Thursday, April 28, 2011


I love books. 
I love the way the smell, and the way they fit my hands.
I have been reading since childhood.
I read 2 or 3 books a month.

Recently, I experienced a drought.
Every book I picked up bored me.
I would read 10, 30 or even 75 pages,
but then I lost interest.

This was upsetting to me.
What is going on?
This phenomenon lasted about 3 or 4 months.
Nothing seemed to break the cycle.

Finally I picked up an old book that I had never read.
Carriage Trade by Stephen Birmingham.
One of those novels in the style of Dominick Dunne.
Rich, society people who skirt the rules.

That did it!
It broke the drought.
I have read a lot of books in
the last three weeks.

Susan Cheever, Notes from a Bottle.
Growing up in an alcoholic family.
I cannot possibly be an alcoholic, everyone drinks.
Finally overcoming alcoholism.

Meredith Hall, Life Without a Map.
Getting pregnant at 16 in the 1960s.
Giving the baby up for adoption.
Finally meeting the son after 21 years apart.

Hallie Ephron, Never Tell a Lie.
Can you say stalker?
An innocent shopper at a garage sale.
The shopper disappears and the husband is arrested.

Lisa Black, Evidence of Murder.  
How can there be no evidence of murder?
A body with no marks, nothing.
Nitrogen poisoning. Who knew? 

Jen Lancaster, Bitter is the New Black.
A spoiled Chicago girl.
Loses her job. Spends too much money.
Wears a black wedding dress 

Chris Bohjalian, The Double Bind.
One of the best books I have ever read.
Combines real photographs taken in the 1950s with
a mesmerizing story.

F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.
I am rereading this after reading The Double Bind.
The Double Bind uses The Great Gatsby
as part of the plot.

Every afternoon the pool calls my name.
Come and sit.
Bring you current book.
Relax and escape to another place.

Are You Kidding Me?

Start the shower water.
Steaming up the bathroom.
Get in for my morning ritual.
Wash my face.

Reach for the shampoo.
Where is it?
Oh, look.
The conditioner is missing too.

Quentin must have used it.
No, that does not make any sense.
He does not have any hair.
He never uses the shampoo.

It must be by the jacuzzi tub.
Get out of the shower.
Search the tub area.
No luck.

Get a towel.
Race to other bathroom.
Ah ha, there it is.
Safe and sound in the other bathroom.

Borrowed my shampoo and conditioner.
and did not return it.
You would think it was Paul Mitchell or something,
instead of Sauve!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Visitor

I walk out to feed the dog.
I hear a noise.
Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Is that coming from the dog or cat food bin?
Oh, I am afraid to see what it is?
The noise stops.

Quentin, there is some kind of critter out here!
He comes to check it out.
It is in the dog food bag.

Oh look, it is a baby opossum.
He is so cute.
He is very still.

What are we going to do with him?
We need to wait until dark to let him go.
He sleeps in the bag all day.

He is so cute.
He is about the size of a coffee cup.
He looks soft, but do not touch him.

In the evening he wakes up.
Want to eat an orange? No.
Not dark yet, go back to sleep.

Finally it is dark.
Quentin takes him out to the woods.
He lays the bag down and waits.

He waits and waits and waits.
The baby will not venture from the bag.
Gently turn the bag and make him come out.

The baby opossum sits very still.
Go in the house to get a flashlight.
Where did the baby go?

The night brings good news.
The Easter visitor has gone home.
Hey friends and family, where are you?

No-Drama Zone

This morning is quiet.
No yelling about lost clothes.
No griping about lack of food to eat.

A little rain is falling.
The dog is not barking.
The cat is not chasing it's tail.

The coffee is good and strong.
The cardinal is singing his morning song.
The flowers are opening their buds.

Even the sun is hiding his face this morning.
enjoy the quiet.
It is a rare no-drama zone.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Or Maybe it is the Name?

Beth, a simple name.
Derived from Elizabeth.
Karen, from my mom.
Smith, from my husband.

Maybe people do not remember me, because my name is Beth.
I wonder if I was Lizzie...
Lizzie Borden took an ax,
gave her father forty whacks.

I tried it out for a while in third grade.
I liked to think I was named after Queen Elizabeth.
I think I would need to wear my tiara every day.

In high school some people thought I was Bethann Angie.
One of my good friends was  Angie.
People always said "Beth and Angie".
I morphed into Bethann Angie.

*Tiffany with no last name.
Don't those young girls know
you are supposed to have to have a last name.
Hi! I'm Kimberly.

A friend of a friend thought my name was Bethward.
She combined my first name and maiden name.
I was introduced at a party as Bethward.
How does that even make sense?

I always wanted to be named Finn.
I thought that would be the coolest name for a grandma.
Finn, can we make cookies?
Come with Finn and we will paint a picture.

The crazy lady with all of the cats.
How many cats does she have?
Black cats, gray cats, striped cats.
Come here kitty, kitty.

I have grown to love my name.
It is not exciting.
It is not memorable,
but it is me. 

*From the movie, "You've Got Mail"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Face to Forget

I have met a lot of people in my life.
I am always surprised when someone doesn't remember me.
I have one of those faces
that is easy to forget.

Classmates who were in high school classes with me.
People who went to stock shows with me.
Boys that I liked in high school.

Young Life.
I can remember 60 kids names.
Committee members introduce themselves to me -
over and over.

Shops on Main Street.
I frequent the same stores time after time.
Spending money on gifts, necessities.
What is your name?

Public Library.
I have been going to the library for 11 years.
Unbelieveable that some of them still do not know my name.
God bless Rose, she remembers!

I have wondered about this phenomenon during my life.
What is it that makes my face so forgetful?
Not enough animation.
Not enough...something.

Does it matter that I am not remembered?
Not really, but it is interesting.
I have finally realized that
I have a face to forget.

Monday, April 18, 2011


She goes to see the surgeon.
Same problem, left foot.
The doc says, "I know how to fix this."
Now it is time to decide what to do.

Friday before Spring Break.
Get up early.
Drive to San Antonio.

Honey comes to see her.
Aunt Sheryl and Uncle Brian come to see her. 
Insert IV.
Clean and massage foot. 

Doc writes "No" on her right leg. 
Request nausea meds for after surgery. 
IV making her sleepy.
Hug and kiss.

They wheel her to the OR.
 Eat lunch while we wait.
Look at magazines.
How much longer?

Doc comes out.
"She really needed that surgery.
The bone was so loose.
She did great"

Wait until she wakes up.
She looks so groggy.
Splint is so big.
Can she get dressed?

Wheelchair to the car.
She is hungry!
Where is a Subway?
Get a her a footlong and Sprite.

She eats the whole thing.
She falls asleep on the way home.
She has so much pain.
Advil is not helping.

What about Tylenol?
Much better.
Don't forget to take your aspirin.
Do not want a blood clot.

Now the hard part.
Waiting 10 days until the splint comes off.
New cast.
No walking. Use those crutches.

Two more weeks.
A different cast.
Start to walk on it as you feel able.
Let the pain be your guide.

Four more weeks.
You can do it!
A long recovery results in good health.
She has strength - physical and mental.

So Little Time

In two months, she finishes her junior year.
Four AP classes - done.
First year without volleyball - done.
First prom - done.

In three months, she goes on her last mission trip as a youth.
Visit college campuses.
Lay in the sun and tan.
Go on family vacation.

In four months, she takes her senior pictures.
Pretty dress.
Casual clothes.
Look at that smile.

In five months, she applies for college.
Fill out the Financial Aid forms.
Fill out the college applications.

Is she ready?
Can she do it?
I hope I have prepared her.
God, where did the time go?

Gift from God

Hard days.
Mean words.
Angry looks.

Pray to God.
Please help me have a better day tomorrow.

Phone rings.
A friend.
I'm walking, can I come by?
Visit on the porch in the cool morning air.

Tears come to my eyes.
God provides.
My friend.
A gift from God.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Have you ever heard of the BBD?
It is the Bigger, Better Deal.
When I was young,
my family was always chasing the bigger better deal.

My father has a PHD in Chemistry.
but he always wanted to be an entrepreneur.
And so, the BBD was born in the Ward house.
There were so many attempts at the BBD.

When I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade,
we raised baby calves.
We bottle fed them.
We raised them to be butchered.

We also had a huge garden.
We raised tomatoes, potatoes, corn, okra
and the list goes on.
The plan was to sell the vegetables.

In junior high we raised honey bees.
We bought hives and a spinning contraption
to harvest the honey.
Easy to bottle and sell the honey?

About the same time, artificial insemination
became popular for raising new brands of cattle.
Names like Chianina, Maine-Anjou, Pinzgauer and Simbrah.
It never did really take off.

We had a barn where we kept a variety of rabbits.
We raised the rabbits
 and then would haul them 100 miles away to auction them off.
Rabbit will be the new chicken.

We leased acres and acres of land for hay baling.
Plow the field, plant the Bermuda sprigs.
Watch it grow, cut the hay, rake, bale, haul.
Feast when it rains. Famine when it doesn't.

Buy raw lumber to make furniture.
Cherry, walnut, pecan.
Get it planed, build an armoire, quilt box, rocking chair. 
Each of us kids got a piece of the furniture. 

Did you know you can turn cooking oil into bio-diesel?
Travel to numerous plants to see how it is done.
Work in a plant in another state to get experience.
Too much competition from big companies.

Buy pieces of silver and turn them into Krugerrands.
Buy silver from Craigs List or Ebay.
Melt it down in the rented space in town.
Who will make the Krugerrands for me?

As an adult, I also pursued the BBD.
I made macrame pot hangers.
I took oil painting classes.
I took flower arranging classes.

I took a quilt class with a friend.
It changed my life forever.
My pursuit of the BBD was over.
God gave me a ministry.

Note: My dad pursued these interests while he worked as a chemist.
Although I was never looking to make money, I eventually quit my 
corporate job to pursue my ministry. I do not make any money to
speak of, but I am serving God with the gifts He gave me.   

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Baby Lost

They wait for the doctor.
The room is so quiet.
The doctor arrives.
Things do not look so good.
The baby does not have a heartbeat.

We will have to do a simple out-patient procedure.
Simple. What is simple about this?
Simple out-patient procedure - really?
Her heart is breaking.
No heartbeat.

How could this happen?
Did we do something wrong?
Help us God.
Tears of sadness, disappointment, anger.
What if we can never have a baby?

Fear, lack of faith, frustration.
Why did this happen to us?
How will I get through this?
Ironic - take baby steps to get through it,
but no baby.

Do a project.
Flood my mind with thought of other things.
Does not fix the feelings,
but it does distract the mind, the heart.
Pray for strength and understanding.

30% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.
This does not make me feel any better.
Now, I am a statistic -
a broken, devastated, empty statistic.
Help me God.


Teenager trying to sleep late.
Get up, get up.
It is Sunday.
Time for family breakfast.

Coffee brewing.
Bacon frying.
Eggs cooking.
Biscuits baking.

Mix the milk and flour.
Simmer the drippings.
Come on gravy.
The best gravy you have ever eaten.

College at TAMU.
Work at LaQuinta.
Bacon sandwich with mustard.
What a great lunch.

Graduation and move to the big city.
Job as a computer programmer.
News report.
Bacon has less fat than cheese.

Eat more bacon.
Bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwiches.
Jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese,
wrapped with bacon.

Hamburgers with bacon and blue cheese.
Omelet with bacon and cheese.
Spinach salad with bacon.
Turkey and dressing with bacon.

Dr. Pepper 10 commercial.
For men only.
Big trucks, duct tape, bacon. Really?
As usual, the marketers got it all wrong.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Girl in a Pink Dress

Finally spring is here.
Prom is coming!
Who will I go with?
I cannot wait!!

A date for prom with a good friend.
No pressure if I go with my friend, Ben.
It will be fun.
Laughing, laughing, laughing.

A pink dress bought and ordered in Austin.
The dress comes in.
Let's go try it on.
It fits perfectly.

Where will we eat on prom night?
My date knows someone at Navajo Grill.
He arranges a special dinner.

Who will we go with?
Lance and Jill are going to prom.
Please go eat with us?
Now we have four in our group.

I go with Ben to order the tux.
We need just the right color of pink for the vest and tie.
 We have to match!
The tux is ordered, now we wait.

What will we do after prom?
I am not going to a drinking party.
Can we come to the house, Mom?
Of course. What food do we need?

I have to order his flower.
I hate the word boutonniere.
A pink rose with silver ribbon trim.
It will look perfect with his tux.

Aunt Donna, are you coming down?
I need you to help me get ready.
Ticket bought.
It will be a short trip.

Friends invited for the "after" party.
No alcohol.
Swimming pool is ready.
Fire pit is ready to make s'mores.

The big day arrives.
Go with Jill to get our nails done.
Go with Jill to get our hair done.
Hers is long and curly, mine is in a curly "up-do".

Time to get our dresses on.
What jewelry should I wear?
Cameras start clicking.
Got to meet the other girls for "girl" photos.

Ben arrives. He looks so handsome.
All the parents arrive to drop off food and take photos.
Smile. Smile. Smile.
I am getting so hot taking all of these photos.

Drive to hotel for additional photos. 
Stand on the stairs. 
Now by these shrubs. 
My face hurts from smiling so much.

Hug everyone goodbye. 
I love you all. 
Get in the big truck with Dad's help.
We drive away while I blow kisses.  

Monday, April 4, 2011

Change of Direction

Fourteen years ago,
God changed the direction of my life.
A friend asked me to take a Community Ed class.
We went to the class preview and decided a quilting class would be fun.
If one class is good, two would be awesome.

We signed up.
We bought fabric.
We bought supplies.

What is a cutting mat?
What is a rotary cutter?
Why is this ruler so big?
A 1/4 inch piecing foot; that is not very big.
Scissors, neutral thread, needles, sewing machine.

Get up early (groan).
Go to class.
Learn how to cut fabric the quilters way.
Learn how to sew strips.
Learn how to re-cut and make the quilt blocks.
This is so exciting.
My first quilt blocks.

I was hooked.
I stayed up late at night.
I got up early, went to work and then came home.
I fed my family, put the kids to bed and then back to sewing.
All I could think about was quilting.
I took some fabric, cut it up, sewed it,
cut it up again, resewed it and then I had a quilt top.
I added batting, a backing and then
did the most awful job of sewing it together.
Finally I finished the first quilt. 

Oh my gosh, I made a quilt!
I laid the quilt on the floor and then rolled up in it.
I really made a quilt.

By now I really wanted to quilt all the time. 
My poor husband.
I talked to him about quitting work.
We have a huge mortgage payment.
We have a lot of bills.

Eventually we got a plan together.
We decided I would quit work.
We move move to a smaller town.
We would buy a smaller house.
We would use my retirement to pay down on the new house.
We would adjust and live on one salary.

It took us about a year.
That is another whole story!
Now how does God fit into all of this?
Well I had been searching for meaning in my life.
The quilting ignited a passion I had never felt.
I assumed this was God trying to get my attention.

We moved to Fredericksburg.
I started quilting all the time.
God again directed me to start a quilting ministry at my church.
I was really stepping out there now.
A corporate career woman starting a quilting ministry.

That was eight years ago.
Our quilt group does baptism and confirmation quilts
for our church kids.
We also make quilts for the hospital.
The hospital uses these quilts when a family loses a child.

I give God all the credit for helping me find my way.
I never expected to be able to serve God in such a way.
When I look back at my story, it reignites my passion. 
I am reminded that God can use all of us for his glory.
He can even take some fabric and thread
and turn it into something life changing.