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July 2018 ending

The garden explodes with color in mid summer, heat and rain creating bookends to an occasional temperature-perfect day. The flowers are the reward for my years of plantings. And they are coming up everywhere, even in the walkway.

Pink ladies (aka naked ladies) appear in unexpected places. The first blooms of morning glories signal late summer, their vines wrapping spindles on the deck. My few tomato plants tease me with their blooms and still-green fruit. Thankfully, I have discovered a local farmer’s market where I purchase tomatoes that taste the way a tomato is supposed  to taste.

The Canadian geese have returned to the lake across the road after being gone for months. Though they look like adult geese, I think they are the family of hatchlings seen in the spring. The younger ones are smaller and the largest goose is still very protective. They all fly now, coming and going at will, forming the signature V as if they practice for a long trip southward. It’s the beautiful cycle of nature, and I get to observe it from spring to fall.

The hummingbirds have been active at the feeder on the deck. They provide entertainment when it’s cool enough to sit on the glider. Maisie keeps trying to catch one. The female sits calmly and sips. The male flits around like he is on vigil and extremely alert. Kind of reminds me of a couple I know (here at the Wright House).

As in the cold of winter, we tell our Maisie that she is a lucky dog, living in controlled temperatures and feeding from our hands. Rescued from the streets of Mississippi, she has a happy home with us who dote over her.  In addition to loving to walk the lane and investigate every smell like a roving reporter, Maisie takes her place on the deck with her nose to the lattice watching for the neighbors’ dogs or the rabbits that drive her to whimpers of longing.

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Among the books read this month, one on CD that has been extremely long but interesting, is Dearie, the Remarkable Life of Julia Child. It reminded me of seeing her on TV many years ago. Her story is amazing considering she didn’t learn to cook until she was in her thirties. The book stirred my interest in all things Julia. I checked out Mastering the Art of French Cooking, perusing the detailed recipes, and I will revisit Julie and Julia on DVD from my library. I even purchased a used copy of The French Chef, which includes the recipes of her innovative cooking show first aired on educational television in the 1960s.

I’d really like to master a few of those recipes, especially the omelet and souffle. A copper bowl many be in my future, hopefully found at a thrift store.

Speaking of, my favorite thrift store is gone. Yes, gone, lock, stock, and barrel, and without my notice. I drove there with a friend this month, us excited at what we might discover, and the store was empty. I was devastated. Where am I going to find the things I need at the price I am willing to pay? I’ve gone there several times with a list in hand, and found exactly what I wanted, walking out feeling quite satisfied with my bargain purchases.

I had been looking for a gently used percolator there for several months. As a result of my store disappearing, I went to ebay, where I found a vintage Corning Ware percolator like Sweet William’s parents used when he was a teenager. I’m always experimenting to make that perfect cup of coffee. I’ve tweaked my methods to gain that rich coffee flavor I enjoy. I’m loving the somewhat old-fashioned way of preparing the pot and hearing the familiar perk. I think of my mother and dad, the many pots of coffee made at their home and how it is part of my heritage. Perhaps that is why I often approach a new friend with “Would you like meet for coffee?”

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This month I got creative for Independence Day. I made a door hanging of red and white ribbons and lace paired with denim and buttons in honor of the Flag of America. Long may she wave! I will gladly pledge allegiance to a country that has offered me so much freedom. Brave men and women have fought and died for my rights to make choices and live free. I will honor them and my county by standing and placing my hand over my heart as I sing the Star Spangled Banner.

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I celebrated my birthday and our son’s birthday this month. In his birthday box I included copies of old pictures, black and whites of his grandparents when they were in their twenties perhaps, him with his Granny and Gramps when he was young, one of him at about seven with his dad. They stirred memories in both of us.

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Sweet William and I have been on a learning curve with our very first smart phones. We have finally gotten the hang of Google Maps, which was the main reason for purchasing the phones. GPS is amazing!

We traveled from one appointment to another last week and were uncertain of our route, so we turned on The Voice of Google Maps (I’ve yet to give her our own personal name). She directed us easily and tried to route us to a simpler way, which we did not heed, not quite trusting her yet. Later we found out she was right and we should have listened. Now she is my hero.

Sweet William and I have decided we need to trust that voice in our phones though we cannot see her and don’t understand how she can tell us which way to turn. How does she know all that?

How much more should I trust a marvelous, huge God who designed me and the world I live in, who planned from the beginning to the end, and knows the way that I take? How can I put my confidence in a voice in a digital machine, and not trust the Sovereign Creator of the universe. It just doesn’t compute.

Sometime I’ve not heeded His voice because of my lack of faith in Him. Later I learned that I should have listened to Him. He is altogether trustworthy. When He speaks, I need to pay attention.

A favorite quote this month is:

“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope and as old as your despair.”
— Douglas MacArthur

Having managed to live another year old this month, staying young as long as I can is a theme. Faith, confident trust in my God, and hope seem to be key.

  • Let me live as young as my hope.
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And I’m proud to be an American

On Sunday night Sweet William and I attended a concert at the mega church in our area with some friends. It was in honor of America’s birthday.

There was a full orchestra and a one-hundred voice men’s choir who performed over a dozen songs and medleys. As the instruments tuned up, I was enraptured from my seat in the balcony. I love to be where the music is, and this was an occasion to celebrate.

The concert was themed One Nation Under God, and I pray we still are.

The performers played and sang songs like “Let There Be Peace On Earth,” “Washington Post March,” “God Bless America,” and of course, “The Star Spangled Banner.” I couldn’t help myself. Sometimes I sang along.

One song brought tears to my eyes, “Bring Him Home.” I thought of a young man I knew who was killed in the line of duty a number of years ago. He did not come home. There are many others. Families are devastated by such heartbreak, and yet this is the cost of freedom.  The cost of my freedom.

We’ve made a lot of mistakes in our 200 plus years as a nation, but this is still the best country in the world, the place where others want to escape to, the nation that offers liberty and justice for all.

Though we are divided in many ways today, we still live free. And this freedom is the gift we treasure.

Freedom is never completely free. It costs someone. Freedom is my treasure, my pride in the US of A, my privilege in living my life here.

I am proud to be an American. At the concert, I tapped my food, clapped my hands, and sang along. At the end I felt so patriotic, honored to live in this great country.

I dare not forget how blessed I am. Truly God shed His grace on thee, my United States of America.

Let freedom ring long and loud. And let us live honoring the freedom we have been given.

Senior Day and the USA

It is the Fourth of July today, but it’s also Senior Day at Kroger which occurs on the first Wednesday of each month.

When I was nearing my 60th birthday, one of the things I anticipated was being old enough to get in on the bargains at Kroger on its one day of the month dedicated to us senior citizens. Ten percent off my entire order is nothing to sneeze at. And those of you who know me know I love a bargain!

I’ve tried going at different times of the day. Around 9 am it gets really crowed, and if you are under 60 be afraid, be very afraid! The parking lot is full, and cars are waiting to get the spot of anyone emptying her baskart. Three o’clock isn’t a bad time to go.  Folks may be home watching Dr. Phil.

Don’t go late at night. The shelves run low of stock and the tired staff have gone home to rub liniment on their feet.

I’ve discovered the best time for me to go Krogering is 7:30 in the morning. Parking places are available close to the store. There are still plenty of baskarts and product on the shelf, and the checkout lines are not too long.

So this morning I put on comfy clothes, pull my hair back, and don my garden hat with a colorful scarf tied around it to perk up my outfit, and I’m off with list, coupons, and Kroger card in hand.

The plan is to move quickly, grab the sale items and stock up on the non-perishables like dog/cat food and laundry detergent. I sure don’t want to miss the toilet paper isle where the good stuff is usually on sale.  I grab several packages because you just don’t want to run out of toilet paper whether you are a senior or not.

The atmosphere at Kroger is electric. The music over the speaker system is playing the oldies from the 60s and 70s. I catch myself bouncing along to the beat or humming the familiar melodies of my youth.

I usually see people I know. Today it was some folks from Little Flock where Sweet William and I attend church. Some days it’s a neighbor or parents of my son’s high school friends. We are there for the same reason.

The manager is quite visible on this particular day of the month. Or at least I notice him more. He stands as a sentinel before the checkout lanes, calling for additional checkers if the lines back up. He smiles at the customers as they go from aisle to aisle. He quickly responds to questions and moves at the speed of someone who knows this will be a very good retail day.

And what does Senior Day at Kroger have to do with the 4th of July?

I’ll tell you what I’m thinking. Is this a great country or what?

Sure, I know we have our problems. I agree that the United States is in a moral decline. I am of the baby-boomer generation who watched it happen when prayer was removed from the schools and the resulting land-slide that has followed.

Yes, we are in a great financial crises and only God knows where that will take us. I see the graft, the political maneuvers that create harm for the masses while padding the pockets of a few.

I too fear for our young ones who must find their own way while pornography gropes for their minds, drugs are available on most any street corner, sex before marriage is expected, and the family as we know it is being threatened.

And yet . . . I still have the freedom to pursue happiness as I see it, to choose a career path and decide where I want to live. I can walk out my house and not fear that bombs may drop or hidden land mines may explode at my feet.

Our children can go to school or they can stay at home and learn their ABCs from mom and dad.

While the argument about healthcare reform will be ongoing, we still have some of the finest medical facilities the world over.

The United States is the county that sends aid when disaster strikes. We are the ones sending missionaries and mission groups to places where poverty is like nothing we have ever seen.

And as a citizen of this great country, I can still vote and make my voice heard though I am only one. I can step out and try to change something I don’t agree with.

I can get up on Sunday morning and drive to the church of my choice without fear.

I can freely talk about God and tell people about Jesus without worrying that I might be arrested.

I am humbled by the memories of soldiers who fought on foreign fields, like my grandfather in WWI and my dad and uncles in WWII; and the friends my age who endured the horrors of Viet Nam are dear to my heart. 

I am proud of young men and women who still join the military knowing they will face uncertain and often horrific situations but choose to serve me anyway.

God has blessed America with an abundance, and we will be held accountable for what we have done with it.  To whom much has been given much will be required.

I am commanded to pray for the leaders of my country, and I will personally be held accountable for that.

I am proud to be a citizen of this great country. I pray that her flag waves long and free, that her leaders will be godly and lead us in the path of righteousness.  I pray that we will make God our Lord so that His blessings will continue

I want to be a good member of society, to make a difference for good, and to pave a better road for my children and grandchildren.

I am glad to be an American where I can shop at Kroger on the first day of the month. I can choose veggies and fruits or I can grab the chips and ice cream. They are my choices and my consequences.

Freedom is still mine.

So I say:  I’m proud to be an American.  God bless the USA!

Is this a great county God has given us or what?

It is for freedom

I’ve celebrated quite a number of Independence Days.  Each one is a bit different.  I remember fireworks celebrations with our church group in a big open field at a friend’s home and small time stuff in a family member’s subdivision that scared me because of the lack of safety.  I’ve sat facing Salt River at our city’s professional pyrotechnical display with a giant ice cream cone to occupy my taste buds.  Then there was the year when the grandchildren were very small and Sweet William was prepared to “wow” them with some simple home fireworks.  At the very first shoot-off, the noise scared the children into loud weeping.  That ended our best laid plans for fun.

Last July 4th, the grandchildren were spending the night.  We made plans to attend Shepherdsville’s fireworks show, but rain prevented it starting on time.  I decided it was late and time to go to bed.

Just as I was tucking Ethan in, we heard the commotion of firecrackers and rockets in the sky.  I raised the shade in the bedroom, and there was the beginnings of a light show.  The children and I went to the back deck to watch.  Then we went to the front porch to get another view.  We saw colors in the dark night coming in the direction of one of our neighbor’s yards.  All of us in our house slippers and PJs began walking toward the light. 

We “oohed and aahed” as each pop pulled our eyes upward.   As we passed the oak trees along our route, Ethan took my hand and said, “I hope we don’t see that evil squirrel.”

It made me smile.  He seemed so little last year.

Each Fourth of July I get out the American flag, the one that was draped across my Grandfather Charles Lockard’s casket at his death.  He was a World War I veteran.  Since his wife preceded him in death and because my mother was the oldest of the three children, she was presented with the flag.  When she died, I became it’s keeper.

I cherish that flag and think of my Gramps when I carefully unfold it and hang it on the deck railing.  I feel proud and patriotic at the same time.  I hope people coming down my lane see it and think of this great country.  I contemplate America’s history and how we have been unusually blessed by Almighty God.

We Americans value our freedom, we relish it, flash it around, claim it, defend it, and dare anyone to take it from us.  I suppose it is the main reason citizens from other countries long to come here, to have the privilege of living a life that is free to choose.

I’ve wondered and have heard others wonder why God make Adam and Eve with the right to choose good and evil.  Couldn’t He just as easily have made us all permanently incapable of sin, to live evermore in a perfect world?  It would seem to be a much better way than allowing people to kill, steal, injure, lust, and turn away from a good God

But God gave man and woman the gift of freedom, the right to choose.  It was a beautiful gift He offered.  Too bad we make the wrong choices so often that we have wrecked and ruined our lives and our world.

I ponder what a treasure my American freedom is, how I am thankful to have been born a free individual, and how I want to treat that freedom with respect and honor.

I also ponder the gift of freedom God gave to me.  Even more, I am thankful for the gift of salvation that saved me from all the wrong choices I made in my “free-ness” to grasp what would satisfy my self-centered and selfish nature.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” said Paul to the Galatians (5:1).  As you have heard it said, “Freedom is never free.”  Our country’s freedom has been won and preserved with the blood of men and women who fought for it.  My personal salvation, offered as a free gift, was bought with the blood of a Savior-God who gave me freedom, watched me sell it for slavery, then willingly bought it back and set me free once again.

He who has been set free is free indeed!

May God continue to bless America, not because we deserve it, but because God is good.