Friday, February 24, 2006


Well, as you remember, I only blog a few months at a time and I'm ready to take another break. I don't know what more to say than that. I'll talk to you someday in the future. Thanks for all your visits and comments.

I Wish We'd All Been Ready

Is anyone out there old enough to remember the song, "I Wish We'd All Been Ready." Well back in the 70's people were always talking about Jesus returning. Actually it was a scary thing, for those like myself and Stacie and I figure a whole lot more than us. This particular song was a mournful song about getting "left behind."

"Life was filled with guns and wars and everyone got trampled on the floor. I wish we'd all been ready. Two men walkin' up a hill, one disappears and one's left standing still. I wish we'd all been ready. Man and wife asleep in bed, she hears a noise, turns her head, he's gone. I wish we'd all been ready." Yes, those were the days. Parents, preachers, and churches tried to scare us into "being ready."

I haven't thought of this stuff in a long time. I am really interested if others remember this stuff and if anyone else, like myself, was slightly traumatized by the whole scare tactic? There was also this fundamentalist film that made the circuit called "The Burning Hell." Now that was just the thing to watch before bed time. I must have been 6 or 7 when I saw it in the Vandervoort gym. It made Jason on Friday the 13th look like a social worker. It was terrible. I wouldn't watch it now or even come close to permitting my kids to watch it. But things were different back then. It was the battle cry of Christian parents to get their offspring "ready." And if begging and pleading did it, I'm sure lots of kids got "ready." Laying in bed, night after long night, year after year, I prayed, "God I wanna be ready. Please come into my heart. Please, I really mean it. Please. Please."

And then there was the closing invitation at church, "Oh Why Not Tonight." It was a depressing tune that made me afraid to get in the car to go home, because I might not make it home. "Tomorrow's sun may never come...Wilt thou be saved, then why not tonight?"

This phrase was used with terrifying frequency: "Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt if you leave this place and die in a car wreck on the way home, you are prepared to meet God?"

Those were hard days on a kid. I'm glad to be past them. Does any of this resonate with anyone out there?

My earlier blog referred to our newlywed days. Gordon grew up in the 70's too. Once someone asked Gordon what our early marriage was like. He calmly answered, "Life was filled with guns and wars and everyone got trampled on the floor."

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Funny Husband

This morning Gordon and I had our morning coffee together for the first time this week. He's been burning the proverbial candle at both ends and I've not seen much of him. It was great to catch up.

I told him about a haunting memory from our early days of marriage and concluded with, "I was crazy." He comforted me by saying, "Yeah, but I didn't know that back then."

We spoke briefly about the trauma of our early days together and about my depression and anger. He mockingly said he introduced me to others by saying: "This is my new wife Valerie. She sleeps 18-20 hours a day and we fight the other 4."

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Memory from 1992

Of all my children Christopher, I think, has the kindest and most thoughtful disposition. The others have developed (or are developing) the same, but it came with training. Christopher seemed to be born with it.

When Maddox Grocery came into our small town of Mena Arkansas, it brought with it my first exposure to generic foods. I quickly discovered we could easily settle for many generic items. I always bought generic cereal. The boxes were yellow with black lettering. The name of the cereal was usually a twist on whatever cereal they were replacing. “If you like Lucky Charms, you'll love these,” the writing said. There were two types I always bought. One was the AlphaBits imitation, the other was the Lucky Charms copy.

The thing with generic, at least back in those days, you really never knew for sure what you were getting. Once both of “my” brands were sold out and I had to make a substitute. The next morning, Stephanie and Christopher were dressing upstairs when I opened the cereal and prepared our breakfast. I was slightly horrified to see that my new cereal looked exactly, and I do mean exactly, like Booper’s generic dog food. I rehersed an explanation for the children and waiting for them to come down for breakfast.

Three-year-old Christopher came first. He sat down in his chair beside mine and stared silently at his bowl of cereal. After several moments he spoke hesitantly, “This looks like Booper’s food.” I whispered that I knew it did, but if we mentioned it to Stephanie she would not eat it, so let’s “keep it under our hats.”

Stephanie came downstairs with her school stuff in tow. She sat down and looked into her bowl. Without a second’s hesitation, her head spun toward me, her brow creased, and she snapped accusingly, “You feeding us dog food?”

I had to show Stephanie the cereal box to make her believe me. As it turned out, it tasted like it was more fitting for a dog than a human. None of us ate more than a half a bite’s worth before I added it to Booper’s pail of dog food.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Birthday Books

Gordon got me 2 books for my birthday. They didn't arrive for my birthday, so I got them today. Doesn't "Swinging By the Garden Gate, A Spiritual Memoir" sound like a good book? Well I personally love the title.

I opened the box and immediately read the back cover. "Uh, Gordon, this book is about the spiritual journey of a lesbian. It's about accepting your orientation."

"Humph, I guess that's not what we were expecting," he grunted.

We laughed. I skimmed the book to see if there were any dirty parts. There weren't. My birthday presents are being shipped back to Amazon tomorrow. He didn't ask what books I wanted in their place.



Deborah is in an awkward stage. She's tall, maybe too tall for only 6. She has one gargantuan front tooth standing out among a mouthful of baby teeth. Her lips are chapped badly and she actually looks like she has 3 lips. She wants to sit on my lap and it's terribly uncomfortable because she hangs in every direction.

Being in such an awkward stage, my heart feels tender for her.

Gordon worked nights this weekend so I let Deborah sleep with me. She took her half of the bed right out of its middle. Her legs were all over me and stabbing me at the same time. When I came back from the washroom, I leaned over her and gently got her attention. I whispered, "Deborah, you want to move over a little?" She politely responded, "No, thank you."

I whispered again, "Deborah, I'm going to move you over." When I finished relocating her I said, "Thank you, Deborah." She responded, "Yuelcome." (That's how she says "your welcome.")

Tomorrow and Thursday the school is going skiing. She is so excited. I'm excited for her; it's her first time.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Christopher is 17

Today is my only son's 17th birthday. Everyone should have someone in their life like Christopher. He brings delight and joy wherever he is. He weighed 9.3 when he was born; a chunky, beautiful, fair-skinned bundle of love. For the first few hours he was naked because the nurses couldn't find a "hospital issue" sleeper big enough for him. Dr Mesko gave the babies he delivered a t-shirt that read "Delivered with Love by Dr. Mesko." From Christopher's first breath, he was too big for that t-shirt. (But I still have it.)

He was a very contented baby who slept lots, was pleasant when he was awake, was easily entertained, and who smiled lots and lots. Everyone loved Christopher. At church, people gravitated to him so they could enjoy he gummy smiles. Mike Holder use to get in Christopher's face and say, "Christopher, get a job," and Christopher would kick and cackle excitedly.

When he was 3 he began developing a fine sense of humor. I'm sure he had heard these expressions somewhere, but one winter day he, Stephanie, and I went for a drive in the country. Christopher said, "Mom, I need to water my horse." Puzzled, I asked what he meant. "You know Mom, I need to make some mud." I quickly figured out he needed to pee.

Around the same time he entered a very pronounced cowboy phase. He took it very seriously, wearing western clothes and boots everywhere. What I wouldn't give to have those little gray boots now. Gordon sent him a lariat and Christopher took it wherever he went. He rode his tricycle down the sidewalk hollering "giddy-up" or "Eeeeeaww" playing like he was roping calves with his new rope.

After Gordon and I got engaged, we came to Canada for a visit. We went to Ft Steele to enjoy the western frontier life for a day. Gordon had a "connection" there so Christopher got to sit on one of the gigantic Belgian horses that even I would have been scared to sit on. The horse took one step and Christopher's eyes grew wide and he declared, "Wooooe, this one's a wiiiild one."

When we moved to Canada, he quickly adopted Gordon's fuzzy blanket with a horse on it as his own. To this day, we call that blanket the horsie blanket. At nap time he would curl up in his horsie blanket and when I left his room I'd say "Nappy Noon Christopher." He would counter with, "Mom, cowboys don't say Nappy Noon."

The next summer when he came to visit, I rented some videos about real cowboys. We watched boy cows being made steers (being neutered) and Christopher watched with sympathetic eyes. I explained the process and the reason behind it as best I knew. He took his thumb out of his mouth long enough to say, "When I get my farm, I'm not gonna do that to my cows."

The cowboy obsession is far behind Christopher. Now he drives a hippy van, plays football, leads worship some, plays guitar, and takes kindness and joy everywhere he goes.

I'm thankful for Christopher. I'm thankful I was chosen to give him birth. I'm thankful for the innumerable precious memories I have. I'm thankful Christopher walks with God and desires to honor and glorify him with his life.

Happy Birthday Christopher. I pray it will be a GREAT year for you. I love you.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Growing Older Under Mrs Lindberg's Tutelage

I just finished reading Anne Morrow Lindberg's book called Gift From the Sea. From her book, one would never know of her accomplishments. Married to Charles Lindberg, the famous aviator, I was surprised to learn through an internet search that she accompanied him on his historic flights. She too had a well established career in science and technology. If I had these accomplishments to my benefit, you can be sure I would find a way to bring them into my book. I was impressed by her humility and her femininity.

Her book, Gift From the Sea, (she wrote a number of books, but this one was her most well-known work) is a contemplative, slow-moving, thoughtful look at life and the cycles life brings. She explores different sea shells and draws lessons from those shells. It is definitely not a book for the easily bored or fast-paced reader. I read it twice. The first time I slogged through a few pages at a time and it took me months to finish. After the first read, which wasn't exactly pleasurable, I had a good idea of the book's purpose and overview and was able to then re-read it and appreciate the slowness of pace.

She thoughtfully explores the stages and cycles of life -- particularly a woman's life, and concludes that each stage is worthwhile. "Each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of a relationship is valid. And my shells?... They are only there to remind me that the sea recedes and returns eternally."

Toward the end of her book, she explores middle age, the empty nest, and growing older. She writes, "All the inner and outer explorations a woman has done earlier in life pays off when she reaches the abandoned shell (the empty nest). One has to come to term with oneself not only in a new stage but new role... woman must come of age by herself - she must find her true center alone. The lesson seems to need re-learning about every 20 years of a woman's life... Middle age," she writes, "like adolescence can be looked upon as a second flowering."

The book encouraged me to glean as much as possible from each stage of my life. Doing so will help prepare me for my future. One who accepts and embraces her circumstances and stage becomes better prepared for the next stage of her journey.

Intrigued by Anne Morrow Lindberg, I looked into her life a little. Her wisdom and depth didn't come easily to her. Her and Charles's first born child was kidnapped from their home as he slept. He was 20 months old. After weeks of searching, his badly decomposed body was found.

Her pain, like the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, forged its way through her. It left a magnificent scar, but produced something beautiful. She was the kind of woman I would like to be; wise, gracious, deep, thoughtful, and creative.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Birthday Greetings

Today was my big 4-0 birthday. These are my favorite birthday greetings.

My Dearest Neice, On this, your 40th birthday, it behooves me to remind you that although turning 40 seemed to be a black page on my calandar, in reality it turned out to be the most wonderful beginning of a new life. I have lived more wonderful years since 40 than I ever lived before that time. And I trust that the same will be true for you. Just remember that although our Father in heaven gave us our lives, he left it to us how we would live them. So live yours to the hilt. Enjoy every moment. Be happy every second. Savor every experience. And give yourself permission to wallow in joy!!!!!

Hey Mom I think the ultimate valentines gift for you is a calculator.Ya your going to need one to calculate the number of ways your loved. Chris

happy 4othbirthday to you!!!!!! i enjoyed our call last night.. steve goes boy you sure laugh alot.... caleb goes man mom you were soooo loud.... then one time when i was laughing i farted.... oh he loved that one..... hope you had a great day... love debbie

It's been a wonderful day.

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I'm in Love

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained. -- C. S. Lewis

Love doesn't just sit there like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new. -- Ursula K. LeGuin

The love we have in our youth is superficial compared to the love that an old man has for his old wife. -- Will Durant

I woke this morning to my husband's valentines to all his ladies. Rachael, Deborah, Hannah, and I had our little gifts of chocolates and cards waiting for us on the kitchen counter. It's a delightful way to wake up. I'll take Hershey's Hugs and Kisses for breakfast any day. Just joking. It wasn't breakfast, but we started eating them right after breakfast.

Gordon is a good husband, father and friend. I am very thankful for him. I appreciate his intelligence, his commitment to God and his family, his consistency, his perserverance, his integrity, and his wisdom.

Isn't there a song called, "I'd Choose You Again"? Well my timing would be different a second time around, but I'd definitely choose Gordon again.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006


One night last week Rachael was sharing a lesson she had a school. Dr Ben Carson wasn't always level headed and kind. When he was a young boy, his father died and Ben became a very angry soul. In his adolescent years he even went so far as to stab a friend at school. Both Hannah and Deborah's eyes grew big as they heard this story.

Hannah spoke first. "Woooooe! Did he get a detention?"

Deborah countered with, "I bet he got at least one infraction."

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Saturday, February 11, 2006


My dear, dear friend Debbie had breast cancer and subsequently has to visit her doctors often. This week her doctor did his touchy feely routine on her breasts yet again. Anxious to confirm there were no new lumps, she asked, "Do they feel good?"

The difference in Debbie and me is that she can immediately laugh at herself. I have to emotionally recover first. That recovery has taken anywhere from 2 hours to 25 years. Debbie has mentored me, perhaps unknowingly, in how to laugh at myself. She learned how much earlier in life than me and has consistently lived it. What a gift she has. I so admire her ability to laugh at her own foibles -- immediately.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Blah to Laughing Hysterically

"I feel dowdy, you know, kind of blah." Lucille Ball said that in an I Love Lucy show. Today I feel just like Lucy. Dowdy, blah, dull, thick-headed.

When I feel that way I'm not a joy to be around. My dear husband Gordon can attest to that. He and I passed a young boy climbing the fence of our local park. He was struggling to get over and seemed sort of stuck, maybe like he was in over his head. I told Gordon I wanted to stop and yell at him. Gordon asked what it was I wanted to say to the kid. I started in on a mini-tirade about people climbing fences, the lack of respect for property, the morality of using gates, etc, etc. When I paused, Gordon said, "I don't know what you're complaining about. That boy back there is the one with his balls stuck in the fence." Gordon has a real gift with words. Sometimes, like this time, there was a lot of wisdom in what he has to say.

Gordon is at work and just sent me the following e-mail. I laughed out loud as I read it. I hope it makes you laugh really hard.

ONLY A GUY WOULD DO THIS. (for sure!!!)

Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 22nd anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Toni. What I came across was a 100,000 volt, pocket/purse-sized taser. The effects of the taser were suppose to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety.... WAY TOO COOL!

Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two triple A batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time, I'd get the bluearc of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. Awesome!!! Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Toni what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-a batteries,. right?!!! There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trustinglittle soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. So there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top, with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, taser in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries. All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and loaded with two itsy-bitsy triple-a batteries, thinking to myself, "no possibleway!"

What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do mybest..... I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to oneside as to say, "don't do it master," reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad.. I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and HOLY MOTHER, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION@!@$@$%!@ *!!!

I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body-slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. The cat was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to herself, "do it again, do it again!"

Note: If you ever feel compelled to "mug" yourself with a taser, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three-second burst would be considered conservative.SON-OF-A-.. that hurt like hell!!! A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. How did they upget there??? My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I'm still looking for my testicles. I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return.

Still in shock, Tommy

That's it. Did it make you laugh or am I just coo-coo?

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sexual Development

Contrary to some things I've been told since Sex in the Country Part 1 and 2, I am not obsessed with sex. I have neither more nor less fascination than the average person. However in my household, there is a developing sexual awareness and every time there is a new awareness, it reminds me of something else.

Saturday morning Hannah came into the living room carrying Frodo. With her nose wrinkled and her lips turned down, she grimaced. "During the night, Frodo's penis got really hard and something pink came out. There were 2 balls on it too. It was gross!"

I smiled and said, "I guess our little Frodo is growing up."

In the afternoon, I spoke to Stephanie. She has a puppy named Midas about the same age as Frodo. I told her about Hannah's observation. She told me that she and John Mark call "it" Midas's "pink thing".

Although we had lots of dogs growing up, I had never paid any attention to the male dog parts. When Kent and I married, we went to Eureka Springs for our honeymoon. As we walked the streets enjoying the quaint shops, we passed an older gentleman walking his Bassett Hound. This Bassett was the Bassett that made me fall in love with Bassetts. Although barely off the ground, he was massive. Kent and I laughed that his "thing" nearly dragged the ground.

Shortly afterward, Kent found some Bassetts for sale and we took off to Little Rock to get one. We came home with Buford. Buford and I quickly developed an emotionally dysfunctional relationship. He was so sweet, but clearly he was the master and I his subobordinate. I dressed him in his red bandana and away he and I would go. He went bezerk when we passed Sonic, so like the obedient servant I was, I'd whip in and buy 2 Pepsis; a medium for me and a large for Buford. He loved their cheese conies and would occasionally get one of those too. I loved Buford but didn't have a clue about training him. He was in control.

As he matured, I discovered 2 growths on his belly. I was terribly alarmed afraid they were tumors. They were sensitive to the touch. Kent came home to me crying one night; I was convinced Buford was dying. I sat on the sofa and Buford laid in my arms on his back. I told Kent about it. (He seemed curious, but looking back, I think he was hoping they were cancerous.) I told him how sometimes they would get super big and how he would groan when I touched them.

Soon enough, the tumors got visible while Kent was home. I showed them to Kent and said, "look it hurts him when I touch them." I rubbed them and Buford groaned. "Do you think he'll die?" I touched them again, and again Buford groaned in pain.

Kent slapped my shoulder with the back of his hand and said firmly, "Would you stop that! You're turning him on."

I yelled defensively, "That's gross. I'm not either. Something's wrong with him. Look, can't you see the tumors?"

Disgusted, he replied impatiently, "Those aren't tumors, those are his lock-up knots. Dang Valerie, stop rubbing him. You've got him turned on."

I wasn't convinced Kent knew what he was talking about, but I stopped touching his "tumors." I made an appointment with the vet that Daddy used for the cows. Buford and I sat in Dr Cress's office and I wondered how I would handle this. If he said Buford had cancer, would I have him put down that day, or would I take him home for "a little bit longer."

Finally it was our turn to go in. "Fine looking dog you got. What can I do for you?," Dr Cress asked. I said, "he's got 2 growths," I said as I put Buford on the table. At that moment, the growths weren't visible, so I said, "if you rub right here, they'll show." I demonstrated.

Dr. Cress punched around on Buford's stomach, looked in his ears, and for the finale put his finger in Buford's butt. "Your dog is fine. There nothing wrong with him," he said as Buford let out a pained yelp.

"But the growths? What are they?," I asked feeling like he'd heard nothing I'd told him.

"They're normal," he said as he handed Buford to me. "He ain't nuttin' but a pantywaste."

I learned later that a pantywaste is a sissy. I never took Buford back to Dr Cress. I thought Buford needed a more nurturing doctor, not one that called him names.

Months passed and Stephanie was born. That day, Buford became a dog. He was a dog I was very fond of, but he was just a dog.

Years later when Gordon and I were in Victoria on our honeymoon, we saw a billboard with a huge Bassett on it. I told my new husband about Buford, my love for Bassett Hounds, and that it all started on my honeymoon with Kent when we saw the Bassett whose "thing" nearly dragged the ground. Gordon spoke slowly and sympathetically, "Poor thing, I know how he feels."

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Mama

This is my Mom with Bear, one of her great-grandchildren. December 2005.

Today is my Mom's 70th birthday. I just spoke with her and when asked how it felt to be 70, she said, "There is a lot of wisdom in this head and the weight of it all is weighing me down."

One of my personal traditions is to pray special prayers for birthday boys and girls. That's not to say I don't pray for them at other times, I just pray more on their bithdays.

This week I've been meditating on my mom's legacy to me. I've thought of these things over the years, and I appreciate them more the older I get. I hear with increasing regularity how I'm like my mother. The kids and Gordon quickly point out, "you sound just like your mother," when I'm laughing hard.

I heard Ellen Degeneras say, "I was watching so hard to make sure I didn't become like my mom, that my dad snuck right up on me." I much prefer being told I'm just like my mom opposed to being told I'm like my eccentric father. Knowing the possibilities sure make me appreciative that I've become like my mom.

Mama's greatest gifts to me have brought much joy into my life. I'm very glad these gift were passed on to me.

Firstly, Mama modelled prayer and Bible reading to me. Many a morning I went into my childhood living room to find my mom freshly bathed, sitting in her favorite chair in nothing but her bra and panties. She sat serenely reading her Bible. If you're wondering why she only had on underwear, well, so am I.

All Mama's kids are lovers of God and I know it's Mama's prayers that laid that foundation.

The second greatest gift she gave me is the ability to laugh. And laugh we do. We laugh uncontrollably and manage to see the ludicrous in the mundane. I hope to give the same gift to my kids.

Having lived in Canada for 13 years, I've come to appreciate the discriptive and picturesqe speech of Southerners. Mama gives me my regular dose of Southernisms. In 2004, the girls and I visited the south for a month. At Mama's house, Stephanie and Christopher joined us. That meant I shared a bedroom with 5 kids. As one might guess, that bedroom was anything but tidy and organized. There were mounds of clothes, suitcases, gifts, things I'd bought to bring back home, and school books everywhere. It was first class chaos.

One day I went back to the bedroom to have a nap. There was such a mess there was nowhere to move the junk on the bed. It was mostly clothes, so I just climbed under it all. Not long afterward, Mama came to tell me I had a visitor. I was still awake so I saw her, but because of the mess, she couldn't see me. She stood in the door and her jaw hung down in shock at our deplorable living condition. Her eyes slowly scanned the room. In slow dramatic flow she spoke, "Lord have mercy, gosh a mighty derns." I still laugh when I recall her facial expression as she stood there and her curious phrase.

Recently as we spoke on the phone, she told me that Dixie, her beagle, was "down in her get-along." That's Mama-talk for Dixie has arthritis in her hips. I never recognized her colorful speech when I lived there, but I sure notice it now and I smile.

Today, my prayer for my mom goes something like this. "Dear God, I'm thankful for my mom. Thank You for making her one of Your own and giving her the desire to live for You. Thank you for giving her 70 years of health and safety. Please protect her and give her a really wonderful year. Bless her and please give her the desires of her heart. Thank you for my mom."

Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.

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