HAPPENINGS ALONG THE WAY TO HEAVEN - June 2011 - Oden funeral, TV News

Did you know you and I are about to experience something for the FIRST and ONLY time in our life? Exciting? Amazing! It will happen in JULY. Get out a calendar. What do you see? July has FIVE weekends of Friday-Saturday-Sunday! This happens only every 823 years--and we get to be in one of those years! July l,2,3=8,9,10=15,16,17=22,23,24=29,30,31!

I live in a circle of homes on Azaleadell Drive in Garden Oaks Plaza. There is only one entrance. You'll travel one block east, two blocks north, one block west and two blocks south, returning to the entrance. My street, Sleepyvale Lane, cuts the circle in half! All last year, the subdivision streets and storm sewers were torn out and replaced with new, wider streets and deeper sewers to correct the flooding problem. My property has never flooded because the ground is higher. The construction was beautifully done by Total Site, Inc. The workmen were very helpful when I couldn't drive down my street or in my driveway. They would unload my car and carry items into my kitchen. They helped everyone: getting our newspapers to our doors; moving garbage cans for pickup-- always on the lookout for random acts of kindness!

Rachel came in from Tomball and spent the night with me. We got quite a surprise at l0:00 the next morning when we decided to go to I-HOP for breakfast: the street was dug out about two feet below my driveway! We couldn't get out! Mike, the Foreman, said he put a note on my door at 7:a.m…while we were sleeping! He pulled out his cell phone and called men from the next street to bring equipment over. In 30 minutes, I had a driveway exit again!

I contracted with Mike to replace an extra four feet of concrete in my driveway. I asked him if he knew about the Walter A. Smith Paving Contractors when they were in business. YES! He remembered my dad and some of my brothers also. We shared fun memories. I said, "My dad and two of my brothers are paving streets of gold in Heaven, now. Another drives a white pickup and will be coming to see me in a few days."

We were sitting at the breakfast table when the doorbell rang. There stood Mike and another man he introduced as Thad, the Superintendent and Owner of Total Site. When Thad shook hands with my brother, he said, "I just wanted to come over and shake hands with a Legend!" My eyes were tearful as Thad praised my dad as a business man, and this brother who continued the business. With so much dishonesty, greed and misrepresentation in companies today, this was indeed an honor to Dad and his Christian influence to his nine children. Thad said that he purchased the Ray Smith Paving Company when they went out of business. Ray was of no kin to us, but always claimed to be one of our cousins!

It was such a pleasure to be among the employees of Total Site, that when the job was almost complete, all us neighbors threw a big party for the workers in appreciation of their many acts of kindness. At 9:30 A.M., everyone met for breakfast in Maureen's

tree-shaded double driveway. Each employee was given a gift certificate. They said no one had ever done this for them before!

Because our streets are so attractive, on Wednesday, March 2nd, the Mazda car makers decided to use Azaleadell Drive to do a film shoot for TV advertising! Their film trucks and personal cars would be around. A uniformed HPD officer would control traffic.

We were asked to not park our cars on the street during the three hours of filming. I really wanted to watch this, but couldn't. I can't walk that far (two blocks). My neighbor, Jim, drove by when I walked outside to get my mail. I asked if he watched the filming. "No. They're just standing around

doing nothing. It's really boring!" Because of our dry weather, they brightened up the grass for the commercial by dying it green! Two days later, the article to the left appeared in the Chronicle. I surely laughed! Isn't that amazing? Who would have guessed "a spider did it!"

As thrilling as it will be to see Mazda's TV commercial, it is even more fun to see someone you know. One morning, Miriam (our Prayer Group Leader) called me. "Do you watch TV Channel 13 'The View'?"

she asked. I didn't, but I would. Why? Her son Jon, his wife Anna and

their two children Landon and Ellis would be on the program. They live in Dallas, Texas and were chosen when the sponsors called the Dallas school PTA requesting a typical middle income family with two children and a dog. Jon and Anna fit the "bill." The sponsors spent a week at their home discovering EVERY THING was "made in China." Everything! Even Ellis's "American Girl doll" and the dog's bed!

The entire contents of their kitchen, den and master bedroom were

replaced with American made products (including the children's toys), which looks great, but costs more! They could not replace the kitchen coffee pot nor the den television -- couldn't find ANY made in America.

The exposure on The View brought a lot of traveling and more TV appearances for the family. Diane Sawyer flew them to New York for

World News Tonight. They were on CBS all week! Viking USA furnished their kitchen and cooked a gourmet meal for twelve people!

WHAT % OF THINGS IN YOUR HOME IS MADE IN AMERICA?

That was the theme of "The View" that Friday, March 11, 2011.

I have been deeply concerned about the deaths of many friends this year: None in January --but the next four months, I lost 14 friends and 6 relatives of friends.

It was really sad to lose Dora Moore (82) on May 1st. Then, just three weeks later on May 24, their daughter Diana's husband, Glenn Linton (67) died. Jack and I have been close friends with this family for 50 years. Jack and Bill Moore worked together, retired together, formed a handyman business together. Both loved fishing; both bought boats! Our families were with each other more weekends than with anyone else. We spent many weeks in Rockport, fishing and playing Canasta. Dora gave me my only surprise birthday party!

A lot of precious friends are waiting for me in Heaven! Among them, Bill Oden (88) who died March 13. Dearly beloved associate pastor and Sunday school teacher. At Bill's funeral service, I was sitting in a pew by the center aisle. Others came to sit with me, and I'd keep scooting down the pew until I was almost on the end next to the narrow walkway beside the wall.

The officiant, Rev. John Godby, was speaking a lot of verses about Heaven -- so wonderful, my thoughts were "How can I be sad when Bill is in such a paradise?" Suddenly, I was engulfed in a whirl of warm air! My immediate thought was: "Bill! What are you doing? You're supposed to be in Heaven!" I turned my head to the left, over my shoulder, and saw a huge picture window. There was a bubbling fountain, a stream of running water, a garden of lovely green shrubs, a few flowers -- peaceful. I looked up at a sky full of clouds. One corner had rolled back -- or did Bill turn up a corner to peek down on us -- or did God roll back a cloud to let the sunshine cover me with warmth to get His attention that Heaven is REAL and not very far away. I felt very special.

Jesus said: "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2); "Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34).

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