Friday, December 31, 2010

Another Auld Lang Syne

So, I like the idea that we are going to have to learn to travel lighter in the New Year.
....but I'm a keeper; I save things! 

Really, it takes some courage, I think to let go. 
A goodly amount of mental energy goes into providing room for all those things I've held onto.  Emotionally sustaining things, situations, moods, conditions ... even some relationships which have fulfilled their purpose -- after a point they begin to feel sooo heavy.

We can have "good" goodbyes or, what feel like "bad" goodbyes. 
I think we can all remember some goodbyes that felt sad, that felt hard.  Situations that we left which weren't our conscious choice to leave.  People who we left or who left us -- and not by conscious choice.   "I didn't get the chance to say 'goodbye' in the gracious and loving way that I would have liked."

In one of my favorite movies, Castaway, there are several kinds of goodbyes:

There is a goodbye that is intending to be temporary ~ much more temporary than 4 years! ~ when he says, "I'll be right back." 
And then there's a sad goodbye ~ things didn't work out the way I wanted them to and I'm hurting.
And finally... there's a peaceful goodbye.  And you just sort of know, when the goodbye is peaceful and loving that the doors are opening for a new beginning.

We never know when we say goodbye some morning, if that's the last time we're going to have this exchange, when or if there will be another hello.  So, isn't it important for all of our goodbyes to be loving and genuinely affirming, "God be with you... good be with you."

In that wonderful book Illusions there's a beautiful statement that goes something like, "Don't fear goodbyes, for they are necessary in order for you to have all the beautiful hellos that life has waiting for you."

DH and I wish you all a Very Happy 2011.....May your new year be richly blessed! 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Day After!

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Whew!  Is Christmas 2010 really over ... so quickly?
(cue sound-bite, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.")

I hope you all enjoyed helping create warm and lasting memories!

That said, I caught myself on Christmas Eve feeling curiously detached. My mind kept replaying scenes of long-ago celebrations ... names and faces who've journeyed  ahead....
...The next moment, trying to imagine how you, dear friends, were experiencing that Holy night.  (Oops!, does that make me a voyeur?)

DH's daughter and her family opened their doors and their hearts again this Eve:  She and her dad so enjoy re-creating the traditional Polish supper ... an acquired taste, yes. :) 

Regretfully, we all just learned her mother is gravely ill.  I couldn't help but wonder, how many others feel compelled to "put up a jolly good front" -- while their insides are behaving like a rock tumbler.

In keeping with "the times", our gift-giving was more frugal that we'd prefer.  How I long to watch my loved ones' eyes light up when they uncover a treasure that speaks to their hearts... to hear, "How did you know?".

So, no -- there were no BCS Championship Game tickets in my stocking yesterday morning ($1,049-and-up at last glance ~ isn't that crazy?) ....
.... But there's no way I'd trade my son's new family portrait ... the railroad-tie Cross ... or a grandchild's sweet hugs!    

So, how was YOUR Christmas?   Yes, I'd really enjoying hearing!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

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Doesn't it seem we've been listening to Christmas music since Halloween?   

Nevertheless, here's "the one" of which I never grow weary.

Many have recorded Oh Holy Night ... but I don't think anyone does it better than the Phantom Michael Crawford ... gives me chills everytime I listen!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! 
God bless us, everyone!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Really?!!!

One of my favorite authors, Sarah Ban Breathnach, had me laughing out loud this morning with her opening:
"I don't think many of our true loves are awaiting with bated breath for a partridge in a pear tree this year."

How did she know I'd be feeling overwhelmed .... near despair at not yet finding the Perfect-Whimsical-WOW! gifts I so long to present my loved ones?  

I'm intrigued by her challenge:  "Why don't you try to give them the Right Stuff?"

Certainly, it's a tall order .....
Still, I'd much rather focus on this mindset and give it a go! 

From Simple Abundance:

On the 1st day of Christmas, I gave to my true loves:
The gift of my Undivided Attention

On the 2nd day of Christmas I gave to my true loves:
The gift of Enthusiasm

On the 3rd day of Christmas I gave to my true loves:
The gift of Creative Energy

On the 4th day of Christmas I gave to my true loves:
The gift of Simple Seasonal Pleasures

On the 5th day of Christmas I gave to my true loves:
The gift of Tenderness

On the 6th day of Christmas I gave to my true loves:
The gift of Good Cheer

On the 7th day of Christmas I gave to my true loves:
The gift of Beauty

On the 8th day of Christmas I gave to my true loves:
The gift of Communication

On the 9th day of Christmas I gave to my true loves:
The gift of Surprise

On the 10th day of Christmas I gave to my true loves:
The gift of Wonder

On the 11th day of Christmas I gave to my true loves:
The gift of Peaceful Surroundings

On the 12th day of Christmas I gave to my true loves:
The gift of Joy
_ _ _

Be ready for the gifts of God!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The importance of applying punctuation on the teleprompter!



Oh, I shouldn't laugh ... I really shouldn't. 
...All the same, this just cracked me up.  Don't you know this anchorman is still soooo embarrassed!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gift Giving

Every day provides its own gifts - Ruth P. Freeman

We are guaranteed experiences that are absolutely right for us today.   We are progressing on schedule.

Today is full of special surprises, and we will be the recipient of the ones which are sent to help us grow.  We might not consider every experience a gift at this time, but hindsight offers the clarity lacking at the moment - just as it has done in many times before.

We are only offered part of our personal drama each day.  But we can trust our lives to have many scenes, many acts, points of climax, and a conclusion.  Each of us tells a story with our lives, one different from all other stories and yet necessary to the telling of many other stories.

We can trust the drama and give fully to our roles.

Every day is a gift exchange.  I give, and I will receive.

-- Excerpted from Daily Meditation for Women

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Sundae Effect


(reprinted in part from one of my “beginner” posts for this week's Simple Pleasures.)

Woo-hoo! Summer’s finally released its grip on the Valley of the Sun!  Don’t laugh, but when our temps drop below 50 degrees it’s practically cause to bring out the long underwear.  

So here we are, approaching 'the most wonderful time of the year.'   The last several days have (I think) set record cold temps .... yessss!

Contrasting our overnight lows, my spirits have skyrocketed …. I’m able to indulge in the “sundae effect” during my morning commute:


Once my car’s engine’s fully warmed, I set the blower on “max” ..... then roll down the window.   
Right side "toasty" … left side, let's call it "brisk."   



Wheeeeee, I’m feeling like a hot-fudge sundae!  
(Say, we desert dwellers have to take pleasure where we can - LOL!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Much Obliged

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Don't you just love it, when something unexpectedly "drops in your lap"  ... and you've an opportunity to share that glad news?   When I awoke this morning, my mind began scrolling through (then rejecting) possibilities what to share on Spiritual Sundays.  Then I discovered the following story in my email.   I hope you enjoy!
_____________________

I believe that thankful people are happy people.

The late Dr. Fulton Oursler used to tell of an old woman who took care of him when he was a child -- a woman who not only expressed her thanks, but felt it. Anna was a former American slave who, after emancipation, was hired by the family for many years.

He remembered her sitting at the kitchen table, her hands folded and her eyes gazing upward as she prayed, "Much obliged, Lord, for my vittles." He asked her what vittles were and she replied that they were food and drink.

He told her that she would get food and drink whether or not she gave thanks, and Anna said, "Yes, we'll get our vittles, but it makes 'em taste better when we're thankful."

She told him that an old preacher taught her, as a little girl, to always look for things to be grateful for. So, as soon as she awoke each morning, she asked herself, "What is the first thing I can be grateful for today?" Sometimes the smell of early-morning coffee perking in the kitchen found its way to her room. On those mornings, the aroma prompted her to say, "Much obliged, Lord, for the coffee. And much obliged, too, for the smell of it!"

Young Fulton grew up and left home. One day he received a message that Anna was dying. He returned home and found her in bed with her hands folded over her white sheets, just as he had seen them folded in prayer over her white apron at the kitchen table so many times before.

He wondered what she could give thanks for at a time like this. As if reading his mind, she opened her eyes and gazed at the loving faces around her bed. Then, shutting her eyes again, she said quietly, "Much obliged, Lord, for such fine friends."

Oursler was deeply influenced by Anna's uncanny ability to always find some reason to be "much obliged."

This wise woman taught him a secret that many people have never learned: she taught him how to be happy.

-- Steve Goodier
LifeSupportSystem.com


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Groped!

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OK, there's probably not a soul alive who's not heard (or witnessed) recent horror stories of the TSA v. John Doe.

So, prior to our mini-vacation, I was overly curious.  Imagine my let-down when, at Sky Harbor's Terminal 4, there were no scanners, no itchy fingers.  Same old, same old.

Not so fast!  Returning home a week later, I was asked to step aside.
Was it my beady little eyes ... my attempts to appear nonchalant ....my choice of clothing? 
Yes, that's it!:  Baggy pants and even baggier hoodie ... bearing an oversize logo from a certain University.    As I detoured after the warden inspector, another called loudly, "Roll Tide!"   (Trying to "get my goat?  I swear, he even winked!)

Have to admit, "my" inspect-ress was wonderful.    Obviously, I didn't know what to expect .... certainly not her courtesy and professionalism.    Initially, she asked, was I bruised or tender anywhere?   She then explained the procedure in detail before ever laying a hand on me.   Did I want a private room?   ("Honey, I lost most of my modesty 10 years ago.")   The whole process took maybe 60 seconds.

The funny part?  .....Her expression when I remarked, "thank you; I appreciate your guys trying to keep us safe."

Suspicious .... Say whaaaaat? 

Actually, its a lesson learned from my son shortly after 9/11.   As crazy as it seems, I honestly appreciate TSA's efforts.

Clearly, there's no excusing some recent behaviors ... unfortunately, there are jerks in all parts of society.
Still, I think the vast majority of these are decent men and women, tasked with a near-impossible job description.    I wouldn't want to "do" it!  Would you?

Meanwhile, let's just pray someone arrives at a better idea!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ordinary Blessings

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So, Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco.  As for me, I think a goodly portion of my brain cells remain in Alabama!

Remember that old rhyme, "Can't think.  Mind's numb.  Inspiration won't come!"
Do you ever get to feeling that way?

Yuppers, last week DH and I descended on the tiny community of Pike Road for a long-anticipated visit with my son and his family.   You know, don't you -- it's never easy to adapt to another's household and not disturb their necessary rituals -- but I needn't have worried. I've the greatest DIL in the world!

Fall!!!  I'd quite forgotten what Fall looks like, but Mother Nature was on her best behavior.   Go ahead and laugh, but I was over the top at the opportunity to boot scoot 'round in my thick woolly socks.    And DH was so cute ... sitting for hours at a time on the back deck ... his book (and the clock) quite forgotten.  


Now, he'd probably deny having said so, but I actually heard him ask, "What would you think of living here?"  
(Yes, I had to put on my "Voice of Reason hat" and remind the dear what humidity feels like in the Deep South!) 





So yes, Thanksgivings still a few days away, but I sense my personal Thanksgiving's already been observed.



Whatever fills your heart, no matter the date  ... may it leave you feeling a little lost!

P.S. - I've a few more "snapshots" to share in the next few days ... maybe even a surprise thank-you.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankful!



As our hearts are full to overflowing ... these lyrics seem (to me), a perfect expression of the season!

May all of your your "right nows" find you blessed and eager to discover all that He has is wonderfully given.

(... 'n pardon my asking you to "mute" the soundbox below:  I've not quite discovered how to do it myself!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Simple Pleasures

..
Aren't we all inclined to chuckle at the term, "Control Freak"?

There's so little we humanly can control!  (Aside from our attitudes, of course ... but that's a whole 'nother story!)

So, I take a measure of comfort, of Simple Pleasure in the little things.....
Like a crisply fitted, neatly-made bed. 


Yes, I shudder to think what Dr. Freud would make of it..... but I get a real sense of unease when the bedcovers are left askew -- almost a tangle reminder of all that's left UNdone in my life.

I once read that Jackie Kennedy Onassis insisted her bed linens be changed for a clean, freshly ironed set of sheets every morning. Now that's luxury!

Possible? Yes. But probable?
I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of time on my hands!

... I'm satisfied to keep the little "control freak" that lives in my head happy with the covers tucked up nice and neat.
 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 
Have yourselves a wonderful evening!  And don't forget to stop by Dayle's "Simple Pleasures" for a dose of "feel good." 
 
 

Saturday, November 6, 2010


The soldier stood and faced his God
Which must always come to pass...

He hoped his shoes were shining Just as brightly as his brass.
"Step forward now, you soldier, How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and Said,"No, Lord, I guess I ain't...
Because those of us who carry guns Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the streets are awfully tough.

But, I never took a penny That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime When the bills got just too steep,
And I never passed a cry for help, Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me, I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place Among the people here...
They never wanted me around Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord, It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much, But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod...
As the soldier waited quietly, For the judgment of his God,
"Step forward now you soldier,
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
__________________

Dedicated to who all who serve -- 
May we Remember and Observe, not only this Thursday .... 
but every day.


(These words are not mine; unfortunately, I don't have the author's name to credit.)      


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Road Less Traveled

Simple Pleasures ...ah, what a concept!  Even on my worst days, everyone's stories just bring me right back!   Come on along and visit awhile!
_______________________  

So, I'm not unaware of my friends and colleagues' fond(?) ridicule:  "Don't ride with Myra if you want to get there in a hurry!"

No, I'm not a particularly slow driver.  Avoiding the interstate is a conscious decision to arrive at my workplace in a good mood ~ stress-LESS and untroubled by the jostling, defensive posture that permeates I-10's morning rush.

Somedays, the hour-long drive seems a blessing:  Plenty of "me" time to energize -- or, at day's end, to decompress.
Right brain, left brain .... ReeeeeeVERSE!

The first 20 miles or so, there's but a smattering of vehicles, several empty miles between stop signs. Not much thought process required.

Ah, but that final stretch?  You know, when all systems go on alert for the dreaded "Type A"  -- that motorist who darts here n' there, in and out of traffic lanes like a hummingbird on crack.

Ya, I still "sweat the small stuff."   But, once in a while, Life presents an opportunity to smile............







Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wisdom is the quality that keeps you from getting into situations where you need it.
~ Doug Larson

Too often I find myself in "situations" of my own making.   But happily, there's no short supply of Wisdom waiting to be had ... if we only ask with an open heart. 

A dear friend recently shared this little parable.  Please enjoy!  

Time and Wisdom

Once upon a time there was an island where all feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others, including Love. One day it was announced that the island would sink. So all repaired their boats and left.


Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help.


Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, "Richness, can you take me with you?" Richness answered, "No, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is not place here for you."


Love decided to ask Vanity, who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel. "Vanity, please help me!"


"I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat." Vanity answered.


Sadness was close by so Love asked for help. "Sadness, let me go with you." Love pleaded.  But she replied, "Oh, Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!" Happiness passed by Love, too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!


Suddenly a voice said, "Come, Love, I will take you!"


It was an elder of Love. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder her name. When they arrived on dry land, the elder went her own way.


Love, realizing how much he owed the elder, asked Knowledge, another elder, "Who helped me?"


"It was Time." Knowledge answered.


"Time?" asked Love. "But why did Time help me?"


Knowledge smiled with deep Wisdom and answered. "Because only with Time and Wisdom are you capable of understanding how great Love is."


~ Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hiding in Plain Sight

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So, I opened a Facebook account last year ... invited a few friends ... then did nothing else.   The following (fictionalized) account might well be my own:

"Intelligent people she respected were constantly throwing things at her -- were the double entendres intentional? -- and she felt like Tom Hanks in the movie, Big, the part where he keeps raising his hand and saying, I don't get it!"

I've never possessed a knack for small talk.... knowing the right thing to say at the right time.  That, coupled with a reluctance to reveal too much information - one wonders, what am I doing here?  Perhaps it's time to fold my tent and back off stage as unobtrusively as I came?

Still, the little voyeur inside my head wouldn't be stilled.   What fun, plucking names from memory, peeking at their images, their now-day lives.

And then ...  there was a girl.  (Dear Granddaughter, that is.)  
With good humor, she navigates me through the social etiquette: 

"Where's the 'hide' button?
(Those who know me, realize the last thing I want to do at day's end is chat-on-command.)
 
"You can't hide, Grandma.  If some one's name pops up, and you don't feel like chatting, just log off as quickly as possible"!

And then ... there was a boy. 
An earlier version of myself believed  him, the Love of my Life.   UNrealistic, our so-called romance was doomed by geography, by language.   

My first reaction?  Wow, he looks so old!  (Granted,  I'm no longer a darling delinquent.) 

Time.   Time and circumstance proved great healers.  But, like a ragged cuticle, once in a while I'd allow myself to wonder, is he happy/wealthy/wise?  Or (gulp!), is he still living?

Decades later, continents apart, we're FB "friends" - satisfied to trade the occasional "Have a good day." 

Closure feels sooooo sweet.

Meanwhile?  I've got a lot of living to do .... right here n' now!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


A pencil-maker told the pencils 5 important lessons just before putting them in the box:

  • EVERYTHING YOU DO WILL ALWAYS LEAVE A MARK.
  • YOU CAN ALWAYS CORRECT THE MISTAKES YOU MAKE.
  • WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS WHAT IS INSIDE OF YOU.
  • IN LIFE, YOU WILL UNDERGO PAINFUL SHARPENINGS, WHICH WILL ONLY MAKE YOU BETTER.
  • TO BE THE BEST PENCIL, YOU MUST ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE HELD AND GUIDED BY THE HAND THAT HOLDS YOU.

We all need to be constantly sharpened!
This parable may encourage you to know that you are a special person with unique God-given talents and abilities.

Only YOU can fulfill the purpose which you were born to accomplish.

Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot be changed; and, like the pencil ...

Always remember that the most important part of who you are is what's inside of you.



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Camp Hope

(Excerpted from Aich.com)

The folks in Chile are strangers whose language we don’t speak and whom we will never meet. Why does this story have the whole world riveted? Why do we care so intensely about them?

I believe it is because deep down, we all appreciate the tremendous value of life. Each individual is precious and beloved, an incredible reflection of God.

And that is why the Chilean government used every resource to save the miners. Experts came from around the world – survivalists, dieticians, psychologists, specialists from NASA, and drilling experts from a dozen countries. Nobody questions the decision to spend untold millions to rescue the 33 men.

The miners’ rescue is instructive in a very personal way as well, by raising the question: Do we feel enormous joy over the very fact we are alive?

Rabbi Nachum of Horadna, in describing the level of joy any person should feel, presented this scenario:

If God came to a dead man and said, "Rise from the grave and rejoice," imagine the colossal joy he would feel. Every moment with his family, every bird chirping, every breath is another gift!

We should strive for that same feeling all the time, said Rabbi Nachum of Horadna. Every morning when we get out of bed, we should thank the Almighty and feel the spectacular joy of being alive!

In a desolate patch of Chilean desert dubbed Camp Hope, all of humanity was sent a clear message: Human life is infinitely precious. Every life, every moment.

“As he comes out,” the mother of 33-year-old Victor Zamora Bugueno told CNN, “he will be reborn.”

Now let’s take that energy and live.

-- by Rabbi Shraga Simmons


Monday, October 11, 2010

Hairspray!

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Am I the only one? ... Empathizing, that is, with Bernadette Peters' character in that old movie (the title escapes me!) when Burt Reynolds observes: "Nice hairdo.  Do you ever find spiders in there?".

Ugh.  Haven't we all know that self-involved caricature whose wit comes at another's expense?

Me?  I'm prone to identify with the news anchor whose venomous, "I hate hair!" left me open-mouthed. 
Granted, there was a back story:  When I'd mustered the courage to approach the Great One to compliment her latest "do",  I'd no clue that for too long 'S' had received more viewer feedback on her hairstyle than her craft.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Oh vey!
Were I to identify my own shortcomings, hair would be right up there!
Like "little feathers" one stylist remarked. 


Hours spent praying I'd morph into a Breck girl are long gone.  God doesn't make bargains, does He?  

So, I cope - with a little help from my friends:  Loads of stickum, coupled with a crazy hot blow-dryer. 
Think Woody Woodpecker ... on a good day!

Ironic.  Those days I'm too busy to force my "feathers" to a preconceived mold are times it looks best!  I slap on a smile and step outside my self-conscious.  

If that doesn't work, there's usually a hat nearby.   God bless our lids!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How do you spell Charisma?

Not that long ago, if were someone to ask me to name somebody who defines charisma, I'd most likely have replied, "Donald Trump." (Well, that's a different sort of chemistry, isn't it!)

These days, it's "an open smile, on a friendly shore." (The Looooove Boat, la-la-la.)
In all seriousness ..... doesn't a sincere smile just speak volumes?

I suppose the best definition I've heard was a story told by my former minister:

One day she asked her little son, "What if, hundreds of years ago, you were living and playing in Nazareth ...... Do you think you could identify which child was Jesus Christ?"

The child thought for a moment, then answered decisively, "Yes!"

"But, how?  How would you know?"

"Because ... of the way He makes me feel."



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

And the beat goes on ...

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You're right.  I've been reluctant to discuss my workplace in print - particularly since two of our own were discovered making inappropriate comments on Facebook. 

No company is perfect, but we do do a lot that's right.  For example, our uncompromising, aggressive approach to Safety training.   As with any public organization, we've had our fair share of tragedy. But(!) at the same time, lives have been saved by employees' instinctive response.

So we train, and re-train:  from blood-borne pathogens (eeeew!) ... to CPR/AED  -- including monthly emergency reenactments, etc.

And yes.... there's one in every crowd.
A while back, I'd not been told (or, wasn't paying attention) re. an upcoming drill.  Overhearing the "Code 3" radio transmission I summoned the "real" 9-1-1 by mistake.   'Caught a lot of kidding over that little incident!

Honestly, I hope I'll never have to use my training.   Deep down, I'm leery - not about catching some dread disease; rather, of goofing up.

Still, having lost two loved ones to coronary heart disease, I want to urge everyone to become ~ and stay! ~ certified in CPR/AED.  


The Choirboys -- er, Victims
This may sting for just a second .....


Our grown-up "Ken" dolls ... all better now!




  Yes, you can!  


Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Humble Spirit

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This made me smile ....
Excerpted from lifesupportsystem.com


I like the story of a young woman who wanted to go to college. Her heart sank, however, when she read the question on the admission form that asked, "Are you a leader?"

Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst.

To her surprise, she received this letter from the college:

"Dear applicant:
 A study of the admission forms reveals that this year our school will enroll 1,452 new leaders.
We would like to accept you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."

Sometimes a little bit of humble pie goes well with a rich meal.

Actually, what passes for conceit in many people is often just a plea for attention. A poor sense of self may cause one to want to be the prominent star in every constellation. Humility, on the other hand, does not require that one shine less brightly than others, simply that all be given opportunity to shine.

That great 19th Century African American educator Booker T. Washington exemplified the power of a simple and modest spirit. A story is told of a day when Washington, then a professor at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, happened to pass the mansion of a wealthy woman as he walked to work.

The woman did not recognize him and called out, "Hey you! Come hereI need some wood chopped!" She was a product of her southern post-Civil War culture and simply perceived him as a black man who was there to do her bidding.

Without a word, Dr. Washington peeled off his jacket, picked up the ax and went to work. He not only cut a large pile of wood, he also carried the firewood into the house and arranged it neatly by the fireplace.

He had scarcely left when a servant said to the woman, "I guess you didn't recognize him, ma'am, but that was Professor Washington!"

Embarrassed and ashamed, the woman hurried over to Tuskegee Institute to apologize. The great educator respectfully replied: "There's no need to apologize, madam. I'm delighted to do favors for my friends."

The professor may have taught one of his greatest lessons that day.

It was a lesson about astronomy: he taught that every star can shine without one out-shining all the others. It was a lesson about peace: he taught how self-interest must often be set aside for the good of the whole. And it was a lesson about spirituality: he taught about the power of a meek and humble spirit in a world where aggression is too-often confused with strength.

It is a lesson we are still learning.
-- Steve Goodier

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Come the Dawn

So, it's going to be another warm one today in the Valley of the Sun.  (Yes, I've finally grown accustomed to natives reserving the word "hot" for temps exceeding 110.)

Initially, my pre-dawn ritual was born of necessity.  Nowadays, it's a happy habit ... a Simple Pleasure. 

Armed with a cup of "jump juice", I cherish the cool(-ish) air..... the precious stillness. 
Navigating by memory, I pause to regard Orion's belt ... my interpretation of the Holy Trinity.  
.....And allow myself to wonder -- how many other souls may be stopped at that same moment, absorbing the constellation.   

In the time it takes to shower, the sky gently transforms itself -- the stars are no longer visible.  But, of course, they're still there!  It's my own mortal vision that's lacking.

Any minute now .... here comes the sun.   Genesis, rewritten with every dawn!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Powerful!

This will certainly pull at your heart-strings!
Yes, it's a bit long -- but, oh wowser .... the music just leaves me wanting more, more, more!
 
I hope you agree, this is a wonderful way to begin the new week!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I can stand what I know.  It's what I don't know that frightens me.
-- Frances Newton

Not every day do we rise with the strength needed to do our part.
Fear of the unknown, often referred to as "free-floating anxiety" catches up to most everyone on occasion.  

It's a given, fear cannot exist where there is faith.  Nevertheless, certain obligations and scads of "what-if's"  recently threatened to undermine my confidence ....reminding me of faith's absence.

Reluctant to ask for help, I instead sought counsel in a favored book of daily devotions.  In part it read, "Reach out, be attentive to others -- and the connection to God will be made."

"Shifting (the) focus from self-centered fears to another person's needs offers us a perspective on our own life.  It also offers us a chance to let God work through us.  Our own faith is strengthened each time we offer our services to God and to a friend in need.  What may frighten us seems less important the closer we are to the people in our lives."

So, I'm not saying I felt poised - particularly when the power went out!  But once I took a deep breath and turned my efforts "inside out", those crazy fears were certainly dimished; almost forgotten!           

As Christians, we are charged to reach out to others with compassion, with love.  In turn, our answers will be realized.

May your Today be especially peaceful and pleasant .... aren't we so incredibly blessed?!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gender contest?

.

Have you seen this?   
Which team do you think won?




Ha! 

OK ...I totally missed "it" the first time, too!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Are you ready for some football? 
(Part II)


You bet-cha!  DH and I've become huge fans of college football in the last couple of years..... specifically the Auburn Tigers.   Thank you, son!

'Not certain how to define this attraction.  Perhaps its (my) being awed by all the youthful idealism?   Since I've never been to a "real" college football game before, or tail-gated even!, we've planned our next trip to coincide with a storied rivalry this November.    

One problem.    My silly old heart goes out to these boys (OK, men) who suffer injuries .... humiliating mistakes.   In the final seconds of last week's game the opponent's wide receiver dropped the ball near the end zone - cementing the Tigers' victory.   And as the credits rolled, the sideline cameras captured his face -- wet with so many tears -- my own face began to crumple. 

Yes, that's part of Life.   What I've trouble wrapping my mind around are those gee-normous routs which occur so often.   I ask DH .... then son:   Why doesn't the winning orgaization "let" the other team score, just once - or, twice?"  
"If I were coach, I'd be known as, the "Coach With Compassion."  (So there!)

And, in separate conversations, a thousand miles apart, they answered as one:   "You'd be an UNEMPLOYED coach." 

Is this a "guy" thing?  

Guess I'd better grow a backbone, huh? -- and stick to my day job!
.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mother used to caution .....
"Things could always be worse"!




So, how's your day going?


Saturday, September 18, 2010

With a little help ....

Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky had never hit a home run in her career. Central Washington senior Mallory Holtman was already her school's career leader .

But when a twist of fate and a torn knee ligament brought them face to face with each other and face to face with the end of their playing days, they combined on a home run trot that celebrated the collective human spirit far more than individual athletic achievement. (-Excerpted,ESPN)

When fellow Christians stumble and fall, we should follow the example of these ball players:  Reach out, lift them up and carry them along!

If you've time to watch this moving video, please take a sec to "mute" my music box below.   Thank you ... and have a blessed new week!



Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm still here ... sort of





So, I've inherited this insane Project that's sucked every living bit of my thought processes....
what little's left, that is!

D-Day's but a week away ....
bear with me, ya'all?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Happy Labor Day weekend!!!  
Imagine many of you are hitting the highways and skylanes in search of adventure.  I, too, used to go-go-go at a moment's notice ... chasing the song of the loreli.

Though this weekend marks DH's and my 6th wedding anniversary -- we're trying to embrace this "awful" concept called, fiscal responsibility. (LOL).
 
I'm thinking, travel needent involve suitcases and strange bathrooms (eeeeek!) ..... 
....that the following speaks of being "grounded" in what really matters!   

For Closeness T-R-A-V-E-L
-- from LifeSupportSystem.com

Inmate Mitchell King had a visitor - his wife. King was serving a six-year jail term in Auckland, New Zealand for armed robbery. But his wife didn't want to be away from him for that long. So they held hands. And they stuck. She'd rubbed her palms with Super Glue.

Their new-found closeness was short-lived. And their separation painful. Her technique is not one I'd recommend for a closer relationship.

But if you want more closeness; if you desire relationships that are deeper and broader, more meaningful and longer-lasting, then remember the word 'travel.'

T is for TRUST. Trust is the glue that holds people together (not Super Glue). A relationship will go nowhere without it.

R is for RESPECT. 'Do not save your loving speeches for your friends till they are dead; do not write them on their tombstones, speak them rather now instead,' writes Anna Cummins. It's about respecting others and letting them know that you value them.

A is for AFFECTION. Sometimes affection means love. Sometimes it means a touch. Always it means kindness.

V is for VULNERABILITY. Though we may feel afraid to let another too close, no relationship will go anywhere without risking vulnerability. Entrepreneur Jim Rohn says, 'The walls we build around us to keep out the sadness also keep out the joy.' And the love.

E is for EMOTIONAL INTIMACY. Learn to be open. Learn to communicate freely. What kinds of relationships you make are largely determined by how openly you have learned to communicate.

L is for LAUGHTER. Victor Borge got it right when he said, 'Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.' It's also the most enjoyable.

For relationships that can really go somewhere, just remember the word 'travel.' Then enjoy the trip!
_____________


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oooh, what a feeling!




  
So, I'm not real fond of having my hair trimmed every few weeks, but there's a sweet, silver lining!

No surprise, my hair "guru" is a busy gal.  There's not much time to cleanse... repeat ... and condition.
But I'm telling ya, let them stick my head backwards against cool porcelain and I'm a goner!  My nose goes into overdrive at those aromas ...........while the rest of me slowly melts

Why does it feel sooooo good to have someone else wash your hair? 
____________

In case Life's gotcha by the horns today, why not wander over to Dayle's place for more great examples of being good to yourself ...  it's all about Simple Pleasures!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Reality is Virtual

Excerpted from Riches of the Heart by Steve Goodier.



In the “Journal of the American Medical Association,” Dr. Paul Ruskin demonstrated how our perception of reality (not actually what is going on, but how we perceive it) determines how we feel about it. While teaching a class on the psychological aspects of aging, he read the following case to his students:



The patient neither speaks nor comprehends the spoken word. Sometimes she babbles incoherently for hours on end. She is disoriented about person, place, and time. She does, however, respond to her name. I have worked with her for the past six months, but she still shows complete disregard for her physical appearance and makes no effort to assist her own care. She must be fed, bathed, and clothed by others. Because she has no teeth, her food must be pureed. Her shirt is usually soiled from almost incessant drooling. She does not walk. Her sleep pattern is erratic. Often she wakes in the middle of the night, and her screaming awakens others. Most of the time she is friendly and happy, but several times a day she gets quite agitated without apparent cause. Then she wails until someone comes to comfort her.

After presenting the case, Dr. Ruskin asked his students how they would like caring for this person. Most of them said they would not like it at all.

He then said that he believed he would especially enjoy it and thought that they might, also. He passed a picture of the patient around for his puzzled students to see. It was his six-month-old daughter!

Most of the students had already made up their minds that they would not like caring for such a patient. But the age of the patient, rather than the actual duties, made the task seem fun and enjoyable! When they thought the task might be fun, they were positive about it, though their reaction just moments before was quite negative.

You and I have numerous tasks ahead. How will you look at them today? As pleasant or unpleasant? As chores or as fun? When you think you may actually enjoy them – you probably will!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Stairway to Heaven?

So, I'm thinking, miracles can be elusive... akin to one of my favorite song from the 60's, "Butterfly of Love."
How to relate?  Right here, right now?  I'll borrow from childhood:

Growing up just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, I was all too familiar with the infamous Loretto Staircase.  Yes, that's a sigh ….. remembering the sheer boredom I felt every time my parents felt compelled to parade out-of-town family and friends to that Chapel.

Only now – decades removed from “The City Different” can I appreciate it's history and charm.

One reviewer has written:

Architects will tell you it should have crashed the moment someone set foot on it.

Scientists say it defies the laws of gravity.

But the Sisters of Loretto know: It was a miracle.

If you've not had an opportunity to see it personally, you may enjoy this moving depiction.  (Please, don't forget to "mute" my playlist, below.)



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Simple Pleasures - Old Towels

It's that time again!   Go back, deep inside, to that which makes your soul smile.  It's actually easy ... remembering Simple Pleasures!
___________

Yes, I’m often intimidated by inanimate objects. For example,

SaranWrap is not my friend ….
~ nor are linen slacks 
…..or pretty towels.

Towels, you say?

You know … those with an impossibly smooth finish, boasting satiny trim.  I once spent a weekend with a friend whose guest bath contained these objects d’art.  Honest, I was inclined to use their T.P. to remove my makeup!

What shouts, “Comfort!” around our house are several aged, nubby towels— worn from too many wash cycles -- thirsty critters, unafraid of the occasional lipstick stain, grubby palms, what-have-you.


Of course, they go into hiding when “proper folk” stop by! 
These excerpts from an olden magazine pretty well define what I’m trying to express:

To be in fashion, a towel must be new; and I find that I have very little affection for my towels until they are old.”

Company towels? Have them better than the family towels, if you please; but be sure to have the family take the “new” off. This may be hard on the family, but the wiping guest will love you more and leave behind a blessing instead of a reproach!”

Friday, August 20, 2010

Unity through Uniqueness

- Excerpted from Wisdom of Wolves by Twyman Towery, PhD.

There is not a more eerie, mournful, frightening or beautiful sound at night than the musical extravaganza of a howling wolf pack. Campers and hunters who have heard this chorus are filled with wonder, but are also usually immobilized by fear. Because of the melody of voices, it often sounds like they are surrounded by scores of wolves.

In truth, there are usually no more than 5-8 wolves howling in a pack. The secret is that the wolves are always careful not to duplicate each other. Each wolf assumes a unique pitch, respecting the distinctiveness of other members of the pack. While the notes may change, as in any beautiful song, one wolf will not copy the pitch of another.

Interestingly, this respect for the individual only emphasizes the true unity of the group. They are one, but they are individuals, each contributing to the organization in their own unique way. Every wolf has his own voice. Every wolf respects the voice of every other wolf.
While no one knows for sure why wolves sing, nature has blessed them with a talent they have perfected through the generations: They are happy, excited, playful, territorial and sorrowful; they may be simply reaffirming the spirit and unity of their pack.

After all, why do birds sing? Why do we?

An additional reason that wolves may howl is that it provides a time, a place and an event for all social barriers to be broken. Wolves have a strong social order, with each member understanding its role and place. But when wolves howl together, all barriers are dropped, as if to say, “We are one, but we are all unique, so don’t tread on us.”

The wolf symphony makes the pack appear a much more formidable foe than would be the case if they all sounded the same.

So, too, are human organizations and families more formidable when the awareness of each individual is celebrated rather than stifled.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Simple Pleasures, continued


Remember when ....
You hit your stride right about midnight?  Naturally, one requires a serious dose of Comfort Food to keep on keepin' on!
    
So, I "borrowed" this shot of my 16-yo "grand" from her FB page.  She and her BFF were celebrating their last all-nighter before heading back to school.

Me?  I'm much too old to remember what midnight feels like - LOL! ...
but I sure haven't outgrown the urge for an occasional late-night binge.  (Did I just say, occasional?)     

More often than not, it's JIF extra-crunchy peanut butter ... served icy cold on a big soup spoon.  

What's your guilty pleasure?  

_______________

Please help yourself to more Simple Pleasures over at Dayle's place.
You'll be so glad to did!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Your Valuable Friends
by Steve Goodier .................http://LifeSupportSystem.com


I heard a story about an older woman who stood in line at the Post Office. She struck up a conversation with a young man next to her. He noticed that she had no packages to mail, and asked why she was standing in line. She said that she just needed a few stamps.

"Ma'am, you must be tired standing here. Did you know there's a stamp machine over there in the corner?" He pointed to the machine built into the wall.

"Why yes, thank you," the lady replied, "but I'll just wait here a little while longer. I'm getting close to the window."

The customer became insistent.  "But it would be so much easier for you to avoid this long line and buy your stamps from the machine."

The woman patted him on the arm and answered, "Oh, I know. But that old machine would never ask me how my grandchildren are doing."

She had a need greater than the need for postage stamps - a need to feel connected to other people. And it was a need that could not be met by a stamp machine.

When Harry Truman was thrust into the U.S. presidency at the death of Franklin Roosevelt, a colleague and friend - Congressman Sam Rayburn of Bonham, Texas - gave Truman some fatherly advice.

Rayburn said, "Harry, from here on out, you're going to have lots of people around you. They'll try to put a wall around you and cut you off from any ideas but theirs. They'll tell you what a great man you are, Harry. But you and I both know you ain't." Friends can say those things to each other.

Later, when Sam Rayburn discovered that he was seriously ill, he told his friends in Congress that he was going home to Bonham for medical tests. "But there are excellent doctors and medical facilities in Washington D.C." some of them argued. "Why would you want to go to Bonham?"

"Because," the congressman replied, "Bonham is a place where people know it when you're sick, and where they care when you die."

Rayburn had a need greater than good medical assistance. He needed friends. Someone to ask how his grandchildren were doing. Someone to sit by him and stop by his home. Someone to care. A few close friends meant more than the best medical facilities in the world.

Who is such a friend to you? That person is more valuable than your greatest possession.
Have you said ... thanks?

Excerpted: LifeSupportSystem.com
_____________

On a personal note, I want to send a big bouquet of thanks to all who held my DH in your prayers earlier this week .... his news was good.
Still, we are honored to hold those who are fighting the Good Fight in our hearts and our prayers. 



Thursday, August 12, 2010

Simple Pleasures

invites us to Stop! Look! Listen!  ... to slow down and pay closer attention to the simple things in life.

So at the end of the workday, when all's said and done ... my soul's ready to absorb the "warm fuzzies."   I think the best moments in life are, indeed, the simplest!



My definition of a perfect Saturday afternoon?
Blank agenda + good book + big comfy couch.   
My eyes are growing heavy, heavy, heavy ...........


I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What the Doctor Ordered!

So, I've an unaccustomed day off. DH is due later today for his annual “poke n' peek” – his terminology for a necessary biopsy to ensure no new cancer cells have germinated. Four years clear … and counting! Your prayers are soooooo appreciated – that today marks Year #5.

Understandably we've been a bit tense …. and this morning's e-mail contained just the trigger to provoke my “funny bone.” No matter your circumstance, hope you, too, find reason to laugh aloud!

UPS Airlines

Remember, it takes a college degree to fly a plane, but only a high school diploma to fix one -- a  reassurance to those of us who fly routinely in our jobs.

After every flight, UPS pilots fill out a form, called a 'gripe sheet,' which tells mechanics about aircraft problems. The mechanics correct the problems, document the repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by UPS pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.

By the way, UPS is the only major airline that has never, ever, had an accident.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-feet-per-minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.

P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF is always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny. (I love this one!)
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics..

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

And the best one for last .....

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from the midget.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

No, I'm not particularly fond of surprises. Like the Scouts' motto cautions, “Be Prepared” …so I've journeyed.

DH regularly, gently chastises, “Why do you always jump to the 'worst case' scenario?”

Why? So I can be ready, with a Plan. Any other conclusion is like ….well, icing on the cake.   Looking back, (I rationalize) everything Awful that's ever happened to me occurred when I wasn't paying attention.

Ya, right. Can't you imagine God chuckling?

Still, I sense I'm not a lone ranger.   So today I'd like to share a meditation that speaks to my crazy impulse to wander about, cloaked in a parachute and bubblewrap ….

_______________________

Where are our minds right now? Are we focused fully? Or, are our minds wandering off to events scheduled for later today, or tomorrow perhaps? The simple truth is that this moment is all God has allowed right now. It's His design that we live fully each moment, as it comes. Therein lies the richness of our lies. Each moment contributes to the full pattern that's uniquely our own.

We must not miss the potential pleasure of any experience because our thoughts are elsewhere. We never know when a certain situation may be a door to our future. What we do know is that God often has to work hard getting our attention – perhaps allowing many stumbling blocks in order to get us back on target.

Being in tune with now, this moment, guarantees a direct line of communication to God. It also guarantees a full life. Our purpose becomes clear as we trust our steps to God's guidance. How terribly complicated we make life by living in the past, the present and the future all at once!

Let me tell thee, time is a very precious gift of God, so precious that it's only given to us moment by moment. - Amelia Barr.

Monsoon!

This is just about my favorite old "feel good" commercial spot.

If it rains all weekend, just pretend you're a duck! Quack, quack, waddle, waddle ....
(... don't forget to "mute" my playlist button!)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hurray for Hollywood!


Do you enjoy going "out" to the movies?   Since the arrival of Netflix, I’m thrilled that “date night” translates to pj’s and wings in front of our own television…. no muss, no fuss!



As is often the case, a coworker and I began our Monday, discussing our favorite movies and performances.

Neither of us is particularly fond of “pretty boys” – aka' Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise – so there was no bloodshed, scratching, hair-pulling.  :)
I'll admit, their names are synonymous with box-office gold. But, are their performances particularly memorable? Maybe. I don’t want to get into a spitting contest over something I’m sure not qualified to debate!

So, hands-down, my favorite actor is Tom Hanks.   For instance ... how many actors can perform for 90 minutes opposite a volleyball… and still suck you in? Remember that scene in Castaway when “Wilson” floated away? I wept like a baby -- over an inanimate object …. go figure!

How about you?  Has a special movie moment given you pause that lasts and lasts?
....Just curious!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'd like to thank ....

......Sweet Sandie for this cute award!


If you're not already familiar with her blog, RUN (don't walk!) on over to her spot in the sun -- http://chattycrone.blogspot.com/
Thank you, Sandie!
Yes, a few "to-do's" are in order:


1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. (Check!)

2.  Share 7 things about yourself:
     OK, other than what's already shown on my profile? ....


     a. Subtract the part about water, and I'm a "typical" Pisces.

     b. If there were "do-overs", I'd like to work as a homicide detective ... I love good mysteries!

     c. Rainy days do get me down ... but I love the snow!

     d. Are you sincere? I really try to be -- and value that trait in others.

     e. I love to travel, but still haven't conquered my fear of flying.

     f. I'm conservative - both in my politics and lifestyle.

     g. I still care WAY too much what others think of me.


3.  Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic.

Hmmm. I don't get 'round much (yet!) ... and haven't 15 followers (yet!) ...LOL.
So, I'd like to offer a big-old invitation to whomever may be passing through -
Please, help yourselves to this sweet award ....and spread some of YOU all over the place (just put on a happy faaaaace!).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Thought for the Day

Women are angels, and when someone breaks our wings,

we simply continue to fly...on a broomstick.

We are flexible.  :)