The Enchanted Granny


DSC06066.jpgIt was a bad idea. My husband said, “This is a bad idea.” But I suffer from an enchanted condition called ‘Grandmother.’ The spell works differently in different grandmas, but I’ve been told that, when fully under its power, I am blinded to any defects in my grandchildren. Past disasters are blotted from my memory and possible future chaoses are bedazzled by blind optimism.

My two oldest grandsons, ages 2 and 3, both wanted to sit with my husband (Grampy) my youngest son (Uncle K) and myself (Granny) in church.
I said yes and led the two small boys to our customary seat.
Families with small children usually sit in back.
Our customary seat is middling-front.
In the area frequented by people who came that day foolishly assuming they were going to hear an entire worship service.

My husband slipped in to my left. “This is a bad idea.”

“No. It will be fine! Three adults and only two little ones? We can separate them. Besides, they are playing with their church toys.”

I folded my hands as the pastor began to pray, ready to offer a silent postscript of gratitude for these wonderful little blessings.
We didn’t even make it through “Dear Father in Heaven.”

Did you know that church toys, contrary to all that is right and good and expected, are cursed with a dreadful spell?
EACH TOY is under enchantment to make it alluring and desirable ONLY WHEN ONE’S COUSIN IS PLAYING WITH IT.
As soon as the magical toy is wrest from the grip of the other, its enchantment dissipates.

Did you know that small children are shape-shifters? They change into eels that slither around and between adult legs to reach each other. Their 30-pound frames transmute to several tons of bonelessness when an adult attempts a leverage-and-lift.

You know how beavers have that extra eyelid that closes in water?
The magical human variety have a mudflap that descends over the eardrum in public.
It flips down  at the first sound of “SHHHHH! We’re praying!” or “It’s not your turn” or “Do you want a timeout?”
The mudflap rolls back up at the smallest vibration of a fruit snack package crinkled anywhere in the building, which triggers the vocal chords which immediately demand, in a roar also heard to the limits of the building, “I want a snack, Granny!”

I have a magic bag of tricks. I call it my purse and it contains everything that could address any conceivable physical emergency. It contained fruit snacks. The magical children made them disappear in 3.7 ( blessedly silent) seconds. Then these amazing creatures turned the purse upside down and— ABRACADABRA! 28 sq. liters of stuff came out of my 8”x10” handbag.

For their next trick, they levitated my artfully-tied fashion scarf from around my neck. A lively discussion between the cousins ensued. #1 thought he should wear the scarf around his head. Pirate style. #2 disagreed. It should be around #1’s neck. Hangman’s noose style.
For a brief moment my Enchanted Grandmother brain cleared and I remembered how dangerous anything around the neck of a child can potentially be.
I reclaimed the scarf, hissed words of warning,
and all billy h-e-double hockey sticks broke out.
#1 transformed into a shrieking hydra, squirting tears in a three-foot swath. Then he saw Cousin looking smug and his resulting howls registered on sonar equipment.

Grampy hustled #1 down the aisle and into the back.
Uncle K busied himself comforting a sobbing #2 who, now that he’d gotten exactly what he wanted, no longer wanted it.
I smiled assurance at the tense people around us. Things will settle down now. Only one little boy. You may even catch the last few lines of the sermon.

Grampy, who’d forgotten he needed to collect offering, hustled back up the aisle and deposited #1 next to me in the pew.
Only a few minutes to go. I could do this.
Did you know that time, under enchantment, expands?
The few minutes lasted well into the next century.

Ignoring the urgent cries of the little Faeries of Common Sense fluttering around my head, I handed each boy a quarter to put in the collection plate.
Once the quarters hit the warm hands of the magical children they fell under the spell. They multiplied. For the next seven minutes quarters hit the floor 220 times.

The pastor pronounced the benediction and dismissed us with the Lord’s blessing. Our grandchildren’s parents came to reclaim their offspring. The little boys hugged our legs, looked up with sweetly trusting eyes, and lisped, “Love you Granny. We sit with you again.”

Anyone have a good counter-spell for ‘Enchanted Grandmother?’

Analysis of a Small Grief

Please note: the below is in no way intended to address Grief. Capital G Grief is the loss of loved one, nation, freedom, innocence or hope. I haven’t the wisdom or the words on how Grief should be dealt with. Here, I attempt to deal with my sadness at the loss of my dog in the way I deal with most things—by a plethora of words.

This grief doesn’t feel small. It feels as though a wad of steel wool has wrapped around my insides and rubbed it raw. I realize losing my little bundle of mixed breeds-and-affection doesn’t rival heart-wrenching, life-changing losses. If I could just convince my aching innards.

I’ve learned that when I analyze a headache or a stubbed toe or an unreachable itch, dissect it, and examine its texture and consistency and quality, my mind is detracted from the hurt. Maybe it works on heartache.
The loss is still fresh but initial probing led me to a few conclusions:

Our bodies don’t always know the difference between grief and Grief.
The physical manifestation of sadness is not necessarily in proportion to the magnitude of the loss. It just hurts. When I hit my crazy bone or mash a vulnerable toe on a rock, my body screams with more pain than it might in the throes of a deadly stroke. My shrieking nerve endings need my brain to assure them, “It’s just a stubbed toe. Just a whacked elbow. The pain will pass.”

This sadness is physical. It clutches my heart and knots my stomach and gray-washes everything I see. My intellect needs to get involved and reason with the rest of me. I don’t want to stay this sad.

My head knows not to bother telling my heart, “Well, at least it wasn’t my ____(fill in the blank)”
We aren’t given a multiple choice of loss, or the guarantee that if we choose the lesser, the greater won’t happen.
My mind won’t play the “Just think how _____ (fill in the blank) is suffering” game. Someone always, always hurts worse. Based on that reasoning no one should be sad ever.
And my heavy heart would kick my intellect to the curb if it said “Honestly. It was just a dog.”
No. When the steel wool starts to ravel my stomach and heart and shoves the whole mess up in my throat I need to assure myself, “She was a wonderful dog. When you took her home ten years ago you knew this day would come. You weighed the cost and decided the joy was worth the pain. And it won’t always hurt this much.”

Our grief, with just a little cooperation, can be infinitely self-perpetuating.
I’ve gone whole portions of an hour these past days not actively mourning the loss of my little mutt. Then I’ll deliberately pull out a memory—Bonny running, Bonny dozing, Bonny begging us to make the thunder STOP—and everything from gut to throat constricts, except my tear ducts.These aren’t those memories and associations, aromas or songs, that ambush the grieving one. I’m talking about intentionally choosing a mental picture of my dog and keeping the eyes of my heart on it until I’m weeping.

As of this writing it’s been less than 80 hours since we took her for that final trip to the vet. So how do I know the grief has potential to continually feed itself? Experience. I can dig several layers down into my grief vault and pull up tears for Troubles, my beagle who went to her just reward over thirty years ago. It is up to me to decide how often I open that storehouse of pain. Bonny is worth the tears, but neither of us is served by a continual and premeditated sorrowing.
Grief needs to allow room for comforting.
Comfort, we all know, isn’t a cure. It doesn’t reverse time or eradicate the loss, so we may reject the sympathizing word and empathetic touch. But the comfort of kind people does help, if allowed. It’s when grief says, “You don’t understand how much I loved this little pup.” or “Easy for you to say. You aren’t an animal lover.” or, most churlish, “You just don’t feel things as deeply as I do.” —that is when weeping refuses to be consoled. Comfort, in its many manifestations, is the most gentle of buffers, soothing and smoothing the thousand million jagged edges of grief with solace and compassion.
Grief has its reversal in heaven.
Two dogs ago (why do I keep doing this to myself?) when we had to put Polly to sleep, I decided there must be dogs in heaven. Not generic dogs. Not new-creation dogs. But my dog. Polly had to be there. I’m still hoping all dogs, even the yapping, drooling, nasty little ankle-biter around the corner, will be in heaven. But I can’t say for certain. It isn’t something God specifically addresses.
Instead, I know something even better. When I see my Savior face to face, the Word who spoke creation into being, I will see the source of worlds and all beauty and every creature He ever gave life to. The eye that sees the sparrow fall sees the little white dog who became too frail to support life. This is the Almighty we are talking about, who never forgets, never looks at anything without seeing and knowing full well and fully and for always.

The One who designed Bonny’s scruffy, vibrant little frame lives forever and anyone I’ve ever lost lives forever in His love and in His eyes.

A Texas Belle on her toes

Texans are fascinating folks (and they would probably agree). Since I don’t know many Lone Star State folks, and have only been there twice, I asked author Gay Lewis, a Texas lover if there ever was one, to  tell us more about best places to visit, the people, the FOOD and if there could possibly be any imperfections in her favorite state.

If you aren’t familiar with Gay, she has written several fantasy novels about a klutzy angel who fulfills her duties as matchmaker with greater enthusiasm than skill. (Read more about Gay and Sarah in the bio at the end of the interview.) Recently Gay successfully tried her hand at a more serious topic—the destructive power of words—in the novella ‘Clue Into Kindness,’ the second book in the ‘Love Is’ series by Prism Book Group.

Clue into Kindness once more

Gay is going to whet your appetite for Texas. Let’s make her really nervous and tell her we’ll all drop in on her next week. Naw, that wouldn’t scare a true Texan like Gay. Would it?


What is your favorite book? (After the Bible 🙂

Hmm? I have many (some I’ve written myself) Giggle, giggle. Besides my Sarah books, I confess to reading often Love Comes Softly by Jeanette Oke. It’s a quick read and it lifts my spirits. I’ve seen the Hallmark movie many times too. Note: ‘Clue Into Kindness’ is available as an ebook, AND in print, bundled with two other novellas in a book titled ‘Love Is Anthology No. 1.’

Who is your favorite author?

Poopty doopty! How can I answer that one? I have several. All Prism Book Group authors present wonderful books, and I constantly have one of their books on my iPad. I also enjoy Janet Evanovich for humor and Dean Koontz for fantasy and suspense.

Where is the most beautiful spot in Texas in the spring?

Oh my! There you go again with another thinker. I love the Texas Hill Country for the rolling hills and multitudes of Bluebonnets. Washington County, north of Brenham, TX has beautiful scenic vistas too.
I show up on your doorstep, hoping for a Texas-style meal. What is on the menu?

Hahahah. I’m laughing hard on this one. The first thing we’d do after I gave you a giant, Texas hug would be to get into the car and drive to the nearest restaurant. My cooking would not give you a true taste of a Texas meal. Chef Gay is not one of my titles. I wish you could have eaten at my mom’s table. She prepared the best chicken fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans and banana pudding—bar none. Chicken and Dumplings with homemade fried pies were my favorite dishes at her table. But back to me….I’d take you to the nearest Tex-Mex food hang-out for a sizzling plate of cheese enchiladas.
You get to crown ‘Best Famous Texan (Dead or Alive)’ Who do you choose and why?

Sam Houston. That guy was amazing. He was born in Virginia, but arrived in Texas in time to help Texas gain independence from Mexico. Can you imagine the time it took to travel this enormous state of Texas on horseback? He held several political offices: President of the Republic of Texas, and later as Governor and Senator. He was tall, handsome, and a favorite of the ladies.

What do you love most about Texas?
I enjoy the people. Most of us are friendly and helpful. If I meet someone who isn’t, I know they weren’t born and bred in Texas, but if they stay here long enough, we rub off on ‘em.

Least? I hate the Texas heat. Winters in Houston are mild and lovely, but the summers? Yuk. If I had money in my pocket, I’d spend four months of the year in Colorado. When April arrives, I get sad. Heat comes with it. October brings a happier time for me. I know the worst is over.

Let’s assume I am a first-time visitor to Texas. I only have time to visit three places, and want to try at least one ‘off the beaten track’ spot. 
Which three will you bring me to?

Merciful heavens! That’s a tough one. Let’s see. Okay, here’s what I’d do.
I’d take you on a tour of the Painted Churches. Most of these churches were established by Germans immigrants. They modeled small churches after the one they left behind in the mother country. They didn’t have marble, gold or silver to use, so they painted the interiors to resemble finer materials and elements. Many have stained glass and art work.
After the church tour, I’d take you to San Antonio for a quick look at the Alamo and then we’d explore the River Walk by boat.
You want an out of the way place? I’ve got one for you. I’d take you to our little cabin in the Lost Pine area of Texas. Here you find the “boonies.” We have a rustic place in the middle of a forest. If you want to see people, you must drive twelve miles. Come on down! I’d love to have you visit.

Where would you tell me to avoid because it doesn’t live up to the tourist hype?
The Houston Galleria. Most tourists go there, but it is merely a glorified mall with over-priced shops.

What word or words are distinctly Texan?
Fixin.’ We’re always fixin’ to do something. “Hey, ya’ll, I’m fixin’ to fix supper.” Fixin’ means we are thinking about it or preparing to do it.

Describe the characteristics that make true Texans so unique.

Thanks for thinking we are unique. I think we are rather ordinary, but we are friendly, and we love to make you feel welcome. We probably brag too much, and we’re known for Stetson hats, cowboy boots, and pretty ladies. Most women down here wear a lot of makeup, me included—and I wouldn’t let you see me without it. I’ve been in Canada several times and strangers guess me to be from Texas, and that’s even before they hear me talk! I suppose our accent is another one of our characteristics.

You’ve been on a book tour around the world for four months. You hear a certain song and immediately it makes you homesick for Texas. What is that song?
“The Eyes of Texas.” This one would bring a tear, but if I heard the “Yellow Rose of Texas,” or “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” I’d, smile, sing along and tap my toes.

What is the second best state after Texas?
Finally, if you’d like, tell us why you love Texas and convince the readers that they will too

Stars above in the Galaxies! Now that question requires some thought. As much as I hate heat, I’m thankful we don’t shovel snow in Houston. Texans do in northern parts of the state, but not as often or as much as people north of our great state. Do you like diversity? You’ll find it in Texas. From the Cowboy to the businessman. Our economy is booming right now in spite of low oil prices. Our cities are cosmopolitan. In the county where I live, over eighty languages are spoken in the home. In our little church, we have English, Spanish, and Chinese speakers. I don’t need to travel far to experience other cultures. I can listen to them and enjoy native food in a multitude of international restaurants.
Texas has a bounty of natural beauty—from the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend, the plains of west Texas. You’ll find the Hill Country inspirational, serene lakes, rivers, and don’t forget the architectural glamour of large cities. Whatever you need, you’ll find it here. I once told my dad that I was thankful God placed him in America and then he had the good sense to see that I was born in Texas.

Thank you for an interesting bunch of questions. (Another Texas word—bunch—we do a bunch of things down here.) I’ve enjoyed thinking about them, and you’ve made me giggle a time or two.


See why I like this woman? Truly, some day I’d love to meet Gay. She is delightful and gracious, and a true lady. Want to know more about her? I thought so. Read on!

Gay N. Lewis
A native Texan, Gay lives in Fulshear—a small town west of Houston. Gay has always been involved with creative and artistic ventures. Two videos she produced—The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, were sold in Canada, America, Great Britain, as well as all international markets. Both were well received. For the San Felipe Baptist Association, she was a contributor for the video Many Churches, One Vision.
Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.
Gay’s real love is writing and reading—both go nicely together. As a pastor’s wife, she has written, produced, and photographed many programs, and her Faith Features have been published in various church periodicals. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help the humans, but she is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles. To date, there are ten books in the series. The books are available in print, eBook, and audio. She’s under contract for three more Sarah books to go with the ten. The latest addition to hit the market on June 12, 2015
Teaching an adult Bible study every Sunday morning is Gay’s joy, and she is often called upon for speaking engagements. When needed, she plays the piano and serves as worship leader in her husband’s church in Rosenberg.
Gay’s family reside in Texas—three daughters and four grandchildren.
Take a glance at the covers and read the blurbs on Prism Book Group.
For more information, please go to http ://
Read excerpts on
Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog. and also on Twitter @GayNLewis2.
Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand