Wednesday, October 19, 2011


"It may be little, it may be big,
but surprises happen when you least expect it.
Take what life gives you...delight in it and enjoy it"
 Our kitchen when we lived in China.  We hung the red lantern around our light; the neighbors surmised we were newlyweds...uh-oh.  Evenings they gathered outside our window  to watch us do our thing...little did we know!

Our home while we worked in Qingdao.  This complex is appropriately named "God's Gift"; imagine that? The large doorway is the entrance to our building; the windows to its right are our kitchen, next is 'our office'.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Open your heart - open it wide; someone is standing outside"
From Believe: A Christmas Treasury by Mary Engelbreit
Shape Sorter Bullies Illustration
Artwork by Catalina Aguilera

I have a special place in my heart that opens for those with what society dubs as 'Special Needs'. You know, after Michael retired from the military he served as Director for a school/hospital for children w/Cerebral Palsy and Spine bifida. It served many purposes for the children as well as their parents...a wonderful place.

Among some of the 'get away's' was an annual field trip to Six Flags in Arlington. It required nurses, aides, etc...a big operation from the get-go and everyone had a blast...a very big blast. One of the bennies was always going to the head of the lines or being escorted right on the rides...those the kids could handle.

Lots of folks would stop and give us money to 'treat' the kids...they wanted to help a little. Along w/that we always got lots and lots of looks...most of them were sympathetic looks with lots of love thrown in. That was a good thing. Being kind is a very good Jesus.

I've spent a little time with a very nice young man the last couple of weeks and he's enjoyed telling me that he enjoyed acting weird. Okay, I can handle betcha. He's cute and interesting.

A few days ago we had another opportunity to be together ~ he's a sacker and for the third time in three weeks he happened to sack me up again. On the way out he greeted everyone who entered with a nice welcome and then asked me how my day was going; I replied it was going great...and asked about his! He replied that it was okay...adding that he had never had many 'good days' and always had a very hard life...I asked him why that was the case.

All of this now before reaching my car...he said he had always been made fun of because people seem to enjoy doing that to special needs people like himself. All the way through school, he was bullied, teased and (I smiled at this next remark) even the cheerleaders did it. Oh!

Seems this job is the first one he's had other than being a busboy...even the 'fellow bussers' harassed, insulted and you get the picture, I'm sure!

I told him of the success my special needs friends had in the work force and he was very encouraged...saying perhaps he could do that in the future...he's now 21 years old. I told him to never, ever give up and he said he had no intention of doing so. Told me to have a good day.

As he wheeled the basket away and was almost out of my sight...he looked back with a bright smile and said, "Thank you, Ma'am. I really enjoyed talking to you today." And I have tears in my newly fixed eyes!

"Sometimes someone says something
really small, and it just fits right
into this empty place in your heart"
~From the television show My So-Called Life

He fits right into this heart of  I encouraged him but in return he gave me something so very, very special.  He encouraged me to continue to always, always make and take the time to "open my heart, open it wide for that someone standing outside"...oh yes!

By the way, his name is Sparrow and I think of what the scripture says about the little bird in Matthew 10:29.  
"And God cares what happens to it
even more than you do." 

From my yours

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Have you ever felt hopeless...helpless...drowning? Have you ever felt you had no one you could be totally honest and open with in sharing your feelings, your problems, your heartaches? Perhaps the question would be better posed as this...would you, could you have shared those thoughts with a willing listener? 

I realize that's a bunch of questions & who knows...possibly you've never had 'real' problems.
Maybe the 'thing' was a real biggie with you but not to anyone else...and they let you know it? Hmm...I have and it's no walk in the park, 'specially when it's just you!

Mother Teresa put it this way,
"Honesty & transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest & transparent anyway."

Why is it (generally speaking) that we are terrified of being honest about be transparent? Maybe you ran into someone like the person I was before I began my renovation; quick to judge...hmm, not a good thing and I'm very ashamed.

Say I'm around when someone divulges a what's to me a 'serious stepping in it' and I pull out my 'bad person that I don't want anything to do with' stamp and wham...branded 'em! And thought I was perfect? Ha, ha! Had you fooled, didn't I. Am I the only person with one of those stamps?

For too many years I worked at digging a hole for myself...I didn't care much about others...I was too busy digging! Why didn't I open up and talk to someone...anyone? Because...I was digging my hole.

Addiction days are over for me...that's past but not forgotten. It no longer overwhelms me to talk about tell my story...tho' at times I still choke up. Oh hey, you might think I'm showboating or trying to establish myself as a resident expert at large...neither me!

Christ met people where they were in life; no kangaroo mug shots or jail time. He 'felt' for them...He 'cared' for them. Should I do less? No way. I can help others who are can you.

I've written much about listening...good to listen and not take do all the talking. If I'm hurting I can't let it out if no one wants to listen...too busy?  Maybe not 'cause

Winnie the Pooh says:
“If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear."

I'm totally into listening and caring what you're wanting to say; I care, I honestly care...a whole lot.   God presents opportunities ~ it's up to me to take advantage and reach out.

I reach out to you and know you will do likewise...and you know what? I believe God will smile. 

Incidentally, God has no fluff in His ears and he listens, listens, listens...anytime, anywhere!  Isn't that the most awesome feeling? Oh yes...yes!

From my heart...

Friday, August 19, 2011


Okay, I wrote last week that I was going to practice trying to give God my full attention when praying rather than like multi-tasking; you know, like giving Him a minute and next thing I know I'm planning the next day...oh, sorry're still there? Oh, my bad.  Last night I finally devoted myself 100 % to what I was trying to say to least it's a start.

Added to that...I'm doing much better at listening to Michael during our early morning sharing times.  I think he's noticing my looking at him while he think? 

It's no wonder I'm like that, ours is such a 'busy society'.  When we moved to China that gave us a much slower pace of life.  Sadly, they are 'fast' changing...adopting the hurried lifestyle.

I like this proverb:
"It's tough trying to keepImage Detail
your feet on the ground,
your head above the clouds,
your nose to the grindstone,
your shoulder to the wheel,
your finger on the pulse,
your eye on the ball and
your ear to the ground". 

Whoosh...just reading that wears me down.  Are there those who can actually do all those things at one time...super multi-taskers?  I can chew gum and walk at the same time...stretch me further and I could possibly snap like a worn out rubber band.  What about you, can you do more than a couple of things at the same time? 
Hmm, bet you're quicker than me.

I've noticed (and M notices too)...that when I get a tad harried I sort of go into orbit...whoa!  Now if I focus/concentrate I do astonishingly well...oh, how good is that?  Downright awesome.  It's important to not just give it a quick's to be honest about what I'm doing...and the why involved. 

God has challenged me and He continues doing so.  He began several years ago and I've accepted it...even before I fully realized what it was He was doing in my life.  I marvel that He took me...a gawky little girl w/an ugly leg from an Oklahoma dust bowl and transformed me into what I am today.

Oh, you're wondering just exactly what I am today?  Well, I was painfully I doubt I meet any strangers.  I love people and I sort of interact w/them and wow, what doors are opened.  I love telling 'my story' ~ that would be what God has done in my life and I never ever tire of telling it.  He moved me out of my safe room and empowered me to go 'round the world and back again.  I love encouraging people and there is no pretense me, none at all. 

By this time you know that I'm transparent; what you see is what I am 24/7...Michael's the same...we are what we are because of what Father has planned and we co-operate.  He and His Son are the living water and bread of life...M and I are a couple of pipelines and baskets for the bread. 

God sort of 'challenged' me...putting it mildly!  Traipsing around the world by myself...moving to China...giant challenges!   Somehow He helped me, this chicken little...and I discovered who and what  Vasca is...I am His!

"Only those who can see the invisible can do the impossible" my eyes are sharp and I can honestly see the invisible...that's why I can do some of the things I once thought were impossible.  Ha, didn't I know that with Father nothing is impossible?  I just forgot.

How 'bout you and I get together and see some of those invisible things?  No end to what He would do with us...ready?  Okay, let's do it.

From my heart...

Saturday, August 13, 2011


  "It's only through listening that you learn
and I never want to stop learning"
...Drew Barrymore.

   Last week I had one of my eyes 'fixed'...very interesting procedure.  A learning experience and I did lots of instructions!  I was really all ears and eager to learn.  Now, thanks to a great eye surgeon, I have good eyesight to go with my sharp hearing...great combo...if and when they're used wisely.  My vision and hearing needs constant attention and fine tuning.

Michael has hearing problems so he is blessed with excellent hearing aids; to make life more interesting, his aids sing a lot...sort of harmonizing along w/everything they come near!   Main point is...he can hear and he listens well.  That's probably somewhat of a problem since he has a 'chatty' wife...that would be me of course.

He lost his hearing when in the Korean conflict in 'his' tank, Shamrock.  The military didn't take steps to protect him from the noise of the tank guns like they do now.  We're thankful for his 'aids' though...very thankful.  He practices listening...nice!

He was out of the country much of our marriage...which meant the four boys and I practiced togetherness.  My listening really had to work overtime...difficult being the mom and dad package.  They needed someone reliable, lovable and that was me.  I relied on them in return.

We made tapes and sent them to M when he was in Viet Nam and Ethiopia.  That was 'BC'...before computers and cells.  He would try to return the favor and believe me...we were all ears listening to his loving voice...I shed so many tears then.

He was away when the boys were in high school and college...more listening w/much late night listening.  They would come in my room, "Mom, are you asleep?"..."Mmm, no".  "Listen to this"...and I listened, trying my best not to doze off.  They needed that talking/listening special time...and it did our hearts good.

My mother lived w/us for several of those years; we added a big apartment to our house for her...good arrangement.  Once while I was away our youngest went into her room and asked her to wake up...which she did.  He was standing there w/part of her car's bumper in his hands.  She said, "Oh, don't worry about whatever happened, we'll talk in the morning".  All ended well.  Important that they shared and listened the next morning! 

It's not always easy to listen...and especially when it's something we'd rather not hear...or someone that we're not too fond of.  Listening is an art...listening, hearing is a finer art.  You can pretend to listen and not hear a word.  I multitask and lots of times when M is reading to me, I'm fingering the keyboard and he'll come out w/some silly sentence to see if he can catch me not hearing him...sometimes I fail his test...aargh.  I'm trying very, very hard to give him my total attention...trying, trying!

Okay, so people...we are a busy society...into a gazillion things w/not much time to spare w/ listening...paying attention to those who need the attention.  Easy to sort of 'make or break' someone or have someone break you...think about it.

Doesn't matter if it's someone perhaps you're not really crazy to talk to...not a close doesn't matter.  I am dedicated to giving 100% to those I come in contact with.  It's important. 

Now, perhaps someone you're talking to glances all around but doesn't look at you (by the way it isn't a gender thing...males and females can excel at it)...ever happen to you?  Yep, thought so.  It makes me uncomfortable...and I wish I hadn't 'bothered' them. 

Okay, since I'm a 'see thru' person...I do God that way...oh wow, do I ever.  I chatter at Him when I'm not too tired or have too many other important things on my mind.  How bad is that?  Worse than anything.  I'm working on that...and it's a chore.  My mind goes like a rocket and God gets left out of the orbit.  I am ashamed of how I treat Him; He's so patient, loving and kind to me...He's always ready to listen 24/7 and me???  I am so sorry very sorry.  I'm practicing the fine art of listening to Him...along with conscientious prayer.

I read His inspired word and learn but my most productive learning comes from listening to His water and bread of life...I never want to stop learning...after all I believe what I tried teaching my Chinese students...'when you're through learning, you're through'. 

From my heart...



Sunday, August 7, 2011


"Today I am me...quite simple I be......
There's no one alive who is me-er than me"...
Dr. Seuss. (Please forgive my adaptation! )

My mother said I was born asking questions and as I progressed she added that I could never lie to her...she could see it in my eyes!  Whoosh...I'm glad 'cause honesty really is the best policy, right?  What I did though was to hide much of 'the real me'...I was terrified of 'an unknown something' so for a very long time the 'real me' didn't surface.  To my detriment I hid too many important things.  Thankfully I've become transparent with open abandonment.  Some might say that's not so good...others?  Let's see.

I believe God has given me a special gift...the gift of encouragement and I am on a mission.  My prayer is that you won't take that as conceit...that certainly isn't my intent.  Agree or not, I am convinced of the gift and I do my utmost to use it for His purposes...He knows my heart and that's what really matters. 

I am all about making a difference.  Never have I been quiet about that goal in my life.  But human being that I am, I admit that I actually craved 'praise' from certain people that I wanted to impress.  There...I've put it in print for you to read.  How little is that of me?  Aargh...too little...I begged forgiveness and He forgave! 

That is totally out of the picture now...thank you, God.  I realize that soft touch does wonders in the most unexpected ways and that's so...AWESOME.  Wow!  Surprises around so many corners...touching is touching...truly touching.  

Fast forward to date...William Bradfield said "There are those whose lives affect all others around them. Quietly touching one heart, who in turn, touches another. Reaching out to ends further than they would ever know".

In this society I'm pulled in a jillion directions...every single day.  I like quiet (not into noise) and if I'm not careful I sort of...well...lose it...where did my peaceful existence go?  Do you ever feel that way, even a little bit?  It's easy to forget the most important things in my life...I've learned God deserves my best, not my leftovers.

I aim to touch your heart...feel it?  I am touching you...ever so softly...ever so quietly. reach out and touch someone and so it goes...passing it on...on and on the touch goes and He is pleased.  He's into relationships and touching, remember?

Mother Teresa was humility personified and she said..."Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable.  Be honest and transparent anyway". 

So anyway, here I am, just me; honest and transparent...and I am works!!!

From my heart...

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Go to fullsize image
"Be tuff...the "dog days" of summer can be wuff..."

I assumed the 'dog days of summer' were in August...but learned they can begin in June/July and go into September. 

This summer is a scorcher and just think...we're barely moving into August...aargh. I am extremely thankful that our home is easy to cool...the a/c is working properly...thank you God.

I wonder if the heat makes people more up tight, short-tempered and downright antsy! It certainly seems to be affecting the governing process of the country...poor people are working overtime to do what they should have had finished moons ago! Oh well. The heat's on...high heat.

Do you think 'we the people' will ever be able to live together...peaceably? Doesn't seem likely because we're fractured. Hey, businesses fail...people get their hours cut or lose their jobs...families even fracture...domino effect. People seem to be in limbo...uncertain of what's around the corner...uncertainty is frightening.

We live in such a wonderful country; most of us have more than the necessities of life...but...there may be something well do we know each other? I mean 'really know'each other.

I like privacy and quiet time...I also like people. Think a minute about how well you know me. Could you make a list of 'things I know about Vasca'...? I was sort of born asking questions and have never lost my curiousity ~ so I honestly try to get to know you.

Remember that post about vulnerability? At times I believe a fear factor enters and prevents me/us/you from really getting to know each other; or if it's easier to just go through the common rituals of 'How's it going?'... 'Oh, same-o same-o'...'Good, see 'ya later'.   Might be safer than taking time to show a greater interest in how you/me really are at that particular time...but...what if we never saw each other later? 

Last week a casual acquaintance saw me and mentioned that she had missed seeing me; she had the saddest look on her face. I smiled at her and she said "I know you pray; so please pray for me. I'm going to have to get a part-time job; my hours have been cut back. I have few skills and haven't had to job search in years". I'm praying fervently.

You know what? We need each other...we really need each other! You have something wrong...share it. I'm transparent and admittedly vulnerable but I feel comfortable in my transparent self. Probably I make some uncomfortable; but perhaps my openness will help someone who's suffering as I have and still do at times. It's all about caring and sharing with each's important.

Helen Keller said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."   Oh yes!

I believe God smiles when He watches our togetherness; even when the 'tuff days of summer are wuff...'

From my heart...