Saturday, March 30, 2013

~The Brave Girls & Their Mustard Seed~

I am an avid reader as many of you know. And awhile back I became thoroughly engrossed and very bothered when I read actress, Ashley Judd's autobiography. Her story intrigued me as I always had the nagging question "Where was she while her mom, Naomi & her sister, Wynona..the country duo The Judd's were out making their mark on the world. And her book answered those questions. Ashley did get left behind. Behind to deal w/her abandonment, insecurity, sexual abuse and depression. It was a hard read. But the most troublesome part was reading about her life's passion to help the sexually abused women, the abandoned women and the women who are trapped in a desolate predicament of human trafficking and slavery. It is disturbing, sickening and disheartening to think that this is occurring in third world countries, progressive cities and even our own backyards. And we honestly do not know about it. I was selecting movies one night on Netflix and came across a movie with Kevin Kline who I respect. The movie is called Trade and it has to be one of the hardest, most disturbing and gut wrenching movies about the sex slave industry. Innocent and poor women are taken from their homes to enter what they think is a better job and better life for them and their families. Only to find themselves in complete and utter Hell. And if they aren't tricked, then many are just simply abducted where they do not speak the same language, know anyone or their surroundings and have no idea how to escape even if the opportunity presented itself. And the movie does not stop there. Oh far from it. What I learned was how this industry is also driven by not only women but by innocent and very young children. And the premise of the movie is the race to save a young girl from an online auction which will take her into the hands of the vilest of pedophiles. Yes.. ONLINE. Like we auction our unwanted toys, games, household items on Ebay. People (and I use that term cautiously, as they don't resemble normal people) auction off a PERSON, a CHILD into sexual slavery. It is beyond disturbing. But I think that we as a nation, and of faith need to educate ourselves about this travesty. We can't sit by and allow it to happen and not be held accountable for our lack of discern later to our higher calling. So I got upset, bothered and felt completely helpless as to what I could do to help other than know about it and just try and be aware. The movie The Hangover is hilarious. And I have to admit I couldn't stop laughing when I saw it. Amongst friends we had a habit of trading movie quotes. So I couldn't wait to see the next one. And then I watched it and it was set in Bankok. And it was then that I knew that God had really put this little nugget of truth on my heart. There's a line in the movie where they friends AGAIN lose the brother of the bride. And the line is something along the gist of "Well the city now has him".. meaning.. he may be lost forever. And it was at that moment that the movie was no longer funny. My heart sunk when I heard those words said in jest. But all I could think about were all the thousands of enslaved people w/no hope and no faith in ever getting free. But again, what can a SAHM from Texas do? It's not like I know of anyone to help or anything. (You can turn off the music player in the upper right corner to watch the preview) And enter The Brave Girls... Then I get the invite from a sweet and creative friend who has a similar heart as my own. It was a few days after Christmas and she invited me to join her, some friends and their daughters to help out with a project. The Brave Girls is an pair of kindred souls and artists who have dedicated their work into a way of life. A lot like the Junk Gypsies, Amy & Jolie Sikes from HGTV who happen to reside around my hometown neck of the woods. The Brave Girls and the Junk Gypsies have managed to hit a vein in their life's passion that resonates deeply w/women across our great land. It's the freedom of the open road, music cranking and an open heart and freedom to express yourself and free yourself from the ordinary restraints that hold you from achieving what you need to feel good about yourself. And the BG's as I will call them hold online classes and rejuvenating & creative retreats on a ranch in Idaho. My friend had the opportunity to attend one of their retreats this past Summer. And she came back excited, rejuvenated and on fire for creative expression. And it was a joy to watch her express herself. The task at hand was a new project that The Brave Girls decided to undertake. They had successfully inspired, encouraged and liberated thousands of women to choose to live the life they desired creatively. Again, it's that lifestyle change. So they decided to set their lines across the pond and into some very murky water. It is here where I believe that God was upsetting and bothering not just me about this terrible tragedy. Only, they had the tools, the vision and the online and in person following to cast their lines far and with conviction. So they decided to begin the task of inspiring the least hopeful, the most hurting and the under-loved of women... the women who had miraculously broken their chains of bondage and became FREE. And thus the Truth Card Endeavor was born. They were planning a trip to Manila, Philippines in early January 2013 and were requesting handmade cards of inspiration so they could meet the women and encourage them. To help them make their lives better. But most of all to LOVE them. To SHOW them that there were women like myself and many other who cared about them and wanted to show them that a new life, a fresh start was possible if only they dug deep enough to find hope and to believe. BG's already knew that we knew how to let loose and have fun creating stuff. We thrive of this stuff. ;) So we pulled out our ScrapCrap (as I like to call it), stickers, pens, paints, embellishments.. man you name it.. we pulled that stuff out!! And we each made very personal and unique cards about the size of a playing card that they could hand out and show these women that we cared.. and we hurt.. and we loved them. And Bg's ended up getting over a thousand in that short notice request. Women from all over the country, old and young girls made these tokens of care... to remind them that they do matter!! And that they CAN have a very good life. Because of holiday travel plans I had to make mine alone. And I have to admit I am very glad it worked out this way. I spent New Years Eve, or should I say the wee morning hrs. of the New Year making my cards. And it was one of the most personally fulfilling things I have ever made. .. and I have made a TON of stuff in my life~ The quiet solitude was spent praying and meditating on each card that I made. They were all different and unique. And I was in such a good spiritual place that I was just LED to what each one needed to be. As if that card in my hand was already designated for 1 woman who needed to see, read and feel that exact message. I can't think of a better way to start off the new year. Travel plans to visit family lent me the opportunity to tell them how excited I had been and what a great project this was. I had every intention of writing about it and spreading the great message. Even remember making the comment how this would be an excellent mission project for the women's shelters the homeless and hospitalized in our own community. But it never felt right to talk about it. So the BG's take all of our cards and hand them out in the streets of Manila to many many women. They visit the house where the women are setting forth in starting over Free. They shared their stories and cried many tears. They spoke of dreams and all the other fears they have. It's ironic that the home they now share has bars on the windows outside. Not to keep them in as before, but to keep them free and out of enslavement. And those are the bars that actually have given the security of freedom. The only problem was there are not enough places for the women to go safely. So BG's found another home that actually had a perfect concrete wall in the back that provided a barrier for freedom. They had the vision and the dream to purchase that home to help more. The need is HUGE. So they came back and told us of their dream to purchase this place. I looked at it and thought.. what a great idea.. but how do you fund something like that in this economy? It is sad, but I will freely admit that I didn't think much of helping or seeing that it could be done. They had an online auction of item o help raise the funds. But honestly it wasn't anything I needed or could use. So I went about my life as I always have.. Until tonight.... and this is where that little mustard seed comes into play: Matthew 17:20 New International Version (NIV) 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. I was chatting online w/my cousin and playing games. She signs off. I look on my FB page and my friend had included me to a new fundraising page about a pair of old boots from the BG artist who set this entire mission in motion. I thought okay.. what is this and how did I get involved w/this all of the sudden? Actually, I was trying to figure out WHY it was on my FB page. And then something very strange started happening. That huge amount of $$ those BG's were trying to raise took off. And I mean it started like fire. When I saw what was happening I literally started crying. The premise was they were trying to buy back those boots the founder was auctioning off. There were groups catching donations and it became a bidding war to see who would end up w/those boots and how much money was going to be raised. And it was UNREAL! And at this moment.. we all knew that this was a God Thang!! And it was happening on Good Friday!!! The irony was not lost on me. We were watching donations of $10, $20 and others shoot thru the roof. Before the second hr. that property was funded and they were now getting donations to fund the furnishings. When all was said and done.. over $55,000 was raised in the blink of an eye. And I believe that made the acct. over $100,000 if my bleary eyes saw correctly. And we could only imagine those women and their new lives and what this meant to them and all the others to be encouraged. I literally found myself in a position of really upset, sickened and bothered by something that my Heavenly Father weighed on my heart... and He showed me the outlet in which I Could make a difference and help ... to probably buying a tiny portion in that new home for more women to start over. My little tiny mustard seed that was added to all the other ladies mustard seeds grew exponentially before our eyes. And it left us all thinking.. "Man if He did that w/that little bit... just what else can we do w/a little more"? And personally.. man.. maybe I need to dream a little bit bigger than I allow myself. Maybe I really do need to become A Brave Girl!! ..and another small moment in time when all the world was right for just a little while... Happy Easter 2013 Also check out the Brave Girls and see details on their website

It's Almost Naptime!: That terrible, horrible good Friday

It's Almost Naptime!: That terrible, horrible good Friday: Many years ago my girlfriends and I started a tradition of getting together for a potluck brunch on Good Friday. We changed things up...

Monday, March 25, 2013

~Remember Me~

For the last couple of weeks I have noticed a man walking on the feeder road next to the interstate. The road leads from my town to the next town (obviously). The weather is predictably Texas weather: rainy, windy, cold, quite warm, humid.. and back again...with the extremes all the norm these days. I usually see quite a few people walking on this road hoping to get a lift somewhere drifting where they want to be. My mind often wonders where they are going, where they have been and most certainly hoping it is for better tomorrows. But none have struck me as strongly as this gentleman. And I use the term gentleman quite efficiently. For when I see him my mind wonders into a place deep within me to question my thoughts, my actions and my routines. This gentleman does not request a free ride, a meal or even some money for his trip. This man is all about giving to everyone else on this particular highway; one travelled by thousands everyday. And the thought occurs to me "Do most people notice this man and his gift like me or do they just fly by in their cars, trucks, minivans and wheels without a care in the world"? "Do they too notice the important gift this man is sharing and making them take a personal inventory as me"?
Or do they call him foolish, crazy or even betrayed by some form of truth they hold dear? He walks and walks and walks on. Never have I seen him stop. Immediately, I feel the urge to go and get him some cool water or a warm drink to make his travels easier. But something inside tells me to allow him to continue uninterrupted for he has a purpose to serve without acknowledgement. For you see this man travels this road carrying a large cross leaning across his right shoulder quietly, slowly and with a quiet dignity that bears witness to someone so long ago, on a journey not so different. But the outcome was so incredibly horrendous as to the middle chapter of the original's life. These days I seek to find him as a reminder of my walk that isn't as obvious when compared with this mans. My life's journey is being noticed and upheld for scrutiny, just not as apparent all at once for everyone to judge. My suspicion is that this highwayman's journey will end on Good Friday, but I acknowledge mine will continue and with hopes that my memory of his walk will surpass far from Good Friday as a reminder of mine. Hopefully, this walk will not need to be reminded as such an in your face reminder that this man offers for all of us who seek him shall find. And I pray that others who do not understand will find meaning and understanding in this man's journey as well. This was an original post from my blog at

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

~Everybody Chill Out.. I got this~

Said Jesus to His flock.....
Have you heard me?  Are you listening?
Is this anything different from what I have
said all along? 
 It was written long before
even I came before & among you.
Haven't you figured out that the future has already
been written just as the past has already been lived?
Where is your faith?  Where is your cross?
Yes.. THAT cross.  The one you must carry
in order to proceed to get us all where we are going.
 Do I know how heavy that cross is?
Do I know how long and far that destination is with
it carried over your back?
  Splinters you say?
No you can't have the blue one or the green one.
Do you mean to tell me that you honestly believe
that the orange one is any lighter in weight
than your brown one?
How can I ask you to carry it by yourself?
Wait a minute. .. so now you are  demanding Sunscreen?
No it isn't in the plan to make take a
break at that roadside  park.
And please just ditch that GPS cause it won't
be of help at all to where we are going.
I know it says the views are better and the
trip will be shorter.  None the less, the answer
is still
For the last time.. I am not going to answer your
question of are we there yet?
Or how many more miles?
Oh and while we are at it since 
I'm the
leader then I get to select the music I want to
listen to along the way.
I do understand how you do not like my style
of music...
But even so, my trip...
My rules
Yes I am too.  Very thirsty?
No, please share what little water you have with
the others who thirst...
Because I said so....
No, trust me
You will Never run out of water
This I promise to you.
And while we are at it..
I MOST Definitely Do Know How
Heavy that cross is
And the colors really do not matter
No really... for they are all the same
Your splinters? 
Let me show you mine.
Yes you will carry it
But you weren't listening when I told
you that I will help you along the way when it
gets far too heavy and the road too treacherous
Because I LOVE You
More than you will ever know
Please just Trust Me
I have already promised you I know
The Very Best Way
Come along now
We must be going
We have many places to stop
Many people to help
Many people to show
Many people to inspire
They need us to show them
The Way
For we need them to join us
Along our Way


~Bluebonnets in a Texas Fall~

The Bluebonnet is the official state flower of Texas.
It grows wild and permeates our natural landscapes & along our vast roadways
announcing the grand arrival of Spring.
First Lady Bird Johnson established as one of her national
platforms the beautification of our nation w/her wonderful
wildflower planting agenda.  And her legacy previals in all the
gorgeous roadways and byways across all of our diversified states.
The seeds are harvested & sold throughout our state to help us to
colorize our natural environments.  They will regenerate after the season if the birds
do not carry them away and if there is sufficient water for growth.
Seeds from packets can be spread generally during the month of Nov.
in hopes of a vibrant and hearty harvest for the next Spring.
In the late 1990's First Lady of Texas, Laura Bush established an annual
event, The Texas Book Festival so literacy could be placed on the front burner
of the State's agenda.  And it has been a huge success.  Authors, q&a's,
seminars, writer's workshops etc. are the platform for getting attention
for literacy.  One of the highlights is the focus for children and the importance
of reading at an early age.  Kids can meet favorite authors, illustrators, do
crafts and listen to live music.  The event takes place every Fall.  And just
as  Texas First Lady Bird did in the 60's, the seeds to lifelong reading and
literacy were planted in Austin, Texas once a year.  The event
has been a huge success and even went into the national spectrum once
First Lady and President Geroge W. Bush resided in the White House and
promoted literacy and education during the National Book Festival held in
Washington, D.C.
And now we have the Texas Bluebonnet Award in which 20 children's books
are selected by the Texas Library Association into a master list selected for
readers in grades 3-6.  There is a huge variety of books to explore.  They open
these books for review by Texas children to read.  The kids have the final say
after spending the Fall months reading and reviewing these titles.  They get to
use personal discrimination to identify their favorite through a voting process in
the Winter.  One title will be selected to stand out as the favorite once the votes
are counted.  A student is allowed to vote on their favorite after reading 5 books of
their choice.  Parents are also encouraged to share in this adventure and read aloud or
along with their child.  Participation in this program also has rewards for the
students hard work.  If a child reads 5-10 books then they may vote and get a pencil.
If 15 books are read then they will be rewarded w/a vote, pencil and each lunch in
the library.  For those kids who complete all 20 books then they get all fo the above and
also an autographed copy of the winning book or a free book from the Spring Book Fair.
For the size of this blog entry  I will only mention some of our favorites.  And there have so
many WONDERFUL books we have enjoyed.  Big Hoot might have a hard time
picking his favorite.  I won't get to vote but that won't stop me from hooting
about my favorite.  And it's a doozy!!  I will save that one for last.
We were excited to see Zita the Spacegirl on the list.
It was a favorite of Big Hoots as he only read it about
4 times over the Summer... No Really... he did..
I know.. pretty amazing huh?  And I was glad since he
had already read it, that was one less book he had to
handle along w/all his homework projects at his new
magnet school.  I like this book because it features a
girl heroine who finds herself in a mess and is trying to
undo the wrong she unwillingly caused.  (oh how I
can personally relate)  ;p
After all of that action and energy spent trying to get back
home from a planet filled with monsters.. a person
might get hungry.  And what kid does Not like a
hotdog.  Heck, my brother used to plan clandestine
operations raiding the refrigerator for the raw weiners
then running off and chowing down while I was growing up.
(now this is the part where the gag reflex sets in for me)
However, both of my hoots LOVE a good cooked (thank
you God) hotdog!!  So enters .....
a fun and educational source for everything fun,
yummy and fulfilling.  There are tons of historical
references to the foods we eat and the places and in
some cases the reasons they were invented.  You might
want to grab something to eat after reading this one..
or maybe even take in a country fair or two.
After that excursion you find yourself up for more adventure in
the  cute book about postcards and camping adventures.  And let's
face it.. what child doesn't dream about leaving home for an
exploration of the great unknown (or maybe even to jsut leave
home after Mom or Dad gets mad at them and the discover all the
injustices that can be rendered onto a helpless & defenseless and oh
so mistreated kid)???
Here is where I might have to take a serious guess and wonder if
this Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie just might win the vote of Big Hoot.
For there has Never been a pickle (aside from the dreaded sweet variation)
that this hoot has not loved and conquered.  In fact, pickle is one of his
nicknames as it also rhymes w/his last name.  So he did speak highly of
this vingary smelly of a book.
Our next selection is along the lines of boys, screams and all that
goes bump in the night.  And we read it during the week of
Hallowee so what better time.  However, this book can be enjoyed
year round.  It is unlike any kid's book I have read before.  And I Loved it..

Scarum Fair is loaded w/blood, guts, gore and all that is creepy
and macabre.  It has a comical sinister undertone that
throws in just enough humor and lyrical style that keeps you
laughing and turning the page quickly for the next entry.
What boy doesn't get into the not your sugar coated
nice and neat book?  Most are into boogers, snot
and obnoxious noises that can be conjoled from their
body parts & crevices.
 Oh yes.. And guess what?  It's a poetry book!!
Yep.. Can you believe it?  Poetry that the kids will
adore since it's all about creepy, crawly and disgusting
things that you might fear..  Even the ghouls  girls
might get a kick out of this one.
Oohh La La.. there is even one that the girls might
especially be drawn to.  Just Being Audrey is a cute
book about Audrey Hepburn and her childhood.
The illustrations are light, fun and classy... all
the wonderful traits that symbolized the classy
woman and idol she became.
It teaches how you can overcome a very difficult
childhood while surviving a World War.  And how
staying true to yourself and what you believe in
can make a huge difference in the world.  It also
illustrates how one quiet, sweet girl grew up to become
an international star that influenced personal demeanor,
fashion and how we can save lives.. one child at a time.
(oh yes.. and for the girlie girls out there.. it even has BALLET)
And speakin' of dancing.. there is a vibrant book on South American/Latin
dance and music.  I never realized that there were so many different styles of
Latin music & dance. 

Under the Mambo Moon is a great book that explains the origin of the different dances..
the Cha Cha, The Mambo, The Tango etc., the musical instruments used, the beats and
the culture behind style.  I have never really gotten into the hugely popular Dancing With
The Stars TV competition show.  I've have seen it a few times just in passing.  Now, after
having read this morsel of knowledge I want to really Watch it as I now Understand so much
more.  It is a fantastic history lesson, music interpretation and multicultural gem.  This book is
written in an unusual format.  And I have to admit that it took me awhile to finally get to that
"Ah Ha" moment where my mind put the subplots together.  But once I got there, I realized that
I was looking forward to reading it all over again cause there was just so much meat there.
Big Hoot wasn't into this book at first, but it to is a poetry book and he was able to pick up
great nuiances I had missed while I was reading this one to him.
The style, rhythm and vibrant colors makes a special impact in this picture book format.
By the end, Big Hoot was really enjoying it.  It's definitely worth a look through.. especially
if you are into the dance show.  It explains much!!
Ellray Jakes is a comforting and not so comforting book about a boy
who "just wants to get along".. the Rodney King of his Middle School.
However, as we who have survived the Middle School angst and ranks know..
That is waayy easier said than done!!
Especially when you have to deal w/parents who don't understand the torment
you endure on a daily basis from 2 bullies that make your life miserable.  This
 book is a great source of help, understanding, conflict management when dealing
with the horrible and ever growing problem of Bullying.
And Ellray Jakes can be a friend to all who have or are having to deal w/
bullying from mean classmates~
And this is where our bookmark rests for this post.  The next three are some
up & coming..and coming up books we have yet to read....
And now I have saved the BEST for LAST..
My choice for the Bluebonnet Award IF they would
only let Me Vote......(grumble, moan,*sigh..hiss)
And how can you NOT LOVE a book
that's first two hook 'em sentences are
"He was the best of Toms"
"He was the worst of Toms"
And it has my very most favorite ever of all times
And two of my favorite authors of the
Victorian Era....
Charles Dickens & Mark Twain
And an alley cat with one
Major secret he's been hiding
his whole miserable life.....
one little orphaned mouse
accidentally comes across it.....
Anyone who KNOWS me knows I have a passion
for books of any kind.. But my achilles heel is
Children's Lit.
There are hundreds of my favorites.. But once in
awhile, a book comes along that literally just
pushes me over the edge.
Holes, by Louis Sachar did it a few yr. ago.
Honestly, AN"YTHING written by my buddy
Louis is a fine jewel among gems..
And like Holes.. The Cheshire Cheese Cat
has so many different subplots, hidden treasures
and historical info that I got hooked immediately.
This book is witty, wry and wonderful.
And to even imagine Charles Dickens with
major writer's block for an opening hook, line
and sinker is a home run!! 
Will Dickens catch the words he's longing for?
Just what happened to Skilley the Alley Cat
and his sad sad story?
Cause I was gonna read before the Presidential
Elections suckered me in and then
sucker punched the crap out of me.. leaving me
gasping in disbelief.
I'm dying to finish this book ... but it's just so
dang cute that I want to slowly savor it
like a cold fresh wine or a finely aged Cheese!!
Happy Reading!!
Our kids are our future.. and by golly they have
their work cut out for them...