Saturday, September 28, 2013

National Good Neighbor Day

The idea of Neighborhood Watch probably could be credited to Gladys Kravitz.  Gladys was the curious neighbor on the television sitcom Bewitched, first aired in 1964 .  We owe a special “Thank You” to all the Kravitz’s in our neighborhoods!  I am very thankful for the Kravitz couple in our subdivision as the garage side of our home is in their direct  view.  Dwight noticed their “kravitzing” about six months ago.  We figure they must have outside motion detectors that alert them to outdoor movement, because it is rare not to see those blinds lifting or opening when we go out through our garage. 

I like the idea that they are watching out for our well being and that of the neighborhood.   We know our Mrs. Kravitz and she is a very nice lady although we do not know our Mr. Kravitz.  One of the neighbors that has always followed Wylie’s Council Meetings has said that Mr. Kravitz  presented Certificates of Appreciation to Mayor Eric Hogue, City Manager Mindy Manson, and Councilman Nathan Scott back in January 2013.  Now that is certainly a nice gesture and they should be commended for that kind recognition.  And I want them to know that I am grateful for I believe they are good neighbors and helping keep our neighborhood safe.

I also want to thank Wylie Police and Wylie Fire Rescue for all they do in the community.  We look forward to seeing all our good neighbors out in the neighborhood and at National Night Out, October 1st at Olde City Park 5pm-8pm!  See you there!

Quotes for
Gladys Kravitz (Character)
from "Bewitched" (1964)

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"Bewitched: Take Two Aspirins and Half a Pint of Porpoise Milk (#2.6)" (1965)
Abner Kravitz: Gladys, you were born a hundred years too late.
Gladys Kravitz: What do you mean by that?
Abner Kravitz: You'd have made a great town crier.

Gladys Kravitz: You think I ought to take over some of my chicken soup?
Abner Kravitz: No.
Gladys Kravitz: Why not?
Abner Kravitz: There's a city ordinance against poisoning people.

Gladys Kravitz: What's the door doing here?
Darrin Stephens: It leads to another room.
Gladys Kravitz: Over the front lawn?
Darrin Stephens: Cantilevered.
Samantha Stephens: We're adding a nursery.
[Mrs. Kravitz opens the door and there is nothing there]
Gladys Kravitz: The room hasn't been built yet.
Gladys Kravitz: You mean, you put a door in the wall first?
Samantha Stephens: How else would we get into the room to build it?

Gladys Kravitz: Square green spots all over her face, Abner. What do you think of that?
Abner Kravitz: So?
Gladys Kravitz: How can you be so calm? Nobody ever had square green spots before.
Abner Kravitz: Nobody ever had your chicken soup before.

Gladys Kravitz: [talking about Samantha] I bet she has some strange disease, and we could catch it. Abner, you wanna wake up with something strange?
Abner Kravitz: I've been doing that for twenty years. Why change now?
Gladys Kravitz: Very funny.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Native American Day

In recognition of Native American Day, I want to introduce you to Project Hope, Mission Outreach to the Oglala Lakota Sioux of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  Brenda Cox, Executive Director of Dayspring Discipleship Institute started this outreach earlier this year.  After watching Diane Sawyer’s October 2011 “20/20” segment “A Hidden America: Children of the Plains”, Brenda knew her heart would one day answer the call and take her ministry to Pine Ridge “to minister there in ways that matter”.   

Back in April 2013, Brenda called her first meeting to share what she discovered during her recent trip to Pine Ridge.  
  1. The reservation located in the southwest corner of South Dakota is one of 565 federally recognized Indian Nations in America.
  2. In the 9,000 square miles, there is only one Shell service station, three to four convenience type stores, and one grocery store for the reservation.  
  3. The poverty level can be compared to third world counties.
  4. Shannon County where Pine Ridge is located is considered the 2nd poorest county in the United States.
  5. Unemployment rates are as high as 80%.
  6. Population is around 42,000 people and most are identified as Oglala Lakota Sioux.
  7. There is a housing crisis with as many as three families living in 1,000 square foot single family homes and trailers.
  8. Their teen suicide, infant mortality and diabetes occurrences are four to five times the national average.  Pastor Brennan of Sharps Corner Baptist Church told Brenda there had been 53 teen suicides in the summer of 2011. 
  9. Average life expectancy for men is 47 and for women it is 52.  
  10. Median annual income is $2,900-$5,000.

As I write this, I went into the “20/20” segment and watched some of the video.  A precious little five year old girl named Tashina Iron Horse has so pulled at my heart strings.  In the segment, it was said that the kindergartener “has a huge personality… is chatty and vivacious”.  Though tiny, she is said to be a “very talented Pow-Wow dancer”.  She told Diane Sawyer “that she wanted ‘Justin Bieber to be her boyfriend’ and if she could, she’d ‘ask President Obama for fresh water….bubble gum….and a backpack’ ”.

In John 6:2-13, the 5 loaves and 2 fish given to Christ were blessed and broken by Him and fed to thousands of the hungry that awaited on the Galilean hillside.  Project Hope is bringing Christ what is in their basket to be “dispensed to the multitudes on the prairie swells of South Dakota”.  For more information and a list of potential areas of involvement and needs at Pine Ridge, you can find this information at:
Dayspring Discipleship Institute
505 East Boydstun, Suite 2
Rockwall, Texas 75087
On the Home page, click on Newsletter/The Journey for information and beginning with the April 2013 newsletter there are monthly updates on Pine Ridge mission trips as well as their areas of need.  You will also see pictures taken from the Canning Workshop and Volley Ball Camp for the Pine Ridge School that volunteers of the Hope Project led while at Pine Ridge earlier this year. 

Before the closing of The Crafter’s Co-op we were proud to have had Brenda Cox and Dayspring Discipleship Institute ministry represented in the shop.  Her beautiful framed and unframed graphics, calendars, and note cards as well as her awesome book Song of Christ: Reflections on a Sacred Journey are available on her website.  May Brenda’s ministry continue to bless those along the path of her sacred journey.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Are They Really Christians?

Soon after Dwight’s administrative leave began, we received a phone call from a friend informing us that he heard that the Mayor and Assistant City Manager were asking questions about Dwight and I around town.  This was being discussed at the business breakfast he had attended that day.  It was disturbing not only to us, but to our friend and those attending the breakfast that morning as well.  All thought the nature of the questions most offensive, especially when being asked “Are they really Christians?”    

And days before in the Mayor’s meeting with us, he accused Dwight of instructing his staff to lie for him.  He was referring to Code Enforcement complaint calls and emails made to the Help Center that were worked by the staff.  It is standard protocol for anonymity for those placing complaints.  This is to protect people from discordant retaliation.   Dwight told him he had never told them to lie and that protocol was in place when he went to work for the City over ten years ago.  It had also been protocol for all the years (almost 30 years) Dwight worked at the City of Garland for departments receiving complaints.  The Mayor said that the City Manager agreed that telling anyone that complaints were anonymous was not standard protocol and not acceptable and this protocol would be changing and there would be no more lying to citizens. ** Dwight attempted to tell him that this was standard protocol for all cities, not just those using the Government Outreach Program.  The Mayor continually interrupted telling Dwight his behavior was not acceptable and even asked him “You call yourself a Christian?”

In the last couple of days, this same line of questioning came up among friends questioning the “Christianity” of an individual in our community that really shook me. It stirred the pain within me that I felt when I heard that our own faith was being questioned by the Mayor.  I also thought of an email I received several months ago by someone else in Wylie saying that the Mayor had done the same line of questioning with her friends about her faith as he had done to us. 

I am of the opinion that asking such deliberately damning questions about anyone (when done in this manner) is the lowest form of character assassination anyone could levy against another.  To question someone’s faith, relationship and their following of Christ  is the most intrusive of all character inquiries.  This is nothing more than a subtle form of public religious persecution.  On a KCBI radio segment of Minirth-Meier they likened this manner of talk and questioning to discredit or to bring disgrace upon another is considered "psychological rape”.  For a fellow Christian or a Pastor to go around town doing this to others within the Body of Christ is the height of hypocrisy.  If the Mayor truly doubts our faith and the salvation of our souls, then he should be praying for us as we have been praying for him and those that deliberately caused such harm to us. 

We know that we fail each and every day and fall short of what we aspire to do for Him.  We know that we are forgiven and thankful that He continues to use us in our failures and brokenness.  Thank goodness the Bible is full of broken people that we all can relate to!  We could think that Abraham was too old,  David was an adulterer and murderer,  the Disciples fell asleep while praying, Elijah was suicidal, Gideon was afraid, Isaac was a daydreamer, Isaiah preached naked, Jacob was a liar, Jeremiah was too young, Job went bankrupt, John the Baptist ate bugs, Jonah ran from God, Joseph was abused, Lazarus was dead, they said Leah was ugly, Martha worried about everything,  Mary Magdalene was demon possessed, Moses could not speak well, Naomi was a widow, Noah was a drunk, Paul was too religious, Peter denied Christ, Rahab was a prostitute, the Samaritan Woman was divorced and more than once, Samson had long hair and was a womanizer, Timothy was too young and had an ulcer, and Zaccheus was too small.  Praise the Lord that with all our (Dwight and Terry) imperfections we fit right in! 

**We have been told that the City of Wylie (7+ months later) is still using the protocol for anonymity that was in force for years and during many Building Official tenures before Dwight’s.  For the use of this protocol he was charged with Abuse of Power and Violation of the Code of Conduct for his “alleged wrongdoing”.

Terry’s Note to Self—Do a Bible Study on Abuse of Power, Breach of the Chain of Command, Insubordination, and Violation of the Code of Conduct.

To be continued……….

Elephants Are Not Just Republicans

Today is Elephant Appreciation Day!  Now this may be a strange post to some, but I absolutely love elephants.  They are said to embody many of our human traits.  They are pranksters with a sense of humor and when happy and having fun they actually appear to be smiling.  Elephants are known to indulge in planned mischief and tricks in order to get attention.  They are the largest of land mammals on earth and said to be the most emotionally kindred to humans than any other animal.

My love for elephants was born during a visit to the Dallas Zoo in the early ‘80s.  I went with some friends that were in from out of town.  Their two boys were around 2 and 3 years old.  The weather was not cooperating that day for the planned picnic and zoo trip, but in spite of the weather, we decided to go anyway.  There were very few visitors at the Zoo that day and we spent our time during the heavy showers in the large animal building until the rain would slow.

It was a day that I will never forget.  Before our elephant adventure, we were told that the mama giraffe was in labor that day and we might or might not be able to see her.  Before too long the mama giraffe and her new baby made their entrance into the inside holding stall.  As I recall the umbilical cord was actually still attached and the baby was wobbly as could be barely standing on spindly little legs.  Mama was grooming her little baby and it was such a joy and blessing to witness the sweetness of nature’s glory.

Down from the giraffes, were 2 or 3 elephant stalls.  The elephants were outside and out of our view during part of the time that we were in the building.  When they finally came inside the covered area, they went into different holding stalls to eat.  Between the viewing glass and the railed elephant stalls was a walkway for the staff.  A zookeeper came walking down the walkway carrying cleaning supplies.  The elephant in the closest stall to the approaching zookeeper ran to the rail and stuck her trunk out for the keeper to pet and love on her.  The elephant in the other stall went running outside from her stall and into the next one where the first elephant was receiving love and petting.  She ran to the rail wanting her share of the attention.  The zookeeper was lavish in sharing her affection with them both and then gathered her supplies and proceeded down the walkway around to the outside and then came into the first stall to begin cleaning. 

Both elephants proceeded to get as close to the keeper as possible wanting more love.  Every time she would resume sweeping, they would get into the swept pile and scatter it around.  You could tell she started fussing at them and they just kept playing, soon taking the broom away from her and passing it back and forth high over her head.  All the while she was really scolding them.  They repeatedly would play their game until they knew she was really, really serious.  She started to reach to pick up something that may have been a small whip.  Just as small children, they quickly scampered out and into the adjoining stall awaiting the zookeeper to come and clean so they could once again resume their game of Keep Away.

It was such a fun and memorable day that we probably would have missed had it not been for the rain.  I have often reflected on that awesome day and still marvel at the wonders of this world, thankful for all the Lord gives us—great and small.                

Friday, September 20, 2013

See You at the Pole

Who Will You See at the Pole?

Save the date!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Are your kids ready for the annual See You at the Pole (SYATP) this year?  This student gathering began in 1990 in the United States.  As you drive past schools on your way to work, it is inspiring to see students of all ages gathered around the flagpole with heads bowed in prayer.  So tell your kids to grab their Bibles, gather their friends, and plan to make those joyful noises as they lift their voices in praise!    

The Judge, The Henchman, and the Hangman

In the movie End of the Game it was said “When humans determine themselves the fate of others they become the judges, and when they become the instrument of others they become the henchmen.”

Earlier this year, my husband was added to the long list of employee casualties by City of Wylie management.  What happened to him was a politically motivated attack planned and orchestrated by the Judge, the Henchman, and the Hangman.  We have become aware that this has been happening since these 3 like-minded individuals moved into positions where they could collectively make such things happen--as far back as 2001.  They have worked together, they have had help from others in various departments and it is being done for their own selfish benefits and to prevent anything being exposed by anyone outside their tight circle. If they think an employee may know something they deem objectionable, their well orchestrated plans have been devised to quickly usher them out the door.  In this At Will state, you are hard pressed to disprove the devastating fabrications and false allegations that they scheme.  The reasons given for dismissal of my husband and many of the former employees have been insubordination, abuse of power, violation of the chain of command, and/or violations to the code of conduct/ethics code established for the employees.  I want to note here that unlike the employees, the Mayor and Council have not had an established Code of Conduct/Ethics since 2005.

We have had people calling that have known us well that began seeking their own answers in this debacle.  They have wanted to make some sense out of what they have heard and to determine just why this happened.  I have told people over and over that I do not want what is being done to us to “wash over on them” and I truly am afraid that our friends could suffer in the backlash against us.  Former employees started calling to tell us the “real” story behind their leaves from the City of Wylie.  One by one, these employees have dropped through the trap door of the hangman’s scaffold and fell silent.  We have all been “gagged” by threats serious enough that everyone’s silence is always the result.  The Mayor told my husband and I the story that everyone would be told about Dwight’s leave from Wylie.  It was shocking to sit in his church office for his arranged meeting and have him tell a devastating and completely fabricated story.  When I said “that is not true”, he looked me in the eyes and asked “Who are they going to believe.... you or a Pastor?  Everyone knows that pastors don’t lie and before this is over, even your Crafters will hate you.”  Yes, Wylie’s Mayor/Pastor/Wordsmith and former EDS/Hewlett Packard Human Resource Director and Chief Information Officer knows how to exact character assassination.  They have made all efforts to keep his promise of destruction.  They want us to silently take leave of Wylie as most of their victims before us.  We have been abiding by the gag rules so we could find employment, continue our witness in town, and leave Wylie not by their timetable, but in the Lord’s time.  There is still much for us to do in our little hometown that we truly love and call home.  Dwight and I have continued trusting and living by faith during these difficult times and have now chosen to step out in our faith with the truth.  Our prayer is that what happened to us and too many before us, will not ever happen again at the City of Wylie.  To be continued………. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hattie May's Inspiring Legacy

Soon after Dwight and I married in 1999, we founded the Bethesda Nursing Home Ministry.  Not long after that, a friend sent us an email about a little girl named Hattie May Wiatt that had died of diphtheria in 1886.  The story of this little girl’s legacy took wing in my heart and I have carried it with me ever since.  What God did with her little purse of pennies is an amazing testimony of unselfish love.  From the offerings of Hattie’s 57 cents were sown Philadelphia’s Baptist Temple, College Hall, Temple University, and Samaritan Hospital.  The true and inspiring story was recounted in Dr. Russell H. Conwell’s 1912 sermon, “The History of Fifty-Seven Cents” and can be found at

Dwight and I love serving the Lord.  During these last 14 years of this journey, there have been times when we had to rest in idleness.  And during those times, I have lamented my full purse of pennies.  Dealing with Dwight’s unemployment and the resulting close of  The Crafter’s Co-op has been difficult as is loss of income and health insurance.  Seven months later, we are still living with the uncertainty of the unemployed, yet each day has been full of the Lord’s blessings and opportunities to continue serving.  The Lord is still using us and I look forward to continue casting more of my 57 cents out into this glorious world through this blog, My 57 Cents!       

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Memories and Moments in Time

Who could ever forget the events of  September 11, 2001?   I believe that life as we knew it changed for us all with the tragedies of that day.  What happened that day became personal, very personal for us all.  An overwhelming grief of loss settled in our hearts as we embraced all the brothers and sisters of our American family.  We wept, we grieved,  we pledged to help in any way that we could, we prayed together, we prayed in prayer chains, we prayed with our prayer groups and vowed never to lose sight of what September 11, 2001 meant to us and our American family. 

Dwight and I had just returned from vacationing in Colorado.  We had made some life changing decisions during our trip—I was NOT to take my briefcase full of work on vacation ever again.  Dwight made the decision to retire from his (almost) 30 year career in municipal government.  That fateful Tuesday was our first day back and we were up early, preparing for work.  The early shows were on the television, when the regular morning program was interrupted with breaking news and footage of the attack on the World Trade Center.  I remember a surreal feeling, an overwhelming disbelief of the reality to what was being shown and what was being reported.  We both ended up staying home and watched the news coverage non stop and into the late evening.    

In talking to Dwight later, I told him the feelings I felt brought to mind the recollections  of our parents and grandparents talking of the “most famous broadcast in radio history”.  That broadcast was said to have caused widespread panic in 1938 as listeners thought there really was an invasion in process in America.  In actuality, Orson Welles was reading an adaptation of H.G. Wells science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds for his radio anthology series.  Now in 1938, it was surreal fiction, but in 2001 it was real life that millions of us watched repeated over and over.

Now, twelve years to the day, we still remember the horrors that began and continued to unfold the duration of that very sad day.  But, the promises and vows made that same day, have seemed to have slowly slipped into the far recesses of the minds of too many.  Our borders remain virtually open to all who wish to enter.  Threats continue, our skies carry the scares invoked by the likes of “shoe” and “underwear” bombers and the frequency of reported suicide bombers have become so commonplace that it is no longer a shock to hear of these attacks.  And in the aftermath of Benghazi, some have obviously been “numbed down” by accepting the explanations summarized such as “What difference does it make?”.   And too few consider what happened at Fort Hood a terrorist’s massacre, accepting instead as an incident motivated by “workplace violence”.  And of late, the Boston Marathon bombings have shown us the “innocence of youth”  in the picture of one of the bombers on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

As I am reflecting on America’s outcries, promises, and vows on September 11, 2001 and soon thereafter, it makes me question what has happened to us in these twelve short years, as we almost seem accepting and apathetic of such tragedy.  Is it because of our media’s success in watered down and misreporting that we are slowly becoming numb to it all and accepting their invalidation as correct?  Have we lost our sense of outrage over such atrocities of these bombings and massacres?  Do you see the national pride in Americans in 2013 that was so evident in 2001?  Are we becoming a nation so desensitized that another attack such as September 11, 2001 would be accepted as just another incident?  Is this how the mass exterminations of millions occurred during World War II because too many people became desensitized to those abominable acts in this world?  We need to pray that the Lord will keep our memories of that fateful day in 2001 alive in our mind.  We need to feel the grief and pain of those memories so that we will never become so desensitized to accept such tragedies of the Boston Marathon, Benghazi, Fort Hood and countless other attacks on our brothers and sisters of our great America as just another day, another happening.