The Handler

Making assumptions

Placing blame

What do you know

More than her name

Aren’t you just the same?

Why do we tear down

What we can’t understand

What we can’t control

Don’t you see it’s eating at me

But it’s marring your soul

Read the headlines

Took it as truth

Don’t think for yourself

We’ll do it for you

Such a dangerous game

There is no prize

But feeding the monster

Feeding the lies

And it’s insatiable

When will we learn

Yes fire burns

It also purifies

And we’ve got a lot

Of cleaning to do

Help me

Help you

Help us

See through

False truths and manipulation

Think it’s time for a long vacation

Because our minds are breaking down

Gonna make us good soldiers now

March in place

Cogs in the wheel

Feel exactly

How I want you to feel

Come on little puppets dance

Got to feed the monsters

Got to feed the flesh

Don’t you bother thinking

I’ll tell you what’s best

Cup of Life

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:13 NIV

Blood of Christ, cup of salvation
Who doth drink from this cup?
Our cup was death
and sin’s poisonous effects.
He took that cup for us…
He drank it in our place

His blood was shed
and we- whose cup was death
now are offered to drink
from the cup of life and salvation

We who were far off are drawn close
Do you hear Him calling?

Puppet Master

Left , right, left

Cogs in a wheel

Don’t think, don’t feel

Unless I need you to feel

To manipulate your emotions

Create foolish notions

Giving me tighter reign

Of those puppet strings

Don’t do a thing

Unless I say so

Be a good soldier

Be a good robot.

March in place

I will tell your place

In this world

In this game

In my scheme

Costs you everything

Don’t cost me a thing

Heart and Light

Today my only child heads out the door to begin her senior year. The last 12 years truly have flown by. It is surreal that we are here!! How did we fast forward through learning to walk, to putting monkeys (stuffed) in the microwave (toy kitchen) to gnome, fairy and Barbie adventures to her last year of high school. We had fun getting stuck in ice cream trucks (Snow Buddies), building Legos, Littlest Pet Shop parties, Mario Bros adventures and races. She went from learning to read, to write in cursive, to many doodles and scribbles and now art in full manga style among other images. She went from playing piano by ear since she was young to self taught ukulele then acoustic and electric guitar. She went from trips to Chuck E Cheese to the Game Preserve and movie nights with friends. She started dressing up as princesses, fairies, and lady bugs and continues to dress up, but now as more complex cosplay characters for comic cons and anime fests. She started her theater debut as a Dalmatian and has continued on to portray a Greek goddess, a Constable, a nurse, and a cranky businessman. There have been so many fun adventures and memories that the volumes would exceed Tolstoy’s great work. Thank you Lord for each moment of joy and for each trial and triumph.

I have so much joyful expectation for her. I have prayed and will pray even more fervently that she know who she is in Christ Jesus. I pray she takes all the gifts and talents the Lord has bestowed upon her and continues to grow in them so she may serve His Kingdom well by utilizing these gifts to bring light to a broken, weary world.

After she and my husband who teaches at her school both left for the morning, I sat sipping on my coffee and picked up my bible. I turned toward the Psalms and opened up to Psalm 27. I read it aloud.

I got to to these verses and I choked through tears . Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. There are two reasons this verse choked me up. First it echoes the plea found in Psalm 25: 4-5 which Kyra chose as her verse when she was baptized at age 8. Second, because of my oppressors -she has a story to tell that is her own but it involves some bullying in middle school and some challenges with depression and anxiety. Add to that some physical challenges that began to manifest in middle school mildly that were exacerbated and fully flared up after a virus last year. The oppressors of physical, mental, and spiritual torment come after us all in different ways. I watched the past couple of years my child take on some challenges, I am not sure I could have endured so well when I was her age. And then the next verses make a praying , pleading mother’s heart burst with hope and joy invincible and expectation that greater things are yet to come. I remain confident of this : I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. She will be healed and flourish like a seed planted by a stream. What the enemy has meant for evil against my sweet precious girl, God will use for good.

I pray for her delivery from anxiety, depression and the illness that afflicts her body. I pray for her soul wounds to heal. I pray for her to rise out of the ashes and soar. I know our God is good and has great plans for her. So I am holding fast to that promise here, now in the land of the living.

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Romans 13:12

I want her to learn and grow in her studies this year. I want her to continue to be equipped to take on the world . I want her to develop skills and nurture her God given talents . When she was confirmed Bishop alluded to her God given talents and prayed she would use them for God’s Kingdom.

“Mom, ” she said inquisitively. “Did Bishop say the same thing to everyone confirmed today? ”

“No , he prayed a unique prayer for each of you, ” I replied.

“Mom, Bishop does not know about my art and music, does he?”

“No, Kyra, but the Holy Spirit does and Bishop is very in tune with the Holy Spirit.”

I share this with my readers, but it is more a reminder to myself that the Holy Spirit knows and guides her. Our Lord has a plan for her and it is GOOD!

You see her name, Kyra means light or Lord. She is and has been my light from the Lord. I know he does not intend her light for me alone but for the world as she reflects his light. I pray he continues to shine his Light in and through her that she may reflect this light and shine into a dark world that craves light and hope.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

Created

Made to live

Made to love

Made to give

Made to rise above

Trials and tribulations

Are guaranteed

Choice in how to face them

Is what makes us free

Given a voice

Given a choice

Given a soul to rejoice

In the victories

In the pain

In the dark nights

In the rain

Cause the pain is the rain that waters the seed

The seeds of life that give birth to victory

And the victory is not always a golden crown

It’s the getting up after each falling down

Made to press on

Made to endure

Made to overcome

Made to be sure

Despite my failure

Despite my fear

There’s a reason why I’m here

I was purposely made

Given a soul

Given a name

The Creator of the heavens

The Keeper of the stars

Fully designed me

Created my heart

To be filled with passion

To feel so strong

To be filled with ire

When someone is wronged

To be filled with compassion

When someone’s in need

To be filled hope

To plant and water seeds

To spread to the weary

The good news of love

Made to speak

Made to proclaim

Made to encourage

Made to heal

Made to pray

Made to feel

Deeply for a creation

That isn’t mine

It belongs to my Father

And he is so kind

To let his child

Still learning to grow

To join in the work

Of bringing His Kingdom hope

A Hero Not Fallen, but Raised Up

Vince Lucadou, my raised hero
April 23,1960-Jan 25, 2021

I did not make it to church this morning because I chose some physical rest after a late evening with my mom in the emergency room. Thanks be to God she is ok. I chose to complete my Bible study homework to reflect on this day of Sabbath rest. As I was working on it, it speaks of King Uzziah and the prophet Isaiah and how Uzziah was Isaiah’s hero. This question is posed-

“Have you ever lost a hero? If so, who was it and why was he or she a hero to you?”

Now I recently lost my Daddy and in so many ways he was a hero to me. However this question posed made me truly sit and think quietly and interestingly enough the man that came to mind, I was just talking about with my husband yesterday. I concluded that discussion with “I want to be like Vince.”

Vince Lucadou was a hero. I am not sure of every aspect of his life, but if someone told me that he scaled a building to save a kid, I wouldn’t be surprised. That was just the kind of character this man had. Let me tell you about my hero Vince Lucadou.

This tall man with dark hair , brown eyes that were caring, but could be as serious as he was witty. His stature is one that I imagine as a football player in his youth turned teddy bear. I met him at church for the first time in a prayer team meeting.

I just joined prayer team in a large sized church. I loved praying and was hoping to connect to others who loved the same. Vince was one of the first few I had met. Oh, Vince could pray. His prayers were with a firm certainty that was wrapped in love and set ablaze with passion. He loved praying.

Vince also loved praising. Many a time I would witness him in worship at a usual church service or even special praise and worship services . Vince worshipped with his heart, mind , soul , hands , voice and all of his being fully engaged in praising our Great God. I can still envision him with his uplifted hands singing out the words to the song ‘The Great I Am”.

I would learn Vince was part of a motorcycle ministry and a prison ministry. He would go and share the gospel and lead the Walk to Emmaus at the prison. He always loved to share the great things God was doing in prison. It is amazing how our God can free captives even though they may remain incarcerated and serving their secular penance. With repentant hearts they can be as free as the apostle Paul was in prison. Vince knew this. He wanted all of them to know it and he was there for any who would receive it.

I would learn Vince was a general manager of a Randall’s store. He heard I needed some empty boxes to create and activity for my daughter’s Minecraft themed birthday party I was hosting at home (back before any Minecraft items were marketed). Vince loaded up his truck on his day off and delivered several empty boxes to our home. He talked to my husband and myself but made a point to offer special attention to the birthday girl. He offered her a prayer blessing and then gave her a gift card. She could not believe this guy she barely knew from church was so very kind. That is just who Vince was.

Vince served on our church’s food pantry. He would minister to several people in our surrounding communities. As they would come and get their physical needs met, he would share a prayer and the gospel with any opportunity.

My mom was widowed in 2014 and she would not only benefit from the food the pantry provided she would tell me about this guy Vince who she discovered knew Steve (my stepfather) from the hardware store. Apparently Vince would go to Circle S, a locally owned mom and pop hardware store where my stepdad worked over 20 years. Vince knew my stepdad from there and how kind Steve was and how he loved to serve. So you can imagine how my widowed mom who humbly had to get assistance at the food pantry when meeting this man that was gracious, joyful, prayed for her and then found out he knew her husband, well this made her so happy. Vince and all the staff at the food pantry made my mom feel loved and appreciated, but this connection with Vince and Steve made mom feel even more comfort.

Vince always wrote encouraging replies on my Facebook page and long after the Lord shifted me to another church he stayed connected to me in this way.

When my Uncle Lynn died, my prayer was what I pray for anyone I lose. I pray they know and are at peace with Jesus. My Uncle Lynn spent time in and out of prison. He did not always choose well. In the last of his years apart from alcohol he straightened up mostly. Apparently there was a “preacher man” that would come to visit him at least monthly and sometimes more often.

I showed up for my Uncle Lynn’s funeral at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Houston. Apparently this preacher man was coming to deliver the message at my Uncle’s service . I learned my Uncle Lynn would hear the preacher man coming to his house and shout out “hide the beer , here comes the preacher man!” . The “preacher man” was Vince Lucadou. Vince met my uncle at least through the food pantry (and possibly at some point in prison ministry). He explained to my Uncle Lynn that he didn’t care about the beer and that didn’t need to hide it from him. He told Lynn the only one he needed to worry about any issues he had with that beer was God and well we can’t hide anything from him . Well that “Preacher Man” Vince gave me the sweetest gift when he shared at my Uncle Lynn’s funeral that after many visits eventually my Uncle Lynn professed his faith in Jesus.

I learned also at my Uncle’s funeral that Vince is married to the cousin of my Aunt Christi (who was married to my Uncle Stevie and is my cousin Kayla’s mom).

One man impacted the life of my stepfather Steve Quebedeaux as a customer of a hardware store; my mother Kathy Quebedeaux as a widow receiving assistance from a food pantry; my Uncle Lynn from the food pantry and prison ministry; my Aunt Christi Hicks as family; my daughter Kyra Huckaby as a fellow church member and a general manager of Randall’s that had some boxes to give; my husband by being a friend to his wife and kind to his daughter and a fellow church member; and me as a fellow prayer warrior, recklessly abandoned worshipper of God at Stonebridge Church in The Woodlands and as an encourager and prayer warrior on Facebook.

Look at how one man impacted a lot of people in a single family and he was unaware we were all connected.

Everything Vince did, he brought Jesus with him. He shared Jesus through his life and work and words, and posture and leisure time. Vince loved the Lord His God with all his heart, mind, body, and strength. He carried the good news to countless people. There is no telling how great was his impact. God knows and Vince knows now.

What we see ” through a glass, darkly;” Vince sees face to face and what we know in part he knows as he is known.

When I found out Vince had contracted COVID and was very sick. I flooded the throne of heaven with prayers of certainty that our God could most definitely answer and raise Vince up in that earthly tent. However, our God who is good, whose plan is perfect, knew it was time for his good and faithful servant to come home. I know without a doubt as sure as I breathe now that Vince heard , “Well done!”

Vince, Preacher Man…..you are my hero and if I can live my faith out with the reckless abandon in every aspect of my life as you did, then I will have a life fully lived.

Zakar

Soul of mine, so entwined

And dare I say accustomed

To comfort, pleasure, and delight

Though once you were a child of night

And come from hard and humble places

No stranger to struggle or pain

Persistence and faith have brought great gain

And how easy it is to slip, trip and stumble

Once you make it through the desert

But remember the days in the scorching sun

Each drop of water was as gold

You clung to every word and prayer

Proclaiming truth and holding onto hope

Delivered from the desert

It didn’t take long for that milk and honey ,

To go from a blessing to an expectation

Mind yourself, guard your heart

Lest you be eating manna and begging for captivity

Soul of mine do not incline

to forget your rescue

Lest we forget, then we will drift

And become willfully captive yet again

Soul of mine, guard your mind

Seal your heart and return

To the first joy and love

Ransomed and freed from above

Remember well your rescue

Come out and be fruitful!

Two recent events led me to feel as I imagine Noah must have when the dove returned with the olive branch.

The first moment was the day I heard Fr. Stan announce we are able to go back to sipping from the common communion cup (a couple of weeks ago) I was moved to tears and overwhelmed with elation.

The second time was today.

Today I had training on our Woodlands campus. I walked into our hospital- no checkpoints… without a mask and went upstairs for training in person with many of my smiling colleagues whose whole faces I could see. It’s been two years.

It has been two long years.

Working the pandemic has been quite an experience. In the beginning so much was unknown and fluid. We were all so uncertain and honestly scared. We witnessed the illness in all levels of severity. We had a front row seat to its impact and all the loss. Working all the surges exhausted, yet determined to fight through the fatigue because you wanted to help just one more person. Pushing aside your own grief for another day so you could help, knowing when it was all said and done it would be worth it.

Today in our training we paused to reflect on the past two years in our organization. I imagine it was like soldiers debriefing after a war. It was then I realized with my personal grief from losing Dad and all the other challenges I had not even begun to process what has transpired for me professionally these past two years.

As we reflected we talked about what we learned and the good we could take from it all. We talked about healing. Taking the good and learning from it all to move forward, that is where we can find the healing.

Drinking from the common cup. Walking the hospital lobby unmasked and sitting at a table next to my colleagues. These were my olive leaves.

Signs of life. The water has receded. It’s okay to come out.

Covid did not disappear suddenly because we proclaimed it, but now we have layers of protection and treatment options. Just this week we have a slight uptick after a massive decrease and an all time low (thanks be to God!!!). I was able to assess my patient virtually and then send an oral prescription to the pharmacy that will help their bodies overcome the virus. After sending 2 of those in a row, I was awestruck at how far we have come and messaged one of my virtual care partners…. ‘How amazing is this?’ We are excited to be at this point.

So it wasn’t a flood as God has kept his faithful covenant with Noah. But this global pandemic has been an exile of sorts. May we take all the good we have learned and NOT forget it. May we remember to never take life for granted. And when the next big challenge comes our way, may we remember we are survivors and we are most victorious when we come together.

May we come out and be fruitful!!!

Time

Time itself is one more name for death.

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

In days of youth she drug her feet

Minutes were days and days were weeks

She isn’t impatient, but she doesn’t wait

She is steady and doth not deviate

Yet with greater acquaintance she makes haste

In youthful naivete she is often wasted

To some she seems cruel

And to others a friend

She is faithful and unwavering

As she knows no end

She is always moving , never still

Some say she is illusion

She thinks she is quite real

But the geniuses and the fools

Have her quite misunderstood

She is quite rigid though she can bend

She is quite relative to some impactful friends

And though she is blamed for entropy’s reign

She objects with this complaint

She alone does not cause pain

But speed and gravity and the will of men

Cause her to change and confusion to set in

But the last word is not spoken

The Great Watchmaker in time will fix what’s broken

1950’s Classic

This vintage stereo is similar to the one my Dad had. It was always a privilege when he would let me “DJ” and play the records.

Oh those oldies

Weren’t they goodies

And you were a 1950 Classic

Strong and sturdy and true

One thing those songs remind me

They sure don’t make them like they used to

Twisting and shouting

With the King of Rock and Roll

And all those tunes made the girls swoon

In those happy days

For me it was vinyl spinning

And 8 tracks without rewind

Singing along with you and momma

And everything was fine

Late night games of cards and dominoes

Lucky me got to be the dj on your special stereo

Crushed velvet red covering the speakers

Nice wooden case

What a beauty she could play

Vinyl, 8 tracks and cassettes

What’s your pleasure

We got a treasure trove of hits

BJ Thomas didn’t mind the rain

Neil Diamond loved Caroline and red wine

We had Young Girls and Spooky ones too

And Johnny Rivers had the Midnight Special

And Elvis even rocked in the jail

And his swinging hips could love tenderly too

Singing all night and playing games

And if you got the Rocking Pneumonia and The Boogie Woogie flu

We had the tunes that would cure you

Listening to those oldies now

Is like a sip of sweet Sarsaparilla Soda with a bite of ginger

Makes me smile , but it stings on the back side

But Brother Love’s Salvation Travelling Show

Got some things right

And next time we sing together

It will be in the Sweet By and By

So I will sing on and hold on to the memories

until I am in the better home awaiting

in the sky , Lord in the sky