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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You Are Never Too Old

My 89 year old mom will be celebrating New Years Eve with her Bomber Pilot 90  year old boyfriend she knew in high school.  My mom was happily married to my dad until he died in 2002.  She nursed him for seven years after his stroke.  I am so glad she found love again with Jack who drives all the way from San Antonio to see her at least five times a year.  He is a blessing from God.  They have a favorite table at Edleveis, where they sell the best German food in the world.  He can still fit into his uniform he wore in WWII as a bomber pilot.  They have high school memories to chat about, as well as life adventures that happened along the way.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Legend of the Sand Dollar

There's a lovely little legend
that I would like to tell,
of the birth and death of Jesus,
found in this lowly shell.

If you examine closely,
you'll see that you find here,
four nail holes and fifth one,
made by a Roman's spear.

On one side the Easter lily,
its center is the star,
that appeared unto the shepherds
and led them from afar.

The Christmas Poinsettia
etched ont he other side,
reminds us of His birthday,
our happy Chritmastide.

Now break the center open,
and here you will release,
the five white doves awaiting,
to spread Good Will and Peace.

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me,
to help us spread His Gospel,
through all Eternity.

Author Unknown

One Christmas season I was making Sand Dollar Shadow Boxes for friends and family.  I took a profecter knife to open the shell so five white doves fell out of the Sand Dollar's skeleton.  I did this carefully so the shell was cut in half with a straight edge.  After doing this several times I was still amazed with the surprise of doves, a symbol of peace, in each shell. 

As I proceeded to cut the shell one more time and shake the Sand Dollar so the doves would fall out I got a beautiful surprise.  The five white doves were in the shape of a star.  Just like the star of Bethleham over the stable to Glorify the newborn King.  It built my faith even more to know the white doves are in the shape of a star just waiting to be discovered. 

I thought God is always there with His promise of Salvation and Gift of Faith.  We just need to open our hearts to discover its fullness.  He is there waiting for us.  The Sand Dollar is a way nature glorifies the truth that never changes.

John 1: verses 1- 5  Amplified version

"In the beginning (before all time) was the Word (Christ).  and the Word was with God Himself  a prophesy from Isa 9:6  He was present originally with God.  All things were made and came  into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being.  In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men.  And the Light shines on in the darknesss, for the darkness has never overpowered it ( put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it). "

John 1:verse 14
And the Word (Christ)  became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed his tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we (actually) saw His glory (honor, His majesty) such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father; full of grace (favor, loving kindness) and truth.  Isaiah 40:5

John 3: verses 15-16
In order that everyone who believes in Him, (who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him) may not perish but have eternal life and ( actually) live forever!
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He (even) gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in ( trusts in, clings to, relies on ) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge ( to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.

 prayer for the Saints;
I Peter 5:14
To all of you that are in Christ Jesus (the Messiah). may there be peace (every kind of peace and blessing, especially peace with God, and freedom from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts.) Amen (so be it).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Decorating to Celebrate The Birth of Jesus

Beautiful church decorated to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Scarlet poinsettias at the alter are put together in shape of a cross.  If you look at a sand-dollar you will see the same plant etched in the shell.  On the back are five holes which show where Jesus was pierced for our sins.  The candle is lit to symbolize Jesus is the light of the world.  Everyone sang Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm all is bright.  We left and snow fell softly in the night.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Decoration Is My Nativity Scene

My favorite Christmas Decoration is my nativity scene I made thirty years ago.  I painted the figures creamy ivory and sprayed them gold flex.  Each year when I get Mary and Joseph out of the box I think its a miracle not one is broken.  I place gold hay to remind me Jesus was born in a manger.  I light a candle in the middle to say Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Eighty Eight and Still Making Gravy

My eighty eight year old mom still likes to have everyone over to her home for Thanksgiving.
  She says,

" I want to keep making the dinner as long as I'm able."

We all felt blessed to sample her homemade rolls twice risen.  The turkey is moist and her gravy is without lumps.  Her secret ingredient is shaking flour and water together in a jar until smooth.  She  gradually adds the flour mixture into the Turkey Broth until it thickens.

I've watched her make the gravy for years but this Thanksgiving seemed more precious.  I wanted to savor every moment she stirred as if years of practice made it seem like second nature.  It was a little more difficult to find her favorite spoon and someone needed to help her put the twenty pound turkey in the oven.

I thought we can learn from someone who lived through the dust bowl days on an Oklahoma Farm.  I want to drink up her laugh, her smell, her hugs.  A memory to last a life time.

Office Monopoly

I bought the limited version of Office Monopoly for a Christmas present to my family.  But since both sons were home from college I thought it was the perfect time to try it out.  As we were playing it felt so good to have everyone together in a game of friendly competition.  We traded cards so everyone could have a monopoly.  It was a battle to the end because we obtained houses, or in this game reams of paper.  I thought my sons have matured so much and can play without hurt feelings.  Two boys seventeen months apart can lead to squabbles.  Now it feels like they are on an equal playing field of caring about each other.  I use to pray every night, "Oh God please let them love each other."  I think God answered my prayer.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happy 75th Anniversary Monopoly

The game of Monopoly celebrated their 75th anniversary this year.  CNN I report asked to share a story about the game so I sent a report about the 1998 NFL Limited Addition.  I bought the game for my son's Christmas present.  They were seven and eight at the time and very excited about football.  The game included thirty one NFL Teams arranged in order of the 1998 draft.  The game was an instant hit with our family and we have enjoyed playing for years to come.  Monopoly teaches children about money, strategies, and friendly competition.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Festival at Homestead Museum in Plano

I attended the Fall Festival at the Homestead Farm  Museum in Plano to make a CNN I Report video about a local landmark.  I chose the Homestead because my children have enjoyed it so much over the years.  Michael made a ramp for his Eagle Scout Project and did some landscaping.  He said the people who work there are very helpful and nice.

The organization exists because of community involvement.  Donations are very important so the farm can still feed their animals and the Victorian Garden can be watered.  The Fall Festival not only gives children a place to celebrate a carnival, it also is a chance for the organization to raise money.

National Honor Society Students were in full force to donate their time so the carnival was a success.  They dressed up in period costumes as they passed out candy to the children.

I asked the High School Honor Students what has the Farm meant to you over the years.  They remembered their third grade field trip with fond memories.

One student said,  " The farm was a way of experiencing the past.  I'm not  just reading history from a book but I'm living it."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mesquite Festival of Top Woodworkers

My husband and I attended the largest Mesquite Festival in the world in Fredricksburg, Texas.  The festival opened in 1992 with just a few artists.  It has grown in popularity to a wide variety of vendors selling everything from lamps to a 3500 dollar sculpture of a 1,000 year old Mesquite Tree.

The festival like mesquite wood itself has aged gracefully.  Vendors gather around to share their works of art and exchange ideas about woodworking.  The festival started as a seminar and now its a gathering place for creativity and a chance sell tables, lamps, pens, vases, and even beautiful wooden crosses.

"So many local people dropped in to see what we were doing and to try to buy our work, we realized Fredericksburg was the best place on earth to have a mesquite art festival." says Carr.

I interviewed Tom Marshall for CNN I Report to find out what he likes about working with Mesquite Wood.
"It is stronger than oak wood and doesn't crack," says Marshall.

 He sells amazing jewelry boxes to keep treasures.  There is even a hidden compartment at the bottom to keep important papers.

Stephanie from Shangrla Woodworking shared how her husband created an amazing sculpture from an 800 to a 1000 year old Mesquite Tree.  Turquoise was crushed to fill the crevasses.  It seemed like a team effort with her husband.  

The Mesquite Art Festival has become one of the top events of Fredericksburg.  We will try to make it next year in October.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

54th Annual 2010 Greek Food Festival of Dallas

The first Greek Food Festival of Dallas was started in 1956, the year I was born.  My husband and I went to the Greek Festival the year we were dating in 1987.  We have been going as a tradtion ever since.

Each year the children dance to Greek Music and their parents say, "You are so beautiful, you are so handsome, I love you."  The audience feels the gift of life as they dance.  Hours of practice transforms into a melody of perfect steps and joyous kicks. 

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is open for tours during the festival.  The tour guide talks of our Savior Jesus who died for our sins.   The choir sings Glory To God In The Highest.  Tears fall down cheeks because the presence of God is in this holy place.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bobby and Amber's Magical Wedding

My husband and I attended Bobby and Amber's magical wedding this weekend at the Adolphus Hotel.   Laura's son exchanged wedding vows with his high school sweetheart.  I have known  Laura since sixth grade.  We shared a dorm room  at Texas Tech on the 12th floor of Chitwood Hall.  She met Johnny her junior year and love blossomed into a beautiful southern bell marriage with matching hats.  Bobby and my son Alex have the same birthdays.  Laura came to the hospital room the evening Alex was born after a long day of Bobby's Six Year Ninja Turtle Birthday Party.  Laura always made a handmade lovingly decorated cake for each child's birthday.

As I watched the wedding rituals of first dance, cutting the cake, and passing the bouquet it felt soothing to know   traditions are still alive.  Amber was so gracious to visit every table with a smile and hug.  Bobby greeted his dad's high school buds with a familiar joke as if to say alls well with the world.  I married the most beautiful, sweet, kind woman today and I know my future is filled with blessings with God's grace.

We sat at the parent's friends table and felt honored to be invited.  We shared a common bond of Texas Tech memories.  The cell phone was passed to see the latest score of the Tech Game. We held our hands high with the Red Raider sign to show our support.

I'm having flashbacks of the wedding ceremony when the minister said how kind and thoughtful Bobby and Amber were.  They were so grateful their parents provided them a loving home, paid for their college education, and helped guide them to a bright future.  They know how important family is because they lived it.

Weddings are milestones.  They are a marker to see where we have been and where we are going.  Weddings are a sign of hope, love and new beginnings.  I'm so happy Amber and Bobby chose each other.  They are united in love and committed for life.  Can't wait to see the wonderful blessings in store for them.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Tale of Two Refrigerators by an Empty Nester CNN I Report Boot Camp

Our uncluttered stainless steel refrigerator in our kitchen shines to blend with the other stainless steel appliances.  The front is bare of photos, but the side holds links to the past or reminders of the present.  In our garage our cluttered refrigerator brings memories of our two son's journeys to adulthood.

On the garage frig I get glimpses of our son's childhood milestones.  I see my close girlfriends holding nine month Alex in their arms at a going away party before we move from Texas to California.  I see Alex and Michael's photo of matching sailor outfits on a white satin blanket stitched lovingly by my mother's hands and the feeling to know two adorable sons are God's Gift to us and the world.  I see their smiling faces eager to discover the nature on a whale watching expedition in San Diego Harbor. 

When my sons were in elementary school we moved back to Dallas.  I see a magnet holding Alex and Michaels silhouette of their Cub Scout Uniforms taken at the local Texas Boyscout Troop.  The Houston Space Center Magnet  is hanging as a reminder their troop spent the night at the Space Center Museum to learn about the history of space and the possibilities for the future.  A Christmas Card Photo is hanging with Michael and Alex in a Gondola floating in the canal of Venice.  

Refrigerator magnets adorn the front door of the fridge reminding me of family vacations and happy times with stories to tell.  We took a Jungle Adventure in Florida with a pic of Michael holding a live baby alligator.

When I open the stainless steel refrigerator on the side I see magnets of my husband Jim and my's latest summer vacation without the boys.  There is a picture of Kenmare, Ireland where we heard live Irish Music and met a couple from Australia who was also an empty nester.  A pic of the town square of York, England brings back the memory of the Sunday festival we happened to stumble upon. A flowing fountain shows the beauty of Savannah Ga and it reminds me of the bed and breakfast we stayed at.    I know  there will be many more trips ahead.  I feel blessed to have been apart of our two son's childhood and am excited to know many more memories are around the corner and new magnets to buy.  



Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kenmare, Ireland

Ireland was more amazing than I expected.  Jim was brave enough to travel by car on the left side of the road so we were able to see things most tourists can't see from a travel bus.  Kenmare, Ireland was our favorite place of all.  It was located in the southwest part of Ireland.

We stayed at O'Donnabains, a local restaurant and B @ B  in the heart of the town.  It was run by a sweet married couple, Jer, who ran the place and his wife Vanessa, the talented chef.  I noticed how hard both of them worked as a team. She served us a traditional Irish Breakfast every morning with a smile. Jer worked late hours serving the customers with a friendly hello and delivering the delicious cuisine Vanessa created.  But in the afternoon when business was slow, they sat side by side at an outside table going over expense receipts.  I witnessed a closeness seldom see.   It seemed they had a common goal, run a successful business with love and respect. I saw him talk to her with gentleness and love.

On Sunday morning I attended Mass at the local Church,Trinity Cathedral.  The place was filled with standing room only.  I saw grown men kneel in honor of their Savior.  No wonder the town seemed protected from the outside influences.   Kenmare had an innocence of times gone by.

We had a blast listening to Irish Music with an Australian couple with similar interests.  We were both empty nester's and talked about our grown kids.  He was a hard working fireman and she just quit her job to plan the trip across Europe.  It seemed making friends was easy in the layed back town of Kenmare.

Luss, Scotland

I felt my roots from the very beginning in Scotland.  My skin loved the moist air and rain.  I was wondering if I was Scottish or Irish.  So I asked the taxi cab driver what he thought.  He said if McPherson is spelled with Mc instead of Mac, you are probably Scotch Irish. Many Scots left for Ireland because of war between the clans or other reasons.  When they went to Ireland they changed their name to Mc.

 My grandmother always said we were Scotch Irish but I didn't know what it meant.  We stumbled across this amazing little town near Loch Lomand, called Luss.  I was reading the history and the first martyr of Scotland  died sharing his faith.  He came from Ireland by boat to share the Gospel.  I was a little surprised because Saint Patrick came from England to share the Gospel with the Irish.  He had been captured as a slave by the Irish when he was sixteen and escaped at the age of 21. Instead of staying bitter he walked in forgiveness and returned to the same country that held him as a slave.  The Irish repaid in love when they sent a missionary to Scotland.

 I went inside the beautiful protestant church that was built by a man who had lost his dad in a boating accident.  He built the church in remembrance of him.  It had colorful stain glass windows and the ceiling was built in shape of a boat to remember his dad.  I looked up and there was a stain glass window with the name McPherson on it.

"I am Scottish," I said with enthusiasm.

When I went home my m om got out the genealogy and Daniel McPherson came to the United States in the early 1700's from Scotland.  It was so fun to feel apart of history and learn about your ancestors.

York, England

My husband and I went to York  this summer, in northern England. The picture is of the church, York, Minister, rich in history.  We took a tour, one of my favorite things to do and learned the Emperor Constantine acturally came to the church.  He was the first Christian that was an Emperor of Rome and ended the persecution of the Church.  I'm glad that happened.  He had a vision of Christ so he believed.  Archeologists have researched the site so the tourist can go below the church and see the levels of time periods and growth.

We were blessed that the sun came out because it does rain a lot in England.  The town people thought it was a holiday and wore sun dresses and tropical shirts.  I thought I was in Hawaii by looking at the people's clothes.  A festival was going on so I got great pics of unusual things like a man dressed up like a plant and I saw a question mark running around.  I liked the pic of the man selling candy probably because I like candy.  I got to tour a castle that was turned into a museum, another favorite thing to do.  I enjoyed reading about the history of women doing laundry.

We ate the most delicious Indian Food I've ever tasted in my entire life.  During the entire dinner I kept saying this is sooooo good.  I wanted to hug the chef.  The owner was so kind and was from India too, so I imagine that's why the food was do delicious.  I wanted the recipes.

We also went to a Viking Museum and learned about the history of their voyages.  They were excellent at building ships and sailing.  Some people say they were the first to discover America.  We rode similar to Epcot Center, where the Vikings seemed like real people wearing authentic clothes and living in shelters from long ago.

I feel grateful we got to see such a wonderful town, on a sun shinny day, with interesting people and the best Indian Food I've ever had.