Monthly Archives: September 2013

Resting In Nostalgia


Tonight, instead of working on the house, we went out to eat.  Thank goodness, I can’t move my arms and really need time to get back to normal.  We have been eating out so much lately that it is really hard to choose a place, but we finally settled on one of our favorites, the Undercliff.   This place is a really unique restaurant built into the space underneath a cliff in the rocky areas near Shoal Creek south of Joplin, Missouri.  The current owners opened the restaurant in the 1990’s after it had sat empty for nearly fifteen years.    Prior to that, most folks remember it as Bonnie and Frank’s or Tipton Ford Restaurant, which opened in the 1960’s and finally burned down in 1981.

Bonnie and Frank’s, taking up residence in the former Undercliff Store, circa 1928, was locally famous for their crispy fried chicken.  My parents couldn’t afford to take us kids out to eat very often, but when they did it was to Bonnie and Frank’s, or Tipton Ford as we knew it.    I can remember everyone in dad’s family crowding around a long table set up just for us.  We would be surrounded on three sides by the walls of “the cave”, and my little brother and I thought it was absolutely the coolest place to eat dinner.  If any of the kids in our neighborhood had dinner there, it was THE topic of discussion the following day, before any kind of games got under way.

Tonight, I looked over from our table by the wall towards the center of the room.  I could imagine sitting right there, at a checkered cloth covered table, watching my mom pour water into my glass from the huge green glass bottle with the silver metal flip lid.   My brother and I always ordered the same thing – fried chicken leg, french fries, and a hot roll.  After waiting for an ETERNITY we would finally get our food, and it was so very hot that we couldn’t eat it right away.  Finally we couldn’t wait any longer and we would timidly take a bite out of that big ‘ole chicken leg.  And I’m not talking about a puny, four inch long thing like they serve in restaurants today.  Bonnie’s chicken legs were HUGE and would easily fill up the stomach of this six year old little girl.  After awhile, the infamous Bonnie and Frank would stroll through the restaurant, stopping at each table to visit with the families and making sure their meals were worth eating.   My brother and I could do nothing more than nod enthusiastically, being in awe of the lady who cooked that magical fried chicken.

Today, the Undercliff is a bar and grill, serving really tasty burgers, sandwiches, fries, and a wide assortment of other good meals.  Along the back and sides of the main area are the same “cave” walls that I remember.  But the checkered table cloths are no longer there, nor are the green glass water bottles.   And you won’t find fried chicken on the menu, but I’m glad they don’t try to replicate Bonnie’s famous chicken.  Nobody could EVER do it justice.

After supper, we decided to head over to Richardson’s Candy House, where another famous Joplin icon makes its home.  Anderson’s Ice Cream was originally located on south Main street, but closed several years ago.  I don’t remember going there as a kid, but my husband was apparently a frequent visitor.  I took our daughter to Anderson’s once a week,  right after school, until she got too big to go for ice cream.  It was a treat for both of us, walking into the quaint little shop and breathing in the luscious smells of freshly made waffle cones and ice creams.  It was a sad day for many Joplin folks when the owners decided to close their doors forever.

Just a couple of years ago, a new shop opened in Richardson’s Candy House on 86 highway south of Joplin.  There aren’t as many flavor choices, but I can always find a good one.  Tonight, my choice was Chocolate Lovers’ Chocolate.  We took our ice creams and went out onto the cute little patio to sit down.  A family –  great-grandma, grandparents, dad, and little girl – was enjoying their ice creams.  I couldn’t help watching the cute blondie with the green ice cream, drips on her chubby chin and arms, oblivious to everyone around her but her daddy.  There’s something special about your daddy taking you for ice cream.

We enjoyed our little diversion tonight.  Tomorrow, back to the ceiling.


Remember To Dance!


Last weekend, I had a great idea for rejuvenating our family room ceiling.   I was standing in the Home Depot looking at a bucket of special texture paint that was going to be WAY CHEAPER than the bead board idea I had the weekend before.  We bought two buckets, very pleased with ourselves that we had avoided the necessity of hoisting big sheets of bead board above our heads and screwing them onto the ceiling.

Yesterday, we started glopping on the first coat of ceiling texture paint which was SUPPOSED to cover up all signs of discoloration, cracks, holes, and the THREE DIFFERENT TILE PATTERNS.  The cute little brochure I had picked up at the Home Depot explained how very beautifully their product would cover a multitude of ceiling sins, you just roll the texture paint over it all!   The stuff didn’t just magically stick after being rolled on, it actually dripped onto our heads and the floor.  Okay, so it wasn’t going to be as easy as the brochure said.   After making some adjustments to the procedure, we began to make progress.  We worked on the first half of the ceiling until our bodies told us “no more!” and we decided to quit for the night.

As soon as we got home this evening, we started working on the ceiling again.  I hadn’t noticed earlier in the day, but it actually looked better now that it had dried.  Feeling hopeful, we loosened up and kinda sorta began to enjoy the project.  Doug found a digital jazz station on the TV which really helped.  Soon we found ourselves doing “the bump” to an 80’s song!

Well, two days, several hissy fits, and a disjointed neck later, coat number one is on the ceiling.  And, even though the stuff contains “paint”, we’re gonna have to go over it again with just plain ‘ole paint to even out the color.   With all the problems though, still better than spending $500 and screwing bead board to the ceiling.

We can laugh about it now, but my husband was the one who threw the hissies.  Because of him we had to go out and buy another box of ceiling tiles – he tossed a couple of them across the room when they didn’t fit together.  We were two short.

I joke about our remodeling projects bringing us close to divorce, but we really do work splendidly together.  And you know why?  Because whenever things begin to look impossible, one of us does something stupid to make the other laugh.  Like sing into the paint roller “microphone”, or grab my hand and kiss it, or do “the bump”.

Life gets sticky, gloppy, messy, and hissy sometimes.  When it does, remember to dance!

Give Me Another Dream, Please


I applied for a job today.  I haven’t done that for eleven years.  Not the easiest thing to do, since I’m very much out of practice.  And the last time I applied for a job I was already volunteering some for the position that had come available.  Not many people know this story…

It was the fall of 2002 and I had a dream that I was working at our church.  It wasn’t revealed to me at that time just which position I held, but I knew it was at the church.    When I awoke the next morning the dream was just as vivid as the night before, which was unusual – normally I forget what I dreamt during the night.

Several months later, there was an announcement in one of the weekly bulletins about a job opening at the church.  I knew that I was supposed to apply and I did.  Shortly afterward, I began an eleven year commitment to the people and ministries at Christ’s Community.

Now, here I am, heeding another call to step off the edge and enter into another unknown.  This time, however, I’m eleven years older and trying to enter the world of youngsters who use their phones for everything from making calls to ordering pizza online.  Wait a minute – they don’t make phone calls, they text.  These young folks don’t seem to be afraid of ANYTHING, especially tech stuff.   How can I compete with them???

Satan can really cause us to doubt ourselves and God.  All he has to do is inject little thoughts into our subconscious like, “they’re not going to hire you”, “you’re too old”, “you don’t have any marketable talents”.  He has used all of these and more on me lately.  Whenever I allow these untruths to get under my skin just a little, I remind myself that God doesn’t call the prepared, He prepares the called.  He’s got me covered, wherever He sends me.  I also believe that He uses difficult times in our lives to prepare us for something even greater that our current situations.  I know that He has been laying the groundwork during the past twenty-seven months of post-tornado to train me for a marvelous new career.

I can’t wait to have another dream!


Being Where You’re Supposed To Be


I could tell the moment we walked into church this morning that something good was about to happen.  The Lord pointed out some things that I must let go of, put His  healing touch upon me, then blessed me incredibly in a way that only He can do.  I’ve been floating all day.

We took a break today from the intensity of the house remodel.  Doug went to play golf with a good friend, and I spent some quality time at a couple of flea markets.  Perusing the aisles of people’s unwanted junk, some projects and ideas came to my mind, as is usually the case.   When I got home four hours later, I was ready to do something creative.  I was reminded of the sea shells and beads still sitting underneath the living room coffee table where I left them over a month ago.  After fixing myself a big glass of iced tea, I sat down in front of the TV with all my jewelry stuff and spread it out all over the sofa and TV tray.

After several vacations to South Carolina, Georgia, and most recently, Florida, I’ve amassed quite a collection of sea shells.  I found a new type of shell in Ft. Pierce, Florida this year that I decided to incorporate into jewelry – Jingle Shells or Mermaid’s Toenails.  One doesn’t have to look too hard to find these little gems, they’re laying everywhere on most parts of the beach.  They are called Jingle Shells because of the sounds they make when washing up on shore.  And they really do look like toenails, too, although the blackish silver ones must be the toenails of a sea witch!  They come in various shades of peach, beige, black, and silver.

I made three bracelets this afternoon.  So far, I’ve made a dozen different ones.  No two are alike, and I’ve used a variety of color combinations along with shells and other little surprises to make each one.  These little beauties my be my new “thing”.  Who knows?

This morning’s message dealt with Peter wanting to go with Jesus and be involved in whatever was going to take place after The Upper Room events.   But  Jesus had to take care of the betrayal and arrest without the disciples’ help.  It wasn’t safe for them to be with Jesus.  Peter’s death at that time wouldn’t mean anything.  God had stuff for him to do.   How often do we jump into something that we’re not really supposed to do, something that’s not part of God’s plan at that moment?  We really have to now God’s heart and how He works in us to avoid making snap decisions that put us at spiritual risk and outside His will for us.  And the only way we can know His heart is to pray, listen, read His Word (Bible), and listen more.

This move to Florida has given us lots of practice at praying and listening.  Sometimes I let myself become discouraged and question our decision.  Then a “God thing” will come along and put me back on track.  He is lining up all the particulars, and we have to trust Him to have everything in perfect order and wait for that to happen.  In the safety of His perfect will.