Returning to our place of arrival 50 years ago in Holland.

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Sharie Patty


Give and Take

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I have been married
Thirty Four years,
One month,
Three weeks,
Six days and
Thirteen hours that amounts to a lot, a lotta LOT of Give and Take.

Stacy and Sharie -Male and Female – Introvert and Extrovert-Boyfriend and Girlfriend – Husband and Wife – Me and You – American and European – English and Dutch – Generous and Stingy or Wasteful and Frugal. Opportunities for conflict are always with us.

It all started out so very, very sweet… I had a car accident and my little yellow GLC Mazda was on life support in the auto mechanic’s garage and would be there for quite some time.
“Hey, Stacy, can you give me a ride home from church?” I ask on a Wednesday night.
“Sure,” he said, “What’s up?”
I grimaced and said, “I ran a stop sign Monday and cause a terrible accident. Almost totaled two cars.”
“OHHHhh. Are you ok?” he said as he looked me over.
“Yep, but my car’ll be in the shop a long time.” I said
“just keep mine ’till you get yours back and I will walk to work?” He said as we headed towards the door.
“Work’s not far from my place”
“I’ll only need it on my carpool days” I said as we drove done Cherry Lane. ” Are you sure? Sure sure?’
He nodded his head and said, Ummmm Huuh.”
I said, “Thanks,” while thinking, “I don’t know any Texans who considered walking as a normal method of transportation. He’s pretty cool, helpful and trusting.”
Sharing of Stacy’s car proved monumental in bringing us together. Rides to the store, church, quickly morphed into dates. and it did not take longbefore we were looking at a calendar trying to pick a date on which both our family could come to Memphis. Tennessee.

Now honestly, we did not know ourselves that well in our early twenties and we sure did not know the nitty gritty about each other after being friends for a short year. But we thought we were so in tune with each other that all the pre-marital counseling seemed sweet but silly. We both believed that we agreed on all the important things and everything would just fall in place.

During our fist premarital session the minister said, “Okay, Let’s talk about conflict.”
I thought, “Conflict? We’re mature, wise and love each other. We do not really need this.”
The preacher continued, “How will you come to a decision when you do not agree on something?”
I spoke up quickly, forcefully and said it as clearly as I felt it, “Conflict will not be a problem for us!” I glance in Stacy’s direction and continued,
“We’d both rather be together than do our own thing. We will both just cooperate with each other, give in, adapt,” I said. And before Stacy could say one word I continued with,
“There is nothing that would cause us to draw a line in the sand, hunker down, and attack each other. NOTHING! Never.”
With my passionate exclamations, and without a word from Stacy, I laid down the law for us both and with my spoken law conflict crept into our relationship. For no introvert wants an extrovert to tell him how he is going to live? No human being want their spouse to be “their boss.”
So pettiness popped in pretty quick because sometimes we are just petty.
Forward a few months into marital bliss….…
Stacy comes in mad and says,
“What is wrong with you?”
I say, “I don’t know what, do you mean?”
“That hairpin!” as he nods over to the middle the room, “Why are you leaving it on the floor?”
“I’m not LEAVING IT ON THE FLOOR! I say defensively, “I didn’t even know it was there!”
“I have been watching it lay there for five days. You refuse to pick it up!”
“UHHH? Five days! Are you crazy? I say, “Why didn’t you just pick it up!? How can you let a stupid hairpin irritate you for five days!? FIVE days! That is soooo dumb, Sooo soo stupid!”
“Why didn’t YOU picking it up?” I ask.
“It’s not mine.” he responds.
“ well I’ve never seen it before”,as I walk over and grab it. “There! Happy? Big deal! Why don’t YOU put toilet paper on when we’re out?!” I said as I march off to another room.

I did not understand back then that the hairpin was never the aggravation. “I” was the irritation. “HE” was the agitation. It never was the hairpin, the toilet paper, or the toothpaste cap. Learning to become a “We” is hard work. It irritates us; it rubs us raw. Some form of, “Why isn’t this person cooperation with me?’ goes through our minds. We miss understand; we are miss understood. Blending lives demands much give and take.

But if we stayed in the game long enough we can often discover some of our own flaws and inconsistencies and learn some healthy humility. We might learn to love own imperfections so profoundly that we can cut our spouse some slack and become a good partner not only to our mate but to ourselves.

The innocence (read “ignorance” here) of being young, in love, and thinking life will have a simple happy fairy tale ending can only really be improved by the reality of imperfect people learning to enjoy each other company on a good journey filled with everything life has to offer. May we all Choose our companions carefully and then enjoy life with all its imperfections.
Be well; there is grace available for us all.
SK loves SP

Happy Pizza Night!


Ding, Ding, Ding -Dinner time
In a family with six kids you could wonder if there‘d be enough food for everyone at dinner time, but especially on pizza night. Pizza night started early in the day with Mom making a huge vat of yeast bread dough. This was not something that came out of a Chef Boyardee pizza box.
No, on pizza day, my Mom got out the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, butter, milk and she whipped up a whole bunch of batter. This yeast dough would to rise to get punched down, and rise again only to be punched down again. While the yeast was doing its thing throughout the batter Mom would start creating the tomato sauce. There was no recipe for this sauce either. She took tomatoes and brought them to a slow steady simmer on the stove and just added a sprinkle of this, a taste of that, spoonful of sugar and a dribble of vinegar and before long, it was always perfect pizza sauce-not too thick and not too this-just perfect pizza sauce. Soon it was time for the toppings to be gathered. The onions and peppers were chopped; hamburger meat browned, mushrooms sliced, cheese grated. The wolves were gathering in the dining room ready to pounce on pizza pie.
The kitchen was pretty much off limits for hungry wolves on pizza night. The assembling of the actual pizza pies was never witnessed by my eyes. We owned one official round pizza pan and an oven rack that was a baking sheet that slide into the groves of the oven. But there is no way those two pans would satisfy eight hungry wolves. Every baking dish in the kitchen was to be used on pizza night. Cookies sheets, pie pans, casserole dishes, yes, every flat surface that could go into a hot oven was hauled out and turned into a pizza pan. Two pizza pies could be baked at once. So when the dinner bell rang and two pans were brought to the table, we feared there would not be enough pizza to fill us up. So the first pie pan of pizza, sliced up into 8 slices, was wolfed down after the prayer in probably five seconds flat and so was the second one. Now the wolves would need to practice self-control.
While we waited for more pizza we played the Dutch game, “Ik zie ik zie wat jij niet ziet. Translated into English it’s: “I see, I see, what you do not see” or more commonly called, “I spy, with my little eye,” in America. Waiting with six wolves, I mean, six children, for more pizzas to come out of our small European oven could not have been super fun, but there was no other way to have a pizza night in Holland back then. No one had two ovens, most Dutch people did not have even one oven at that time. While we were trying to be patient, we were looking all around the room to find something blue, red, or green or rectangular shaped to solve the spying game. But underneath the game, I was seriously worried about getting enough pizza. I was really worried that we would still be hungry after all the pizza pies were long gone. But it never happened, my Mama had been cooking for hungry wolf pups a long time and she knew what it would take to fill them up. We always had pizza to spare on pizza night and pie for breakfast, lunch or dinner the next day.

Writing on the First Day of Fall


The old white coffee pot filled with tea sat on the cracked tile next to the computer screen. This tile had been painted years ago in with muted browns, oranges, black and white. Corn flowed out of the earth toned basket and looked like something she would do if she had been in the midst of preparing her own corn bread. She remembered receiving the tile decades ago from a young man who had visited an old part of New Mexico. This piece of clay protected the wood table from the drops of tea that ran down the spout.
The pot clinked against the tea cup as she poured the steaming beverage into her cup. This steam drifted up as she cradled the drink near her face. Her eyes closed as she sought words that fit. The warmth was welcome on the first day of fall. All most nothing was visible beyond the window. She squinted and saw part of the white delivery van down the street. Most of the van was blocked by what looked like two gargantuan elephant legs in the front yard. The distant flashing lights reflected on the paint of the window sill. It looked like a flashing low-battery warning on security panel.
Soon the children would be arriving at school for another day. Wednesday –Hump day- the fourth week of the school year was almost gone. The screen was near blinding against the darkness; she lifted the teapot and refilled her cup, closed her eyes then she typed again, closed her eyes again as her hand drifted to the left and she took another sip. This time when she glance outside the delivery van had departed, the blue sky set off the profiles of the trees and the birds were chirping. Compared to the bright screen the window was still dark but after a few seconds her eyes adjusted and she could see the details of the day coming to live. She rolled her chair back, cautiously pushed up on the table and walked to the window. Tea in hand, her left foot hurt as if a knife was sticking through her cracked heel. She grimaced with each step. Her hand trailed around the smooth wood table and touched the back of each chair. Standing at the window she could see life’s details clearly. She reached down and cranked open the window. The crisp air flooded in. Fall had arrived during the night. The birds’ songs were louder; the neighbor flag was blowing in the wind. Pumpkins decorated the neighbor’s walkway. The car break lights crowing the street as children bounced out of cars grabbing lunch boxes, back packs and little siblings.
Now the writer would need to be more disciplined for distractions of life were coming to life all around.



I found a beautiful letter on my way to work.
Instinctively I knew right where it belonged.
And it was returned to the exact place where it was missing.
Welcome home YOU have been sorely missed

You and I
We are right where we are.
Now let’s find the courage to live there
boldly and passionately
always reflecting the TRUE LIGHT that we have discovered.
ps. SP

How Control was Lost Forever

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I grew up in The Netherlands. My parents with their 5 children boarded the Holland America Line to cross the Atlantic Ocean in frigid winter of 1962/1963. My Christian parents went to Europe to work with a small church and save people. We had not come across the high seas on a boat to Americanize the Dutch but we were coming to share Jesus with them. Therefore my father quickly declared English off limits. We were going to learn to speak Dutch fluently and fit in. We’d be Christian examples to others so they could see Jesus in us.

One day it was my turn to say the prayer before dinner and while I had already learned many nouns in my new language I could not remember how to say, “In Jesus’ Name, Amen,” in Dutch so I just kept thanking God for ” forken, lepels, melk, appelen, borden, kaas, brood, zout, peper, tafel, stoel, Mama, Papa, Phil, Terry, Sally, en Linda,” until I exhausted my know Dutch nouns and all my family members and I quietly whispered, “I do not know how to finish this prayer in Dutch so I either have to start repeating things or end in English.” Immediately my Dad smoothly finished the prayer with, “In Jesus naam, Amen” That is the very tricky part of learning a new language, the things that are almost exactly the same are often the very hardest to remember.

My parents lived lives trying to be good examples. They sincerely desired to serve Jesus. They left the USA to serve people who were still bouncing back from World War II. Being courageous enough to leave your country, culture, and kitchen and start over as an adult with five children in tow is no piece of cake. You have to be willing to look simple, even dumb, and sound like a little child before you gain any kind of fluency in your new country. It will take a good amount of gumption, fortitude, tears, and heart break to survive. And my parents did it with all their heart. It became my ever present personal goal to also be a good example to others. My needs, my problems, my desires could be put on the back burner so I could tend to other people’s needs and show them Jesus. No temper tantrums, no screaming fits allowed, no pitty parties; Be in control of yourself, Be a good example to save others.

Succeeding at being a good example takes a lot of rigid self control. It is easy to desire to control one’s children, one’s spouse, even one’s self. Who does not desire to control how things will turn out in life? But the desire to control will create havoc in one’s life.

Can we lose something something we never truly had?
Soon I will be writing about how control was lost in my life.
Hope your Friday is filled with forever fun, family and friends.
P.S. -SP

The Songs in my Life Assignment 3


Heart on paper or the screen.
Sitting outside on the front portch with tea I hear my favorite song in my ears. Birds chirping squawking, cooing. I already went back and edited. that is so natural. the air is moist for Lubbock this part of Texas. Door open son leaves, Bye bye car starts , walker walking by talking to his ear device and the car drives off, rain splashes against the car. sounds every where and faintly I hear the birds again continuing their concert.
Interruption sick daughter calls. My phone is my timer but maybe the kitchen time.
chirp, chirp chirpity-chirp-chirp Laying in bed with the window open and the birds in the trees giving me a private concert in the best way to wake up. They know the sun is about to appear and start in the dark and sing the sunshine onto the horizon. I did not hear the birds as a child, or as a young adult. My hearing became fine tuned as a older person. and when I let the controls of my life loosen I began to notice this delicate song all arond me. and while walking at the park the grackles make and wild eantrance. the mosquitoes want to join in and their buzz is okay but their bite is unwelcome.

As an 8 year old I was in a musical Pinocchio. I liked it I was having fun singing out the adventures of Pinochio, the whale and the beautiful blue fairy. But then I heard my Dad ask my baby sister <"Can our family sing well?" she boldly state, "Yes, we can; except Sharie, she is a bad singer!" Bamm there a sweet little 3 year old set the course for me to shut down my singing career. Why did I put so much stock in her seven silly words. Maybe there was some truth in her evaluation she grew up to preform in choruses and compose music. She has a delicate ear for being off key. But I know when I feel comfortable and confident and know the song I am not as bad as she proclaimed. The the sting of her word has been quite a mountain for me to cross.
The music of Les Mis is among my favorite. Fore it's the song of redemption, love, courage. self hatred, sacrifice and forgiveness. This is wat make life noble. to learn to see ourselves clearly with the faults and the strengths and to learn to love our selves and forgive those who have wronged us and that include ourselves. we must dddddo the hard work of learning to like my own mistakes. Did the birds fell lsilent as I typed? or did the writing just silence the distractions? right now they are coming at me form all directions. I can just listen and love there is really no way to share this experience it is my private morning concert. never to be replayed never to be heard again. zIt sound likI am in a rain forrest. High anf low in the trees nearby and down the block persistent and fading and far in the distance the highway humm,there a dog joined in and my cats from inside meowing along.
This little light of mine I am going to let it shine. let is shine let it shine. this little light of mine I am going to let it shine all around my neighborhood. The young man across the sstreet started his drum lessons and has joined the block concert. Each day I want the courage to shine my own life my own passions. "Passion that for which you are willing to suffer." -Hannah Brencher at the The Yellow Conference in El Sugundo, CA 2014. How can a song so simple mean something to an adult? This Little light of mine I am going to let it shine! that is not a simple assignment to carry out. Shine BRIGHTLY today right here, right now! Join me right now right where you are the world needs our brilliant reflection of the Light.
So my 20 minutes were up at mid point but I could not stop there.
I am going to rework this

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