Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Susan Sparks

Susan is pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City.  She is an attorney, stand up comedian and author.  I love her theology and hope to attend a BBQ dinner her church is having while I'm in NYC next week.  I think we may have been separated at birth.
"Christians and Elvis fans have a lot in common.  They believe the King lives and honey, we can all use some of that faith."
"Southern Baptists don't talk about sex.  It could lead to dancing."
"If you don't believe God has a sense of humor think -- platypus or blowfish."
"If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself.  If you can forgive yourself you can forgive others." 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Off to the Races

In Louisville the last days of the Fall Meet at the races are  Thanksgiving weekend.  So Saturday morning we headed out to Churchill Downs for a fun day with friends and family.  
Papa Joe treated us to a table up in Millionaires Row (even though we aren't) and we felt like big shots.
Even the Baptists go to the track in Kentucky because it is such a part of our culture.

The view from the patio outside our table.
The "Rock and Roll Mothers"
The mane attractions.
Papa Joe trying hard to pick a winner the scientific way.  Unfortunately the girls won more $ just picking funny names and long shots.  There is no justice.
Annie and Rush.  Are they adorable or what?
A beautiful exhibit made of blown glass that recreates the Downs.  
How did the "Rock and Rolls" evolve from babes to Maxine?
Oh, well.  We're still having fun after all of these years! 

Friday, November 26, 2010


For a few days of fun at Shaker Village.
Edible Turkey Craft -- yum!
Farm Friends

Living in a special period of  history
Making ornaments
We woke up to snow!
Fun -ny

Monday, November 22, 2010


I'm a big fan of Mary J. Blige. I know -- I know get in line.
 She is many things:
A Grammy winning Hip Hop performer
A former drug addict
God's audio-visual aide for what He can do when a woman lets Him restore and lead her life.
She had an article in Oprah magazine this month titled " 5  Things I know"
Number #1 Resonates with wisdom born from pain:

"It's not always my fault.  I grew up in an environment where people were constantly 'frowned up,' and I assumed they were upset because of something I'd done.  But the most beautiful thing has happened to me: I'm unlearning self-blame.  Now I can say, "No, that's not about me.  That's their burden, their bump in the road."
I believe she would say she had to experience the grace of Jesus before she could have that perspective.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

May I Introduce You To -- Brené Brown

Fix a cup of tea and settle down to some wise insights that will alter your understanding of why people behave the way they do.  Tenderness is the key to a full life.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Berry Gordy CPR

Does anyone remember the Motown Reunion on PBS several years ago that was a tribute to its founder Berry Gordy?  You know the one where Diana Ross serenaded him with "Someday We'll Be Together" all the while staring him down with a look that said -- 'You know and I know you are my love child's baby daddy and by golly....................someday.' 
Every one of us jilted by an old love was picking up the intensity in that stare and thinking give the girl some space!
Berry he just sat there with his starched tux collar getting wetter and tighter.  Can we all say "deer in the headlights?"
It was so fun to hate him for just a little bit but to tell you the truth I find it impossible to hold a grudge because he is my health care back up plan.
In the event of my hospital monitor going flat line The Rock and Role Mothers 
Childhood Girlfriends
 have been instructed to spin some old Motown records and watch me come back to life.
Blip, Blip-Blip, Blip-Blip-Blip...
"Lonely Teardrops"  "I'll Be There"  ""Do You Love Me"  and "Shop Around" are the names of some of these life-savers.
Berry provided the sound track for my youth and if things go as I plan -- he may orchestrate my  golden years.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shut Up and Serve

Over lunch on Sunday Papa Joe and I discussed the pastor's sermon.  He is doing a series on getting engaged in service.  He has painted wonderful word pictures of why and how and when.  He is a gifted speaker and yet at the end of the day I wonder if he would just like to say.................................
I love the fellowship and inspiration of small group Bible study.  Most of the time we're on the same page and it is comforting to have the right answer in a group of people who are touching the same part of the elephant as me. 
Saved -- check
Dependant on grace -- check
Assured of eternal salvation -- check
But there comes a day when all of that knowledge sours like yeast dough if it isn't put in the oven and baked into something delicious.
The oven is this hurting world and the temperature is provided by stepping out of my comfortable neighborhood and into a sea of needs.
Joe sidetracked his lucrative business to help poor people have the security and shelter of their own home.  I am serving the disenfranchised in my own ways . 
Our service has been what has taken our predictable life to an exciting and sometimes risky adventure.
As we look at our final act we wonder what new thing the Lord has for us?  We will stick our noses in our Bibles long enough to hear His marching orders and comfort but then I hope we can endeavor to "Serve!"

Saturday, November 13, 2010

No Competition

It began to dawn on me when I entered the party that the only husband that checked me out was Papa Joe.  None of the wives inched towards their men in a proprietary way.  The message was clear -- I'm no competition. I am finally off center stage and standing in the wings. 
In the wings I am free to  applaud  the next generation of younger women. 
This role has been passed down to me and I choose: to catch them at their best, tell them they are pretty,  brave, smart or  however they shine.  I try to remind them that the ordinarily exhausting days that pile one on another are a foundation for the masterpiece that will be their life's most important work.
When I was taking a cooking class in Barcelona one of the young women in the class jokingly referred to her hips a few times.  "When I eat this it will go straight to my hips."  "It is hard to work in close quarters because of my big hips." And so on. 
In reality she was a beautiful 30 something from Australia.  Here we were in an exotic city having the experience of a lifetime and you know where her focus was?
When we took a break I sidled up to her,  out of hearing distance from the others, and told her; "You are so beautiful.  You will never be this gorgeous again.  One day you will look back at the photos of yourself on this trip and say 'Why didn't someone tell me I was pretty?"
"Well little girl -- I'm telling you now.  Don't waste it."
Young women have a hard time getting encouragement from other women their age because there is a subtle unspoken competition between us in that season.  Who has the best decorated home, who is the most fit, who grinds her own wheat for her homemade bread ( someone probably grows their own  wheat for Pete sakes) who has the most children and can still act perfect? (Michelle Dugger wins this one but I'd pay big bucks to look in her medicine cabinet.  There has to be some big time Valium rolling around in there).
One day I woke up and realized for me the contest is over.  I was three score and two years old and not a contender any more.  It has come as a big relief but not without responsibility. 
My position from here forth is to pray for, serve, encourage and praise the young women  -- you know, the ones who filled in my seat at the PTA.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Things Never Change

I remember sitting on the top deck of our ship when we approached The Rock of Gibraltar.  It  looked like it had been there -- and was going to be there -- forever. 
On a tour of The Rock I found out that it was an English fortress during WWII.  It protected and stood.

It got me to thinking.....
I recently learned that once matter is present it will always exist in some form or another?  You can eat it -- plant it sweep it -- or explode it but it will still be present in one form or another.  Permanence is inspiring in this fickle world.
God's words and truths in the Bible are like that.  They hold up and hold true no matter who is in charge or in style. 
This year I am taking the time to do an extensive Bible study on the ancient book of Isaiah.  It takes a lot of time because I'm a very slow reader but it is plugging me into some truth that holds up.  It is like eating a steak dinner after living on Big Macs.

Ancient Words by Michael W. Smith
Holy words long preserved
for our walk in this world,
They resound with God's own heart.
Oh let the ancient words impart
Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e'er we roam
Ancient words will guide us Home.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"I Remember -- Nothing"

Some books are worth buying just for the title... "I Feel Bad About My Neck"  and the above title from Nora Ephrem are great examples. 
Nora bemoans the loss of her coherent thoughts brought on by marching through her 60s.
I can relate!
When did the sweet thoughts that occupied my mind get replaced by cotton candy? 
Papa Joe can't die because he is the only one who can fill in the missing word in my sentences.  Not words like existentialism but words like H A T.
Nora tells of spying a woman who looked remotely familiar in a mall and after  long moments of reflection realizing it was her sister -- who was meeting her there for lunch.
Everybody understands when we forget a person's name but their face?
Here is the upside -- I don't hold grudges (can't remember them) and you  know that old phrase forgive and forget?  Now it's forget and by default - forgive.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

But He's Not There...

Well let me tell you 'bout the way he looked

The way he'd act and the colour of his hair
His voice was soft and cool
His eyes were clear and bright
But he's not there
Adapted from The Zombies song "She's Not There"

Papa Joe flew out on an early plane this morning and now the house is quiet -- and tidy.  I grabbed a cup of hot tea and twirled through the house singing "Bibbidy-Bobbity-Bo" and in a cloud of fairy dust put everything in order. 

I love order and let's just say that is not the zip code  where PJ  lives.
He abides with my overly neat genes and I try like crazy to not organize his shoes in a Benjamin Moore color chart manner. 
So, once the house was card catalogued and organized I sat back to take in the visual nirvana. 
Looking good but something is missing.  Oh, yeah it's his smiling morning persona as he charges out the door to feed the ducks and Rosie the cat.  His puttering and sputtering to gather his papers and bags of stuff for the movable feast that is called his work projects. 
The bottom line is it's lonely without him and more than a little flat.
Camera ready is not really all it is cracked up to be -- is it Martha? 

Monday, November 1, 2010


I'm packing my car and heading to Destin for the week!  No computer -- just sand and outlet mall time.  See you next week.