Deanne Has A Blog!

Jun. 14, 2017

 “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged..” Prov. 17:6

“May you live to see your children’s children!” ps. 128:6

Happily, best buddy and tireless companion for the past fifty years, John, and I have indeed lived to see our children’s children and what a fantastic group of people they all are. We are grateful they keep having babies and graduate from college with impressive degrees and some are even considering jobs! We are grateful they marry into families with people we immediately love forever and that they keep inviting us to stuff...whether we bring potato salad or not!

We have just enjoyed the first visit from our Texas grandchildren, Jessie, who is 9, and Emily, who will be 7 next month, and their mommy, Crissy, in years. Ten days of fun, excitement, laughter and chaos. We have cooked dozens of sausages, eggs, pancakes and cut up tons of strawberries and cantaloupe. We have dined out all over town, long luxurious lunches featuring mac and cheese and pizza with ranch dressing for small people and more exotic fare for the older folks...P F Chang’s we love you! You, too, Claim Jumper, BJ’s and La Fiesta Grande!

We went to the movies: Captain Underpants and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Yes, we totally enjoyed Captain Underpants! They went to Disneyland and had a fabulous time with daughter, Patti, and her amazingly obliging grownup children, Nicole, Blake and Luke, but, thankfully, not us!

Patti, and son-in-law, Dave, put on two barbeque-swim parties for us, loaded with family and fabulous food. We went to the beach, dined outside then ventured down to the shore where Jessie promptly threw herself into the water...an inch at a time...till she was totally soaked. Did we have another set of clothes or even a bathing suit? Of course not! But there’s a Target on every corner and a new outfit is easy to do. So Jessie is challenging waves and Emily is seeking shells. She had the best time ever finding small shells and putting them in a cup to take home. It was cool and cloudy, but perfect to see the beach for the very first time in their lives. They saw mountains, too, for the very first time! Texas is flat...flat...flat. They have gone home now, but we have wonderful new memories and great pictures.

Family is the most wonderful gift, created by God. Some of His families haven’t worked out so well; Cain and Abel come to mind. We have had children hissing at each other, “I hate you!” when they were twelve-ish and younger, but they didn’t really mean it. David and his son, Absalom come to mind...a very sad story there where Absalom wanted to overthrow his father and be king... there was a battle and Absalom was killed. When the messenger arrived from the battle, David asked, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” The messenger replied, “Let the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be as that young man!” Needless to say, David’s heart was broken... “The king was deeply moved and went to the chamber over the gate and wept. And he said as he walked, “Oh my son, Absalom, my son, my son! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 2 Samuel 31-32

We have had seasons when we have wept over one or another of our children or grandchildren but for the most part, we have been blessed beyond belief with everyone in our family.

“The most important thing in the world is family and love.” John Wooden

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you as you are to them.” Desmond Tutu

“The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.” Lee Iacocca

And the reason our family works and we love one another, in spite of our flaws, is because John is the strong anchor that holds us all together. Sunday is Father’s Day and we will celebrate the fathers in our family, starting with John. It’s another opportunity to tell him we appreciate him and are grateful for the man of God he has always been.

Hoping your Father’s Day is one of joy, good memories, laughter and really great food!

May. 12, 2017

“When you get in trouble and you don't know right from wrong
Give a little whistle! Give a little whistle!
When you meet temptation and the urge is very strong
Give a little whistle! Give a little whistle!

Not just a little squeak, pucker up and blow
And if your whistle's weak, yell Jiminy Cricket!

Take the straight and narrow path
And if you start to slide
Give a little whistle! Give a little whistle!
And always let your conscience be your guide.”

Music and lyrics by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington

Remember Pinocchio, the Disney animated classic from 1940? Well, you probably don’t. Even I wasn’t born yet. But Geppetto, the Blue Fairy, Monstro the whale, and, of course, Jiminy Cricket are familiar figures to all of us. This little cartoon in the picture featuring Ziggy triggered this song about always letting your conscience be your guide. You remember Pinocchio, the wooden puppet who wanted more than anything to be a real boy, but he had a little trouble with the truth from time to time, and when he did, his nose grew and grew. We don’t have that problem, but that guilty conscience thing being like a room with wall to wall carpeting where you can’t sweep anything under the rug is all too true.

Here’s one of mine: When I was about four, my mother and I lived with my aunt and grandmother in an apartment in Alhambra. My mother had a little rectangular stool which sat in front of her vanity where she would sit and do her face and hair. This stool was a bright, cheerful red corduroy and I liked it, being partial to red. However, one day she recovered her stool in a dull gold brocade, which I did not like one little bit. No one was interested in my opinion. So, in an effort to rectify this situation, I took my red crayon and colored this ugly gold brocade in red. As I was completing the job, I realized this might not go down well with my mother so, hearing her coming into the bedroom, I flung my little self over the stool. My mother asked me what on earth I was doing and to get off there, so I did. My artwork was revealed and let’s just say that I got a spanking. She covered it again and I have no recollection of what color it was the next time. The guilty conscience part was me trying to cover up my sin with my four year old self.

Guilty consciences come in all sorts of colors. For instance, in the earlier part of my life I had a tendency to speak my mind, thinking I was just beyond amusing when what I really was was snarky, sarcastic and leaning toward mean on occasion. It took a while for God to show me what I was doing, and for me to get it that each time I said one of these things, I was going to have to apologize. How did I know I’d made a mistake? I’d be unable to sleep, replaying over and over in my mind what thoughtless thing I had said to someone. And I would be unable to rest until I apologized. In time, as God continued to work on me...

“...and I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1:6

.... and after way too many years of apologizing, I learned to say something nice to everyone I encounter and I’m sleeping better.

I’ve never robbed a bank, I’ve even given grocery checkers back too much change! I’ve not murdered anyone...there were times with the children, however... but that’s another story! But my conscience could not be guiltier when I disappoint my Lord. I guess that’s the worst part, disappointing those we love. John and I went to a wonderful memorial service today, celebrating the life of a saint who lived to be 100 years and two months old. I loved Evelyn Sanner, admired her, told her she was the best looking woman in the church, and I even wrote a piece for her when she needed to submit something to a missionary magazine. She had a great sense of humor, too. John turned to me during the service and said that his mother used to say to him, “That’s not worthy of you, John.” I guess that’s the thing I never want to hear my Lord say to me again, “That’s not worthy of you, Deanne.”

“The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience.” Mahatma Gandhi

Apr. 22, 2017

As you may recall, dear Tablespoon of Love Web Log friends, our two Texas granddaughters, Jessie & Emily, attend Wally W. Watkins Elementary School in Wylie, Texas. Dr. David Vinson, Superintendent of Schools in Wylie, posted the following on his personal Web Log and gave me permission to share it... it's so uplifting, encouraging, positive and filled with gratitude that you had to see it, too! Enjoy! And think about what makes you overflow with gratitude...for me, it's my precious best friend and spouse, John, and all our family, for the sure knowledge that God loves me, for flowers and neighbors, for the home we love, for friends, for fairly good health, and for all of you out there!

 

Raymond Cooper of Wylie, Texas, embodies what it means to be a success.  He has a great family, an incredible financial portfolio, entrepreneurial accomplishments, and the reputation of being a trusted advisor to many important people—in addition to being the namesake of his own junior high school. Mr. Cooper’s life tells a story of grit. He grew up poor, lost his father at the early age of three, and found his way by learning from his incredibly strong mother. Through strength, hard work, and tenacity, Mr. Cooper founded the Universal Transformer Company, a sixty-year-old business that still thrives today. 

 

Dr. Shawn Miller, principal of Cooper Junior High School, grew up very similar to the namesake of his campus. Raised in poverty by his grandmother in Mason, Texas, Dr. Miller did not have a present mother or father. As one of the older siblings, it was his job to help raise his brothers, sisters, and himself. From what I know of his grandmother, she instilled in him the values of hope, grit, and gratitude.

Struggle affects people in different ways. Some distance themselves from the past they once knew and work to pretend that strife never happened. Mr. Cooper, though, is different. He dedicated the second half of his life to helping those who found themselves experiencing the same struggles he experienced. Grateful for those who helped him, he donated land and organized volunteers to construct our local food pantry, the Wylie Christian Care Center. Over the years, the center has helped thousands of families in the surrounding area with food, clothing, and utility assistance. Many lives have changed for the better.

Struggle shaped Dr. Miller in a big way, too.  Reaching the goal of principal and earning his Ph.D. are testaments to his grit. His gratitude manifests towards his family and the paternal role of dad to his siblings who he gladly and lovingly helped to grow into positive and productive citizens. He devotes that same love and care to the kids of Cooper Junior High. He creates a place of hope.

 

Gratitude is a choice. A friend of mine, Kris Segrest, says that people get either “bitter or better” when faced with challenges. Each individual chooses a path—fight or flight. Raymond Cooper and Shawn Miller’s challenges shaped them in ways that positively influenced not only their lives but also their families and community members. Their journeys made them stronger. They are grateful for what they have, but they are also grateful for the experiences that molded their lives.

Today in Wylie ISD, we celebrate the value of GRATITUDE.  Gratitude makes a big impact on our own lives, and potentially the lives of others. Mr. Cooper and Dr. Miller are both representations of this belief.

Are you grateful? If so, how would others know? Do you send cards, make phone calls, raise your brothers and sisters, or build food pantries for your community?  At some time today, please take a moment to recognize that your struggles make you stronger. People care about you, and you make a difference in the world. We are in this thing together. Through it all, our gratitude makes us better, not bitter.

I am grateful for Mr. Cooper, I am grateful for Dr. Miller, I am grateful for you!  I look forward to hearing more about the gratitude that you possess.  

 

Gratitude. It’s the Wylie Way!

Apr. 11, 2017

I’d like.... another yesterday.

Turn back the hours, make it yesterday.

Go back to when I was your trusted friend,

What would I give to start with you again, beloved friend?

I’d like.... another yesterday.

Turn back the hours, make it yesterday.

I’d walk these roads again with you,

Share wine and bread and share the laughter, too.

I’d like.... another yesterday.

To feel the sun again upon my face,

To listen to the things you say,

This time, believe you really are....The Way.

And now it’s all come down to this,

I’ve betrayed you.....with a kiss.

These silver coins fall through my fingers,

Just like petals from a rose....

Too late to change things.....I suppose,

Too late to change things.....I suppose.

I’d like.....another yesterday......”

Good Friday is coming up in just a few days. Having wondered many times if Judas regretted betraying Jesus, I wrote these lyrics as part of “Hands!” The Musical and my co-writer, David Wheatley, wrote beautiful music for it. He has sung and played it several times for Good Friday services and it is so moving. We don’t really know, do we, what happened with Judas, except that it all went wrong.

Maundy Thursday services are coming up, commemorating Jesus’ breaking of the bread, “This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And taking the cup he shared it with his disciples and said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” We’ll remember, too, that Jesus washed his disciples feet, Peter protesting all the way.

The Good Friday service will end in silence and darkness, but we know Sunday is coming! He is risen! He is risen, indeed! We know our Redeemer liveth! Easter at last! A time of celebration that has absolutely nothing to do with bunnies (chocolate or otherwise), exhaustive hunts for hard-boiled eggs or even honey-baked ham.  It might have something to do with new outfits, but extensive biblical research has not proven that, one way or the other.  "Before Dawn…Sunday" celebrates the fact that Jesus did, indeed, rise from the dead and lives today.  Which is an exciting thought, an amazing concept upon which we base our lives.  And beats the heck out of chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs….unless they were dyed personally by your favorite four year old. 

Before Dawn….. Sunday  

The sky was gray,

The world was hushed,

Before dawn… Sunday.

The women walked

Toward a tomb,

Jars of spices in their hands,

To tend the One,

The One Who died,

Crucified that Friday.

The women walked,

Toward the tomb,

Mary Magdalene and another.

They walked, and worried, wondering,

Who, would roll away the stone.

The sky was gray,

The world was hushed,

Before dawn, Sunday.

They stopped to rest,

Await the day,

Sad eyes filled with tears,

Sorrow for the One who died,

Crucified that Friday.

Another dawn, another day,

What did it matter, anyway?

The One who loved her as she was,

Who changed her life, was gone.

She raised her eyes to see the sky,

Streaks of pink and gold.

And then they saw,

The guards were gone,

The stone was rolled away!

Rolled away!

The grief she’d felt since Friday,

Like the stone, was rolled away!

She grabbed that jar of spices,

And running like a child,

Climbed the hill,

To tend her Lord, early on the Sunday!

They looked inside that borrowed tomb,

Petrified with fright,

An angel sat there on the stone,

Clothed in brilliant white.

“I know the one you seek,” he said,

“Jesus, crucified.

He is not here, he’s risen!

He’s risen, as he said

He’s risen!  He’s risen!

He’s risen, as he said!

Now go!  And tell the others,

He’s risen, as he said!

Look not for the living,

Here among the dead!

He is not here, he’s risen!

He’s risen, as he said!”

We rejoice on Sunday. He truly is risen as he said. We KNOW Our Redeemer liveth!

 

 

 

Mar. 24, 2017

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” Matt. 10:29

This picture shows what our front door usually looks like with this colorful wreath which has been up there forever because it’s sheltered from the rain, wind and sun. I say ‘usually’ because until this past week, nothing has come along to bother it. However, last Monday I noticed a whole bunch of twigs on our doormat and thought, cleverly, “where did all these come from?” So I picked them up and my eye caught on the wreath. There on the inside were a whole bunch more twigs and further inspection revealed that a sparrow or some other tiny bird was building a nest in our wreath. “Oh no, you’re not!” I thought, took all that nest stuff out, tossed it underneath the tree by the front walk and proceeded inside. I know, I sound really mean.

Later that day, went outside, more twigs on the mat, nest rebuilt. Again, removed it, and went to the market. Returned with groceries. Nest rebuilt. Removed. Next day, nest is back and I realize this little bird is going to win so nest removed and wreath taken down. I noticed that all the nest stuff that was under the tree was gone so, hopefully, she found a better spot to build her nest. You’re thinking, my gosh, what a meanie! Well, there’s a reason, friends and neighbors.

A few years ago, another little bird built her nest in a different wreath. We were thrilled! We quit using the front door, walking all the way around from the back every time we wanted to use the front gate...and when I say ‘all the way around’ – trust me on this – it’s quite a ways around! So we’re not using the door, creeping up every now and then to check on the nest and soon there are eggs in there, two of them. We feel like midwives! We caution family and friends not to go on the front porch as the little mother is nervous and flies frantically off when the nest is approached. Time passes, we’re getting a little tired of carrying groceries an additional mile and up the stairs to get them inside, but now there are little peeps coming from the nest and the eggs have hatched. We are thrilled! Our babies are finally here!

This joy and jubilation don’t last long. We come home a couple of days later to find the nest, pieces of baby bird, and a lot of ugly stuff on the doormat. One of the neighbor’s cats has found the nest and.... well, you can imagine the rest. We were devastated! We both cried as we were really invested in this little family’s success, imagining little birds learning to fly out of our wreath, taking test runs around the yard, landing in our trees.

You can understand my strong desire not to go through this again, I’m sure. I still feel mean, but it was the right thing to do. Our front door is a war zone. But this much I know, God cares a lot about sparrows:

"Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Matt. 10:29-31

“The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God.” Ps. 84:3

This poem about God and sparrows was written by Civilla D. Martin in 1905. The next day she mailed it off to Charles Gab­ri­el, who sup­plied the mu­sic. Sing­er Ethel Wa­ters so loved this song that she used its name as the ti­tle for her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

“His Eye Is On The Sparrow”

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I’m pretty sure God helped our sparrow find a better spot to lay her eggs, where He could keep an eye on her.