The Best Gift

Today I received the best Christmas present ever. It was also the funniest and the most unusual gift I have ever received. When I opened it I laughed harder than I have laughed in a good long while. However, the deepest part of me went awwwwwww….

So here is the story.

Two weeks ago I saw my six year old grandson busy with a cardboard box, scissors, and duct tape. “Whatcha doing?” I asked. “It’s a surprise,” he relied. “Ok,” I said and went about my business.

Later when he was finish, he announced with great pride, as he slid the box beside the yet to be decorated Christmas tree, “Memaw, I made you a present!” “Ok, cool, thanks,” I said and I really didn’t give it anymore thought.

Fast forward to tonight (Christmas Eve). I had opened most of my gifts when the duct taped, brown amazon box resurfaced from under the tree. There was a note attached to the top which simply said-

To Meemaw, Happy Jingle Day! Love, John. Hint: You can not tell what is in it.

I gingerly pulled off some of the masking tape and gave the box a little shake. Much to my surprise the items inside of the box were quite noisy. The box did not shake like perhaps it had paper drawings inside. I wondered, “What could this kid have possibly made me.”

Slowly I reached inside of the box and pulled the things out of the box-one by one. With each item I removed, my laughter became more and more hysterical.

This is what the box contained: One First Holy Communion Book recycled from an older sibling who no longer wanted it. Two paint brushes that were already mine (taken from my art supply drawer). Several ink pens of different colors (found while rummaging though the house). A lego piece and a broken seashell.

He was right. I would have never guessed what was inside of that box.

But, with all that stuff, the most important part of the gift was the part that wasn’t visible- (a piece of the child’s heart). Pure and simple, uncomplicated and sweet. He put a lot of thought into what he had given me. He collected (for me) things he knew I would really like, and, or, really needed.

I bet Jesus looked at John’s gift and said, “Best present ever!” ( I certainly did!)

Merry Christmas, Everyone!




Fashion is a fickle concept. What is fashionable today will be totally out dated tomorrow. Today, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a maxi shirt and it seems as if just yesterday, my closet was full of them. Likewise, I can remember when I disliked straight leg pants and now I own a billion of them.

Fashions come and fashions go. Truth is forever.

Let me explain my viewpoint:

Just the other day, I had a picture of my nativity set pop-up from “My Memories” in my Facebook feed. Prompted by the message to repost, I added the word “Timeless”. Timeless? Yes, but more than timeless.

For many, the time before Christmas provides an opportunity to examine ones relationship with God. An opportunity to search deep within and examine how well we try to live within that relationship. Christmas is a time to reflect on the Savior, the Messiah, born in a humble manger. Jesus, God Himself born in time, is a mystery we can never fully understand. Truth! Not some truth, or a truth, but He is the Truth.

There is nothing wrong with the greeting, “Happy Holidays”, Yet for Christians, Christmas is one of the biggest religious celebrations celebrated during the year. Jesus is the reason for the season. As Christian people, many of us, (myself included) are allowing the world to relegate Christmas to a mere fashion. The world says it is not fashionable to say “Merry Christmas.” I have pondered this a lot. This Christmas season, when I am greeted with “Happy Holidays,” I will respond by telling the person that I celebrate Christmas and I will ask “Do you?” If the person responds yes, I will wish them a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.

To my Christian friends-Merry Christmas! To my non-Christian friends-Happy Holidays, and the next time you see me, please wish me a Merry Christmas!


First Day at the Theatre

Today my daughter and I ushered at the Orpheum for the very first time. At the Orpheum, volunteers can see broadway theatre productions for free.

We worked the matinee. We needed to be at the theatre at 11:30, for the 1 pm performance. Our first task was to stuff programs with inserts. Easy right? Forty minutes, later (in what seemed like a blink of an eye), we were still sitting on the floor stuffing programs, when the floor manager said the house was open and could we please get up off the floor. Then there was the matter of seating people. New people get to start work in the nosebleed section, and today all four of us were new and the house was full. I felt like one of the keystone cops. But actually, I only really messed up once!

After all the patrons were seated, the work was pretty easy and the show was awesome.

I am now back home relaxing, with feet up. I ran a marathon today. When I woke this morning, (after sleeping in late), I had a mental checklist in my head about every thing I needed today for ushering. Bow tie. Check! Tux shirt and black pants. Check! Penlight flashlight! Oh no!!!!! No flashlight! When a half hour to prep time left, I rushed out the door, to my local Walgreens on every corner. Much to my dismay, no penlight flashlights! I raced across the Parking lot to the ACE hardware store. “Do you have a penlight flashlight?”, I breathlessly asked the cashier. “Ask him”, she responded, pointing to an elderly gentleman. “Do you have penlight flashlights”, I begged the man. “Sure I do,” he responded. “Lots of ’em.” “You are my hero,” I exclaimed. “I could hug you right now.” And with that, he held out his arms. I don’t know who was happier he or I. And the rest was history.

The Spider


While camping it is important to remember to pack all of the essential supplies; but sometimes we forget. This morning, As I was about to take a shower in our little camper bathroom, l realized that we forgot to pack towels. Luckily, we did have a few hand towels and a couple of terry rags. So, being the resourceful person that I am, I grabbed a rag and a hand towel, then settled into my cozy 2 ft x 3ft shower stall. I had just shampooed my hair and was ready to rinse, when I realized that I wasn’t alone. I was sharing my little steamy resort, with a half-inch green spider (who was none to happy about having his house invaded with my shower steam).
As I peered up to the ceiling, practically looking him in the eyes, he seemed to say, “Thanks a lot. Now, I need to find somewhere else to be.” And, I thought, “Not on the top of my head, Buster!”

“Joe,” I yelled, “Can you please bring me a couple of paper towels?” In muttered tones, above the sound of my running water, I barely heard, “That’s the one thing, we forgot to pack.” “Oh?”, I said, “We forgot to pack paper towels? Can you bring me a couple of tissues?” “I have something better,” he says, “But, you probably aren’t going to like it.”

“Anything,” I thought, “But, please, hurry.” Meanwhile, Mr. Spider was looking more and more like he was going to jump ship.  I called to my hubby, “Please hurry!” “Coming,” he yelled back. “I found you a tablecloth,” he announced. I thought, “A tablecloth to kill a spider?” “No,” I said, “I need a couple of tissues.” As my hubby shoves a tablecloth over the shower stall, I realize that he couldn’t hear me very well either, because he says, “Are you sure that you want to dry off with a couple of tissues? Wouldn’t a tablecloth be better?” “No!”, I said, “I need tissues! I have a friend in here with me.” “Oh!” he said.

Meanwhile, my friend had begun to dangle, on a little string of web, directly over my head. “Hurry, please,” I pleaded. Finally, as the seconds slowly ticked away, I was able to grab the tissue from over the top of the shower stall, and do away with my little friend.

While drying off with my little rag and itty, bitty hand towel, my only thought was, “May I have a tablecloth please?”




I haven’t written in a very long time. I miss it.

Friday we had a snow day. Some of you might be asking, “How much snow did you get?” Uh, about an inch. Ok, don’t laugh; It’s all about perspective and not having the right kinds of stuff in Memphis to deal with icy conditions. An inch of snow/ice on the road in Memphis can be treacherous.

Today, is Saturday. Despite the cold temperature, an expected high of 23 degrees today, our snow has melted to just a thin, patchy, blanket covering the surface of our yard. Yet, the kids are outside, sleds in hand, doing running slides down our little hill.

Anyone who live up north is probably laughing like crazy right now; I understand that sliding down a dusting of snow might seem preposterous. But, in Memphis, a dusting of snow is a really big deal!

When I think about these things, I think about perspective. I wonder how my own perspective is influenced by vision, or lack of vision, in the world around me. I pray for a good perspective and that I have eyes that see and ears that hear.

My Weekend as a Boy Scout

A Boy Scout is prepared.

I will begin by telling you that I went on this adventure prepared- very prepared. I checked each and every item off of my list as I packed them. Towel….Check! Soap…Check! Shampoo and conditioner…check! Hairdryer and brush…Check! Two iPads, cell phone, Apple watch and laptop….Check, check, check!!

I learned that boy scouts are very prepared, but maybe not in the way that I was prepared.
My carefully packed soap did not see any action this weekend. I now know why my grandson laughed at me when I insisted he pack a towel! He told me, “I never take showers on a camp out.” Preposterous, I thought! Never take a shower…why? …I discovered why.

They did have shower stalls, but the stalls did not come equipped with all of the conveniences of home. No mirror, no private electricity, no sink, no nice little bench in which to lay my stuff. There was a sink; it was a communal sink. A multi-purpose communal sink! One could wash dishes (in cold water), or brush teeth with teenage boys hanging around (Never fear, that did not happen!) or maybe one could have used the electrical outlet above the communal sink to dry hair while said teenage. boys hung out charging cell phones! No thank you! On this trip I learned that I could brush my teeth in a coffee cup! Yeah, for bringing a coffee cup, even though there was no coffee this weekend!

A Boy Scout is prepared to walk. Not only true, but very true. We walked and we walked some more. I probably walked five hundred miles. I do know that I hit an all time exercise goal on my new Apple Watch, which was happily recording my every step, that is….until, the battery died.

Which leads to my next point. A Boy Scout is prepared to rough it. A Boy Scout does not camp with electricity. No coffee pot, no charging station (for my numerous electronic devices). I had gently teased my grandson about having withdrawal from the lack of video games. He did just fine; But I tell you, his grandmother was ready for gadget anonymous! I was ok until I watched my cellphone die a slow painful death. I lovingly whispered, “Please don’t die. Please don’t die….Please….”
A boyscout is prepared to sleep in a tent on the ground…

But, hey, I am not, nor was not, a Boy Scout! Our tent included a couple of memory foam toppers. For us they worked better than air mattresses. Whenever we have used air mattresses, we always have ended up losing air, and then we have ended up with a saggy, baggy, soft and did I mention, uncomfortable bed. Memory foam topper, great! Almost like a bed and very comfy, except if your bedmate sleeps in the middle. Hmmmmmm……. But no, really, I couldn’t complain too much about the tent, or the bed for that matter. Speaking of bed, it was interesting listening to the kids after we went to bed. Who would have thought pee is useful for extinguishing a campfire. A Boy Scout is always prepared! To set the record straight, my grandson, Joseph was not the guilty culprit! I will mention no names, because what happens at camp should stay at camp? But, teenage boys are interesting.

New subject: It was fun walking around to all of the the super events offered this weekend. My favorite was watching the boys, their dads and sometimes their moms participating in the various activities that test your courage, (activities such as rock wall climbing and rappelling). As I watched, I wondered, “Can I climb that wall without having a heart attack?” I decided that risking a heart attack was probably not a good idea, so I decided to not scale the thirty foot wall. Nor did I rappel down a thirty foot drop. Nor did I scale to the top of a telephone pole. I thought about doing the zip line. Until….just until…I saw that I would have to climb stairs to the top of the thirty foot tower, then stand on a skinny little ledge and connect my own life preserving hook onto a thin wire…before zooming toward the ground.

I did however participate in the range activities. At which time, I discovered that I probably have zero Native American blood in me, because had no luck throwing a tomahawk. Correction, I could throw the tomahawk; I just couldn’t make it stick in the wooden target.

I did a little better with a shotgun. Isn’t there some sort of song…..Grannie get your gun. I wonder if I looked like Grannie Clampet? I had visions of her in my head. I was so excited about getting to fire shotgun that I forgot to put on the earmuffs before my very first shot. The sound of the gun set off a ringing in my ears louder than the sound of the gun itself. I felt like one of those cartoon characters in looney tunes that gets clunked on the head. I shouted to the man helping with the gun, “May I have some earmuffs, please?” He laughed as he said, “Certainly.” I hit my first two marks, but then I got careless with my shot because a shotgun packs a powerful wallop. During the safety instruction for the shot gun, the instructor told us to be careful about the placement of our chin on the weapon or else…. After my first two shots, all I could think about was getting a nice pretty bruise on my cheek, or worse, my head rolling off and landing on the ground.

I then tried the bow. My first go-round with the bow, went pretty good. Not exactly the mocking jay, but ok. I hit the target every time. I liked the bow and arrow, and it was great for the first try. It required a lot of upper body strength, though. At the end of the afternoon, I tried again and weakly shot the arrows into the ground approximately five feet away. Each time, the bow went thunk and beat me in the arm. So, even though it was fun, perhaps the Mocking Jay I will never be.

The rifle was sweet, and super easy! I loved it. Eventually, however, I got tired of shooting, the center of my target; I starting aiming for the hanging targets instead. They were too big and too easy to hit. I needed a more complex target; So, I tried to hit the quarter inch head of the little paper dude printed on my target.

Thus our scouting adventure…
This morning I am ready for a hot shower with lots of soap. I’m not sure whether to launder or burn my clothes. Maybe I’ll flip a coin!


The Gift


I am forever the skeptic. Today I was in the checkout line at the Lowes Garden Center, when a younger, thirty-something, African-American, man walked up to me and presented me with a bouquet of roses. As he handed me the flowers, he simply said, “This bouquet is for you.” Stunned, I accepted the flowers, with a tentative, polite thank you, waiting to find out what he wanted in return. Did he want money and lots of it?   I hesitated before turning away, and as I did, he handed my cashier the other bouquet that he was carrying, and once again, simply said, “This bouquet is for you.”

He didn’t ask for anything. A perfect stranger handed me a dozen beautiful roses and asked for nothing in return.

I pondered whether or not there was a bomb buried in the bottom of the flowers or perhaps they were laced with anthrax.  But, the plain and simple truth was that it was “a random act of kindness and a senseless act of love.”

I wonder if this man knows how deeply he touched me.  On the way back to my car, I started to cry. Not just a trickle of tears, but full belly sobs.  It is so easy to focus on the bad things that happen all around us and to look for problems where they don’t exist. Sometimes, I am good at that.

When my husband brings me flowers, I am thankful and I love them. But, I don’t cry.  But, today in the love of a stranger, I saw the face of Christ.