Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Face Off

People have asked me if I'm on Face Book and I always say no I have a blog. That's my way of inferring that I have way more to contribute than bullets of information about my favorite subject - me. My shoulders squared and I patted myself on the back secretly when my friend commented that Face Book is sort of a fake. "You only put your best foot forward and present the shiny parts of your life. Real relationships reveal your flaws and short comings so the other person connects to the good the bad and the ugly you."
As I've scanned my posts I see that I often serve up just the happy and beautiful parts of our life. And although I'm rarely inclined to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge I have my moments, days and sometimes weeks.

I struggle with my weight. even knowing how it will eventually affect my health I just can't seem to gather up the discipline to shut down the kitchen and stock up on rice cakes. The only time a salad sounds good is right after getting up from Thanksgiving dinner.

I am overly compulsive about neatness. I blame this on my dyslexia and say, my mind is so cluttered that my physical space has to be organized. But I let it get in the way of relationships sometimes and that is a poor trade off. My boys say that if I ever shoot someone I'll plead to the judge -- "But your honor did I mention that I'm dyslexic?"

I interrupt people. How rude is that? I get so excited about the topic that my response cuts off the other person mid stream. (See Dyslexia excuse) I swear if they had those puppy shock collars in my size I'd go for it.

OK -- that's enough truth for one day. I better quit before I call Roman Polanski and tell him to move over. But you get the picture?

Maybe it's better to connect to others by showing my face than by saving face?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's Just Paint

I had fallen into the decorating blahs. Oh, sure I had lots of plans for the lottery winnings that were never going to come my way because I'm too practical to throw a dollar away on a hopeless bet. But I just couldn't get the ju-ju going for putting some fresh pizazz into our home. The constraints were I had to freshen up the place for very little money. After all it wasn't like much was in disrepair. It just didn't make my heart skip a beat when I rounded the corner for home like it had in the beginning.
As a finishing touch after we remodeled and restored the house a few years ago I painted the front door 'come on and stop by' bright red.
But I began to notice more and more red front doors in town and suddenly my individualist DNA began to twitch.
Re-paint the front door -- that was it. I got paint swatches, cut out color schemes, questioned Joe (not a lot of restless design passion there), surveyed my girlfriends and finally with trembling hands took paint brush in hand and said "Hellooooooooo Tiffany Box Blue and Bass Weegin Cordovan".
Twelve dollars and a fresh new face to our home. Be still my heart!

Long Train coming

This life, therefore, is not righteousness but growth in righteousness, not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise; we are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished, but it is going on; this is not the end, but it is the road; all does not yet gleam with glory, but all is being purified.
Martin Luther

Givers - Takers - and Other Lovers

I have a girlfriend on complete bed rest for the next two weeks. When we spoke this morning Shelley said, "This is really hard. People are doing so much for us and I'm not great at receiving."
Guess what? Most of us aren't. And I speak for myself here.
When the Bible says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" I translate that to mean ,"Hey, dude if you are in the position to give something away you are the lucky one." QSV
The biggest sacrifice is not in the giving it is in the role of being a gracious receiver. Swallowing our self sufficiency and putting the sunbeam on the giver.
Jesus didn't have a job or a trust fund. He didn't have a house with a light on in the window and dinner waiting for him on the stove.
He must have said "Thank you" a lot. He must have been a pleasure to give to because the gravy train kept on rolling. He was a good receiver in spite of His heavenly connections.
I don't ever recall Him saying; "You know back in the day when I was ruler of the universe......" He just received, made the giver feel like a hero and then they listened to His words.
A big part of loving others is to catch them being good and let them be the one who shines. To lay on them the mantle of ' generous, loving, faithful, true friend'.
So how do you repay when you are the recipient?
You call as soon as you finish the meal and say, "Thanks, that was delicious."
You send a note and write, "You are so ...(whatever their gift reflected about their character). "I hope I can pass on your generous spirit the next time I know someone in need."
And if it they are a Heisman Trophy giver of service you sit down and write a letter outlining their gift, their character and what it meant to you and mail it to their mate or pastor or kids.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Best Light in the World

Last night the sunset and fountains from our deck put on quite a show.
I happened to be out there working on my Bible study and this week’s topic was light.
Jesus was called the Light of the World. God calls us out of darkness into light. We are to let God’s light shine through our lives……

I'll never forget traveling to Mammoth Cave as a young girl . Growing up in Kentucky we were pretty darn proud of that cave. As if we had something to do with it.

Deep in the cave the tour guide flipped a switch in order for us to experience total darkness. It was disorienting and a little scary.

The contrast of light to darkness really came home to me that day.
A few years ago I read a wonderful article in House and Garden magazine where people tried to describe
“The Best Light in the World”
What about you? Is there a “moment of transient light” ( a sunrise or sunset) that has lingered in your memory?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beach House Decor

Welcome to the Beach!

When we moved here from Philadelphia I realized I needed a place to display all of our folk art and general fun objects de art. The beach house was the perfect place. The comment we get most often in the guest book from renters is that they loved the happy ornamentation.

Got tarter?
Where the grand kids sleep....
and this border with it's shine in the dark stars is the last thing they see before they drift to sleep.

My girlfriend gave this to me and made me promise to never wear a bathing suit with a rainbow or chocolate chip cookies on my bosoms. Good plan.

The rule of the house.

He's the big Daddy of my rooster collection.

This lamp says; "Won't you be my chum?"

Life's too short to take it too seriously! Life's a beach.

You've Got Mail

Yep, he's a real mailbox. I wonder what Reggie the mailman would think if this popped up at the end of our drive?
I miss real mail don't you? No matter what awaits me inside my door when I come home -- if there is a personal letter in our mailbox the rest will wait.
Why don't we send more notes? Those notes and cards might become paper trails of our lives, find their way to a drawer or box and outlive us. They could be a part of that legacy we all want to leave behind.
Here are some of my tips for writing more notes:
Use your old vacation photos glued onto a cheap plain card and let the recipient see into your life. Walmart has great "Thank Yous" that are $4.00 for #50 cards. I just slap a photo over the "Thank You" and it's my personal card with an envelope to match.
I write in pencil on the back / What it is/ that I took it / and the current year.
Buy some fun stamps. It's so much easier to drop that message in the mail when you have a stash of funny or pretty stamps just begging to go out and represent you. Can we all say "I Love Lucy Stamps?"
Keep the note short and to the point. It doesn't have to be War and Peace.
Mention something specific about the other person that you miss, appreciate or are inspired by.
We never know when a note sent for no reason at all might be just the encouragement a friend needs.

Do the write thing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Thought I Said That!

When the boys were teenagers and I was working in a corporation I used to tell them; "When you grow up and see who is running the world -- it's gonna scare you to death!"
Now the boys who used to sit at our kitchen table eating homemade biscuits on Saturday mornings (trying to decided where the pick up soccer game would be that day) are on the evening news in suits no less running the world. Does this make me a prophet?

Motel 6 May Be Leaving the Light on for Husband Joe?

Do you think he would continue to call our house his home if I let loose and glued a magnificent Pez collection in the hall like this?

Well, I can dream can't I? Happy Happy Fun Fun Fun

"Fear Not"

If Jesus knocked on your door and you answered it I imagine His first words to be something along the lines of; "Fear not." I come to this conclusion because all through the Bible when one of the trinity appears people's vital signs go through the roof and God the Father, Jesus or the Holy Ghost usually utter these comforting words. It is the holy version of "I come to you in peace" or "I'm with the government and I'm here to help." Only they are always telling the truth.
Fear is a very effective way to manipulate the masses. Love is loooooooooooong range and personally costly.
I'm not feeling the love from the radio whiners but I'm feeling the pulse of fear they are stirring up.
We become who we listen to and I'm giving more air time to the Trio who start out with "Fear not."

“Evil shrieks loudly while goodness clothes the world in silence”
Wafa Sultan, in her new anti radical-Islam book, A God Who Hates
(you may read the first chapter here)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Saving The World -- One Kid At A Time

Spoke to Annie this morning and she said that I had left her a message while I was out to lunch with my girlfriends. She confessed that as a mother of four in the "showtime" of her life she finds comfort in knowing someday she'll do lunch too.
I found this poem in my files and it brought back all of those old scents and sights and feelings of being a young mother.

Thanks Anyhow Lord

by Nell Abbott

I wanted to comfort the war torn world and you gave me a child's skinned knee.

I wanted to speak wisdom and you gave me Peter Rabbit.
I wanted to be a peacemaker and you made me a den mother.
I wanted a glorious purpose and you gave me the PTA.
I wanted help the afflicted and you sent me a pregnant cat.
I wanted to hand out loaves and fishes and you gave me Girl Scout cookies to sell.
I wanted a brilliant mind for you and you gave me a merry heart.
I wanted to rise up and be called blessed and you gave me ripped jeans and laughter.
Lord I'd like a proper, shinning tomorrow, but thanks anyhow for this love-smudged today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Warning -- This Post May Cause Panic, Unbelief, Dread and General Mayhem

Christmas is coming...
OK, not next week but we are in a conga line heading that direction. Christmas is a cool time to share the good news of the gospel in a non commercial poignant way.

(Which of you having a hundred sheep and losing one, does not leave the ninty nine....

(and go after the one who is lost until he finds it?  
He came for us.
Merry Christmas)
I love the Christmas cards that this organization produces. Avant guard, gripping and not the same ole jingle bell stuff.The money raised from sales supports programs for kids away at college.

Here is the wesite to order.
Think of how smug you would be if you got your cards ready now? If "pride comes before the fall" somebody catch me!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Saving Lives

One of my favorite lines in a movie is at the close of "Pretty Woman". Remember? Richard Gere comes to his senses, takes a taxi back to Julia Robert's apartment, climbs the fire escape, kisses her and asks the question; "So what does the princess do after the prince rescues her?"

Her response is priceless; "She rescues him right back."
And isn't that just the truth?!

A girlfriend sent this to me today and it made me gulp. It could have been expressed by our most beloved rescue fox hound Glorie Halleluiah Honeycutt.
“I rescued a human today.”
Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her. I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid.
As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today. Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them.
As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life. She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.
I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her.
Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.
Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms. I would promise to keep her safe. I would promise to always be by her side. I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes. I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.
I rescued a human today.

Author:Janine Allen CPDT

We Can't Keep Meeting This Way III-- The final word

Tired of sending minutes to meetings that no one reads? Insert a funny cartoon, a good recipe, or an inspirational nugget. The hook will bring them in and while they are staring at the document they more than likely will read the dang minutes.

How about those folks who drone on and on to organize their thoughts because they didn't prepare for the meeting? Let it be known that only those attendees who have a written report will be allowed to speak up. Harsh? Yep but your overall attendance will improve when the group knows the meeting will be well run and concise. Want to know how to spell RESPECT (Thanks Aretha)? T.I.M.E.

Greet your attendees with a "WELCOME" outside of the meeting location with sidewalk chalk. Someone in your group is artistic and will embrace this task. They will also embrace the glowing remarks about their work of art! Sets a fun and anticipatory tone to what otherwise may be an all business gathering.

Well, I hope you can try at least one of these. See you at the water cooler.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We Can't Keep Meeting This Way Part 2

 Here's a Cracker Jack idea.....

Serve a box of Cracker Jacks to each participant in your next meeting. They set a fun tone and say "We may discussing serious issues but we can be light hearted and have fun at the same time."
They are low fat, high fiber, cheap and I have seen grown up men and women wax poetic with childhood memories of the coolest prize they ever found.
As a matter of fact -- if you want to up the excitement slip a gift certificate in one box and watch the reactions.

I have a friend who is an interior designer. Her home is right out of the pages of Southern Living. Today at lunch as we were discussing the winsome way some people have of putting others at ease she revealed that when she invites her Bible study friends over for a beginning of the year coffee/ meeting she doesn't make her beds. This involves a little planning as her boys are so trained to make their beds in the morning that she must remind them to not bother on that day.
I want to be a woman like that. This struck me as a most generous gesture.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We Can't Keep Meeting Like This - Part 1

As a Corporate Trainer and Professional Volunteer I have attended and hosted my unfair share of meetings. More often than not they have been as enjoyable as one of Dante’s' levels of hell.
Our family's motto has been "If it's not fun -- then it's not done" and that mantra can believe it or not be applied to professional life too.
Here is one of my suggestions for energizing your next meeting:
Open with a fun question that everyone can answer. This clears the air of posturing and lets each member feel heard. Some of my favorites are:

*Where should we hold the next meeting? (No constraints -- we can dream can't we?)

*Who would you have for a dinner guest if you could have any living or historical character?

*What book have you read lately that you loved?

While I was on the Board of the Philadelphia Junior League we surveyed  members as to why they had joined. I thought the most frequent answer would be some lofty sentiment like "To change the world." You know what? The most frequent answer was "to meet new friends."
If you give people a chance to connect as people first then they will become a team of friends and ultimately the job will get done -- with joy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ice Breakers

Hello -- my name is Suzanne and I love party games. Is that a collective groan I hear? Well, sue me I love the camaraderie and hilarity of friends making fools out of themselves in a public place. I happen to think that this is the way to chalk up memories for the old folks home.
Here are two of my favorites:
1. Have everyone seated and pass around a roll of toilet paper. Do not explain what it is for but tell each person to take as much as they think they will need.
After everyone has taken their allotment explain that each person must reveal something about themselves for each square taken.
2. Have each person tell three truths and a lie about themselves. Have folks vote on which was the lie. One point for each lie detected. the winner is the one who guesses the most lies.
Now, go forth and parrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrty.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Heading to the Beach

We are packing it up and heading to the beach for a couple of days. Our house is named "Winter's Past" and it is from the Bible verse below. Turtles nest and hatch on our shore from Spring until Fall. God gave us this home and it has been a blessing to so many folks!
It was the perfect depository for all of the fun things we have collected over the years. (Big rooster, the dish running away with the spoon, sock monkeys, a four foot toothbrush.....)
"For low the Winter's Past and song of the turtle is heard in our land" Song of Solomon

Joe does a great job of renting it out when we aren't there and it is always a thrill to read the comments in the guest book. Wish you were here!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Three Times a Day

Happy Burden
Heavy Burden

Three Times a Day

by Bob Benson

Someone came to me the other day

And they were just burdened down with

Guilt and shame and hurt.

Tearfully they confessed a wrong.

There it was out in the open,

Like a giant black spot

On the pages of their life

And it seemed to cast a cloud

Over all of the bright, good things

That were really characteristic of them.

We weren't talking about
Weather or sports

We were talking about issues that were large and deep and real.

I was trying to figure out a way to help them believe again in themselves and

Most of all God's forgiveness.

And so I asked them

"Do you have any idea how many times you would have to do that before He even considered

Changing His feelings about you?"


"Do you know what it would take for Him to cease to dream and hope

For you?"

"No, I guess I don't."

"About three times a day for the rest of your life."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ass-U-Me (assume)

Tony Campola tells a story that has recently left a mark on my decision processes.
He tells of his wife leaving her Christmas cards and stamp money with a stranger outside of the post office when they were hurrying to catch a plane to get out of the states.
"Well you can kiss that money and those cards goodbye!" Tony assured her when she got back in the car.
She told him she didn't believe so and that the man seemed kind and responsible.
Know what? Tony was right. The cards never were delivered.
When he told Peggy, "See I was right" she told him that she would rather assume the best of people and their intentions and occasionally be wrong than to put her energy into analyzing peoples character, judging them to be untrustworthy and sometimes being right.
I want to be the kind of Christian Peggy is. I want to recapture all of the energy I've lost in my life trying to dissect people's hearts and not clutter my pretty little head with judgements.
I'm sure I've lost some blessings along the way.
The words of Jesus ring in my new determined self:
"What is that to Thee? Follow Me."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chick Flicks Forever!

When the Rock and Roll Mothers get together you can know that we will discus favorite new (or old) movies. Last summer we discovered "Mama Mia" en-mass and those songs and the sentiment have haunted us all year long (in a good way). This summer we went to see "Julie and Julia" and loved it.

Can you name these two movies? Both are favorites of mine. How about you? What is your very favorite?