Friday, August 19, 2005


By Marion Kelley Bullock

Years ago, when our two daughters were little, we worked with a pastor who loved to go to the lake every Saturday (well, nearly every Saturday during the season.) And staff members were expected to go along. The first of these little jaunts was planned with great aplomb. I received my instructions. Bring fried chicken, potato salad, and chocolate chip cookies (all homemade). And don't bring the children! I hunted until I found a sitter who was free for the whole day, because we had no idea when we would return.

I enjoyed fishing, swimming, eating. But it hurt to see our pastor's three children (only a few years older than ours) taking part in the merriment, when ours must be left behind.

This quickly grew old. The day we usually relaxed and enjoyed activities with our family had been usurped. How depressing to head for the lake, already tired from preparations, come home sun-burned and worn-out, and try to interact with two small children who had been left out of the fun and who missed mommy and daddy all day.

When those days ended, I promised my husband that no one was ever again going to dictate what food I took on a picnic. Actually, no one has ever tried.

Yesterday, my love and I decided on the spur of the moment to go on a picnic. It was evening, late enough to avoid the hottest part of the day. Because our state park, while it boasts carefully planted and cared-for trees, has none large enough to boast about.

We took meats, bread, deviled eggs, chips, apples and chocolate candy bars. No gourmet meal, to be sure. My motto at times like these is "we eat to live," not "we live to eat."

We spread our tablecloth on a picnic table and set out our picnic basket and food.
Bowing our heads, we thanked God for our food and all the ways He's blessed us. We prayed for our children and grandchildren, scattered here and there. As we ate we gazed at the blue-green lake shimmering in the setting sun. Talk was relaxed, desultory. We strolled out to big rocks jutting out over the lake and watched the moon come up and brighten the darkening sky.

Now that's a holiday, even if it's just for one evening.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

LOVE IS . . .

By Marion Kelley Bullock

Sometimes I start feeling sorry for myself. I feel like chanting the old tune I remember from childhood:
“Nobody loves me, everbody hates me,
Goin’ out in the garden and eat ‘erms.
Great big fat ones, great big slick ones,
Great big fuzzy, ‘uzzy erms."

I’ve never sunk quite low enough in my depression that I’ve actually gone out and dug up worms. But I’ve come close, and if I’d thought for one second it would help matters, I would have. Maybe they wouldn’t taste too bad fried.

It does hurt when people—friends, family members—turn against us. When it’s happened to me, I’ve struggled, actually made myself sick, agonizing over the broken relationship. I’ve lain awake nights, begging God to take away the damage that doesn’t seem to be fixable. “What can I do, Lord?” or “What can I say?” doesn’t always yield an answer. Sometimes we simply have to stand by our beliefs and honor the Lord our God above all things.

But even then—or maybe especially then, we must remember love. In 1 Corinthians 13:13, we read, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (NIV).

Worry over things we cannot control is foolish. It has no power to change any situation and only harms those of us who yield to it.

Love, however, does have power. We’re told in Matthew 5:44, 46, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you . . . If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (NIV).

So when we feel so low, so un-loved that we don’t think we can bear to live, we must turn our eyes to Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NIV).

He, who is perfect, endured persecution. So what makes us, imperfect creatures that we are, think we deserve better?

Saturday, August 06, 2005


By Marion Kelley Bullock

No, I’m not talking about bruises. My husband doesn’t beat me. But today he let me down in a more subtle way.

“How would you like to go to Big Spring and eat at Al’s Barbeque?” He stood behind my computer chair and tempted me. I bit. I usually do. I’m a glutton for quitting my work to go out to lunch or whatever excitement he conjures up.

I hurried to my closet and changed into a pair of pants and my two-shades-of-green and black Hawaiian big shirt. I thought it would look much better than my everyday shorts and tee. I grabbed my makeup kit and we hurried to the car.

After I donned my two-minute-makeup (eyeliner, cover stick, and lipstick), we talked a while and then I settled back to relax. I moved the makeup kit off my lap onto the floor. As I looked down at my lap, I screeched.

“What’s wrong?” My husband swerved, narrowly missing an oncoming car.

“My pants are navy!”


Obviously, he failed to see the relevance. I hurried to tell him where he’d gone wrong. “You didn’t stop me from wearing navy pants with a green and black shirt. You know I’m practically colorblind!”

“I didn’t notice.” He said it with a straight face. “Besides, you look fine.”
I thought about going back home to change, but we were nearly there and my taste buds won out. “Let’s just eat instead of dropping by Wal-Mart as we usually do. Okay?”

He agreed.

Hmmmm. Did I detect a smug look on his face? Did he purposely refrain from telling me I’d made another color blunder, so I’d resist yet another shopping spree? It didn’t bear thinking about.

At Al’s, the lights were dim, the food was delicious, and I didn’t see anyone I knew.

Home again, I took off the mismatched clothes, labeled my pants “navy” inside the waistband. My Sharpie writes big and bold.

Next time I’ll know.