Monday, May 18, 2015

The Changes of Life...

Be at peace. Do not fear the changes of life, rather look to them with full hope as they arise. God, whose very own you are, will deliver you from out of them. He has kept you hitherto, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will bury you in His arms. Do not be afraid of what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day. He will either shield you from suffering, or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at Peace and put aside all anxious thought and imaginations.


                                             --St. Francis de Sales


The friend who gave this to me—about a month ago—was the surgeon who did my colonoscopy. It was at the end of our consultation. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years. We spent a little time catching up. I told him about My Sweet Hubby’s (MSH) recent heart attack. I told him about Little Leighton’s (LL) diagnosis of Celiac disease last summer. He knew I was anxious about this scope—because I’ve had breast cancer and I just couldn’t take any cancer fears coming out of this test. He reached over to a small basket on a desk in the exam room, took out a laminated copy of this message, handed it to me, smiling, and said: “Everything is going to be fine.”

Yes. Yes, I cried at his kind encouragement. When I got to my car and read it, I cried some more. I thought of all the people he handed this comforting advice to and I realized some of them would have received (or will, in the future) frightening results from their colonoscopy. Yet at that moment, as I felt sad for those people, I felt welcome calm.

My scope went perfectly. Other than the 48-hour “cleanse” process (which, actually, wasn’t as horrible as the procedure I’d used thirteen years ago for my first colonoscopy), the experience could not have been easier. Lovely, professional, sympathetic nurses and a hospital staff that was friendly and helpful took care of me. I remembered nothing—NOTHING—when I came to. My Darling Doctor said everything was a-okay! I had no repercussions from the anesthetic (Not gonna lie: I always wish I could have a teensy-tiny bit of that anesthetic to take home with me. Wink. Wink.). I had no pain. Got home. Got in my jammies. Pretended, for the rest of the day and night, that I needed to “recover.” MSH humoured me, as he so often does. My Man=A Keeper.

Since that consultation, I’ve been looking at the above message almost daily. Turning to it for comfort. And hope. This week is going to be challenging—on many, many levels. TLC and her Gang will be moving to a new home by the end of the weekend. (MSH and I will be taking care of LL—we can’t wait!) MSH and I have some problems I haven’t shared with y’all yet that continue to cause us a lot of stress. Not health, thank You Lord God Almighty! At some point down the road, I may be able to talk about them. For now, all we can do is continue to pray for patience, wisdom and justice. (Very intriguing…right? Trust me when I say it’s not been fun. We want the problems to disappear. Yesterday would be preferable.)

The Leighton Gals wish each of you a MARVELOUS week! We hope it’s filled with love, laughter, success, some silliness and, most of all…PEACE. Sweet, precious peace.


smooches and hugs, Dearest Friends…

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Destruction...with Restoration...

If y’all have been reading our blog in the past couple of years, you know we’ve been smack-dab-in-the-middle of a devastating drought. I've talked about our “tanks” (The word “ponds” could be substituted for this “country” term.) in the past. See my post on December 17, 2011, entitled “Duck…Duck…” My Sweet Hubby (MSH) and I have two tanks on our property. See “when it rains…" posted on Monday, August 11, 2014 for more about our tanks. Our Front Tank has been completely, totally, and, in our minds, hopelessly bone dry for several years. Our Big Tank (aka Catfish Tank) has become smaller and smaller and, in the past several months, been virtually gone. There are still about 40 catfish in the water that’s left. I’ve not been able to allow myself to think about their possible and permanent demise. We have lost many, many big ones.  

In the past couple of months, however, we’ve received a few inches of much-appreciated rain. It’s raised the level of our Big Tank a few feet, making, we believe, said catfish beyond HAPPY! Then, this past Saturday evening, we had a weather event that changed everything for us folks in this part of Texas.

A Teensy Bit of Background: MSH and I were lucky enough to entertain Little Leighton (LL) last Thursday and Friday. We had tons o’ fun playing—mostly inside our home, as the weather was overcast and misty/drippy. We were to meet TLC in Ft. Worth to “return” TLC on Saturday around 4:00 p.m. We’d been told, by our local weathermen and weatherwomen, all last week, we should receive rain on Saturday and Sunday. What we didn’t know, however, was how right they were (finally) going to be and how scary it would become.

Mid-Saturday morn, the rain began. If it was raining at our casa, it wasn’t at TLC’s. Then it would switch. It’d be clear-ish here but raining like cats and dogs at TLC’s home.  The three of us—MSH, TLC and I—all started receiving weather alerts/severe thunderstorm and tornado “watches” and “warnings” on our cellphones. Close to noon, it seemed like we were going to be unable to get LL safely to her Mama. While LL napped, MSH continued to consult his radar apps on his iPad and made a big decision: We should both (us and TLC) have a 2-hour window of safety—if we met by 3:00 p.m.—and could get LL into her Mama’s waiting arms. We made the decision to wake LL up, after only an hour (she normally naps for two) of sleep, and head West. TLC headed East.

We did "The LL Transfer” at approximately 3:03 p.m. in the shopping center parking lot we use as our halfway meeting spot. All four of us were back, safe and sound, in our homes by 4:10 p.m.

All heck broke loose—for us—around 6:30. At our country casa. Our cellphones could barely keep up with all of the tornado watch and warning alerts they were receiving. Kit, our family hairstylist and dear, dear friend, sent me a message around that time, asking if I knew there was a tornado being reported less than 7-ish miles from our home. That meant it was very, very close to her country casa. MSH’s monitoring/tornado chasing began at that exact moment. He spent the next almost two hours outside on the northwest edge of our property—or on our front porch. I got comfy in our “Safe Room.” (This is a small room literally designed and built to help protect you in a tornado. Or from home invasions. Our builder used the specifications set out by the Smart Peeps who study tornados and their damage at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.) In the fifteen years we’ve lived in our home, I’ve been in the Safe Room, for weather issues, many times. Probably 30-ish times. MSH is typically in and out of said room—drawn to the scary weather activity he wants to experience up close and personal. Yes. That makes me cRaZy. I have, however, decided, at 71, he’s old enough to take these silly risks he wants to take and hollering at him doesn’t get me anywhere but stressed. Sigh.

He took some cellphone videos of a tornado that we believe was eventually right over the top of our home. (TLC has tried, unsuccessfully, to post videos to this blog and hasn’t been able to figure out what she’s doing wrong. I so wish y’all could see what MSH recorded. Hopefully, TLC, My Techie Diva, will learn soon what she’s doing wrong and correct it. I’ve wanted us to do a “vlog” forever.)

By 10:30 Saturday night many things had happened:

We’d received lots of hail (mostly pea-sized) and high winds.

TLC and I had said, at least fifty times, each, how grateful we were that we’d delivered LL to her safely and that she was not at our casa, going through Grammy and Pa-Pa's weather trauma/drama .

TLC and I had sent a minimum of 75 texts back and forth to each other in about two hours.

We’d lost our electricity at about 9:40 p.m. It came back on two hours later. I don’t like losing electricity. See my post entitled “ELC…Unplugged…” on Saturday, July 12, 2014.

Buddy Bear, the Brown Lab, had literally worn himself out shaking in utter fear. (We MUST get him some anxiety meds—ASAP.)

There was too much damage—in too many Texas towns—Saturday night. And, unfortunately, again Sunday. There’s been flooding around Texas. Deaths. Homes and businesses destroyed by tornados and high winds. The damage MSH and I received included some broken pots and tiles, a tiny bit of leaking—under a door in our bedroom and in a bathroom at our Barn apartment,and downed trees (several). Also, around 40% of our new road washed away. Along with the money we paid for it. Sheesh. Nothing major. For that we are quite grateful.

The good news? WE GOT RAIN. Heavenly, lovely, FABULOUS rain. Our tanks are not only full—they’re overflowing!

In the midst of chaos, destruction and fear, we witnessed restoration. God’s Beautiful and Amazing Grace.

God is still in the process of His Blessed Restoration, as we’ve had another day of rain! You will not hear me say: Enough is enough! Nope, all you’ll hear me say is:


Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

the sweet girl that made me mama... a HOOT. She is sassy, smart, witty. Once we start giggling, we can't stop. I love every. single. second.

I have to share two precious stories about this Little Leighton.

Preface: LL LOVES Peppa Pig. In a major way. For those of you unfamiliar, it's a cartoon about a spunky pig with a British accent. I quite enjoy it myself. 

Last weekend, we decided to go out to eat at our most favourite gluten-free-friendly restaurant in our suburb. LL gets so excited when we go. Once we settled in at our table, LL requested a menu. She likes to "read" them. She examined it for awhile and then promptly declared:

"I would like: veggies, hummus, salad and toe-mah-toes."

Yes. Toe-mah-toes. Said in a perfect British accent. Just like our dear Peppa. My Husband and I got so tickled. We could not stop laughing. LL was so confused. She wasn't sure what was so funny.

We now eat toe-mah-toes. So long, toe-may-toes!

Yesterday afternoon, LL and I arrived back at our (completely-torn-apart-because-we're-in-the-middle-of-a-move) house after a quick visit to Grammy and Pa-Pa's! I dropped her Thursday night and headed back Friday to pack. Then I picked her up yesterday at our midway-point (and in-between wacko thunderstorms--seriously, I think Noah's Ark is picking us up soon--at least I hope I make the cut!). My Husband met us at the door and walked LL inside. I was gathering my things and was trailing behind. When I walked in, LL immediately ran up to me and exclaimed, "Mama! I have a card to sign for you! Surprise!" My Husband starts laughing and said, "I literally just told her to NOT tell you that I had a card for Mother's Day I needed her to sign. She is clearly not trustworthy!" Well, duh. She's not even three. It made me laugh and laugh. I love her joy!

Like most children her age, she does love gifts! But what has surprised and delighted me is that I truly believe she loves giving gifts as much as, or more than, she does receiving them. First thing this morning she asks me, "Mama, are you so excited to open your card and gift? I can't wait!" I love her pure heart. I am endlessly proud of her. I am profoundly and eternally grateful to my Lord for blessing me with this angel. My Little Earth Angel.

And now, for my Mama--my Sweet ELC: I hope you had the happiest day. We couldn't do this life without you. You are kind. Caring. Encouraging. Gracious. Generous. You're the loveliest woman I know. I love you and am so proud you're mine!

To the wonderful women reading this--have a most fabulous night and week! You rock.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lost My Shirt...

My khaki and white striped, ¾-sleeved, cotton, button down shirt is (I hope) temporarily misplaced. Currently in hiding. It’s driving me nuts. I’ve searched my closet. I’ve forced TLC to search her guest room closet. I’m 100% certain I didn’t take it to our Cleaners. And I don’t take my shirt off anywhere but at my house. Or TLC’s.  Promise! Oh. I do take it off at a doctor's office. I don't, however, usually try on clothes at stores. I take shirts home. If they don't fit, I take them back! No one could ever call me anything but modest. Truly. Surely it’ll turn up. Right?

But I was thinking about losing my shirt and the fact that I left y’all high and dry about my betting/wagering habits—in regard to my horse racing obsession. Because I do love to go to racetracks in person. My intrigue is not centered entirely on The Kentucky Derby. My all-time favourite racetrack is in Ruidoso, New Mexico. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT! It’s in the mountains, of course. It’s small-ish. Cool-ish—if you sit outside—for lots of their season. It’s a place I need to go to at least once every two-three years. My Sweet Hubby (MSH) and I have TOO MUCH FUN when we go to that track.

Other’s I’ve enjoyed? Bossier City, Louisiana. Oklahoma City. Hot Springs, Arkansas. Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. Lone Star is approximately 80 miles from our country casa. One might think I’d been there many, many times. Truth is we’ve only gone maybe four times since it opened. In 1997. I actually tell MSH—at least once a month, from April through July: “We should go to Lone Star this weekend!” He always replies (enthusiastically): “Yes. Yes, we should.” You know where this is headed: We don’t go.

FYI—because I’m confident y'all are interested in this:

Here’re my betting/wagering habits/philosophies, which have developed slowly—over the past 36-ish years:

My wagering limit (Let's be honest. I could also call it "My Wagering Loss Limit.")—per afternoon at the races—is $75-$90. That typically works out to be around $10 per race. I pick a horse whose name I like for at least one bet. Usually to “Show.” I’ll pick a horse whose jockey is wearing pink or who has the number 5, 6, 8 or 9 to "Place." I won’t bore you with the reason I choose one of those numbers—at least not at this time. You’re welcome.

Approximately one minute before they close the wagering windows, I prance myself up, with sassy confidence, and place a $2 to $4 bet on the horse that has the biggest odds against him/her. I make a bet for that horse to “Win.” (I used to make the bet be for said horse to “Show.” That worked to my advantage a few times over the years. However, I decided it was much more exciting if I placed a “Win” bet. True, that plan has never really worked out well for me. Hey, I believe it will—someday!)

I’d say I average one trip per year/season to a horse race. Some years it might be two to three times. That’s rare. As of today, it’s actually been four years since our last visit. To Ruidoso. NO. That can't be right. We’re grossly overdue. MSH and I are discussing  a trip to New Mexico in July or August. Mama needs a new pair of shoes—winky wink.

And so ends Part Two of my Derby post. I suspected I might have given y’all the idea I was a regular at the Races. Sadly, now you understand that’s not the case. 

Gotta scoot…just had a vision where that shirt might be. Have a Terrific Tuesday—Wherever in the World Y’all Are…

p.s.—Y’all have moi for the next three weeks-ish. TLC is in the throes of frantically packing! With an almost 3-year-old. She’s a bit overwhelmed and I’ve assured her I can handle this. Patience, Sillies. I suggest PATIENCE…Teeheehee