Monday, December 31, 2012


My Grandmother Driskell was one of the saddest and maddest people I ever knew.  BUT I didn't know why, then.  During ALL these years since she died, Christmas, 1963, when I was 18, I hadn't heard much of anything.  Then, when I was visiting family in Tacoma last October, I saw some albums piled with photos and I heard bits of info that had never surfaced, but had started to rise up with paperwork found after my mom's death nearly 2 years ago.

My mom was born in 1920 in Tacoma and she was adopted I had been given the idea over time that my mom was wanted by the man to adopt her, but not by the woman. Found out recently that he was 50 and she was 39 when my mom, their new baby, was taken into their home.  I knew my mom had a sister.  What I didn't know til now was that their daughter, Ruth, had died in 1918 at the age of 5.  From what I understand, grandmother must have been still in sorrow and grief when this new baby was forced into her life.

Mom's dad, Edwin, had a real heart for her, from what we can understand.  He had a good city judge/atty job and a variety of ways to pull money in.  The house he had purchased was nice, to say the least.  I don't know where my grandmother's heart was, but, even though at that stretch of time she wasn't a "sweetness and light" person, MORE hit her.

First, her daughter [my mom] had polio in 1927-28.  Not as serious as some patients in those days, but she missed school for quite some time, especially in 3rd grade.  Next, Edwin, her husband, died in 1928. THEN, even though she had a fair amount of money, the Great Depression hit in 1929.  It wasn't long before she rented the house to others and moved back to Wisconsin where she could be with her family out there during that very tough financial time.  Mom was pushing 10 when entering Wisconsin;  she graduated in 1938.

 Mom was 6'2" in high school.  THAT got her attention!

Grandmother moved back to Tacoma to that same house after mom's graduationMom, too, a few months later. And after I was born, I spent time there, off and on, for quite a number of years.

OK.  Now the main reason I'm writing this is because grandmother was very intense and didn't show a lot of care for us kids.  AND when it came to money, she wouldn't give any to anyone.  Thanksgiving would have hotdogs, not turkey, for instance.  She didn't put her money in the bank -- a number of people who went through the Great Depression didn't -- and she kept all of it -- a couple thousand -- in her purse.  [In those days, a thousand dollars was worth a whole lot more than it is now.]
THEN, in winter, 1956, when in 6th grade, I became very ill with either Asian flu or something connected to rheumatic fever. [Been told both possible, and have had symptoms from both ever since.  So, don't know for sure.] I'd been sick for days, my fever was quite high and I was having hallucinations.  Around midnight, the family doctor came to our house ... remember those days, folks?? ... and was not certain whether I would live or die.  I know he told my dad to give me a teaspoon of water every 20 minutes.  And Dad did ... all night.

The next day, a Sunday, my grandmother was brought to the house.  She stood by my bed, knowing I was probably going to die.  And my never-spending-money-for-anyone-grandmother, said, "IF you live, I will buy you a coat."

I don't know, but somehow that rushed into me and I DID come to health in a fairly short stretch of time, just a few days.  Afterwards, I DID go to a department store with my parents and grandmother and I DID get to choose a coat.  In our family, we had little money, rarely new clothes.   THIS. was. a. treat!!

As an 11-year-old, I chose a coat I will never forget.

It was a tweed-style coat with a variety of shades of blue. And the buttons were large and the THIS "letter" color.  YES, now I live in purple.  THEN I lived in blue.  And, as I said, this is one coat, one gift, I will never forget.

And, with what my grandmother went through in life, she was filled with fear, sorrow, anger, frustration.  I know she had gone to a Baptist church in Tacoma many, many years ago.  I have no idea where she truly was with the Lord, but, I hope, desperately hope, her heart was in Him.  I'd like to see her again...  I want to thank her for that coat.

SHE spoke the "giving" words and, even filled with fever, I truly heard them; then the LORD planted them deeply in my heart.

And, because of her offer, I lived 


Tell Me a Story

Friday, December 28, 2012

PSALM 119:130


Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Just as we began to pray, this was in my sight. 
 Couldn't NOT take a picture.
When I heard about this murder... Milton, 42, who had been stabbed Christmas Eve while fussing with someone in an apartment parking lot ... I wasn't sure at first whether I'd have the energy and guts to go there.  The reason.  It was pushing zero in our weather, and I get so, SOOOO cold.  Also, with all the ice on our side roads, driving up or walking up to the murder site could put me at risk.  Could I not go??  No.  It is only about 1-1/2 miles from my house; this is my prayer responsibility, "my" area.

So, went and was able to park in a lot down the street from the apartment.  Before we could walk up there, several of us had arrived.  Dave, the leader, was concerned about me and my dizziness issue and the ice and made sure the guys were holding my arm and watching me.  HOW NICE!!

When we reached the apartment parking area, we were met by the Pastor of a Methodist church that was below the apartments.  She introduced herself to us.   Then the lady, Ashley, who had been in love with Milton, came out from the apartments to have us pray for her.  Her best friend came along.

In the cold, about 8 of us F.R.s moved in closely together, held hands, and prayed.  Ashley was placed in the middle and we laid hands on her.  She cried and cried.  Then, after we had finished praying for her, she prayed.  She asked the Lord to help her and thanked Him for being her Savior.  We were all so heart-touched by her prayer.

As we were beginning to break away, her friend said that there's a decision being made whether Milton will be buried in Omaha or in Chicago, where he came from.  And, it would be very difficult for Ashley to go to Chicago; she didn't have the money to do so.  Suddenly, I said that I'm a driver, that if she needs to go to Chicago, I will take her.  The Methodist pastor said she would pay for the gas.

SO... if Ashley desires to go, I will drive.

The crazy part?  I was just in Chicago in mid-November with my Bhutanese "family" that needed to see their relatives.  I had not been to Chicago for years and driving up there and around the city "drives" me crazy.  BUT, if that is what Ashley needs, that is what I will do. It's about 450 miles from here, and with the wintery issues, it could take some extra time.   

I'm sure I'll hear in the next couple days and know what I need to do.  IF I'm heading out, I'll holler on FB and my email so you'll know.

Do you wonder why I would be willing?--

Ashley, while crying, said she wants to go to his funeral and kiss him goodbye, one last time. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012


As I've shared before, when I was 14, in October, 1959, my English teacher in Tacoma, handed me a book and told me she wanted me to memorize it, that I had a month.  So, I did.  And, as you would recognize, it was the book "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".  It had been written only 2 years earlier, so wasn't well known then.  My teacher, Mrs. Andersen, wanted me to do it in the English classes and the drama classes, in particular. [I was also asked to do it -- and did it -- on a children's TV show, WHICH, in those days, was NOTHING like it is today, believe me.  All that occurred, for me, was introduction and a camera guy who stood in front of me, eating an apple,  and just doing what was necessary to have me shown on TV, but there was nobody, no words in front of me in case I'd freak out and forget them, no one paying attention.  Scary!!]   Anyhow, that's when it began.

Since then, in these 53 years, I have done it hundreds of times in many places.  Schools, churches, parties, rest homes, hospitals, assisted living groups, and many others.  About 30 years ago, Judith at Calvary Lutheran Church where I attended here in Omaha, and had done the Grinch often,  made a costume for me.  A cape that was brown, junky-looking cloth on one side, and Santa-y on the other side.  And an ugly brown hat at the beginning of the Grinch and changing to a Santa hat when flipping the cape. Have had it all these years and worn it every time.  Even took it to Uganda in case there would be a chance to do it there... and, yep, did it.

It has been a real blessing for me.

THEN, when my daughter was 5, so that would put me in the 38-years-ago range of time, a book was dropped into my lap about Christmas and our Lord's birth.  It is called "The Innkeeper's Daughter."  I loved it.  One of the main reasons it hit me is because the girl's attitude towards life was just like ME, and her way of looking and behaving was much as I did.  WELL, when Renae was in 3rd grade, and I was going to do the Grinch in her class, it was worked out that I could read/share this other story.  I did.

In the next year or so, I memorized it and began to do it with the Grinch.  Grinch first, Innkeeper's Daughter second... and that way I would leave the room with the seed of God planted in the hearts of kids.  And then I also began doing it any time, anywhere I did the Grinch.  I didn't offer an option; just said these were my stories.

Seed-planting was my goal.

One huge blessing:  in 1980, I was asked to do it at a classroom.  The teacher is someone I had met when I was in real estate.  So, I went to the elementary school.  In her class, I did both.  Now, in those days, it was still considered OK, and I'd done it several times, in various schools, BUT the principal could become upset and, basically, kick me out and nail the teacher.  I was a little nervous about that this particular time, but the teacher insisted and I went ahead with it.  WELL, the principal showed up just as I finished, and, basically, asked about it.  We told her.  She immediately contacted the school teachers and broke the afternoon into 2 full assembly meetings, 300 kids each, and I performed both stories.  It so blessed my heart to do it; I've never forgotten that afternoon.

This was a newspaper article in 1981 when I was doing it at a hospital for kids.  Pretty cool, huh?

Know you couldn't read it, but the title and photo are cool.

Since then, in the last few years, Protestant and Catholic schools have had me to them, but I can't do "Innkeeper's daughter" any more in public schools.

NOW, after 53 years, I think I'm done.  My memorization doesn't work quite as well as it used to.  I struggle a bit. Even after all these years of knowing both of them perfectly, I get stuck.  Dave, or someone, is there with the words, and will help, but if it happens more than once for each one, I'm annoyed. I don't want to have the listeners side-tracked while I'm suddenly losing my words.

Does it make me happy to stop?  Uh, Uh!!!  BUT, do I know I've blessed and made many laugh at my acting as the Grinch?  YEP!! And, do I know the Lord used me to plant lots and lots of "seed" in the hearts of hundreds and hundreds of people, from pre-school kids to folks in their 80s and 90s?  


And that gives me hope.

Tell Me a Story

Friday, December 21, 2012

PSALM 121:1-2

Shall I look to the 
mountain gods for help?
My help is Jehovah
Who made  the mountains...

 Mt. Rainier

Mt. Baker

Mt. Hood

Utah Mountains

Snoqualmie Pass
Cascade Range

And the heavens, too!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


There was a star that shined the night
that Jesus Christ was born.
It shone so very 'specially bright
with twinkling, brilliant sparks of light,
the night was bright as morn.
O Sing, O Sing of Christmas,
the time of Jesus' birth,
the time when we recall again
God sent His Son to earth.

The Angels sang their joyous songs
on that first Christmas eve.
"Alleluia, Praise the Lord"
rolled 'cross the fields in sweet accord and spread the news,
"God's Holy Word
has come; O please believe."


The shepherds in the fields by night
heard the angels sing.
They heard the songs and left the sheep,

they did not stop to eat or sleep,
they hurried on through darkness deep,
they ran as if on wings.

The Wise Men came from parts unknown
upon their camel's fleet.
They'd seen the star shine in the East,
they'd come to share a royal feast,

with the Baby, God's High Priest,
and worship at His feet.
 O Sing, O Sing of Christmas,
the time of Jesus' birth.
the time when we recall again
God sent His Son to earth.

I wrote this during Christmas-time, 1971. At the time, I lived in Redwood City, CA.  "Sing of Christmas" was first simply a poem.  Then, a few days later, while in the bathtub [as crazy as that sounds], the melody went through my head and never left. That year, I sent out the poem as my Christmas card. Eventually, the music was written, and in the late '70s I sent it out again, this time as a song. One evening my dear friend, Susie, in Minnesota, called. She played the song on the piano and her family sang it to me over the phone as a Christmas gift. That was truly a sweet present.

I hadn't shared it for years. However, last year I chose to post it, because I wanted to post something Christmasy and decided this would be fun to do.  Well, redoing a bit of it... colors, photo, and "history" about it has been improved.  Wanted to send it to my dear ones and friends around the world.  
Bless you all...