Thursday, December 30, 2010

Little Things...

An unknown person wrote, "Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts."

Being aware of others is important...I think most people like to be noticed. Not in a spectacular way, just noticed...knowing someone recognizes they are there...they are something, they count!

It seems to me that the 'stars' of the world always get the most acclaim, the most attention. There are many others who never seem to be noticed...or acclaimed. I think it hurts...I can identify w/that. My life was full of being the girl no one knew was there...okay, I was the girl w/the ink spotted leg and very shy. Also I went to school w/the likes of Debbie Reynolds in California...big competition huh?

I've changed...oh how I've changed; I'm no longer the shy one or the one no one notices. I've made it through many life-changing incidents...believe me, I was really banged-up...guess I'm a survivor but with help from God and my my determination to do better...I survived. I want to make a difference.

That includes doing little things...I suppose you've heard the old line, "little things mean a lot"...haven't heard it before, then you have now. I don't need to wait 'til I can do something grand for someone...that isn't important. Nor is it important for others to know how great a thing I've done. I can do it anonymously...that's a fun thing to do...and it can make a difference.

I love Dr. Seuss and this is just one of his jewels, "I'm sorry to say but sadly it's true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you." They do, every day...every day something comes along to bang me up...if not every day then certainly often enough to try to get me off balance.

M and I had been home from China for a month when quite unexpectedly my youngest sibling, Johnny, died. Two months later my mother died. M and I were living in our 5th wheel, we didn't know when we would settle down...our lives were in a turmoil. Friends did a lot ot little things for us...that helped. We needed help...lots of it...loving, tender care...we were fragile...we were banged-up and hung-up in a big way.

I've failed to notice...(but I have been working on that)...failed to notice the aching of others...they need noticing. They've been banged-up and they hurt.

Look at others, really look...not just a slight glance. Looking at their eyes, I can see what's going on ~ sometimes I can see tears hiding there. So I do something very can do the same...remember, little things mean a lot...they can make a difference. Think about it...

balanced and unafraid...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Better Watch Out...

How many times have we heard those words...'specially this time of the year? Watch out for...Santa Claus 'cause he knows if we've been good or bad, pouted or cried? Ouch. I will say I've been much better this year than last...that's progress on a bevy of fronts. I very much had room for improvement with a capital I.

Christmas is coming...this week! I love it! And before we know it 2011 will begin; which means lots of people will make resolutions about everything from soup to nuts...almost..and most of them will be quickly forgotten...what do you think? Along those lines, here's something I am going to build on for the coming year:

I will watch my thoughts; they become words (Fill up with kind & positive thoughts)

I will watch my words; they become actions
(Learning to control my tongue...okay but that's a real biggie)

I will watch my actions; they became habits (No hateful stuff...
no turning green with envy...loving actions and reactions)

I will watch my habits; they become character (Difficult to correct habits/lots of work to do)

Last but not least I will watch my character; it becomes my destiny.
(Okay, I'm a character I know, but a Character like His? Can I do it?
If I try I know I can and He will help me; what an awesome destiny)
Adapted by Vasca...original by Frank Outlaw

Michael has a book "The Jesus Habits" and I want him to read it to me...a group of men have been studying it's good. What better habits could I have, could we have than those of Christ himself.

So..."you'd better watch out, you'd better not cry...better not pout, I'm tellin' you why? He's makin' a list, checkin' it twice...gonna' find out who's naughty or nice"...

Not concerned about pleasing Santa...he's goin' back to the North Pole. I'm concentrating on pleasing the one 'higher up'.

Balanced and unafraid...

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I have lots of warm, fuzzy feelings all year but my spirit sort of goes on high burner this time of year. Love it. Not many days 'til Christmas and as usual, there's a big question making the rounds...what do you want for Christmas??? Hmm...let's see. I didn't make a formal list...but our family says we have to give them clues/hints. Okay, I need a hand held can opener w/a good grip handle and a new night light.

That takes care of our family here...but...we've 'Chinese children'; Andrew Beall plus Ken/Debbie Beall. We go through this exercise every year; they call and e-mail from China. "Michael and Vasca, please send us your Christmas gift list"...they continue asking until we come up w/something. One year we tried calendars. Okay, how about a family picture...attached to an e-mail? No, No. Last year, Andrew wouldn't give it up so M finally told him I would like a small pair of pearl earrings (we thought that was a good suggestion since in China they're most inexpensive). How were we to know he would order our gifts from Sears which meant they were made in China but not China priced. The invoice came with the gifts and the little pearl earrings (surrounded by diamonds) cost him several hundred dollars...I almost passed out and rued telling him anything. So what to do this year?

My sweet Michael came up with a brilliant idea. He e-mailed Andrew the following, "For our Christmas please surprise us by finding a person (where you live and work) that you can surprise with a gift and with the good news that there is a savior who loves them and wants to have a relationship with them just like your relationship with HIM. If that person becomes your friend then you can surprise him/her with the 'book' that was written by spirit inspiration and you can be the bearer of 'goodtidings'. Now you may have to look that up in the dictionary as the words are old English." Same message for Ken and Debbie.

Okay, let's jump over to China for a lesson in physical warmth/lack of warmth. Have you ever worked when you were so cold you could hardly move? I have and I'm a very warm natured person. In China the government regulates when the heat will be turned on and when it will be turned off...for all of China. It's only on for a few months ~ that's why, if you'll notice, when you see pictures of classes, etc. everyone is bundled up...head to toe. I taught classes dressed in warmest jammies under my warmest pants, warm shirts, my warmest coat, scarf and gloves...students dressed the same...brrr! The only equipment I had was Chinese chalk and a wall mounted blackboard...not even a desk. Sometimes I was so cold I wondered how my feet would carry me home. So very cold...but there was a inner fire!

Love, lots of love. The Chinese don't know/practice a love like God's love...they're wonderful people though. Our cultures are just so different. As He often does, God worked so many learned of His love, talk about heart-warming? Kept our fire going...on and on. If you'd like, I could share some wonderful love messages with you...leave a comment and let me know.

Mother Teresa said, "If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it." Frankly, the decision to move to China was not easy by any means...but after all, Michael and I had always prayed to be used by Him and to give us opportunities to shine His way we could back out of way! To say that changed our lives is an understatement...He deluged us with opportunities for 2-1/2 years...we never had to go looking. HE brought them to our door wrapped up and tied with His love...and we didn't even give Him a gift list!

My fire was lit in 2002 and we returned home during Christmas season 2004...we're less than two weeks away from Christmas 2010 w/M and I still on fire. Oh sure, we've sputtered several times...but He held us up and kept filling our lamps. The following quote from David Brainerd is worth thinking about: "I longed to be a flame of fire continually glowing in the divine service and building up of Christ's kingdom to my last and dying breath".

Flaming, building, serving while remaining..
Balanced and Unafraid.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Giving and/or Getting

Our 1st Christmas in China 2002

I'm looking at my calendar and it says December the first...oh, how could it have come so soon? A piece of cake...absolutely slid in under my nose and everything is in full-swing for a special season. God's son is the 'reason for the season' but it tends to be diluted w/the giving and getting.

I love giving (okay, getting is neat too) and sharing...warms my heart. This year I'd like to give something personal, something special that is an original from me...I'm working on it. In the process, I read something that really touched me...from Colonel James Irwin, one of our astronauts. See what you think...

"As I was returning to earth, I realized that I was a servant ~ not a celebrity. So I am here as God's servant on planet earth to share what I have experienced that others might know the glory of God."...Colonel James Irwin.

Astronauts really could get the 'big head'...'cause zippin' around in space is a huge biggie. Col. Irwin was awed by his experience and thankfully, wanted to share it w/the rest of us. It would be a truly magnificent experience...I can only imagine.

On a much smaller scale...Michael and I were constantly treated as 'celebrities' in China. One of our most humbling experiences occurred during the Christmas season...China's big into that now. The university where we were teaching scheduled a Christmas program w/M and I participating. We were given 'free rein' as to what we'd choose to do/perform...hmm!!! An opportunity for a God Work? A natural for us and we ran with it.

There were thousands in the auditorium...quite an awesome gathering...w/the two of us the only foreigners...what to do? Simple...we walked onto the cold heat, you know...and we told the story of Jesus' birth. Then the two of sang 'Silent Night'...unaccompanied. You could've heard a pin drop and believe me, that's an accomplishment in China. It was AWESOME...a wow moment. Did they love it? And how...they got 'the message'. Honestly, it was an honest-to-goodness 'ethereal experience'.

"As we returned to earth, we realized that we were servants, not celebrities. So we are here as Gods servants on planet Earth to share what we have experienced that others might know the glory of God." ...adapted by Vasca.

Thank you Father for presenting M and I with the opportunity to share your glory with so many who had never heard of or met you..and allowing me to be...

Balanced and Unafraid.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Confirming Experience

Michael & Vasca's Four Sons...
L to R...Patrick #3, Scott #4, Jeffrey #2 and Steven #1

Last week most blogs concentrated on thankfulness...after all, Thanksgiving is a time when most of us give much thought to what we are thankful for. God knows we have more than enough...most have enough blessings to cover a multitude of those who have few.

M and I have always been thankful for so much; but now that the designated 'day of thanks' is past we've more thankfulness than ever before. Why is that? It's very simple...really!

Last Thursday, for the first time in more than eight years...we had our entire family together. The last time was our fiftieth wedding anniversary ~ two months prior to our departure for a year in China which became more than two years. At that time our youngest grandchild was four years old...our oldest was twenty-two. This time together they are twelve to thirty.

Three have graduated from college, three are in college w/one of those graduating next month, four in junior high and high school w/one of those graduating in May and off to college. Our family is in God's hands; all are in good health and thankfully working...great blessings.

Thursday was a celebration that greatly impacted the two of us; we believe it impacted our entire family as well. Words won't do justice to the joys of the day...of course there are pictures galore. It was like 'celebrities w/the paparazzi' 'cause the cameras and flashes were popping all over the place.

We know we love each other...we know we are loved...but that day? God blest all twenty of us with an exponential confirmation of that love.

This quote from Ann Landers is worth thinking about...
"If you have a good name, if you are right more often than you are wrong, if your children respect you, if your grandchildren are glad to see you, if your friends can count on you and you can count on them in time of trouble, if you can face your God and say 'I have done my best,' then you are a success."

Oh My! "I have done my best...Thank You, Father."

I remain...Balanced and Unafraid...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I wonder if narrow mindedness causes anger? What do you think? Charles Kettering said, "People are very open minded about new things ~ as long as they're exactly like the old ones."

Okay...we have several political parties in the news...all day, every day. Am I so ingrained in 'my favorite' that I won't listen/hear another side? I hope that I can be open-minded, just in case my favorite and I are off course. I don't want to fall in the you?

Sadly, narrow mindedness isn't limited to politics; it's possibly even more prevalent in our churches. Oops...really? Oh, I think so. I imagine you've heard that travel broadens ones horizons? In our case it did just that...M and I are Spirit-led which has led us around the world and back. Two Oklahoma kids married and dreamed of living in M's hometown forever but God had a plan...unknown to us but we were co-operative.

He placed us in Greece where we lived w/a Greek couple & their daughter; He put us in Ethiopia w/Coptic Christians in the household; He put us in Germany where we lived with a German couple; He put us in Wisconsin in what is called 'The Holy Land'...the only non-Catholics for miles and miles; last but not least He put us in China where we lived among millions of Chinese atheists. In other words, we've been around the block a few times and have been involved in a myriad of cultures...each different than the other. Each culture worships in a manner different that ours...each society is totally different than ours.

So, we have a different outlook than many of our associates here in this place. Okay, so travel broadens one's horizons; I believe it's true. Not that there's anything wrong with living and remaining in one place your entire that case it's important to study others, their way of life and come to some understanding of what others are about.

There's a Chinese proverb, "The broad minded see the truth in different religions; the narrow minded see only the differences."

If I see only what I want to see I could miss something of utmost importance to my soul; to my way of thinking about others. Whether it be political or religious. Haven't you heard, there are two things you don't discuss...religion and politics? Why do you suppose that is? Because we lose our cool when someone/anyone disagrees with our views and beliefs? Oh, come on now...surely we're more adult than that...we're better people than that? Are we? Am I? Each of us knows the answer...and if we're honest it's probably an answer we'd rather not hear.

I don't believe our Father is pleased w/many of our emotional outbursts...I mean the anger one feels when another crosses our line or steps on our toes...ouch. Here's something to think about...if someone were to pay you 10 cents for every kind word you ever spoke and collect 5 cents for every unkind word would you be rich or poor?

Okay, one last thought; I don't want to be so narrow-minded that I can see through a keyhole with both eyes. In order to see more clearly, I've worked at broadening my attitude for quite some time and you know, I'm a better person and I am sooooo much happier walking w/God 24/7...what an experience. If you've not tried it ~ give it a'll make your head spin!!!

balanced and unafraid......

Monday, November 15, 2010

Accepting a Dare...

Like most of the world...I have a cell phone. To Michael's chagrin I don't keep it at hand; too much of the time it's on silent. But wait, there's hope...I'm practicing keeping it nearby just in case he calls. His personal ring tone is "I Just Called to Say I Love You"...why else would he call? The ring tone for others is "Who Are You, Who, Who Are You"? You really wanna' know???

Funny, everytime anyone other than M calls, I think about...okay, who am I...really...who? Will the real me stand up? Am I what God wants me to be, what He knows I can be? Honestly, much of the time the answer would be, "No, no I'm not really measuring up to His expectations". I am not doing my best. Why is that? I wonder and then my ornery conscience kicks up its heels...ooh.

Oprah Winfrey says, "Doing your best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."

That's a good thought, Oprah...good thought. Step by step, this moment...the next moment...on and on...keep movin' This is not a cakewalk...the apostle Paul calls it a race and oh my, I am basically not even a walker, much less a runner. I've difficulty making my body do anything but fall all over the place...24/7. Fell flat on my face entering a hotel last weekend...but guess what? God must've put some rubber in my mold...more bounce to the ounce...I'm a bouncer!

Something happened to me recently; can't put a finger on it but it's pretty neat. I have a new, greater awareness of others and what I can contribute to their lives while also contributing to my spiritual growth/maturity. You think His Spirit has something to do w/this? Yeah!

Making a difference is important, right? This world seems so harsh at times and oh, how we can hurt each other...surely we've something better to do than beating others up. I can contribute to the happiness of others w/simple thoughtfulness, kind words, a myriad of ways...I can do that...I can.

"I have begun a crusade in my life, to dare to be my best"...Wm. Danforth.

Who am I??? I really know...I am one of God's Daring Crusaders...

Balanced and Unafraid...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Veteran

Tomorrow, Nov. 11th, is Veteran's some it may not others? It stirs a mixture of emotions. I know, because I live with one of those precious vets...and he's my hero!

My heart was touched in the grocery store last week by someone I'd not seen before...a high school employee. One checker knows that we've lived in China, etc. but Friday she asked me what my husband retired from and I told her, the Army. Oh...he retired as a Colonel w/32 years of service. The sacker was apparently taking all that in because as he pushed the cart to our car, he said "Your husband really retired as a Colonel?" I replied that he had. He asked questions about M's military career, etc...very nice. When he finished loading the groceries he said, "Please tell your husband 'Thank You' for me...thank him for his service." That touched touched Michael.

It's good to be touched and think back...reflecting. Those were good years that took the six of us all over the! However, we paid a price; there were difficult years...there were heartbreaking years. Twice we lived on post and our military neighbors seemed to have duties on base, spending off-duty time at home...w/their families. I confess to envy 'cause M was always away...sometimes we hadn't a clue where or when he'd be back...ssshhh...secret. The periods 'at home' were wonderful times; the year-long periods 'away from home' were like forever and ever.

Before cell phones/computers meant snail mail and keeping tabs on the best friend. Michael had two combat tours plus a hardship tour in Eritrea (Ethiopia) that was similar to a combat tour...very dangerous. I might write about that on a later post. I mentioned mail? M and I wrote each other every single day...and sometimes even more! When my mother dropped by she usually found me writing M and she'd ask what in the world we found to write about every day??? Reaching out and touching, Mother...a God Work

Viet Nam? Oh...M went very there early on; not many knew 'beans' about the country, much less what was going on. M was presented to the King of Greece because he was the first to be called from Greece to Viet Nam...could've, would've passed on that distinctive honor! From Greece to 'Nam...what a switch. We spent Christmas in our empty Greek home, waiting to be shipped to the U.S. for M's 30 day leave before going to Nam. I believe I cried for over 45 days...sobbing's more like it.

One of our worst days was driving M to the airport; one more battlefront...thankfully our four boys were in school so he and I drove it alone. When we pulled up in front of the terminal I said, "I can't do this...I just can't"...he agreed and we kissed a kiss that would last until one year was like 'dumping him out' as he opened the door, picked up his bag and walked off...that was it and I still cry remembering. least...he made it back...he made it home.

Oh, how we missed him..."Missing someone gets easier every day because even though you are one day further from the last time you saw them, you are one day closer to the next time you will." That was one of my survival techniques for the many long separations...I divided time into segments that were regularly adjusted...closer and closer until, thank God, we were physically one again!

My heart breaks for all those who didn't make it...for all those who have returned from Iraq, Afghanistan, Viet Nam...bodies ravaged, mental pictures that won't go away...for all those who are returning to those far-off places again and again. My heart breaks/aches for all the wives, children, families who wait and wait and wait and wait.

There is so much one could write about our veterans...not enough words or space. But it's important for us to remember thank them & their families for their service & sacrifices...and to remember that freedom is not free!

Elmer Davis reminds us...

Thanks to my hero & all veterans I have the opportunity to be
Balanced and unafraid....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Makes Each Day Valuable?

Back in my 'depressed' days...I loved going to bed at night because I didn't want to think about 'the day'...I didn't want to get up the next morning because I didn't want to think about 'the day'. Okay, I was a hopeless mess...that's about it. God, Michael and our sons 'worked me over' and with all their love showed me that I could be happy...or...unhappy...the choice was mine. I chose 'happy'.

I honestly don't know why I sank so deeply into my personal just happened. I had a good marriage, wonderful name it and I had it...all of it. Somehow that wasn't enough...I wanted, without a clue as to what it was...I a phrase...unable to face a day.

Choosing 'happy' has proven to be the valuable choice...dread is no longer an option. Today Michael put it in perspective for me...he said, "Vasca, each day has a beginning and it has an ending." Ta-dah...knew that but I hadn't actually processed it until today...I'm not always sharp as a tack...ouch!'s a given there is a monumental amount of unhappiness/stress in our society; all of us are engulfed w/making it from day to day. Aah...that's it, huh? Day to day? A day begins and A day ends...24 hours and it's out of here...over, done with...poof. Please don't misunderstand, I don't make light of my struggle...or yours (if you don't have are rare)'s just that I refuse to give up and I will not drop out of the race.

Groucho Marx was not one of my favorites but he came up w/a good thought. "Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself; I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose what it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day today and I'm going to be happy in it."'s my plan...I'll wake today (much better than not waking), rest there a few minutes talking to God...I'll tell Him that today I am walking with Him..that I am going to do my best...that I am encouraging others...that I'm going to be His light all day...I choose happy.

When I go to bed today, I will continue talking to Him; discussing the people I've been with, talked with or even casually encountered...I will share my day with Him...and I will ask Him for wisdom and forgiveness for my failings. And that is the end of today. I chose happy.

This post began with the question, what makes each day valuable? Personally? Today is valuable because I've no regrets...Today I've done my best to be loving, kind and helpful to everyone I am involved with...Today I have no feelings of animosity...Today I pray that God smiles over me. Today is more valuable than 'all the tea in China'...

Balanced and Unafraid...

Saturday, October 16, 2010


A few years ago, M and I planted (well okay, M planted but he and I picked it out) a very healthy morning glory plant. It has provided us with oodles of pleasure w/it's healthy foliage and gorgeous flowers...year after year. Until this year...ouch. The greenery was so pretty, spreading everywhere w/what? Not a single sign of a flower...where in the world are they this year? We've not a clue. But...hope springs eternal and last week old eagle-eyed M spied a couple of pods and what d'ya know? We're about to have A (as in one) flower...well, one is better than none, right? The morning glory is rather like me...that is, according to our youngest son...#4...Scott...his mother (that would be me, of course) is also a late bloomer.

Our city is in the process of Rehabilitating The least that's what the big sign says that's sitting in our front yard. Talk about a mess? We aren't complaining though because it's well worth it; an entire facelift for our street. The water truck wets the street down several times each day; trying to keep the dust down until it's paving time...sadly, it isn't helping much. Dust covers the truck and car; also covers the morning glory...but M is watering it, trying to keep it dust free and even praying for it. It really needs to speed it up before a frost hits us...and today...guess what??? The bud is opening and a flower is peeping out...awesome!

Back to the comparison bit...I seem to be spending most of this fourth quarter of my life...blooming. The mistakes I made several years ago could've destroyed me, hurt my family but God helped my 5 men dust me off, He helped them 'feed' me...prayed for me...and here I am, makin' it and blooming every step of the way.

Sharon Olds wrote..."I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all is very lucky." Wow...what if our beautiful morning glory never bloomed...and oh my, what if I'd never bloomed? Even one someone might have missed out on something special...imagine that. I'm thinking I don't want to give up or write something wonderful off...especially people. does take time, thoughtfulness and prayer and it needs to be wrapped in love...but you know something? When I touch someone or someone touches me? I feel so alive and I'm not about to let the dust settle.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Steady Does It...

Okay, I'm into know that, right? If you continue following this blog, you're really going to know almost everything about me. So, here's some additional trivia. Along with having 'ink spots' on my leg, I have what is called a 'familial tremor' which simply means 'there's a whole lot of shakin' goin' on'. M and I practically celebrate when I carry things like our coffee mugs to the table and we don't need to clean the floor, etc.

My most 'shaky' times are during worship/communion service each Sunday...we have a routine and M is required to sit on my left...that's etched in stone...and I do not touch the trays (per his request). Otherwise, the little communion cups just pop right out of my hand and voila...I not only have purple spots on my leg...I now have them on my clothes...aargh! Not to be stingy with this tremor, I passed it on to our youngest...we share stories about our 'oops'. Smiling about it doesn't make it go away tho'...I live w/it and do my best to go w/the flow...not to go ballistic.

I'm thinking...most of us have some 'thorn in the flesh' that we simply cannot get rid matter what we do. Medications, exercises, you name it and sometimes nothing works...nada. Well then, what are we to do? Me? I try forgetting about it ~ which doesn't work; I tend to have panic attacks...aargh. Once, Michael thought I was going to pass pulse beat so fast but he managed to calm me down...whew! I guess the conclusion is that, with me, nothing seems to work except me sitting at his right hand. And you know, that's not a bad thing.

I pray and pray about this tremor thing...well, it isn't going anywhere but I'm managing it with help. Help from a loving, understanding partner and friends (if occasionally M can't be there good friends will oblige and let me sit on their left)...I also have an unwavering in 'life without God is like an unsharpened has no point'.

Surprise, now my life really has a Mother Teresa said, "I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world".

Here I am, the girl who never, ever finished a project...I became His little pencil, sending His love letters to the world...from China. I think His Spirit moved Michael to suggest that I send weekly journals out about His work there...M can be a most gentle persuader (he knows how to push my buttons) and of course His Spirit was always inspirational...thank you, Michael; thank you, Father.

So you see, there's hope for even the weakest of me; even though I'm still shakin' things up...God is with me and He encourages me to encourage others; I honestly believe that I am on my way to being
Balanced and Unafraid...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Care to Love?

About now, you realize how much I'm into quotes...right? Well, it takes all sorts of stuff to get a person going...with me, it's quotes. Secrets out, I have limitations and I'm a simple gal.

Aah, but...I'm also a 'lert (translation: I see and hear almost everything), sometimes to Michael's chagrin! (He likes to pretend so, anyway). You may be the may not...irrelevant. Here's what stuck in my 'deposit box'..."The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say to him/her, "What are you going through?" Simone Weil.

There have been times in my life when I would've given 'all the tea in China' (trust me, that's a LOT) if someone had asked me that...just one someone! It's a given that time is of the essence in most lives; everyone seems into busyness...whether it be big or little stuff there's lots going on in lives. But, I should care...really, truly care about what's going on in your life, the lives of those around me, those I encounter in the stores, restaurants, all the places I go. Wow, does that mean constantly or what? Sure does.

I popped into this world with a lot of 'ink blots' on my right leg...I love jewel tones (a very good thing as it turned out) grape, wine, etc. That leg is like a description of the Greek island; Greece was created and there were all these little things left over so God just scattered them in the sea. Okay, my purple blots are scattered from top to bottom on that leg and trust me...girls are very sensitive about those things.

As it happened, I aged (there's just one other alternative, right?) and discovered many people never even noticed them, my sense of value went up a tad...I still have the blots but it isn't such a big thing now. I was always very aware when I saw anyone who had noticeable marks on their person...but I tried not to 'stare'...lessons learned. I'd see someone with half their face covered w/one and thanked God mine weren't on my face...oops!

God taught me well and in China I was able to put "What are you going through?" into practice. A few couples met to go to a class together; I noticed one of the wives seemed very shy...she was quite attractive but she kept half of her face hidden by her hair. I sort of positioned myself to 'get a peek' and noticed that half was one large blot...same shade as mine. Translation was necessary but she got the message about the birthmarks and expressed her great relief at comparing looks and thoughts about our lot in a beautiful flower, she blossomed.

We can learn from's just that some are much more difficult than others. Take my worst ever mistake ~ I was addicted to prescription drugs for thirteen miserable years; hey, I didn't know they were miserable 'cause I wasn't really 'there' know? Then again, possibly you don't. How I got I got out is for another time, if you care to know. I can write and talk about it now w/o weeping 24/7. But...I don't think anyone ever said to me, "What are you going through?".

Um-hmm, God taught me well and I've been able to mature in it. Someone once warned me to be cautious about sharing 'my past'. I'm not given to ignoring advice but I trashed that because it was no longer in me to close my eyes, so I ask "What are you going through?"

"So, be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life is a Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? (98 and 3/4% guaranteed). Kid, you'll move mountains." (Dr. Seuss...O the Places You'll Go)

By the way, you may quote me on this,...I am 'balanced and unafraid'...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Perfect Blendship

There's a song that goes "Friendship, friendship...such a perfect blend-ship;
When other friendships' are done forgot? Ours will still be hot" as in cookin', okay?

Lyrics continue..."If you're ever in a jam, here I am. If you're ever up a tree, call on me."

And so it other words, friendship is wonderful...reliability no matter what...hmmm!

I'm sure you've jumped to aid a friend more than once. Your friends have rescued you, right? Of course they have and you've done the same for them...numerous times and no one keeps score. Friends do that...and it warms your bod from head to toe. 'Cause you feel very loved; friends are like that.

Have you ever in your life let a good friend down? Be truthful now...I have and I've never been able to forget's stuck in my heart like a thorn. Why in the world did I do it? I was very selfish and just didn't want to put myself that is worse than awful of me!

The other instance is one where a very wonderful, longtime friend decided she no longer wanted me as a friend because a problem developed in her life; and I didn't have the same one! Confession is good for the soul? Yep, but it hurts...most painful. What I should've done, what I could've done...I didn't. Time passes quickly and the opportunities are gone but believe me when I write that they taught me a valuable lesson. Pride/stubbornness...whatever tag you put on it...shouldn't be in my heart, not at all...ever. I let it muddle my thinking and I believe I enjoyed being 'a martyr'...that's an ouch deluxe!!!

Have you ever done anything like that...surely not? However...I rather imagine I'm not the Lone Ranger here.

Growing up, I hadn't many friends. It's difficult making friends when you're moving sometimes every few weeks, months...tad easier when you're in a place at least one year. I moved 58 times from little baby until finally settling down. My dad was in the oil business (roughnecking on up) and that meant moving where the rigs were drilling. Bit of history here...he helped drill the wells on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol. Oh wow, I have felt soooo sorry for poor little me too many wonder I didn't have many friends. I was a sad sack.

Well, that was then...this is now when I can honestly say to my friends: 'You are my friend and you are very cherished. I will never intentionally hurt or disappoint you; I will do all I can to keep our friendship on an even keel'.

From an unknown source here's a quote to think about: "Some people carry their hearts in their hands; very many carry their heads in their hearts. The difficulty is to keep them apart, and yet both actually work together".

You know, I've always had tender feelings and at times been hurt. I can wear my heart on my sleeve, be hurt and shed tears...I can wipe the tears away but you know, it takes more effort to erase the hurt from my heart...practicing, practicing to stay 'balanced and unafraid'.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Walking in Happiness

Okay, so now you know I'm a Fiasco...but know this, I definitely am a happy one. I went from insecure to a somewhat blissful status when I was blest in marriage to my #1 man...that would be Michael. We've been together a very long time now...and tell you the truth, it's a God Work.

I suppose you could say Michael was 'swept off his feet'. How so? Well, goes like this. He and I dated for awhile, even after he told his friends that I was one girl who would 'never' set foot in his car. Big mistake, sweet one. I ended up owning half of everything he has...taught him, huh?

Like I said, we dated until he was whisked off to Korea...his Oklahoma National Guard unit was mobilized for the Korean conflict. He came to say good-bye but alas, I had moved to California, lived with my aunt and got a know, the one at Forest Lawn (the cemetary) romantic...not. The warrior left and we proceeded to correspond...he soldiered and I dated (sort of shopping). Things progressed and we fell more in love...those things know?

I told him I had a check-list for what I wanted in a life partner...he never believed that, but that's the me. I knew exactly what I wanted and that's exactly what I got...perfect choice...he got all the right check marks.

A year passed and soon enough he had an exit date and would be home. In the meantime, I planned our wedding. Set the date, bought my dress and had the invitations printed. One thing though...he'd never actually proposed...I just planned it and that was that.

Someone asked me what would I have done if he hadn't 'accepted' and gone along with it? Well, you know...I don't know because I never once considered that. I do know that God Work takes care of those things and just look what certainly can't argue with the results, can you?

We've four fantastic sons...geniuses, I promise you. We are so proud of them; four wonderful daughter-in-laws and ten just as wonderful grandchildren.

My best laid plans? Thank God, Michael came along for the walk...walking in happiness is the walk of a lifetime.

And that's a enables me, at times, to be 'balanced and unafraid'.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One Heart plus Two Hands

“To receive everything, one must open one's hands and give” Taisen Deshimaru

In China, it's customary when you give someone something you use both hands. I liked that and still try to practice it. I extend it w/both hands and I also do it with my heart wide open...a two fold thing...that's the way I'm thinking. Keeps me balanced and trust me, I do need balance!

Why's that? Well, because I am a 1st class KLUTZ...I wasn't tagged Fiasco for nothing. When we re-located to Norman Oklahoma I met a man who became a very close friend. But, as it happens w/most people, he couldn't get my name right (who ever met a Vasca) so he announced, "I'll just call you Fiasco"...and it stuck. Michael informed him that he was right on target 'cause I truly was a 'Fiasco'. I'm a disaster in so many respects...M doesn't really want to hurt my feelings but he's much more comfortable when I keep my distance from his projects.

Offsetting my disastrous side would be my love for sharing and giving. I caught that from my sweet dad...he loved to give, and give...oh wow, he was a giver and then some. Lots of times he would bring something to our house and say that he thought I needed it and so it was mine. Oops, he didn't consult mother about it so I would quietly take it back. Birds, dogs, tools...nothing was sacred.

I've known those who said when their ship came in, they'd do this and that; something big that would make an impact...a big difference. If I waited for 'my ship' to come in, what if it never made it? Oops...sorry 'bout that.

M and I live in a comfortably small house...we call it our charming cottage. We have a very old Dodge Ram truck...we call him Henry...we are a friendly couple...we call us Michael and Vasca. We've everything we could possibly need or want and we're happy, contented and totally God.

We've emptied ourselves for Him and have not once regretted it ~ we consider it a blessing that we could and would do that. And what did He do? For starters He is steering us through this Amyloidosis incurable, rare disease...we're sailing in calm seas, no matter what comes. Each morning we greet each other with smiling kisses, joy in our hearts...and a day full of love...some start, huh?

You see, everything counts, whether big or small...whenever opportunities pop up like popcorn, we can do something. Simple enough, just open our eyes, our ears and most importantly...keep our hearts open. I'm staying needs more 'lerts anyway! Balanced and unafraid...I'm trying.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What about tomorrow?

Yeah, what about tomorrow anyway? First off, tomorrow is THE day we (that would be Michael & Vasca...our family and friends)...learn at last what type of Amyloidosis Michael has...hey, we might even talk about a treatment plan...who knows? God has all the details...Dr. Holmes has the word on paper...we will be the last to know.

We've waited and waited for seems like an eternity but really it isn't...hasn't been so long. Actually 93 days since M discovered Amy in his throat...he didn't know Amy then, but Amy had moved in unannounced! How rude is that?

You know, when something so unusual occurs in your life, you think everyone else is as obsessed as you. But that's unrealistic, isn't it? Not everyone becomes involved in everyone else's life...we might all go ballistic and lose it.

I pray that I will always be aware of others and what's taking place in their lives...and let them know I care, I truly care. William Arthur Ward wrote, “Three keys to more abundant living: caring about others, daring for others, sharing with others.”

This is my plan from this day forward...I will care about others...I will dare for others and I will share with others...that is a God Work, right? Of course and I really like working with God...HE knows how to work it.

No matter what comes tomorrow, we are balanced and unafraid...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Long Time Coming

"Most people can look back over the years and identify a time and place at which their lives changed significantly. Whether by accident or design, these are the moments when, because of a readiness within us and a collaboration with events occurring around us, we are forced to seriously reappraise ourselves and the conditions under which we live and to make certain choices that will affect the rest of our lives"...Frederick F. Flack.

July 8th Michael and I celebrated our 58th year of marriage...oh wow! That's a long, long time and such a wonderful time it's been. Michael didn't 'fly me to the moon' because I didn't want to go there, instead he took me around the world and back...several times. Two naive young people so much in love...with so much to learn but we're fast learners so we jumped in with both feet and haven't stopped since.

We've often looked back over our years and thought about how His Spirit worked in our magnificently. Things we could've done...and didn't...things we would've done...and didn't. Why? Because we were doing our best to be spirit-led; did we always stay upright? No...simply because we are not in any way...perfect. Imagine that, will you?

One major pivotal point in our lives was deciding to change professions and re-enter the military with the aim to make it a lifetime career. It required many painful sacrifices on M's part...many on my part as well as the four boys! All of us suffered but God led us through it...step by step.

Here we are, so many years later and we're into re-appraisal and making some necessary changes. M has served as a shepherd for many congregations...for many years. The latest has been here in our hometown...5 years...and it's time to make another change. Amyloidosis has moved in with us and won't move out as long as M lives...that's a given that won't change. We accept the intrusion and know that God will see us through it, no matter what.

HE always does and we remain balanced and unafraid.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


A couple of blogs ago I wrote about the gentleman in my life (that would be Michael) who has always opened doors for others...a wonderful trait. And? And, this!

This morning M was reading the journals I've written on his Caringbridge site (keeping you posted on his AMY condition). I remarked that I thought that's one way God is using us in this latest mission of His...for us. He said it was me ~ through my writings. Perhaps, but if so then the secret to my writings is the subject involved and I told him I had no difficulty writing when I write about God...and about Michael.

I added this to my remark, "You know, M...God always comes first and you are are playing second fiddle...I doubt that you mind." Of course he doesn't.

When he was in college, our Scott asked me if I believed that love is blind? I replied that I suppose so because that's what I'd always heard. I surely didn't get a reply I might have expected...he said "Well Mom, Dad must've really loved you a lot". WHAT??? Always the diplomat replied quickly "Mom, you're a late bloomer". Wow...thanks son! And so, some love must be blind...and that may be a good thing.

I think of how God sees me...His love is pure and God doesn't when he tells me that He loves me? I know, without a doubt, that His eyes are in no way blind. That is such an awesome feeling to know...for sure...that my God LOVES ME...pitiful me...that's a wow!

This post began with M opening doors and closes with M opening eyes. You see, he has helped me in more ways than he could open my eyes and not only 'see' Christ but to 'know' Christ. God has surely directed him and in turn, M has directed eyedrops...straight to the heart. The eyes have it.

M has this thing...ever since he 'forgot' our last anniversary...he puts little notes, cards and stuff around in surprising places and writes, "I'm just practicing...just practicing". And me? What d'ya think...I eat it up! Way to go, Michael.

So here I am...looking at you with eyes overflowing with love...clear and wide His.

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others...For beautiful lips speak only words of kindness...And for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."...Audrey Hepburn

Practice makes perfect.

Balanced and Unafraid....

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Let Me Open the Door

M has always opened doors for me...his mom and dad taught him to be 'a gentleman' and he a multitude of ways! I love the way he 'handles' me...very comforting, very protective and I adore him for it.

He's much like God in that way...we've learned God opens doors in a most amazing way...does He ever!

Like? Last night and this morning and....! It's no surprise that I'm not sleeping well...first place, I have Fibromyalgia which robs me of much sleep. Secondly, my mind is racing like the Indy 500. I was in bed last night before 11 but gave it up and back to our computer. I pulled up the amyloidosis website and checked out a couple of patient testimonials/experiences and stumbled back into one I'd previously read but it just didn't register at that time.

It was from a lady in Coppell whose husband was stricken w/Amy and diagnosed a year later. After a succession of doctors they were referred to none other than M's good is that? They made the decision their best care would be right in Dallas at the Baylor complex. Good decision.

I e-mailed her wee hours of the morning; she had me an answer by the time we were home from morning worship. I had prayed many prayers in hopes that he was alive but sadly, he died in May 2009. He was stricken in 2001 so he made it eight years. Of course, he was the age of our sons.

She wrote, "Excellent doctors, the power of prayer, a positive attitude and an early diagnoses were the keys to David's rapid progress and healing." Oct 2002.

In August 2005 they celebrated 3 years since the stem cell transplant and he was doing great. Amy returned but w/treatment went in remission.

We have no idea what lies ahead for us...this is a wait-learn deal. But God is in this with fact, HE is leading the way.

Here's the lesson...God delivered a message, "Here, let me open the door for you."

Guess what? He's He gentle. But, HE's into positive action and before we can pass through? He's ahead about three or more doors...and they're all open.

Thank you, Father...oh how we thank you.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

True Patriot

True Patriot

Our nation is preparing to honor those who have gone before us...defending our freedom and paying the price. They are and all. To some, it may be just another holiday, another day off...another cook-out. On the other hand, there are those who have lost loved ones, those of us who have anxiously waited for loved ones...those who are still waiting for loved is a day to honor patriots.

M and I put 32 years into serving this country. Physically speaking I was not 'in the army'; nonetheless, I was 'in it'. How could I not be, when my heart was with the servant? My heart beat w/his during the best of times...and ached w/his in the worst of times...God walked with us and we survived.

Our lives have been most fascinating; we've seen much of the world, we've done much and God has used us in surprising ways. With that thought in mind, we've grown 'old'...'older'? Oh yes, indeed we have. More and more we've asked ourselves what would God have in mind for us now? Now that we are 'up there', that is. Had we outgrown our usefulness?

I bemoaned the fact that the two of us stopped writing the Shepherd's Talk and Ewe's Muse last December. Writing is my true passion...good or not, I love to put my thoughts out there...share things. M constantly encouraged me to blog...which I did on Filler' Up...but something was missing. Mmm...Michael was missing...and he's the greatest part of my life...(I love him).

April 21st is a day we'll not soon, if ever, forget. Amy (Amyloidosis from here on out) made herself known in our lives. Guess we could've called it Loid..but Amy is easy to say and so it is...Amy is the 'other woman'.

Our lives have changed this week...and we know our mission. God is using He always yet another surprising way. I'll elaborate in a few patient.

Every morning, first thing, we have our coffee...we make a a day with God plus another thought...sit, drink, read, eat and watch the birds...such a pleasure! Mmm, ever so nice. These past few weeks and days, we have been blest with yet another beautiful view from our 'window to His world'.

You see, M gave me a little rose plant for Valentine's Day...he repotted it and it has tripled in size. A month ago the most gorgeous red rose bloomed...then another and they lasted over two weeks.

This week, wonder of wonders, eleven buds appeared...gorgeous. So, we sit, ooh and aahhh and talk about God and today we're looking at seven beautiful red roses. M says, 'Vasca, that's my gift to you that keeps on giving.' God, I hope that gift lives forever.

It's called 'The Patriot'.

Balanced and Unafraid...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why Not?

This is a joint effort...not a Vasca blog. Michael is relaxing his brain tonight...poor lamb has been in a whirl and is loosening the grip a bit. He'll join us later...honestly.

If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a myriad of times..."Why me, Lord? Why me?" Many bemoan the fact that they are 'thrown under the bus'...translated to being struck w/a serious disease or illness.

I was born w/a rare birth defect...and amazingly overcame it. M and I have always looked at it like...'Hey, I wouldn't wish my condition off on someone else. What kind of a person would I be to wish such a thing? No way...we'll make it and besides, we have the BEST expert available.'

You know, we were just a couple of naive, wide-eyed people when we married and we never had a and stuff like that...but we were so rich we glowed. We had determined to have God at the top of our 'list of everything' and He never left the top of the leader board. HE went with us wherever, whenever and never missed a security deluxe. We didn't worry, we were always excited about what was around the corner. Everything was a big adventure...God's adventure!

All our experiences were building, building to something fantastic...we didn't know what...we just went with the flow, so to speak. We thought the China experience was the top of the charts but slowly our thinking began to change.

We knew...we really knew...that God still had something in mind for us; we often wondered exactly what it would be. Now, we no longer wonder...we know...we know!

We've had this stranger in our lives since Friday morning...and why does it seem like such a long time ago? We've been in a whirl-and-a-half since then. Last night both of us were totally exhausted, mentally as well as physically.

Terry Rush wrote about us in his Morning Rush blogspot and I totally lost it...I wept for a very long time and even tear up writing this about it. He touched both of us...and we've never laid eyes on each other. A God Work again. That isn't the only tear-break. When I write to you, I cry...and cry! Like now...and the tears won't stop. I don't want Michael to see me cry so...he's gonna' catch me one of these times. It breaks my much.

Okay, moving on; M's brother is a doctor (GP) and a very good one. He and his wife live in Dallas and wanted to come over Sunday after worship for lunch w/us. He thought he should sneak a look at he took out his tiny light (we use a huge flashlight) and a tongue depressor (we don't use anything) and proceeded to peer in M's throat. "Mike, I've never seen anything like that in my entire life." Welcome to the club, Dr. Beall.

He shared medical info w/us and headed home. Nice to see family...M's sister died of cancer in 1998...M and Ben are the only ones left in their family. Ben thinks along the same lines as we do...rational, focused steps.

I'm considering having a cell phone transplanted on Michael's ear...up early, Dr Ben called and he had just spoken to a leading expert on Amyloidosis at Winship Cancer Center at Emory Med. School in Atlanta. Our youngest son lives very near Emory.

Info from top notch facilities is promising...very promising. If M and I had been doing this alone, we'd be in orbit by now. Our family has become Team Mission Impossible...fantastic. I'll bring you up to date on all this next post...very exciting developments! Woo-Hoo!

A little humor here...if you don't mind. We have a gorgeous Rag Doll cat named Gibby. She's a dream of a girl and so loving, no problem ever. She loves to be where we are and when he and I aren't in the same room? She gives each of us equal time...she isn't biased at all. This morning (as usual) she was pestering M to pet and play w/her. He looked and looked at her, then said to me "Well, if she ever starts sticking to me 24/7 I'll go ballistic." Referring to the 'Death Cat'. So, we're needs more 'lerts.

On that note I'll close. By the way, thank you for accompanying us and your comments are very touching...very precious to us...we need you. This journey promises to be a true Spirit walk...the very best kind. We're here to tell you that we are so excited we almost forget to breathe...woo-hoo!

Balanced and Unafraid....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Stranger in Paradise

This is a joint venture for Michael and, it's me, Vasca. As we wrote in our profile, we've been around the world and back! Two ordinaries from the oilfields of Oklahoma and Texas...we have really been around. We never dreamed our lives would take such an unpredictable path...and we should've known there was even more excitement ahead.

You know how most days are ordinary, some are extraordinary...yesterday was definitely a huge 'extra'...and then some. I feel if yesterday was a long time ago...not just 24 hours! One's mind can play tricks, right? Right.

About ten in the morning our peaceful lives were very rudely interrupted. It was a giant tremor with a strength that was unimaginable...oh yeah! It totally threw the two of us under the bus, so to speak. I'll try to explain as best I can.

It all began on April 20th, when the love of my life, Michael, discovered 'Wicked' lurking at the back of his throat. I privately pooh-pooed it at first...guess women are quick to say men are big babies...not like we brave females who bear the pains of childbirth!!! I didn't voice that opinion...just kept it to myself...M is definitely not an alarmist or hypochondriac. We took the stance that it should be seen ASAP, which it was. Even more ASAP-er an ENT physician checked him and scheduled a biopsy.

His post-op was scheduled eight days later...but wait a sec...what's this? Hmmm, the growth that was sucked out or whatever...was resurrected three days after the surgery! What??? What a comeback...Comeback Wicked in the flesh.

That's when Wicked's sidekick ambushed us...on our own turf, yet.

Michael was diagnosed with Amyloidosis...oh? What's that...never heard of it...did you? Not many have and even more strange, it's very, very rare! Aren't we the lucky ones? About 3,000 per year in the U.S...perhaps 50,000 in the entire world. The ENT doctor had only even seen two other cases. Call us 'clueless'...totally clueless!

I've slept very little ~ a few hours Thursday night...anticipation? Friday, we spent the entire day on the Internet...researching 'Wicked'...Michael has this wonderful gift of immediately falling to sleep...I am the opposite (they say opposites attract and we are that) I finally drifted off at 4 A.M. We agreed that we've never absorbed so much so quickly...what a day!

Our family is into the search and rescue mode, along with M and me! Must admit that I 'lost it' for a few moments much so that I clipped the carport as I was backing out in the car! Ouch..not much damage to either but I wasn't in control...not at all. While M was napping I had a private ten second weep...I was entitled!

We've no idea if this adventure will be long or short...but we love won't you come along?

Balanced & Unafraid...