Thursday, June 23, 2011

Brush with Death for is a wake-up call

Brush with Death is a wake-up call

Larry Gray is a 54-year-old ex-Marine who was in Vietnam. His life is wrought with near-death experiences. Larry, who is my niece Lisa’s husband, sat in our living room this week, talking about his life and the brushes with death that he has had. He recently came from the hospital; most it spent in ICU, where he was for two months, having faced another near death experience. This time he says it was a wake-up call for him.

When Larry was 6 years old, he was traveling with his daddy and his grandpa somewhere in West Texas. He remembers it was night, and he was in the back seat by his grandpa, lying down on the seat, and even though he was so young, he remembers looking up at the full moon in sky. Then he may have fallen asleep because the next thing he remembers there was a loud crash and he was out side the car, tumbling over and over again, on the ground.

He had been thrown from the car, out into a plowed field, and his head hit a stump, or something, he says, and he stopped tumbling. Then he remembers his daddy and grandpa calling his name, from way far off. He saw the headlights of the car, and the shadows of his grandpa and daddy in the distance. He jumped up and ran to them across the field crying. Larry was okay, except from that night on he began to stutter in his speech. His mother took him to doctors and they could not do anything for him.

Larry graduated from Highland High School in San Antonio and joined the Marines when he was 18 years old. He was in the infantry and went to Vietnam. He tells us about another time he should have been killed.

They were in a trench far out it the field in Vietnam. The trenches were just wide enough for one man and about 8 ft. long. They started getting rockets coming in from the enemy. Larry ran and jumped in a trench. He got down, and then he heard rocket hit and go off. A rocket hit right beside him in the trench. But it didn’t explode! It turned out to be a “dud”. It wasn’t his time to go, Larry said.

He had another brush with death in later years. Then he was living out in the Hill Country near Boerne. He was on his motorcycle on a winding road. It was nearly dark and all of sudden a large deer jumped out it front of the motorcycle. He just had time to grip his hands and his arms hard, on the handlebar of the cycle as he hit the deer broadside. The motorcycle flew over the deer, when it hit, and the deer was dead. He was still on the motorcycle. It had landed several feet on the other side and the cycle was nearly demolished, but Larry stood up not badly hurt at all. Just some scrapes and bruises.

As Larry thoughtfully stared at the floor, he turned and looked at me, and stated that he had three friends who had been killed on motorcycles. And one was when he hit a deer. I could tell he was thinking: “Why had God spared his life?”

Two months ago Larry got up one night to let the cat out. He fell down a flight of stairs that night, and lay in a pool of blood when finally Lisa who was asleep, woke up and heard him calling her name. He broke five ribs and his nose, but wound up in the ICU. Larry’s heart was not functioning right (he is on disability because of his heart), also developed kidney failure and pneumonia, then being put on a respirator, was in critical condition, and we didn’t know if God was finally going to call him home.

But God intervened again, and with the doctors and nurses taking care of him, he lived and is slowly gaining his strength back. Larry said to me that day in our living room, when he fell down the stairs, it was a wakeup call for him. I think he realizes that God wants him to make the most of the rest of his life. There were too many times that he should have died and God saved his life. He doesn’t just want him to sit around the house and do nothing. He is excited about life now. He is thinking of what it is God wants him to do.

The first thing Larry and Lisa are going to do is take a long needed vacation. Lisa is a 2nd grade school teacher and these last two months have been draining for her too. She spent April and May teaching school, and then going to the hospital when she got off work. She didn’t know if Larry was going to make it this time. It has been long days and nights for Lisa.

Bon voyage, Larry and Lisa! Hope you have fun in Cancun!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Wow Weekend!

So, I have to make a decision! What to do? I love to write, you know. And mostly we write so other people can read our stuff. Right? When I had my books published I hoped people would read them. I found out even members of my family haven't read my books. I think even those I gave the books to haven't read them. Those who did, they told me they liked them. Maybe they are just being nice. I don't care. It makes me feel good, you know. And I write my blogs because I love to write and I want people to read them. So my last blog was written 3 days ago and I posted it on Facebook, where I have over 200 friends and I see this morning where only 12 people have read my blog ! So it appears to me, people just aren't interested in what I have to say. So what to do? I guess the things I write are somewhat boring. I think people just read a few short words you put on your status on FB. Like it is on Twitter. Twitter is so annoying.But also I think people are too busy to read long monologues. So maybe what I write is for people who are retired and don't have anything do. YOU THINK?
So what to do? I am still pondering this.
Meanwhile I want to say I had an awesome weekend. We went to a women's conference Friday night, where Nancy James spoke and the worship was so awesome, I love to hear Pastor Bennie play his saxophone! That team is so anointed. And he has a beautiful voice. He used to have his own band/group when he was in the world! They even put out a record in those olden days.
We didn't get home till 10:30 that night.
Saturday morning we went back and heard Nancy James again. I could have listened to her all day! She was very anointed and once she prayed for me and spoke prophetically! Wonderful morning.
Sunday morning Nancy James was there too. And that was the icing on the cake. I have never felt the presence of God like that in our church. I wanted to stay there all day and night. I didn't want to go home. Holy Spirit was so thick I could barely walk, I felt like I was walking through a fog, or cotton, or a cloud or something. We left the church after 1:00 PM because we had reservations at Outback!
We then went to San Antonio where we celebrated Julie's birthday at OUTBACK, (where else?). We had reservations, sort of , but we still had to wait about 45 minutes. There were 10 of us. Julie was in 7th Heaven! She loves their coconut shrimp. WE had such a good time there with family and friends. We didn't get home until 5:00 PM.
So, the joy of the Lord is my strength, and I was so joyful yesterday, it reminded me of how I used to feel back in the late 90's, when Eddie and I went to Toronto, Canada. And when Wanda and I went to Pensecola, Florida, and we went to Dallas, Texas, and Lewisville, Texas, where there was a great move of God happening, and those last two, my kids and grandkids went with us. We were in the presence of God there too! Those times experiencing the Lord's presence helped me with the trials and heartaches our family was going through then. When you know you are in the presence of Holy Spirit, you don't care about anything else but God. It is such a peaceful , joyful feeling, I really can't describe it.
People kept coming over to me, yesterday, saying "I want some of what you have". Because they saw how drunk I was. I kept saying, "Well, you have to jump in the River!"
All I can say is what I did. Let all your inhibitions go, and get in the river and don't worry about what people are going to say or think!
When it is just you and God, that is all that matters. It think that is what heaven feels like.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ghost town of Lodi

When is this heat and drought gonna end? This 100 degree weather is the pits. I hate summers anyway. But thank God for air-conditioning! I stay inside most of the time. Things are burning up all over Wilson County.
But we did go to San Antonio Tuesday for my brother's birthday. Jr. was 77 years old. I think it is amazing that all eight of us kids are alive still. And six were together Tuesday. We had good time eating barbecue and all the trimmings and singing happy birthday to Jr. and talking about the "good ole days".
Wednesday was a very interesting day! I met my new friend Liz Lopez down on First St. and we walked back to the backside of a large vacant lot, where under an ancient old oak tree which had a trunk that was so big three people would circle it with arms outstretched and touch (most likely 150 years old), there were two tombstones which belonged to the Trial family. They died in the 1890's. There are supposed to be four Trial family members buried there including Pierre Trial who was sheriff of Wilson County then. But we only saw two tombstones. We need to preserve that little graveyard.
Afterward we went over to Liz' aunt and uncle's house near there, the Ortiz family. They know a lot of history of Lodi. Because their house is situated in what used to be the Lodi community! Lodi was a town before Floresville was a town!
I am so glad I had my tape recorder with me. We stayed there two hours with Lee and Lillie telling me great stories about the olden days and about the history of their church, El Mesias Methodist Church (the church my grandfather Samuel Zook founded 100 years ago. I can't wait to write the stories. They are such a sweet couple. They were married about 1958, over 50 years. They showed me pictures of them when they were a young married couple. She was beautiful and he was so handsome, he looked like John Travolta, only better looking!!!!
Can't wait to go back to visit them. They built their house there in the 60's and it is so beautiful! And I found out that their son is the pastor of Harvest Church down town on 2nd street! Where our good friend Shorty, the Pizza man, went. And they told me that Shorty passed away recently! I never knew that! No one told me. I guess it was in the paper, but I don't know his "real name". I just knew him as Shorty! Because it was called Shorty's Pizza. Julie and Liz and I are so sad about that.

Tonight Julie, Liz and I are going to a Woman's conference in our church. Nancy James is going to be there! WE are so excited because we heard her once before in our church. We are in for a treat!
So, life goes on the slow lane these days. I thank the Lord for another day of life.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Exciting World

It is Monday morning. It was a great weekend. TV is boring these days. Mostly I I work on writing on my book about my family history ...the Zooks or the Goodes, or the Evers, or the Brooks, which is Eddie’s mother’s side of the family. That is the most interesting one I think, besides the Zook History. I keep finding new things about the Zooks because the Amish and Mennonites were such an interesting part of American History. Maybe this week, I can get more motivated to write.

And the Brooks were such a mystery, and there are unexplained gaps in the early part of the last century, that needs to be filled in. Like why did Clough Brooks take the 4 children(including my husband's mother) from their mother, Gregoria Brooks in Mexico, in 1905, and hide them out from her, for years? Their daddy told the children that their mother abandoned them, but she searched for them for 5 years and found them in San Antonio, but he had already divorced her. She left and lived in Laredo for most of the rest of her life. I think about that book all the time.

So, I regress. Getting back to the weekend. Saturday - Rocia and her children came to help her clean the house. Her teenaged son, Pablo is so good and thorough. She moves the furniture where she can and dusts everything, including the pictures on the wall, the blinds, the ceiling fans, and all my knick-knacks and sometimes washes the windows!

At noon I went the local farmers vegetable stand on 10 St., to get some fresh vegetables, and then to Curl Up and Dye to get my hair done.

In between my local ventures, I avidly read a new book I got in the mail. It is Bad Dad, by Dave Lieber. It was so good; I could not put it down. And finished it that night! I have met Dave Lieber before. Kristi had a book signing for him at Sullivan Street, our Book Store Coffee House in Roanoke. He wrote a story about Kristi and Sullivan Street in his column that year too. And he and I exchanged books. He bought my Rainy Days and Starry Nights, and I bought his book that day. I had had a book signing at Sullivan Street that year too. Back to the book, that is the most interesting book, maybe because I knew the town he was writing about, Watauga, and some of the people in his story, I knew, mostly from reading about them in the Ft.Worth Star Telegram newspaper.

Also, Dave had written a column for the paper for years and was sort of a Watchdog writer. In fact now he writes that kind of column for the paper. Called The Watchdog! He stirs people up - makes them mad by telling the truth. Especially when he writes about local politicians like police chiefs, mayors, and city council men and women. You either love him or hate him, depending on what you have done. Or if you are victim or the perpetrator.

But this recent book is about when the shoe was on the other foot. Dave had tiff with his 11 year old son, at McDonalds, and to teach him a lesson about his little rebellious streak he told him to walk home –less than a mile away – shorter if he took a known short cut – but turned around and came back to get him – to teach him a lesson, and found someone had called the police, and they questioned him, sent him home with the son.

But next thing he knew, he was arrested and CPS got involved. What happened during the next few weeks and months, was a nightmare for Dave. So, you can imagine how engrossed I was in the book. Wanting to find out what happened next! So, I finished the book Saturday night!

Sunday dawned with still no rain, hot and dry. After church we went to lunch at Trailriders on C St. It was so crowded. We had to wait for 30 minutes to get a table. I wish there were more restaurants open on Sundays in this town. Almost all of them are closed on Sunday. You have to alternate between Trailriders and Jack’s CafĂ©! Unless you like Mexican food. But eating Mexican food every Sunday you tend to get burned out!

The good thing is you see a lot of your friends at either Jacks or Trailriders, because there is no place else to go! We ran in Ross Barrera who we know. He is a local builder who has built lots of houses in Floresville and Lavernia. His homes are beautiful. He is a custom builder. We had waited for a table for 7, and we had room for one more so our friend, Freddie invited him to eat with us – he was alone. I love meeting new people and hearing their story. Well, he was not new, because we had met him in other occasions, like - he was the builder of Eric and Karen’s house in Eagle Creek near Lavernia, and that was where we first met him when they had their housewarming party. He is Eric’s uncle.

Well, Ross’s story is such an awesome testimony of how God restores someone when all is lost and he changes and turns his life over to God, and God begins to make all things new. He has chosen the right way! Wow. I want to write his story, if he gives me permission some day. You would not believe the things that happened to him. And he has overcome, and gives God all the glory. He is such a nice person. Ross Barrera is a man you should meet.And build your house!!!

So it was a nice afternoon, good food, good fellowship, good friends, and then home to take a nap! Julie and Liz and their friends decided to go to another movie at the Arcadia at 3:30. Then they went to Dairy Queen for dessert! Ha. Julie was so keyed up with her day, she couldn’t even go to sleep last night, either. She probably will sleep all day today!

And the day ended with Julie and I watching the Dallas Mavericks play the Miami Heat in the NBA finals. The Mavs won! I don’t watch my sports team play unless they are winning! I am a real fair-weather fan! And that's the truth.

We were watching a movie and kept going back to see what the score was…it was not until the last 4 minutes, that I watched it to the end. It looked like they were going to win then, so I sort of was confident. Wow. Their first championship ever!!!! Finally, after so many years. Can you tell I like the Dallas Mavericks. I don't broadcast this is Spur country!!!

So I went to bed happy, but I could not go to sleep even after taking a sleeping aid, reading, working a crossword puzzle, praying, and reading some more …I guess the last time I looked at the clock it was 1:00 AM.

So, it is Monday morning! I was awake at 6:30! I wonder what God has for me today. I love Mondays!