crying time


To everything there is a season…..Ecclesiastes 3

This has been a devastating and crushing week for the Texas Panhandle. The fires of Monday feel a lifetime ago. Today dawned appropriately gray and windy. Yesterday was a glorious, blue-sky, sound-the-trumpets kind of day and it felt like a mocking slap after the glum news of the week. How could the day of the first funeral of one of our beloved fire victims be so glorious after the relentless winds and scorching heat of Monday? Joke’s on us, I guess. This feels like a mourning day to me.

Had to put down the grandkid’s pony yesterday. Peanut had a condition affecting her feet and I watched her be dead-lame for over a week. As a conscientious caregiver of animals, it was my responsibility and my call to make. No one else could make the decision for me. On Wednesday night, I knew it was time. My bedrock Sprout #1 helped me with all the details. I love him for dealing with me through this. I know….I know, it’s not a huge deal in the scheme of things and especially in the context of the tremendous losses this week. It’s just a tiny drop of sadness in a river of grief. I realize that. I’m glad God made a mini paint horse named Peanut who delighted in all the littles. So, I’m taking today to let my tiny grief-drop flow to the ocean.



Many of you know I’ve been dealing with a giant mound of health issues in the last few years. I don’t have cancer….and boy am I grateful!….but I’ve had repeated issues of one form or another. I’ve felt crazy, morally and physically weak, exhausted and confused. Just when it seemed I stomped out one health fire, another would flare-up and char my resolve. Oh…and I’ve visited doctors and specialists from all over the state of Texas. I’m grateful for physicians too, even though they can be infuriating. My medicine cabinet is stuffed and overflowing with the drugs and supplements supposedly helping me. Yesterday after visiting with my rheumatologist, I finally have a name for what ails me. Maybe I’m not crazy after all? I won’t say the name of it….you’ve probably never heard of it. It’s an auto-immune disease. My confused immune system is loaded with ballistic missiles and targeting healthy areas of my body for battle.  My favorite celebrity sports hero now is Venus Williams because she has this disease, as well. Looks like she’s doing pretty great lately, doesn’t it? Gives me hope. So today since it’s okay to mourn a little, I’m taking the time to grieve the loss of the person who didn’t have to take multitudinous pills. The redhead with endless energy whose joints didn’t ache. She was cool and I miss her today. I’ll empty my coffee cup of sadness into the river and let it unite with the Peanut-drop.

The Panhandle of Texas is a flighty and sometimes cruel mistress. We suffer under the illusion we’ve tamed her. The events of this week prove otherwise. All of us in agriculture/ranching realize those who perished could be our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers….you name it. We know the reality of caring for livestock, of diving in head first to help our neighbor and the price of replacing burnt fence. We choose to live here. We’re the insanely hardy offspring of the Dustbowlers! We’re certain better days are ahead. The rains will fall, the grass will sprout, the wind will settle and the content momma cows will have lots of babies. This attitude is embedded in our DNA.


Today I’m allowing myself to shake my fist at the sky, to curse the wind and crumble to my knees and ask why so many animals and salt-of-the-earth people must suffer. Why children must grow up without a daddy, or why parents have to bury their children. It’s my designated sorrow-day, so I’ll take my biggest soup-pot of grief and tears for all of this ridiculous suffering and stir it a bit. When it feels right, I’m pouring it in with the Peanut-drop and the coffee cup of sadness and watching it bob and swirl away.

It’s okay. It’s our crying time and we’ve earned it. Don’t worry, we won’t camp there. We know better. I’m inviting God into our ashy brokenness.  He’s already here with us anyway. If I see you out and about today, don’t hide your watery eyes. Mine feel watery, too.

Strong Panhandle-love to all.

new glasses for Lent

Had an eye exam a few days ago. Got me contemplating having new specs. Mine sit askew on my face and they drive me crazy (I hear you….short drive! har). I poured through a popular eyeglass website to find the perfect pair. A pair that would project my superior intellect, but not hubris. One that could project my quirky sense of style, yet still earn me respect. A style screaming, “I’m with-it-and-not-old” without my seeming to try too hard.

Here’s my cures-what-ails-you, impossibly chic, older-person choices.


Attended Ash Wednesday service last evening. The topic of Lent spurred my thinking, “What should I give up/add during Lent to properly prepare my heart for Easter?”

I need modern Lenten glasses. A new super-duper powerful x-ray pair that can laser into my heart and sift my motives. I donned a cool pair possessing the special power and nervously explored.

Do I need to cease consuming ice cream, carbs, doughnuts or chocolate? No…that doesn’t feel right for me. For others maybe that may be the large E on the eye chart, but luckily food is not an issue for me.

Do I need to give up TV, the interwebs or the cell phone in order to be more productive and commune with God? It might be the best thing for some, but the chart still appears fuzzy when it comes to going cold-turkey with the electronic devices. I could spend LESS time and life might be better, but it misses the mark for me as a giant issue.

Liquor…..what about liquor??! Nope, still out of focus….that’s not it either. Giving up one drink a week doesn’t seem like sacrificial service.

I peered deeply through my magic glasses. What is it? What character trait could I give up on my way to becoming? Becoming more me, more like Him?

The x-ray lenses shifted and I finally spied it! Two things I can give up, throw out, wad up with the stinky trash and say “sayonara suckers!” Two items I clutch like a grimy security blanket. Two things I pick up over and over again when I shouldn’t, even though my fingerprints are burned invisible from repeatedly picking up this bitter-hot casserole dish.

What do my special-wizard Lenten glasses reveal I’d be better without? Negativity and regret.

Negativity can be my first and most familiar reaction. I understand the ‘whys’ but I need to stop. It’s OK to not always contemplate the worst-case scenario. I think I’ll let someone else handle that for a while. Whew. Focus on the fun things like grandkids, golf, tennis and wiener dogs. The blessings of my friends and family.


Oh…and Mr. Regret. What have you ever done for me? What is it good for? Absolutely nothin’. Huh…listen to me! Good God, y’all!! Oh wait….those are the lyrics to Edwin Starr’s rock ballad, ‘War’. Sorry, my bad.

Life’s a struggle. It’s wonderful and kooky and surprising….but a struggle. I know so many hurting right now. I hurt, too. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

I leave you with a song we practiced in choir last night. It sums up how I’m feeling today. I hope you like it. If you want to listen, check it out on YouTube.

Jesus draw me ever nearer as I labor thro’ the storm. You have called me to this passage and I’ll follow tho’ I’m worn

May this journey be a blessing, may I rise on wings of faith. And at the end of my heart’s testing, with your likeness let me wake

Jesus guide me thro’ the tempest, keep my spirit staid and sure. When the midnight meets the morning, let me love you even more

Let the treasures of the trial form within me as I go. And at the end of this long passage, let me leave them at your throne.

Hip-spectacle love to all.



walking aids

The last few months have been eventful. Inky  (the fitful octopod) was starting to get the best of me. Some of you know I was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia that slowed me down. Good news was, I was put on the list to have a cardiac ablation that could possibly cure the condition. I was pumped (har-har….heart humor!) for the opportunity to have my heart worked on by the good doctors at Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia in Austin, Texas.

I wanted Inky gone from my chest cavity!


While I was waiting for the surgery, the Texan came down with a nasty strep infection in his right knee. This required two surgeries to ‘clean the knee out’ and two hospital stays where he was given massive doses of antibiotics. I administered IV antibiotics at home to him for 4 weeks. It’s the Texan’s story, and I won’t go into all the gory details. We became intimately acquainted with the spectrum of walking aids.

We discovered the handiness of getting around in a wheelchair.


The Texan graduated to this walking device very quickly and stayed on it the longest.

The beloved walker. I could hear him coming from miles away. The Texan required a walker for super-tall people. The grands loved pushing it around.


We had a trip to Florida planned to meet with our Dallas family, and generally hang out with the grands. I told the Texan I didn’t think he should go. The distances were simply too great for him to cover with his walker. He would be exhausted just trying to make it to dinner! Sprout #3 had that predicament totally covered. When we arrived in Florida, we had this zippy mode of transportation waiting for us.

Ah….the scooter! We were pretending to be sad about it, but this little thing saved our bacon. The Texan loved it, and it let him conserve his energy.

After the Florida trip, we flew to Austin for my surgery. As we traveled around the hospital for tests and doctor’s visits, the Texan used the wheelchair because of the long distances we needed to travel. Most of the doctors/nurses addressed him as the patient. He had to explain numerous times he was my caretaker.

My surgery went very well, and our family in Austin rallied and saved our lives.

Nothing better than a narcotic-laced selfie…..except maybe my narcotic-laced texting. Look how serene I looked! The general anesthesia was the best sleep I’d gotten in 6 weeks.



After the surgery, I was instructed not to lift anything. This made trying to get to the airport with our suitcases and a wheelchair-person daunting for me. I shouldn’t have worried. God provided a way to every difficulty we encountered. Our family has been heroic. We are blessed.

That’s where we are today, people. Both of us recovering. Have I mentioned the Texan has graduated to a cane? I’m very proud of him! This entire episode serves as a reminder that God really does provide a way. He sends people to help out at the most opportune moments. No worrying required.

I’m learning.

Getting-well-love to all!

enter in


For sparkling cottages smelling of pumpkin bread and cider.


For elves-on-shelves, cranberry-popcorn garland, and Mannheim Steamroller reminding us it’s December.

Dear Christ, enter in.

For drab and drafty homes and for inhabitants with gnawing guts. For the Charlie Brown tree and the bare floor underneath it.

Dear Christ, enter in.

For the vibrantly healthy who appreciate the wondrous beauty of an impeccably manicured golf fairway. For those who are working on their serve. For those able to scale a mountain and run for the sheer fun of it.

Dear Christ, enter in.

For the friend recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. For the gaunt mother sporting a colorful scarf wondering who will take care of her children. For those awaiting diagnosis and longing for ‘normal’. For the unwanted companion of constant pain. For those in brain fog. For those who feel invisible on their ride west.

Dear Christ, enter in.

For those who fa-la-la-la-laaaah and proclaim we better watch out. For the bakers, candy-makers, meat-smokers and nog-drinkers. For those who proclaim good news. For the generous shoppers and surprise-planners. For impeccable gift-wrappers and those responsible for flawless and impressively large bows.

Dear Christ, enter in.

For the alcoholics, drug-addicts and homeless street-wanderers. For the confused song of those raging in addiction. For the children of alcoholics surviving in the war zone. For the abused spouse. For the father trying to decide whether or not to post bail one more time. For the regret of a life lost one drink at a time.

Dear Christ, enter in.

For those with newborns. For those assisting proud and aging parents. For exuberant children sliding down bannisters on Christmas morning. For ruddy-faced tots experiencing the chill of the first sled ride. For those juggling responsibilities of a large family.

xmas2014 049a

Dear Christ, enter in.

For those who never got to bring the baby home. For those questioning if they did everything they could before mom died. For the widow wondering why the second Christmas is harder. For those finding it difficult to stay married. For the patriot soldier. For the selfless military family experiencing an empty chair at the table.

Dear Christ, enter in.

For the stable and the aroma of animals and hay.

graham and pnut

For those who care for dogs and cats. For those who run animal shelters and for those who care for livestock.


For those who know the love of an earnest dachshund.




Dear Christ, enter in.

Wishing you a Christmas filled with peace. Wishing you serenity and confidence in knowing Christ walks with you, this season and always. xo

Welcome-mat love to all.





















my type of excitement

Here on the blog, I endeavor to keep you readers up-to-speed on the latest trends. I’m your gal for all things dump,




senior fashion


and arts happenings in our town.


You’ll be relieved to know I’m taking time away from snapping heart-stopping photos for my new action-photography book, Captivating Drain Covers of the 19th Century, to pursue a new hobby. I’m sweeping aside (for now!) my research paper on the Breeding Habits of Dust Bunnies and I’m explaining to Benjamin Moore how I can no longer accept remuneration as the Official 2015 Paint Dry Timer. The Texan wants me to give up editing my new cookbook, 1001 Uses for White Rice, to free up more time in my schedule.

What’s the new hobby?


I’m making homemade yogurt!! I know, I know….pop that nitro-glycerin tab now so your heart doesn’t explode from all the dairy excitement. I bought this yogurt maker from Amazon. It’s a neat little contraption and it ferments 7 perfectly wonderful little jars of tasty yogurt. Upon spying the organic whole milk in the fridge, the tall Texan cross-examined me.

What’s this?

It’s organic whole milk.

Why did you buy organic milk?!

You know….they say it’s healthier for you. It comes from cows that haven’t been treated with antibiotics.

So…you’re buying milk from only sick cows?

At any rate, I’m enjoying my creamy homemade yogurt. I eat it with a drizzle of honey topped with blueberries or granola. Better than ice cream and so good for the gut. Can you say pro-bye-ought-icks? Probably not, if you’re under 50.

As for arts happenings, I recently witnessed a certain individual discovering her favorite genre of music. This revelation made my heart soar as I discerned this was the type of music for which she was created. Who would’ve guessed? I thought she was created for square dancing. Boy, was I wrong!

The hips never lie. This gal lives for the blues. RIP B.B. King

Hope you are enjoying your inspiration this week.

Dance-like-no-one-is-watching love to all.

inspiration found

The Tuesday morning note from the universe:

The one thing all famous authors, world-class athletes, business tycoons, singers, actors and celebrated achievers in any field have in common is that they all began their journeys when they were none of these things. Yet, they still began their journeys.

A graceful hawk swooped from the morning crystalline sky and perched upon a naked branch. That was my view this morning as I sat in the hot tub. My inner voice harshly harangued me about being a lazy slug and starting my morning chores late. (stick it where the sun never shines, inner voice!)

The proud hawk buoyed my heart to new heights. Made me want to share with you where I’m finding inspiration these days.

I’ve been involved in rehearsals for Amarillo Opera’s upcoming production of Les Misera….bluh. Don’t think I’m going to be able to continue with the grueling schedule, but allow me to describe my uber-talented cast mates. Like the regal hawk, they provide plenty of reasons to look up in wonderment.

The Principles.


You may describe them as our stars. These are the dedicated professionals who have spent their lives honing their craft. They are exactly as you would expect….off-the-charts-talented. They can blow the roof off a building with the air rushing through their vocal cords. Their acting ability can spike the stock price of Kleenex on the Dow. They are wonderful to behold. The path they travel is never easy and it’s brimming with rejection. I would enthusiastically storm the Bastille with them.

The ensemble. The community members. The rest of us. This is the group I’m treasuring today.  Let’s consider:

The community children/youth. They could be home in front of their computer screens, they could be texting, they could be involved in any number of things. Instead, they schlep to long rehearsals with school books in hand. They study between scenes and their parents run a continual carpool rivaling the busiest taxi service. They want to be involved in something bigger than themselves. I glimpse the future in their eyes. Let’s blast a rousing strain of Do you Hear the People Sing? in their honor!

The college students/young adults. This group packs tons of talent. Many of them are vocal/music students trying to learn about life in the business. They could be studying, dating, dragging the bars….but they bless us by being enthusiastically present. One of my favorite students is a young man who is working toward his master’s degree in choral conducting. He’s the age of one of my kids. I notice him not only because of his heavenly voice, but because he comes to every scene, every note, with 100% dedication and passion. I believe every measure he sings. I swear, if I touched him while he was acting I would scald my hand. He’s that red-hot! Let’s toss our berets in the air in celebration of this hard-working group!

The olders.


This group includes those who sport graying hair, slipped discs, sore feet and hemorrhoids. They stubbornly refuse to believe the best days are in the past. The olders juggle grandkids, aging parents, day jobs and diminishing stamina. Consider one of our treasured olders; a lovely lady who lives in an outlying community. She makes the almost-hour commute every day. I worry about her lonely late-night drives home. During a break in last Sunday’s long rehearsal schedule, she took a nap in her car. Consider the construction worker who makes 300 mile+ work trips during the day. He attends rehearsal like he just woke up from a refreshing nap. I’m awestuck in the presence of these castmates. Let’s hoist the banner high for them!!


You’re sure of my bias now, aren’t you? I admire-the-hell out of those who make their living in the humdrum and sometimes grayscale real-world, yet contribute colorful and uniquely textured yarn to our community tapestry. This is the cumulative art we call Les Misera-bluh.


Your efforts enrich my One Day More immeasurably. Don’t ever give up on your art.

Amarillo Opera is proud to provide a mechanism and framework in which these noble artistic efforts can occur. Bravo!

Beyond-the-barricade love to all.

tickets for Les