Friday, May 13, 2011

Soaking up the Son

    For some reason, this never published; and, because today it was 45* and wayy windy, and I was frozen while watching a parade with my granddaughter, I am going to publish it anyway!

            It was a blustery winter day; the kind that makes you wish you could just   curl up before a
        roaring fire with a good book, a cup of tea and a good dog at your feet. Instead, I was at   
        work, outdoors, freezing.  Now, I love what I do,  but there are times that I have to think I 
        must be mad to be working outdoors on days like this. Nonetheless, here I was, cutting through
        a courtyard to the other side of the nursing home, shoveling the icy snow/sleet that had 
        accumulated on the sidewalks
.            Because I love the outdoors, I enjoy taking in my surroundings all the sights and sounds of 
        nature, and this day was no different, other than the terrible cold wind.
              As I came closer to the building, where the chapel is, the sun came bursting through the dark 
       gray clouds, and shone upon the cross atop the chapel steeple.  There, sitting one on either side of 
       the cross on this wicked winter day, was a pair of doves and then it hit me-they were soaking up     
       the sun!     
              Their sitting there on this cloudy, dreary day reminded me that even in our darkest hour, when     
       we can't seem to see daylight or remember what it feels like, that is when  we need to turn to the                Son,  our light and our salvation, our warmth on cold blustery days, our light unto our path, 
the One who 
       will lead us Home.
  So, when times are dark, remember the doves  in the courtyard-turn to the Father, and soak up the Son!!!

Things I am Thankful For

   Pre script: Something I started doing many years ago was writing down the simple things I was thankful for that day; it was during a rather rough time in my life and I needed that every night reminder of all the things that were good in my life. I kept doing this for years, why I quit I don’t know; I believe I will begin again.  Anyway, I ran across this ‘list’ this week from Oct. of 2002 and thought I would share it.  On this particular night, they came out in a poem; that happens often with me, even when I speak; some weird quirk in my brain loves to rhyme. (reminds me of a bit from Princess Bride-for all of you who know that movie!)  So, without further adieu:

Nice wood pen my ‘honey’ gave me
Electric blankets and flannel sheets
Someone to snuggle with when it’s cold
A love so true it will never grow old

For family and friends, and a roof o’er our head
Food on the table and nice soft beds
Each evening I jot down a list to remind me
Of the blessings I have but don’t always see

I put them on paper; they’re in black and white
So this is my list on this Monday night.
Why this started rhyming I don’t rightly know
But I’ll just keep writing and let the words flow

For “Jack the Wonder Dog’ for herding pigs,
And Max, who’s learning, tho he’s not very big.
For ‘Tommy kisses’ and Tigger at play
And the other cats who have come to stay

For the Rooster crowing before sunrise
And for the hens laying eggs-extra large size!
For our children four and the love they give
For their Grandma who teaches us all how to live

For freedoms we sometimes take for granted
And heeding Mom’s words “bloom where you’re planted”
For Kansas sunsets here at Sunset Acres
And for all the blessings bestowed by our Maker,
………..Thank You, Lord, Amen.

Post Scripts: Tommy was our 23 lb tom cat I rescued in the middle of a snowstorm after he had been hit on I-70. He loved to come up to you and ‘kiss’ your nose. What a great cat he was! Jack was my awesome Austrailian Shepherd, and Max was his ‘understudy’-a beautiful tri colored Corgi.  Sunset Acres is where I grew up N. of Salina. The house flooded and was bulldozed in 2007; broke all of our hearts, especially Moms-she really loved that place!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Live, Laugh and Love

Live, Laugh and love. Great advice on how to live a great life I would say.

To live-not just exist day to day, but to live each day to it’s fullest, no matter what it brings. To look for those small things each day that bring us joy and for ways to bring joy to others, through works or words.

To love, God, and family and friends. To give love and to know love in return, for love is the greatest gift.

Ahh, but to laugh-that is what makes the heart merry and the soul light! Laughter makes living and loving so much more enjoyable every day!  The laughter of a child is music to the ears and food for the soul; and our house has never been void of that for long!

Some of my favorite sounds that I remember include hearing my dad’s loud laugh and seeing the twinkle in his eye at a joke he heard, or a trick he pulled on someone, or something one of ‘the kids’ had done. Our house always had laughter and song. Dad used to wake me up singing ‘Lazy Mary won’t you get up, won't you get up, Lazy Mary won't you get up, we need the sheets for the table” or Oh, what a beautiful morning…. Each of these would start my day with a smile on my face.

Through the years there have been some good, funny happenings and pranks at our house, and funny stories from just about everyone.

Dinner time was always interesting at our house. With 5 boys, my parents and I, things were never normal, and seldom quiet at the table. (my two older sisters were grown and married by the time I was five) But that’s the way we were-we enjoyed our time together. 

My dad (you’ll hear bout him a lot, he was a pretty big presence!!) had this thing about bread and butter. He liked it. A lot. He just didn’t want to mess around buttering his own. So, when someone wasn’t looking, he’d swipe theirs off the plate and quickly take a bite so you wouldn’t want it back! One time I decided to get him back, as I always sat to his right hand, and so often was the one who lost the bread! Before dinner, I fixed bread and butter, but then on the back side, I smeared peanut butter so when he picked it up, he’d get a handful! Well, he did swipe it, he did get a handful of peanut butter, looked at me with his crooked grin and said “you snot!” and went on eating it anyway!!! And it didn’t break him of swiping bread!!

Well, my kids were raised around their grandparents and so have inherited or by osmosis gained the sense of humor that carried my family through everything growing up, and my husband's sense of humor is also over-developed, so they really had no chance of being quiet, serious people!

One morning we were getting ready for church, and had realized the time had changed, so were in a bit of a hurry to get all four children dressed and ready to go. We arrived at Mass just in time, knelt to pray, then waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, the little tiny Monsignor came out and announced that Mass would begin soon; the priest who was saying this Mass had forgotten he was to do so; he thought he had the next Mass, and also missed the time change and so was a bit behind! TC turned to me and asked “ Is that what you call Mass confusion?”

Another story which occurred at church was when our then four year old Jimmy (now James) was sitting between us at Christmas Eve Mass. After Jimmy was about 2, we began sitting in the front row, thinking that perhaps seeing what was going on would cause him to be more quiet in Mass. Well, it looked good on paper! (We still sit in the front row, by the way) Jimmy didn’t talk till he was 4, and not well until he was 9, so this was a surprise to us this night. We had just come back from communion and were kneeling, and Jimmy was quietly watching everyone as they went by to receive the Body of Christ. Remember, it’s Christmas, and a small child is thinking about Santa Claus. He could hear the priest saying over and over “The Body of Christ” as each person came to receive communion. Finally, Jimmy leaned to me and asked “Why he keep saying “Naughty or Nice?”

Well, it was bout all we could do to not burst out laughing, but we told him what was being said. Later, as I thought about it, I realized that really, that’s what it comes down to: Naughty? Nope, no Body of Christ for you...repent and come back...

We have a big family, so, at Easter, all of my Aunt Fern’s family would come to our house along with all of our gang. We would set up outside for as many as wanted to eat out there, and there were games of baseball, volleyball, and horseshoes involving family of all ages. One year it was unusually warm, and someone decided to help cool off a complainer with a glass of water. Well, that, of course, led to a full-blown water fight involving anyone who was outdoors. Except one brother in law whose sense of humor did not stretch that far...He stood over away from the fray up against the house to stay dry, watching with dismay the ‘childlike’ behavior of the rest of us. Well, he picked the wrong place to stand. My brother Jim decided that this guy was NOT immune to our good-natured games, and went upstairs to the shower, which happened to be right above the afore-mentioned in-law. Jim turned on the water, turned it to shower and put the hand-held shower head out the window and let it ‘rain’ on the other Jim!!! The look on his face was priceless!! He had been had!! He wasn’t very happy bout it, but decided I guess it was better to join them than be beat, so he joined in the ruckus too!

About a year ago, my brother Bill had a serious accident which caused him to be air-lifted to Stormont-Vail in Topeka. Bill works for a pig farmer and rancher, and he was loading round bales when one rolled off the forks TOWARDS him instead of the other way. When Bill tried to get out of the way, the bale landed on his back and pinned him to the tractor.
Well, we arrived in the ER just a half hour after the copter and were directed to where he was. He was in a drug induced coma because of the pain and also to keep him still because of his back injury, but we were told he could hear us, he just couldn't respond. So, because we are the way we are, we began talking to him about how they will have to fumigate the helicopter to get the pig smell out, and he would have to come down and clean the ER because there was hay everywhere, and just joking around with him. We also told him we loved him and we needed him to get better because he is our only official clown in the family and none of the rest of us knows how to make balloon animals!

Well, he was transferred to the Critical Care unit for 4 days and we stayed with him the whole time. My brother from St. Louis and his son and kids also came up, and hung out at his bedside till he was taken off life support and moved to another room. During this time, we often had him laughing, which of course caused ‘bells and whistles’ to go off, but the nurses said don’t worry, laughter is the best medicine!!! They knew what we do, that even in life’s difficulties, prayer and laughter are what will see you through!!!

Live, Laugh and Love. Life’s too short to be taken too seriously!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

As You Are Wed

It's a very special feeling
When you find that one true love
You walk on air and whistle,
And thank the Lord above

For He knows what He's doing
and it's not just 'happenstance'
When you fall in love and stay in love,
and share a lifelong dance.

You were created for each other
To complete and not compete
You can feel it in a touch
And whenever your eyes meet

So as you're wed one to another,
we ask the Lord above
to fill your hearts, your home,
your lives,
With everlasting love.
~Angel Andrewson

Monday, April 11, 2011

Morning Prayer

Help me today, Lord, in all that I do,
To let your love in me shine through

Let me not give in to gossip,
or let others bring me down,
but let me show them, by example,
the way to your shining crown.

Give me strength in all my struggles
that I not give in to strife,
but remind me of your gift to us,
with you, eternal life.

Country Girls

We can throw hay bales
and put up fence
We were raised on love
and common sense

We love to play football,
baseball, too
not too many things
that we can't do

You can find us outside
most all day
turnin' greasy wrenches
or balin hay

that don't mean
we don't like dancin'
flowers in vases
and moonlight romancin'

We're self-reliant
sometimes defiant
but we still need someone strong and silent
to hold us tight at the end of the day
when nothin' but nothin's been goin our way.

We shoot rifles, shotguns
and clean the game,
We enjoy trout fishin
just the same

We rise at dawn,  
throw on a jacket
head outside
without much racket

the guys are sleepin
just a snorin'
they don't know
there's a "5 in the mornin''

We head outdoors
to water and feed
check for eggs
throw chicken seed

we ride our horses
herdin' cattle
checkin' fence,  
a losing battle

yes, we're self-reliant
sometimes defiant
but we still need someone
strong and silent
to hold us tight at the end of the day
when nothin' but nothin has gone our way

We're country girls,
we've grown up strong
we'll keep keepin' on
while singin' our song

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Golden Anniversary

 Through 50 years of 'wedded bliss'
You've learned the value of a tender kiss;
The unspoken love in a tender touch
When words alone wouldn't mean as much

You've no doubt had your share of tears,
of sorrows, losses, and of fears.
Yet through the years you've come to know
That true love never fails to grow.

Then, too there were the happy times
of children playing and nursery rhymes.
Now they have children of their own
It's hard to believe how fast they've grown.

So as you celebrate these special years
With friends and family ever near
We send to you sincere congrats
and blessings from above
May your forever-after be filled
With everlasting peace and love.

                ~Angel Andrewson


Thursday, March 31, 2011

ABC of Friends

To all of my friends, wherever you are:

Friends are:

Always there for you
Blessing in your life
Care about you
Dedicated to making a friendship work
Empathetic to your tough times
Fun to have around
Goofy when needed!
Helpful always
Inquisitive about your life and what’s important to you
Jumping in the middle of things with you
Keep your spirits up!
Love you despite your idiosyncrasies
Make you feel good
Never leave you stranded
Open doors always
Pray for you
Quell your fears
Revel in your victories
Stand the test of time
Take nothing for granted
Understand you
Vital to my sanity!
Watch out for you
Xerxes the Great (will fight the good fight with you)
Ya ya sisterhood
Zany when they need to be

Saturday, March 26, 2011


As raindrops cast into the sea,
So like them are you and me
Each and every move we make
Causes a ripple, splash or wake

Those around us can't help but 'get wet'
By things we say and do, don't forget.
Life is like that, I have found
So watch yourself, and look around.

We touch more lives than we'll ever know
So as through this wide world you go.....
Be a gentle drop of rain,
Cause no sorrow, and no pain....
        ~Angel, 11/27/02

Monday, March 21, 2011

Creations Chorus

I wrote this one day when I worked at Rolling Hills Zoo back in the early 90's. I was checking the pastures at sunrise this day:

In Genesis we read the account of the Creation of our world; and I think "Wow! What it would have been like to have been there"  and then I have a day like today, and I realize I AM there!  Each day is a new creation with it's new light and new life.

It's a spring day, around 9:00 a.m.  and I begin my check of the pasture.  The air is crisp after a cool night and the morning sunrise is just beginning to warm the earth.

Two camels come to greet me (actually to feast on the alfalfa I bring them), but there should be a third~ Jasmine ~a pregnant female, is missing.  Across  the pasture I zigzag, and then, on the crest of a small knoll-there she is, lying down.  Next to her is her new baby-only minutes old-still unable to  stand, kissed by the morning dew.

I approach as near as I dare, then kneel down in the field of prairie grasses and take in the sights and sounds of this new day. 

The sun warms my back and catches the dewdrops clinging to each blade of grass, sparkling like diamonds scattered upon the earth.  A light breeze brings the faint honking of geese on the pond, and I am at once surrounded by a chorus as bullfrogs croak and the trees fill with the songs of meadowlarks, robins and cardinals.

Gently Jasmine nuzzles her babe and he softly bawls a response ~ a new voice has joined the Creation Chorus.

                            ~Angel, April 1994

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More Time....


  Through the rows of stones he walks, stopping now and then to read more closely the inscriptions memorializing the lives of those buried in the rich dark Kansas soil. Some are long, some are short, both the inscriptions and the lives. He ponders this as he passes by row upon row, till at last he reaches his destination.
    His mind runs back through his life, growing up in a close family in a small town, marrying the girl of his dreams, who bore them a son and a daughter. He recalled the joy he felt at their births, the happy times they spent as a family~birthday parties, Christmases, holidays and vacations, and the love that had filled their lives these many years.
    As he reminisced, a chill came over him and set in his bones, and it wasn't just the crisp fall air. He thought about how precious life is and how swiftly the years had passed, and didn't understand how it could come to an end so soon. He began to feel bitter and angry with God for not granting him more time. More birthdays, Christmases, more hunts in the woods beyond the house. More time to live, laugh, and love.
    Angry tears began coursing down his now red cheeks and he strode down the hill towards home. As he reached the lane, his daughter met him, and silently reached for his hand. Holding her hand, he felt the warmth of their love as they walked. Her questioning eyes could not grasp his sadness, and words would not come to explain. For how do you explain dying to one who is just learning to live?
    Again the anger came. He reached for the bottle on the shelf, but instead let his hand come to rest upon a book. A Bible. His mother's Bible. How often had he watched her silently reading, searching for words of comfort in times of loss. He sat at the table and began poring over the Scriptures, looking for answers, finding peace. And he knew then that he would not travel this road of pain and grief alone.
    Once more he walked the path to the rows of stones, to that one special place under a stately oak and sat upon the limestone rock overlooking this final resting place. And finally, he let his gaze fall upon the stone before him, and read once more the inscription, still fresh and new, and short:

       Beloved son, brother and friend   
     For you our love will never end
       Sixteen short years you had with us
      Eternity now to spend with Jesus

As the fiery sunset blazed across the Kansas sky, he whispered to his young son a final good-bye.
                                                                                          ~Angel Andrewson 10-30-2002


In memory of Justin Barenberg   8/1986-10/2002

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Help Me, Lord, I’m an idiot!

    Ok, so I have your attention now! This tale is a reminder that even when we are demonstrating no use of the brains the good Lord gave us, He is there to help us in our idiocy.
    It was a SNOWY day in mid-March in Kansas.  Blizzards had been predicted all over the state, so I went to bed a bit before my usual midnight, knowing I would have to get up and be at work at 5am to shovel the white stuff.  Our home is 17 miles away from town, so I knew that getting to work might be a challenge in the morning if we got much snow.  So, at 3:30am, I crawled out of a nice warm bed and dressed in layers from head to toe, topping it all of with my insulated overalls, a stocking hat and gloves.  I open the front door and was glad I had the foresight to find the snow shovel and put it inside the door the evening prior, as the snow had all but enveloped the entry way to our home.

    I shoveled a path through 10“-30”  of wet and heavy snow, cleared my car windows, bumpers, headlights, etc., and started it up to get warm.  It is now 4am and I duck back in the house for a cup of coffee for the road.  Turns out there would be no ‘for the road’, but, I am ahead of myself.
      Bambi (our little Honda which had won a battle with a deer on the road last fall) crawled down the driveway and into the road heading North to the highway.  For about 1/3 of a mile, anyway.  At the first low spot in the road, the snow had drifted to a height deeper than the hood of the car, and Bambi slowly ground to a halt.  I backed up, then gave it some gas and tried to bust through the drift, but was met with total resistance. After the third try, I gave up and then realized that not only was I not going forward, but there was no way to go back either.  I could not back up that far in that deep snow, as the wind had already blown the snow till my tracks were no more.   So, I did the only thing I could think of; I drove Bambi off the road into the ditch, turned on the emergency flashers, and began trudging home.  Why didn’t I just leave it on the road you might ask?  Well, Bambi just happens to be white, and in a snowstorm, if someone else came along. . . Well it might not be good!
    Reaching home, I decided to get Moses (my 1977 Chevy C10 pickup) out and give him a try at the snow.  Yeah, right!  The snow had drifted completely over the tires, and being a two wheel drive, poor Moses was not moving.  I realized then that I was not going anywhere and called the boss.  Turns out he couldn’t get out, either, as he lives 10 miles on the other side of town from me.  I went back in, grabbed a cup of coffee and a book and several of our dogs (who were wondering why on earth I had gone out there in the first place) and curled up on the couch.  That lasted a couple of hours, and I couldn’t take it any longer.  I had to get to work, knowing that everyone else was breaking their backs to clear snow and I was home where I was warm and dry just didn’t set well with me. 
    I bundled up again, and, having daylight to help, dug Moses out as best I could, and rejoiced that someone had actually gone down our road since 4am, and their tracks were still there!  So, I took off, thinking that I would stop and turn off the flashers on the Honda to save the battery, then go on in to work.  By the time I reached Bambi, I realized that there was no way I was stopping if I wanted to get started again, so on I went.  As I got to the highway, my heart dropped when I realized that it had not been bladed and I could not see tracks or even the guardrails on the bridge 50 feet away, so I kept going straight praying for a place to turn around.  I kept going, and going, and going, kind of like the energizer bunny stuck on slow motion.  Under the snow was a layer of ice, just enough to make driving tricky, and all I could see was white from horizon to horizon; blinding white with black silhouettes of trees here and there. I continued on and realized that if anyone came the other direction, one of us was in trouble but good!! The snow on either side of me on the road was at least 18” and way deeper where it had drifted.  And so I continued. . . Driving and praying, Lord, please hold the wheel steady, don’t let me slide into the drifts, keep it steady, Lord, Thank You, Lord, for keeping me safe, Lord, I’ve got to find a place to turn around soon.  I’m getting close to the station, Lord, so perhaps I can turn around there.  Again, my heart sank.  Not a soul had stirred there and the parking lot was two to three feet deep in snow. NOT going in there!! Next thing I know, I am at the dam going over the lake. NOW I’m nervous!  There is only the path I have been following along the west lane of the dam road, and the snow is piled up till it obliterates the guardrail on the east lane.  I look over at the lake and it is a steel gray ocean of frozen white caps, dark and foreboding.  I begin praying in more earnest Lord, PLEASE get me across here.  Lord, I know I’m an idiot for getting out in this, and I know you have better things to do than watch out for me in my stupidity, but if you would, please, keep my wheels in the path and give me a gentle push now and then if I begin to get stuck.  Please let there be a place to turn around up ahead somewhere, Please, Lord, forgive me for being so dumb, but thank you for getting me out of this ! 
    And so it went, till I had successfully crossed the dam, and, miracle, (or just a fluke some would say) there, at the north end of the dam, was a spot on the road where there was absolutely no snow whatsoever! It looked like a giant (God?) had blown all the snow and ice from the road right at the end of the dam.  I was able to turn Moses around with no problem at all, and that’s when I realized I had to go back across the dam to get home!!! More prayers and pleading, and thank God, literally, I made it home without ever slipping or sliding or loss of traction whatsoever.  I said a great prayer of thanksgiving to God and proceeded into the house. 
    I spent the rest of the day reading 3 books while curled up on our loveseat in front of a fire and vowed never to repeat this experience again.  Thank the Lord for being a good driver!!!  If we but ask, He will help keep us on the straight and narrow!

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Ask and Ye Shall Receive
     Just recently, we were visiting with a friend about God in his life and in ours.  The talk turned to miracles and the things that have happened to him since he came to know Christ.  From where he came from and where he is going, it is truly a series of miracles in his life.
    Often we think that miracles only took place in the days of old-like God appearing to Moses in the burning bush.  Truly, miracles happen every day, we just maybe aren't aware of them, or are leery to call them miracles for fear of being rebuffed by friends and family.  I don't believe that for a minute!  There have been so many 'coincidences' in our life that have saved us from one thing or another, that they cannot be anything but miracles; maybe not a burning bush, or a voice from the clouds, but miracles nonetheless.   I would like to share with you some of these stories and thoughts from my life.
    This first from a trip to Lake Wilson one summer.  We followed friends out and spent the afternoon and evening together, swimming, barbequing, sharing laughter and friendship.  When at last we decided to leave, it was after midnight; early Sunday morning.  Now, on the way to the lake, we had noticed our car said only 12 miles till empty, but figured that when we left the stations would be open, so we went on.  Well, we had planned on leaving  in the early evening, not early  morning!
    So, I drove, praying for a station to be open on the way out, then proceeded to take a wrong turn which took us up and down hills, and west rather than east.  Finally, we found the interstate and headed east.  The whole time, I am watching the dash light as it drops to 8 miles left, then 7,6, 5,etc. and finally, 2 miles left till empty.  I began to pray, asking God to lead me to a small town somewhere, where maybe there would be a policeman, as often they have keys to the local gas stations, and maybe, just maybe there would be one to help us out.  (as a kid, my dad had service stations and the local police always had a key to the pump)
    I spotted and exit,  turned south at the end of the off ramp, where I saw a few lights of a very small town, (don’t’ ask me what the name was, I have no idea) and followed the street to the first corner, heading towards the grain elevator, which usually means a coop and a gas pump.  Sure enough there was a gas pump, and right across the street in a vacant lot sat a police officer, leaning against the hood of his car as if he was waiting for us to show up.  And-HE HAD THE KEY TO THE PUMPS!   He pumped $5.00 worth of gas, told us that would get us to the next town, which was considerably larger and more 'alive' this time of day, and sent us on our way!    Ask and ye shall be given….