Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thoughtful Tuesday

One of the things that may get in the way of people being lifelong learners is that they’re not in touch with their passion. If you’re passionate about what it is you do, then you’re going to be looking for everything you can to get better at it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

In This World

Monumental things are breaking around my house at warp speed and, unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about it but add more to-do items to the task list that I’m already frantically trying to finish before I leave for the West Coast.  I even adopted a new code phrase that speaks volumes about what’s happening around me, “garage door”.  The code emerged from a dire situation the other day and is indicative of the pace I’m running around here.  I was leaving the house and closed the automatic garage door that … well, was not so much automatic anymore and did nothing when I pressed the button. 

AaRrrghghh!!! Garage door!!

I growled, exasperated, because it wasn’t so much that something else broke or needed attention but more that it would take so much more energy and phone calls and appointments to get it fixed.  And…..I’m running out of time!! 

And then, just when this huge amount of pressure began to mount in my chest and my breathing began to simulate a chick in labor…I had a startling and not-so-great revelation.  

I have been acting as though I am entitled to a day without frustration or opposition or challenge.  I have been caught up in my own whirlwind of need and letting childlike temper tantrums erupt when things don't go my way.  

I can’t help but wonder when did this entitlement attitude creep into my being because I know better! I know this... 

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:17 NIV

So, as I was contemplating my response to my to-do list, I had a nature-friend come visit me on the windshield as I drove. 

...and, I was reminded to gaze upon the beauty and newness that each day brings.

In this world, garage doors will break, glasses will be sat on and electronic things won't work when you really, really need them to.  It's part of the plan, I guess.  How else did Jesus know to tell us that we will have trouble?  How else would he know we would need encouragement when we faced trouble?  

So, take heart with me, my friends, we know one who has overcome the world.

... and don't forget to breathe normally. lol ;)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's done! 

I've done everything that I could possibly do to prepare our house to sell and am excited that as of April 1st.. it's officially "on the market".  I've claimed this weekend a celebration and rest and as such, I headed off to one of my favorite spots.

I bounced into the library to pick up a few new goodies and nearly jumped out of my own skin with excitement when I saw the poster announcing my local branch now carries Blu-Ray movies!!  While I didn't see any that I was interested in, I did happen to pick up quite a stack of dvd movies.  I love my library...books, movies, magazines...learning and culture... all available at my fingertips!

I can't believe how much money I am saving by utilizing free resources.  

It's a weekend of Johnny Depp's biography, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Corrie Ten Boom's story in The Hiding Place and a host of others that are sure to be entertaining and enlightening.

Ahhh...I'm really ready to take a rest. Popcorn, anyone?  ;)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Love & Faith

Theatre Dude is a teenager.... a seventeen year old, 6'1", 240 lb, semi-beard sportin' teenager.

He defies culture by not buying clothes at the younger generation's hot spots like Hollister, American Eagle or the Gap; but instead looks towards wearing items that send a different kind of message.  He spends hours scouring different resources online and then spends days anticipating the new item's arrival.

His latest endeavor finally arrived despite several weeks of back-order.  With much delight, he ripped into the package, donned his choice and said, "Well...what do ya think?"

Instantly, I was transported back to the 80's with Wham singing, "Wake Me Up Before You Go", and watching the video of George Michael dance around in a white t-shirt with big block letters that spelled "Choose Life".  

"I love it", I exclaimed!

It's what I want most for him to have in his heart and display in his life. 

Love & Faith.   ;)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thoughtful Tuesday

"We need 4 hugs a day for survival.  We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.  We need 12 hugs a day for growth."

- Virginia Satir

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dog-gone Monday!

There are days when having two puppies, not quite six months apart, seem to take all of the energy I can muster in one day.  And, just when I am tiring of their constant needful watch and maintenance requirements, one or both of them do something that makes me fall in love with them all over again.  

For instance, I am teaching them a new trick using the "capturing" method of training where you take advantage of something that the puppies do normally and reward them with a marker word and praise and/or a treat.  So, knowing that both of the boys throw their bodies into full-body shakes on a regular basis, I decided that their shaking could be a trick that they could do called "hippy, hippy shake!".  

Well, lo and behold, I tried to capture Copernicus performing his hippy, hippy shake! only to reveal a photo in which his ears look much more like propellers that are driving him backward.  

Then, there was a moment of sweetness captured on the stairs. 

...and my heart melts once again as I grab their leashes for another trip outside so that they can do their business again.  Yep, it's a Dog-gone Monday. ;)

Friday, March 20, 2009

He Started It

My life as a change agent, charged with pushing through barriers of stagnation, is proving to be exhilarating, scary, whirlwind-y and full of "wow...that's new!" exclamations.  My role recently ramped up by orders of magnitude when Mr. Smart Guy and I chose to pursue the Coastal Craziness route and it seems that now each day brings new change in some variation.  I've been hurdling giant leaps of "what was" and donning my fantastic looking bifocals so that I could clearly see "what might be" ahead of me.  

...but now, in the midst of major life change, I need to make a cell phone decision??


Ok, ok, ok.  Let me settle down a bit so that I can fill you in on the details without all of the temperamental fits of expletives. lol

My cell phone (by which I'm attached to semi-permanently because I don't own a house phone or an alarm clock and am a textin' fool) had been sending me signals for a week or two.  You know the kind of signals, the ones that alert you to the device's impending electronic death.  So, with a half-hearted strategy, I started to look at my available options and decided I needed to talk it over with Mr. Smart Guy.  I grabbed my phone, entered the speed-dial number and ... a silent death occurred. That was it!  It died.  Quickly, suddenly and despite my no-plan-of-action self.  I was, for the first time in a long time, without a working phone.

I sat there totally befuddled and wondered what I was going to do.  Aha! ...an idea popped into my head!  I snuck into Theatre Dude's room to get his phone and as I stepped ever so lightly to his nightstand, "MOM!  What are you doing", he screamed.  (so much for lightly, eh?)  I tip-toed out of his room and proceeded to call Mr. Smart Guy. After several minutes of mourning to him about my cell phone situation he quickly stopped me and said, "Baby, just go get an iPhone".  

With my heart pounding out of my chest at the thought of such an extravagant gift and knowing that he has been wanting an iPhone forever, I peeped, "Are you sure?  Um, let me just check it out tomorrow morning and I'll let ya know". So, we talked, laughed and then ended our conversation in our usual way of terms of endearment and affirmations of love.

The next morning I set off to the stores but once I had the iPhone in my hand there was no turning back; I had to have it! But, it felt so weird to buy an Apple product on my own without Mr. Smart Guy by my side asking all of the deep technical questions while I proudly stood on the sidelines admiring him.  

It was an even stranger experience when I got home and had to set up the phone a la solo.  I managed to get the phone and all of the accessories out of their packaging before tears started to pour down my cheeks as I slipped into this huge void of sadness.  You see, Mr. Smart guy is the one who started it all; my love affair with Apple.  He is the one who helps me understand how to work all things electronic and keeps me well-stocked with the latest techie goodies.  It's him, the smart one, who gets the new thing all ready and then hands it to me ready to go.

Anyway, I launched myself into another adventure of iChange and continue to press on with my mission as change agent.  Only this time ... it's change agent with an iPhone!   btw...the phone is crazy cool! ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Freedom to Change

In an effort to ready our house for selling, I decided that the baby, er...Miniature Schnauzer, gates needed to come down.  The three gates have been a mainstay in raising the puppies this past year and have helped to contain them to a manageable portion of our home.  But, there is a time for all of us to evolve and mature and have a little freedom to find, grow and explore new things.

... so the gates came down.

Copernicus, just barely over one year old, took to the newfound freedom quite fast.  He quickly went off to find his new boundaries without any hesitation or reservation.  He loved the newness of it all and then came back to get his brother to join him.  Copernicus then began to entice Newton into a game of chase so that he too could discover the great new space.  He loved the change and wanted his brother to feel the same way!


But, baby brother had some trepidation.  It was questionable how Newton, now just a mere six months old, would handle so much space albeit he's the more adventurous and wild one of the two.

It took him awhile to realize that the gates were down and he was surprisingly more cautious than his brother.  He kept looking back into the previously gated space as though he really wasn't sure he wanted to find out what was outside of the gates.  He wanted the new without leaving the old.

... and isn't that just like us?  

Sometimes we engage the change in our lives without hesitation and just drive right into the unknown like Copernicus did.  Then, there are those times when we just can't seem to push ourselves out of the comfort zone and into something new like Newton experienced.

Change is such a crazy mixture of  the "stop" and "go" that we experience throughout the movement of seasons within our lives.

For Newton, it took his brother's game of chase before he went into the new areas.  He needed the security of retaining something of the old with him as he went into the new.     

Once in the new spaces, he ran and ran and played with his brother and reveled in all of the fun! Sprawled out and panting he landed at my feet as if to say, "Thanks for all of this freedom!"

I hope that after all of the seasons of change and the maturing and the growing and the refining, I will resemble Newton's stance:  a smile on my face, totally out of breath, looking heavenward and shouting, "Thanks for all of this freedom!"

I vow to take all that comes my way today and delight in the freedom to change.  Won't you?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Reality

The company, who made headlines all around the nation, but even more so here because they were headquartered in this city, have finally closed their stores.  Once known as a solid company with engineers that developed leading-edge technologies had somehow stumbled down the wrong product and marketing paths which seem to have ultimately led to it's demise.  

It was just a short 12 years ago that Mr. Smart Guy took a position with this company that brought us to Richmond from Seattle.  His career grew leaps and bounds within the company until years later when it was time for Mr. Smart Guy to move on to a different company.  But, I think we both have a big soft spot in our hearts for this company because we talked about it much as we watched their stock prices plummet to the ground. My friends, some long term employees, have faced the inevitable severance packages and lay-off notices and are now trying to make their way through the reality of unemployment.  

However, it still took me by surprise when I went to another store next to where Circuit City used to be.  I looked at the now empty building and logo-less store front and felt the weight of our economy crashing down on my city.  With tears in my eyes I feel like I am grieving yet another loss. 

Only this loss is somehow tied to the gratefulness that's in my heart for the opportunities and advancements that were afforded to Mr. Smart Guy while he was with the company.  

The reality is ... I have to say another sad goodbye. ;(

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Day

The alarm went off and I quickly but peacefully silenced it.  Nonplussed by it, I went back to a blissful sleep only to wake up thirty minutes later to the panicking realization I had to be somewhere important in less than an hour. Then, I suddenly heard my internal voice giving loud commands to my external and almost non-cooperative body.

hurry up

get in the shower

wait, we need coffee first!

hurry up

I dashed into the shower and started my morning routine through a foggy, semi-coherent state. One peek out the bedroom window to assess the weather and....


Not only is there an inch of snow on the ground but it was still snowing!  Oh, no!  Doesn't the universe know that today is THE DAY.  sheesh!  Then my internal voice started spitting out sentence fragments with a frenzied rhythm.

hurry up

extra time for snow removal

today is THE DAY!

extra time to warm up the car

today is THE DAY!

where is our coffee??

hurry up

I gathered myself as best I could, donned my coat and with no more time to spare, I ventured outside.

Today is THE DAY!

I am "street-legal"...my official day to drive and meet with my neurologist who stylishly sports snakeskin boots and plays loud rock music in the operating room.  

All systems checked and approved.  

I am free to move about the earth in my Volvo.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is it Just Me?

Wait...it's an honest question and one that I posed to myself as I organized the contents of my dresser.  

Is it just me or are my underwear too tight? 

Before you think it's TMI and turn away, I promise not to divulge any personal, non-fit issues ok?  But, here's my dilemma:

same brand + same size + same style = not the same fit! 

I demand to know what is happening in the undergarment industry!  Are there no quality control standards?  I think the proof is in my drawers (so to speak). 

If I were scientifically minded and wanted to pose a hypothesis I would probably frame the statement around a gender issue.  The guys in my home (and when they were still at home) don't have this issue at all.  They buy a 3-pack of the same brand, same style and voila!  No complaints from them.  

It must be a chick thing.

Anyway, I sorted through the drawer agonizing over the newly erected "to go" pile and now looking at the much smaller "keep" pile.  I added up the approximate cost of the "to go" pile and wanted to scream!  **aaggghhhh** (yelled really, really loud!)

What's a chick to do?  

** sigh**

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sweet Savings

The economy is hitting hard and most of us are tightening up the purse strings or briefcase strings or wallet strings or money jar lids or piggy bank slots.  I'm still scouring around looking for ways to reduce expenses.  So far, I've come up with a few things I vow to start doing and thought I would share them with you just in case you were interested.  Are you reducing expenses, too?  Please leave me at least one tip, or more if you have them, that you are currently employing to save money. 
  • Cancelling satellite tv (as soon as The Biggest Loser season is over)
  • Making my own laundry detergent (as soon as I can drive and get to the store for ingredients)
  • Doing away with dryer sheets (replacing them with vinegar rinse in the wash)
  • Not getting professional manicures and pedicures (in progress)
  • Will start cooking more at home (in progress)
  • Switched from body wash to bar soap (in progress)
  • Experimenting with store brand products (in progress)
Ok, what about you? ;)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Friend

***   ***   ***

Wow..I am practically falling all over myself with excitement because I won an award over at The One-Minute Writer blog. It's a great site that I love and please take a second, or a minute, to go check it out.  It is exactly what the name implies; there is a writing prompt for the day and a timer for 60 seconds.  It's fun, creative and a blast to see what I can come up with and then also see what others contribute to the prompt.

The prompt yesterday was "Reflect on how your life has changed since March 5, 2004" and my entry (remember, I only had one minute) was this:

Hurricane Katrina slammed into the gulf coast of Mississippi in August, 2005. The storm wreaked havoc, chaos and loss for many people but for me it brought a mom and her two kids into my home and into my heart. The family stayed with me for about six months before returning home to Mississippi.

The hurricane: awful beyond words.

The friendship: God-given.

Coincidentally, I had intended on writing about my friend, Angi, today anyway so I think it's great to add the award about her on top of a tribute to her.

This chick from the hurricane, now my best friend, just came into town for a few days to help me while I recover from back surgery.  So I thought I would make some "What I love about her is..." statements so that maybe you'll get to know her and realize how special she is too!

What I love about Angi is ...

  • how she loves God with all of her heart.
  • her ability to throw down a fantastic meal!
  • the way she sings a song to someone to make them feel better.
  • her innate ability to appreciate and affirm others.
  • how you can see her tonsils when she throws her head back laughing!
  • how readily she offers love and support to her friends.
  • that she's crafty and scrapbook'y and really good at it!
  • when we Skype, words are barely needed because of the funny faces she makes!

So, Angi ... here's to you, my friend!

Friday, March 6, 2009


I made my way into the kitchen this morning to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a breakfast cookie and crashed into truth. Truth that so many people are hungry right now and struggling to meet such a basic biological need for survival.  

And, then I began to pray.

I prayed for the two children that my husband and I sponsor through Compassion:  Cheik lives in Burkina Faso where the life expectancy of a male is 50.5 and Alfred lives in Uganda where  85% of the population lives below $1 a day.

I prayed for you.  

I prayed that you have an abundance of food and gladly give to others who need it.

I prayed for our country.

I prayed that our government would begin to build infrastructure that help the hungry and needy yet prevent exploitation of programs.

And then I prayed for me.  

I prayed that I would be sensitive to the needs of others and use my resources for their good.

 Global Food Crisis Day

Will you join me and do something about it, please?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Mystery

The mystery shifts within me
emotions pour out like rain
The kind of rain that stops and starts
hinging normalcy with pain

The wonder of melted feelings
as they burst together in song
A torrent of what is and what was
as my heart begins to long

In search of authenticity
despite the desire to hide
A future I see ahead of me
Allowing my heart to decide

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day

I'm thankful today that I can gaze out the window and take in the beauty of the landscape around me now dressed in white.  Big flakes fell throughout the night and accumulated to almost 11".  Schools, businesses and everyone in between has declared today a Snow Day.   ;)