Friday, September 29, 2006

Follow-up Friday Four

Not that I'm certain anyone cares, but I thought I'd follow yesterday's Thursday Thirteen with a follow-up.

1. Hannah loved her mirror, hugged me, and thanked me just like I predicted she would.

2. Gordon and I had a wonderful conversation with the principal this morning. I've been basking in God's grace all day. It was phenomenal how well things went. I know the Holy Spirit was present.

3. Regarding the teacher who humiliated Rachael, she apologized to Rachael for her insensitivity and told Rachael she didn't mean to hurt her. Yea!

4. I will thank that teacher next week for talking to Rachael.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

I feel like some kind of thief when I type "Thursday Thirteen." It is not original. But I really like the concept. So hear we go again. Thursday Thirteen.

1. I joined a writers group. I hope to have fun, fun, fun, till my daddy takes the t-bird away.

2. I made soap the other night. Note to self and anyone else who plans to make soap: There is a GREAT BIG difference between fluid ounces and ounces in weight. I had never thought of that, but now I KNOW in no uncertain terms.

3. I had a huge confrontation with a teacher at the kid's school. She rebuked my 11- year-old-for her panties showing on the swing. In front of Rachael's male teacher, she said to Rachael in her snarky sarcastic way that I'm all too familiar with, "Rachael, it not like we want to see the pattern on your panties." Rachael was humiliated. My head about popped off in anger. That's because we have so much history with this woman. All I wanted from her was to recognize that it was inappropriate to shame Rachael like that. She didn't feel it was inappropriate. "You mean you want the whole school to see Rachael's panties?," she said GGGGGRRRRRRRRRRR. I snapped. I haven't snapped like that in years.

4. Tomorrow I'm going to talk to the principal. Really this is just the straw that broke the camel's back. We've had soooo many episodes like this. I haven't disliked someone like I dislike her in years.

5. Praying hard regarding my attitude.

6. Deborah told me today that Matthew called her a "retart." (Retard)

7. Deborah also said, "Tyson hurt my feelings. He said someone in my family is fat." Hummm, who could he have meant? I thought it sweet that Deborah didn't want to come out and name names. She's sensitive that way.

8. Bear is weasling his way into my heart. I haven't loved him like Frodo. Yesterday I accidentally shut the door on him (not too badly). He limped for a few minutes and I realized how much I loved him in those moments. Life is funny.

9. I had fun re-working the ribbons and lace at work today. I love organizing.

10. Gordon is good to me and he is wise. I could easily forget the principles that I'm fighting for regarding aforementioned teacher. He keeps bringing me back to that focus when I'm getting carried away on an emotional (ungodly) tangent.

11. I made Hannah a funky mirror tonight. I can wait to hang it while she's at school tomorrow. She will be so pleased to find it. She'll run out of her room as soon as she see it to hug me and say thanks.

12. I am like a kid in a candy store at the fabric store. I love the fabric, patterns, ideas....

13. I miss the tidiness of my last store, but this store is more "me."

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Survey Results

Assuming all votes are in....

The question was, if you had the opportunity to look at a colleague's paystub, certain you wouldn't get caught, would you look?

53.8 % of those who replied said yes, they would look.

44.8 % said no, they wouldn't look.

Now I have another question. Forgive me for being the devil's advocate, but if you are guaranteed not to be caught, why wouldn't you look?

Morality, conviction, or just can't believe the "guarantee." Which is it?


Office Furniture For Sale

A couple posts back, I mentioned how Gordon is kind and how he is a hard worker. Those words seem quite flat, but to drive home the significance of those traits, here's a true story. Only Gordon Dykstra.....

Office Furniture

Several years ago an acquaintance, named Louie, phoned and asked Gordon if he knew of any charitable organization that would like some office furniture to sell. Gordon immediately thought of our neighborhood Baptist church. Gordon had enjoyed a visit with the pastor the week before. Pastor Ralph confided in Gordon that there was lots of complaining and grumbling happening in his church regarding the Vacation Bible School budget.

Gordon phoned Pastor Ralph and told him that Safeway recently remodeled their office building and they were giving away the office furniture they had taken out. To Gordon and Pastor Ralph this sounded like the perfect scenario for supplying the needed funds for VBS. Both men were praising the Lord. “Wow, what an answer to prayer.” Everyone was being blessed. Louie from Safeway was getting rid of all the office furniture, the church was going to capitalize on it by having an office furniture sale on the parking lot, and Gordon was thrilled to be apart of something so wonderful.

As Gordon and I were enjoying a cup of tea one evening, Safeway’s Louie phoned to verify that Ralph understood it was a full semi trailer. Gordon phoned Ralph to confirm. Pastor Ralph was excited, “Sure, that’s just more money.” Gordon got off the phone with Ralph and started dialing Louie. I was feeling very uncomfortable that Gordon was triangulating the whole thing. I told him he should back out and let the two men work with each other.

Later Louie phoned Gordon to make arrangements for the Safeway trailer to be delivered to the parking lot. I was in the background yapping, “Just give him Pastor Ralph’s phone number.”

The full size truck trailer was brought to the church parking lot on Monday morning. Mondays are Pastor Ralph’s day off, so he asked Gordon to be there to show the driver where to park the trailer. Safeway was gracious; they agreed to let the trailer stay there till Friday. This was going to give the church plenty of time to unload its contents.

Early Tuesday morning, Pastor Ralph called. “Gordon this isn’t what I expected. There’s no way I can sell all this stuff. My church is full of seniors and no one is strong enough to help. I had back surgery a few years back so I sure can’t lift that stuff. What can you do to get rid of this stuff?”

For the next three days Gordon (with a little help from me) hauled every imaginable piece of office furniture and equipment to our backyard. Pastor Ralph popped his head in the trailer ever so often to see the progress and say a heartfelt, “I’m really sorry about this.” His church folks drove by, honked, and waved. I smiled and waved back, gritting my teeth so they couldn’t read my lips.

Although I did a sizable amount of work, my work was miniscule compared to Gordon’s. Gordon would do his 8 hours at his paying job and then come home and haul furniture till bedtime. He never complained. (I complained enough for 2, or 3 or 5 or 10). Gordon buckled down to work. He persevered. From the kitchen window I watched him haul desks, credenzas and tables down the alley. Over and over and over. He got the trailer emptied, just in time for Safeway to come and get it.

My favorite place to be in the summer, my backyard, was the new home to 32 desks, 10 filing cabinets, and a plethora of office chairs (circa 1960-1990’s). There was a copier, tables, a first aid couch that I affectionately dubbed the psychiatrist’s couch, outdated equipment – postage equipment, rubber stamps that read “received,” “paid,” “overdue” and other billing terminology. We found no fewer than 20 staplers. Rubber bands! We will never need to buy rubber bands again. We threw away thousands of those and kept enough for us, our children, and our children’s children. Files still filled with Safeway documents filled many garbage bags.

Each of the girls claimed a backyard desk and set up business. Deborah, who was 3 at the time, put on her play high heels and rubber stamped documents for hours at a time. Rachael and Hannah changed their names to names more suitable to businesswomen. They answered phones, opened mail, stapled important documents, and filled in flow charts for days.

I phoned every charity in the city and every used office furniture store. No one wanted our donation. Louie’s generosity was making more sense all the time.

In desperation we put up signs on the nearest busy streets, “office furniture for sale.” Gordon said if we said to “give away” everyone would think it was junk.

Meanwhile I was breaking down. I lay on the psychiatrist’s couch staring at the clouds talking to the Great Psychiatrist.

All our friends took at least one desk. A few even came to offer emotional support. I laid on the psychiatrist’s couch as my pastor said, “Really Valerie, I understand your overwhelm. I would feel overwhelmed too.” He left with a desk. Our friend Brian came and took a couple desks and shelves. I was measuring all our friendships by how many desks and chairs my friends left with. Our friends Billy and Leanne sat in my backyard and as kindly as they could said, “Valerie we don’t have a place for another desk.” As Leanne spoke consoling words, Billy went behind the garage to look at the “Rumbler”. The Rumbler was the 1972 Ford we inherited when Gordon’s dad died. Billy knew we never used the Rumbler and he needed a junk truck. He asked how much we’d sale it for. I smiled and said, “2 desks and 4 chairs”. He chose his desks and chairs and came and got the truck a few days later.

News of our office furniture sale traveled. Strangers were in my yard daily mulling around and opening desk drawers. People would curiously ask if I was going out of business and I’d answer, “Not as fast as I’d like.”

One biker guy, tattooed and pierced all over, wanted to bargain with me. “How much for those 4 chairs?” he asked. I pulled my eyes from his pierced nipples and said, “$5 each or 8 for $10” He took all 8 and told me I drove a hard bargain. Later he returned with his friend “Lizard”. Lizard wanted a desk. “$35 for the desk or $25 for the desk and that table.” He grinned and said, “Sold”.

After 1½ weeks the traffic quit coming. Gordon began making “night visits” to garbage bins around the city. One night he settled down after his evening drops and couldn’t find his palm pilot. “Oh no, I bet I lost it in one of those dumpsters.” He retraced his steps and found his beloved palm in a carpet store’s garbage bin.

All our friends still laugh when our office furniture sale is mentioned. They say, “That would only happen to Gordon Dykstra”. Brian says his respect for Gordon grew. “I would have dumped it all in the North Saskatchewan River had it been up to me,” he said. If I’d thought of that, I may have considered it myself.

All said and done, we made $320 on our sale. Gordon says it was a blessing in disguise. He is an eternal optimist. I say it was my greatest peril in 2003.

One thing about it, our family will never again need to buy a stapler, paper clips or rubber bands.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I joined a quilting group. I thought it just the thing to keep me motivated to finish my anniversary quilt -- you remember, the one I started for our 10th anniversary and am now hoping to have completed for our 15th. My quilting skills are rugged. Nothing has driven that home to me as succinctly as my first night at the Piecemakers. The Piecemakers are super quilters.

You know when you see an ugly newborn baby, you can't honestly say, "Oh she's so pretty," so you say something like, "How sweet. And look at those long fingers." Well last night when the ladies looked at my humble beast of a quilt, they said, "My, you've put a lot of work into that." I knew what they really meant because I've seen a few ugly babies in my day and used more than a few lines about their fingers and cute booties.

Had I known just how well these ladies quilted, I may have been too intimidated to go to the Piecemakers. Fortunately, I didn't know. Once there I learned that two of the ladies actually teach quilting. I figure they wanted to put a disclaimer sign over my chair that read, "We never saw her before tonight."

I will keep going to the Piecemakers. Hopefully their skill will rub off on me. Unfortunately it's too late for my anniversary quilt though, but I'll keep plugging away on it. Hopefully our 50th anniversary quilt will be worthy of inspection.



Years ago I was at a ladies' Bible study and several of the ladies were gushy over their husbands. As we went around the group introducing ourselves, I had the luck of following 3 gushy women who all tried to out-gush the others. (Remember the 80's expression, "Gag me with a spoon?" Well that was what I was thinking.)

Each lady said, "I'm married to the most wonderful man and best husband in the world." As if on cue, the woman beside her would say, "No, I'm married to the most wonderful man and best husband in the world."

After these ladies finished their good-natured arguing, it was my turn to introduce myself. I think they expected me to follow their lead and keep the lie going around the circle. It just happened to be a day when I was at odds with my husband, so that wasn't about to happen. I took a deep breath and said, "Well, I'm Valerie. I am NOT married to the most wonderful man or the best husband in the world." There were gales of laughter and the two women after me introduced themselves similarly.

Well that was back in the 80's. I'm a bit more mature now, but I can see me still doing the same thing today. Tsk. Tsk.

Today I'm very annoyed with my darling husband. We crossed wires last night and I'm still peeved. To work through this state of peeve-ment, I shall remind myself (and you dear reader) of my husband's wonderful characteristics. He has many.

My husband is indeed a wonderful man and a wonderful husband. It's been a satisfying process watching him become wiser and wiser as we've aged. He was wise for a 31-year-old when we married, but he hadn't been through the fiery furnace of suffering up to that point. Marrying me, he soon found himself smack dab in the middle of a wisdom producing hot bed of affliction. Through the many low points of our marriage and life together, Gordon has always turned to God when things were tough. It seems in every trial, he grew wiser.

Gordon is a great daddy. He loves his girls with everything in him. He prioritizes them, taking them on individual dates and walks. He prays for them and with them. He is a totally engaged father.

In parenting, I am again thankful for his wisdom. Many times he has brought balance to a situation I would have harmed had I been on my own.

Gordon is good with money. I am thankful for his conscientiousness, his frugality, his priority on giving, and his planning for the future.

Gordon can fix just about anything. I'm sure he has saved us thousands and thousands of dollars. When an appliance breaks down, Gordon rebuilds it. My Maytag washer and dryer are 35-years old. One year when we got our tax return, he asked if I wanted a new washer and dryer. "No way," I said. "I figure you'll keep the ones we've got running and we'll be able to leave them to the kids when we die."

Gordon is a hard worker. When the going gets tough, he always puts his nose to the grindstone and keeps going.

Gordon is kind and shows people respect.

He is a faithful friend. His funeral will be much better attended than mine.

Well this exercise has been effective. I think I've worked through my peeves. I'm very thankful for Gordon. In spite of our very distinct differences, he is a wonderful husband. Perhaps, the best in the world. Just perhaps.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Oma Valerie


Sorry to have screamed like that. Let me back up just a little bit. Stephanie and John Mark are having a baby! Baby will come in May 2007. :-))))))

When I told Hannah, she wrinkled up her nose and said, "That means they mated." Now everyone knows what Stephanie and John Mark have done.

Many congratulations to Stephanie and John Mark.



I think we've received the confirmation we've needed regarding church. My dear sweet Rachael went to youth group for the first time on Friday. She was so excited, yet innocently apprehensive.

When I picked her up, I could tell she was happy and at ease. As soon as she got in the van she announced, "Guess what? There's a girls' Bible study on Wednesday night."

Then on Saturday night I walked into her room as she laid out her clothes for church. She confirmed once again why I think we've found our new church home when she said, "I can't wait till tomorrow."

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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Rachael and "Swears"

When my girls were younger, the bar was pretty low as to what constituted a "swear." Stupid, idiot, dummy, ugly, shut-up,... These were the words they regularly dubbed swears.

When Rachael was 6, she came home with a tale about a new friend. As she ate her sandwich, slathered generously with mayonnaise, she told me that Becca said swears.

Assuming Becca had said something like, "Rachael you're a dummy," I asked what she'd said.

Rachael smacked her sandwich, totally unaware of the magnitude of what she was about to say. I noticed the innocence in her expression and the line of mayonnaise stretched in both directions across her face. With no guile, she smacked, "She said, 'Fuck you, Rachael.'"

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Last night during devotions with the girls I droned on and on about reverence for God. Having made my point several times over, Hannah remarked, "Why don't you be a preacher?"

While I was at a momentary loss for words, Deborah responded knowingly, "Hannah, it doesn't pay."

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Boll Weevil

In 1915 the Mexican boll weevil invaded Alabama destroying 60% of the cotton crop --the livelihood-- of southeast Alabama. Farmers faced financial ruin and the community economy was at stake.

Desperate for a crop that would withstand the boll weevil, farmers turned to peanuts and were rewarded with unexpected prosperity.

The citizens recognized that what at first appeared as tragedy, the destruction of their cotton crops, was instead the best thing possible for their economy. In gratitude they erected a monument to the boll weevil. In Enterprise, Alabama the monument still stands and its inscription reads: "In profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity..."

When I read the story of the boll weevil monument, I was reminded of two things. 1) All things are working together for my good, and 2) what is intended to harm me, God will use for good. (Romans 8:28 and Genesis 50:20)


Sunday, September 17, 2006

My Independent Survey - PLEASE VOTE

Please please please cast your vote! I am begging. I am doing a sociological survey and want as many participants as possible. For those of you who are self-conscious to comment, please comment anonymously, no one will ever know it's you, not even me. So I am begging. OK?

It's very very simple. Basically, your part is to answer yes or no.

Here we go:

You are sitting at your desk at work when you see that a co-worker, one who's salary you've always been curious about, has left his pay stub on your desk. It is in an unsealed envelope, very easy to access. There is NO danger of being caught or found out. Do you sneak a peek? Do you look?

Answer yes or no in the comment section of this blog.


Self Defense

Last week in Portland, Oregon a nurse returned home after her shift in emergency room to find an intruder in her home. He came toward her with a hammer. She took one hit from his hammer before she wrestled it from him, sat on him, and strangled him to death.

Intruder (since discovered to be hired as a hit man by the nurse's ex-husband) weighed roughly 190 pounds. Nurse hero weighs approximately 250.

Self Defense. The latest of my reasons to stay overweight.

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Poor Pope Benedict

I could never have a job of great importance. I would forever be saying the wrong thing, providing plenty of reasons for public scrutiny and scorn. Even my most wise, eloquent moments (however few they may be) would be of horrible consequence. Lucky for me, I'm very aware of this propensity and have turned down all offers to very important jobs.

Pope Benedict sure created a stir with his comments about Muslims. Seems the Muslims didn't like being accused again of spreading Islam through violence. (We've all heard it, ad nauseum, Islam means peace. Say it with me folks, Islam means peace.)

The great irony is that now there are Muslims rioting, bombing, and killing in protest of the "ugly ignorance" of the Pope's words. Am I the only one who struggles reconciling these things?

I don't claim to be the most discerning of God's creatures, but I think a see a weakness in the Muslim defense tactic here.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

For lack of anything else to write, I will copy someone else's idea. Thursday Thirteen!

1. We're having a cool spell. It's dreary, gloomy, and many would say it's kind of nasty. I personally like it though. I like blue skies more, but I appreciate the variety. We might even have some spittin' snow soon. It won't stick around though. We will have a lovely fall.

2. I quit my wicker furniture job and now just work in the fabric store. One job is enough for me.

3. I like putting in my few hours each week, but my real enjoyment is at home. I am very domestically inclined. I love it. 10 - 15 years ago I would have rolled my eyes in unbelief if someone had told me there would come a day when I'd love this quiet peaceful life of serving my family.

4. I encountered some ghosts this week. I thought I'd been largely delivered from the sin of pride, but I am now fully aware that it is still very much an issue for me. Two times I found myself in the throes of a prideful fit. One "fit" God mercifully rescued me before I did too much damage, the other I had to eat a large helping of humble pie.

5. Humble pie is my least favorite pie.

6. My hubby is very patient and good to me. He has good reason to question my stability at times, but he keeps forgiving and loving me.

7. Rachael is running for Vice-President of student council. If she wins I'm hoping she can give Dick Cheney some lessons. hehehe

8. Bear has started hiking his leg when he pees, but only under one condition: When Lucy pees, he hikes his leg and pees on Lucy's foot. I'm no Sigmund Freud, but I think I have successfully analyzed that.

9. Hannah wants a ferret, but I have said no to any more pets. She's looking for a home for her hamster and she already gave away her fish. We still have one fish left and she eyes it every morning hoping it's dead. Poor fish. She thinks she'll get a ferret for Christmas if the rodents and fish are gone by then. Poor Hannah.

10. My social butterfly Deborah isn't having an easy time with friends this year. There are only 5 girls in her class. She is the proverbial 5th wheel. Her best friend is next door, but Kalyna doesn't go to Deborah's school.

11. We think we have found a new church. We've been there 4 times and are feeling pretty confident it's where we'll settle. Sunday school started back on Sunday (it wasn't on for the summer) and we were very pleased with the children's program.

12. I hate Halloween.

13. In my last life, I loved Potato Skins from Red Lobster. (Yes, there was a time when Red Lobster served some mean Potato Skins). Well, I am pleased to announce that I have mastered the art of Potato Skins and they are just as good as Red Lobster's.

Goodnight all.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him .....A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Was that corny or what? No disrespect intended. Ghandi is one of my heroes.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Teddy Roosevelt

Did you know Teddy Roosevelt loved to sing? I did not. He was a very good singer with a deep voice.

One day he was telling his friends how he looked forward to heaven because he imagined a great choir there. "There will be 10,000 sopranos, 10,000 altos, and 10,000 tenors. It's going to be tremendous," he told them.

"But Mr. President," someone asked, "what about the basses?"

He replied with a smile, "I'm going to sing bass!"

I hope you enjoyed that story. I chuckled.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

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A Girlish Figure

I made me a dress today. Nothing I ever make for me fits, so today I decided to measure myself. I know that seems like an obvious first step to you, but for me it was a delayed reaction. I was amazed to learn my measurements - more specifically I marveled that my waist was still smaller than the other two. Giving myself plenty of breathin' room, I am a svelte 53 - 52 - 54. Now don't go gettin' all jealous; some people got it, some people don't. It's nothing more than a fluke that I definitely got it.


Romans 8:28

"We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28

"God works in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform." William Cowper

"God works in a mischievous way, our blunders to reform!" David Seamands' father

David Seamands says that out of our biggest tragedies come the brightest triumphs! I believe it and I love it.

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A Praying Dog

Lucy and Christopher, 2005.

I've been unable to train the pets to pray. Someone, unfortunately unidentified, was able to train their dog to pray. Oh to be that spiritual! I am again confronted with my own weaknesses.

However, I do think my dear Lucy is related to this spiritual dog. Lucy is a unique blend of Bassett Hound, Daschund, and Corgie. This spiritual dog appears to me to be the same blend. I bet they're sisters. Poor Lucy didn't get the religious gene though.
Do you see the striking resemblance? Pray for Lucy, she's not where she should be with God. She doesn't pray.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

A Memory from Long Ago; Shreveport

This morning I remembered this story and don't think I've ever shared it. We've come a long way baby.

Shreveport, Louisiana

When I was 11-years-old, my sister Diane and her husband Herbie moved to Shreveport Louisiana. Our pastor was from Shreveport so I'd heard stories about it and it sounded nothing short of exotic.

My family never went on vacation. Daddy was a farmer so that was his excuse. Imagine our delight when Mama took us to Shreveport (called Shrevesport to many folks in Polk County). The trip was filled with excitement and new things. We went through Texarkana, a major city in our estimation. Stacie and I saw cotton fields for the first time. We smelt Ashdown's paper mill for miles and miles before we saw it. Driving through Ashdown, we saw a heart-shaped bed in the window of a furniture store. I doubted if anyone in Polk County had a heart shaped bed.

Four hours and much excitement later, (I got car sick, I'd never been on such a journey) we arrived in Shreveport. Diane and Herbie showed us the sites. We went downtown to look at the tall buildings. Herbie knew just what to do to make this really exciting. We parked the car, got out on the sidewalk and Herbie said, "Now look up." We did. "Don't the buildings look like they're leaning?" he asked. We were wowed. He was so kind to us little country girls.

Next we went to a building with an escalator and together we went up and down, up and down. Stacie and I thought we were the only people who'd ever gone up on the down escalator and down the up escalator. We did this until a policeman blew a whistle at us and told us to stop. (It was actually a security guard, but we didn't know that then.)

The excitement didn't end there. The biggest treat about going downtown was the elevators.
We felt like we were "somebody" when we went with Daddy or Mama to pay our taxes at the Polk County Courthouse. Why they had a basement, a main floor and a second floor. That was the extent of the exciting buildings we'd been in. So when we entered the "skyscraper" that had an elevator, we felt like we'd become citified. We stepped in the elevator and Herbie pushed the magic button. As I looked at all the buttons, I asked, "How do you know which button to push?" Before Herbie had a chance to answer, we took off. Stacie and I lost our balance and careened into each other. Herbie laughed.

These things were indeed very exciting to us, but the absolute biggest thrill of our trip to Shreveport was the airport. For the ultimate exposure to the city life, we went and watched planes take off and land. We stood at the fence ooohing and aaawhing the whole time.

The next day as we sat in Diane and Herbie's living room, Mama said,"Valerie, why don't you call the airport and see when some planes are coming in." It was exciting to know we might go back, so I got out the phonebook, the absolute biggest book I'd ever seen, and phoned the airport. I put on my most professional 11-year-old voice, "Could you please tell me what time some planes are coming in?"

After a moment of hesitation, she replied with matched professionalism,"What plane are you waiting for?"

"It doesn't really matter," I answered confidently.

After a moment of silence, she said, "Where is the plane you want coming from?"

Slightly flustered, I changed my approach, "Well, what time are the planes leaving?"

As soon as she asked, "Going where?" I had an epiphany, as did everyone else in the living room. I realized how foolish my questions were. I began to laugh uncontrollably and my mom did too. I couldn't speak so I slammed the phone down.

Mama later recalled that Brother Heath had mentioned "the light on the strip" in a sermon. To our understanding, people came from far and wide to see this light. Herbie knew exactly what "the strip" was. It was the gambling area of Bossier City. "Yes, that's it, the Bossier City Strip," Mama recalled. So we drove across the bridge to Bossier City to see this famous light. Herbie, Diane and Mama sat in the front seat. Stacie, Baby Jeff, and I sat in the back seat. We drove up and down the strip looking for a fancy light that allegedly cost over $100,000.

At every street lamp, I'd look up hoping to be the first one to spot the fancy light. Our search was unsuccessful. We pulled into a parking lot and met another car leaving. Herbie stuck his arm out the window to stop the man. "Do you know where the light is?" he asked.

The man looked puzzled. With creased eyebrows he asked, "what light?"

Herbie told him we were looking for the fancy light on the strip. Mama leaned over so she could talk to this stranger, "Surely you've heard of it. It cost $100,000."

The man didn't know what Mama and Herbie were talking about. Mama again tried to enlighten the fellow, "Somewhere on this road is a fancy li..." She didn't finish her sentence. Herbie peeled out of there, throwing all of us against the back of our seats.

"Well for-ever-more! Whadya do that for!?" Mama exclaimed. Herbie explained that he suddenly realized that the light was not on the strip, it was inside one of the casinos. This time the epiphany was his. Once he realized how foolish we were looking to these big-city-people, he just had to get out of there as fast as he could! And as he explained all this, all the adults laughed so hard they cried. Me, I didn't get it. I was disappointed that we didn't find the light.

When we left Shreveport, we were much wiser. We felt proud to have traveled far from home and to have experienced real city life. Now when someone in Polk County said, "Shrevesport" we could knowingly correct him or her. "That's Shreveport, not Shrevesport." We knew Shreveport well, or at least we thought we did.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

100 Things I Love

summer rain
cotton dresses
comfortable shoes
living simple
country kitchens
hardwood floors
willow furniture
recycling junk into treasures
knowing God is in control
old stuff
fresh flowers
flea markets
puppy breath
a clean house
a place for everything and everything in its place
soft instrumental music
Americana decor
reading on cold evenings
God's grace
first big snowfall
white chocolate brownie from Moxies
quality bed sheets
scented candles
second-hand stores
flannel pajamas
quiet time with Bible and prayer
the feel of Lucy's forehead
fat babies
a full pantry
visiting in my mom's living room
baby yawns
manicured lawns
fall and winter cooking
braided and rag rugs
a good joke
ocean, river, and waterfall sounds
my siblings
Hannah's sense of humor
Rachael's responsible ways
Deborah's notes
transparency of others
walking Lucy
fall smells
Gordon's affection
Mama's comfort
Gordon's wisdom
Stacie's comfortability
reading a good book
blog comments
Christopher's gentle kindness
Stephanie's purity of heart
conversations with Jill
good food
having friends over for dinner
my soup tureen
white, sparkling clean bathrooms
a clean car
morning coffee
crossword puzzles
the way Gordon can fix anything
line dried clothes
Chanel Coco
No Bake Cookies
Rachael's way with children
Hannah's love for pretty things
Deborah's affection
the gift of prayer
hugs from Christopher
decorating frugally
lawn water fountains
family traditions
going to the library
watching Deborah and her best friend Kalyna play
seeing the girls laughing
learning how to do something new
spring melt
a bargain
days at home alone
knowing I've done the right thing
no debt
being good at something
nice old people who smile
anyone who loves me
decorating pictures