Friday, July 21, 2017

A Heart of Gratitude for Charleigh-Girl

I'm having to face life without my C-G.
My questioning about why she was taken too soon
has changed to gratitude for the 12 years
she was with us, then just me.
You see, I know the timing of losing her could likely 
never have been "just right."
But the timing of her coming into our lives
definitely was.


One day when Susannah  was 9 years old she talked
Susan into stopping at Petland to look at the dogs.
She found a little long legged Sheltie and
immediately decided she was perfect for 
Mimi and Gaga.
(Nevermind that Mimi and Gaga had been
married 48 years and had NEVER
allowed a dog to set foot in their home!)


That was in 2005. Jack was at the halfway point
in his battle with Alzheimer's.
I waited a week before I succumbed to going
to look at the puppy I was not going to get.


She rode home in Jack's lap.
As surprised as we all were, she was his dog
from that moment on.
Here we are surprising Madeline and Susannah
with the new member of our family.






From the beginning Jack carried Charleigh-Girl
everywhere.
He took her to the office--in his arms.
He carried her into the vet's office--in his arms.
The receptionist there finally asked us if there
was a problem with her legs.





Charleigh was also his only hobby.
He took her outside constantly.
While he could still drive he drove her to his office
and let her to bark up the place!
(Which he would NOT have allowed anyone else to do.)
She was with him the day he got lost.
Our whole family was surprised (to put it mildly)
at his love for this little dog.





Through the years I have posted so many pictures
of Charleigh-Girl.
But not this one that I found!
Here is the family massage therapist, Susannah,
apparently being assisted by Charleigh-Girl!
Just couldn't resist including it.
 What a sweet memory.




The hardest thing I've ever had to do was to
take Jack to Silverado and drive away without him.
Having this little dog at home helped me so much.
I know my family was so thankful we had decided 
to get her when we did.
With all my heart I feel God sent her to us/me.


The second hardest thing I've ever had to do was to
rescue Charleigh from her desperate situation.
One can say, as I did, that having her peacefully
go to sleep is the "last good thing I can do for her,"
and it is; but it is AWFUL.
I kept saying I "would never get over it."
Terri told me that I wouldn't, but that
I would get through it.


Tomorrow will be three weeks.
I know that's not very long.
My cousin Sarah was here for 6 nights of that,
so I had some distraction.
Now I have tears again, missing her terribly.


What an example Charleigh was of 
unconditional love.
So happy to see me every time I walked in.
I never got a picture, cause she was so short,
but she smiled at us--a lot!
And she was SO BEAUTIFUL, wasn't she?







She is, very appropriately I think,

buried in her back yard.
I will certainly never forget this first animal I
ever loved.



















Monday, June 26, 2017

Why Do I Go To Church?


This blog may not be perfectly theologically sound.
I am just sharing my heart with you
 in all its imperfection.


Do I attend church because I am "religious?"
No.  I am not "religious."  I am a Christian.
I would much prefer that you call me a
"Jesus freak" (I am!) 
than call me "religious."
I believe that religion is man's attempt to
reach God,
while Christianity is God miraculously reaching
down to man.


I go to Fielder Church every Sunday because
I want to obey the Bible's command:
"Let us not neglect meeting together, 
as some have made a habit,
 but let us encourage one another..."
Hebrews 10:25
From this verse we find out that the building on
Fielder Road is not the "church."
The church is the body of believers who unite
in that building.


We unite to worship!!!
We unite to study and learn!!!
We unite to pray for and encourage one another!!!
We unite to inhale the gospel, 
so that we may exhale the gospel to a dying world.
We unite to learn how to serve.


The person who said that organized religion (church)
is for the weak was exactly right.
We know we are weak and in desperate need
of the strength only Jesus can give.
Do I believe going to church makes one a Christian?
No.  Definitely not.
The saying so often quoted is true:
"Going to church doesn't make one a Christian
any more than standing in a garage makes one a car."
But we meet to find strength in our weakness.


In meeting with fellow believers on Sunday morning
I have developed loving relationships.
I serve by singing in the choir,
and feel uplifted and blessed by doing so every week!
I feel like the entire choir is my "family."
I love my "small group" (formerly known as
Sunday School class) and feel like they
are yet another part of my "family."
It is exciting to me that so many believers gather
at Fielder Church that I get to ride a 
bus from the parking lot to the building!
I love the diversity of people I meet in the halls!
I love the spirit of excitement!
Everyone is welcome at Fielder Church.



Of course, I hope I exhibit that 
my whole life is built upon Jesus.
I cannot imagine not going to church on Sunday.
I am not legalistic about attendance, however.
I often miss when I am traveling.
But...it is my way of life.
It is an integral part of my week.
Yes, it is my habit.
But this is one habit I hope never to break.


"It is my eager expectation and hope that I 
will not be at all ashamed,
but with full courage now as always
Christ will be glorified in my body,
whether I live or whether I die.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Phillipians 1:20-21
Linda Jane Lynn Stovall version


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

An Embarrassing Admission

I have myself convinced that I am not a big worrier.
About big things, maybe I'm not.
You know I travel all over creation alone
with absolutely no fear.
And I spend no time worrying about being snuffed
out by chemical warfare.
I can't believe I'm admitting this, but
 I am a terrible "awfulizer" about small stuff.
That is my cousin Sarah's word for imagining the absolute worst outcome in any situation.


I think I can prove it to you.
We got home from Maui Saturday.
On Sunday night, I realized that one of my
dental crowns had come off, 
and I was chewing upon it!
A most unsettling situation.
Let's see what I can do with it!


My first thought when I saw how little tooth was
left for the crown to cover was...
ROOT CANAL.
So...if I'm going to have a root canal do I go
over to West Fort Worth where the lady endodontist
has moved who was willing to give me a
knock-out drug when doing my previous
root canals?
If I do that, someone will have to take me because 
I certainly can't drive myself.
But I'm afraid I will have a panic attack like I 
have had before if I let my regular dentist
try to do it.
So should I get a new endodontist?
What if they're not into knockout drops?


Well, maybe just maybe I won't have to have a
root canal.
But if I don't, the dentist will surely have to grind
on the tooth at least some to "clean it up."
So, will he have to deaden it?
Otherwise, that grinding is going to send me
into orbit, I'm just sure.
So maybe I'll take my iPod to listen to and,
oh yeah...I'll use the laughing gas!
That should get me through.


And what makes me think he can use that old
crown again?
I don't know what I'll do about chewing
while the lab gets a new one made.
I'm scared to death some of that minimal shell
of a tooth will break off before I even get to his office.
Much less for days while I wait.
 I'm already starving!


And, I am still suffering from jet lag.
This morning (Monday) is the only day I can 
sleep late this week.
Do I really have to get up at the crack so I can
call the dentist's office and make sure I get in?

****************************

As it turns out, his office doesn't open until 11:00
on Monday.
I slept in a bit and still got an appointment for 2:30.
It took about 15 minutes for him to 
cement the same old crown right back on
that shell of a tooth.
No root canal, no grinding, no laughing gas.
Heck, I even forgot my iPod.
Didn't need it.


The sign I'm making here is "shaka" or
"hang loose!"
Not when it comes to dental matters.










Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mimi and Meme in Maui!

The Mimi of the title is yours truly.
The Meme is my friend Becky Leffler.
We were widowed within 3 months of each other,
7 years ago,
and our husbands were friends and business associates.


Becky had been to Maui several times before.
I had only been once--for a one day excursion from
a cruise ship which stopped at 3 Hawaiian islands
on our way from Los Angeles to Tokyo.



We took a taxi from the airport...getting close.


And this is where we stayed...The Westin Ka'anapali!


Here I am on my balcony...just dig that background...

and

Becky at our first meal at Pailolo on the beach!



So...Linda Jane Lynn Stovall, sunset photographer,
had a different view tonight!



We had breakfast each morning at "Auntie's Kitchen."
(Becky and I wanted to rename it--something
more islandy and exotic.)
But the food was wonderful!




Then we were off to the beach!
Here are my toes feeling Hawaiian sand
for the very first time!



Becky knew to rent an umbrella and chaises!



Our beautiful view...to the left...


and to our right!


Our first dining experience, if we had to choose,
would be our favorite!
We took the shuttle to Lahaina to



I bought myself the most beautiful lei!


We had calamari strips and coconut shrimp
for appetizers,
then 2 lobster tails each!
I have never tasted anything better in my long life!
I guess I should be proud of myself that I didn't
take any pictures--you know, too sophisticated or
whatever, but that's not it.
I was so busy eating I forgot!
Besides, Becky's family would call it
"Griswoldy!"
(Mine, too, probably!)


Back at the Westin...
Sunset view from the lobby:



But of course there are flowers everywhere!








"Are you girls waiting for a bus?"
"Well, yes, as a matter of fact we are!"


And here's where we are going,
thanks to advice from my friend Beth Blacklock!
This was so much fun!



We "just" had appetizers!
 Fabulous appetizers!


The "magic" piano was played by Annabelle,
the resident ghost.



Then we saw two amazing sleight-of-hand artists.



If you go to Maui, don't miss Warren and Annabelle's!


Okay, I'm afraid you're yawning by now.
But just a brief glance at our luau--
the Feast at Lele.

It was fun, and contrary to the empty look of
Becky's appetizer plate, it was a true feast!
Again, the elegant Ms. Stovall did not take pics
of the FIVE (5) courses. 
(Darn!)



WOW, did we have a WOW ending to our WOW trip.
We went to see 'Ulalena, a cirque/broadway type show.
It was very good, but...
 Do you see that sign to the right of this photo?
Following 'Ulalena, there is an Elvis impersonator.
Now I'm not a big Elvis fan, but Becky is!
So we're waiting for our Uber outside the theatre,
and I see this guy going in.
So I ask, "Are you Elvis?"
He said he was, called us lovely ladies, and conversed 
with us to the point of
inviting us to stay for his show as his guests!
We stood the Uber up!
We were seated front row center! 
(At this point I'm considerably more an Elvis fan.)

His show was a major production--wonderful 
musicians, several costume changes, spectacular!



He sang to us.


And threw Becky a teddy bear when he sang...
Teddy Bear!


And as our parting shot we shared a 
Maui version of a banana split!





We are two very grateful girls.
To God be all the Glory for us being able to see
one of the most beautiful spots He created
on this earth.
And we are also always thankful for our husbands,
who were taken too soon but who
provided for us.



Monday, May 8, 2017

Serving Pope Elementary


Yesterday Fielder Church spread out to serve
the city of Arlington.
We didn't "inhale" the gospel as usual in our comfy 
air-conditioned buildings.
Instead, our many small groups "exhaled" the gospel
 to 23 schools in very practical ways.


I heard my choir mate/friend Brenda Caruthers
say that her group was going to Pope Elementary.
Now a year ago, I had not even heard of Pope,
but it is close to my heart now!  Why?
Because that's where I mentor my precious
ten-year-old boy as part of Kids Hope USA.
So I asked Brenda if I might tag along with them--
and so did our fellow second soprano, Julie Harris!


What I want to tell you about is what was waiting
for us in the hall at Pope.
Those we were serving served us!
There was the most beautiful table of food--
lots of food!
There was fruit, there were sausage rolls, doughnuts,
Danishes, more fruit, and...hot dogs!
I thought that the leaders of our small groups had
brought this, but they did not.
The food was provided by the teachers and staff
of Pope and set up by
David LeMond, Sue Wilhide, and Deana Peterman!
They had put so much effort into welcoming us!
And, I didn't take a picture. 
Does anybody in the sound of my voice have a picture?


In addition to failing in the picture taking department,
 I wasn't that much physical help.
But wow!  Others certainly were.
The principal's office was repainted.
Safety zones were repainted.
The bike rack was painted and looked so much better!
Bags and bags of leaves and trash were filled.
Mulch was spread.
My group did clean out a room, boxing 
and marking extra books.
I know the atrium was cleaned and
many more things about which I am unaware.


I gotta tell you about something else I observed
while at Pope Sunday morning.
THIS....




Deana Peterman and Tracy Gordon McKee were
making their hall look so exciting for the
very un-exciting Staar testing which started today.
Is this not fabulous looking?
(Tracy's parents, Don and Joy Gordon, are 
"bus buddies" of mine on many Sunday mornings!)
I know so many teachers go above and beyond
for our children, but I had never witnessed anything
quite like this.
Deana and Tracy were there when we got there,
and they were still there when we left.
(Oh--and I mustn't forget the third member of
their team: precious Maddie McKee!)


There was so much gratitude expressed for
the service of Fielder folks this Sunday morning.
But, even if it sounds corny...
We were the ones who were most blessed.

We do this twice a year.
If you don't have a church home,
please come join with us in inhaling 
AND EXHALING
Jesus.
You will experience life change.

 















Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Cautionary Tale


I had an experience yesterday.
It was unusual--and painful.
You do not want to have this experience.


This seems very random and, as I said, unusual,
but here goes.
My refrigerator has a red light that comes on when
the water filter is in need of changing.
It had been on for a few days weeks when I
finally got around to getting a new one.
It is "so easy to change--just snap out snap in."



Here's what the filter looks like:

and

 Here's what it looks like installed.



Well, I punched that button bottom right and
removed the old one.
Then I pushed the new one in and had a bit
of trouble getting it to click in place.
I just wasn't sure it was secure,
soooo...I pressed the button bottom right again, and...
That thing shot out of there like a bullet and 
hit me squarely in the nose!
Oh, for a hidden camera.
It must have been one of the funniest sights ever.
Of course, I WAS NOT LAUGHING.
I was pretty sure my nose was broken and
 I knew I would have two black eyes.
I thought the crazy filter must weigh 5 pounds,
(that's how it felt)
but it only weighs 1-1/2!
(I weighed it on my diet scale.)


I am so disappointed.
There are no visible signs of my great injury.
Therefore, I guess I cannot sue.
I will just warn you that changing this filter
is not for the faint of heart.
(Or faint of nose.)