Signs, Signs, Everywhere are Signs

Sign Sign everywhere a sign

Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind

Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign

And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply

So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why

He said you look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do

So I took off my hat I said imagine that, huh, me working for you

Sign Sign everywhere a sign

Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind

Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign

There's nothing significant about this post,
except that all the signs have made me smile.
(And this old hippie song is stuck in my head!)

I've seen more signs than I can count that say:
Best Po Boy's in Town
Best Plate Lunch in Town

Signs, Signs
Everwhere are Signs!

Wildfires and Sleepless Nights

Sleepless nights are so irratating, but last night sleep just wouldn't come.  I had been following news and facebook posts about the wildfires in Texas and New Mexico.  The fires were too close to home. The community of Ira (about four miles from our place) was evacuated.   Reports were that several of our neighbors had close calls, but the firefighters had saved their homes.  (When you live in the country, just about everybody is your neighbor.)

Our  house  is surrounded by 3 ft tall pasture grass on three sides and across the road - so yes, we were a little concerned.  Being in Louisiana, there's not a thing we could do.  Several people offered to plow, etc, but Ted had shredded a deep fire line when he was home in November.  It was just time to trust God.

 I still couldn't go to sleep.  I tossed and turned - got up and down - checked facebook until everybody else had signed off.  I prayed for everybody I could think of.  I confessed every sin I could imagine.  I praised God for His "lovingkindness and tender mercies". But sleep still wouldn't come.   I wasn't even thinking about the house.

 I had posted a prayer request on facebook and after some sweet responses,  I posted again that really, it was just a house.  I was bothered that someone might think I was being to flippant about the wildfires.  I thought through that whole thing and came to some conclusions.

First of all - my house is just a house.  My children were raised there, so it holds all kinds of memories.  It keeps the pictures and scrapbooks and heirloom quilts. My parents oak table is there.  That table has hosted birthday parties, fed preachers, helped with craft projects, held fabric, patterns and scissors, and watched over my homework.  Yes, it is irreplacable.  But it is still just a house.  I know that losing a home would be financially and emotionally devastating.  But it's still just a house. 

A long, long time ago in another life, our lawn caught on fire.  While I was outside with a waterhose trying to keep two cords of firewood from burning, Heather called her Granny with news that our house was on fire.  I heard sirens and looked up to see 2 firetrucks and 15 volunteer firemen coming to my aid.  They all knew me and really gave me a hard time, but I had it under control!

It's still just a house.  Losing a house is nothing compared to losing a life.

 Somewhere in the night I realized that my tossing and turning was not about me or my house, but about my neighbors.  It was concern for all those 20 miles away in Colorado City who were evacuated and those daddys,  husbands and sons were out trying to save their towns.  It was about the 20+ families around Amarillo who were suddenly homeless and for the family who lost a child in Midland and the firefighter who was burned somewhere out by I-20.

I remembered that Jesus advised us, not to store up treasures on earth because, he said,  our hearts will be where our treasures are. (Matthew 6:19-20)  Being away from home for so long has made that house less and less of a treasure to me - it's given me a new perspective. 

I think I heard God say - "YES!  She's finally starting to get it!"  And sleep came.

I remembered the family a few years ago who lost everything in a house fire.  The house and everything in it was a total loss, but the family was safe.  The fire made front page news and the mama was quoted as saying it was the first time in years her ironing was caught up.  Just gotta love her!



I made this picture from the walkway on the
Morgan City flood wall. 
The walkway has a great view of the Atachafala River.
But I also got to eavesdrop on a couple pulling their nets from the shrimp boat to their pick-up.
As they were untangling the nets,
the boards on the dock kept snagging them.
They were having a terrible time. 
I couldn't help it - I thought about Jesus walking along the shores of the Sea of Galilee,
stopping to visit with Andrew and Simon (Peter). 
And then a little further down, James and John.
Did He watch them struggle with tangled nets? 
Did He eavesdrop on their conversation? 
Did He sympathize with their empty nets? 
 And what was it about Him that made them
drop their nets and go with Him? 
Had they heard about Him? 
 Had Andrew and Simon been longing for the
coming Messiah? 
Maybe they said,"If only He would come, we could stop fishing and be His servants."

Or were they the ones whose hearts were so fully entrusted to God that  "the eyes of the Lord had searched for and found"?  ("For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His." 2 Chronicles 16:9 )

Now for the hard question.
On a daily basis, am I willing to give up MY adjenda
and go with Jesus?
Not only is that a lifetime question,
 but a daily and moment by moment question. 

I'm not sure that Jesus requires each of us to physically
walk away from life as we know it to walk with Him -
or does He?

When I said to Him, "I'll go where you want me to go, and I'll do what you want me to do", He didn't have me leave my husband and children and head to Africa.  But I did leave behind some habits and fears and sins to begin being the woman only He could make me be. 

God is so good.


Are You Lonesome Tonight?

With the exception of a few occasionally rowdy rednecks from Texas, this rv park is quiet and serene.  Most of the campers are working in the area and the few wives here stay inside. 

Today, while I was working on the computer, I kept seeing motorhomes and 5th wheels go by.  After about the 10th one - I decided that something was going on and it wasn't going to be work!

I stepped outside to get a better nosier look and just stood in the road like the only kid at school without a Christmas gift.  There were 10 or more people in the road between me and the my lake.  There were hugs, handshakes, slaps on the back and lots of laughing.  A fleeting thought crossed my mind that I could just go meet those  people and find out what they are doing and where they are from and.....not.  I realized that I was standing in the middle of the road - green with envy

We haven't connected with many folks here and some days I get a little tired of myself.  I'm ready to see my girlfriends, church friends, Bible Study friends, neighbors, and  I'm ready for somebody to be glad to see me.  Oh, how silly and selfish that sounds. And I am really ready to see Holly, Tommy, Harrison and Hannah.  Really, really ready.....


Fleur de Lis

The word fleur dripped off her southern tongue
like molasses off cornbread.

"Mah little shop has moah fleuuuurs than anyone in town." 
She had fleurs on hats, scarves, necklaces, purses, earrings, wraps, wall hangings and on and on. 

At first I thought the fleur de lis it was just the Saints' symbol.

Then I started to see other kinds of fleurs de lis. 
And I really didn't care much for the design.

 It is incorporated into business logos, on car windows, in the carpet, in the tile, and on  flags. 

 The rental golf carts at the RV Resort have fleurs.
18 wheelers and boats have fleurs.

Louisiana sportsmen have their own version of the fleur.

There are gold fleurs, pink fleurs, zebra fleurs, and leopard fleurs. 

I do believe there are almost as many fleurs in Louisiana
as there are stars in Texas!

I did a little research and found that the fleur de lis was adopted as the state symbol of Louisiana in 2008.

Fleur is french for flower.
Lis means lily.
So, the literal meaning is flower of the lily.

As in, "Luke 12:27 Consider the lilies,
 how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you,
not even Solomon in all his glory
clothed himself like one of these."

I have to admit - the fleur de lis has grown on me and
I'm bringing home a few fleurs of my own.....


Mississippi Coast

We booked a hotel directly across from the beach with a room with a view.  But the beautiful view was fog - couldn't even see a thing - just fog! 

 By the way, Cajuns measure fog by the Tic Meter. 
 Today's fog measured 2 tics - it was TIC, TIC!! Get it? 

 Anyway, the fog lifted about 2 and we got to see a little of the white sandy beach and sparkling brown water! 

We drove to the light house through the former parking lot of the Broadwater Hotel,
which was destroyed by Katrina. 
The light house also suffered damage.

For miles along the clean beachfront,
houses were damaged, destroyed, removed, and rebuilt. 
We saw blocks and blocks of foundations and driveways. 
There seemed to be a lot of new construction as well.

The house is gone, but someone is enjoying the tree swing. 
Other property owners had fenced their empty lots and set white Adirondack chairs under the centuries old oak trees.  
If trees could talk, would they tell us all they had seen?  Hurricanes, Oil Spills, and a Civil War?
But these people aren't letting little things like hurricanes and oil spills get them down!

And did I mention that I love the beach?

What Did We Do Before Cell Phones?

Going to Long Beach, Mississippi yesterday, we used Greta, our GPS and the phone application on my Android.  The phone had an  photo of the location and verbal directions.  While registering at the Holiday Inn Express, the phone started talking and I showed the 20 something year old clerk the picture.  She asked to look at the phone, wanted to know what kind it was, and then said, "you have a better phone than I do." 

Later today I was laughing about her being surprised that old folks can be cool, and I started to reminisce about all the phones I've seen in my short years...

My Aunt Genie had an oak crank phone that hung on the wall and connected directly to an operator in Hermleigh, Texas.  I still have our family's black dial phone (Hillcrest 3-6041) and we still talked to an operator, hopefully family friend Mozelle Wall.  We were on a party line with 7 other families with a total of 9 teenagers (we could hear when someone was listening in and complain when it was our turn to talk).  How about phone booths - are they still around?  Then we got touch tone phones, slim line phones, extra long cords, cordless, voice mail, caller id, call waiting, bag cellular phones, flip cellulars, and now smart phones.  We've come a long way baby!

And yes, old people can have cool phones!



Our Hannah is a natural detailed leader.  From the time she could talk, she made plans and gave us all our instructions.  So, it was no surprise that she told me exactly what to do when I saw an alligator.  I'm not sure how that little West Texas girl knew about alligators, but the first thing on her list was for me to take a picture and the last thing was to run!  The weather is warming and I finally got to see an alligator out on Four Mile Bayou. 

Hannah Banana ~ this one's for you!

Can you find him?

Can you see him now?

Then I ran!!!!


Palm Trees

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon


Happy Valentines's Day

Waiting in line at Walmart, I was behind a sweet little couple with beautiful white hair.  I asked him if he had bought his sweetheart a valentine.  He said that he just brings her to the store and let's her pick it out.

In their shopping cart were 2 Hershey bars with almonds
 and a bottle of Metamucil.......

Happy Valentine's Day!

Mardi Gras

Our last one-day vacation (on Ted's day off) included our first Mardi Gras Parade in Slidell, LA.
Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday.
Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, when Lent fasting begins. 
Fat Tuesday has grown from the last day to eat rich foods, to a carnival atmosphere lasting a month or more.

My understanding is that a krewe is sort of a social club. 
 Members pay dues, participate in fund raisers, crown a king and queen,
attend balls and sponsor parades.  The individual members also pay for the beads they throw.

Here are a couple of the floats.  
 There must have been 20 people throwing beads on some of the floats.

An up close shot of bead tossers!
The girls in this cheer squad were looking a little tired.

This enterprising fellow has everything imaginable for sale.

This is Emma Rose, who brought her girl scout cookies to sell. 
The Papa pining away for his own Hannah Grace almost bought her out!

It's all about the beads!


Bloom Where You Are Planted

A couple of years ago, we were in North Texas for a job.  Ted worked in Borger and we stayed in an RV park 10 miles away at Fritch.   The trailer was parked on rocks - no trees, no Wi-Fi, no view - it was just plain ugly.  But that adventure is one of our fondest memories, because of the great friends we made while we were there.  One day  I was out walking and stopped to visit with a lady sitting on her RV steps.  She and her hubby were also away from home and working a job nearby.  I'll never forget her answer to my "how are you" - "I hate this God-forsaken place.  There's no place to shop except for a dinky little Walmart and it's 10 miles away."  I didn't tell her that our last job was in a place 100 miles from a Walmart, and 30 miles from a grocery store, laundry mat, and gas station.

It reminds me of Jeremiah 29:3-7.  In the margin of my Bible I have written beside that passage:  Bloom Where You are Planted.

This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:  “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.   Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
(Jeremiah 29:4-7)

These people had been carried away from their homes against their will, lost everything they owned, and were forced into slavery.  God told them to  bloom where they were planted.

In my life I have been all kinds of places that weren't fun, comfortable, or where I thought I wanted to be -  sometimes I chose to bloom and sometimes I didn't.  Now that I'm learning a few lessons about the places I pass through, I hope I bloom more than complain.  It's not always an easy place to be, but blooming makes it easier.

When I hear comments like:  I hate this place,or  I wish I knew what's next, or I'm tired of feeling this way, I would like to just put my hands on their shoulders, look them square in the eye and quote that scripture to them...wouldn't that help a lot!!!  I pray they learn to be bloomers.

Most of our RV neighbors are here working like we are.  I have only had one brief conversation with the wife of a welder here, but love the attitude displayed on her pick-up window. 

What a great additude. 
This gal is blooming where she's planted!


Grand Isle

Today we drove to Grand Isle, one of Louisiana's few beach communities.

It was good to be away from traffic, noise, and people for a little while.

(Not to mention getting out of the RV)

I love the brids.
I love the waves.
I love the sand.
I love the beach.
It was a good day.

Oil Spill

The down side to the beach on Grand Isle was the lingering evidence of the Deep Water Horizan explosion and oil spill from last year. 
 The beaches were open and looked pretty good. 

Here's a tar ball nestled among tiny shells

This part of the beach has some black on it.

And here's a group of "yellow boot" workers
cleaning up the beach.

I don't think they were volunteers, because they were all men.
Not being sexist (?), but surely volunteers would have included women.

Last week in Gonzales, we saw one holding/staging area
for the BP's oil spill clean-up supplies.
Here is one of many stacks of booms
that were tied together and anchored in an effort to contain the oil.
The local newspaper reported that BP has left over 4,000 anchors in the Gulf and will be attempting to retrieve them.  Every newspaper has at least one article about the spill.

This is a stack of oil absorbant.

Attorney's advertising signs abound, but the locals seem to be less displeased with BP's handling of the spill than with the government's.

A side note that even though the off-shore drilling ban has been lifted,
 permits have not been granted for future drilling by the government agency in charge.  

Some reports say that the off-shore drilling ban has cost up to 12,000 people their jobs in the Gulf region.   

And just maybe these suds are from the Dawn dish detergent used to clean birds.
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