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Tuesday Tips and Late Night Painting Projects

29 Jan

“I love the silent hour of night, for blissful dreams may then arise, revealing to my charmed sight what may not bless my waking eyes.”
― Anne Brontë, Best Poems of the Brontë Sisters
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“Do not put off till tomorrow what you can put off till today, or the night before you leave.” Here’s a tip. When you’re visiting your mom for three weeks, try not to procrastinate. I promised my mother that we would do some glass painting during my visit. We did some watercolor, pastel chalk projects and played with a bunch of crafts, but I totally forgot the glass painting.

On my last night there, I started packing a few things and was scouting out the nooks and crannies to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind. There on the floor were all the clear glass vases that she had been saving and a few more that we bought at the dollar store. Yikes! I forgot. So, at 10:30 pm, we gathered all the paints and vases on the table. Mom was tired and it was late, so she just assisted me with prepping, shuffling and moral support. Mom is my biggest fan. She kept saying, “You are wonderful!” I always reply, “The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Late night glass painting project. BEFORE…

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I spent two or three hours painting. Mom scooted her chair close by and moved the vase after each step and handed me the next. It was a well oiled assembly line. We let them dry over night.

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I finished eight vases, four with bluebonnets and four with lavender. Cute, huh?

In the morning, I popped them in a cold oven and baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool without opening for at least three or four hours. Voila!!! Last minute, late night, guilt ridden, procrastination glass painting project.

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Hey! What’s cookin’ good lookin’? Not cookies or brownies…glass vases. Now, Mom has some gorgeous vases to give her lady friends as a gift for a birthday or celebration. MY WORK HERE IS DONE!

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Montage Monday: Home and Home Again

28 Jan

“Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.”
― Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road
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I went back home and loved it again for all new reasons. Visiting with old friends brings back old memories, but also new stories and new memories were made. My sons took me to some new places, and we trampled through the new fallen snow. I met several new people and created some new art projects. Each new day is different from the last, and each visit back home is different, yes, even better than the last.

I’m back in Texas, but unfortunately, I brought the cold weather back with me. Do you think it snuck into my suitcase? Maybe! I was home, now home again.

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Sacrosanct Saturday: Family, Friends, and Fish?

26 Jan

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Chinese Proverb

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The sacrosanct time spent with my friends and family these past three weeks has been wonderful. The Chicago weather has ranged from frigid to unbearable, but not for this Texas gal. The warmth and love I’ve experienced has negated any cold temperature, and has given me the spiritual and emotional boost that will help me get through the tough times ahead. But alas, I go back to Texas tomorrow. I’m excited to see my dear friends and get back to my activities. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could have both? Wherever I am, I miss who I must leave behind.

I was familiar with the word “sacrosanct,” but very rarely had a chance to use it. So, what better place than right here to share a fun vocabulary word…

sacrosanct
sac·ro·sanct\ˈsa-krō-ˌsaŋ(k)t\
adjective
: too important and respected to be changed, criticized, etc.
Full Definition
1 : most sacred or holy : inviolable
2 : treated as if holy : immune from criticism or violation
sac·ro·sanc·ti·ty \ˌsa-krō-ˈsaŋ(k)-tə-tē\ noun
Examples
the teacher’s book of grades is sacrosanct, and someone could be expelled for changing anything in it
believers eventually built a chapel on the sacrosanct spot where the miracle was thought to have taken place
Origin: Latin sacrosanctus, probably from sacro sanctus hallowed by a sacred rite.
First use: 1601
Synonyms: hallowed, holy, inviolable, sacred, unassailable, untouchable
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On my last full day with Mom and her lady friends at The Greens, we had our last little arts and crafts lesson. We’ve been making beautiful notecards, and now that they each have several different examples, I’m sure they will be making more cards on their own. Mom has all the stencils, chalks, pencils and cards to share, and she is an excellent teacher in her own right. I’m glad I taught them to fish instead of giving them a fish. I have a feeling that I’ll be receiving some lovely handmade cards in the future.

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Friday Fulminations, Frustrations and Lemonade

25 Jan

“I believe when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade…and try to find someone whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.”
-Ron White
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You know what is really frustrating? Well, I’ll tell you! My sister has a new Toyota Prius that she bought this summer that has given her nothing but troubles and headaches. Today was the fourth time she had to call the roadside service to come out and jump the battery. This morning, we had planned to go shopping, have lunch and take Mom to a movie. But, NOOOOO!!!!! Her car wouldn’t start. She spent hours waiting the service man. This was the fourth time in as many months that the car wouldn’t start. Granted its cold here in Chicago, but this has happened on beautiful days.

A couple of weeks ago, she even left the car at the dealership over the weekend, they installed a trickle charger, and said this would take care of the problem. But, NOOOOO!!!!! What’s the sense of having a shiny new car, the car of your dreams, if it turns out to be more like a daily nightmare?

I especially feel bad because when I was here visiting this summer, I told her, “You’ve been talking about a new car for years. Grab your check book and let’s go buy a new car today.” And we did.
She was happy as a lark…that is, until a few weeks later when the car wouldn’t start. Every day was spent saying two Our Father’s and Two Hail Mary’s on the way to the garage.

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After today’s long wait and much frustration, she picked me up and we went to the bank. She sat in the car, while I went inside. We went to Office Max. She went in and I sat in the car. We went through the drive-in window at Burger King and ate lunch inside the car. We went to the grocery store. I went in and she sat in the car. WE WERE AFRAID TO TURN OFF THE ENGINE! All the prayers in the world couldn’t help this problem.

I went with her to the Toyota dealership at 5pm, where they offered her a loaner car and they gave her the old dog and pony show about, “Gee, this has never happened before.” Now, she asked if she could just do a trade and get rid of the car from H-E- double hockey sticks…(I don’t cuss here.), and end the nightmare. Well, of course she could, but it would cost her an additional $5,000 out-of-pocket to get a less expensive, non-hybrid car.

Needless to say, the manager is “going to talk to his boss,” and see what he can do, and will call tomorrow. In the meantime, when life gives you lemons, you want to smash it in someone’s face!
Can you say LEMON?????? To be continued….

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Where There’s a Will…

23 Jan

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
-Mahatma Gandhi
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I’ll be the first to admit, I had to look up the word “indomitable.” I kinda figured out what it meant, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve never used it in a sentence, spoke it out loud or recall hearing anyone use it. Mr. Gandhi has expanded my vocabulary. Now, I will try and use this word often and add it to my extensive repertoire of fancy words like “y’all” and “fixin’ to.” Here’s what I learned…
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indomitable

in·dom·i·ta·ble\in-ˈdä-mə-tə-bəl\
adjective
: impossible to defeat or discourage
Full Definition
: incapable of being subdued : unconquerable
in·dom·i·ta·bil·i·ty \(ˌ)in-ˌdä-mə-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
in·dom·i·ta·ble·ness \in-ˈdä-mə-tə-bəl-nəs\ noun
in·dom·i·ta·bly \-blē\ adverb
Examples
an indomitable spirit was needed to endure the rigors of pioneer life
Origin: Late Latin indomitabilis, from Latin in- + domitare to tame — more at daunt.
First use: 1634
Synonyms: bulletproof, impregnable, invincible, insuperable, insurmountable, invulnerable, unbeatable, unconquerable, unstoppable
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Even though the weather in Chicago has been more suited for the abominable snowman, (not to be confused with the indomitable snowman), I have tried to keep up my spirits by teaching painting classes for mom’s friends, shopping, visiting with old friends and a little exercise. ( I even did some indoor jogging. I haven’t jogged in ten years. Now, I know why!) The great thing about the Midwest is, a little thing like five months of frigid temps, shoveling snow, and pelting sleet never deters the INDOMITABLE will of the hearty citizens. (See, I used it in a sentence!) “Where there’s a will… there’s a new word.”

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Tuesday Testimony: “Jumping Into God’sDream”

21 Jan

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Chaplain Jim has again shared a poignant message during this week celebrating the life, works, and words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This time reminds us that we should all have a dream, not only for ourselves, but for our children and posterity. Sometimes we are so concerned about ourselves, the “It’s all about me” world that we live in, that we forget that everyone has a dream. How can we share our dreams with others? How can we help other people make their dreams come true? How many consecutive questions can I ask before you get really annoyed with me? One more? Will you take a few minutes to read what Chaplain Jim has shared about God’s big dream? I think HE has a big dream for us, BUT we have to see it in order to make it come true. (Thanks Chaplain Jim)
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UNCLASSIFIED//NONE

I Have a Dream…

I’m inspired every year in January with whatever commemoration I’m involved in concerning Martin Luther King, Jr. Most years I make sure I make the time to watch or listen again to his “I have a dream” speech– the whole of which is only 11 minutes, and easy to find these days on line. But as inspiring as those words and their delivery are, I was reminded this year that it’s not just MLK who had a Big Dream. And knowing his background as a pastor, it’s pretty safe to say that his Big Dream for civil rights grew directly out of GOD’s Big Dream. So before MLK’s 11 minute speech, you could say that all of holy history is God’s “I have a dream” speech.

Nowhere is that more clear than in the beginning of the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” God spoke, and creation was born. God spoke, and the Word became flesh and walked among us. And God’s dream is that we be adopted into His life, and that we become a part of the Body of Christ in the world today.

When I was watching his speech this time, I started wondering about some of the people in the background, and especially the children caught on camera, either splashing in the reflecting pond, or on their parents’ shoulders. How would that one experience transform their lives? What we get our kids involved in when they’re young, what we help them get excited about, especially if it is something ongoing– like the civil rights movement, or in a more simple way, like being involved at the church– can dramatically impact them for a lifetime, and across generations.

My mom was at a church camp in FL the first year it opened in 1948, and every summer after that until she spent a summer as a camp counselor there. I started going to that same church camp when I was in 4th grade, went every year after that with three summers and a camp counselor. I met another camp counselor and had what I thought was a “summer fling” with her. Now thirty years later, both our kids have been active in church camps for years, being camp jr. counselors, now doing and supporting Chrysalis camp weekends.

How are you getting your kids excited about GOD’s Big Dream? Lots of groups and marketers would love to get your kids involved in THEIR dream, or even in what might seem like a big dream by earthly dimensions, and those CAN be very good dreams. But how are you helping your kids and the kids you teach to make time and energy not only for “good dreams,” but for GOD’s Dream? And how are you helping them to not only be spectators, testing the water with their toes, but to throw themselves completely into God’s Dream?

It’s great to be inspired by those powerful words, “I have a dream,” but how much more powerful if it’s more than a passing dream, but God’s Eternal Dream? And how much more powerful to help the Little Ones you touch to not only HEAR the dream, but to LIVE the Dream?

Jumping into GOD’s Dream–

Rev. Jim

Chaplain (Major) James R. Lewis
371st Sustainment Brigade
Brigade Chaplain
DSN: (318) 430-4106
Cell phone: 9978.7664
NIPR: james.r.lewis1.mil@mail.mil
SIPR: james.r.lewis1@swa.army.smil.mil

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Here is my dream…OUT LOUD…
I am going to become a famous author, and many people will read my books, stories and poems. I also dream of being a famous artist, where many people want to own my paintings, prints and hand painted items. WAIT A MINUTE!!!! WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!……… I’ve had over 12,000 hits on my blog, hundreds of people have read my stories and poems, many of you out there have my artwork, prints, hand painted ornaments, vases, and wine glasses. I don’t have to say my dream out loud… I AM ALREADY LIVING MY DREAM!!! You are all a part of it. Now go live YOUR dream, my friend!

Montage Monday: Family

21 Jan

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.
-Desmond Tutu
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I am blessed with many gifts from God, and my family is the greatest blessing. Being able to spend so much time with my mom, my sons and my sister has been wonderful. Seeing old friends is another gift. They are just like family. Forget that! They are family! Life is good!

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Sunday Services and Sharing

20 Jan

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
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If this is true, which I sincerely hope it is, there is a very good chance that I will never grow old. I have so many dreams and plans and hopes, and I certainly will never stop pursuing them.

This morning, I had the pleasure of joining Mom at her Sunday service that takes place in their activity room. A very sweet lady from St. Thomas More came to lead the service and pass out communion. About fifteen residents attended, most shuffling in behind their walkers, but determined to recite prayers, sing hymns, and give thanks. I certainly admire their faith and commitment.

I’ve been staying with my mom for a couple of weeks now, and the seniors here are very inspirational. Mom is one of the most loved little ladies at The Greens. Everyone knows and loves Trini, and a lot of her friends have come to know and love me, too. (The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree… We are both nuts…sing show tunes…and do arts and crafts.)

I’ve missed my senior art group back in McKinney, but I’ve had the opportunity to share a few artsy-craftsy projects with Mom’s friends. They really enjoy my funny stories, off key singing and art demos.

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We’ve been making notecards.

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Life is all about sharing, loving, and dreaming. May you always have dreams to pursue, and may all your dreams come true…and NEVER GROW OLD!

Sentimental Saturday and Senior Moments

19 Jan

I walk down memory lane because I know that I’ll run into you there.
Unknown
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Yesterday, I was talking about old friends, the old bowling team from the 90’s. Well, not to date myself, today, I had a brief four hour lunch with my girlfriend, Linda, from high school in the 60’s. I say brief because, we could have used another four hours and not run out of things to say. Unfortunately, the snow started coming down pretty fast and furious around 11am, but she ventured out anyway, picked me up at Mom’s place, and we slipped and slushed our way randomly down Randall Road looking for a place to have lunch.

The poor waitress at the Squire restaurant stopped by four or five times before we even looked at the menu. After we got our food, she didn’t check back quite so often, as she got the idea that we were in for the long haul. About two hours into catching up and sharing stories about kids, family, teaching and the old neighborhood and friends, we started reminiscing about old high school teachers and classes.

“Did you have Mr. Dyer for Spanish?” I asked. “Yah, I did,” was the reply. Then I chimed in, “I threw up all over myself the first day of freshman year, first period in Spanish class. I’ll never forget!” Yuk! What a way to remember Mr. Dyer and Spanish class. Ah, those were the days!

We were so young, innocent, and optimistic back then. I recalled my story about being moved up to Honors English a few weeks into the semester during sophomore year, and I cried for two days because I didn’t know anyone. I went to Mr. Ruby, my counselor, and cried some more. He wrote a note and I went back to my old regular old English class, in my old seat right behind Diane. (Did you notice I don’t handle change very well, not to mention parting with friends?)

Yep, a lot of walking down memory lane. The year was 1967, the school was Amos Alonzo Stagg H.S., the memories are clear and crisp, and the friends were amazing… and still are. Thanks Linda for a nostalgic stroll down memory lane and the corridors of high school. FRIENDS RULE…OLD FRIENDS RULE FOREVER!!!

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Over 45 years later…still best of friends!

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Theme Song Thursday: Thank Heaven for Little Girls

17 Jan

“Like star dust glistening on fairies’ wings, Little girls dreams are of magical things.”
-Sherry Larson
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Aren’t little girls wonderful treasures? Then, they grow up to be…well, whatever they want to be. My dearest friend Lin stopped by with her beautiful granddaughters the other day. They are so adorable, filled with energy and sunshine. Children are God’s way of reminding us that life is beautiful, but little girls are God’s way of showing us just how much.

If you have a little girl, or know a little girl, you know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
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Perry Como – Thank Heaven For Little Girls Lyrics
Send “Thank Heaven For Little Girls” Ringtone to your Cell
Thank heaven for little girls
For little girls get bigger every day!

Thank heaven for little girls
They grow up in the most delightful way!

Those little eyes so helpless and appealing
One day will flash and send you crashin thru the ceilin

Thank heaven for little girls
Thank heaven for them all,
No matter where no matter who
For without them, what would little boys do?

Thank heaven . . . thank heaven . . .
Thank heaven for little girls!

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Here are three of the cutest little girls I know.