Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lessons from Thanksgiving

Martha Stewart has done many of us a great disservice. And to that list, allow me to add Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, and Southern Living magazine. Those on the list have given us the impression that it is possible to have a perfect holiday. The thirty minute lessons and the glossy color pages beckon us to attempt the impossible...if we are challenged in any way in one of the following departments. Just for kicks...let's start with the financial aspect of the "perfect Thanksgiving."

To entertain properly in the South, you not only have to have good food, you have to have enough of it to feed twice as many people as you expect to show up. That means that you can't just have one have to have at least two...or add a ham to the mix. Running out of an item means that you don't get to eat...because as the are at the back of the line...because if you aren't...that's just too tacky.

You will want your house to look somewhat festive, but probably do not have adequate storage space to launch a full decorating scheme for both Thanksgiving and you will make do with seasonal plates and napkins. You'll scour the clearance racks after Thanksgiving so that you have pretty items for the next year...and in the 364 days'll forget what you have actually acquired...and will repurchase everything. You'll try to add little touches like putting leaves and sprigs of cedar on the table. That's about as Martha Stewart as I can manage.

Never mind that Martha is on the television telling you how to make beautiful Thanksgiving centerpieces out of twigs from the yard, some deer antlers and how to weave a basket for your centerpiece from a bale of pine straw. She's only on there advising us on that because she is the only human being in existence who can actually pull that off. If you want an actual prepared to use your 40% off coupon at Michael's and then devote a closet of your home to storing it for the next twenty years. Your other option is to call a florist and be prepared to use a fair portion of your Christmas Club check to dazzle everyone for the twelve hours that those flowers will actually live. I devoted our "floral" budget to purchasing pine straw as it was quite obvious to me that the front of our house has been in a perpetual state of neglect since last Thanksgiving. I couldn't spare one of those bales for a basket...nor the 64 hours to attempt it...or the years of therapy that attempting such would have provoked.

In our family, different family members bring parts of the Thanksgiving meal so that the burden does not fall on the shoulders of the one having to clean her house and eradicate dust, dirty baseboards, cobwebs, and the like. That keeps the prep time and expense down considerably and is designed to give the hostess additional time to "visit" with everyone. The problem hour before the meal is supposed to hit the table, the hostess must go into production mode...which ironically coincides with the arrival of every single one of the guests. So, whether you are frantically putting dishes you put together yourself in the oven...or greeting people who are arriving with are not going to have time to talk to anyone except for the first people who arrive. The rest will be a blur.

I have what is referred to with my scrapbooking ladies as a "two butt" kitchen. That means that two people can be in there at any time without tripping over or silently cussing the other. Add a third person to my kitchen...and it is mayhem. In an open floor we is almost impossible to keep people out of the kitchen without resorting to holding them at gunpoint. I've had to actually kick people out or wait until someone moseyed along to get back to what needed to be done. This has resulted in a few hurt feelings over the years, but it is what it is.

Once everything is about ready to go, the order of the food on the buffet will be changed at least two times by whoever has been successful in fighting to get into the kitchen. All I know is that my original placement will never be what actually ends up happening. If I try to remember it next year...someone else will change the order entirely again. It is a losing battle...and one that I have just handed over to the people in our family who actually have a clue about what should be where. This year, I started it one way, and after two major modifications, we finally had liftoff.

Seating arrangements are also a nightmare. Looking at the pictures prominently displayed in Southern Living, it is obvious that the hostess is serving eight people. Multiply that by three, and you are getting closer to the seating arrangements from hell that are normally a part of pre-Thanksgiving planning. Nice touches like placecards make it easier for people to know what to do...especially if you have left handed people who need to sit in a certain place around the table. We have we fill in the seating around them.

This year, I checked and found that the temperature was going to be perfect for outside seating. This would have been great...except I didn't factor in the wind chill factor. Nothing like being a little breezy to completely throw the table seating into total disarray. This year, six of the eleven people who were to be seated outside braved the cold. The other five huddled around a 2'x4' coffee table in the living room. Paula Deen would have been mortified. I was as well.

I have decided that short of renting our space and catering the dinner, there is no way that I am ever going to pull off the perfect Thanksgiving. In my current state of sometimes involuntary insanity brought about by surges of hormones that are out to make me the Wicked Witch of Pike Road, I cannot manage disappointment. Unfortunately, when you are trying to make everything lovely for 24 people...disappointment is pretty much a given.

So, I am angry at Martha, Rachael, Paula, and Southern Living for making it look so effortless. I suppose I should realize that I am not a decorator, chef, gracious hostess, and logistical person at the level I would need to be to keep everyone happy. It isn't possible. I plug away at adding little touches to make people feel welcome...thanks in part to my friend Van...who threw me some pearls right before the big day. I cannot peel people off of the wall and make them feel comfortable enough to actually sit down in my home and want to be there. I never had that problem. I loved my husband's family and wanted to be a part of it. But everyone is not me. I also would be willing to bet that Martha would have found that situation a lot harder to manage than producing the perfect orange cranberry chutney.

Another sticky situation is how to involve guests. People that you would love to invite but cannot fit around the table. Or those who are there but do not know many of the people in the room. There are no easy answers to these dilemmas either.

So, despite my claims to the contrary, I will attempt this again next year. I will try to be gracious, but will also realize that I cannot be everything to everyone. I will have a table inside for the younger generation so that I am not embarrassed by their resourcefulness and so that my children are not disappointed by missing out on the precious minutes that they now have with the cousins that they grew up with who are marrying off and may eventually outgrow the trek to be with the family in favor of establishing holiday traditions of their own.

I've learned a few things this Thanksgiving that I hope I will remember next year. I've realized that it is possible to get the house ready if you take a couple of days off from work to do so...but that it would be far easier if it wasn't necessary to go into full attack mode in the cleaning realm. I also know that something is going to throw a curve ball...a turkey that won't cook right, the weather, or a blown seating chart. These don't have to deal the death blow to a perfect Thanksgiving...but if you are a perfectionist...they may deal a serious one. I'm thinking that medication might help...and if not, perhaps a pre-dinner cocktail instead despite my ban of alcoholic beverages until 2013 (when Brian turns 21.)

I hope that I have not offended people beyond repair, but it is possible that I have. Guess we'll know next year when some of them politely decline to attend. We shall see. For now...I am going out to look for some great bargains on Thanksgiving decor. Who knows? I might even make Martha look like an amateur (yeah...right.)

All in all, the day was successful. Other than my bad attitude, the delay of game from a turkey that was being uncooperative, a few people whose discomfort was obvious (family...not guests) and exhaustion, I think it was okay for many of the 24 who attended. I sincerely hope so.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Over the past month, I have noticed that a lot of people have been spending an awful lot of time waiting. Some are waiting for a difficult patch in the road of life to clear, others are finishing long term projects like degrees, and a few are waiting...but aren't exactly sure what they are waiting for. It isn't easy...this waiting.

For me, I've been waiting for something to look forward to for many months. I have a wonderful life, but there are times when I just wish it away...wanting everything to work out in such a way that it reads like a Richard Paul Evans novel or a Hallmark Christmas special. I want my children to have wonderful people enter their lives...and then they are themselves...and that means that sometimes those wonderful people leave. Those people that are not right for them...or are only meant to be someone they met on the road to wherever they are headed. On the other hand, I watch in amazement as they mature into awesome people...but am equally stunned when they make a boneheaded mistake and I am left wondering why they don't want to do more with their lives or want to reach any higher than what is right within their grasp.

I suppose that I have been waiting for the answers all of my life. By nature, I am a planner. I want to try to figure out the best way to do everything. I love surprises, but hate being blindsided. Sometimes, there is a very faint line between the two. Had I been granted the answers to some of my questions...perhaps I would have enjoyed the journey a lot more than I have. I wanted to know if I would be a wife and mother...and I am. In fact, I wanted to know the gender of both of the children before they were born...and we did. I wanted to own a home with plenty of space and a pool out back...and I do. I thought that pets would enrich my life...and they have. We chose a school for our children that we thought would give them the best chance of success...and I have not been disappointed. I was not able to reach some of my personal and professional goals, and I've decided that it is okay that I haven't in the grand scheme of things.

So, what is the problem? Why can I not just take life as it comes?

The problem is that I am waiting for something out there that gives my life meaning...instead of realizing that sometimes my life's meaning will come from just interacting with those in my path. I want the perfect son-in-law and daughter-in-law one day...but it is quite clear that I need to quit focusing on the waiting...and start focusing on and enjoying the present. After is all I know that I have.

For those of you waiting for something wonderful to a wedding day, a new baby to join your family, or for the chemotherapy to be over...I hope that it comes quickly. For those of you waiting to find some purpose in the actions of others or in your future...I hope that you will savor the little milestones that will eventually get you from point A to point Z. It is those little milestones...some of which are no larger than a pebble...that are the measured breaths that we have.

I'm finding that it comes at you mighty fast. You sit for a minute...and three years blow by. You wait and then forget what it is that you were waiting for in the first place. You remember the past and think that you can predict the future...but find that this is quite impossible. You let something that happened to hurt you put you on guard waiting for someone else to attempt to do the same...but this time you'll be ready. It is terribly sad, actually.

So, tonight I am waiting. For what exactly? I do not know. I do know that soon will be easy enough to trace in retrospect...or will be I look at photos of my children...and then of the Christmas cards that I just had printed at Costco...and I see how much they have changed in a relatively short period of time. One day, some young man and young lady will walk through the doors of my home, and I will know that they are "the ones" that will marry these children of mine and David's. For now...I just watch for the signs and hope for the best.

Waiting. It is a fact of life that none of us really likes...but that all of us have to endure at some point. We can make the most of the time...or we can complain and wish our time away. I am just hoping that I'll be more aware of how precious time really is...and that I will use that time wisely. We can find something worthy in every day and in every circumstance if we try to unearth it. And who knows...I may find that I receive far more than I ever thought I was waiting for in the first place. Here's hoping so...

Sunday, November 22, 2009


As we get prepared for the upcoming holidays, may I wish each of you who actually read this a most un-dysfunctional family Thanksgiving. I realize in so doing I am assuming that you are either planning on sleeping through the entire experience or you are a member of the Cleaver family.

At every family gathering, there are unwritten rules and there are usually elephants in the living room...and I don't mean Alabama fans or Republicans. I mean those things that we overlook by decree, or by joint understanding that to raise the issue would require intervention by a professional counselor or local law enforcement. It might be as simple as letting a relative belch at the table unchallenged, or as complicated as dealing with someone who could go in any direction in any given year...leaving a trail of destruction that may or may not require therapy.

Actually, most of us are actually energized and entertained by being in the presence of our families instead of drained and defeated. While my family and my husband's family are totally different, we each have pretty funny tales of family folklore...never to be forgotten. Thanksgiving gives us the time to sit together and reminisce...and it is always interesting!

This year, it is at my house and I am trying to figure out how I'm going to get twenty something people in this house seated at a table. As we've grown older...the grandchildren are marrying off...or other dates are joining the crowd. This year, we broke the stranglehold on who is bringing I had a moment of enlightenment that the "kids" are now on their own and somehow providing for their nourishment on a daily basis. So this year? The kids are cooking too!

I'm thankful that I have the problem of fitting too many people around my table...than too few. I'm also grateful that I have no truly heinous memories of turkeys splattered in rage on a driveway or words causing serious divisions in a family. Some people do. And while those stories make us laugh uncomfortably...they are very sad to taint a holiday and what is normally precious family time.

Enjoy your holiday. Eat turkey...and be sure to give your MeeMaw a hug. Help with the dishes, and try to overlook the elephants that might be at your family gathering. But if the po-po show up at your house...please so share...privately, of course...:)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Turning the Corner

Sometimes I spend time waiting for something to arrive...counting down the days...willing it into existence...and then I turn a corner and there it is. Today is Friday...and I have Monday and Tuesday off as well. So, I have four days to fit in a lot of activity...but I'm very happy that I have it!

Countdowns are nothing new to me. I knew from 70 weeks out when Jill would graduate. I watched the weeks melt away, watched her accept her diploma, and have seen her off to college now for her sophomore year. Now I think about things like her graduation, eventual working life...and (hopefully) marriage to a wonderful man one day.

She will be 20 in January. There is something about turning that corner...from her teens to her almost adult life...that makes me want to slam on the brakes and pull the emergency brake simultaneously. I want time to slow down a little. Brian will be a senior in high school next year, and then Big Dave and I will be empty nesters.

I am hoping that as I turn every corner in the next few months and years...that I am pleasantly surprised. I hope that Jill's Mr. Wonderful is like another son to us. I hope that Brian's Miss Everything is receptive to his half crazy parents...specifically his mother. Yet I know that there will be some corners I will turn that I will want to turn around and run but cannot. There are some corners I will turn where I will walk straight into an abyss. The only thing I do know is that I won't be alone if that is the case.

All of us turn corners every day. We realize that the package of school pictures for our 11th grader is the last school pictures we will every receive as the next set will be his senior pictures. We wonder about meeting a young man that Jill is interested in because at this point he has the potential to be "the one." We replan our Thanksgiving menu because we realize that the "kids" are grown up (one married and another engaged) and think that they might want to bring something to the feast other than rolls or ice.

Sometimes we use the term "turning the corner" to describe someone who is having a health crisis...and we are relieved when they seem to be on the road to recovery. I think that it is accurate if the corner represents change...and we are hoping for the best now that we are walking into or toward what we previously could not see, know, or understand.

This past week, my pastor resigned to start his own church. The senior pastor is taking a study sabbatical. This is the senior pastor that replaced someone who had led our church for over 30 years. Sometimes we think - or hope - that things will be the way that they are going to be forever. However, life teaches us that this is not the case. Change is inevitable. But you know...I'm still standing there waiting (with a lot of people in the congregation I would assume) for what is around the corner. I do not fear it. I just want to know more about it. So, I will I assume the crowds do in line for a blockbuster movie or a book signing with a popular author. But eventually, we will turn that corner and walk.

So, while I am excited about turning the corner on a Friday night looking forward to four days of (hopeful) productivity...I am uneasy about knowing what is around the corner at church. I am excited about the possibility of Jill's future happiness...and I am stressed thinking that my son will be heading out of the next in about eighteen months. But you know...I think that we have these twists and turns...these corners on the road of give us variety, and the opportunity to exercise our "faith muscles" and a chance to grow our hearts when others enter our lives.

Here's to turning never know what wonderful thing might be just around the bend...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On Paper

When I was a little kid reading comic books...Richie Rich and Archie primarily...I used to see an ad for sea monkeys. I don't know if was sheer repetition or some weird fascination...but I thought it would be cool to have some. I never saved up enough or hassled my mother to help me figure out how to obtain them...but I do remember thinking that they'd be cool. The problem was...I almost knew that they would not live up to what I thought they would be. In other looked good on paper...but in reality? Perhaps not so much.

Isn't it like that sometimes? You read a menu at a new restaurant and carefully choose an entree that appears to be delicious and a good value. And then you get your meal and are disappointed because it is the size of a postage stamp or it tastes like a glorified Lean Cuisine. Unfortunately for me, someone at the table will inevitably order something that looks absolutely wonderful...which will make it worse!

My mother has told me that one of her worries about me was that I always built up everything in my mind to such a degree that disappointment was destined to follow. I'd look forward to something with gusto...and then if anything wasn't exactly according to plan...I was devastated. I had not noticed this pattern until I thought of her words and gently retraced some of the threads of pain in my life. She was right (aren't they always).

I think that now I try to prepare myself for the worst so that I keep myself from that crash and burn. I fail to get attached to people because I've done so before and had to get over it. I wait until it looks good on paper before I'll even remotely consider getting my hopes up about anything. I'm very decisive when it is about preferences...but I am overly cautious now about welcoming people into my heart.

Which...for the NOT a good way to live!

For the past six months, Jill has been going out with different people instead of having a steady boyfriend. I've liked this because I thought that she needed to enjoy being 19, beautiful, and in college. I believed that a little variety was great for her. She has kept us in the loop...telling us when she was a date for an event or took someone as a date to one of hers. We've met several of them as they've passed through for a meal...or a weekend. While most of them have been very nice young was abundantly clear that they were not right for her. Almost the date version of sea monkeys...

However, a couple of weeks ago, she accepted a date from a young man who was a friend of a friend. She met him in the library. And believe me (because I have "Googled")...this one looks great on paper. He's has the qualities of someone I want her to be dating. He's smart, handsome, involved, thinking of his future and he treats her with respect. He may turn out to be as great as I hope he is. But then again...maybe he's just another person that she is meant to meet along the way to meeting who she is meant to end up with long term.

But for now...I'm having fun sharing her excitement. And taking Mama's advice...I'm trying not to get my hopes up on her behalf. After really liking one she dated years ago...maybe I've learned enough to keep everything in perspective. I certainly hope so!

Monday, November 16, 2009


There are times in our lives when we know exactly what we want to do. We see a neon sign whose message instructs or inspires us, and we head confidently out to conquer the world. We may eventually find out that we are totally wrong...but at least we had a clear vision of the path. I liken this to times when we were so sure that we just had to have the designer jeans at whatever price...until we realized that no matter how much we wanted to live in denial...we just weren't going to look like Brooke Shields or Kate Moss (pick your generational icon) in them. That's called "learning the hard way" that things don't always work out the way we want them to work out...and we suck it up and move on...broke but wiser.

But there are other times when we are just truly clueless and we are standing there completely baffled. It may be that we are too afraid to decide for fear that our decision will bring extra expense or effort that we may or may not be prepared to handle. Or it may be that we have two equally attractive but mutually exclusive choices to make. Perhaps it doesn't all depend on us...and so we wait to see how everything is going to turn out before we charge off in one direction or another.

It is generally at this point that we begin to seek advice. We may have prayed about it...weighed the alternatives...and perhaps even divided a sheet of paper down the middle and written "pros" on one side and "cons" on the other. And yet we are still baffled.

And so we dial the phone...we visit our friend...we get on e-mail. We sit our spouse down or make an appointment at Starbucks with Mom or Dad. It is at this point when we are open to and sometimes just short of begging for...advice.

Most of us have been asked our opinion on something from people that we love. If we have young children in our lives...we have no doubt been asked hundreds of time what we think about pictures drawn, outfits chosen, or even new music. Our little people see us as strong and intelligent...and rarely wrong.

And then they turn into teenagers...which means that overnight we turn into less intelligent, hopelessly outdated, or just plain wrong. Some of the time anyway!

The most difficult part of parenting, though, is knowing when to give advice. Sometimes it is hard to know when our "two cents worth" is worth two cents...and when it is worth its weight in gold. I have also found that it is extremely difficult to know which it is at any given point in time.

We have the benefit of seeing patterns in life. Of knowing the signs of trouble...seeing the patterns of potential. We watch them struggle with choices and we know almost instinctively which way will be the best way for them to travel. Yet, sometimes, we are wrong. We believe that one direction is better than another, and when we see them headed off in the one not of our choosing...we don't exactly know what to do.

And so we dial the phone...we visit our friend...we get on e-mail. We sit our spouse down or make an appointment at Starbucks with Mom or Dad. It is at this point when we are open to and sometimes just short of begging for...advice.

Scary, isn't it?

At some point...we have to just trust that it will all work out the way that it should. Short of stopping them from doing permanent damage or allowing them to head down a dangerous path...we at some point just have to trust that we have taught them well...and that God is in control.

I don't want to rob my children of the opportunity of making their own mistakes. Big mistakes? No. But little ones that teach them the value of planning properly, preparation, and being sure to guard their heart...absolutely. It is those lessons that give them the foundation of wisdom...and also give them the confidence in themselves to achieve more than they believe they can.

So, my advice to those who have teenagers? Stay involved but in the background. Speak your mind, but allow them to do the same. Give them space, but show them the value of boundaries.

I know that I've hovered in a couple of areas as I've watched my children grow to maturity. As their mother, I knew what they were and were not ready to handle. But the older they get...the more I realize that my role is more to be an active observer and less of an active participant in their lives. I'm basically sitting on the bench looking for an opportunity to get in the game. But if I do a lot more bench sitting than I do running these days...that's all part of the plan.

So, if you are stressing out...relax. Breathe. Expect the best. Even if we are given a free class at the school of hard will eventually all be for our good. That's my advice to you for the day. Pass it back to me sometime if I need it...will you?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


We are all connected. Every one of us. We have families, neighbors, friends, classmates, congregations, teammates, or possibly even fans or followers. There are phenomenons such as "Six Degrees of Separation" or what we call a "small world". We are so accustomed to this that we almost take it for granted.

Technology has made it possible for the world to get even smaller. As a college student, I made one telephone call a week to check in with people. My daughter - who is currently in college - and I connect by cell phone...or at least text message...every day. E-mail and social media like Facebook and Twitter make it possible for us to stay connected.

Perhaps in being connected, we stop thinking about how our decisions affect other people. We make an offhand comment...and do not realize that someone has taken it unfavorably. So, we offend people without meaning to...and because they decide to let it go...a brick is laid in a wall. More offense...more bricks. Eventually, you can't see over the wall...and no longer care enough to go around it.

Growing up in a small quickly learn that a lot of people are related to a lot of other people that you wouldn't you'd better watch what you say. As we move on in life...we forget that. We express ourselves to people with belief systems like ours...often forgetting that we differ spiritually, politically, regionally, and emotionally...among others. Sometimes we have to choose to love each other in spite of rather than because of. It isn't easy...but it is a decision that often has unbelievable rewards. Just being friends with people like us limits us and our perspective. The decision to love those who are on the surface unlovable to us teach us to be more like Jesus.

Life presents us with opportunities every day to make decisions. A simple trip to Starbucks can be overwhelming to those who don't like making choices. What we eat, who we spend time with, and what we do for a living all impact the quality of our lives. And all of these came to be by a series of decisions we made either consciously or unconsciously through the years.

I have thought about decisions a lot in recent weeks. Perhaps it is because I have seen instances of very wonderful decisions and very poor ones up close and personal of late. Maybe it is because I am listening to election returns and thinking that somewhere in the state of Virginia...a lot of people went to the polls today as the result of decisions that needed to be made.

Decisions are what define us. Doing the right thing can bring us golden memories, and doing the wrong thing can bring us toxic ones. We love stories where everything lines up...because we know how easily everything can turn awry. Every love story we hear would have been different had one of the parties failed to give the other a chance...eventually. Every one of us has fleeting thoughts that wonder what our lives would have been like had we decided to do something differently than we did.

There are many important decisions that we make every day...but the most important one is whether we choose Life by trusting God. That one decision will not just affect how our life goes here...but how it will go when we leave.

Whether we choose to pick up the telephone and check on a friend, pick up our pens and write a few lines, or attend an event that will mean someone to know we are there are all decisions that we make every day...and hardly notice. So many of us spell love T-I-M-E.

As for me...I'm choosing to look at everything I do a little more critically. I don't always think about how what I do affects other people. There are so many decisions in life...that I suppose that I want to be more intentional about the decisions I make. As earlier stated...we are all connected. I want to make good decisions that bring people closer to God than careless ones with eternal consequences.

Here's hoping that the good choices prevail...

Monday, November 2, 2009

How Are You?

Many of you know that I had surgery last Wednesday. It was as awful as surgery always is but since it did what it accomplished...I'm just happy that it is over. Being put to sleep is difficult. Finding out after the fact that the people putting you to sleep had trouble getting the tube down your throat was a little tough to hear. And having more stitches than Frankenstein just in time for Halloween might have been appropriate, but it certainly wasn't ideal.

But enough of the whining.

I had friends bring delicious meals for two days. There were sweet cards sent from friends and coworkers. My mother gave me her undivided attention for three days...for the first time in a long time. My daughter and son were sweet to me, and my husband was the gem that he often is when I need him most to be.

But now that the dust has cleared and I know everything works the way it is supposed to work because the surgeon did his job...I am left with the question that I hardly know how to answer..."How are you?"

Do I tell the truth? I mean...I either do that or refuse to answer under normal circumstances. Because at one point today, I did just that. A sweet friend text messaged me the dreaded which I responded..."Feeling like Sigourney Weaver in 'Alien'"...which I suppose might have been a classic overshare.

Do I say..."I'm just fine! Thank you so much for asking!" when I am miserable? Do I hold my chin up? It just seems so close to lying that I just can't do it.

So, I speak the truth. I tell people (if they ask) that I am happy that the surgery is over. I am. I also talk about the good things...making of friends...because these are real and very positive. I've learned that at least for the short run...certain foods are on the "heck no" list. I'm hoping that this will help me in the long run.

I've also learned a few things being under the weather...

There are people who will tell you everything you could possibly not want to know about your upcoming surgery...for your own good.

You're never too old to want your Mama.

Water actually has a taste.

Daytime television totally bites.

There are a lot of things you'd love to do because you have nothing else to do...but you are far too tired to do them.

The phone is for your convenience...not that of everyone else.

People care.

Time heals.

God is in control.