Monday, October 18, 2010

Vacationing With the Kids

We rolled out of Garland, October 8th, Friday morning, with stars in our eyes and happy expectations. My daughter Lacey moved to the outside of Kansas City in the little town of Oak Grove in May with her husband, James, and my two grandsons, Patrick, 7 and Elijah, his second birthday in two days on the 11th. After nine hours on the road and taking the short cut James suggested, (let me interrupt here for a moment. The shortcut may be nice in the daylight but by the time we got there it was dark and the road was very curvy, hilly, and a quite scary.) So around 9 p.m. we arrived very worn out after nine hours on the road. My arthritic knees along with various other body parts do not fair well cramped in one position for long periods of time. Still, thrilled to see our little extended family for we had not seen them since July.

Patrick, with a touch of ADHD seemed more calm than usual but Elijah, the baby, had already hit the terrible twos before his second birthday. The little stinker talks like crazy but his most favorite word is "NO!" Lacey and James are handling his independence well. Much like I did with my son when he was around two. Give him what he wants to keep him happy. Not saying I was always right, just easier. The girls now understand why we always gave in to their Bubba. Both have been guilty as charged.

Eli, or Jujah as he calls himself, is very competitive and loves every sport that utilizes a ball. Maybe even the ones that don't. If there is one. I'm sure when he's old enough to play competitively, he will not allow anyone to get, have, keep or touch the ball/puck, meaning he will either win every game or get kicked out.

Patrick, or Bubba as Eli calls him, will always be Grandmommy's sweetie. He can be a perfectionist and upsets easily but Grandmommy can always get him back to his happy self. (Later, we spent a lot of time in the Spa having fun with Patrick stealing all the bubbles. He loves the water just like me and we spent much of the trip wrinkled like little old ladies. I say this in jest because I am NOT a little old lady nor am I wrinkled like one. Yet.)

After we arrived, we talked for a while and played with the kiddos before bedding down for the night at Lace's house, I took the couch and Mike made do in the recliner. Not bad for one night only. The next morning, we hopped up, okay, some of us creaked up slowly, and headed out for a four hour drive to Branson to stay at our vacation club resort for a few days. James was able to get off work Saturday so the kids followed us down there. Patrick couldn't miss school and James' work needed him for a job on Monday, so they could only stay one night. We had to cram a lot of fun into those two days together.

(stay tuned for more details to follow)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Weekend Cleaning

I wrote this little poem a couple of Monday's ago after working on cleaning my bedroom all weekend. Still haven't got back in there to finish!

The weekend is past
It went way too fast.
My bedroom’s half clean,
I got really mean.
Threw a lot away.
I miss it today.
I have more to do,
I’ll never be through.
It's no easy feat,
But it looks pretty neat.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

In honor of the last day of school and a fun summer,
here is a another poem I wrote for teachers. Enjoy.

By Karen Arthur

One may have a pigtail,
One always picks his nose,
One’s so shy he blushes,
One strikes a ballet pose.

Susie wears thick glasses,
She giggles when she sneezes.
Billy always has a cold
And almost always freezes.

JoJo sits on both her feet,
Sammy eats his boogers.
Tommy talks nonstop all day
And Emily loves sugar.

A typical class is a variety,
And each child plays a part,
For a very special teacher,
Who holds them in her heart.

She knows them by their differences,
She calls them all by name.
Some learn fast and some learn slow.
She loves them all the same.

Some will eat with fingers,
Others chopsticks or a fork.
Another may say grace at lunch,
But someone always farts.

It doesn’t matter how they act,
Or if they know a lot.
Each one needs a teacher
To give it all she’s got!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Memories of Charles, My Father-In-Law

I can’t remember when Charles was not a part of my life. He worked with my dad, later my mother and brother. Then I just so happen to marry his son, Mike.

My earliest memory of Charles is when I had to write a report for fifth grade. I had destroyed two or three folders trying to get the title just right. My dad feared he would have to buy stock in Aladdin so he drove me to Charles’ house for him to write the title on my folder. Charles had beautiful penmanship. Later, he always signed our birthday cards in calligraphy, sometimes copying his favorite poems on the back of our cards.

Charles was great with his hands, working on cars, cooking, and woodworking. On many occasions I was the recipient of his handiwork. He also treated his wife like a queen, and when she was so sick, he waited on her hand and foot. He passed those traits on to his son so I continue to be blessed by his gifts.

Charles loved to shop for Christmas and always made sure I had at least one present under the tree at the family gathering. The year his company moved across the street from the Tuesday Morning warehouse, the tree was overflowing with presents.

Charles loved to laugh. He loved funny cards, funny jokes, and embarrassing stories, repeating them often, even if they were on him. The last time I saw him was in the hospital about a month ago. Even in his pain, the nurse made him giggle by saying he was good looking. As I typed his obituary, I accidently left out one little word, with. My husband, my sister-in-law, and the lady from the paper all proofread it and didn't notice. I know Charles would be tickled pink if he knew at his funeral, we laughed at our error and annouced that we wrote, Charles left this Earth to be -- the Lord.

Charles did not go to church as an adult and Mike and I sent up many prayers for his salvation, not sure if he ever had made a profession of faith. One day, before he moved out of his house, we couldn’t get him on the phone. Worried, Mike and Cameron went to check on him. I decided to tag along. When we arrived, I was happy to sit in the car and read my rag mag. But God had other plans, "You need to go inside and talk to Charles."
Dad was never very receptive to church talk so I argued. I just want to sit in the car and read my magazine. God was emphatic, "NO, go inside." I knew in my heart, that’s why I came. God practically pushed me out of the car so I had no choice but to go in.

The guys were out back so I sat down and started watching a TV program. The TV was always on at Dad’s house. He had three TV's running and three VCR's recording at all times. If we got interested in a show, we might not get to see the end of it because Charles changed the channel checking to see if his other shows were recording or to just watch something else without warning.
Who knew Dad was visionary. Today just about everyone I know records four or more shows at once on our DVRs and have a TV in almost every room of the house.
Mike found Dad out back in the hot sun with his riding lawn mower trying to mow his quarter acre lot. It was by God's grace he hadn't found the key to the mower. Mike came in through the back door with Cam and said, “Come on, we’re going to get ice.”

“Ya'll go. I’m staying.” Mike raised his eyebrows. Without telling him my true intention I said, “I got interested in this show.” It wasn't a lie, I can get interested in any show at the drop of a hat.

Charles walked in a few minutes after they left. Surprised to see me, he asked, “What are you doing here?”

”I came with Mike.” Like on cue, the show ended.

After Charles sat down in his big easy chair, my heart pounding, I turned and said, “Can I ask you a question?”


I bit the bullet, “Do you believe in God?”

Miraculously, he was open to the question. “Yes, I do and I’m ready to go and be with Mom in Heaven.”

Wow. I didn't expect that.

Wanting to be sure he understood, I asked if he believed in Jesus and that he had died on the cross for our sins, that he rose again, and had Charles asked him into his heart?

Again his answer was confident, “Yes, yes, I do. I've made my peace with God.”

Relief flooded through me. Later, he found his baptism card from when he was four to show me that he had been baptized as a child.

When Mike and I left that day, I said, “I did it.”

A little nervous Mike asked, “You did what?”

I told him about the conversation I had with Charles. Tears welled up as he said, “The bible says if you profess your faith before men. I’ve been praying for someone to talk to Dad about salvation because I couldn’t. Thank you.”

Then next time Mike went over, Charles said, “Billie came to see me.” (Billie is my mother) “She asked if I knew God and I told her I did.”

Then Charles told Mike the whole conversation and he had even been reading his bible. Mike siad, “If you have any questions, Dad, I’ll be happy to answer them.” Praise God, He opened the door.

I was happy to know Dad remembered and understood, even if he did think I was my mom.

A few weeks later, Charles went to the hospital. I wanted to go see him, just to make sure once more. I was fearful dementia would take over or that we would lose him. He kept looking at me and I wondered, is he was thinking about our talk or does he think I'm Billie?

As we all stood in the hospital room, Leigh noticed he’d been cleaned up and asked. “Papaw, who shaved you?”

Without hesitation he answered, “Jesus.”

We laughed wondering if some long haired PCT had been his barber that day. Leigh asked again, “Jesus shaved you?”

“Yes, he did.” Confident in his answer. He could be quite amusing with his confused thinking and we always just went with it.
The nurse ran us out so we went to the waiting room. I told the others about our talk that day. Then it hit me, I said, “I bet he thought you said, “Who saved you?” Everyone agreed that made more sense.

I had my answer. Jesus not only had pushed me that day to talk to Charles for his sake, but for the family to have the calm assurance of knowing that Dad really was a Christian.

I am confident that on Monday, April 12, 2010, as Dad left this world, he was met at Heaven’s gate by his mother, Agnes, his brothers, hopefully all three will be there, and so many of his other relatives and friends, including my dad, Bill Jones. And by his beautiful wife, my late mother-in-law Elsie, that he loved so much, who, no doubt, led the welcoming committee . But none more precious than when Charles Arthur met Jesus Christ face to face. The celebration continues until we meet again.
See you later, Dad.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Paige Alexandria, Our Living Doll

What a wonderful treat, a brand new grand-daughter to play with and help raise. She looks just like her Mommy at that age so I have deja-vu moments. If only my body didn't reject changing diapers on the floor I would feel 25 again.

Paige Alexandria Ogletree joined her sisters Kaylyn Victoria and Reace Danielle on January 19th, and she really does look like a clone of her mommy and sisters. Especially Reace. I think she looks like me in my baby pictures, thank goodness not now. I was a cute baby but who wants their baby to look like a Granny?

Our new baby girl weighed in at 9lb, 11oz so she is not a featherweight. She is now up to 12lbs. She is our little bobblehead doll. Paige pops her head up bright eyed, looks me straight in the eye, then when she sees she's safe in Grandmommy's arms, she tucks in for a good cuddle. She loves her tiny feet rubbed and if I quit, she sticks her foot out as if to say, Don't stop, Grandmommy. She can be crying one minute and passed out the next. As if she is hypnotized and with a snap, instant snooze. She loves me to sing to her. I think it's the vibrations so I'll go down low and then up the scale as she nuzzles her ear to my chest and peacefully dozes off.

Paige arrived just in time for the biggest snowfall in Dallas County in 32 years. Snow swirling around, who could resist a picture with her two loving sisters, Kaylyn and Reace.

Mommy, Daddy, Papaw, sisters, aunts, uncles and friends all dote on our new princess so she is fast on her way to spoildom. She has more clothes than I do and is quickly taking over the house. She has no room of her own so she has claimed them all. We don't mind stumbling over all sorts of baby paraphanalia, thrilled that our little surprise bundle of joy is happy and healthy. We couldn't ask for a better gift from God.

Congratulations to Autumn and Kevin, Paige's proud Mommy and Daddy.

Happy Birthday, Little Paige

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thin Places: Times where the division between this world and the eternal fades; they are snatches of holy ground, tucked into the corners of our world

To share a Thin Place in my life, I go back to my last employer. The owner was very rigid and her step-children ran the company.

Then tragedy struck. The owner passed away. Without her to maintain the stiff rules, the salespeople turned into college Freshmen away from parents for the first time.

My job became a drudge. The inmates were running the asylum.
I applied at Walmart but they could not pay as much as my current salary.

On my desk, my favorite scripture, comforted me. Jeremiah 29:11; "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. "

One morning on the way to work, I begged Jesus to find me a job, close to home, same pay, and more flexible. I felt his presence in the seat beside me speaking peace to my soul.

At ten o’clock my prayer was answered with a phone call. My resume had been shared. Everything I asked for was met. Later, I told my new employer I appreciated him hiring me but it was God who gave me the job. He said, "I knew someone else was controlling my hand."

Next November will be my ten year anniversary. The longest I have ever been with one company. God answered my prayer in such a powerful way and gave me a testimony that I have shared with many people. The line disappeared for me that day when Jesus miraculously answered my prayer.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

And He walks with me and He talks with me.

I stroll on the beach,
While waves toss in the sea,
Clouds float in the sky,
And God walks with me.

Time is eternal,
Faith opens the door,
Jesus enters my heart,
With peace evermore.

Worries and cares
Roll away like the tide,
And my burdens are lifted
With God by my side.

I love visiting the ocean. This picture was taken at Hilton Head, SC in May, 2008. I wrote the poem this week. I enjoy adding poetry to my pictures. Or pictures to my poetry.

Our new baby. Paige Alexandria Ogletree, will be here Tuesday. I will be a proud Grandmommy again. I may have to update my header picture. Poor Reacie is sick today and we are skipping church in hopes she will feel better by Tuesday. It would be devastating if she missed getting to hold baby sister when she arrives.

I gained too much weight since my last surgery so I am starting a 21 day fitness trial on Monday. This will tell me if I really want to join a gym and if I will get my money's worth if I do. I at least need to lose the pounds I gained in the last three months for sure. On the bright side, my blood sugar levels have decreased. That does not make sense but I did add cinnamon tablets to my stack of daily pills and I have been exer-cycling daily. Whatever works I'll gladly take.

Hope you like the new poem. I will be reciting another one at the Gospel Music Artist Association Convention next weekend. I am excited to go but it will be hard to leave our new baby girl. I am nominated for the Songwriter of the Year Award and for The Special Ministry Award. I am honored to just be nominated and it would amazing if I won. The concerts Friday and Saturday night are free to the public if you would like to attend. It is at the Southfork Hotel in Dallas.

I am devoting 2010 to be my year of submission to God by submitting my writing and hopefully to be published. Years ago, I felt God called me to be a writer. I am stepping out in faith to fulfill His ministry for my life. I also feel called to speak and share God's word through my poetry or however God wants to use me in that respect. Say lots of prayers. I am excited about what God is doing and going to do in my life and in other's lives through me. We are a always a work in progress.

Thank you, Lord for your abundant grace.