Friday, April 30, 2010

Thank You for Giving

"A person who is tight with their money is also stingy with their love." Zsa Zsa Gabor

This is what it has come to -- I'm quoting Zsa Zsa.
Years ago I had a Quote of the Day calendar and this one has stuck by me.
It's true even if the person who said it regularly wears emu wraps.
She who doesn't tip at least 15% in a restaurant or hesitates while the bill is being split up is not likely to be the one who will drop their life and come running when your life is in peril.
I love nice clean little insights into life. They save time and feelings.
Generosity is a good litmus test for "Who Ya Gonna Call?"
It has nothing to do with bank accounts and 401Ks.
It is a heart issue.
When my sister wrote an article for the newspaper at Christmas about a family that was likely to not have presents under the tree for the children, envelopes with $5.00 bills came from the rich neighborhoods but the simple dollar store envelopes from the blue collar neighborhoods had the $100.00 money orders or cash bills.
Jesus talked more about our relationship with money than our realtionships with each other.  I don't think He needed the cold hard -- I just think He knew exactly what Zsa Zsa was talkin' about.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'll Clap for Your Child -- If You Will Clap for Mine

Yesterday I had lunch with my girlfriend Reina who has a son and daughter in law who are running an orphanage in Haiti. She told me how much it means to her that I leave encouraging comments on their

Our conversation reminded me of a time when I learned a sweet lesson:
There we sat at John Thomas' college graduation. We were a  pitifully small gathering for such a monumental event. Papa Joe, me, Rush and Annie.
JT had worked  hard and was graduating with several honors.
Right below us was a whole box- seat section full of one huge extended African American family dressed in their finest. When their child walked the length of the stage to recieve his diploma a cheer rang out that was so warm and celebratory  it filled the stadium with a joyful noise.
My heart sank. John was not going to enter into post grad with nearly that much fan fare.  It was going to sound like the closing of "Laugh In".  Clap, Clap ......Clap.
But I always tell my children "Never underestimate the power of the Mother's Underground."
So I made my way down the steps and approached the woman in the box seats that looked about my age (although she had on a fantastic hat and looked much more regal than I) and asked her if she would have her family cheer for my child since there were only four of us.
Our eyes met. Our hearts connected, she reached out her elegant hand, took mine and said, "We would be happy to do that."
When they finally read John's name a cheer rang out, clapping commenced and of course I choked up.
He got the praise he deserved and I am touched by the memory of that family who didn't know us at all but cheered for my child.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Three Things --

My girlfriend Becki's grandmother was a wise woman. She always said
"Everyone needs three things...
Someone to love
Something to do
and something to look forward to!"
I love the basic, boiled down wisdom of that insight. When I'm feeling restless I mentally scan my check list -- do I have someone to love? Do I have something worthwhile to do? And do I have something to look forward to?
Right now the answer is "yes".
1. My friend Becki will be here next week to speak at the Spring Luncheon of Women for Christ. I love her deeply and thank God for all she has modeled to me in our friendship.
2. There are many loose ends to pull together for the luncheon so this week is full of 'to dos'.
3. Three days after Becki arrives six of our girlfriends from the leadership of Community Bible Study in Philadelphia will fly down for a week at our beach house. How's that for something to look forward to?

Check -- Check -- Check

Monday, April 26, 2010

If You Love Something Set It Free.....

Unfortunately it might become a midnight snack for a varmint.

Yep, we set free the little ducks that were out growing their cage and our patience to house them.

"Don't you think it's time to blow this pop corn stand?"
The last two nights before freedom something had managed its way into the cage and eaten one of the flock. We were down to eight.
Ohhhhh, how they loved their new life. They jumped in the pond and fluffed and sprinkled and took the most delightful duck-baths. They took to it like.........................................

But each morning for the first two days of freedom there was one less duckling. We were at a loss for how to protect them and Clio's Psychiatric future was looking extensive and expensive.
But come Sunday morning when she did a downy head count -- there were still six!
Those little darlings discovered that if they sleep on the tiny island whatever the heck that carnivore is -- can't get to them in the dark of the night.
Lucky and Ducky and all of the little mother ducks on the pond have taken them under their collective wings and you see our ducks falling into place with other baby ducklings out for a swim in the sunshine.
These are hard lessons on life and death and food chains. But we are so pleased to see the survivors thrive.
And then there were six.
We are taking suggestions for names???

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Finishing Well

Ecclesiastes 7:8

"The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride."
As Mark Twain once said "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." It has been a week since I had the luxury of sitting down to plunk out my heart in a post.

You see this time of year is the end of most of the commitments I had made and everything needs to be tucked into bed.
I have always loved the above quote from Ecclesiastes because it is so counter culture.
Society loves beginnings, start up ventures and exciting new projects but endings aren't as sexy.
Wrapping up and winding down are a kind of grief. Letting go and boxing up.
I learned a good lesson years ago by a man who was the Vice President of a hospital where I was a director.
There had been a mean spirited, religon based takeover of the company's executive team.
Bernie was sent packing because he had the nerve to be Catholic in a Baptist hospital.
On his last day, as I was leaving the hospital a little early (because it was Friday after all) I saw him not at a going away party or hanging around the Medical Library commiserating -- I saw him sitting at his desk working. And there he stayed until the last minute of the last day of his employment.
It left an impression on me and now I believe that a revealing trait in a person is not how they "Tip Points" or rally the troops or even get the ball rolling. It is how well they finish.
To finish well is time consuming, a little lonely and sometimes everyday life gets pushed to the back ground.
I may be the one wrapped in an aluminum blanket at the end of the race but I surely do  hope to "Finish well"!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fishing "Neked"

Who says Christianity is dry and boring? This morning in church the pastor read these verses:

John Chapter 21

1 After these things (Jesus had been murdered) Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way.
2 Simon Peter, and Thomas , and Nathanael , and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together.
3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will also come with you." They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.
4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
5 So Jesus said to them, "Children, you do not have any fish, do you?" They answered Him, "No."
6 And He said to them, Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch." So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.
7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved (John -- too humble to name himself) said to Peter, "It is the Lord." So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.

Now I had read this story lots of times but somehow it eluded me until this morning when our pastor read it and said "neked" (because he's a Texas boy) instead of the high church's  naaaked pronunciation.
I love the humanity of it. I love the realness and rascal-yness of it.
I guess it is the reverse of skinny dipping and the fulfillment of every mother's charge "Don't get your good clothes dirty."
I also love the Bible because it is honest, life changing and keeps us churchy types saying words like neked out loud in church.

Happy Birthday Ja-ped!

Fourteen years ago we got THE call. Our first grandson Jacob was here. I'll never forget the feeling when they first put him in my arms. I wanted to say "Thank you all for taking such good care of him until I could get here. We'll be going home now." It took everything in me not to say "this is my baby" being the mom was all I had known and I didn't not go quietly into the night of empty nest.

For the first few years of his life he couldn't say his name. He referred to himself as "Japed." I'm happy we weathered that phase and never succumbed to re-naming him Bob.
We are so proud of Jacob. Most likely in the worst sense of proud. He is a blessing not a reflection.
He is kind, responsible, smart and a team player. He loves the Lord and sincerely strives to live a life pleasing to God.
His future is so bright academically but most importantly personally because he truly celebrates friendship.
He's fun and the one in the family you will hear three rooms away laughing at the slap stick humor on TV. That sound is music to my ears!
He follows University of Louisville basketball with Rain Man devotion.
If the family ever receives an honor -- he'll most likely will be the one we shove on stage to represent.
One of the benefits of growing older is watching the fruits of my children's parenting efforts grow.
The apple landed right where we hoped it would land. Under the branches of Anne and Rushes boughs.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Talkin' Trash

I have a girlfriend Linda who really understands what makes the world go round.

She cooks up this wonderful salty sweet candy concoction that is called......White Trash.
Several times a month she'll make a batch and set it out in cute little sanitary containers for her garbage men.
Here is a recipe I found online for it:


2 lb. white chocolate
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 c. wheat chex
3 c. rice chex
3 c. corn chex
1/2 lb. sm. pretzels
1/2 lb. pretzel nubs
3 c. Crispix
1 can mixed nuts
Pour melted white chocolate over all other ingredients. Stir gently, spread on waxed paper. Break into pieces and store in covered containers

I love her wacky sense of humor and her garbage men are so devoted to her that they would probably dispose of her third ex-husband's body without a peep if she set him out on the curb.
I always say -- it's not how you treat the important people in your life. It is how you treat the people who are not powerful that discloses your true heart.
I love her FUN-ny heart!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Growing Problem

Tight Quarters  "Does this cage make me look big?"

Welllllllllllllllllllllllll it's moving day for our little hatchlings. As I plunk Papa Joe is building their transitional housing complex. They are moving from the cage which is quickly becoming sub-standard housing to a gated community in the back yard.
"Captain Safety" aka Papa Joe is nervous about this transition. By the time he is finished the new digs will be able to withstand an 8.7 earthquake on the Richter scale.

Clio and the "Captain" on site.

Miss "Good Enough is Good Enough" Suzi is trying to steer clear before she gets drafted into the construction crew.
Oh, the drama. Oh the letting go. PBS would kill for a reality TV show on us.
You've seen the crazy cat lady on the evening news but the duck hoarders might give her a run for her money.
Beth Moore wrote a book called "Feathers From My Nest" on her struggle adjusting to empty nest.
I just might have to get a copy and leave it discreetly on Papa Joe's pillow…… soon.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Never Underestimate the Power of A Little Old Lady

As the week with my girlfriend Diane wound down so did my kitchen. Papa Joe treated us to dinner at a restaurant on the river Thursday night.

While we enjoyed our meal we could hear the sounds of a one man band performer coming from the deck outside the bar.
"Oh, I wish Diane could sing a song for me!" Papa Joe lamented.
To say he is a fan of hers is an understatement.
"She's the best singer I ever heard" he will often comment. "She could win American Idol!"
She's a sneaky package -- she is. She's about the same age as the guy who sang that new classic "Pants on the Ground" and he was booted out of the auditions for this year's Idol. The judges deemed him too old.
Joe and I grew up dancing to Diane singing in the most popular Rock and Roll band in Louisville -- The Mystics.  The Mystics even performed at our wedding reception.  We go way back.
Being a take charge woman (I know I hide it well) I decided to approach the band-guy and ask if my girlfriend could sing one song with him.
The look on his face said -- Oh, no another Karaoke singer nightmare.
But it wasn't a busy night and he smelled a tip in it so he succumbed.
They did a quick song selection from his Fake Book and launched into "Fever".
He snapped alert. He was stunned. The pipes on this little old lady almost blew him into the river.
He begged her to keep singing. They did a whole set.
Papa Joe was in Nirvana.
When we finally left Papa Joe tossed a $20.00 bill in his tip jar and swaggered out of there like;
"Never underestimate the power of a little old lady!"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First You Get Yourself Some Girfriends.................

Haven't we all heard this E-mail story?
The advice is from an older woman to a newly married young girl on how to survive life's ups and downs.

This week I'm playing girlfriend to my friend from Kentucky whose husband died a month ago.
At the time of the funeral I knew there would be a huge turnout for this fine man.  I decided to wait and use the money for a ticket to Bob's funeral for a ticket down here for my girlfriend Diane.
We've slept, eaten, walked miles and miles and put together a loose plan to re-enter her new life upon her return home.
Oh, and yes we've cried but we've laughed so hard too.
I am very grateful for this little house on a pond that has been the place of healing for so many, a husband who has learned not to walk out of the shower without a towel (due to strangers in the halls)  and simple or fancy meals on our table infused with hand holding prayers.
In the end I'm glad that in the beginning -- I got some girlfriends.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Peep Show

Easter was a glorious day here.  Food Friends and Frequent guests to see our real live "Peeps".
They get bigger every day.  We can actually watch them grow. 
Clio and one of her beloved ducks

Duck- Daddy

Clio's mommy -- Ilene

And.................... on the outside chance this was all getting too tasteful I had to put out the Mona Lisa salt and pepper shaker.  The frame is the salt -- and Mona is the pepper.

"The Lord is Risen!  The Lord is risen -- indeed!"

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter and New Life!

Papa Joe decided to celebrate Easter in a unique way this year.
He brought new life to our home.................
He bought these yesterday for a project for our adopted granddaughter to raise and release on the pond in a few weeks. I'm hoping that they are hearty little ducks because they are sleeping in our bathtub at night. Got poop? You betcha!
But how sweet are they? What a reminder of the gift of new life.
On the way home from Good Friday service last night I asked Joe "Where would we be without the Lord in our lives?"
We simaltainiously released an unconscious shudder and kept driving to the taco restaurant.
We are:
Rescued from our selfish selves
Livin' the Life
Happy New Life

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Dog's Tale

Haven't had the heart to blog this week. It's Holy week and I have been fortunate to have spent some time with other believers who have sat and been uncomfortable and melancholy with me.

How can I describe it?
I know the end of the Holy Week story and it is the greatest story ever told but this week the cost of the victory and what a debt of love I owe is so tender and personal it has left me speechless.
My girlfriend Katie told me she noticed I haven’t been blogging and I tried to explain my state of heart.

Today it came to me.........................

The emotions of this relationship with Jesus are similar to the story in a children's book "Sounder".
The book has a wonderful ending too but the pain, danger and love that produces the ending is heart piercing.
There is a poor little boy who wants a dog so bad. He knows of a little puppy belonging to a neighbor that doesn't have enough killer instinct to be valued by his owner so the owner abuses him.
The boy decides to steal the dog, hide him and keep him as his own. He names him Sounder.
Oh how they love each other! As he hides him he feeds him with the meager rations from his own meals. That dog is his life.
There comes a Holy Week in the story when it looks like the dog will have to be returned to the neighbor (Only to be kicked and tied up and tortured again to teach him a lesson).
I won't tell you the details because I hope you will read it for yourself but there is an ending where love wins.
Does the concept of a personal loving God seem hard for you to grasp?
Read the book and know that to God our Father -- you are Sounder. You are worth it even to death on a cross.
If you give in to that Love you will be owned but you can rest in it. It is safe.