Fries or Onion Rings

Just seeing this photo triggers some lovely "smemories." You know, memories of burgers cooking on the open pit barbeque, fries coming out of extremely hot pans of oil, along with some onion rings and barbeque sauce all mixed with the hint of the freshly mowed grass from the lawn outside the car.

This restaurant is in Oklahoma City (where I grew up ~ mostly). It's unique in that it is huge, but only a drive-in. They didn't bring your food out on roller skates, but that's ok. We weren't in that big a hurry when I was little. If you're ever going through Oklahoma, chart your course to stop at 2701 N.W. Expressway right in the middle of the state. You can count on an incredible dining experience.

I've been thinking of Oklahoma memories a bit more than usual this month. My high school had a big reunion there last weekend. We'd considered going, but things are a bit busier than normal these days. Last night I found a lovely e-mail from one of my best buddies in my inbox. We had some really fun adventures from 7th grade to graduation. Found out she's a new mom with a four year old. Wow.

Additionally, she referred me to some photos on the internet of our classmates at the reunion. She must have given me the wrong website. Those people are not the people I knew in school. They couldn't possibly be the same folks I hung out with at the Charcoal Oven. Although the photos on their name tags did look slightly familiar.....



Did ya hear about the streakers at the prestigious polo event?? You just can't help but smile a little bit at that one. Go on --- give in to the temptation...

When I was eight years old, we were dedicating our brand new church facilities out in the wild west. It was an amazing new concept for a church in 1969. The place was packed. Even the mayor came. And right as she was introduced ---- there he came. Fast as lightening --- right through the front of the Sanctuary!

We were all horrified back then, too. And yes, even as a little girl, I had that smile appear. Some things just make you laugh even at the most inopportune times....

Happy Monday!


Summer Fun

In spite of difficulties all around...sometimes you just need to take a break and grin. Recently JJ, Honey and I spent the day at one of those grin-maker spots. It's always nice to be with JJ and Honey and this was an especially nice time.

Next time you're feeling like you need a boost for your soul; I highly recommend taking a trip on the closest blue caterpillar. If you don't have one in your town, just pile your sofa cushions on top of you or around you and imagine...



Sometimes I feel like crying. As you know if you've visited here more than once or twice, I've said goodbye to both Mom and Dad within the past ten years. And I've said enough goodbyes to family members to be done with that.

When I see friends or hear stories of folk in the news who are meeting incredible challenges with grace, dignity and courage, I want to find them and hug them. But that isn't always possible. Sometimes they are across the ocean. Sometimes they want to be alone - for a little bit. And amazingly, they just keep on plugging away regardless of the magnitude of the issue.

Sometimes I feel like asking others, "Have you ever gone through anything hard, really hard?" Sometimes, I want to give people a little nudge and remind them that life can be amazingly difficult. Sometimes when I see people who are extremely concerned with the trivial and see them giving those things the importance of things that matter, I just want "to slap 'em." I know, it's isn't a very Christian sort of response...But still.

Maybe, just maybe, that's what happened when Jesus went through the temple that day. (Matthew 21:12) Perhaps He was thinking of what really mattered and couldn't believe what He found there.


Hints from Heloise's Helper

Let's say from recent observation...

It's best to stay in the kitchen whilst broiling garlic toast.


No Cake for You

Saturday I found myself laughing at the big box store again. I'd stopped in to get a few things for the house as well as a cake for a baby shower I was hostessing with a friend. There were a couple of people in line at the bakery window, so I went straight to the pre-ordered refrigerator to find my cake. Alas, it wasn't there, so I had to stand in the line. (I'd sent JJ off to get more of his favorite energy drink - Dr. Pepper - as he hates waiting almost as much as his dad....)

The man in the white hat came out and helped the gals in front of me ever so happily. Then the lady right in front of me upset his procedure and asked for something that seemed quite logical to me: "Do you have any blank cakes with decorations, but no words? These all say 'Happy Birthday' but I need it for something else. I'm happy to take it home and add my own greeting."

"Ma'am, these all have to be pre-ordered. No, we do not sell blank cakes. If you want a blank cake you need to allow 24 hours for it to be decorated blankly." Honest. That's what he said. She was nice enough, but I'm sure the folks over at the nearby grocery store were happy to help her. They probably even added her "Happy 50th Anniversary" or "Go USA." They might not have even charged her for it.

Some of my best stories come from that big box store. But I must confess; sometimes I think of my good friends who live in a small town in England and go to market everyday and their grocer knows them by name and what kind of steak, bangers or sweets they like best. And no one is chomping at the bit to claim their parking spot. But that's another story for another day. I need to go get milk...


A Little Linguini

If you're young, let's say under 30, you may not remember this... But for those of you who attended VBS in the 60's or perhaps the 70's, do you remember those little cups of ice cream we'd get for treats? Here's an even older version:

Well, just in case you've noticed --- things are a little different here in Sunny these days. We have this Snack Specialist. Oh my goodness! I just have to share yesterday's mid-morning buffet with you.

In addition to obtaining it all through donations (wow) each day there is a printed menu for the children. Yesterday's pasta bar included wagon wheel organic pasta, organic tomato sauce, shredded parmesan cheese (not the Kraft kind), chicken chunks and topped off with edamame beans.

No macaroni crafts either...


Feelin' Artsy...

Some days you just feel like putting some paint on something. I'm not sure how many coats of paint this little VW has on it, but it is sure to get quite a few more!

This was our family fun last week-end. I plan on spending a lot more time at this lovely children's museum here in downtown Sunny. I'm even thinking of asking some new friends to come along. Maybe we'll venture into the room with the chalkboard walls next time, though. That doesn't require a change of clothes....

Happy Summer! Go make a fresh pitcher of somethin' to celebrate (lemonade, I mean, of course...).


Teaching Children To Sing - Imitation

We here at Grace Today want to be a full-service enterprise. Perhaps you've been asking, "How can I teach my child to sing?" Well, here you go....

(Remember to pause the music first! I moved it up higher for your convenience.)

If you make your own video using these vocal techniques, please pass them on. We would love to see your new skills...


Tree of Happiness

Oh what fun! Joy at Joy of Desserts recently blessed me with this sweet award. She amazes me with her blog. Have you checked it out recently?? Wouldn't it be fun to have a Joy of Desserts party sometime and everyone could make something from her blog on the same day! hmmm...

So the rules for this award are to list 6 things that bring you happiness and then to pass it on to 6 other bloggers for the happiness they share. Here we go!

  • Definitely my amazing DJ and JJ. Regardless of my struggles with frothing, they seem to love me...

  • Of course, my Max and all the critters in my life before little Max.

  • Knowing how much love I experienced with my parents, and the 'missing them' is due to the great love. And knowing I will see them again one day.

  • Lifelong friends as well as new friends. True friends - not the shallow ones. There is a difference.

  • Great music. Anything from Josh Groban to Louis Armstrong to DJ on our piano at home... The list of favorites would be a novel.

  • And most certainly - Jesus knows me, this I love...

Now, to pass it on. Miss Amy at Life and Times of Life at Home makes me laugh 99% of the time. Christelle at Beloved Mama and I have way too much fun. Liz at Kentucky Bound says she didn't name her new stray puppy after me, but I have adopted it as my dogdaughter. Elaine at Peace for the Journey always reminds me of our Hope. Faith Hope Love Mama at Faith Hope Love shows how great a gift our families are and the joy they bring. And finally, that silly Jon at Stuff Christians Like. It's clearly obvious here at Grace Today how much laughter I find on his blog. I appreciate his gift of laughing with Christianity and seeing how deep his dedication is to God. Or else he's a really, really good writer.... (just a little chuckle, of course)

Hope your day is fabulous regardless of where you find your happiness. I'm off to re-create the old west for about 125 kids next week. Now that will bring a few grins, most certainly!!


Next Year

Oh dear....our Fourth of July celebration scored a bit high on the frustration-o-meter this year. We had some lil' munchkins visiting from Chiquita-Viejo-Sonora-By-The-Sea and we promised them a lovely time. We did have a wonderful dinner and it made my heart happy to see the girls, Kit and Samantha, eating corn and green beans. (Somehow, I wondered if that day would ever arrive...) JJ and DJ did a fantastic job with the items on the grill and Max was a good host to his cousin, Erika Joy. She's half his size, so he felt more in control than when Miss Lexie was here recently.

Then we loaded up in the truck (doesn't that sound Southern) and headed for the lake. We found a great parking spot after trying out the lot of a good friend's church nearby and then scooted out when we realized he actually was having a church event to watch the fireworks... DJ had our beach chair but didn't feel he needed to carry it like a back-pack and reminded me he thought that was a quite silly feature, and then the munchkins' mama said, "All the soccer Moms carry them that way." But DJ didn't hear her. We all had something - a blanket, a chair, sweatshirts or such....

Soon we were settled in for the lights fantastic. JJ was encouraging me to pass the time by asking other guests a) Have you asked Jesus into your heart? b) How have you spent your week this week? If you died tonight; where would you go? c) Do you think that fourth guy in the furnace was really Jesus? d) Is there a literal Hell? e) was Judas destined to betray Christ? and so on.... and after asking each new friend the question, he thought we should be sure to wish them a "Happy July 4th!" Now don't misunderstand, I'm all for sharing Jesus' love, but we were in hysterics as the questions came out.... and I've forgotten many of them. Just picture it ~~~ Prodigal Jon would have been coming up with good ones, too if he'd been with us here in Sunny.

We began to hear fireworks far away. Hmmm. Finally, our show started a full half hour later. A very long half hour later, I might add. Our munchkins had been a tad restless! Then BOOM! the show began in all its glory. And the children behind us began to scream. The folks in front of us began to take pictures - flash pictures. And the children behind us began to scream. The children began "naming" the fireworks as they hit the sky --- and then they scream. Not from fright. Just for the sake of screaming! To complete the scenario, the folks who had seen the fireworks on the other side of the lake began leaving. Driving their cars with their lights on through our gathered masses.... And the children behind us began to scream. We realized the adults with said children were laughing as the screams occurred. To finish off our experience, the gathered masses began "Booooooing" the cars as they were leaving. And all the while, each "Boom" was completed with that tell-tale flash. Ten minutes was all we could take. We gathered up our blanket, chairs and clutter and found a quiet tree to lean against nearby to watch the finale. Even Kit and Samantha were ready to bolt. Wow.

So today ~ We made plans with some good friends who've just moved to a new place in a highrise downtown. Next year we're going to take our plate of celery, some carrot sticks with a spicy cream cheese spread, some watermelon, a keg of Root Beer, and a bag of chips over to their party. It will be just like going over to see Uncle Bill, Buffy, Jody, Sissy and Mr. French...


Let Freedom Ring

Times certainly have changed since this little guy got dressed up for the 4th of July! This was taken around 1919 in a little town in northwestern Iowa. I'm sure there was a parade that day.

My Uncle Bob loved the United States and would always tear up at the thought of folks going off to war --- or coming home from the war. Actually, most of that side of the family had that trait and I've certainly inherited it.

Here's wishes from Grace Today for a very happy weekend to all of you. Hope your potato salad comes out just right and the hot dogs don't burn (unless, of course, you like them slightly charred...). And in the midst of the fun, please stop and say a prayer that our troops can come home soon.

Big hugs!


How True

I had planned on sharing this most beautiful quote I found on a blog recently. But then... I received this e-mail from a dear person in my world. If you need inspiration today, please visit Elaine here.

Here's the profound message from my dear sister:

I start reading your blog, then have to check out the fish bowl drummer, and ended up looking at whole bunch of tattoos. Is it any wonder my bathroom still hasn't been cleaned?