The Blessing of Aunt Ruby

elderly young hands

This was published in June on Dr. Kathy’s
blog
. I wanted to bring it here too. Kathy wrote this as an introduction:

Summer can be a time for rich memory making. Randy’s memories can inspire you to think about what memories you are and aren’t creating for your children. Sometimes, we’re so concerned with doing things for our children, that we don’t do enough with them. And, have you told them about your grandparents and those even older? Pull up a chair, grab a piece of pie, and talk. Speaking of pie, if there was a “food smart” it appears Randy’s Aunt Ruby and Great Granny Sallie Mae had it. Warning – you may be hungry after reading this. I’m craving a juicy peach – in or out of a pie. – Kathy

When my Great Aunt Ruby passed away in 2006 it was heart-breaking news. She was a sweet soul here on Earth, an blessing to our family, and I miss her.

Aunt Ruby married my Great Uncle Boochie (Boochie is a name of endearment) who was the son of my Great Grandmother Sallie Mae. They lived with Sallie Mae. Uncle Boochie was a police officer and died relatively young from a heart attack. My Aunt Ruby definitely was a modern example of the Biblical figure of Ruth. In the Bible Ruth stayed with Naomi, her mother-in-law, out of loyalty and in the humility of service even after her husband passed. Unlike Ruth, Aunt Ruby was never to re-marry. She stayed and lived with my Great Grandmother until Great Granny passed away. It was only then that Aunt Ruby moved out on her own.

Chased, Caught

father-son

This post was published on Dr. Kathy’s blog back in June. She wrote this as an introduction:

Today I’ve invited Randy Thomas to blog for me. He begins with a beautiful illustration from friends and contrasts their father-son relationship with his own. You may be able to relate to Randy’s sadness and grief. But, keep reading, because Randy writes about God becoming his new Father and that changes everything. Everything. He writes about the chase and I love how it ends. I wonder if you’re familiar with it. Read to find out. – Kathy

Four-year-old Isaac, with a flash of his bright eyes and curly blond hair, could pretty much convince you to do just about anything. That boy is a handful and all you can do is smile as you pull him off the next piece of furniture.

The staff were all gathered together for lunch one day when Isaac came by the office, along with his mother and sister, to visit his dad. After the meal was over, Isaac ran around the conference table taunting his father, “Catch me Daddy!” Every time he passed one of the guys that had gathered around for lunch, we would growl and try to hook him with our arms. He giggled that 4-year-old sunshine of a giggle, eluding our scary traps as he playfully derided us, “I passed you!”

“Lately, he likes to be chased and get caught,” his dad later explained to me.

Exciting New Book Projects (Updates and Personal Announcement)

hands keyboard typing

Lately I have helped other friends with their books and that has sparked a new personal book project! I have been so excited it has been hard to sleep the past couple of nights. :)

If you are someone I am connected with on social media, you might have seen various posts lately about how I have the honor of working with Dr. Kathy Koch as she writes her new book “Screens And Teens: Connecting With Our Kids In A Wireless World.” So far I have done background research and given feedback on what she is writing as she writes it.

So fun.

This comes on the heels of doing the same type of content/writing feedback for another friend’s memoir, Jennifer Allison (aka The Rambunctious Kid.)

Seriously, I am loving these kind of projects.  While I haven’t been a part of his writing process, I am of course very excited for Alan Chambers who has worked very hard on his new book that is due out next year.

It’s A Gay Pride Time of Year

gay pride symbol

Today I am seeing a lot of pictures from my gay friends on social media of various gay pride events they are attending. Gay pride events happen throughout the year but June is kind of the launch of the yearly gay pride season (please correct me if I am wrong.) Anyway, seeing all those pictures reminded me of an article I wrote on my old blog that I want to share with you again today. I hope you find it worth the read. It’s been slightly edited from its original version.

It’s A Gay Pride Time of Year

It’s that time of year again, drag queens strolling down main street, the activists groups chanting their slogans, and gogo dancers causing parade float designers nightmares (they just won’t stand still!) Then there is the other 90% of parade people like your neighbor Sarah, or cousin Bill and his partner walking along hand in hand. They commit to completing a long parade route to show solidarity with the LGBT community and/or cause represented within that sphere of influence. Common + Unity = Community. Everyone belongs to one (a community), or several (communities), because we are wired to want to be known by others and to know others.

Boop … Boop Boop … BLAM!!! (Health & Fitness Update)

piclab

It has been a great week on the health and fitness fronts. I lost more weight than I expected, made a rather large dietary shift, and am feeling more powerful (upping my game) at the gym. I am so grateful for the folks who send along regular encouragement and inspiration! I still have quite a bit to go, but thank God, we have traveled a long way already. Yay :)!

The Weight Loss Part

As of today I weighed in for Weight Watchers (WW) at 227.6. I lost 4.2 more pounds last week! The rundown:

  • May 14, 2013: Was at 270 … total net loss to date, 42.4 pounds
  • Feb. 22, 2014: Weighed 228.4 after being on WW for six months and quitting after that weigh-in … today, now back on WW, I am down 0.8 pounds from that February weigh in.
  • May 17, 2014 (Rejoined WW ): Weighed 238.2 … in three weeks I have lost 10.6 pounds
  • Only 1.3 pounds left to lose to reach my next goal weight of 226.3. It’s not my final goal weight, just the first benchmark since restarting WW.

Last week I posted that I had lost 40 pounds… what was I thinking? I am not so great at on-the-fly math… I actually lost a net of 38.2 pounds (total) last week. This week I went past 40 pounds to a total loss of 42.4 pounds and I am so excited. :)

I am also very happy to be .8 pounds lighter than I was in February. I was kicking myself for gaining that almost ten pounds between February and May. However, that gain is now gone and then some!

#HappaRanda indeed :)

I will also probably drop that second bullet point in the rundown next week. Again, I do that rundown really to psyche myself up, but some of my bullet point friends appreciate the effort too. :)

Of Heart & Mind

heart fixed

I can confidently say that God wired me to be an intuitive “feelings-first” type of person. I trust my feelings and intuition because that is, no question, how God made me. The problem is that in my efforts to test and find the meaning behind the intuition, I can be lazy and simply “assume” something to be true. Based on my gut feeling, I can explain away a situation or judge a relationship without actually paying attention to discovering the broader context of known facts. I do that much less now that I have gotten a bit older, but it can still be a struggle. I have learned to not act on my feelings before prayer, investigation, and reflection.

All that said, God also wired me with a brain and the ability to analyze and apply logic. I might be a feelings-first type of person, but I am not properly engaging the broad range of gifts God has given me if I only make decisions based on how I feel.

Memorial Day 2014

memorial day 2014

Today is Memorial Day! I thank God for all of our military heroes here and around the world. I thank God also for the men and women, and their families, who have sacrificed their lives to fight for and preserve freedom. I will also spend time thinking about and thanking God for the military vets in my own family.

Plus, I will thank God for the One, Jesus, who gave the ultimate sacrifice to liberate us eternally, for an everlasting peace.

Check out this video from my friend Kathy. I think it is excellent and has a suggestion for families that would be so healthy, and honoring, to do.

Engaging The Maximum Intended Benefit

treadmills

I thought I was doing great on the treadmill, until I realized I wasn’t doing it right.

Treadmills aren’t exactly “difficult.” Simply punch a few buttons and onward you go at whatever speed you want.

However, to maximize the treadmill experience, I have used the “Random” program at level 13 (just went up to level 15.) Now, at this level, that little treadmill turns into a transformer! It has a mind of its own; adding/subtracting your incline throughout the entire time allotment. At some points I pretend I am climbing Pike’s Peak. I have a lot of friends around Pike’s Peak.

“LifeFlow” – The Journey Behind The Painting

LifeFlow_cropped

Martha and Mary

38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:38-42

Late February, maybe early March, I went to the art store. I had created a few paintings over the holidays and absolutely loved the refuge/communion that activity provided. While creating them I kept thinking, “This is a life-giving and affirming activity. This is a major part of who God created me to be.” However, as I stood looking at the blank canvasses in the art store, I was focusing on the smaller canvasses. It occurred to me to not “settle” for limiting my artistic vision.

So, I just went all hog-wild and chose a 3×4 foot canvas!

Buying this giant of a canvas literally made my stomach nervously rumble as I took it up to the counter to purchase.

Perfectly Placed Dots

dots
Forgive the lighting quality. I took this photo on my iPhone. Click the image to bring up the image file. Then click on it again to see the full size.

Please forgive the lighting quality. I took these photos on my iPhone. Click the image to bring up a larger version. It’s not finished yet :)

I am going to share something personal. I am not going to apologize for it and I am not going to minimize it. If you think it is weird than so be it :).

When I hung my current painting (not quite yet finished) on the wall, stepped back about five feet, and looked at the light blue sphere filled with those dots … I literally burst into joyful tears. Another time that happened during this project was when I started adding the iridescent white dots streaming throughout the piece.

During the creative process I get lost in thought and enjoy the flow. As I placed each of the white dots, I had the thought, “these are like individual souls flowing through the world….”