Deanne Has A Blog!

Jun. 20, 2019

 “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna! Hosanna!”

Jesus is entering Jerusalem, riding on a donkey colt while people along the way spread their cloaks before him, wave palm branches and generally make a huge welcoming fuss over him. He enters the city, goes into the temple courts and then as it is already late, goes on to Bethany with his chosen twelve. The next day, leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if it had any fruit. Disappointed, as all he found was leaves as it just wasn’t fig season yet, he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” Everybody heard him say it and were probably a little astonished as it wasn’t the tree’s fault that it just wasn’t time for fruit.

Then after a busy day driving out money changers and all those who were selling stuff inside the temple... “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations...but you have made it a den of robbers!” Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. In the morning as they went along, they saw that same fig tree, withered from its roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered.” Mark 11:7-21

As you can see from the picture, I have a tree that looks pretty much like that fig tree that so annoyed Jesus on Palm Sunday, just a few days before those same crowds who were yelling “Hosanna” started yelling “Crucify Him!” My tree, an oleander, was a really lovely thing, tall, sturdy, covered with white blossoms and about as healthy and happy as it’s possible for a tree to be when it lived three doors up the street at our daughter, Crissy’s house. It made the mistake, however, of tossing lots of those blossoms into their swimming pool and Crissy’s husband, Chris, came to hate it as he scooped hundreds of oleander blossoms out of the pool every day.

I, not having a pool, lusted after this tree and offered to take it off his hands and plant it in my yard. He enthusiastically agreed and we arranged for the landscape guys to come move it to my place. They promptly planted it in the wrong spot, had to come back, dig it up and plant it in the right spot. Then, for some reason unknown to anyone involved, the water got shut off in my yard and the tree, which should have been getting gallons of water every day was getting none. Zero. Zip. Not a drop. By the time I figured this out...yes, I admit I have moments when I’m a little slow... the tree was a goner and every day it gets drier and more pathetic.

Early this morning, I stretched out a brand new 100’ hose to be sure it’s long enough to reach my new tree. Yes, friends and neighbors, a new tree! A Sunday or two ago, we descended upon our local tree nursery where a delightful and extremely knowledgeable young woman, Lucy, escorted us up and down row after row of gorgeous trees, each of which was just waiting for the right checkbook to appear. Making a decision was difficult when faced with so much beauty. Another oleander? Ash? Acacia? Crepe myrtle? No, definitely not as they are deciduous and will spend all winter looking bleak. And suddenly, there it was, the exquisite creature I had been imagining.

Today, some time between 11 and 1, my new Tipu (Tipuana Tipu) tree will replace the withered oleander. The Tipu is, reportedly, a fast growing shade tree, thrives in intense desert heat and cold, will produce a coat of golden blooms in late Spring and is perfect where a high shade canopy is desired. Who could possibly ask for more!

Here’s where possible failure comes in: Every morning and every evening for the next couple of weeks or so, I’m supposed to fill up the basin they will create at the base of the tree. That’s it, you ask? Yes, but...

“Blessed is the man...whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Ps. 1:1-4

Actually, I can’t possibly fail as it is my delight to sit outside early in the morning, read God’s Word and lift up my friends and family to Him in prayer. The tree is right there in front of me. It’s leaf shall not wither as I shall water it while I feed my heart and soul.

“...a tree planted by the rivers of water...”

May. 22, 2019

“They carry us beneath their hearts,

That’s how every new life starts.

The beating of our mother’s heart,

The first sound that we hear.

Love and peace surround us...

And God....is very near.

Your mother, my mother,

And Mary....the mother of....God.” *

Mother’s Day was just a Sunday or two ago and I’m hoping yours was as nice as mine was. We got together, six of us mothers, along with assorted husbands and children – some large, some very small -  to enjoy each other’s company, along with many hugs. Son-in-law, Dave, provided some excellent BBQ, and we exchanged cards which had been carefully, thoughtfully and lovingly selected. Let me quote just a few:

“To my mother. We all need someone to believe in us...in who we are and in all we can become. Someone to cheer, encourage, comfort and guide us...to give us the confidence we need to believe in ourselves and in our potential to reach our dreams. Thank you for being my someone. May you know how much your love and support mean to me and always will.”

“For our Grandma! If everybody had a grandma like you, there would always be lots of smiles in the world.”

“Family is love and laughter, strength and smiles, hope and happiness. Every Mother’s Day is a gift – a chance to go back through the memories of the heart and say thank you. For a home that was warm and welcoming and filled with life and laughter – where each day seemed to hold some small adventure and something new to learn. For a family that loves being together – that cares for each other and helps one another through all the big and little ups and downs of life...for a connection that gives meaning and purpose and joy to every day. Thanks for all the joys of having a mother like you.”

“Happy Mother’s Day from both of us...the one you raised right, and the one who really appreciates it!”

I think it was Erma Bombeck who said that the saddest day for a mother is when her children no longer believe that she can magically get the traffic lights to change as they have now discovered the yellow light on the other side of the street. This is true. For years I have been telling my grandchildren; Jessie, who is now eleven, and Emily, who is eight, and is looking doubtful right here in this picture, that...

“I’m Grandma! I know everything!”

I’m Grandma! I know everything!

I’ve told them that for years.

And now, alas, the moment’s come,

I must face my biggest fears.

“Grandma, you don’t know everything,”

Miss eight-year old Emily sneers.

Yep, it’s happened, I got it right,

Time to face my biggest fears.

“I do so,” I said, wisely and maturely,

She just smiled and snorted.

“I can make a cheese soufflé,” I instantly retorted.

And Lincoln was our 12th President,

And the duckbilled platypus lays eggs...

And the whale is a mammal...

And Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with The Wind...

And I can spell antidisestablishmentarianism...

And I know never to put tomatoes in the refrigerator...

And Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so...

And all the words to way too many songs...

And a lot of knock-knock jokes...

And who’s buried in Grant’s tomb...

And that you can get everything in the world at Amazon.com...

And how to braid hair...

And how to repair Puppyblanket when he’s torn...

Yeah, Emily...how to repair poor Puppyblanket,

Who was lost to the ages a year or so ago.”

Their Mommy patted my trembling, age-spotted hand and said, in that tone that stops all further discussion, “Grandma knows everything that matters.”

“If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand The Fear of the Lord and find The Knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:1-5

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of The Holy One is insight.”

King Solomon asked the Lord, not for wealth, but for wisdom. I pray for wisdom to do the right things, say the right things. Mercifully, I don’t need to worry about praying the right things...

“We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:26-28

If you haven’t gone back yet and taken a second look at your Mother’s Day cards, give yourself a few minutes, pour yourself a cup of coffee and read them again. You’ll be glad you did.

*Lyrics from “Your Mother, My Mother” – Star of Wonder – A Christmas Musical           Book & Lyrics by Deanne Davis, Music by David Wheatley.

 

Mar. 21, 2019

 

“I love to laugh
Loud and long and clear
I love to laugh
It's getting worse every year

The more I laugh, the more I fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more I'm a merrier me, it's embarrassing
The more I'm a merrier me.”

Remember that great song from Mary Poppins? Ed Wynn floating up near the ceiling and Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews describing all sorts of silly kinds of laughter? Made you laugh, didn't it!

The Laffy Taffy candy company sells little candies in a variety of flavors, i.e., blue raspberry, cherry, strawberry, grape, banana, watermelon and so forth, wrapped individually with a joke on the inside. For example: “What do you call a cow with no legs? – Ground beef!” you get the idea. Anyway, Laffy Taffy conducted a survey of 1,500 people which showed that Arizona is No. 1 in a national ranking about how often people laugh. The bottom of their list of happy places was California with 35 percent of residents laughing only ten times a day. (I’d say the traffic and commute times have something to do with that). The people who make us laugh the most are our significant others, followed by our friends. Our kids make us laugh, like this picture of Jessie, laughing from the simple joy of swinging in the sunshine, then our siblings. The lowest humor providers were mom and dad, which is just sad. Almost everyone in the survey said they enjoy making others laugh.

I’m sure you’ve heard that the National Cancer Institute has laughter therapy: “A type of therapy that uses humor to help relieve pain and stress and improve a person’s sense of well-being. It may be used to help people cope with a serious disease, such as cancer.”

Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts your mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the effects of stress. When we were kids we laughed hundreds of times a day, but as adults...not so much. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. Also helps you release anger and forgive sooner. I guess that means that when somebody cuts you off on the freeway, if you can laugh instead of shaking your fist at them you’ll feel better. There are 42 references to laughter in the Bible and here is the best one ever...

“...where is your wife, Sarah?” “There in the tent,” Abraham replied. Then the Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sara was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh,” but he said, “Yes, you did laugh!” Gen.18:9-15 (NIV)

“Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said...she became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him...Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Gen.21:1-7 (NIV)

And what does the name Isaac mean? Laughter!

Laugh a lot this week. You’ll feel better. And people will wonder what you’re up to!

And just to end with a laugh: Knock knock.  Who’s there?  A little old lady. A little old lady who?  All this time, I had no idea you could yodel.

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them.” Ps. 126:2

 

Feb. 14, 2019

“All you need is love.  But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Charles M. Schulz

“Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine.” Thomas Hood

Today is Valentine’s Day and, hopefully, there’s a sweet card for and from someone special happening in your life, or maybe some flowers or even a dinner where you can hold hands and talk about your life together; and maybe there could be chocolate and champagne. I have found that champagne enhances almost any occasion and if you throw in a little chocolate, i.e., a hot fudge sundae, the occasion becomes even better. Just a little chocolate, friends and neighbors, not the ten pound box of See’s or one of those huge red heart things. 

Just to help you get into a romantic mindset, I’m going to ask you a serious and important question: When was the last time you read Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous love poem? Probably not since you were in high school. Well, here it is and it’s pretty nice:

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.”

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” Paulo Coelho

“Love grows more tremendously full, swift, poignant, as the years multiply.” Zane Grey

My Valentine, the adorable, ever-patient, John, is now residing in heaven where every day is Valentine’s Day, and love abounds all over the place. I never quoted Elizabeth Barrett Browning to him, but I wrote about our love and our life together. “The Best of Marriage.”

“I sit at your desk and look out your window at the sky.

And I think of you and how much I love you.

So many years we’ve spent together, mostly sunny with just a little bit of rain.

I treasure these years which have flown by us.

I’ve grown to love you, respect you, admire you, need you more with each one.

There is so much about you that makes me want to be the best that I can be.

It makes me smile each time you walk into a room.

How many thousands of times have I watched you enter the space where I am,

And each time I feel pleasure, delight, at just the sight of you.

You make me laugh, you make me think.

You make me challenge myself, you make me want to be the best me I can be.

You’ve even taught me to enjoy college football... Go Trojans!

I love just to talk with you, to exchange the ordinary stuff our days are made of,

Conversations that are the flour and salt of life.

You are ever in my mind. 

You are the other half of my heart.

You are, very simply, the one person selected by God to be my lover, my friend, my husband.

I have known you for more than half my life.  The best half.

We have shared all there is in life:

Joy, sorrow, laughter, tears, death, birth, pleasure, misery, poverty, not quite so poverty,

Pride in our children, and absolute disgust with them,

And always, always we have had each other to hold on to.”


Sometime today, if you haven’t already done it, tell your special Valentine how much he or she means to you. Kisses and holding hands are good, too…maybe even better than chocolate. And don’t forget that part where you say, “I love you!”

I am grateful, too, that we have Another who loves us and will never leave us: Jesus, Lover of my soul.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.....We love because he first loved us.” John 4:15, 19

Jan. 29, 2019

“Hope is the thing with feathers,

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard,

And sore must be the storm,

That could abash the little bird,

                                             That kept so many warm.” (Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886)

The new President for the 2019-2020 Tournament of Roses year, Laura Farber, announced “The Power of Hope” as the Pasadena Tournament of Roses theme. “With hope – anything, in fact, everything is possible,” shared Farber, “hope is more than simply the possibility of fulfillment, hope is dignity and respect, joy and happiness, aspiration and achievement. Hope never, ever quits. Through hope we can aspire to be our best and, in turn, inspire those around us to reach higher.”

I just loved this, as Hope is my favorite, most enduring, most encouraging, most uplifting concept. 1 Corinthians 13:13 mentions hope, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” But hope is right there with it.

“HOPE is the little voice you hear whisper “maybe” when it seems the entire world is shouting “no!”

“H.O.P.E. – Hold On, Pain Ends”

“The only difference between those who threw in the towel and quit and those who used their energy to rebuild and kept it going is found in the word...HOPE.”

“Once you choose HOPE, anything is possible.” Christopher Reeves

“Where there is HOPE, there is faith. Where there is faith, miracles happen.”

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without HOPE and confidence.” Helen Keller

There’s a concept going around, brought to my attention by Michelle Griep, successful author and blogger. Look her up, check out all her books and be amazed. I’ve quoted her before as she’s always right on the mark. Anyway, the concept is to pick one word to be your New Year’s resolution or mission statement for the year.

There was a book a few years back: My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen. This is so cool as you can immediately dump those high-minded and probably impossible resolutions like the Ten Most Common Resolutions following and tune into one concept to change your life.

  • Exercise more
  • Lose weight
  • Get organized
  • Learn a new skill or hobby 
  • Live life to the fullest
  • Save more money / spend less money
  • Quit smoking
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Travel more
  • Read more

Seriously?? Get organized? But exactly how do we do that? When it comes to Read More, I don’t have a problem with that one. Here are a couple of books I’m planning to add to my Kindle: “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant To Be,” by Rachel Hollis and here’s another by her: “Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan For Embracing and Achieving Your Goals.” Guys, you can read these, too. We all need a little encouragement of the “get on with it!” variety.

The word I picked last year is: HOPE!

And I picked it again this year. I’m going to lean heavily on HOPE to help me make wise decisions about my future. I’m leaning heavily on HOPE to bring healing to a number of people I care deeply about. 

The picture is of our great-granddaughter, Addison Noel Johnson, who was born August 24, 2018. Here she is selecting her very first Christmas tree. Can you think of anything more hopeful than a brand new life?

So that’s my word again for the year, HOPE. I’m hoping you’ll pick one that will work for you. I love the idea of HOPE so much that I have it in the title of a new book that is currently in process, "Sunrises & Sunflowers Speak Hope!"

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a HOPE.” Jer. 29:11