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December 29, 2005

As the World Turns

A couple more revolutions around the sun and we'll be in another year. How about that!? As an unabashed pre-millenialist, I remember wondering if my youngest son, born in 1979, would even be in school before the Rapture of the Church. I have to admit that I bought the book, 88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988. Then I read an article that stated reasons (including info about a shift in numbered days when calculating days changed from calendar to calendar) why Jesus could arrive as soon as 1993. As the new millennium approached with its attending hysteria over Y2K, I wavered between concern and expectation. Surely with the 4000 years between Adam and Jesus and the 2000 years since Jesus was on the earth and figuring for His 1000 year reign we'd be a perfect 7000 years, we'd hear the trumpet just as the lighted ball hit the bottom of the pole at Times Square...that is if we hadn't already been caught up when it was the New Year in Israel. Well, here we sit and it's coming up on 2006 already!
Am I being callous or disrespectful? Nope, just considering that though the church is still here under the mandate to "occupy", we're closer to seeing Jesus than we were when we were born. We're closer than my grandmother was when she looked expectantly for the Lord's return. We're closer than when my folks were alive and telling me that they believed that my generation would see the catching away as Israel and I were both born in 1948. With every trip around the sun, I believe we draw closer to that great and wonderful Day of the Lord. It's an awesome thought for sure!

December 28, 2005


There are things that define us whether we want them to or not. Our "good name", our "reputation", our "kind deeds"...these are things we'd like to be remembered for. Some people get to know us by our routines, our likes (or dislikes), our jobs, or maybe even the places we go. An interesting case in point happened to us a few days before Christmas.

We have a cousin who, with her husband and/or assorted family members, always does the most interesting things and travels to the most interesting places. This year it was Central and South America. For Christmas, their Christmas card recipients received a glorious picture of said cousin and her husband in Chile with some of the locals...a great picture I might add! Where it gets interesting is where we took possession of this card. It didn't come to our house or my place of business, Lawyers Title in League City. It was addressed to Mike and Sara Lacy, Alamo Title, League City. It wound up being delivered to the American Legion Post in League City. Now, I also received a Christmas card yesterday from my nephew and niece which was delivered late because they put #47 instead of #46 on the envelope. Such a minor mistake delayed delivery by a week. But the other card arrived way early. What was the difference?

As it turns out, the postal workers here were going crazy trying to find an Alamo Title in League City. There isn't one. League City has 4 title companies but the only Alamo Title is across the lake in Clear Lake City. One of the mailmen looked at the name and saw "Mike and Sara Lacy." As luck would have it, he's the postman for our Post and said he could get it to us. While I certainly appreciate the extra effort, it was a little humbling to know that we could get this wayward card because the postman knew which local bar to find us in. I may not get over this soon...but the card was cool!!

December 25, 2005

Christmas A.M. ~ 2005

Merry Christmas! I slept until about 8:00 this morning. You can do that once the kids are grown providing they haven't come home with grandchildren for the holidays. I miss those sleepy Christmas mornings watching the kids bright eyes take in the Santa loot left under the tree while waiting for the coffee to kick in. It's just not the same without the joy of the 10 and under crowd! As it is, I woke up to coffee and the newspaper and the Three Stooges on TV...Mikey beat me to the remote!!
Mikey gave me a present. This is the first year I actually didn't get him anything because we agreed we wouldn't until after Christmas. He cheated!!! But I'm grateful for the new blouse and slacks he and Jeff gave me. It's the first time he's bought me clothes in years. The last time he did, he got me a pair of slacks and a couple of tops in a size medium. I still have them hanging in the closet. I was so touched that he thought I was a size medium that I never took them back. One day I'll wear them!!! This year, he got the blouse the right size and I'm not commenting on the size of the slacks. If they fit, I'm wiring my mouth shut until the weight comes off. Woe be unto him if he really thinks I'm that big and they don't fit! Stay tuned!
James and his family were still opening presents when we called them. We'll see Joe and Faith in a couple of hours. We're eating fried shrimp with them...mmm! Jeff checked in from Tennessee early this morning and said he's doing well up there but missed being here with us for Christmas. All is well in the Lacy household.
Peace may not be evident in all the world, but it's a good day in my little corner of it. God bless us everyone!

December 23, 2005

Let It Go, Let It Go, Let It Go

Being financially challenged this Christmas might have been a blessing in disguise for me. As a child, I remember Mom and Dad loading up our Christmas tree with all sorts of stuff. We had a bonanza of gifts under the tree and Santa was always generous. Maybe they were influenced by their Depression Era experiences and wanted us to have what they didn't get. Maybe they just liked wrapping stuff up. Whatever their motivation, I came away with the idea that Christmas was about Jesus and presents, my two favorite things. I did the same thing with the boys. I can still hear Mike, in a futile attempt to be the voice of reason, tell me to hold the spending down. He would suggest things like a few toys and clothes. Right! Throwing caution and credit limits to the wind, I'd hit Toys R Us and Target and our Christmas morning would duplicate the memory I had from childhood. Lots and lots of lots and lots!!

This year, I didn't have such options and I began to think of what a great holiday this would be if we took out the gift quotient altogether. Think of all of the stress that would be eliminated. No shopping, no wrapping, no obscene debt in January, no guilt if presents weren't given for whatever reason, no worrying about the recipients liking what you chose. All that would be left is seeing relatives, going to church, eating big family meals, reflecting on the Reason for the Season. Some might call that "Thanksgiving" and they would be right. That could be why I enjoy Thanksgiving so much. Maybe it's time for me to rethink this gift giving thing. Make up for a lesser gift at Christmas with a bigger birthday gift and spread the spending across the year. Do as some families do and draw names. Ask friends to take me off of their own lists. I'm not being grinchy by proposing no more gifting. I am suggesting that the importance of gift giving be brought down to a manageable level so that the message of Christmas is shining bright once again.

December 22, 2005

Intelligent Resign

Well, a judge has decided that the "Intelligent Design" theory can't be legally taught in school as it violates the separation of church and state. Isn't that nice? I'm sure the founding fathers are just spinning in their graves! In light of the world news...whether you can believe all of it or not...I would think that mankind would be flocking to the intelligent Design/Higher Power/God As You Understand Him ideology. I'm speaking here in broad generalities of course, but I'm glad to have faith in God Almighty and His word that proclaims that He's in control. I'm glad that I have promises for His blessings to overtake me and for my children, who are taught of the Lord, to have great peace.

Is the world really going to hell in a handbasket? Seems that way. I think if you talked to some 80 and 90 year olds they would tell you that life today is hugely different from what they knew growing up in the early part of the 20th century. We've seen an explosion of knowledge in every area of science and industry. You'd think that would be a good thing! Until you hear about man harnessing the ability to create test tube lives and instigate death as an act of mercy. You'd think that our instant access to the world would be wonderful until you read about a child kidnapped by an online predator. You'd think that tolerance would be a desirable trait until you witness someone who's religion we honor beheading one of our own countrymen over religious differences.

I don't want to be in this world if there's not an Intelligent Designer in heaven directing our world toward His perfectly planned outcome. I admire the advances made by my fellow humans. However, without the Devine touch, it's just cold science. While science benefits humanity, it doesn't express comfort, encourage my heart, or love me. A world of science only? I'd rather resign!!

December 21, 2005

10 More Shopping Days!

There are only ten days left in 2005 and I'm serving notice that it's time to start shopping around for New Year's resolutions. I've talked to so many people that are ready for this year to just get on down the road so they can have a fresh start in 2006. I've given this some thought because frankly, I'm feeling the same way. 2005 will go down as the year that I didn't lose weight, make more money or win the lottery. I'm beginning to think it's going to take more than turning the page on a calendar for these things happen in my life.

My new plan of action is to change my focus. I sometimes actually listen to what I'm saying, and alot of it, way too much of it, is negative. Rather that approaching the situations in my life and racing to the worst possible outcome, I think I'll start believing for the best. After all, like one of my favorite songs says, "Sunday's a-comin'." I knew a lady once who always answered her phone with "What's wrong?" Before anyone had even said anything!! I don't want to look at life that way. Resolution #1 is, "get happy."

Resolution #2 is, "do it differently." I've heard that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. My goodness, someone get the net! I'm changing my focus to new paths and new directions to go with my new happy attitude. I won't be able to sit in front of the television for hours on end, which has been my escape mechanism this year. It hasn't helped my life, but I can carry on a conversation about Wisteria Lane and a bunch of med students with ease. I may suffer withdrawal here, but I'm determined to do it differently!

Moving along, my last resolution, which is really first in importance, is to quit helping Jesus! When the boys were little, they were always anxious to help me bake. Maybe it was the novelty of me baking at all, but the kitchen and cookie dough held a strong fascination for them and they wanted to be a part of the production. I'd let them sift and stir and taste-test the results, but as you can guess, they were technically in the way and slowed the process down. I'm sure the Lord feels like that towards me on occasion when He's trying to "perfect the things that concern me" and I'm jumping up and down wanting to get involved. This year, my focus will be on letting Him have His way. That may be the hardest thing to do and the reason I mention it last. To not tell Jesus how to fix me, my family, and the world in general will be the greatest test of all.

Check back with me here, same time next year, and I'll let you know how 2006 went!...and it wouldn't hurt to say a prayer for me either!!!

December 19, 2005

Receiving Ain't Bad!

Thinking back over Christmases past, I'm remembering my favorite gifts. Well, I'm remembering the ones I remember. I've forgotten alot of the good stuff I'm sure. There are a few that stand out and it's brain candy for me to go back and think about the surprise, the happiness and the giver.

My first thing I actually remember getting was a black cocker spaniel that we appropriately named, "Blackie." When I woke up Christmas morning, I went running down the hall and stepped in a pile of poop. I smelled my gift before I ever saw it. We lived over on Adams street and without a fenced yard, it wasn't long before Blackie disappeared. The next treat was a radio. I must have been five and still young enough to get as big a kick out of looking at the glow from the tubes on the inside as hearing the music from the outside. I received a stuffed pink cat from Big Mama that was stuffed with that straw/hay shredded stuff; nowhere near the soft stuffed critters offered to kids today. Bibles with my name printed on the front were always favorites with my all time Bible favorite coming from Mikey. He bought me the right version I wanted and signed it from him and the boys. In 1966, I received one of the biggest & engagement ring. Didn't take long for the luster to wear off the relationship tho. Next in line was a beautiful white robe. Neiman Marcus had a gorgeous white mink bathrobe in their obscene price section of their catalog and I was lusting in my heart big time! Mom found this really nice white fuzzy robe and got it for me...we had a good laugh. I wouldn't take money for the great craft things from the boys that have survived all these years. What mother doesn't need a cigar boxed covered in sparkling gold macaroni to keep the family jewels safe? Fast forwarding to last year, my favorite gift was a picture of the grandkids in a magnetic frame for the fridge complete with buttons glued on so well that a year later, not one is missing! Friends have added to my collection of small Santas and angels and I can tell you who gave me each one.

It's better to give than to receive...I know that. Still, special gifts from special people have an enduring quality not to be overlooked when spending a few minutes with a cup of cocoa and your memories. Here's wishing you a stocking full this year!

December 15, 2005

Oh, Tannenbomb

As long as I can remember, getting the Christmas tree was one of the best, if not THE best, thing about Christmas. Mom and Dad would load up the four of us and we'd head out into the modern day forest of Christmas tree lots. We didn't have a favorite lot in particular, and many times we'd shop several before we found the perfect tree. I loved the smell whether it came from the needles on the trees or the needles I scooped up by the handsful from the ground. At once I was Heidi looking out of Grandfather's loft window at the snow-iced pines surrounding his chalet. Back to reality with Alice, Janet, and Jody racing up and down the aisles of Douglas firs calling for Mom and Dad to come look at the tree they'd found. It was quite an honor to be the "Selector of the Tree"'d have thought it came with a monetary prize! Dad would grab the tree by the top and spin it around so Mom could check for bare spots. After finding the one with the fewest flaws, Dad would fork over $2.50 and we'd head back home for a decorating session complete with a box of silver icicles for each one of us. We had as many in our hair at the end of the decorating as we did on the tree; nothing like an icicle fight to get you in the holiday spirit! The lights were the big ones with a strand or two of Big Mama's bubbling lights. If you squinted your eyes, they took on a magical aura. The night ended with eggnog and pallets on the floor so we could sleep underneath the most beautiful Christmas tree in Harlingen. Maybe not Currier and Ives, but not bad for the Johnsons.
Today, with row upon row of perfectly shaped trees, the whole experience has been reduced to finding one where the needles are still green and soft. They all look alike. The only variance is in the type of tree (I don't ever remember seeing a Scotch pine growing up in South Texas)and the outrageousness of the price tag. We were challenged to find a tree with shape, size, and price for our corner in the living room. Now, it's just grab and go...any goofball with a large bank account can have a perfect tree. Where's the thrill of the hunt? I challenge anyone today to go with me to find an old fashioned fir for $2.50 that will have as many fond memories!!

December 13, 2005

Recommended Reading

You're gonna laugh, but I want to take a minute to let you know about one of my favorite reading resources. I stumbled across my first little jewel at the Half Price Book Store (a great place by the way). I only have three of these treasures, but I intend to collect more because they're fun, the chapters are short, and I've already read through mine several times. I'm referring, of course, to Uncle John's Bathroom Readers, a cross between Reader's Digest and Mad Magazine. There are several. Their subjects are many and they keep the writing lively. You also have an opportunity to learn alot of interesting things through their articles, quotes, and lists. You can become a veritable Cliff Claven of facts no one really cares about by studying the pages.

For instance, you might like to know that crossword puzzles didn't exist before December 21, 1913 or that glass never wears out and can be recycled forever. Famous quotes include Richard Nixon telling his aides that "kicking the press is an art" (1972). On the health front, you'd be surprised to discover that you can't spread poison ivy by touch. A list of redundancies such as "baby calf" or "first priority" are really dumb when you think about them. You can learn the history of time capsules and Saturday Night Live along with how Tarzan and King Kong came into being. Do you know how much you'd weigh at the exact center of the earth?...nothing! Did you know that pasturization was developed as a method to keep wine from spoiling? Thomas Edison preferred to read in Braille though he wasn't blind. According to Uncle John, more people are killed by donkeys every year than are killed in plane crashes! Aren't you feeling smarter already?

The Bathroom Readers intended to keep you entertained in Uncle John's favorite room in the house, but they're right handy to keep by the bed for quick reading before you fall asleep. Carry smaller versions along on those trips to the doctor or dentist when you'll be cooling your heels in the waiting room. And trust me, they're like potato won't be able to read just one! **You're welcome!**
(My apologies to the Bathroom Readers Institute for any copyright infringements.)

December 8, 2005

God Rest Ye Merry

I had a hard time falling asleep last night. I'm not sure if it was the cold, the holiday stuff I keep obsessing about, or the coffee candy I ate about 4 o'clock...maybe a little bit of it all. I tried counting sheep, watching The Tonight Show (is it just me or are Jay and that dopey Kevin just not funny), prayers for me and the family and the immedidate world, and finally (after two hours) got up and chemically treated the problem. It didn't help any that Mikey was right next to me sound asleep with his snoring punctuated by whatever that other noise is that he makes. Not a care in the world, just like a baby, pure heart & pure mind maybe.

As I was letting the shower bring me back to life this morning, I was thinking about how this problem plagues me from time to time. I was trying to plot a new strategy for the next time it happens as I don't like to rely on pills. They make me drag up the next day. I over compensate with more coffee which can put me into a terrible sleep/wake rhythm. My system is very delicate you know.

Driving to work, out of the blue, the line from the Christmas carol flashed through my foggy brain, "God rest you merry, gentlemen." I'd learned awhile back that the phrase wasn't "God rest you merry gentlemen" with the "merry" being an adjective for "gentlemen." It's a request for God to allow us to rest with happy hearts. "Let nothing you dismay." We can do this when we "remember Christ, our Savior, was born on Christmas Day." Whoop...there it is!! He came to "save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray," so I don't even have to have been a good little girl. God loved me anyway. "Oh tidings of comfort and joy!!"

May God rest us all merry tonite!!

December 7, 2005

Outdated Outrage

If you ask alot of people what today is, most would likely respond that it's Wednesday, or December 7th, or 28 days until Christmas. Younger students might not know anything beyond that, older folk could tell you that it's Pearl Harbor Day, a day that will live in infamy.

I looked up the word infamy and it's described in Webster's dictionary as an "evil reputation brought about by something grossly criminal, shocking, or brutal" and "an extreme and publicly known criminal or evil act." I think the surprise attack that brought us into WWII with it's wide swath of death and destruction could be considered infamous. The American citizenry was solidified into actions that included sending young men and women into harm's way, sacrificing personal comforts, women going to work, and recycling on a grand scale. Who wouldn't have loved a chocolate bar or a pair of silk stockings or new tires? We couldn't believe that any nation would have the nerve to come against us. Well, they did and we were outraged. We immediately went to war in two theaters and fought long and hard for 4 years.

Today, with the equally infamous attack at the World Trade Center, we're outraged, but not enough to commit our whole military. We're sacrificing, but squealing over the price of gas. We've gone to work, but many have been replaced with their jobs being moved to foreign countries who don't necessarily agree with us and aren't willing to do battle with us against our enemies. Recycling is still being done mostly by "tree huggers" and I stand guilty as can be on this issue. I'm not just throwing rocks at other people.

Maybe infamy is a word lost in the search to understand what prompts such behavior. Maybe outrage is better described as hate. Maybe we're becoming lemmings after all in the quest for political correctness. It is possible to have become that desensitized? What does that auger for the world my grandchildren will live in? I'm grateful for the sacrifices made by the Generation that Saved the World. If you're out there, I salute you on this infamous day.

December 6, 2005

What Makes Christmases Bright?

I've had a hard time getting excited about Christmas this year. Not the Jesus part. I've always loved the season for the Nativity, the wonder of God taking on the form of man, the shepherds, angels, music. That part I look forward to.

Anything else, decorations, shopping, trees, even the cookies have lost some of their charm over the years. Am I becoming a Scrooge? A Grinch? It occurred to me that it wasn't that I don't like these holiday trappings, I just don't have small children living at home anymore. The two small children that make me smile are building their own traditions in their own home now. That's the way it should be. I can't help missing the Christmases with the boys though. They would get wound up tighter than a Christmas monkey in the weeks leading up to the Big Day. Their lists for Santa began around Halloween. We'd bake and decorate one batch of sugar cookies...that was about all the mess I could handle. We had so much fun. We had few other traditions...we'd drink eggnog and sleep under the Christmas tree the first night it was up. Each year the boys got a new ornament so that when they married, they'd have a set to start their own Christmases with. Meals were semi-traditional. One year we had steaks and one year they wanted hamburgers (that was easy!). Christmas Eve they opened one gift which was always (and is always) pajamas.

I need that excitement that only children bring to the holidays. I wrote the grandkids a letter today telling them how surprised they were going to be with the present we're giving them. They love getting mail and writing that note inspired me. Think I'll send another one or two leading up to Christmas. This is going to be a fun Christmas after all!

December 1, 2005

Flash Point

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I only made one mistake this year. I forgot to practice my overeating skills. Thanksgiving dinner and the second helping of dressing nearly did me in. I didn't even eat leftovers for supper or a piece of pie until the next day. Next year, I'll have to remember to overeat during the week leading up to Thanksgiving. I was miserable!!
I covered alot of Texas over the long weekend. It occurred to me that we've lost alot of our road etiquette over the years and I hate to see that happen. There used to be more of an esprit de corp when you shared the highways. Looking out for one another included helping fix flats or offering to go ahead and send back help if you passed someone staring blankly at their smoking engine. It was nothing to go get a few gallons of gas for the stranded brother on the side of the road. But my favorite form of gallantry was the flashing headlight maneuver. It was always great fun to have someone flash their lights a time or two letting you know that there was a radar trap ahead. Dad would gratefully flash his lights back as confirmation that he received the warning and to say thanks. Sure enough, a mile or two up the road there would be a black and white looking for those speeders to help them meet their quota. We'd beaten the system again!
This trip though, there were "bears" all over the place with it being the holidays and not one person ever flashed me...not one!! I was flashing like a Christmas tree with a new string of lights, but even doing that for the oncoming speeders didn't net me one flash of gratitude! Lord help me if I'd run out of gas or had a smoking engine.
I'm putting the world on watch!!! of 2006, I'm not flashing ever again. I know, you might think it won't be the same safe world, but the only thing I'm flashing from here on out is a friendly grin!