Sunday, March 27, 2016


George’s life was held together by an unshakeable faith in God, unflinching moral integrity, an enduring work ethic and duct tape.

At his passing, he left a legacy of faith, integrity and hard work. He also left behind a lifetime supply of duct tape, with rolls strategically placed in closets and drawers throughout the house.

If any man loved duct tape more than George, I haven’t met him. If duct tape couldn’t solve a household problem, them maybe it couldn’t be solved. It travelled with him more frequently than I did, going on work trips and family vacations. It was fortunate that it did, particularly the summer we rented a 33 ft. RV.

With neither instruction nor prior experience, I drove the RV, and four children, to North Carolina where George met us for a weekend of whitewater rafting. I travelled fourteen hours without incident, protected by excessive caution and the pure terror of driving such a lengthy vehicle. Then George arrived, full of eager inexperience and ready to take command. Within hours he backed the RV into a car where the bumper tore off the entire back (top to bottom) of the rented RV.

Yes, George, with the help of his like-minded brother, duct taped the ragged pieces together so I could drive the kids and myself home while he flew back to work. And, in case you are wondering, no, the rental company did not return our $1000 deposit even though I worked extra hard to clean the inside, and we did bring back all the pieces nicely taped together.

After just five months of taking care of house and home by myself, I am beginning to appreciate his love affair with duct tape. Friday, as insulation batting fell on my head in the attic, I knew just what to do. Eight pieces of duct tape later, the problem is solved for the time being. Saturday, when the wind kept threatening to remove a long tablecloth at an outdoor party, duct tape came to the rescue again. I might just have to pick up an extra roll or two.

Thank you, George. Now I am sorry I laughed at you and duct tape. You were right; I was wrong. Please forgive me.

Monday, March 21, 2016


I went alone to Sarah Duke Gardens, transported as much by eager anticipation as the borrowed car I drove.

Fond memories of other gardens beckoned me to appreciate again the floral gifts of spring. The Dallas Arboretum, Queen Elizabeth Park and countless other gardens in the States and across the sea—all the gardens George and I had enjoyed together—coalesced into a kaleidoscope of reminiscing that drew me forward. I parked the car and nearly sprinted in my eagerness to revisit such delight.

Seemingly without warning, internal alarms sounded and drowned out the sylvan sounds of wind-tickled leaves. Fresh-scabbed wounds broke open on my slowly healing heart; fresh blisters formed on my sandal-shod feet. Both my soul and soles were ill prepared for a solitary trek along a garden path. Band-Aids sufficed for my feet, but I found scant remedy for my soul.

I plodded along, salty tears carving channels down my sun-screened face. I pondered what there is about a garden that makes it better shared. Would Eden’s story have ended differently if Eve and Adam had explored Eden together, more like George and me?

Then I remembered Jesus—alone in Gethsemane’s garden, abandoned by his would-be companions who drifted away in sorrow-filled sleep. Still he persisted in his solitary vigil, blood oozing in agony from his every pore. Alone with his Father, he questioned and wrestled until his heart came to rest.

I left the garden as I found it, full of blossoms and budding trees. I left its quiet stillness and the buzzing of the bees. As I retreated, my back turned from its beauty, I carried with me the treasure my heart discovered there. It was the simple truth,  Not my will, but Yours be done.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


It was just yesterday—or at least last week—their naked brown arms were raised to the heavens in a posture of utter surrender. No hint of green softened their stark appearance. Immobile, dormant, maybe even dead, they provided scant contrast to a landscape of frost-burned beige. Even a vivid imagination would have had trouble conjuring a bright future for this dismal display.

Then without warning—perhaps during the darkness of my night or when I walked head bent to guard against uneven ground or while I crouched low to bag the unwelcome droppings of the dogs I walked—this tree emerged from winter hibernation. Bare, brown limbs donned velvet gowns and clothed themselves in shades of lavender, pink and white. Like choreographed maidens, they made their appearance on the stage of spring to dance in orchestrated delight.

The Japanese Magnolia is my renaissance reminder every spring and a compelling promise of hope. It shows that what I think I see is not always what it seems. It pictures resurrection for spirit and for soul, a profane but profound image of a sacred, life-rescuing truth. In full and living color, it illustrates the nectar of the divine coursing through buried and hidden channels until a time yet to be revealed.

I am grateful the rhythms of nature are in tune with the nature of God, and that life, like the landscape, has seasons of hope and resurgence. Best of all, I am glad I can inhale deeply of the knowledge that no matter how dark life may seem, Resurrection has already come.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Determined arms are extended. Delicate fingers, attached to face-up palms wiggle back and forth. “I want something else,” she says in the startlingly articulate voice of “the one to whom we will listen.”

I hover on her every word, trying unsuccessfully to hide my indulgent smile. I’m pretty sure she isn’t hungry. She has ingested a healthy meal and savored every bite. Graciously she declines offers for more rice, more chicken and more prunes, persisting, “I want something else.” I—who am new to this nightly game—have no idea what more she could desire, but mommy and daddy know.

Something else’ appears in the form of three Hershey’s kisses, ceremoniously unwrapped and lined up in front of her. She carefully eats each in turn then contentedly licks her no-longer-wiggling fingers until they bear no telltale stains from this delicious treat.

I am long past the age of two, at a time of life when if I wiggled my skinny fingers, attached to veined and work-worn hands, people would smile with pity not indulgence. Yet I identify with her request. I, too, want something else.

Life goes on. It is good; some of it quite fulfilling. But I understand as never before the exquisite longing for life’s desserts—those sweet treats of unquestioned love and quiet companionship. At the end of every day, I am happy and content, but like my granddaughter, “I want something else.”

Note to literal readers: Any references to chocolate are simply metaphor. Please do not bring me Hershey’s kisses. They aren’t my favorite sweet. And it is a literary shame I have to mention this.