Sunday, July 30, 2017


Would you fancy a cup of tea? 

The British sip this hot scrumptious liquid refreshment every afternoon of their lives? But why?  Where did this practice originate?  

According to the website, this is how afternoon tea got its beginnings

Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o'clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o'clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter (some time earlier, the Earl of Sandwich had had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread) and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Odd Collection

Meet Drake.  He is an typical 5 year old boy, living in a typical house in a rural town in east Texas.  However, there is one very unique trait about Drake - His Collection!

You would never know that this cutie is obsessed with

Vacuum Cleaners

On the day that he came to the house for a visit, I caught a glimpse of him walking up the path to my door.  His mom, Jenny, was holding his hand as he skipped along jabbering away with some five year old chitter chatter. Jenny smiled down at him and I heard her say, "I don't know Huckleberry.  You will have to ask." So, I opened the door anticipating a question about my pets or video games or a swimming pool.  But to my surprise, the first words Drake said to me were, "What kind of vacuum do you have?"

Stumbling over my response, trying not to giggle, because this child was a serious as a $100 bill, I stammered out, "I don't rightly know, friend.  Let's go look in the closet." Drake hauled out my red Hoover Wind Tunnel.  Before I could even find the name on the machine, he was exclaiming something about the HEPA filter and embedded Dirt Finder.  He informed me right away that I needed to get a new vacuum because the one I had was unhealthy.  Apparently the HEPA filter would let more dust out into the air than it kept inside the bag.

As I chatted with Jenny about this interesting obsession, I learned that Drake has loved watching infomercials about vacuums since he was very young.  One day he was wandering around the house repeating over and over "Deep Cow City".  His family had not idea what he was talking about.  Finally, with his hands in the air, he shouted "Deep Cow City" and showed them the infomercial for Swiffer Wet Jet.  In the commercial, the dad character talks about how he has no time for Deep Couch Sitting because he was always chasing his messy kids around.  The whole family had a great laugh out of that one.

I looked around and took a peek at Drake.  He was taking my Hoover apart, naming all the parts out loud.  The hose, the dusting brush, the crevice tool, the dust cover, the headlight, the secondary filter, the guard - all parts that I, by the way, had to look up for this post.  I whispered to Jenny, "I hope he can put that thing back together, because I really don't think I know how."  She just chuckled.  For as I watched him, Drake began to put it all back together again.

Finally, he came to the table and crawled up into his mother's lap.  That is when I began my interview with him.

KB: Drake, what is your favorite vacuum cleaner?

DW:  "Well, I like them all, especially old ones.  But I really want my mom or my Aunt Kat Kat to buy a Bissell."

KB:  Why do you like Bissell the best?

DW:  "It works the best.  It has better suction and it is better than Sanitaire."

KB: What kind of vacuums do you have at your house?

DW:  "I have the Rug Doctor Spot Cleaner, Airway Sanitizer, Regina Z Speed Motor, two Dyson toy vacs, the Eureka Upright, two Dirt Devil Stick Vac and a lot more."  (see complete list)

"Oh and five Shop Vacs!"

KB: So, how many is that in all?

DW:  After some discussion with his mom, he state, "37"

KB:  Which vacuum has the best technology?

DW:  "Dyson has the best technology.  There is a ball that makes it spin better."

KB:  What does that mean?

DW:  "It can maneuver better."

KB:  What else is neat about its technology?

DW:  "It vacuums up food, pet hair, rice, and glitter better."

KB:  Are all the vacuums you have, new ones?

DW:  "No, I have some really old ones.  I have an Airway Sanitizer that was made in the 30s and 40s.  I also have an Elctrolux Canister Vac (1950-1960) that has some broken parts and doesn't work."

"Oh, oh, oh!!!  And, I also have a Regina that was built in the 70s that STILL WORKS! But I can only use it outside or in the garage, because it spurts out dust."

KB:  Drake, where do you keep all of your collection?

DW:  "Well, I keep some in the laundry room, some in the closet in Mama's room, some in my closet, some outside in the backyard, some in the garage - but mostly those are Shop Vacs."

KB:  So, Drake, why do you love vacuums so much?

DW:  "I like to move them around.  I like to take them apart.  And I like to look at their motors.  But I DO NOT like to turn them on.  They are TOO LOUD!"

With that last answer, Drake squirmed out of Jenny's arms and ran off to play with my vacuum again. I asked Jenny about his peculiar collection.  

"He likes no other machine type things," she stated.  "Everywhere we go, he wants to know about that place's vacuum.  Sometimes we can't even leave until his curiosity is satisfied.  Which might mean I have to track down one of the employees to ask them specifically about the vacuum and if we can see it."  

"The only thing I can chalk all this up to is that during my pregnancy, my belly sat next to a High Speed Suction tool at the dentist office.  He heard a vacuum from the womb."

I did a bit of research on this subject and found that many people think that this kind of obsession is tied to giftedness.  I think it shows great creativity, and I feel that my life is much more complete since meeting Drake.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Uphill Battle

John is an avid bike rider. He does races, he rides for miles and miles upon end, and he competes in triathlons. He owns a road bike that has 18 speeds, two in the front and nine in the back. Early on Saturday mornings, you can find him sprinting around White Rock Lake at a speed of 22 mph. Don't blink, you might miss him!

This morning at 7:00, he was up and out the door before I was even awake. (Sleeping in is the best part of Saturdays, in my book) However, around 9:00, he came rolling back in the house feeling alive and revived. I, on the other hand, was still in my PJs moping around the house trying to stir up some cereal for breakfast. With a smile from ear to ear, John said, "Okay...Let's go!"

I glanced up from my stance in the kitchen and eyed him for a moment. Is he serious? I am not going out...I still have on my pajamas! But John's smile did not budge. "Are you gonna ride in that getup?" he asked.

UGH! Not really wanting to go, I forced myself to put on some Capri pants, a sleeveless shirt and sneakers.

Outside in the brightness of the day, I started to feel a little more awake. The sun was shining down on the pavement and beating down on my skin. It was HOT! But when we started riding, a cool breeze began to cool my face. OK! I thought. This is going to be OK!

Out the gate, across Jupiter, and down the first neighborhood street was easy as pie. We weaved around through the neighborhood streets with ease, turning corners and pumping up tiny hills. I was loving it. Being out in the morning sun with my husband was making my heart happy. It was a dream.

We were flying down Rolling Rock when I spotted the next leg of our journey. A hill as tall as Pike's Peak. (Dun, dun, dun...) My strategy was to gain enough speed to fling myself half way up the hill then I could pedal the rest of the way to the top and (hopefully) not get to tired. Little did I know that gravity doesn't work that way. The fling only got me about a fourth of the way up the hill and when I started pedaling, I still had a LONG way to go before making it to the top.

Panic set in. I really did not want to have to stop half way through to catch my breath. So I started trying to think of something other than what I was doing. I noticed that the sign at the top of the hill said Lubbock Street, so I said to myself, Lubbock...I can make it to Lubbock...Oh wait! Lubbock is really about 600 miles away. Oh, I can't do this...Lord help me do this!

That is when the weirdest thing happened. I felt this hand on the small of my back. It was as if God had reached down and was giving me a little push like a daddy does when teaching a child to ride for the first time.

I heard this small voice whisper in my ear, "You can do it honey. Keep pedaling." That is when I realized that God put John's hand on my back and he was helping me get up that hill. Honestly, it was such an amazing experience to have someone love me so much that he would ride beside me and give me a little push up the hill.

I think that is what God meant to happen in marriage. He meant for each person to help the other by giving a little push. He meant for us to carry each other through the uphill battles of life.

Thank you Lord for knowing just what I needed and giving it to me so freely.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Can we become a more understanding world?

Today, I was standing in line behind an elderly couple at Walmart. They had received a check of some kind from Walmart that had something to do with their social security. All this little couple knew to do was bring the check to the store and spend it at the check out counter. Apparently the check did not come with any more explicit instructions.

The lady behind the counter was already moving extra slow, and I think the couple was a little perturbed by her inability to check efficiently. However, the man's aggravation was pricked even more highly when the cashier didn't know what to do with the check he had handed her.

She looked strangely at him as if the check were written in some kind of foreign language. After a moment, she simply inquired, "What is this?"

That sent this man over the edge.
"What do you mean, what is this?" he growled at her.
She was unfazed at his reply.
"I got this check in the mail from Walmart!" he snapped, again.

"Well, sir, I have never seen anything like this before. I don't know what to do with it," the cashier responded as if she didn't even realize that there was a problem. She flipped on the light to her lane and waited for help to arrive.

That is when I started thinking.

This world is really not good to the elder generation. We don't take the time to explain things to those in this world who don't understand all the new fangled technology that comes out every day. We tend to just get offended by or become numb to the anger and frustration of others who just don't get it.

When the manager came to help the cashier, she simply began barking instructions to this little couple... Enter your social security number, sign the machine, enter your number again, etc.

The man just started grumbling under his breath to his wife. "Why do they send you checks that you can't use? Why can't they just send me the money in a way that I can put it in the bank? I hate it when they try to confuse me this way!"

That kind of "help" doesn't seem to solve the problem at all. It just heightens the frustration of everyone involved.

Maybe instead of snapping directions at elderly customers, managers should train people to patiently explain the reasons for how and why things work the way that they do. Instead of becoming aggravated with why someone doesn't understand, instruct them in a nice tone of voice so that they will comprehend the situation. Instead of passing people off as unteachable, find a way to teach them on their own terms.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Who Guards the Door to Your Heart?

It never ceases to amaze me how Satan can get into your heart and mind and screw things up totally!

That devil sneaks into that half cracked-open door to your heart. When you least expect it, he stomps all over everything that is right. He has a way of squashing your dreams, twisting your words, and crumbling your emotions. He can take that one pure idea that you have been loving on for so long, and destroy it so badly that it becomes unrecognizable.

So, I ask you, how does one stop that from happening? How does one put up a barrier to keep Satan out? How does one guard all that is precious to them?

The only answer I have is to give it all to the LORD.

Let God hold all your feelings, all your words, all your dreams, all that is pure and holy in your life, so that Satan cannot so easily acquire them!

Let Jesus be the guard of your heart, standing between you and Satan, so that he will not be able to break you down!

Let the Holy Spirit store up good within your heart. Let Him gather up love, praise, scripture, adoration, and obedience so He can nurture your soul and spirit.

Satan will never be able to compete with that!

And remember to surround yourself with what is good...good friends, good role models, good loved ones, good prayers, good scripture reading, good... on and on and on.

Thank you Lord for surrounding me with so much good! Lord, I pray that you help me to ALWAYS seek You so that Satan cannot find the door to my heart.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Comforting Prayer

"Hurry! Hurry!" she shouted to her sister, "We've got to go! We only have an hour left to figure out all the clues!" The two babies in the backseat were having so much fun on the Christmas Scavenger Hunt that our bible class was putting on. We had just left the Penguin Mailbox where I had just danced a jig and sang, "Please Mr. Postman." We rushed back to the car and sped to the next stop with our friends in tow in the car behind us.

All of us had a great deal of fun popping in and out of our cars, taking pictures of silly Christmas yard art, singing carols to strangers, and searching for mistletoe for some good ole smooch-a-roos!

When arriving back at the house, I realized that I had not brought the cord to hook up my camera to the computer. The judges of the hunt could not see all objects that our team had found. What a way to let my team down. I was heart broken. But one of the Computer Smarty Pants Guys came to the rescue...they figured out how to rig my camera up to the TV, directly. Thank goodness for computer geeks!

But, then we faced the challenge of finding the pictures I had taken that night because I had not cleaned off my camera in about a month and had many pictures ahead of the ones taken that day. I knew that this concern was aggrivating other people and holding up the process.

Frustrated beyond control, I fled from the house and dashed down the street to try to clear my head. It was dark outside, but the neighborhood was all aglow with the season of Christmas. Lights donned almost every house on the street. Yards were decorated with Santa, the reindeer, Tweety Bird and penguins on mailboxes.

But toward the end of my trot down the street, I finally came across Jesus.

He was standing right there in front of me, holding his arms out inviting me in for a tender hug. I had cried all the way down the street, before I finally asked Him to help me. It is funny how I tend to ask Jesus to help more than God, these days. I guess Jesus just seems more real to me. After all, He was the one who walked on this earth. He felt all the things we feel and experienced similar things that we experience.

I found myself calling out to Him, longing for Him to ease my anxiety. I was begging Him to give me patience and comfort and understanding.

AND He did!
Just like that!
It is amazing how that works!
All you have to do is ask!

So Lord, what I ask now is that you help me remember You are here for me in all occasions, happy or sad, excitement or disappointment, anxiety or elation. And Lord, let me remember to live this out in my life so that I can be an example of your love to those babies in the backseat.