Hot, Hotter, Hottest

The temperature continues to rise in Dallas.

You’ll notice that while the temperature is 96.2 deg., the heat index is 100 deg.!

The potential buyer from yesterday was a no-go, as you may have seen from my amendment to yesterday’s blog, but somebody else is coming at 5:00 p.m. this evening, and hope springs eternal…

Big Al and I went to the doctor this morning before it got too hot, and we both got as clean a bill of health as can be expected for a couple of old people. EKGs, and urine look good. Blood tests will be reported on soon. We both had lost a little weight, so the doctor was happy.

We also ran by the Apple store so Al could get them to show him some more advanced stuff on his iPad (he won’t believe me). While we were out we went to On the Border for lunch and got home just in time for the cleaning ladies. At least the house will be as clean as can be expected when the people come to look at it this evening.


We’re scurrying out early to Bridge because someone is coming to look at the house at 11:00. Got this e-mail from our realtor yesterday…

Hi Al and Abbie,

I still have not heard back from XXXXXXXXX. However, yesterday I got a call from
Jo Perry with Virginia Cook realtors. She is going to set up a showing tomorrow
I believe and really thinks her client may make an offer. I hesitate telling
you, because this is the third “I want to make an offer” we’ve gotten, so let’s
just wait until we get the “real deal” before celebrating.

BUT, I did want you to  know what was cooking. This latest person appears in a
hurry so maybe that’s a good thing.

I’ll keep you posted.

We can but hope…

(Are y’all getting as tired of these “maybe today”s and hopeful posts as I am?)

Update this evening. The buyer didn’t want the house. Didn’t like my neighbor’s fence (as if I could do anything about that…)

And So It Goes

Heard from the Realtor that one of the potential prospects is a no-go. 😦

We had somebody new come through and look at the house just after noon today. 🙂

Session meeting tonight. Electronic packet came on Friday. This is the first time we’ve had everything including the Docket and the Consent Agenda electronically. I’m borrowing Big Al’s iPad so I don’t have to kill a tree.

Slowly, but surely, we march forward into the 20th century.

Tough Morning

I’m not sure I’ve said often enough how much I appreciate our pastor and head of staff, Dr. Blair Monie, at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church.

He preached an excellent sermon on Genesis 22 – the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac. That’s generally thought of as one of the tougher texts to preach on. As he said in the sermon, Larry King says that’s why he is an atheist – because he couldn’t believe in a God who would require child sacrifice of one of his followers. I know a lot of preachers shy away from that text, because I’ve seen some of the angst around the interwebs all week when it appeared in the lectionary.

What made it even rougher was the announcement before the prayers of the people that the daughter, son-in-law, and baby grandson of one of the couples who are members of the church had been killed in an auto accident yesterday. The five-year-old grandson is in Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. I, frankly, never heard a word of the prayer – I was crying too hard.

And following all of that we had a baptism of one of the babies of the congregation. The mom carried the baby in, while the dad led two older brothers – 4 and 2 years old – by the hands.

Isn’t all this a metaphor for what we believe? That God requires everything from us, but only because God has given everything to us. They’re not cheap – these gifts that were given to us. And even though we lost a family to death, they aren’t really gone. They’re waiting for us bathed in God’s good grace.

So we can confidently repeat the Apostle’s Creed and welcome a new little life into the family of God.

(But I don’t think I could have preached on that text on the morning after those deaths. Congratulations to Blair for the sermon and for not allowing the deaths of Saturday to overshadow the Sunday joy of baptism.)

Unexpected, but Fun

On the spur of the moment, Big Al suggested I call my brother and his wife this morning and invite them to meet us for lunch. We went to El Fenix in Louisville, and had an enjoyable couple of hours catching up with each other.

This is one of the things I may miss in Tacoma.

But I think I’ll get over it.

Still no word from the Realtor.


Okay, All Right, I Give Up

I’ve been doing a fair amount of writing in the Presbyterian Women Interest Group on Facebook, but I’ve neglected you, gentle readers.

The fact of the matter is, I really don’t have anything to write about. I’ve put off posting in hopes that I would have news about the house, but so far – nothing.

The realtor insists that both potential buyers are still interested, so we wait.


It’s hot as a fire cracker in Dallas – we had a cool front the last two days – that meant the highs were in the low 90s instead of the upper 90s and the lows were in the mid 70s instead of the low 80s.


Hope Springs Eternal

Just heard from the realtor. She says she talked to one interested buyer who will be giving her a bid in the next couple of days. (His realtor is out of town, but as soon as she gets back…). The other people who have been here at least two and maybe three times and are trying to decide whether to make an offer on mine or one other is still trying to decide. Maybe the first buyer will light a fire under the second set.

I’m asking for prayers for the process, but I will settle for a witch doctor’s dance or sacrificing a goat. 7 days in a row of +100 degree weather IN JUNE is just too much.

I’ve had St. Joseph buried in the front yard for the last year, and he hasn’t done any good. If anyone has any further suggestions, I’m open.

Please Buy My House!


This is a re-post from last year’s Father’s Day post.

(This is the eulogy I gave at my father’s funeral.  He died in May 2008 at the ripe old age of 96.)

Papa’s obituary was correct and factual and in that way it matched him.  He was an engineer, and he was nothing if not correct and factual.

For those of you who are touchy-feely personalities, you probably thought it was terribly dry, and you don’t really have a feeling for the man whose life I honor today.

But correct and factual actually embodies him better than many of the other things I can say about him.  That’s not to say he was uncaring, or cold – unless you think the rock your life is built on is uncaring or cold.

To me, he was strong, solid, dependable, deep, supporting, and faithful – qualities I’d opt for any time over sweet, sentimental, emotional, sensitive and demonstrative.

I remember in the movie “Love Story”, the main character was estranged from his father, and said “My father never wrote letters to me, he sent Memos”.  When we heard that my sisters and I looked at each other and said, “So???”  Papa used to always send us memos in school.

To:  Abbie

From:  Papa

Re:  Funds

Do you need any?  How are your grades?

Love, Papa

When Ray was just 2 months old, I became gravely ill.  Al and I were still in college – Al was about to graduate – we had NO money – we didn’t know what to do.  So Al put Ray and me on an airplane and shipped us back home.  I ended up in the hospital for three weeks, Mama was working at a new job, so during that time, Papa took vacation from work and stayed home to take care of the new baby.

I don’t know many grandfathers who thought their “baby days” were over, who would have done the same, but there was never any question about it with Papa.  He just did what needed to be done.

Papa loved to fish and, although he was a loyal churchman, we occasionally could convince him to take us fishing on Sunday mornings – particularly if he had caught a line full on Saturday.  In Arkansas during the summer the only time the fish will bite is early in the morning – right during church.

I remember my sister and I convinced him to take us on a float on Little River one Sunday morning from Cerra Gordo, Oklahoma to Little River Country Club.  Someone would drive us up-river where we would put in about dawn, and then we would float back down to the club.  As I said, this was a Sunday morning, and Papa’s conscience must have gotten the better of him, because we did the middle three miles singing “Love Lifted Me”, “Shall We Gather at the River” and all the other good old revival songs at the top of our lungs.  We sang the verses and Papa provided the oompa-pas.

As an engineer, he always loved to stick his head under the hood of any car around.

That’s Papa with two son-in-laws, two grandsons, and his only son.

Mama was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1993.  Papa took over running the house as Mama became less and less able to keep up with things.  But he didn’t do it like a woman would, he did it like an Engineer with schedules, and flow charts, and checklists.  And he never complained.  He didn’t take up cooking, he took up shopping for microwavable dinners.

He let Mama keep doing the wash – because it was one of the things she could still manage, until the day she emptied the trash into the clothes washer and started it running.  Papa was taking a nap in his recliner in front of a baseball game when he heard a terrible rattling and clanging coming from the laundry room.  Empty bottles and cans were agitating in the washer!  But he didn’t fuss.  He just cleaned out the machine, and put a lock on the sliding door.  He continued to care for her at home until the sibs and I finally convinced him that it wasn’t doing either one of them any good.

He was a great tease and kidder.  It is one of the things that never left him, even at the end of his life.  Clara, one of nurses in the health care unit, said a few days before he died, he was semi-conscious, and she had just finished taking his blood pressure.  She leaned over him to straighten the linens on the other side of the bed and suddenly he popped his eyes open and said “Boo!”  Then he just grinned.

While we lived in New Jersey, Mama and Papa became friends with one of the preachers at the church and his wife.  Orville and Margaret Austin remained friends for 30 years, even though they moved away in 1963.  They really enjoyed playing bridge – men against the women – because the women claimed the men didn’t really know what they were doing.

I think about 7 o’clock last Monday evening, Orville and Margaret and Mama were gathered in heaven to meet him with the cards already dealt.  “Sit down.  What took you so long?  We’ve been waiting for you for 10 years.”

He was my foundation, my rock, my underpinning, my support!  He was my father, and, although we had him many years longer than the biblical three-score years and ten, it was still too short a time.  Someone once said, “You are old when there’s nobody left to whom you are a little girl.”  I miss him.

(This was also published in The Well-Written Woman in their tribute to fathers.)


On our Presbyterian Women Interest Group on Facebook we have been having several lively discussions. One Minister Member (soon to be Teaching Elder) said this.

I’m convinced that one of the bad habits church adopted from modernity is the professionalization of ministry.  To the extent we’ve professionalized mission/ministry, we’ve reduced members own sense of their vocation.  May we recognize and nurture the spiritual gifts of our sisters and brothers for the sake of G-d and our communities.

And I answered:

 After being in a small church for several years where the laity was expected to do whatever needed to be done, I’m now in a VERY large church (2800 members with 6 ordained staff and another 7 or 8 program staff not counting the secretarial and maintenance staff), I am amazed at how little the laity does.  We’re great followers but there are few lay “leaders”.  I’m not sure what the answer is – I wish I knew.

And then this morning in a totally different context, another Minister of Word and Sacrament posted this series of Tweets on Twitter:

As always, driving through this church community, I can see and feel potential for what this church could do

And I’m tempted to pour myself into that work. Then I remember it isn’t the pastors wok to do. The community has to want it.

It is a strange church to serve in many ways.

yeah, I tell you, so easy to dream dreams and vision visions. impossible to find session members. can’t do w/out the ppl

In my experience, even though the staff may feel overworked leading Bible studies and running committee meetings, they are reluctant to give up that control. All the Councils/Committees have a minister member assigned who is expected to attend. Bible studies are poorly attended unless a minister is leading it. Is this because the church members don’t think anyone can lead a Bible study unless s/he has been ordained? Or is it because the staff is afraid of potential heresy if the laity leads the study.

I want to scream – “Let me help.” “I want to do so much.” “I have gifts, too.”