October 28, 2009

Fall Foliage

This past weekend, before the fall colors disappeared, Jimmy took a picture of me with my boys. I'd just returned from a speaking event where I introduced myself by showing pictures of the family. I told Ecclesiastes and Cocoa Bean they were a hit and it made their day. They were ready for another photo shoot.
We went to a nearby lake that has the most breathtaking trees this time of year. While taking pictures, three other people stopped with their cameras to capture the beauty as well. I couldn't help but notice that each admirer was in their 60's or 70's prompting me to think how many years they must have already seen fall's beautiful display (unless of course they were new to Kansas City...which makes me wonder why so "seasoned" folks are moving to Missouri...but that's another story.)

No matter our age it's clear the beauty and majesty of God's creation never grows old. It is in fact a spectacular gift designed to bless our socks off and oh how it does each new season. I know we certainly enjoy His wondrous display of vibrant colors and as a result can't help but give Him all the glory, honor, and praise for the great work He has done.

"The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they display knowledge."

Psalm 19:1-2

October 25, 2009

Delta Delights

If you've ever flown Delta airlines perhaps you've had the pleasure of enjoying their cookies. You usually get two per flight and they are delicious. When Jimmy flew Delta I always looked forward to my little treats at the end of the week.

My co-worker just flew Delta and loved the cookies so much she Googled them and discovered they are sold at Wal Mart of all places. While on break one day she made a cookie run and brought back my long lost favorite snack. Wasting no time, I hustled over to the same cookie isle and picked up two bags for myself. They have the consistency of a ginger snap and a taste I can't describe. Give them a try and see if they become one of your favorites too!

October 19, 2009

Giving Donuts and Getting a Giraffe

Our local Christian radio station, KLJC, announces birthdays each day on the morning show and if your name is chosen you win a dozen donuts. Since Jimmy and Ecclesiastes share an August 23rd birthday, I thought it would be a kick to have it announced on the radio. Winning a box of donuts would be nice, but what I really wanted was to hear their names called over the air waves (cheap thrill.)

Well, lo and behold, their names were announced and they won the baker's dozen. Since sugar gives me gargantuan headaches, I picked up the donuts today and distributed them among family. I gave my brother and his family five sugar bombs and our skinny minny dad, who can eat anything and not gain an ounce, four carbohydrate wheels. My sister declined to participate since she handles sugar more poorly than me, which left four thinly glazed treats for the birthday boys who won them in the first place.

After distributing the donuts, my sister, dad, and I went to Burger King for lunch and Wal Mart. Since Dani has been talking non-stop about giraffes (in sign language and once verbally) my sister painted her a giraffe on canvas. When I picked up Dani at work I left the picture in her seat to surprise her (the donuts were gone by then) and she was so thrilled she happily posed for a picture.

It's been a good day giving donuts and getting a giraffe. We hope you are having a good day too!

October 16, 2009

A Time to Grieve

I've been going through a time of grief lately. It seems everywhere I turn ladies my age are enjoying regained freedom as their grown children leave the nest. Traveling hither and yon, local and abroad, many are going as far as the other side of the world and I wish I could go. Trying my hardest to be happy for them, reality grips hard and hurts like the dickens as the truth of our future comes more and more to life.

Dani had gone through several months of poor health lately. We've visited doctors, changed medications, and tried to look at every aspect of her life to figure out what's made her health so brittle. She's had hives for three years and diarrhea all of her life. It's draining and discouraging to think things will most likely never get better. Jimmy and I will be her caregivers for the rest of our days and freedom in our later years is but an elusive dream.

A few days ago, with grief weighing particularly heavy on my heart, Jimmy sent this to me at work. "I had 15 minutes of free time before I left so I sat down and was about to start reading the notes for BSF and Dani joined me. So I read 2 paged out loud describing what they meant. She loved it, she wrapped her arm into mine, leaned her head against me and focused very hard on what I was reading. It was a awesome scene and she loved learning. At the end of the reading she had tears in her eye’s. She loves hearing about God."

BSF is his men's Bible Study Fellowship and it's excellent teaching on the word of God. I cried as he described the tender spirit of our little child. Unable to communicate and struggling with life's chronic issues, Dani finds solace in the truth of God's word. What's more fascinating is how God loves her enough to transcends the bounds of disabilities to speak to her heart as only He can do.

God has taught me a multitude of things through the years one of which is to never give up. Though seemingly locked in the mind of a child, Dani can sense the Spirit of God better than most adults. She worships, she prays, and she believes just like a child and just as God instructs. Jimmy said it well, "I’m always amazed at her love for God. She is so much more sensitive than I. One day she’ll stand before God and he will say to her well done my faithful servant, you suffered Autism wonderfully for my glory. Her viewpoint of God must be so much clearer then ours. How we muddy things up."

Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you too have lost a dream. If so, let me offer a word of comfort. Grief is normal and it is good. It can be the father of great insight if we go through all the stages, but it's a long journey that takes many detours along the way. It's tempting to pick up residency at the rest stop of bitterness and anger, but that will only lead to more grief. No, instead we must determine to pursue God's purpose so that we can glorify Him. Only then will the trials of life be of value. If you are grieving today grieve with God. Rather than turning from Him turn to Him for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Please look at me carefully the next time you see me.
Please notice that I am small and weak.
Please listen to me carefully the next time you see me.
Please notice that I don't know much.
Like you, I was born helpless. I'm still growing up so taking
care of myself will take me a long time.
I need food.
I need rest.
I need to be kept clean
I need to be kept warm in winter and cool in summer.
I need to be taken in your arms or sat on your lap.
I need to feel your skin against my skin.
I need you to help heal my hurts.
I need you to play with me just so you and I can have some good times together.
I need you to teach me everything you can so I'll have a chance in this world when I grow up.
I need your patience. I know I'm not very orderly. I cry out for things like food and attention the second I need them. I can't help it and I know that bothers you sometimes. All I can hope is that you will be patient with me until I can learn to be patient, too.
Above all, I need to know you love me.
I need so much from you, yet I have only one thing I can give you in return.
That is my love.
Today and tomorrow and as long as I live.


Emily Honeycutt-Degler October 16 at 7:51am
My dear friend,
Today as I read your post, I was so humbled, and as I often am, brought to tears by the simple truth of God's great mercy and love though the eyes of one seemingly born for affliction. I do not claim to understand in its entirety why God chooses to allow this, but I have seen Him do it with my own motherly eyes. As you know, in I Corinthians 1:27 Paul said that God would use the simple and weak things of this world to shame the wise & the strong. In our world my child's and possibly even more so your child's life would be considered a waste and further evidence of a cruel God that stands afar and watches sadistically as suffering takes place. But, often it is in watching those sweet innocent faces behold the majesty and awesomeness of their Creator, the strongest and the wisest are brought to their knees. For it is impossible to deny God's power in the face of one so weak brought to tears in reverence of the One that holds her firmly in His grasp. In many ways the Danis and Grants of this world are the lucky ones, for I believe because of their life of affliction, get to behold the glory of God on this earth in ways that many of us cannot fathom.
God bless you, my friend. You and your sweet Dani are frequently mentioned in the prayers of this house. May God continue to use her to bring honor and glory to His name!

Much love, Emily

October 12, 2009

A Reason to Celebrate

A month ago we had a birthday lunch at work for a co-worker. We each pitched in and brought the different ingredients needed to make Open Faced Tacos a.k.a. Traveling Tacos. I hadn't heard of either but quickly discovered it was simple and delicious. Apparently in the south the ingredients are always layered in a particular sequence and the process is never varied. We were given strict instructions, by one who knew, how to construct the taco and it was a hit.

Last week an email went around the office suggesting we have another taco day because there was a bag of Fritos left over from the prior fiesta. The email no sooner made its rounds when someone hollered out, "Only we can plan a party over one leftover bag of Fritos!" I giggled and thought how true.

I love to have fun and after all why not? Life is full of pain and sadness. Why not grab the gusto whenever possible? We can look at the glass half empty or half full. The choice is ours. We can wait for a big reason to celebrate, which may leave us waiting for a good long while, or find one right under our nose. In our case the cause came in the form of an extra bag of Fritos. Create your own good time and try this ever-so-casual recipe.

Walking Tacos (Open Face Tacos)
Layer the following ingredients in this order if you want to meet southern etiquette:
  • Fritos (bottom)
  • Rice
  • Chili (thick to keep the Fritos crisp)
  • Melted spicy Velveeta cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Dollop of sour cream on top
  • Enjoy!
Fun option: Buy single serve bags of Fritos, open bag top and layer ingredients in the bag. It's great for kids and an easy clean up.

October 8, 2009

When It Rains...

What happens when it rains 2" in Kansas City and wont' stop? Little dogs like Cocoa Bean flounder in the mud and then wonder why daddy won't let them in the house.

Mr. Mud Pie got in the house alright, carried straight to the bath tub for a warm soapy bath. He didn't like it one bit but he's clean. I have a feeling it's going to be a long dirty winter.

October 1, 2009

Good Friends

They say dog is man's best friend. Clearly they're little girl's best friend too. Whenever we all pile into the car Dani has to share her seat with one dog or another. She doesn't typically show affection for her canine brothers, but she tolerates them remarkably well when they encroach on her personal space. We feel their presence teaches her to share, tolerate, and receive unconditional love, thus helping her on a variety of levels.

Jimmy nearly always has his camera with him so the other day I turned the camera around and snapped a quick pic of Cocoa Bean sleeping on her leg. Her smile says it all. She was truly enjoying her little friend as he counted cats or whatever dogs count when they sleep. While he sawed logs she gave him a fast swipe with the back of her hand and smiled as if proud of what she had done.

I am a firm believer that animals are a gift from God. They never harbor a grudge, they faithfully hold you in high esteem, and ask for nothing but love. I always look forward to coming home to my boys who greet me like a rock star and treat Dani like a queen. They help keep life simple, just the way God intended, and for that I am grateful.

How about you? Do you have a special gift from God in furry form?