Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Indecision Can Kill You

My Childhood Friend's Sister Died

...and I couldn't attend the funeral in Boston. So I penned out my heart's thoughts:

Sometimes on the nightly news we'll hear a deep voiced newscaster say something like, "Their passing is the end of an era" and we'll all nod in our hearts.
With the passing of our dear sister, mother, wife, and friend it feels like the end of "cool".
Our street Norboure Boulevard in the 50s was a sweet little universe. Katie Roach was my best friend.
The Queen was her mother "Momma Jean" and the fairytale princess was Katie's sister Susie. Susie was a teenager and we were elementary school groupies to her and her entourage. Her life was full of big crepe paper flowers and cheerleader uniforms and rock and roll on the radio.
We knew the names of the cool kids at Eastern High School and to even mutter those names out loud made us cool by association. To us handsome boy-men like the "Jays". Jay Brewer and Jay Paxton made Bobbie Darren pale by comparison.
Katie and I would spy from the other room as the cool kids came and went through the front door. Off to ball games and dances and their grown up lives.
We watched Susie float down the aisle at Beargrass Christian Church and afterward savored all of the exotic delicacies in the church reception hall. So cool!
Susie was paving the road for us and showing us what a young wife and mother looked like. Oh, the tenderness and glamour she brought to the titles. We were eager students.
Along came Jay, and David, and Lucy. Absolutely the most darling children ever because they were hers. A chance to baby sit was considered an honor and we would often relive and repeat all of the adorable things they had done and said.
Katie and I have been life long students of Susie's brand of cool. We copied her decorating style and envied her casual but elegant beauty.
Did she know she had so much sway in many people's lives? I think not. It was not her style to think more highly of herself and that sweet humility drew in all of us wannabes.
It was a gift to watch her from behind the cracked doors of life. She taught many things; perseverance, beauty, loyalty, but the one that first comes to mind is cool.

The Best Thing I Could Share Today

Just click on the title
This article reminded me of the difference between the world's view of being right and Jesus' definition. Radical.The cost of being radical is dear but the freedom is (as they would say in the American Express ads "Priceless")I love this woman's blog. She is living in Great Britain now with her pastor husband. Her wisdom is rare and how could you not love a woman who puts a photo of her refrigerator in her blog? ("Slight Symbolism Glitch")

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Movie worth Seeing

Joe and I ventured out to the movies last night. After we stopped at a convenience store in a bad neighborhood to buy our candy bars at less than theatre prices I questioned how much is my life worth compared to cheap candy? I decided my life is all about cheap... whatever.
We saw the movie "Soloist". Excellent.
It is bound to last about 30 seconds in the theatres because it is a thinking, introspective flick. Fodder for some great conversation.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I Thought Ground Turkey Would Be Just As Good As Beef But Healthier

Life on thePond

Two days ago we discovered we are going to be grandparents again. No Annie is not pregnant but our Momma Goose is. She and her husband have been acting very territorial lately and now we know why. We discovered these eggs under our azalea bush. Can't wait to meet the new ducks on the pond!
This morning we woke up and started baking cinnamon rolls for the friends coming to the model boat regatta that happens each spring. What a fun excuse for a party! Even Mr. Blue Heron showed up.
Our neighbor Renee's parents call our neighborhood Norman Rockwell-ville. Between the dogs, kids, birds, and families -- I have to agree. We are very blessed!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pardon Me, May I bother You for Just a Little Estrogen?

Fair warning - if you are under fifty years of age you might be tempted to spiritualize my condition. I'm here to tell you Sister "Be careful if you think you stand... lest you fall victim to menopause." (NSV -- new suzanne version)
I feel like I've spent the greater portion of my life as the foil of hormones. I'm not the woman I used to be and she wasn't all that great.
Too hot -- too cold. Wound up -- wound down. Bossy -- bossier.
My friend Becki and I talked today and decided that this was not supposed to happen to us! We were the cool ones. We know all five verses to Amazing Grace. (Even that new one they tucked in there a few years ago to make the Baptists look down at the hymnal) And stilllllllllllllll we are showing up with symptoms that correspond to the McCall's magazine Seniors chart.
I am encouraged to know that this life and this flimsy body are not all there is to me. My confidence and security are in knowing that -- God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life. It was true the first time I read the four spiritual laws at 22 and it is even more real to me after these many years of watching Him work -- in spite of my limitations. What a relief! What a hope!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

You're Getting Sleepy....Very Sleepy

Sybil Comes Home

My girlfriend Mary Ann Lewis and I bonded over the phone yesterday as we talked about our split personalities when returning from a trip. The Happy Christian Girl wants to skip back into life seamlessly, with fond memories, a grateful heart, and a P.P.P. (People Person Perspective). But wait -- who is that scowling botox depleted other woman making her way in the back door lugging a rolling duffel bag that looks suspiciously like it's stuffed with a dead body? Why it's -- Miss Don't Know Where to Start to Get This Hovel in Order Honeycutt. Dogs and husbands scatter.
In 1992 as we were returning home from a trip said husband asked, "What do we have to eat?" That has not happened again.
And so today as I cautiously made my way into our drive after several days of spring cleaning at the beach house I wondered who would pull into my carport today? My nerves jumped and my mind raced at the prospect of re-entry. Who would win possession of my soul?
One step out of my car and my senses were overcome with the smell of our Confederate Jasmine in full bloom. A fragrance so sentimental and sweet that it must have been the reason the good Lord gave us the gift of smell in the first place. It is; an old fashioned roses wallpaper, first whiff of spring , ice tea in a silver pitcher, porch swing smell. That aroma melted the cares of my world and brought me into the moment with an exclamation point.
Today I came home and saw that it was a very good place to be.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Something Old

I have discovered the most wonderful resource. Old books at used book stores with beautiful illustrations. The covers may be tattered and worn but inside are treasures. The quality of the printing is exquisite and often the messages are rich. Because there are no copyright issues I can scan them and make my own cards.
Sometimes I take the book apart and frame the illustrations in a grouping. A lot of pizazz for just a little money.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Revenge of the Nerds

I have spent way too much time wondering and dissecting the tidal wave of coverage for Susan Boyle's overnight fame. (See "The Kingdom of God is Upside Down" post)
Seems like we all felt a kinship with her. Maybe most of us feel awkward and our days more often than not are tests of willpower in overcoming our insecurities?
I've always told my children that the secret to life is to look one way and be another. It is the contrasts that make life (and people) interesting. Thank you Susan for making my point.
I want to believe I can have Ms. Boyle's "moment" too. But am I willing to have lived on this earth for 47 years and never been kissed? Or to have passed up the perks of a career and a family while caring for my elderly mother?

to be unhappy in God's plan for us is sin,
to wish i were married instead of single .... single rather than married.
that my husband looked like someone else's husband, or had a better more prestigious job like another man. to wish i had a house like mary's or that we drove a car like john's....
to be emotionally crippled because other women have babies and i do not....
or furs and diamonds.
to cling to believe compare our find the grass greener somewhere else.
it is sin.
it spoils God's creativity in me where i am now.
it minimises everything He could do for me.
no one...absolutely no one...has everything.
anyone who has accomplished something significant in life
has done so with sacrifice and pain.
anne kimmel

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Kingdom of God is Upside Down

Please click on the title of this post and hold on to your heart!

1 Corinthians 1:27 (New International Version)
27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

"For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us--was not yes and no, but is yes in Him."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"I Vant to be Alone"

Finally a morning at home in my slippers just catching up on phone calls and trivia.

There is just one fly in the ointment -- or should I say dog?

Everywhere I go Glorie H.P.T.L.T.Y.J. Honeycutt (see "This is our new dog" post -- March 29, 2009) follows me with those eyes saying, "Can we go for a walk now? Just a little one. No kidding mom I have to go now. I'll be good. I won't bark at other dogs, I promise. Now, now, now?"

My girlfriend Deborah says if she ever gets two new dogs she is going to name one Shirley Goodness and the other, Ann Mercy.
"Surley goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life... "Psalm 23.

Glorie's favorite Hymns:

Where She Leads Me I Will Follow

I Have Decided to Follow Suzanne

Shall We Gather at the Back Door

Just A Closer Walk With Thee

I Need Thee Every Hour

Well, I would love to stay and plunk out my deepest thoughts but I have to gooooooooo

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter in a box.

Tomorrow I will begin the sad task of packing up Easter. The house will look plain until.......what? July 4th? That is a long time for a frustrated Macy's window designer.

This is the wreath I will pack away until next Easter. I adorned it with a broken tea cup too dear to toss and some of the little spoons we inherited from Joe's mother's silver chest. The little handmade cross was a quarter at this year's garden club flea market.

It brightened up our door and served as fair warning to all who enter -- inside this home is a little of this and that. Nothing perfect and nothing too fine. Just a happy collection of things (and people) we cherish.

Mother of the Uni-bomber

Remember him? He had a one man war against technology. Well I think we might be related. I have noticed that much of the content of my posts are disappearing. Hmmmmmmmmm. But if I take my mouse and highlight the article the words come back on the page. Sorry for the confusion. Get in line.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter? How absurd!

At an early age my mother prepared my heart for some deep spiritual truths.
One of my earliest memories of Easter was my mother putting on her Easter Bunny outfit (yes she had one), driving through the streets of Saint Matthews on the Saturday before the big day and stopping to talk to the children playing in the streets. She would remind them to color their eggs if they hadn't yet and remind them to look tomorrow morning for the eggs she was going to hide in their yards.
When you grow up with a mother who dresses like a rabbit on a regular basis you begin to associate the celebration of Easter with a lightness of spirit and a nod to the unconventional. Easter is a wild ride.
By the time Joe and I drove to church this morning Easter was already having it's way with me. You could not have slapped the smile off of my face. It was Easter! Our pastor told us he discovered as he was updating the sign in front of the church this morning that our box of letters didn't have an exclamation point. So the sign out front of our church just read... he is risen. The one Sunday to throw caution to the wind and really go for it and we were the only church on San Jose Boulevard without an exclamation point. Bet we have one by this time next year.
A friend who is a Sunday School teacher once told me of her most sincere effort to separate the fictional story of the Easter Bunny from the true story of Jesus dying on the cross to connect us to God in an eternal, loving relationship. She pulled out all of the stops. Her theology was flawless and her word pictures suitable for Christian radio.
"Having done all..." she inwardly congratulated herself and asked the children to color a picture depicting the true meaning of Easter.
One ruffled and pin curled little girl proudly held up her masterpiece.
It was the Easter Bunny nailed to the cross.
It is because of Easter that we can laugh hard at all of the absurdities in life. We don't have to be perfect. We have a free hall pass. We have the ultimate long term plan. We didn't do a thing to make it happen. It was handled and handed over by the most dynamic, powerful, Being in the cosmos. If I hadn't experienced it myself -- I would conclude, "How absurd!"
Thanks mom.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Love Your Neighbor

I love to feed people! There is nothing better than a group of friends sitting around our table eating and sharing our lives. "The Other Queens" in the photo were attending a birthday party for my first friend in Jacksonville -- Katy Towers.

Several years ago I read an article by a woman who was praying about a way to (as Jesus commanded) "Love her neighbors as herself". She decided to host a regular neighborhood pot luck. I liked it! So last fall Joe and I instituted a monthly neighborhood pot luck. I make a big entree and have all of the plates and silverware ready and they come. Mom's Dads, kids, grandmothers, new neighbors and anyone who gets invited by a neighbor. It is one of our favorite nights. We all leave thinking we are very blessed to know each other.

During the hurricane, neighbors really pitched in helping each other. We've gone deeper in our friendships. I've begun to notice that following Jesus' suggestions is not usually a sacrifice -- it's life enriching. (Doesn't that sound high and mighty?) But it's true.

Wish you were here!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Ladies Who do Lunch

Several months ago I attended a welcome to Jacksonville lunch for a woman who was moving down from Greenwich Connecticut. I instantly felt a connection to her and yesterday had the pleasure of sharing lunch and our lives at my table.

Having both been southern girls transplanted in the north we had a lot of things in common. But her story of her 60th birthday celebration I found uncommon.
Up north there is a lot of competition for the most extravagant milestone birthdays. (I must admit I was entertaining the thought of having flying Elvis impersonators parachute into our property for Joe's 60th party. No kidding) Neeley didn't feel comfortable with a flashy party and asked her husband to wait until she had prayed about it.

She decided to invite 60 of their friends to come spend a week of fellowship, fun and building a Habitat for Humanity house. She and her husband took the money they would have spent on a big to-do and purchased the house they built.

Neeley said it was the most incredible week. What a memory for all who attended.

Jesus was right when he said -- we gain our life when we loose our life. In the process we gain laughter, community, and a life full wonderful of memories.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Don't Let Me Down

(Click on title)
I"ve always been attracted to "characters". Takes one to.....? When I saw Dana perform on Oprah it was riveting. I liked her rocker soul and the fact that her personae didn't leave much room for any one else's aura to shine. She just filled up the whole space with her DNA. I saw online that she performed at BB King's in NYC. That brought back sweet memories of JT, Joe and I eating a Southern Brunch there while watching The Harlem Gospel Choir. Does anybody know what has happened to her after "Across The Universe"? Maybe she just vaporized in her own nuclear fission way?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Holy Week Anthem

You've never heard of a man being shot by his wife while cleaning the shrimp

We just said "Good-bye" to our friends Diane (Kean) and Bob Bramblett. We had a wonderful week here as they escaped the dreary weather in Kentucky and Bob recuperated from the side effects of his latest Chemo. Diane and I soldered on through her first husbands battle with pancreatic cancer and now -- Bob her second husband has been diagnosed with the same disease.
It was a week full of emotions. Tears for the pain and loss, laughter for the absurdities of everyday life, prayers for endurance, and joy in the wonder of God's creation. Diane and I laugh about how we huddle together when life gets tough. We decided that when she sees me coming she might wonder what is around the corner. I'm so grateful for friends on this journey.
My friend Linda Stowell shared this poem with me. It helped her Mom overcome the death of her daughter.
Light from Many Lamps
God, make me brave for life: Oh, Braver than this.
Let me straighten after pain, As a tree straightens after the rain,
Shining and lovely again. God, make me brave for life;
Much braver than this. As the blown grass lifts,
Let me rise from sorrow with quiet eyes,
Knowing Your way is wise. God, Make me brave,
Life brings Such blinding things…Help me to keep my sight;
Help me to see aright That out of the dark comes light.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I must decrease

John 3:30 (New King James Version)
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.