Those words in my childhood hurt then, and they still hurt until I dealt with it. Only now after over 60 years can I recall them and not feel so hurt it makes me cry. Words cut deep. No one sees the pain, but it is a pain straight to the heart, like no other. Words are very powerful both for good and for bad. The Bible tells us that the tongue is small but can be vicious.
Words that are funny stay with us a long time too. Also words that a person uses all the time, and is a part of who they are. My mother-in-law Mary was one who had many of those words. "Where are your shoes, put your coat on, you don't have socks on." Words from favorite comedies have always been something my husband John and I spout at each other often. One liners that struck us as funny stay with us. Children are often a great wealth of words that we either love to repeat to others, or we wish they had never said. One of our all time favorites may seem weird to others, but it is a family wordism we remember. My mother passed away and our oldest grandson was maybe 10. His mother, our daughter was horrified, but it was the release we all needed. The funeral director had warned us as we walked out beside the casket, not to trip on the cloth over the casket. Our dear grandson heard that, so he said, as a warning to all, "Dead Grandma, comin through!" It was a priceless moment, and those words will never be forgotten.
I love reading the words of others, and as an author and journalist, I have moments when I am pleased with my words. I love writing words. I love hearing encouraging, loving words, and words that make me feel special. God's words to me through His word are the best ones to lift me up, and make my heart glad. He is the Master Wordsmith! No matter what I may need to hear, it is in His word! Since words and us were originated with Him, I guess that should be no surprise. Let the words of my mouth bring you joy, love, encouragement, peace, and happiness. And if my words don't.....God's will!
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Do you have joy, peace, and beauty in your life? What brings me joy, peace, and a sense of beauty may be totally different in your world. We are all different in our likes and dislikes, and we are all different in what moves us. That's O.K. Because it would be a very boring world if we were all cookie cutter shapes. As I get older I find joy, peace and beauty in so many things. I find that God has blessed me with a great deal of sensitivity to my world. When I was younger, and had yet to become a child of God, I drifted through life wanting the best of everything. That meant material, worldly things. I was so busy making me happy(I thought), that I didn't stop to enjoy the small things in my life.
I was not sensitive to people around me, I did not take time to enjoy the world God fashioned around me. I saw the sunset, I saw flowers, blue skies, and even friends everyday, but it was always at the very edge of my conscious world. If I was not at the center, and I wasn't buying it, it wasn't noticed, or important. I am so grateful that that was the first half of my life. In this, the second half, I became God's daughter, I have His free gift of salvation, and I have His joy, His peace, and His beauty! You know how relaxing and mesmerizing a fire in a fireplace or campfire can be, and that overwhelming peace is now with me in so many areas. Just as those flames dance and flutter, and relax me, they are one of the things that I relate to so many things in my world....Now. I can be at peace because I know that no matter what my life holds for me, God is in charge. He sees all my days before a single one comes to me. That gives me great joy, and peace.
I love sunrises and sunsets. I marvel at all God's creation. Have you looked a a flower....really looked at it. It is delicately formed, put together beautifully, and each petal has amazing veins, and colors, and is joined by all the other petals to make a whole flower. Looking at one of those brilliant blue skies, not a cloud in sight, I realize only God could make such brilliant color. Hearing birds singing in the early morning in Spring is a joy, seeing green grass, bunnies in the yard, and a puppy laying in a patch of sunlight, are joyful and peaceful, beautiful moments. Watching an innocent baby's face as they sleep is a joy, and God designed those little ones. There are so many things of beauty in my world, and just seeing them can bring me to tears. Music is another joy. I love beautiful show tunes, Country classics, Cajun, and Classical. Praise and worship music especially favorites,
Joy, peace, and beauty are my world. God has given me two gifts besides eternal life with Him. They are the ultimate in that joy, peace, and beauty. He has gifted me with compassion and empathy for others. If someone around me is hurting, I will know, I will be there with prayers and hugs. If I can help someone else, or share my struggles and solutions with someone else, I am at peace. It gives me joy. I have been blessed with family and friends who are there for me, and I know what it is to hurt, physically, mentally, and spiritually. If what God brought me through is a help to someone else, that is a huge blessing for me. The other gift is my writing. God has allowed me to use my words to reach others. Books were always a joy in my life as I grew up an only child. Books were my friends. Now to maybe reach someone else with encouragement, humor, or whatever God gives me to share is for me the ultimate in being joyful, peaceful, and able to share the beauty of my world. What makes you joyful, and peaceful? What beauty do you see? I pray that for each of you there is the joy, peace and beauty of the life God has given you!
Monday, February 17, 2014
Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Our Mary....One Of A Kind!: She was born in Wyoming and there would eventually be 12 children in her parent's house. She was very secretive about her family. She wa...
She was born in Wyoming and there would eventually be 12 children in her parent's house. She was very secretive about her family. She was unique, witty, smart, and sassy. She was John's Mom, and my Mom-in-love! When I first met her, I am not sure if she liked me or not, but as we got to know each other, we became friends, and then Mom and daughter. I have so many memories of her in the over 30 years she was with us. Some are sad, some funny, and some frustrating. Through all our times, she was a bright smile, and a fun person to be with. She had a lot of friends, and I can't think of anyone who met her, who didn't like her.
She held many jobs, but her early life remained a mystery. It seems she left home very young, and struck out on her own. No one knows why. She worked as a waitress, a homemaker, and a salesperson in a Drug Store. Her longest job was as a sales person in the shoe department at Brandeis in Omaha, which later became Younkers. She was there for over 25 years, and was really good at what she did. Through her years there she waited on a number of celebrities when they were in town to perform at Ak Sar Ben. The cool thing was, she treated all her customers with the same professionalism and expertise. Her customers were her customers from the first time to the last, because of how she treated them.
She had many other interests. She loved bowling, and was on a league. I never watched her, but I was told she was very good. She loved to read, and to learn. She was self taught, and was very good at spelling, and words. It is not surprising that her other love was cross word puzzles. She did them a lot, and in ink. Her sense of humor was amazing. Many, many times she and I laughed so hard, we couldn't breathe. She always had a witty remark for anyone she talked to. There are many stories, but one that really amazed us was when she was retired, and in her 90s, and we went to get her a walker. She gave her birth date to the clerk for Medicare, and the lady said the only record they could find was a birthday in June. That was our Mom, who had claimed May as her birthday for years. Even more interesting was that when we looked on John's bother's birth certificate, she used the June date. when John was born, she used the May date. When asked why she would get the wrong date, she said," My sister told me I was born when flowers were blooming." She tried her best to get two Birthdays out of it from then on, but we didn't go for that.
The last two years as she aged, and had Alzheimer's we had her in and out of the hospital, then in rehab several times, and eventually in a nursing home. Even through all that, she was full of fun, and as sassy as ever. Her red hair may have faded, and her eyes had dimmed, but she still got people around her to laugh. She had to have a pacemaker put in when she was 95, and recovery was complicated with her lungs filling with fluid. She was in rehab, and they had to take her by ambulance and there she was intubated and was in ICU for four days. When she was finally able to sit up in the chair,still in ICU, the nurses arrainged blankets around her in the big, leather chair with arms. With blankets on her lap, and pillows behind her head, she was all set. Two of her doctors were in the doorway talking while this went on, and when she saw them, she said, " My royal subjects may enter now!" Everyone cracked up. That was Mary.
After four months in a nursing home, we knew at 97, she was fading. She could no longer eat, and could no longer walk, and eventually she did not talk. We visited every day, and talked to her, took her around the halls in her wheel chair, and watched her sleep. Yet there was still a slight sparkle in eyes
Thursday, February 13, 2014
It stands alone, silent, forlorn, forgotten. The porch sags, the paint that was white, is no more. When the house across the street burned down, the house lost part of itself from wind blown sparks. Now there is a blackened hole where green shingles used to be. The weeds are waist high, and someone erected a barbed wire fence to close them in. The only glory untouched are two giant maple trees that stand on either side of the porch. Silent Sentinels guarding all that is left of the past. At the foot of the steps, Lily of the Valley valiantly continue to bloom and fill the air with their sweet scent.
The times remembered are from another era. A time of families, together through the good times, and the cry times. An era that is long gone, and family who are no more. A place where the time stands still. The house remembers the family seated together for meal times. On the table the platter of meat is piled high, while great mounds of fluffy mashed potatoes fill a bowl. Butter runs from the middle of the potatoes, and rich brown gravy is waiting it's turn. Fresh corn, shelled from ears picked early in the morning, beans picked from the garden, and ripe tomatoes are in abundance. Jams, jellies, and pickles, all made by loving hands, and stored away for just a time as this. Then fresh baked bread, pies, cakes, and cookies parade across our vision, and entice our taste buds.
Dinner was a time of fellowship, and reliving the day's events. Families were important, and if visitors came to call at dinner time, they were invited to the feast. Evenings were spent in simpler pleasures. The family gathered around the radio, while children studied, Moms knitted, or sewed, Dads read the paper. The family listened to the radio,together, and no one ran off to do something else. After dinner, dish washing was a ritual in itself. Whoever was there pitched in to help. There were no dishwashers except those of human kind. One to wash, several to dry, and one to put away. This too was a time to visit, and interact. Left over food was covered, and put away, ready to be added to for the next meal. The house was the center of that activity, but no more.
The people who own the house now do nothing to preserve it. They do not live there, they do not care. It was not their family home, and we don't know why they bought it. They encourage it's decay by doing nothing. The house is doomed to absolute, undeniable ruin. Does the family whose lives were a part of the house feel it's rejection? The house seems sad, alone, neglected, and forgotten. We, the fourth generation cares, little house. We would claim you, rebuild you, restore, and love you. We would preserve you for future generations, but we do not have the resources. We will not forget you, little house. We can cherish the memories of what you once were. The memories will remain inside your crumbling walls. The memories of grandparents, great grandparents, and parents will always be a part of coming to this point in our lives. We will take a piece of your front steps, and dig up a few Lily of the Valley, to take with us. No, little house, we will not forget,
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Do houses today still have attics? Newer ones do not, at least not like the ones I grew up with. Attics were a space right under the roof, filled with treasures in storage. It was a place of mystery, dim light, and maybe one small window where the roof peaked. My grandparents had an attic in their old farm house, as did my cousins who lived in old farmhouses. Attics were a place of discovery, imagination, and fun. My grandparent's attic was an antique store of items from the past. Tables, lamps, chairs,no longer needed, but not worthy of being tossed out, lined the walls. The greatest treasures were the old trunks. Some were square with brass locks, leather straps, and leather handles. Some had rounded tops, and fancy locks. Inside the treasures were varied. I remember my cousins and I spent a lot of time looking through these trunks. Inside one were old clothes my grandparents had worn when they were young and newly married in 1906. Ladies dresses were long, long sleeved, and ruffled, lacy, elaborate pieces. My grandfather had shirts that had separate collars and cuffs. This was so the whole shirt did not need to be washed each time, but the collars and cuffs could be. Since the suits they wore had vests, most times the collar and cuffs were the only things to show, so they could put different ones on the same shirt, and no one knew it was the same shirt. Shirts also had interchangeable buttons. My grandfather had a button box, filled with all his buttons.
We found my grandmothers shoes, which were high topped, and had buttons. She had many button hooks, because fingers could not manipulate the tiny buttons into the loops on the shoes. Then there were petticoats, corsets, and bloomers. All edged with lace, and satin ribbons. We used to laugh at all this, because to we 50s kids, these were very odd garments. Also in the trunks were hats, because no lady or gentleman would go anywhere without a hat. Again all styles, all shapes that were turn of the century popular. Probably the best find ever were love letters grandpa Frank, wrote to grandma Anna when they were courting. People then courted, not dated. That has a nice sound to it, don't you think? Sometimes those days of manners, gentility, and modesty would be nice to bring back. Of course we Grandkids thought these letters of undying love, and flowery language were quite funny. I wish we had kept them.
My next attic was in our old house in Sioux City, Iowa. Steep stairs (attics always had steep stairs) again led to a magical place. This attic had one window, and sloped walls. Miscellaneous items were stored there, and boxes were filled with treasures from my parents' past. Old clothes from the 30s, old letters, and again hats and shoes they no longer wore, but could not part with. My friends, and again,
If you have never had these experience, I am sorry. It was such a special part of my growing up. I learned a lot about my grandparents, and parents, that I would not have known, because a picture is worth so much more than anything they told me. You never knew what secrets lurked in trunks and boxes, and you never forgot what you experienced in those attics. Today if I had an attic to explore, it would be a flashback to those wonderful days. Then I think about when I first became a believer, and how reading my Bible let me in on the life of my Savior from Genesis to Revelation. Each book was a new discovery into the past. Just like my attics, I find new things in God's word every time that let's me get to know Him better. Now, if I just had an attic, on a rainy day, to sit and read my Bible!
Monday, February 10, 2014
When I was 12, my grandpa said he would buy me a horse. I was so excited. There was only one slight catch....buying the horse was the easy part. My Dad reminded me, horses need food, lots of food. They need a place to live; we lived in the city. Horses need medical care from time to time. That all amounted to a lot of money for a free horse. I was devastated. The compromise was horseback riding lessons at a local stable. Every week I learned how to ride a horse. The teacher sent home a set of practice reins, so I could learn to hold them correctly. I still remember the smell of the horse barns, and the leather reins and saddles. It is a distinct smell, and one that I remember as a little slice of Heaven.
As I got older, I never let go of
my love affair with horses. My dream was to own a ranch in Colorado or Montana, where I would raise horses, give riding lessons, and board horses. That never happened, but I know my Dad came very close to buying land in Wyoming, because he too loved anything western. As with dreams, they ebb and flow, and are pushed to the back of our minds as unattainable. When I met my husband, John, all that love came back. Our favorite time each summer was going to the Douglas County Fair. It was in a small town, and was five days of fun, country music stars, and wearing jeans, cowboy boots, and cowboy hats. We still listen to the classic country music on radio and on CD. When we went on a Christian Cruise for our 25th Anniversary, we went horseback riding at one of the Mexican ports we spent the day at. We have always made it a point to go riding whenever we could.
One of our close friends was a DJ on WOW country radio in Omaha, and her father owned the station at one time. Through her we met a family that owned a stable outside Omaha. This was where she boarded her horse, and many other people did too. They also rented horses on the weekends for others to ride. When we met Rick, he asked what our riding experience was. We were totally honest with him. Because we didn't try to say we were experienced, he gave his own personal horse to John to ride. I got one of the other really good horses. It also was a wooded area of trails, hills, and open ground. He allowed us to ride without a guide, and to ride wherever we wanted on his land. We spent every weekend there, and enjoyed our riding up until, Rick sold the stable, and our friend got married and moved away.
Horses are trained to follow commands. Sometimes it is by word, and other times simply by hand and leg movements of the rider. Horses don't come to training naturally. Their nature is to run free, and do it their way. They are beautiful creatures, majestic, and powerful. Watching them run is like watching an effortless, flowing motion of long legs, and flowing mane. I love the nature of horses. They remind me of me. God uses a number of things to get my attention, to train me with words, and moving me from place to place. Sometimes I can be taught but other times I want to run free and do it my way. Like a good riding horse, I need direction, I need training, and I need to be taught with patience and love. I treasure every moment I have been able to ride, and I still get pleasure from the smell of leather and horse barns!
Monday, February 3, 2014
Standing up for Jesus. Would I do that in ALL circumstances? That question came up a week ago in our Sunday morning Community Group (Sunday School) and most of us couldn't answer for sure. We all knew what we would like to do or say, but how brave are we really? In a non-threatening experience, most of us said, absolutely we would stand for Jesus. How brave would we be with a knife at our throat, or a gun to our head. Again we all knew what we thought we might do, after all, if we lost our life, we would be with Jesus. That's a win, win. What if our spouse, or our children were the ones being threatened? That might be a different thing. Would we stand up for Jesus if their lives were on the line?
We then thought about all the missionaries in countries that hate Christians. They are in danger every day. One Pastor is in prison and is beaten and tortured, and probably starved, yet he will not give in and denounce Jesus. A young teen girl some years ago was confronted by a school shooter. When she openly said she was a Christian, she was shot and killed on the spot. I would bet most of us could be brave enough if killed quickly, but what would we do if tortured. I admit it, I am a coward when it comes to pain. If you could think in a split second about the torture and pain Jesus went through for you, would that be enough to help you through a Jesus or die moment?
We humans in our skin suits don't all handle pain the same. I handle my RA pain for the most part, but sometimes it makes me cry. That pain is not the same as nerve pain, or child birth pain, or surgery pain. Humanly it is possible to get through it, but I can not do it on my own. Many nights, I have alternated prayer and tears, and morning does come, and eventually the pain subsides. I can not say what I would do under extreme torture. Those who torture are living in a dark world, and have no regard for human life or suffering, so I can only imagine how intense that kind of pain is. Also does my loyalty to my Lord and Savior depend solely on my pain threshold?
These are questions we may never be able to answer. I know that if a quick gunshot ended my life, I could be brave. I have had a gun pointed at me in a robbery, and I did not fall apart. I know that My heart's desire would be to stand for Jesus no matter what.....but I don't know. I can and will defend Him and my belief verbally every time, and I am not afraid of instant death, but that pain thing is such an unknown. I do know that only Jesus could help me through it, and I do know I might react differently if a family member was being hurt in front of me. If I truly love and serve Jesus, and I do, there should be no difference in circumstances.....right? Again only Jesus could get me through, guiding me as to what I should do. I, as in all other areas just need to be obedient. It is a matter of trust. If He ever puts me in that situation, then I have to trust He will honor that and take care of me and my loved ones. When He asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Abraham was obedient, and last minute, God provided and Issac was saved. He will do no less for me. Like I said, I may never have to make that drastic a stand, you may not have to either, but do we trust Jesus with our very life, our pain, our family to stand up for Him? For now, day by day, I will proclaim Him as my Savior wherever I am. He has done so much for me, I have to tell others of His Grace and His love, whether it's popular or not. Yes....I will Stand For Jesus! But....I will pray it doesn't hurt me beyond endurance!