Friday, November 11, 2011

New Blog

I recently started a new blog. You can check it out here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Beautiful Gift

Growing up, we moved around quite a bit. My dad was climbing the career ladder and that meant frequent relocations, and mostly in pretty small towns. One such small town was Coldspring. There was nothing of note about this town (that I can remember, anyway) - it was just your ordinary East Texas small town. In fact, the only memories I have of our time there involve one family: The Gingles.

Mr. Gingles would mow a big field near the houses into a baseball field for us. We'd round up neighborhood kids and get a game going. He was also the Post Master and I remember on at least one occasion checking the mail and his hand bursting through the mail box as I opened it. Mrs. Gingles was always so kind and caring, making sure that we were all taken care of while at her house. I remember her walking me back to my house after a traumatizing go-carting incident that left me with a broken and bleeding finger. They had two kids at that time - Dallas and Dana. The three of us spent many hours together playing and pretending as children that age do. I remember those years as very happy years, but eventually, my dad got another job and we made another stop on our relo list. After my mom passed away, we lost touch with the Gingles. I'd thought of them often over the last 19 years and wondered how they were and what they were all doing.

Over 4th of July weekend this past summer, I got a beautiful surprise. I received a Facebook message from a familiar name asking if I was the Mandy from Coldspring. It was Mrs. Gingles! What fun it was to reconnect and hear all that has happened in their lives over all of these years! Most of the people in my life now didn't know my mom so there isn't a lot of opportunity to talk about her or reminisce about her, but Mrs. Gingles and Dana both had some fun things they remembered about my mom. Mrs. Gingles remembered them talking through her kitchen window for an hour because she didn't have time to come inside (Mom loved to talk), and Dana remembered my mom's usage of rollers and Aquanet (hey, it was the 80's - don't judge!). So sweet to know that my mom was loved by these two.

While chatting online one night, Dana shared with me that her mom had always kept a journal and that she'd found one recently that mentioned my mom. She offered to share the pages that mentioned my mom with me if I was interested. I was excited to say the least. So many things about my mom are a bit of a mystery to me - memories have faded over the years, and well, at 11 you don't really know a lot about your parents. Not things that will matter later on in life, anyway. So, I was looking forward to reading the pages, but really had no idea what to expect. The email arrived one Friday night and actually answered a few questions I'd had but had never asked.

Since becoming a believer a few years ago, I had begun to wonder about my mom's salvation. When she was alive, we never went to church consistently (just Easter, really), never talked about God, or prayed. My mom was a "good person," but I was afraid that she may not have had a relationship with the Lord. There in the journal pages Dana sent, and Mrs. Gingles wrote, was my answer. In the month leading up to my mom's death, the Gingles had come for a visit. On the last day of their visit, Mrs. Gingles shared the Gospel with my mom and through a conversation she had with another family friend at the funeral, she learned that they, to quote the journal, "weren't worried about Pat's (my mom) salvation."

What a beautiful gift from the Lord - He knew that the words Mrs. Gingles wrote on April 15, 1991, the day after my mom's funeral, would bless me beyond measure in 2010. I'm so grateful for these friends, and now sisters in Christ, who were willing to share with me. Words can't express what it has meant to me.

My Momma

Me about to hit my mom with what appears to be the empty gift wrapping tube

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Random Reminders

When I was kid, my mom was an elementary school teacher. She loved to decorate as festively as possible for the start of the school year (and throughout - no holiday was ever missed) and I, being my mother's little shadow, always tagged along to help her decorate. My favorite? The bulletin board! I don't know why, but I loved helping out with the bulletin board...picking out the colors and the border and all the other fun things to staple up to the board. I mean, you couldn't just staple things to the wall at home, you know?

This past weekend, some friends in my home group and I participated in Transform which is an annual event with our church. We didn't know what our specific assignment would be for the day when we showed up, but ended up assembling back packs for students at this particular elementary school. Once we were finished with that, we got to spend the rest of the morning in Ms. Lewis' room helping her arrange desks, organize the room, and decorate her bulletin boards! It was lots of fun and great reminder of my mom.

A couple of other reminders of my mom popped up over the last week at work. My mom was a "doodler" - she loved talking on the phone and never sat down to chat without a pen and paper in front of her to doodle on. Seriously. Those were the days before cell phones and anything wireless, so for her hour long conversations with friends and family stuck in one spot, she would doodle. I was rummaging through the stock room the other day looking for my typical legal pad and couldn't find one. But I did find a steno mom's usual go to for doodling. Not really that random, but a fun reminder.

The pen pictured was the most random office find. My mom loved ducks/geese. I have no idea why and no one has really ever been able to explain where that came from or why that was, but she did. They were all over the house as decorations. So, I was standing at the copier the other day and happened to glance over to a cup full of pens nearby and saw this one. A goose wearing a little blue bandanna. My mother would have loved this pen.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Baptist Hymnal

I spent a good chunk of my teenage years going to church. More often than not, I was there because I was forced to be or to see friends, really - it had nothing to do with worshipping the Lord at that point in life. Even so, I always looked forward to the part of service where we got to sing - I loved the old hymns. I'd sing along for the three songs we sang each service and would promptly stop listening and start doodling on the program once the pastor started talking.

At some point in my high school career, one of my favorite teachers had assigned a much dreaded poetry project (I liked poetry, I just wasn't fond of the project part). As we were going through books and talking about where we could find some good poems, she pointed out that song lyrics were basically poetry, just put to music. I'm not sure why such a simple and obvious point impacted my love for music so much, but it did. Music can be so powerful - it can motivate our worship, sway our emotions, and make us recall certain events/feelings quicker than almost anything.

Now, when I've only got time for a quick read, or I'm just in the mood for something short, there are usually one of two things I reach for - The Valley of Vision or the Baptist Hymnal. I love reading the lyrics, or poems, if you will.
Here are some of my favorites:

Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
Come, ye weary, heavy-laden Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you're better, you will never come at all.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise.
O to grace how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wand'ring heart to Thee.

Grace Greater than Our Sin
Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Jesus Paid It All
I hear the Savior say, "Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all."

It Is Well with My Soul
My sin - oh, the bliss of this glorious tho't: My sin not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Feeling Bloggy

I've felt quite bloggy lately, but haven't had much success in getting thoughts to the blogosphere. Perhaps later this week...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Favorite Booth

Over the weekend, some friends and I went to Manny's to celebrate my best friend's birthday. It used to be our favorite restaurant - we were there at least once a week. The waiters knew us and greeted us as soon as we walked through the door in a very Cheers-esque way with our "usuals." And then an unfortunate combination of a take-out order and a nasty stomach flu (that I'm convinced tried to take my life, by the way) happened and Manny's was basically ruined for me. Add to that the fact that I moved to a different part of town, and I haven't been back in almost a year.

But, I took this opportunity back in the restaurant to snap a quick picture of my favorite booth. Not only is it randomly placed in the middle of the restaurant all by itself, but it is the booth I was sitting in the day that grace finally made sense to me (as much as grace can make sense to us, anyway). I like this booth.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Muzak and Mimi

This last week completed my fourth week at my new job. Things have gone well...there has been a steep learning curve, but I'm starting to figure things out and put all the pieces together, if you will. One of the biggest adjustments has oddly enough been the music, or Muzak, played in the office. It's really not my favorite. It's unbeliveably bad. In my old office, I could listen to whatever and would listen to music, talk radio, or sermons. Now there is no choice - its Muzak all day, every day. What's muzak you might be wondering? It's elevator know, those instrumental versions of popular songs (not to be confused with classical music - that I enjoy).

But, all has not been lost in my Muzak filled days because they often make me think of Mimi. Mimi was my grandmother - my mom's mom. When I think of my childhood, more often than not, memories that pop into my head involve my mom's family and Mimi. I'd go spend the night with her and the mornings were the same every time. I'd sleep late, of course, and when I'd wake up I'd go into the living room (which was open to the kitchen in Mimi's house) and there would be Mimi sitting at her round kitchen table, cigarette in one hand, romance novel in the other, a cup of coffee nearby, and "elevator music" supplying the back ground noise. We often teased Mimi about her elevator did not last long once I entered the room. She'd always let me turn it off and watch TV instead. She'd keep reading her novel, smoking her cigarette, and enjoying her coffee.

Aside from the fun memories of Mimi, I've begun to try to pick my favorite Muzak song of the day (and maybe even sing along if its an appropriate time) to try to make the best of this sad situation. Some of my favorites so far have been "Take a Look at me Now," "Mrs. Robinson," and "Lucille." Yes, Kenny Rogers Muzak exists. Don't be jealous that I heard it and you didn't.