Sunday, March 28, 2010

"The Best Cook in the Whole World"

We had the sweetest little family over for lunch after church today.

Georgia, Manfred and their five little children. Their son Sean announced as they were packing up to go home that I am ..... see above.
What culinary feat could have possibly earned this title?
I'm embarrassed to say it was a three ingredient wonder that my friend over at

WWW.Urbanlittle House.blogspot

gave me over dinner last week.
SoMores on a stick.
Stick a lollypop stick in a marshmallow -- roll in melted milk chocolate (I use the Toll house chips because they are easier than melting Hershey bars) and roll in crushed graham cracker crumbs. Place them on a cookie sheet sprayed w/Pam and that's it!
Georgia's father and mother were the founders of Habitat for Humanity. The last time I saw Georgia and Manfred was at Millard's funeral in an open field next to Clarence Jordan’s grave.
Millard Fuller was, an entrepreneur, lawyer and charismatic, passionate young businessman.
From an early age, Millard Fuller used his instincts to become a self-made millionaire in his 20s. At the same time he began building his career, his marriage and relationship with his children were crumbling.
His frequent absences left his wife Linda feeling lonely and she finally left him. After Millard and Linda re-evaluated their life’s priorities and tearfully reconciled their marriage, they made the decision to sell their possessions and give the money to the poor, rededicating their lives to serving others. The church they attended the morning after a tearful night of confessions and prayers assured them that surely they hadn't heard God right. He couldn't want them to divest themselves of all of their money.
Fortunately they were desperate enough and sure enough of God's leading that they did it anyway.
And as a result their ministry  -- the largest nonprofit housing ministry in the world -- flourished. Having founded Habitat for Humanity International in 1976, Millard revolutionized philanthropy, challenging people to do more than send money, but to get out of their comfort zone and get their hands dirty with real work. And they did – for almost 30 years.
The personal fruit of a well lived life -- played in our front yard today. Clear eyed happy free little souls who know who they are and Who's they are.

"He (or she) is no fool who loses what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Jim Elliott

Friday, March 26, 2010


I've been asked to speak on "Joy in the Journey"  for our church's Women's Event.
It reminded me of this old Keds ad that found it's way to my file on JOY.

"Some people measure their lives in pulse rates and sit ups.

Far better to measure yours in licks of ice cream, well-told jokes, mad dashes to be the first in the water and belly laughs.  When you die, it won't be an erratic shift in your heartbeat, it will be an overdose of mirth, fun poisoning, death by laughter."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Clean Out Your Car" Decor

Living in the Old South I have lots of friends with beautifully appointed homes.
We Southern girls love to put it all out there and every piece of family "whatever" is on display.
My friend Annie Pajcic is a true artist.
Her beautiful home is full of fine things and inspiration around every corner.
One day she took all of the Happy Meal toys floating around in her car and little plastic objects that you step on in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom and hot glued them to an old window frame. It is proudly hung in the hall.
Her children’s "treasures" forever captured in a collage of their childhood.
It is so funky and happy and un-King Louie the XXXIII it sets the tone of a family that is a lot more about fun that fanfare.
That inspires me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Badly

I have known for years that I should begin a regular exercise routine. Sure I walk the dog for about two miles morning and evenings but I need to do something that will have a cardio effect and help my balance.

What has stopped me?
Pride of being a flop.
In Aerobics when the whole class turns left -- I do the Electric Slide to the right.
In Yoga when the teacher says touch your toes -- I can't.
Coordination has never been a skill of mine unless it is coordinating a wedding for 500 or a project for the Junior League.
But the time has come.
I'm starring down old age and know that I'm going to be sad if I can't go to the next Presidential Inaugural Ball and dazzle on the dance floor. If invited.
"Reggie, are you sure there isn't one more piece of mail for me in that bag?"
So, as I return back to my beloved home after a week of funerals I'm determined to sign up for help and get my fine self into fine shape.
The goal is not to be the prettiest but to be able to move into a future feeling up for all of the possible adventures still down the road.
It's going to be ugly, awkward and embarrassing but as Joyce Meyers always says; "I'm going to get over my sweet self!"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Family Traits

There is nothing like a family funeral to remind you of who you are -- unless it is two family funerals in the same week.

The same funeral home, visitation times, church, and preacher on Tuesday and Saturday. A lot of sameness there.
In both services the pastor delicately expressed " Aunt Nanny (Or Denise at the next service) had the gift of uhhhh, ummm, ohhh let's see, you could call it -- the gift of gab."
He told of a time when Aunt Nanny received an anonymous tee shirt that said, "I'm talking and I can't shut up."
Once when her daughter Denise was volunteering for the Golden Retriever Rescue Association her friend heard her dial the phone to a family whose mother had died and left behind a dog. The conversation went on for 30 minutes. After Denise hung up Jane commented that they must have been having a tough time.
"Well, actually I dialed the wrong number but that lady really needed someone to talk to" Denise responded.
Talk about coming face to face with your DNA!
We are quite the chatters in this family.
We all have definite ideas and want to make them perfectly clear.
It can be a gift.

Here is a poem that Aunt Nanny made sure would be read at her funeral:

I'm Free
Don't grieve for me for now I'm free.
I'm following the path that God has chosen for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh to love to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I've now found the peace at the end of the day.
My life's been full I've savored much
Good friends good times a loved ones touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don't lengthen your pain with undue grief.
Lift up you heart and peace to thee
God wanted me now -- He has set me free!
Shannon Lee Mosley
(Handwritten note by Aunt Nanny after the poem...
I want this read by someone in my family. I love you all!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Life Ain't Always Fun -- Sometimes It's FUN-damental

On the heels of my Aunt's funeral which was such a celebration of a life well lived -- her only child (my cousin Denise) went to bed and died in her sleep that night.

We were in shock. It has taken the funeral recipe to help us come to terms with it. Phone calls, visitation and today her funeral.
The women cousins will be her pall bearers as she was a single woman and we all follow the Aunties model of carrying each others joys and burdens.
We have asked ourselves often "Where we would be without the faith that was handed down to us by our parents?"
Being in a large family we were introduced to FUNDAMENTALS early in our lives.
Hospital duty after the age of 12. Sitting by the bed of whoever was sick at the time.
Funerals after the age of 8. Death was a part of life and we were exposed to the hard questions and life altering answers from an early age.
This will be a sad day. Our burden will be heavy. We will know the drill.
But we do not grieve as those without hope. And that is the heritage that makes us rich.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wave Good-bye Aunt Nanny

 Yesterday was the funeral of my last aunt. It is the end of an era. She kept the torch lit on a tradition of all of our (5) aunts lavishing us with love. According to them we are the prettiest (or most handsome) well behaved, intelligent, children on earth.

That is good fuel for a kid -- or adult for that matter.
Aunt Nanny's funeral was as unconventional as she was.
After some church songs (Like His Eye is on the Sparrow) the pastor asked "If Aunt Nanny ever told you that you were her favorite niece or nephew please stand up". All of us (at least 30) started standing up and sitting down and it looked like "The Wave" at a football game.
Then he asked "If Bernice (Aunt Nanny) ever told you that you were her best friend in the whole world stand up" most of the rest of the congregation did The Wave then.
"If you ever had a meal with her at an obscure country restaurant out of town stand up" The Wave swept through Pleasant Grove Baptist one more time.
There is a book full of Aunt Nanny stories but one of my favorites is when the new preacher came, the congregation was a little skeptical because he had been divorced. I guess most of them had stuck it out in their marriages and felt slighted that he was happily remarried to a wonderful woman. The nerve!
Aunt Nanny made it her job to endorse and encourage them.
On the event of his first anniversary as pastor she called him and his wife and told them a limo would pick them up at 6:00p.m. and to be dressed to the nines for a celebratory dinner on her.
They were and it did.
After a thirty minute ride the limo pulled up to White Castle and the place was packed with all of the families from the church! She picked up the tab and everyone laughs about it to this day.
Every week Aunt Nanny would go to the Dollar Store and load up on toys. After church she would invite the kids who went to Sunday School to go out and pick a prize out of her trunk.
She was the "Queen of Cheap Thrills”.
After the Christian songs were out of the way the organist played the University of Kentucky fight song and then we all stood and sang "My Old Kentucky Home."
We laughed and cried and ate fried chicken.
Now THAT was a funeral of a person who knew who she was -- knew Jesus personally -- and knew where she was going.
She didn't have a fancy life or an easy life but she had a life that left a trail of better people for knowing her.
If you agree with me -- stand up.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Only Nine Months and Eleven Days Left Until Christmas!

Here is my final entry in the “Five books that have changed my life” series. So glad you asked! You didn’t? Well it’s been fun for me.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
You know all of those scary tracks with pictures of hell or the devil on the front? They were never good representations of my version of what is at the core of God's heart for each of us.
This book is hilarious and sneaks up on the reader with an ending that took my breath away.
My boys loved that it had the word "Hell" in the first chapter and that I read it out loud! The line was "Those kids were going straight to Hell by way of the state Penitentiary...."
I read it to the kid's classrooms each year as they grew up.
I always cried on the last page. The boys would start to squirm around and nudge their buddies and whisper -- here she goes....I told you she's gonna cry. Let's just say I did not make liars out of them.
It always reminds me that if God is hunting you down (and He is) it doesn't matter how Christians mess up the message and what hypocrites we are  -- He's going to find a way to tell you about Him and give you the choice to allow Him to love you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Would You Eat a Bowl of Live Crickets for $50,000.00?

The next book in the series of "five books that have changed my life"
* Would you accept $10,000.00 to shave your head and continue your normal activities sans hat or wig without explaining the reason for your haircut?

* Is there something you have dreamed of for a long time? Why haven't you done it?
Today’s book is:

I found it in a bookstore and used it to keep family at the table longer. It was a hit!
At Thanksgiving we pass the book around and everyone gets to ask one question and the rest of us answer. When the kids were going through that "How was your day at school?"   "Fine." stage I kept a copy of "The Kids Book of Questions" in the car and it was amazing the good info a giggles that came forth.
To this day when we are at a restaurant waiting for our order our now grown children will say; "Uh oh Mom is going to start in on her questions."
And I just can't resist saying:
1. Yes -- I would do it / throw up and take a fabulous trip
2. No -- I'm too vain and of questionable appearance now to push my luck
3. Nothing.  I have always said the biggest challenge is to decide what do you dream to do.  Then working backwards figure out a way to do  it.

Friday, March 12, 2010


My next "Book that changed my life" is
"See You at the House" by Bob Benson
Bob was professionally a record producer in Nashville but at heart he was a Dad and husband and really good friend of Jesus'.
He died of cancer and part of the sparkle in this world went with him.
Here is a sample of his perspective:

By Bob Benson from  SEE YOU AT THE HOUSE
Do you remember when they had old-fashioned Sunday school picnics? I do. As I recall, it was back in the "olden days," as my kids would say, back before they had air conditioning.
They said, "We'll all meet at the Sycamore Lodge in Shelby Park at four-thirty on Saturday. You bring your supper, and we'll furnish the iced tea."
But if you were like me, you came home at the last minute. When you got ready to pack your picnic, all you could find in the refrigerator was one dried up piece of baloney and just enough mustard in the bottom of the jar so that you got it all over your knuckles trying to get to it. And just two slices of stale bread to go with it. So you made your baloney sandwich and wrapped it in an old brown bag and went to the picnic.
When it came time to eat, you sat at the end of the table and spread out your sandwich. But the folks who sat next to you brought a feast. The lady was a good cook and she had worked hard all day to get ready for the picnic. And she had fried chicken and baked beans and potato salad and homemade rolls and sliced tomatoes and pickles and olives and celery. And two big homemade chocolate pies to top it off. That's what they spread out there next to you  while you sat with your baloney sandwich.
But they said to you. "Why don't we just put it all together?"
"No, I couldn't do that. I couldn't even think of it," you murmured in embarrassment, with one eye on the chicken.
They insisted and said; "But we just love baloney" and so you did and there you sat, eating like a king when you came like a pauper.
One day, it dawned on me the God had been saying that sort of thing to me. "Why don't you take what you have and what your are, and I will take what I have and what I am, and we'll share it together." I began to see that when I put what I had and was and
am and hope to be with what He is, I had stumbled upon the bargain of a lifetime.
I get to thinking sometimes, thinking of me sharing with God. When I think of how little I bring, and how much He brings and invites me to share I know that I don't have enough love or faith or grace or mercy or wisdom, but He does. He has all of those things in abundance, and He says, "let's just put it all together."
When I think about it like that, it really amuses me to see somebody running along through life hanging on to their dumb bag with the stale baloney sandwich in it saying, "God's not going to get my sandwich! No, siree, this is mine!" Did you ever see anybody like that - so needy - just about half-starved to death, yet hanging on for dear life. It's not that God needs your sandwich. That fact is, you need His chicken!
Well, go ahead - eat your baloney sandwich, as long as you can. But when you can't stand its tastelessness or drabness any longer, when you get so tired of running your own life by yourself and doing it your way and figuring out all the answers with no one to help; when trying to accumulate, hold, grasp, and keep everything together in your own strength gets to be too big a load; when you begin to realize that by yourself you’re never going to be able to fulfill your dreams. I hope you'll remember that it doesn't have to be that way.
You have been invited to something better, you know. You have been invited to share in the very being of God."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Read It and Weep -- And Laugh a Lot Too

Have you ever read a book and thought -- she's me?
That was my connection to this book. Not that I always admired her or agreed with her decisions it is just that she did and concluded and behaved like me. It was a reassuring relief to meet her.
The story is told through a series of letters over a lifetime.
There is a scene in a train box car that is so poignant and raw that when I got to that part while waiting in a doctor's office all I could do was weep and worry that other patients thought I must be in the last stages of some dreadful disease. There seemed to be a lot of scooting away from my side of the lobby.
My girlfriend Katy and I got to see it performed as a one woman play last weekend and it did not disappoint.
No biographies about me when I'm gone (as if...) -- it's been done and the title is "A Woman of Independent Means."

Books That Have Changed My Life

Today I asked my dear friend Becki to recommend five books that have helped her to become the wise woman she is.

Becki and her husband Rick served with Billy Graham for 23 years, living in fourteen cities in four countries (once they moved from Paris to Fargo North Dakota!) while raising four children. Becki is a gifted speaker and serves as Teaching Director of the Mainline Philadelphia Community Bible Study.

It got me to thinking.....

What books would I narrow it down to?

The first to come to mind is "The Hiding Place."

This simply told story is about a woman whose family hid Jews from the Germans and the huge price they paid.

It taught me lessons that most of us don't figure out until the last moments of our life.

I'm so grateful this lovely story was put under my nose in my forulative years.

It changed me.

I gave it to Annie for Christmas a few years ago and she was inspired to name our darling granddaughter Corrie.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Poster I Saw at the Flower Show





Monday, March 8, 2010

Don't Drink the Kool Aid

Politics in the US has become the number one cause of protruding
neck veins.
It has put the whole country in a perpetual state of simmering PMS.
(Political Mental Stress)
Everyone wants to be right. (Or left as the case may be)
When I read the Bible I read about all of these sympathetic
characters who were right.
Moses was right -- he did have a speech impediment and people
would have a hard time receiving important messages from his
funny speech impediment.
David was right -- Bathsheba’s husband was going to be fairly
upset that his wife was prime Jerry Springer material (Getting
pregnant while he was off to war and all)
The Pharasees were right -- Jesus' new rules weren't Kosher and
He didn't fit the criteria of tradition. You know that duck-fit He
threw in the temple, spitting in mud and rubbing it on that blind
man's eyes on the Sabbath Blue Law day.
And so on.....
It has occurred to me that God is so unimpressed by our being
right. I did a verse search on "And by this shall all men know that
you are mine -- that you are right." Didn’t pop up. Might be a
faulty search engine?
If I were a calculating sort (please don't ask Papa Joe to deny or
confirm this!) and I wanted to get Christian's off of the subject of
the gospel of grace -- I would find a delicious, colorful, cheap, non-
nutritious, and hyper activity inducing substitute. And I wouldn't
call it Kool Aid. I'd call it

The Rest of The Flower Show Story....

Who cares about putting a man on the moon when mankind can create this much beauty? This is a parachute that was hung, up-lit and then strung with ropes of white lilies.

This is one of my favorite displays each year. Painting all accomplished with flower petals. That is the only medium. Unreal!

This display was ice cubes hung and dripping filled with a perfect white lily. Surreal.

Cute little scenes were around each aisle.

How in the world do they force a cherry blossom tree to perfection and transport it to the show by the dozens?

And since it is all about flowers this week in Philadelphia you can buy roses for a song. I'd plan a wedding that week and go crazy with roses.

This year Joe had business there and we wanted to visit the kid's new place but next year I'm organizing a girlfriend trip. Wanna come?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Philadelphia Flower Show!

This is just a smidgen of the beauty.  If you haven't been make sure you do before you die.

Perfect small treasures.

Elaborate large scenes.

Big bouquets

Come fly away in a flower covered balloon

Glass vases hung from the ceiling to create a wave of beauty

This is a good hair day in Africa

There were all kinds of gardens.  This one was installed by Great Britian

Color everywhere!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lost Generation
(Click on title)

This is like the ultimate country music record if you play it backwards:
You get your dog back
You get your job back
You get your truck back......
Stick with it to the end.

We Hopped Up To Philly and It Wsn't So Chilly

It has been such a cold winter in Florida -- we can hardly tell the difference!
Here is the first stop on the "man I miss the shopping tour."

Then we headed out to Danielle and Chris' home.  Look how cute it is...
And look who rules the roost...

We had a fun dinner at a typical old stone farmhouse resturant and then came home for a good night's sleep.
Today we went to pick up Julia at the airport.  On our way we stopped here for lunch.
It is  a grocery store that dreams are made of.  Food courts, gourmet foods, imported specialties and even outdoor furniture.  If they don't have it at Wegmans -- you don't need it.
I once went to Rochester New York to lead a women's retreat for a Baptist church.  The free afternoon before the retreat the leaders told me they were going to take me to the highlight of Rochester.  I couldn't imagine?  It was Wegmans!  I was dubious as to their choice but when I got there I was almost as impressed as the next day's adventure (Niagra Falls).  Yes, it is that great.
Tomorrow is breakfast with girlfriends from my old Bible study and then off to the flower show.  Photos to follow.
Got to go --- Danielle is baking a fancy lemon chicken for dinner and the vultures are starting to circle.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Are These Feet Headed in the Right Direction?

We've whined about the cold down here for months and now we're flying North?

We are headed up to Philadelphia to visit our children and catch the Philadelphia Flower Show. I'll post some photos and hope we don't turn into human ice cubes.

Picking a Friend

My girlfriend Becki has lived in 14 cities in four countries while she was  raising their family. She has developed some good ways to pick a friend of quality -- quickly.

She says she always looks for the woman with the cutest haircut in church. Becki knows this lady will be the source of all kinds of resources. Hairstyling, dry cleaners, bargains and specialty food sources being some that come to mind.
When Joe and I moved to Jacksonville I became a 'joiner' again after years of over commitment in our old city. I looked and listened for a quality friend.
One day while serving on a committee of two I heard the most inspirational testimony of a young woman who had survived cancer and although she was left with devastating side effects -- she praises God and trusts Him.
That was the "haircut" I was looking for in my new city. I knew she would raise my standards and eyes toward faith and faithfulness.
Everything she volunteered for I did too. She rubbed off on me while we did meaningful and menial service. My friend's name is Muffet and I knew I'd moved south of the Mason Dixon Line when no one giggled when they mentioned her name. Listen, in the south that's just a normal name. Like Sister (no relation) and Punkie and Bliss.
That was eight years ago and today I was a guest at her surprise 50th birthday party.
There should have been a red carpet entrance for the attendees because women with exceptional stature beget quality women and there I was sitting on the couch trying to look like I belong.
So if you find yourself new in a foreign city may I suggest looking for a cute hairstyle or a story that inspires you to aspire to be the type of woman you always admired.
As my mother always said – pick your friends wisely.