In Moorcroft, Wyoming I saw a real life cowboy. Granted... he arrived in a pick up truck and not on a horse. He ordered off the menu just like me... a half order at that because otherwise it would be, "just too much to eat." The guy with him wore a baseball hat and a hoodie which completely reduced the moment to a modern day experience... still it was the cowboy that caught my eye and made me remember.
When I was little I wanted nothing more than to be a cowboy. I never considered being a cowgirl. The only women I saw on Bonanza wore dresses and cooked for their families. Even as a little girl I wanted more than that. I wanted to wear pants and ride the open range. In my mind I was already there. My best friend at the time had horses. Being at her house meant riding for reals and pretending we lived in the olden days. At my house I settled for watching Bonanza and riding my imaginary horse all over the place.
My recent drive through the midwest brought back childhood dreams. As the road carved it's way through the mountains and across the plains I was there all over again. I was back to wanting to ride for days, to camp out overnight with only that which I could carry on my horse, to hunt for food and cook over an open fire, to herd cattle or wild horses or something, to trade with tribes and fight to stay alive. Almost all of that sounds like a good time... even today.
Here's to childhood dreams, why we have them, and the fact that there are some things we never forget. Here's to what
I have become and what I was truly meant to be. Here also is to the fact that dreams don't have to die. They can live on if we let them. They can make us feel happy and young all over again.
18 About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
2 Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. 3 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf[a] is welcoming me.
New Living Translation
Everyone should have an Uncle Tom. You know the guy I mean... the one that wants to hang out with you... that looks after you like you're his own... even from far away. He's an awesome uncle, a great brother to my mom, and a devoted husband to his wife, my Aunt Margaret.
With time on his hands he can be dangerous. I've called him a troublemaker at least a thousand times... mostly to his face. He's a great story teller. I figure he's gotta be making most of it up as he goes along but... I don't care. He's highly entertaining and very smart. He knows stuff about stuff not everybody knows... like long haul trucking and unions and the mob life. He knows people. (wink and smile) He can spot insincerity from a mile away and won't hesitate to walk away from it. He knows about family and hard work, politics and God.
When he was younger...
When I think of how folks might have described Uncle Tom when he was younger... "hell on wheels" comes to mind. My mom tells stories of being scared to death... with Grandma on one side of the door encouraging her to go outside and play... while Uncles Tom, Ray and Jim were on the porch with snakes just waiting for her to muster up the courage. Growing up... Uncle Tom had to go to the Catholic school. I'm guessing because he needed a little more watching.
Actually he's a lot like my son...
My son, Alex, does some pretty ridiculous things that remind me of Uncle Tom... like dressing up in an awful shirt, Jeans and dress shoes for a court appearance. (and by the way... that thing about traffic fines doubling in construction zones is true.) Well, apparently the judge couldn't stop smiling at Alex that day and Alex just kept smiling back. The caption on his Facebook photo read; "Went to court today... This baddass shirt cut the ticket in half!" I admit when he left the house I was a little scared for him... but truth is, I couldn't stop laughing. I think Uncle Tom would have been proud. He says, "If you've got to do the time... at least find a way to enjoy yourself while you're doing it.
As Uncle Tom gets older and Alex does too... I find myself thankful. I'm thankful for the guys in my life that keep me thinking and laughing and on my toes. They make me smile a lot and I know they would do anything for me. Therefore... I'm really quite safe... I think.
P.S. I love you, Uncle Tom.
4 my lips will not speak what is not true, and my tongue will not lie. 5 Far be it from me to say that you are right. Until I die I will not put away my honor. 6 I hold on to what is right and good and will not let it go. My heart does not put me to shame for any of my days.
New Life Version
In the day... Austin, MN was real hotspot for big bands and ballroom dancing. There are pictures around of the old days at the Terp Ballroom. The mere mention of it's name brings up a host of great memories and too many stories to share. People drove from miles around for a big night of eating, drinking, and dancing... on into the wee hours of the morning.
Louis Armstrong and Tommy Dorsey were the big names that caught my eye... but the conversation really lit up when the Six Fat Dutchmen were mentioned. It must have been some night life. As the ad reads... those boys played till 1:30 in the morning!
SInce The Terp burned down a long time ago... and The Six Fat Dutchmen are no longer around... we had to do something different last night. So, my cousin Dan told us all about the scrap metal business his family has owned for decades. He took us over to the south yard so he could show us some improvements he'd made over the years. Even though it was dark... the progress was obvious. We weren't there for 10 minutes... headlights beaming through the chain link fence... when the cops arrived... lights flashing and all! As the officer approached my window my heart raced... even though I knew I'd done nothing wrong. When he saw Dan in the passenger seat he breathed a sigh of relief.
"Jeeze, Dan! What the heck are you doing here?"
"Oh, just showing my Aunt Judy and my cousin, how I've fixed up the yard."
"Well then, I guess there's nothing to worry about here. Go on ahead and enjoy your visit." He said.
As I waved goodbye, all I could think to do was to thank him for not shooting first.
"No problem, he said, that would have made for way too much paperwork."
"I'm so sorry girls, Dan nervously giggled as the officer drove away. I should have known better than to park here like that at night."
Gracious and always up for adventure, Mom replied,
"Are you kiddin', Dan? We can all use a little excitement now and then."
As we left the driveway all I could think to say... was thank God I didn't have any wine with dinner!
We laughed all the way home.
Good times in Austin, MN! No Terp Ballroom necessary!
There is a time for everything under the sun.
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
New American Standard Bible
Check Out: The Old Lady Polka by The Six Fat Dutchmen
The following blog posts will come in pieces. There is simply no way for me to write it all at this juncture. I am feeling inspired moment by moment here in Austin, Minnesota. Surrounded by family and my family's history... I am simply overwhelmed.
This is a picture of my Grandma Lois' last house. I remember visiting her here when I was very young. Mom brought all of us kids to visit a long, long time ago. We drove past the house today. It looks a little different these days. The windows out front used to be a screened in porch. I remember when we stayed there so long ago. My sister and I shared the upstairs bedroom at the back of the house. The roofline made for fun angles on the interior. Our bed was insanely comfortable. The sheets were crisp and white. The thunder and lightening as it passed through the night matched the thrill of fresh made cinnamon rolls and donuts in the early morning hours.
Grandma raised a bunch of children... 3 of which she married into... 7 more she had with my Grandpa, Frank. My mom, Eileen Judith was second to last... but in my book... remains second to none.
We visited the cemetery where Grandma and Grandpa were laid to rest. I never met Grandpa Frank but I have heard some pretty great stories of the tall, strong Irishman. I had the pleasure of loving and knowing Grandma Lois well. She was born in 1898, 100 percent French. She saw our country through war, depression, space travel and the invention of so many wonderful things. She loved to travel. Maybe that's where I get it. I sure do wish she could be at the concert I'm giving here in Austin on Monday night... though she'd probably rather be at home watching jeopardy and playing a few good hands of rummy. I have seen Grandma Lois in my dreams. I've had visions of her as I wake. She is our matriarch, our mother, our great cheerleader in heaven. I just know she's there praying for us and guiding us all in.
I'm here in Austin, MN to visit family. I'm also here to do what I do. I'm giving a concert and visiting classrooms at Pacelli High School with the message God has given me to share.
Yesterday's Austin Daily Herald had an article about me and the fact that I'm here to do what I do. As it just so happens... the featured scripture reference on the front page of the very same paper is my mom's favorite. So... for those who have gone before us and for the rest of us as we live out our days... no matter how short or long...
2 Timothy 4:7
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
THAT is Scripturally Speaking.
In the last month or so I have slept at at Holiday Inn Express seven times. It wasn't until this morning that I realized how inspiring it's been.
Night before last... in Sheridan, WY the top of the notepad read: "Stay Organized."
The notepad in Mitchell, South Dakota bears the heading:
My favorite is the room key which every night has read:
I have and I will. I hope you can too.
Now... I think I'll go check out the Corn Palace!
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.[a]
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
(New Living Translation)
God's got the plan... and I just need to stick to it. That is my thought for this day.
Some things have to happen last minute. Sometimes we have to think on our feet and be willing to be moved and changed to fit in to the plan. God knows I'm listening and willing.
I'm on the road to opportunities not yet known. I need to be aware and ready to say, "yes," to the assignments given. I pray the doors that need to will open. I also pray that those who need to... will be willing to let THEIR plans be moved and made great by God.
So much is possible when we are not afraid... but willing. Most often I'm just willing... but sometimes I'm a little of both. How about you?
Two wonderful passages... Scripturally Speaking:
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
(New American Standard Bible)
God has the plan!
Knowing ourselves can help us to be better. Every day I live... I learn more.
I'm about to share a piece of my heart... because I feel inspired to do so. The following is a bit of my faith in action. I'm trusting God and saying what I feel He has put in my heart and on my tongue tonight.
I believe in telling the truth. Truth is... I pray for safety often. Of course, I pray for safety from harm and safety from evil. Mostly... I pray for safety from myself. I've learned over the years that a sense of humor and a quick wit can make people laugh... but it can also make mistakes at lightening speed.
I was born with a sense of humor and a quick wit. So... as I prepare for a live radio interview early in the morning... a familiar voice fills my brain. Therefore I pray... as my lively, elderly, black, Southern Baptist friend taught me to pray a long time ago:
O Lord, please keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand upon my tongue... all the days of my life.
I don't ever want to say anything that doesn't bless or serve a purpose for God. Having prayed and surrendered to God's Will. I go forward trusting God and knowing at least a little bit about myself.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
New American Standard Bible