Sunday, December 30, 2007

Year End Ramblings

Haven't posted in awhile. I lent my camera to son, who spent the holiday with the Ohio fam. So in leiu of Christmas pictures, it's a good time to revisit some warm weather favorites on this very last day of 2007. Enough with the ice photos! Doesn't this bring back lovely memories of warm sunny days?

Truth be told, I'm not a fan of New Year's Eve celebrating, making resolutions, or goal-setting, so you won't find any of that stuff here. A five-year plan? Good heavens, no way. I can't envision 5 days ahead. And turning the calendar on Jan. 1 reminds me of the first day of school. A mixed bag of excitement & anxiousness; so much unknown lies ahead. Plus that huge stack of textbooks all starting on page 1 (didn't we just finish the Revolutionary War?) and mounds of homework: aaagh! we'll never get through all this!

Actually, I'm facing that anxiety already in the form of closets. Why does one project lead to so many more? Here's how it started: I got a beautiful new jewelry box for Christmas. Which meant transferring my stuff from the old one. Which led to sorting through sentimental pieces, junk that I've been saving for my future grandaughters, good jewelry, tangled necklaces, and assorted earrings with no mates. I have some pieces in their original box in my, ahem, lingerie drawer. Which opened my eyes to what a mess that is! And if you clean out one drawer, of course you need to do the whole dresser. And armoire. And closet. And linen closet. And hall closet. (Not that I've done of any this. It's just loooooming in front of me like some monster waiting to pounce.)

But that's not all. Putting away the special holiday dishes revealed what a mess that cabinet is! I need to buy some more of those quilted plate storage thingys and organize that cupboard. Which will lead to the rest of the kitchen and pantry storage. 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK! THERE'S MORE. Tomorrow is the day to take down the tree and put away Christmas decorations. Which, I know from 30 years experience, will begin another organizing/cleaning frenzy. Then January's cold, glaring sun always exposes six months of accumulated dust on the teapot collection and china cabinet. Another Saturday spent cleaning above & beyond the weekly chores awaits.

THAT's why I'm on here blogging before I go see a movie today. My phlegmatic gift of procrastination is the perfect balance to my organizational OCD.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

...and Heaven & Nature's Bling!

What a week! One of Tulsa's infamous winter storms drenched us in freezing rain Sunday night. Thankfully, the roads were still warm enough that they didn't freeze, but our poor trees! It looks like giants rampaged through the county, stomping on all the trees. Power outages all over the state. We were so fortunate to only be down for 8 hours on Monday. Our office has been closed 3 days; many friends just had power come on today and several are still without. Normally, I would get tons of stuff done being off on snow-days, but this time was very out of the ordinary. Life has just been 'on hold'. People have come over to visit, get warm, do laundry, check their email, sleep over, watch a movie. We were told the church's power would not be restored until late Thursday, so today we even had that phone line transferred to our number so people could at least talk to a person if they tried to call the church. And it rang constantly!

This is how my week began: I woke up Monday morning and looked out my bedroom window to see what all the ruckus was about all night long (did I mention there was lightening, too?). In the dim early morning light I saw the strangest sight and thought "what IS that?!?" It looked like a huge, white, tentacled alien crawling towards my bedroom window.
It was the neighbor's tree, so ice-laden the limbs were spread out on the ground. This picture doesn't even do justice to how ominous it looked at 6 in the morning, though. It really was rather frightful - but then again, I'm pretty foggy until about 10 a.m.

I went on to make the best of the day by capturing some of nature's psychotic beauty.

Hope you all are safe and warm out there!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Bling!

'Someone' in this family does not like to put up outside lights and 'Someone Else' really loves to have them on the house; (neither does she want to look like the Scrooge Family lives here). Normally appearances & keeping up with the neighbors are unimportant to Someone Else, but this important and festive season does carry a bit of pressure with it. Yet, in the spirit of compromise - an essential component in a good marriage - an agreement was reached many years ago that Someone would put lights up every other year. This approach worked nicely for awhile until last year Someone conveniently got too busy and the holiday season came and went with no outside color on the house.

Last weekend, Someone Else bought 2 simple light nets to put on a couple of shrubs, sadly thinking that at least that would be something and not overburden her dear one to lay them on the little shrubs. He sweetly agreed and promised to do it while she was at work. But then something wondrous happened...a true Christmas miracle. Not only did Someone cover the shrubs, but he outlined the fence, along the roof and - biggest surprise of all - he bought YARD ORNAMENTS!! We have never had yard ornaments! Someone Else came home for lunch & suddenly became a child again, squealing in delight to see spiral trees, midget snowmen, and an ANIMATED reindeer. Animated yard ornaments!!!!! Jesus must really be coming back this year. And 'Someone' is going to have a specially merry Christmas :)

MORE BLING: This week the crew has been hard at work getting the stage dressed out for December and the Christmas production (Dec 15, 6pm; Dec 16 both a.m. services). Here's a sneak peek at some of what you'll see Sunday....

Sunday, December 2, 2007


TIME, that is. It seems to be going at warp speed (that means 'very fast' for you non-Trekkies). The pictures below were snapped one year ago today. I had taken 3 days extra off work after Thanksgiving. When it snowed, the office closed and I got 2 bonus days. I loved it! Joe & Justin both HATE cold and pretty much anything associated with it, especially snow. But I say: bring out the cookie sheets! Light the fireplace, wrap up in your favorite soft throw & pop in a movie. That's how you celebrate the first snow!
a nature-made design on our roof
from a garden chair to a snowy geometric design
Blu2 & Harley loved it. They ran, rolled, and frolicked like two children.
They were covered in snow & caked in ice but they didn't care; they had a blast.

A year ago. So much has changed in the past twelve months. Buckle up, kids. The ride ain't over!

Monday, November 26, 2007

And So It Begins~~

Welcome to my New Readers!

My little photo blog started out to be open to family & close friends only while I was trying it out. I was concerned people who only knew me as "Al's Wife" would think I'm a little wacky. But now that he's let the cat out of the bag, let me welcome you to a little corner of my world. One thing you might be wondering about is, who is this "Joe" I sometimes refer to???? That would be Albert J. His middle name is Joseph and the family has always called him Joe. (Now, don't you start calling him Joe...he probably won't answer. Besides, that's my special privilege:) After we married & moved to Illinois, his new boss called him 'Al' and it just stuck.

And so it begins.....the Christmas season, that is. Are you ready? Christmas is something like my semi-annual gym pilgrimage (see October entry "Hope Springs Eternal"). I have marvelous intentions. Big plans! All decorating done the weekend after Thanksgiving. (btw: I did get 2 trees up this weekend - score!!) Cards in the mail, handmade of course, by December 1. Shopping done by the 15th. Special hand crafted gifts, naturally. Baking, baking, baking! Afternoon teas with my special holiday tea sets. Entertaining every weekend.

Such an ambitious list. Guess what actually gets done? Right! Very little of it!!!! But here's the beauty~~are you ready to know the secret?

It's the Season of Hope. It's fun to dream and plan, but if you can't do it all (and you can't) it's OK. Your worth is not determined by this one month of the year. There is no grade, not even a pass/fail. No one is keeping score, so don't you dare put that on yourself. If you do, you'll miss the whole point of this beautiful time.

Do you see that tiny red berry in the picture above? Faith smaller than that, in the precious blood of Jesus, makes you white as snow in God's eyes and you immediately begin your eternal life. That's what it's all about. No baking required.

Friday, November 23, 2007

New Discoveries

(A friend told me about a park near here, with a lake. I've lived here 25 years and never heard of it! Monday, we took a ride and enjoyed a warm, sunny day walking along the lake, taking pictures, feeling the kind of peace these special times bring. Pix below!)

It's the day after T-day. Time for a list - something traditional! Let's do the question discussed by thousands of families yesterday.....What are you thankful for?

My little family. We're all here in town now. Everyone is healthy, working, full of vision for the future and a sense of excitement for the days ahead.

My family out of state. Even though they're 900 miles east of here and 1200 miles northwest, I hold them all close in my heart. I have wonderful parents, and the best brothers & sister anyone could ask for. Their spouses and children are a blessed addition to the fam.

My church family. We've been together for over 20 years. Even when they move away or change churches they always have a place in our hearts, a portrait in our memory gallery. New ones are added to the family all the time, weaving their own unique thread in the tapestry.

Beauty in creation and the opportunity to be creative with it.

The simple things in life... serendipitous moments, surprising discoveries.

Our Lord Jesus...who directs our steps and lights our path.

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. ~ Margaret Cousins

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Adventures in Arkansas

Two weeks off - yahoo! The first week is quickly past, but it was very productive. A pleasing mixture of creativity, catching up on housework, movies, rest, fun, and a even a day-trip. Thursday was autumny-warm & glowingly beautiful. We drove to Arkansas on scenic 412, had lunch, did some shopping, snapped a few pictures, and came home. It was good to get out of town even for just a few hours. 

This week will be spent much the same way, including celebrating Thanksgiving, then starting the Christmas decorating. But first a story from our Arkansas adventure...
We love road trips. We talk, talk, talk; look at the scenery, stop for coffee, talk some more, stop at places that look intriguing, sometimes do a little shopping. We were cruising along 412, enjoying our little day-trip, and came upon a very disturbing sight. If you are the slightest bit squeamish, you may want to skip the blog today. You've been duly warned:
Apparently in Arkansas, Upright Vacuums are not welcome. Trespassing vacuums are killed and their dead bodies impaled as a warning to others. I am not making this up. This photojournalist risked getting hit by (apparently unfazed) passing motorists and the very real threat of chiggers to bring you these pictures as evidence.

It was a tragic sight, one I shall never forget. I came home & hugged my little Dirt Devil.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Sky Painter

We went on a hayride with our Sunday School class this weekend. It was a beautiful evening, almost balmy. Of course I had to take the camera. I'm still figuring out this new one & *sniff* I'm not very good with it yet. Ah, the sweetness of digital technology and photoshop. Snap a bazillion pictures, delete the completely unusable ones, & jazz up the rest. However, I'm pleased to say these 2 shots are nature au natural. Joe took the second one - same sky, different camera setting. I'm not even sure what he did but the effect is rich.
When I saw these, I was immediately reminded of a song called "Maker of the Heavens" by Jennifer Randolph:

Maker of the heavens
Painter of the sky
Your greatest works reserved for such as I
The angels long to sing
About the gift you gave to me
The love of God so unrestrained and free
You, oh Lord, are the fragrance of my praise
The finest words could never bear my heart
You, oh Lord, are the essence of my praise
I treasure you for who you are

I could end my blog right there; praise in words and pictures. But I have a thought...
I'm reading a book called 90 Minutes in Heaven. The author describes dying in a car wreck, going to heaven, & returning to earth after being officially declared dead for 90 minutes. I don't usually read these 'vision of heaven' books. There's one especially, by a very popular evangelist, that I scanned thru & thought "bad burrito alert!!" This one is different, believable. He said several things that made me think & I want to touch on those in the next few days. But here's my Gypsy Musing for today:

The thing he remembers most, almost 10 years later, are the sounds in heaven. The author describes the constant swishing sound of angel wings as "a holy melody with a cadence that seemed never to stop...a form of never-ending praise." He said praise was everywhere, all of it musical, hundreds of different songs being sung at the same time, yet the melodies and tones blended perfectly. He didn't just hear the music - it played in and through his body.

We're told that we'll be praising God for eternity, which causes many people to think (1) that's gonna get boring (2) is God some kind of Divine Egomaniac? But stay with me here...
God is love. His love is "unrestrained and free", not a seperate attribute, not an emotion. It's who & what He is. God/Love. Love/God. One and the same. To be in the presence of pure Love, where it not only surrounds you, but saturates your very being...what would your response be? LOVE. I think the sounds, music, and praises of heaven are the sounds of this flow of spiritual love energy between God, His children, angelic beings, and all of the heavenly realm! I don't think it's just everyone singing & chanting Holy Holy Holy, although there probably is some of that. I think what is called the sound of praise in heaven is really...the Sound of Love.


Monday, November 5, 2007


Welllll...I haven't had anything on my heart to talk about lately. Joe, on the other hand, is just blogging away. Very good stuff, too. He always amazes me. Check it out at (High D is a play off high definition. Joe believes in living life in high def)

Since there are no musings from the MysticalGypsy tonight, I'm just going to put up a collection of themed pictures. When you scroll down, you'll see why this post is titled "ShadowPlay".

This is the wrap-around porch of the cabin we stayed in last fall in Tennessee. I thought the rail made an interesting shadow composition.

Best friends reflected in the river that runs along Branson Landing in Branson, MO

The next 3 were taken in a gorgeous hiking area in the Smoky Mts. last October. It was a photographer's buffet of photo ops!! We came upon a beautiful mountain stream and to give credit where credit is due: Joe had the idea for these pix & he snapped them.

God said it's not good for man to be alone....

So he brought him a help-mate; a Best Friend for Life.

And they are living happily ever after.

We believe our mansions in heaven will be next door to each other. Why not?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Arches & Art at RiverWalk

This weekend in Tulsa was b-e-a-UUUUU-tiful!! Saturday I went to the ArtWalk at RiverWalk to enjoy other artists' work. Had to take my camera. Here's a few shots.