Friday, April 30, 2010


Some of the Facebook groups that I see crack me up, but one that has been seen just about every day for the past week has been "it is better to have loved and lost than to have stayed with an idiot." Oh, it is funny on the surface, but if you really think about it, that humor is only masking the fact that we can relate - on some level - to an enormous amount of pain lurking underneath.

This year, I've either watched personally or from afar, the unraveling of marriages, relationships and friendships. It is like watching a bullfight without the shouts of "Ole!" and the sport of it all. The bottom that someone is going down in the end.

There are people who are victims of someone else's stupidity, selfishness or lust, just as there are people who have finally given up on being happy in their present circumstances and are out amid the thistles looking for a greener pasture. The truth is...Satan is looking to devour families and the people who comprise those families. And as difficult as it is, you either have to choose to hold on, or you have to step out of their way. Either way, you have to follow what God has to say about it.

Pain can make people become either very vocal or very withdrawn. Those that are vocal have to ensure that they are not breaking biblical mandates no matter how they are wronged. Two wrongs don't make a right as we all know. While the whole "eye for an eye" thing is very attractive...we are basically taught to submit to our husbands as unto the Lord. We rebel against submitting to an idiot...but God brought him to us and we stood in front of Him or at least a justice of the peace and we agreed to this arrangement. So, submission even in a ridiculous circumstance is what God will honor. Even if the other party broke every promise he made and stomped on a couple of the commandments in the process.

On the other hand, husbands are supposed to love their wives as they love themselves. So, if the tables are turned, he is called to love her even if she is the one who is "out to pasture" so to speak. As long as we are doing what we are called to do - as difficult as that sometimes is - God will straighten it out in His His time. Plus, leaving the vengeance in His hands is really healthier for everyone involved. Except, of course, the person who is unrepentant and started the whole mess in the first place. In that might want to clear the area.

I know that this is a touchy subject, but I also know that there is not a single person who really knows what to do to help someone who is hurting - short of praying for them, helping them move, or handing them Kleenex. I mean, we want to go rip someone a new one but the truth is...we honestly don't know what is going on in someone's life...much less their heart. Even those that are closest to us.

I hope that my sweet friends that are going through difficulties of the heart right now will find peace. It is a pretty tall order considering that most of the time they find themselves shaken to the core by the ordeal. But sometimes it is just necessary to trust that eventually the clouds will lift, the sun will shine, and that there are better days ahead. The real choice that one has in these circumstances is whether to walk with God through it, or to walk alone. In our strength, we will lash out, attempt to win, and will - in the process - make life much harder than it already is. That's a painful realization...but it is what it is.

We can't change people's hearts - only God can do that. We may be the catalyst to turn someone's heart back toward Him if He chooses to use us in that way, or we might hold someone's hand through a valley. What we have to do - when our trust is already on life support - is to trust that God has allowed it and will bring comfort to get through it. Trust built on His promises and knowing that eventually we might understand how everything went awry - or not.

So, for those of you who are walking through some mighty tough times today...know that someone is praying for you. Know that someone feels your heart writhing in pain and is hurting along with you. Believe that God allows some things into our lives because His ultimate goal is to give all of us the opportunity to get to heaven. Even those that we'd really like to see headed south for the long winter. A LONG winter.

Anyway, for those of you who are going through these types of painful situations right now...know that it will get better. He is right there with you if you will just hand Him your pain and will do what He expects of you. It pains all of us who care about you to see you going through this, but hope that you also know that we have you in our thoughts and prayers. If you need us...let us know. We're rooting for you to come out stronger and closer to Him on the other side. Hang in there.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The NFL, Colt McCoy, and Relationships...Odd Bedfellows, Yes?

For those of you who know me well, it should come as no surprise that I have found a new obsession. During the fall months, I am glued to SEC football and was rewarded last year with a National Championship courtesy of the Alabama Crimson Tide. It was kind of a bonus in a way since I'm giving them my firstborn to educate...and they provided me an awesome season that made it cool to jump up and down in my living room. Seemed like a fair trade to me.

Last week, missing football and wanting a reprieve from the political world...because November can't get here quickly enough...I started watching the NFL Draft. I thought it would be fun to watch those players that I've followed for the past several years land on an NFL team somewhere. I haven't been a fan of the NFL since I was far younger and the Falcons made it to the playoffs one year as the "Miracle Falcons." When the miracles stopped coming...I pretty much stopped watching.

Now with the likes of Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, Ben Tate, and Rolando McClain hitting the big show, I think I'll probably be watching some games this Fall. While this is great for entertainment value, it can be a bit much if I turn it into a full blown interest. Most of my friends do not appreciate my musical tastes...and I can see that this whole NFL thing would definitely be another thing to make them question my sanity. Great.

But as I was watching last night, I saw the most incredible exchange between Colt McCoy and the interviewer regarding his fiancee. He stated that they met, hung out a bit, and then he pursued her for two months before she'd agree to go out with him. Then when she finally relented...she brought her friends on their date. In spite of these roadblocks, he just kept pursuing her...and she now has a ring on that finger after a proposal on the Longhorns field complete with "Will You Marry Me?" on the Jumbotron.

Seeing this made me's a young man who by his position alone as the quarterback of the Texas Longhorns could have dated a ton of young women. He could have pretty much done what he wanted and people might have looked the other way. With the aggressiveness I've seen in some young must have taken a lot of restraint to not just be a wild man and give in to that pressure. But he waited until he met someone worth chasing...and then he pursued her and won her heart.

That's the kind of love story that I want for the young women in my life that I care about. Not this waiting and wondering if he is ready to give up his "freedom" in exchange to date them. I want to see someone in pursuit of them that sees their value and honors that perception by treating her like the princess that she is...a daughter of the King.

In this day and age, you can pull up videos of Spring Break and be horrified. But there have always been prostitutes in the temple, groupies, and people with no boundaries. MTV has not helped out much in this regard...since they put "reality" television shows out there that make a certain percentage of the young population believe that this type of behavior is normal. With cell phones with cameras in every pocket, the internet, and the blogosphere, it is easy to make one mistake that defines you, and with all of the other temptations of life out is easy to be reduced to a pile of rubble over time. (See: Lindsey Lohan, Amy Winehouse, etc.)

In watching that exchange last night I realized that there really are guys out there who know the meaning of self-discipline, the proper role for a male in this society, and self-respect. The dream is alive! There may not be perfect men abounding out of every nook and cranny, but there are young men who are still trying to do things the way that we tell our daughters to expect it, and there is still hope that all is not lost in terms of how men should behave. Thank goodness...I was beginning to wonder.

I needed to see this after having a particularly poor example of the demise of chivalry yesterday in Costco. I was standing there with a gallon of milk and eggs in my hand when a line cleared. A man with a cart jumped in front of me and never looked at the fact that I had two items...or that I was even standing there. Bonehead. He was a little older than me, and all I could think was how big a loser do you have to be to feel okay running down a lady with two items. Jerk. I said - out loud - to the guy who was helping the cashier..."chivalry is dead"...hoping that Mr. Linebreaker would overhear. Sadly, the helper said, "yes ma'am, it is."

I also had heard about an exchange yesterday where someone stated that he needed more "space" to figure things out. Really? Space...codeword for "I'm a man-child." Which I suppose is perfectly fine if you are indeed a man-child. At least it is better to know this status so that one can run...not walk...away. Relationships that are worth having are work. Work is not always fun...but there is generally a reward at the end. Wanting the illusion of a relationship but not being willing to fight for one means that you are totally undeserving of one. I mean, anyone not ready to work should not be even putting a toe into the relationship pool at all. Getting in there with floaties on is just absurd. But sadly, girls put up with this infantile behavior and get their hearts stomped on for absolutely no reason.

So, in light of my day yesterday...hearing Colt and Rachel's story made me smile. It is good to know that there is hope. That there are still men out there among the boys. To know that a woman can still attract a real man if she stays true to her standards. Because according to what these poor young girls are being fed these days...they think that they have to be the aggressor in the relationship.

Not so. Not ever. Because it's not right. Review God's instruction manual for relationships and you'll see that it is HIS role to be the pursuer. If he isn't pursuing...he either isn't ready or is just too dang lazy for a relationship.

I don't know how I started out writing about the NFL and ended up talking about relationships. Guess I'm just really enchanted with that sweet story. Part of it is that I'm a Colt McCoy fan. This kid is like a quiet Tim Tebow...a good kid who is a Christian...and who just lives out his faith. I will be watching him play for the Browns, and I suspect that he will have a wonderful career ahead of him...and in all likelihood...a wonderful marriage.

I wish them the best.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Tonight as I was driving home, I started thinking as I rode in my daughter's former Miata. The Miata was actually my sister, Linda's former car as well...and it is a 1991 model that still runs beautifully. Big Dave will not part with it, nor will I let him. It needs a paint job and the stereo comes in and out, but those are easily remedied when Big Dave quits working 16 hour days. To me, the car is perfect just as it is. When the wind is in my hair, and I'm getting an incredible number of miles to the gallon...I'm happy. Knowing that it was once driven regularly by two of my favorite people makes me smile.

Oh, I could focus on what needs to be fixed, but I learned a long time ago that perfection is highly overrated. It is also quite the cruel taskmaster. I figured that if I was focused on being perfect at something...I was never going to actually get anything done. So, I try for excellence, but left the baggage associated with perfection somewhere around gate 22 of life, and never went back to reclaim it.

I read about different celebrities that are enhancing this or that yet can't seem to manage to live a life anywhere close to something I'd want to emulate. To me, part of the perfection of some people is their imperfections, actually. I figured that if I can accept their worst and still love them anyway...then perhaps the reverse is also true...and they can love me in spite of mine. Sometimes it is the one thing that someone can do exceedingly well that endears them to us, and other times it seems to be the things that they do that drive us crazy that are the most memorable about them as time goes on. Life is funny like that.

My mother is a beautiful woman. She always has been. She is also one of those remarkably upbeat and nice people although she has been tagged with a curve ball or two in her life. She likes to laugh and she tends to see the good in people before she notes the bad but she has a keen eye for seeing things as they really are just the same. She loves to perform, and when she is on stage, she really is quite remarkable. It is fun to see her on stage because I actually buy into the fact that she is whatever character she is portraying. She's honestly that good. But she never tried to make me into her mold. Sometimes I think that she didn't understand me very well, but she loved me anyway and figured that I'd eventually land on my feet.

My sister is also a remarkable woman. She has always been one of those people that other people just adored. She has friends all over the country...and all over the world. She has traveled extensively, and has been a resident of France for the better part of the past decade. Challenges don't really bother her, and little things like language barriers and a house full of stepchildren never stopped her from following her heart. She is now the mother to two incredibly beautiful children and she makes an effort to make sure that they understand that they are not only French citizens...but American citizens as well. She dreams of them having a broad education...with the best of their two worlds...and she enthusiastically celebrates every holiday in France...even those that the French do not recognize. The effort that she puts in to each of these celebrations is beyond amazing.

I also have an awesome daughter. She is not only beautiful, but she is a rational and loving person who will one day...although she isn't rushing a terrific wife and mother. She is enjoying being young but she knows that she is edging closer to adulthood and all that brings every day. She longs to have some of her life figured out because she wants to rest in the confidence of knowing that her dreams will come true. Don't we all. I just know that our family feels complete when she is home and like something is missing when she is in Tuscaloosa. She brings that much light.

As for me, I suppose that I am what Dr. Kevin Leman calls a "defeated perfectionist" in his "Birth Order Book" - which means that if I can't be perfect at something...I refuse to try. I'm not really afraid of failure, and I've relaxed my definition of perfect in recent years as I've trusted God to use me however He chooses. Sometimes that means that I'll discover a knack for something I didn't really know I could do because God gives me a peace about it. Other times, it turns into such a colossal failure that I learn to laugh about...eventually. Aren't we all pretty much like that, though?

Perfection is one of those unattainables for me, but I know it when I see it. In my family, I'm surrounded by people who have perfect aspects and who make my life so much richer than it would have been without them. I have friends who say the perfect words at the perfect time...and I have a relationship with the One who is perfect in all ways. I suppose that in time...I'll also have two perfect children of the heart to love in addition to the two that God gave Big Dave and me that we are trying to raise properly.

Today I am hoping for a perfect day. A day where I am able to focus on the work that He has given me to do, and where my spirit is at peace. One of those glorious days where I can drive the Miata around with the top down and feel the sunshine on my skin and the breeze in my hair. Or I can hear the laughter of those wonderful women in my family on the other end of a phone or charging through my memories as my grandmother's spirit tends to do. I can only hope that I'll be able to take the less than perfect parts of my life and make them into something beautiful and productive. And that my friends will notice...and give me the confidence to keep trying by their wonderful words of grace.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Today has been one of those days where I've wanted to just curl up in the fetal position on my couch and hope that Tuesday will be better. It hasn't been a terrible's just not been fun. Not even remotely. I hate to whine when there are people dealing with far bigger issues than a close brush with pantyhose, but...

I'm going to whine anyway.

I've been between being incredibly grateful for life as I know it and wanting to slap somebody today. Things that are normally not a problem for me to deal with have put me on a wrestler on steroids or a reality TV star without drama. I'm not really sure if it is hormones, exhaustion, lack of carbohydrates, Al Sharpton on TV, having a dining room table that seems to breed junk mail or realizing that I have six months worth of pasta on hand but no napkins in the house that was the ultimate tipping point...but trust me...something certainly was.

On my list of general complaints:

Brian's junior year term paper. In working with him...I've already learned everything I've ever wanted to know about Stephen Crane...thank you very much. In two weeks, I will never want to hear the words "Stephen Crane" uttered again. Who am I kidding? I'm already there.

Calling people listed on my tax return who are not overjoyed that I have called. I find that I am most often competing with reruns of "Sons of Anarchy", the 32nd XBox game of the day or random ant massacres...and my competition always wins.

Any cell service. I'm convinced that no matter which one you sign up with, they have a billing department manned by chimpanzees.

Diet plateaus. I am not cheating, but my body has staged a sit-in at a specific weight and it is about as annoying as skinny women who complain about their thighs. I realize that this too shall pass...but I'm ready to move the scale down another ten or fifty pounds. Quickly.

The bleach dispenser in my washing machine. Who knew it leaked? My entire house smells like we clean crime scenes for a living.

The yard sale I've signed up to do but am having second thoughts about. I'm sure that this particular adventure will spawn volumes of hilarity as I have never experienced any success and yet I keep trying. I'd have been better off to have just driven everything to Goodwill and been done with it.

My pool liner. We drained the pool and then thought we could go one more year with the slow leak and refilled it. I didn't say we were bright. Our water bill is going to totally suck.

President Obama. I won't elaborate...but I wish he and Michelle would fly somewhere fabulous for a few weeks without the press. I need a vacation from his newest initiative and the endless speeches that these initiatives nauseum.

My veterinarian. Dixie is good to go until June and can be groomed anytime, but Rebel has to have two flu shots before they'll groom him. Looks like he'll be getting another mohawk with my clippers this summer. He'll totally love that. Don't call PETA. I have to save up for the $400 vet visit that they give me for my annual BOHICA moment when I realize that I could have spent a weekend at the beach and found a free rabies clinic somewhere instead.

Chicken. Although I actually don't really mind chicken too is very possible that at some point in time, I will no longer be able to face it again. I have become like Bubba in Forrest Gump extolling the various ways to prepare chicken...and I can only eat it prepared a few ways. Additionally, I have eaten so much chicken in the past few weeks that I'm beginning to worry about molting.

My scrapbooking table. I have a spot the size of a postage stamp that is not covered with "memories" that need to be put into books. I'm lost in time...last time I checked I was in 2008.

Oh, I could go on and on, but I am just having one of those days where the mundane has put an override on my capacity to appreciate life. And no, it wasn't because the big dogs were meeting in the boardroom and I couldn't get to my "diabetic friendly sugar free 50 calorie" yogurt at 9:45 this morning that started it all. It didn't help though.

Those of you who have real problems, I apologize for burdening you with excessive whining when you might have been seeking something inspirational. I'm kind of in the market for something inspirational the nirvana I get when it is filet mignon night and I almost cry because I get a reprieve from chicken.

Maybe tomorrow will be one of those days that will be so awesome and wonderful that everything seems like Nicholas Sparks wrote it. But it will likely be more of what today was...if I am lucky. Because no matter how many ways I look at what is not going right...I'm still mighty lucky for everything that is.

Even Stephen Crane.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Rant On Bad Relationships

Every day, there are teachable moments. Sometimes those moments are just between God and us, and other times we just witness someone's Rome burning, as we struggle to get downwind of it. We all buy magazines, read devotionals, and listen to other people farther ahead of us on the path so that we can make some sense of this crazy existence commonly known as life.

The frustration comes when we see a train about to derail in someone's life, and we try to warn them, but they just waive happily from the window and act like they are at Disney World or something. It gets closer and closer and then we are supposed to go fish them from the train wreck. I for one am tired of being a first responder.

When you meet someone that you have to compromise your standards to be able to relate to, it's a sure sign that they are not worth your trouble. Those who can't commit, who keep messing up, and who conveniently leave you stuck with the tab are generally not going to outgrow these tendencies. Rather than sign on for a lifetime of trouble, why not just leave this particular baggage at Gate 1 and clear out quickly before you get attached to it? Apparently, women tend to think that they can change this behavior, and many actually walk it down the aisle. Believe me when I say that the only force that can change anyone's behavior is God.

And for that to happen, most of the time, we have to make a conscious choice to seek His will. Oh, sometimes He will track us down, but more commonly...He will bring us to our knees so that we have no choice but to look up.

I've tried to understand the whole need that many of us have to find someone and settle down. I mean, what are these women who are married to guys on death row thinking? Or girls who keep taking back someone who is clearly not interested in a relationship? Our traditional dance goes...we are attracted physically, we see if we fit in their lives and they in ours, we see if our interests are in common and then we try to get God to bless it. Wouldn't it be better to work in reverse? To ask God to bring the right person, to make sure that we are ready and then let something grow out of that? Oh, but no. Of course not. To form the spiritual connection first and then see if it develops would be just so incredibly old fashioned.

Long term marriages are apparently incredibly old fashioned too.

I'm not angry at people for making mistakes. Lord knows I have made more than my share. I am angry that people seem to believe that the relationship is so necessary in their lives that they are willing to sacrifice their other relationships (family and friends) to keep them going. I'm angry that young girls cannot see that a jerk only going to be more of a jerk as time goes on and that's all that they'll ever be unless God intervenes and changes the heart. I'm angry that so many people use the good graces and finances of other people because they put their own needs first. I want to just jump up and scream at young men to grow up and quit spending your parents' money, get an education, and make something godly and decent out of yourselves instead of partying it up, breaking hearts, and waiting for Mommy to come clean your bathroom because you are too dang lazy to do it yourself.

That's what we're raising these days, by the way. Young men who think that they don't have to grow up and take care of themselves. Can you tell that I have a zero tolerance policy for young men who refuse to grow up? That extends to mothers who don't demand that they do, by the way.

So, here's my advice on behalf of those who have tried to explain something and found that these words of wisdom have fallen like popcorn kernels on the cosmic floor of the movie theater of life.

1. Date the right people. Quit making excuses for a bad fit in a relationship and get out of it. Stop analyzing situations, excusing bad behavior, and expecting someone to grow up. Believing in somebody should mean that there is actually something to believe in. Refuse to be treated poorly - even once. Don't ask friends to help you interpret someone's stupid actions. There is no interpretation. They're stupid. Not ready. Immature. Leave it at that and move on.

2. Focus on God. Quit trying to attract someone. Keep your focus on God and ask Him to bring the right person to you in His time. It will not be on your time, I assure you. But He is a far better matchmaker than you ever will be. I find it interesting that kids who were raised in church will not attend church in college. These same kids who were not raised to go to bars will end up there thinking that they'll find something worth that's going to happen.

3. Listen to people who love you. Stop telling everyone that you know what you are doing. Assume that you don't...because if other people can see that something is not is not right. Stop. Look. Listen.

4. Follow your dreams. The ones that don't include being married and having a family. If you focus on that, you will never have another opportunity to dream big dreams without responsibilities again. Think about that. If you are older, following your dreams might lead you smack dab into Mr. Wonderful who shares your passion for animals, skydiving, hiking, or whatever.

5. Life is short...but marriage is choose well.

I know that to many of you reading this it might seem like I am angry about something specific. And you would be correct. I'm tired of seeing wonderful women act like they'd better grab the brass ring that is coming around because another one might not be coming along anytime soon. That shows a total lack of trust in God and faith that He knows what is best for you.

Relationships aren't easy...but if you keep getting into nonproductive ones, you'll discourage the right kind of relationships from your life. And who wants that?

So, at the risk of alienating some of you, I'm sending this out as food for thought. I know I sound a little cranky, but that would be because I am a little cranky. And because I really want the best for the people that I love...friends and family. I wish that it could be easier...this road of life...but some of the biggest potholes involve relationships. Keeping everything in perspective is like driving on a newly paved road.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Silver Reunion - Wesleyan College

I just returned from a whirlwind weekend of fun and logging miles in Big Dave’s big black truck. After having a great visit and lunch with the folks, I headed out to the wilds of central Georgia for the 25th class reunion with the fabulous women of Wesleyan...the class of 1985. We were Tri-K Pirates...and we were quite a motley little crew. In a good way, of course.

Although I was a little unsure what to expect, Facebook had helped bridge the gap of decades of neglect in the relationships I once enjoyed. When my 1978 slate blue Chevette rumbled off of the campus in 1983...I never really looked back. I wanted to be different…to start look forward. I was ready for a new adventure and it turns out that this was definitely the right decision for me. But coming back...I must admit...felt like coming home.

Wesleyan College is located in Macon, Georgia, approximately 50 miles from my hometown of Thomaston. It was really the only college other than the University of Georgia that I had any true familiarity with...and my only tie to UGA was that my grandfather was a graduate and the football games on television. I really never explored the option of going to UGA, though, because I wasn’t really the university type. Not at the age of 18, anyway.

My roots with Wesleyan College were deep. My mother (who also taught there in the 1970s), maternal grandmother and great-aunt were all graduates, and my great great great grandfather was the first President of the college. His daughter, Ella Pierce Turner, was one of the founders of Alpha Delta Pi sorority – the first sorority founded anywhere – in 1851. Phi Mu was started at Wesleyan the following year. I pledged Phi Mu the Fall after I left Wesleyan at Troy State University and smiled to myself knowing that I remained affiliated with an organization that was founded by other Wesleyannes.

Although two major sororities were founded there, Wesleyan, ironically, no longer has sororities. Each class now serves that purpose, as the traditional class size ranges from 60-75 members. Four class names are rotated: Pirates (aka Tri-K Pirates) with a class color of red, Golden Hearts, Green Knights, and Purple Knights. The class you are in as a freshman is always the same as the departing seniors. In my family, my grandmother and great aunt were Golden Hearts, and my mother and I were Tri-K Pirates…sister classes. (Had Jill attended Wesleyan, she would have been a Green Knight.)

The campus is beautiful with sprawling buildings that have remained virtually unchanged as you drive through the main entrance. There have been additions over the past couple of decades, but entering those gates was like stepping into a point in time that was somewhat unchanged. The rockers were on the Loggia...and although improvements have obviously been made to the existing buildings...there was enough of what I remembered to make me feel like I was 18 again. Even the tea olives were still there. I intentionally planted tea olives all around my pool ten years ago. When they bloom, and the heavenly smell fills the reminds me of my days at Wesleyan.

After going down the steps by the Loggia, there is a is most appropriate. After all, Wesleyan is “a fountain of knowledge...the oldest and best.” Being the first chartered college for women is quite phenomenal and it has only been a mere 174 years since that founding. The fountain always seemed to be the central place of gathering when something was truly important during my years there. Getting in the fountain and splashing around was absolutely a rite of passage, and was something that I did on more than one occasion. Somehow, I seemed to always be wearing a white dress when I did. On Saturday, one of my classmates didn’t worry about it...she just jumped in with what she had on. Actually, it looked like tremendous fun...but I was hitching a ride, and thought it might be a deterrent to someone considering returning me to the hotel.

Walking into the freshman dorm – Persons – was familiar…yet different. My old room is still there, but attached to it is a bathroom and a whole lot more room than was there when I graced those halls. Long gone are the communal bathrooms and – quite frankly – the freshmen - as it is now a dorm for upperclassmen. The addition of air conditioning was also noted as was the presence of top notch technology. I have no idea how we survived in central Georgia without air conditioning...but somehow we did.

I also noticed that the mailboxes had been moved and a seriously welcoming porch had been added to Banks Hall plus a snack bar and room for just hanging around. When we were there...Banks was only used for practicing piano majors and for the Haunted House during Rat Week. One of my classmates found her old mailbox and discovered that she could open it using the combination from memory. She placed a note to the current box owner in it explaining that she had the box twenty five years before. I can’t even remember my box number...much less the combination.

The subject of Rat came up and it pains me to even go into how they’ve modified that particular tradition. I suppose that I wasn’t as enamored of the whole BEING a Rat as I was about being on the other side...but nobody thought of it as hazing at the time. We thought of it as a very fast education in how to bind together as a class by experiencing or making life totally unbearable for a few days. And bond we did. Now – from what I understand - Rat is more like some sad little Barneyfied version of that grand tradition...but at least nobody’s Mama is calling her attorney to whine that her precious is being treated there’s that...

The sounds of the alma mater being sung at the Alumnae Meeting, and of the doxology during lunch reminded me that some traditions are what they are...invaluable. One of my classmates knew she’d tear up at the alma mater...and she did. You don’t tend to appreciate the little things like that when you are a student and wondering exactly when it occurred in the annals of culinary hell that boiled celery became a vegetable. It certainly was served as such in 1981. Another personal (un)favorite was brussel sprouts. Nobody but the student from Norway was especially fond of them...but as I recall...they made frequent appearances. I did learn how to eat broccoli and cauliflower so that I wouldn't starve.

Of course, the beauty of the campus was not particularly evident to those of us who were more concerned about discovering ourselves than admiring the architecture or the huge trees. The small class size and the fact that you tend to know almost everyone is not really seen as a benefit but more of a “given” until you get out there and realize that you had the opportunity to practice and hone skill sets in a laboratory that was indeed competitive, but also very forgiving. In fact, I believe that I did so well my last two years of college because I had overcome the fear of speaking to people. There was really little tolerance for being quiet…primarily because we did everything as a pack, and if you stayed in your room, you missed out on everything. And without males on had to pretty much participate in everything or die of boredom.

There is a time for everyone to grow up. Sometimes we have to do this faster because of circumstances, and sometimes we can take a slower pace. Being at Wesleyan allowed me the opportunity to be a part of something very special...but gave me enough room to begin to figure out who I was. It began an odyssey that continues today. Because I left after the first two years, I had a different college experience than I would have had I stayed. But my two years at Wesleyan prepared me for sorority life my last two years and gave me a safe place to make mistakes and then begin again in my new college home. I learned that failure isn’t fatal, and that if you really want to have a quality life, you have to apply yourself. I found that all of us have special gifts, the capacity to exceed our own expectations for our lives and that we all doubt ourselves from time to time. I was taught an appreciation for tradition, that just because something is legal doesn’t make it right, and that people will surprise you. I credit my time at Wesleyan with these impressions.

This trip I was able to incorporate my two college experiences…the heritage that I grew up knowing about...including finding my great great great grandfather’s portrait and my great great great aunt’s name on the steps of the fountain (Alpha Delta Pi donated the fountain to Wesleyan…and the names of the founders are on the steps) along with the Phi Mu history that tied me to Wesleyan my last two years of college. Even more amazing was that while we were there, seven Phi Mus from North Georgia College were on campus with their jerseys on just looking around. They ended up taking our picture hanging out of one of my classmates’ red VW Beetle...each assigned to a different camera. I remember thinking...”Those Phi Mus are my sisters...but so are the women in the car. How cool is that?”

I thought that it was fitting that although my daughter is not attending Wesleyan…she is a Phi Mu. For me, intertwining the two college experiences during the weekend was amazingly special. I even found the old Phi Mu photos, pins and ritual books in the Alumnae Building’s Candler Room under glass. In the Loggia, there is a plaque in the shape of a trefoil that was donated by Phi Mu in the 1950s. I passed it every day as a student and never paid it any attention. I was awed to see it because it had significance to me 27 years later.

Equally wonderful was that my classmates came with me on my "treasure hunt" of sorts because they knew that it was important to me. You just have to love friends like that.

My classmates all decided to attend Wesleyan for different reasons. Some came for the scholarship opportunities, after encouragement from alumnae, through active recruitment or because it somehow just seemed right to them. Others wanted a small college and the opportunity to have fewer distractions (ie. males). Others just liked the sisterhood that is and was evident and the deep roots of tradition that exist in almost everything that is done on campus. As for me, it was attending Stunt during my senior year of high school and deciding that I really wanted to walk in the family footsteps. And so I did. Leaving there also felt equally right…and the young man I left Wesleyan to move closer to has been my husband for 25 years this July.

Looking back at the weekend, I remember stating several times how odd it seemed to be walking on the campus after a 27 year hiatus. While I have sent in the pertinent alumnae news (my wedding and the births of my children) and occasionally been able to send a loyalty fund check, I really felt that I had cut the rope that moored me to the college somewhat since I graduated elsewhere. This weekend convinced me otherwise. I am a part of what is Wesleyan, and she certainly is a part of who I am. And I believe that this is exactly as it should be. I am grateful for the encouragement that I received by one of my classmates who insisted, “once a sister…always a sister.” She was right.

We were celebrating our silver reunion year. And for many of us…it has been 25 years or more since we were together. Who we were then is somewhat who we are now...but we've grown in the intervening years into pretty remarkable women. Perhaps it was just time and maturity, or the experiences that life has thrown our way in the intervening years. I liked these women as girls, but I certainly didn't appreciate them like I do now that we are women.

We came together on a small campus at a college in Macon, Georgia in 1981 as eighteen year old girls. Our paths crossed again this past weekend as 47 year old women. All of us were probably a little nervous about seeing each other again, but all of that disintegrated with the laughter, the teasing, and a rendition of “Chick House” (formerly known as “Brick House”) that was pretty dang unforgettable.

There were approximately eighteen of us there...and a member of our big sister Golden Heart class...Sue...who it was also wonderful to see. We traveled from all over the southeast to reconnect and reaffirm our friendships developed at Wesleyan all of those years ago. We all seem to be pretty happy with who we are and what it is that we are doing. That doesn’t mean that we all believe that our lives are perfect or charmed. It means that we have come to a place where we are able to relate to each other without worrying who is a bad influence, who has a bigger share of the popularity pie, or who has chosen to what with their life. To us, it hardly matters. What really mattered to me was seeing the sweet faces of the beautiful women who knew me when I was young. Women who were kind enough not to mention my shortcomings and went out of their way to be supportive.

So, to return the favor...I wanted to thank you all for making the silver reunion such a wonderful experience. Silver may run through our hair a little more than it did...and it does tend to tarnish over time. But it is valuable...and with a little bit of can be returned to its former lustre. I think we are all pretty much gleaming now...I know that my heart is light, and my spirit is at peace. And this is very, very good.

To my friend Lisa...who is my polar opposite in some ways...thank you for encouraging me to take life by the horns now and quit waiting for “someday.” You may not have realized that you were doing anything other than speaking truth, but you gave me some really great food for thought at a time when I’m really desperate for some food...period (pun intended). I hope that you know that years ago your strengths were the catalyst for making me try harder to be better...much as iron sharpens iron. You have the biggest heart and a love for life, experiences, and travel that is just amazing.

To Libbie...the perfect preppy blonde with a constant smile and a winning personality...thank you for encouraging me to come in spite of my “dropout” status. You and I now seem to have more in common now than we did back then...but you always seemed to accept people at face value and saw the best...and still do. You always had a mischievous streak that I see is still intact...and that totally rocks. (Perhaps not as much as Chaka Khan...or Trapper John...whatever.)

To Michelle...the queen of Zaire...I am not remotely surprised that you are still hysterical and that you are an educator. I think that I never fully appreciated your dry sense of humor and your keen wit then nearly as much as I do now. You do everything with gusto...from plant growing to cake baking. My only regret of this reunion is that I couldn’t partake of the goodies that you made. So help me...when I reach goal weight...I am calling you for whatever is on the rack.

To Carol...the epitome of personality and a real life retired sky goddess...I loved spending time with you and being entertained simultaneously. You have such a zest for life, and you possess a quiet confidence in who you are. Spontaneous and just jump right the fountain...whatever. Know that your words of encouragement will not be forgotten. I was honored that you not only thought them...but spoke them to me as well. It meant a lot.

To are still as put together and imaginative now as you were then. You seemed to have changed very little in some ways...but I'm loving the new hair. You seem to have grown into yourself in a wonderful way. You are a natural ringleader, and you made me laugh...a LOT. Thank you for that.

To was so good to see your sweet smiling face, and I appreciate the fact that you returned a letter from my young self to you. It is a priceless keepsake, and it was written at a time when I knew that David was “the one.” I really do wish that you had come to Troy as well, as it really was a wonderful place. I’ll never forget the aluminum pyramid we built back when I could wear a bikini without mortification. Thank you for coming. It was wonderful to see you.

To are so pulled together and have such a sense of calm about you that it is just comfortable to be in your presence. It was fun seeing you and remembered that I spent my 20th birthday that Spring Break we went home with you. My daughter is now 20! You have a quiet sense of fun, but seem to take in everything that is going on around that you can say something profound at just the right moment. I love that.

To was wonderful to see that your sweetness and love for people has not changed a bit. You are still the beautiful girl now that you were then...inside and out. You are so interested in other people and so encouraging. Thank you for describing that amazing dessert that Michelle made so that I would not break my commitment to get this weight off. I’d really love to borrow your metabolism for a decade or two.

To are the heart of any group of which you are a part. You also do the things that need to be make pictures so that we could all take home evidence of the fun we shared and also encourage us to compile everything into a format that you’ll use to create something amazing. I also love that you are such a good sport. And, of course...the world's most unlikely "cougar".

Hazel...your art is amazing. So is your commitment to the project for preemies. I love that you saw something that you wanted to learn how to do...and you just mastered it. Not everyone has that kind of courage or that kind of talent. I’m happy that I had the opportunity to purchase some for my home, and I’ll be following that website for others down the road. still are “Bubbles” to me. Your personality is still well...bubbly...and you still love grabbing life by the tail. Your nap during the Alumnae Meeting totally cracked me up. Mothers of twins have to sleep when there is an opportunity, yes? Polka dots become you, and I’ll just think of them from now on as little “bubbles” instead of dots. was fun visiting with you and seeing that pretty red hair shining in the sun. That whole “non-graying” thing has me totally jealous, by the way. obviously have a portrait somewhere aging for you because it certainly isn’t showing. It was very fun to see you again.

To the Annas…I didn’t get much time with you...but it was so nice to see you again.

Thank you for the fun, ladies...and I hope to see you before our 50th. I will be at the 30th, Lord willing. If any of you come through Montgomery, Alabama...the thrilling metropolis that it is (not)...please look me up. I promise to return the favor if I get to your neck of the woods.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Girls

Tonight was a "girls' night" in my little world. That does not mean a pub crawl or a Chippendale's revue either. I just had the opportunity to spend time with friends and kick off what will actually be nearly a week of interacting with various friends past and present.

Tonight, there were five of us having dinner and discussing life in general. We share what is going on in our respective worlds and enjoy a couple of hours of just doing what we girls do best...uplifting and supporting each other. Prior to this, I was given some wonderful outgrown clothes from a friend who is extraordinarily generous...but also far ahead of me in the weight loss journey. That represented another facet of female friendships...we share the wealth. Gladly...graciously...and without coercion.

Tomorrow, I will go to lunch with a friend to celebrate my birthday last month, and it will be fun talking about who knows what. It always is with this friend. Some people just have a welcoming spirit and make you feel at home around them.

The following day will go visit my folks before Mom takes off on a monthlong trip to France to see my sister. I'm totally envious! But I haven't been over in too long as they normally come here to visit with us. Spending time with them will make me happy, and is a great pit stop between here and Macon. (And because I'm directionally impaired...don't tell me if it isn't.)

I will then go to Macon to visit the college I haven't seen since 1983 and to reconnect with wonderful women with which I started out in college life many moons ago when I was a far different person than I am today. Oh, I'm still fun, I guess...but in a far more subdued way. I think that's called "maturity" but I'm not entirely sure.

A couple of days later, I'll then drive home to attend a wedding shower and enjoy looking at a table of what I'm sure will be awesome food that I cannot eat. The room will likely be full of women that I enjoy visiting with, and I'll get to meet the fiancee of a young man that graduated just three years ahead of Jill. Hard to believe.

I'm then traveling to Tuscaloosa to see my baby girl and hang out with her and her three roommates. They probably don't know or care that I am coming...but I've wanted to just camp out up there sometime...and so I'm going to do that. I intend to cook for her and the roommates...and look forward to the time just hanging out.

Anyway, just thinking about all of this has reminded me of how fortunate I am to have the female friends that I do. Some offer amazing support and others just make me laugh. I do what I can to make their journey through life easier, and they certainly enrich mine. While I love the males in my is a totally different dynamic. And having been in a house where I'm outnumbered for the past two years, I've realized that I really just need time to just hang out with the girls.

So, although I have a whirlwind week ahead of me, I suspect that it will be a whole lot of fun and will go by way too fast. I just know that getting out of my routine and making time to hang out with people that I normally don't see except on Facebook or through the occasional phone call or text is something I'm really looking forward to. I mean, whenever you get groups of girls together, we are going to come away encouraged, enlightened, or at least entertained...and there's a lot to be said for that.

So, I'll be on the road for the next few days and may not be writing as much. But I assure you that I'll have plenty to talk about when I get back!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Political Correctness

Most people I know do not wake up every morning deciding to do something boneheaded like offend other people. I'm sure that somewhere in the world...there are people who actually live for it, but the majority of us are - quite frankly - too busy to sit and plot ways to upset the people that we come into contact with on an average day.

In the South, we vascillate between not stating the obvious because it might offend someone (bless his heart) and saying exactly what we think (using expressions that are sometimes downright hysterical). When I think of the latter, I think of Dixie Carter's character Julia Sugarbaker. I always wanted to be Julia. She was a magnolia until someone messed with one of her friends or family or was just otherwise intolerable. She didn't have to whisper behind anyone's back...she just said it to their face. Gotta love that. (We'll miss you, Dixie. Thanks for the memories.)

But in America today - despite the fact that most of us have a lineage that is more mutt than purebred - we all seem to be mighty touchy about everything. Granted, people feeling the need to sue over everything has made people a bit more paranoid, but as for me...I've pretty much had enough.

I am an overweight, 47 year old white married female. Over the span of my life, I have been overlooked for certain jobs (until they realized that I was serious and wasn't going anywhere), have tolerated a boss who thought that it was perfectly okay to refer to me as "Babe" (I was 22 and it was definitely closer to the truth than it is now) and was once told that I should be at home raising my kids instead of working (by the same boss.) I was also told "you'd be a dang good secretary if you weren't so ambitious" by another.

In a later job, another senior officer showed me the cover of a travel magazine with a girl in a bikini on it six months after Jill was born and kept telling me that I should strive for that. I later had to apologize to this same Philistine for following my boss' instructions to the letter and not helping him with something that I'd specifically been told not to do for anyone. I had not been rude, out of line or even wrong. I had just offended the sensibilities of an egomaniac.

Once I applied for a job that would have required a move, but would have been perceived as a step up and an exciting opportunity for me. A former coworker received that job...even though I had been employed there, had earned the opportunity and was later told straight up that it was because of my gender.

Did I sue the universe? No. I sucked it up and understood that if God had put me there, He would come through for me. And He has. I could have become bitter, angry, or offended. I just saw those people as the morons they were and let it go. Sometimes it took awhile.

So, when I make a comment that is perhaps more direct than need be, I expect other people to understand that they need to "man up" and quit whining. We are becoming the USOA (United States of Offended Americans) and I for one have had my fill of it.

With regard to race or natural origin, I may be perceived as insensitive because I'm white. Frankly, I often forget that. I assume that all people want to do the best for their families and aren't simply looking for someone to give them something that they didn't earn. But lately in America, that seems to be anything but the case. I'll admit that I am an equal opportunity believer in that everyone who can work...needs to be working...or at least trying to work.

I get annoyed when I see perfectly capable people parking in the handicap spaces just because they borrowed MeeMaw's car for a quick trip to WalMart. (As if there is really any such thing as "a quick trip to WalMart.")

I also find that I am sometimes perceived as insensitive because I don't understand the plight of other groups who truly have borne a lot more scorn than I ever have as a woman. But I will say this...I am a lot more likely to understand if things are explained to me sensitively and sensibly instead of cramming it down my throat or putting it in my face. It also might be more effective if the battles were chosen carefully instead of every single solitary time something even remotely reeks of racism or discrimination.

So, a few things that I would like to dispense with (at the risk of offending anyone reading this).

I'd like for people of color (any color) to remember that we are all Americans. We may identify ourselves as "African Americans," "Asian Americans," "Native Americans," or "Italian Americans," but I'd like to just simplify it to...Americans. I can't keep up with the current terms of what each group wishes to be called or the unwritten - but heavily enforced - rules that state that people of one's own race can call you whatever they want...but nobody else can. Why not just eliminate offensive words across the board?

Wouldn't that be more sane?

For people who are tired of the truth that America was founded on Christian-Jewish principles...please either quietly object by not participating in the national holiday of Christmas or observing Yom Kippur, and quit trying to remove every vestige of our history on the grounds that you are offended. If you are that offended, please feel free to move. I'll help you pack.

I could go on and on, but the truth is...we all have a different prism by which we view life. Some people see everything as a personal attack and others realize that life is hard and sometimes people are crazy. I'm probably more of the latter.

Being overweight has not been a bed of roses, though. People view overweight people as lazy and out of control. Where some part of that dynamic certainly is is often a vicious cycle of using food as a drug that lands people in that state. Medication, depression, trauma, and hormones that go haywire are other causes. I have found that people are incredibly judgmental, and I'll admit to getting my feelings hurt by having someone tell me to quit eating something or ask me how my workouts have been going when it was obvious that they were trying to send me the message that I needed more gym time and to put down the caramel cake. Normally, these comments came from people who have the metabolism of an Olympic runner and have never once worried about the numbers on the scale.

So, let's try to be a little less sensitive and a little more understanding of the fact that sometimes people don't mean to be ignorant...they just need to be gently educated. And for those times that they want to act like a horse's behind...unleash your "inner Julia" and pin them to the wall. Just be sure that you chew them a new one...with class.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Persons of Interest

I am not so sure about this new term "person of interest" when referring to what we used to call a "suspect" in a criminal case. To me, it reeks of understatement, political correctness, and many of those things that just totally get on my nerves.

The term "person of interest" - in the vocabulary of my little world - is "the individual that either of my children is currently interested in or considering dating." See? That makes far more sense.

This year, my serial monogamist daughter has been unattached. I say "this year" because I will be celebrating the one year anniversary of the breakup of the last one in a few weeks. He was a really nice kid, but by dating him...anyone with any remote interest in asking her out was obviously not going to ask. It took a few months for anyone to figure out that she was really and truly not dating anyone in spite of changing her Facebook status to "single". Several contenders have come to this house to visit her over the past year, and as soon as they did...they somehow disappeared into oblivion. Sometimes it took weeks...most of them, though...days.

At first I thought it was US. I thought that once they met us, they ran screaming for the hills. The truth? She had already decided that this one or that one would not do. In one case, it just didn't work out for another reason...but whatever. Bottom line? If she brings them is like the kiss of death for the relationship. It really should be the other way around, don't you think? I mean...establish the relationship and THEN bring them home. Nope...if they didn't work out here, she really couldn't visualize them working out anywhere else. She's that family -oriented.

Over the past year, I've listened for the change in description, the happy tilt in her voice, and the positive changes that signal that someone with potential is on the horizon. And when they come, I immediately start trying to figure out who they are, where they are from, and how long this one will last. To date, none of them have survived the visit home.

My son, on the other hand, gives me no indication that he wants to date right now at all. He is more quiet and reflective, and he is all about XBox, bike riding, and doing barbecue competitions with his uncle. We were surprised with a cute girl last summer who did an excellent job of drawing him out of his room, but he is simply not ready for all that goes with a relationship. I wish some girls who are looking for the best guy friend they've ever had would ask him to go places with them...because girls need good guy friends at this age and he needs a couple of people to ride with now that the weather has improved. Every now and again I know he's looking by some comment he'll make. But he is storing up his money and carefully guarding his heart...and that's totally fine with me on both counts.

I suppose that until we are calling caterers and renting a church or beachside hotel for the weekend that "persons of interest" will come and go. It has been an excellent education...and I've learned a lot from getting to know each of the sorority sisters, fraternity boys, friends from high school, and random other people that have come into this house along the way. Some of them will always have a special place in my heart, and others are seen in a better light in retrospect than I ever saw them when they were actually here and I was guarding my daughter like a she-wolf. I think that this is good.

In a few short years, both of them could be bringing home the other son and daughter that I always wished for, but was not able to convince Big Dave we needed to raise. Had more children been here, my life would have been fuller, but the two that I have would not have had the opportunities that they don't yet fully appreciate. We were able to do for two what we could not have possibly done for four. So, I'm counting on the other two...and any grandchildren that they might grace us with in the be mine as well as their Mamas' children. And I hope that their Mamas will love my two as their own. Any Mama that wouldn't love my two is either a really cold person or has some serious issues.

So, I suppose in a way, these "persons of interest" are of huge personal interest to me as well. I'm looking to adopt two children of the heart that I've been praying for over the past couple of decades...and to whom I'm willing to trust the children I've raised. For that reason alone, I don't mind having people in and out of this house. I want to see their faces and know their stories. And I want to be able to enthusiastically give my blessing if he comes to talk to her Daddy one day...or to help him plan an elaborate and wonderful proposal so that he doesn't do something cheesy and pathetic. I couldn't bear that.

I know that I'm early in the game...but in never really know when that person is going to cross the threshold. And so we wait, and hope and pray. We also go on with our lives...enjoying the times that our family has as a cohesive unit of four. And we expect God's best to come down the path one of these days. Probably when we least expect it...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mean Girls

On the news recently there have been two reports that have disturbed me a lot, and then a third walked into my office today in the form of a coworker who was battling the issue through her daughter. Mean girls. We've all met them. Some of us may have even been them.

Right now, three girls are going to be put on trial for tormenting a young girl to the point where she felt that taking her life was the only way out. Another was a case of some cheerleaders who put urine in the soft drink of some girls at a restaurant and then told everyone about it. And my friend's daughter was being encouraged not to talk to this girl or that girl because a very disturbed 6th grade girl thought that if she decreed should be so.

It makes me mad to think about these cases...but it also makes me sad to think that some people who participated in these types of activities might have come to become incredible women but for a brief phase of bullying or being a "queen bee" somewhere in their pasts. And the knowledge and resulting guilt has been used against them by the enemy to make them either overcompensate by being the nicest woman you've ever met...or certainly one of the quietest.

And then there are those that didn't learn then, and you're pretty sure won't learn now. They just carry on in their adult lives...teaching the tricks of the trade to the next generation...and believing their own rhetoric. Sometimes those in their path keep their distance, but others are afraid to disown the friendship out of fear. These women only stop if something brings them down. When it it inevitably will over time...there really is just that moment of elation followed by intense guilt for wondering if you wished it on them.

I think the thing that disturbs me the most about it is that the teen years seem to be like a giant pie. Imagine that you believed that you deserved a bigger piece than you have...and to get more you will try to obtain it by ripping someone down to the ground, lying, or by intimidation. Popularity is just like this. Diving after a bigger and bigger piece of the pie.

And then you grow up and realize that there are pies everywhere.

Perhaps it is being introduced to someone who sees something in you that nobody else ever saw - a gift that needed to be encouraged. Or maybe you eventually got away from where you grew up and saw that it is possible to appreciate someone else's strengths, gifts and talents immensely...without even remotely diminishing your own.

But day after day, somebody tells a partial truth...and it soon becomes the gospel. A girl is labeled. A lie becomes truth. Perception becomes reality. Mothers spread bad news about a girl she sees as competing with her daughter. How do we break the cycle of mean girls? How do we combat this kind of behavior? And better do we teach the young women in our lives how to respond?

Well, I've found that it helps to know that more often than not...what comes around goes around. And it it normally ten times worse for the offender than she dished out. I've also found that calling people on the behavior or refusing to participate in it takes is risky...and demands strong character...because to do so might mean that the venom gets shot our way next. But the most effective thing I've found to do is to stand strong, speak the truth, defend those who cannot do it for themselves, and take every opportunity to stop it on the front end, if possible.

I would like to think that the parents of the girls who "doctored" the soft drink would provide their daughters with the opportunity to publicly apologize and then strip them of any and all privileges. I mean, I'd really rather hear that they opened up a giant can of whoop A, but whatever. I hope that the legal action being taken in the other case will not only give those who did that a real hole to dig out of so that perhaps their hearts will be changed and they won't just receive a slap on the wrist. And I hope that my friend's teacher separated her daughter from the 6th grade Cruella at her school. Frankly, she might want to do that if she hasn't...because I know my friend...and she "doesn't play that."

There's really no excuse for trying to damage the emotions, reputation, or property of someone just because you can. That's not what we are called to do or be in this life. God wants so much better for us...and He values every one of us equally. I wish that these girls could fast forward thirty years to see what their lives will look like as a result of the decision to be catty. And I wish some women who seem to relish tearing others down would get back exactly what they deserve...times ten.

But as for me...I want to spend my life building up others when I can and assuming the best about them. After all, we're only reading a chapter in the story of their lives. Redemption is possible, and none of us is perfect. So, teach your daughters well...forgive yourself if need be...and eradicate this behavior when you see it. Perhaps if we are all faithful...the news won't be full of stories like these.

Here's hoping...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ode to B-12

I have been a happy camper for the past three days. It's scary, actually. I am used to having ups and downs, stress and drama, and days ranging from "so-so" to "someone please shoot me." Apparently, the B-12 that I've been taking has kicked into overdrive, and I have finally gotten past the sugar addiction. Yay! doesn't even begin to cover it.

That being said...I have actually enjoyed a few things this week that would have otherwise sent me into a pit of despair or surfing on the waves of self-doubt. I'm sensitive, you know, and we sensitive types are prone to wound-licking and imagined scenarios. But...just so you know...when you are all jacked up on B-12, you do get a rather zen existence. I highly recommend it. (And YES, I am taking the recommended daily please don't call for an intervention.)

Like that bathing suit discussion I walked up on this week. One of the ladies was discussing how she dreaded purchasing a certain suit. I was pretty much laughing to myself as I said that my swimsuit purchases were limited to buying them for my daughter. I haven't worn a swimsuit without shorts over it since 1988. I'm totally not kidding...and I have a pool. I realize that I could go to the beach and be perfectly fine. Trust me, I've seen some of the sunbathers. But add the lovely paleness to the rest of the picture and it is NO. Just no.

Granted, my pool is currently covered in some kind of green funk as we are trying to decide whether it is the liner that needs to be replaced ( IS in its 10th season) or whether it is a leak in the pipes. The price to replace the liner? A mere $1,300. Shoot, why not buy two at that price! Did I freak out? Were sackcloth and ashes employed? No. Thank you, B-12!

I also wrote out bills this month and am already broke due to a little bit of exuberant buying at Stein Mart and the fact that I get my daily exercise pushing a cart all over Publix, and consider it a workout. Today is the 7th of the month. This does not bode well for the remaining 23 days. But, hopefully the tax refund will come in and I can pay for that liner and will be able to get the dog groomed to boot. Lord knows I don't need to groom Rebel again. Last time I did, he got a mohawk.

But if not, it isn't as though I need to purchase food until June anyway. I have enough food in the freezer, pantry, refrigerator and refrigerator freezer to last at least that long. We're so blessed! Feels that way, anyway! Plus, a box of Triscuits lasts forever when a "serving" is two. Two Triscuits. Two. I mean, I'm more likely to have the heartbreak of staleness rather than the shock of running out. Not that I'd be able to tell a stale Triscuit from a fresh one.

Some people may use exercise to achieve the "runner's high" or sleep a lot to make everything seem a lot better in the morning instead of a vitamin I do. I can't say that I've ever gotten anything other than blisters and hyperventilation from running, so that's out. I'm hoping to actually start running eventually just because I can't really do it now. I'm also caught up on my sleep, because if you can't use caffeine or sugar as a crutch, you go with Plan B - which is bed.

So, I'm going to believe that my positive mood is from the fact that I've now lost over 20 pounds, I've had time to myself, my daughter was just home, I like my job (and I have one)...and of course...the B-12. I'm still not brave enough to attempt a bathing suit...but at least I don't care that I can't wear one...and there's something to be said for that.

On the downside, my son and husband just came in and told me that my son's car broke down. Hmmm....maybe I need some more B-12. A lot more...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The upside of Spring is that the weather is gorgeous, flowers are blooming, and the days seem to go on forever. After months of internal hibernation and wanting to just get outside and breathe, the warm temperatures are not only welcome...they are celebrated. The nail salons are crowded again as toes long warmed in socks are released to wiggle free and go from gnarly to glamourous. The sidewalks in the neighborhood are full of Dads and kids with helmets peddling furiously...little white legs in shorts that are too small because Mama hasn't made it to the mall yet for an updated wardrobe...but big smiles that make you laugh to yourself as you cautiously pass by in your car.

The ballpark traffic is back as well including the MeeMaws who come out in droves but are afraid that they'll miss the entrance to the park so they drive 35mph in a 50mph and drive me crazy on my way home every night. Pollen is everywhere and looks like some cosmic butter colored salt shaker has exploded all over the vehicles and patio furniture. People aren't quite whining yet, but a few of them are experiencing the magic of the first sinus infection of the year. Yay! Not.

And, naturally, the dog is in season. Or so I suspect.

There are no fewer than five large "mosquito hawks" - large icky looking spindly legged bugs - desperately trying to get into the house, and the ants have become amazingly industrious over the past week forming large hills all over tarnation. Big Dave's yard needs cutting, and he has something wrong with the lawnmower that needs to be fixed. Great. Too much longer and we'll need a bushhog. There are dandelions out there that are downright spectacular that need to be brought down to size by a major infusion of Roundup or something similar. As long as he stays away from my roses and my tomatoes...all will be well.

I love Spring because it is so full of promise. Much like the beginning of the school year, New Year's Day and the early days of Summer...Spring gives us a chance to regroup. To begin thinking of lazy days of summer...of vacation...of rest from our routines. We are usually invigorated this time of year and ready to clean, reorganize, or - heaven forbid - have a yard sale.

Not that I'm against yard sales...I'm not. I've just never had a whole lot of luck with them on either side. Plus, my competitive spirit kicks in and I turn into someone who wants what someone just bought. Always. If I am on the sales side...people will try to talk me down from a quarter to fifteen cents...and it annoys me so much that I just say "no." It is a form of stress that I cannot seem to overcome. So I just donate or eBay instead.

Spring means that the days are longer, the nights are warmer, and the bugs are more prolific. But it also means that the grill replaces the oven, the bleachers replace the couch, and the warmth replaces the cold. Well, for some of us anyway. My friend, Traci, is still dealing with snow drifts, bless her heart.

I have been filled with a lot of happy thoughts and hope lately. I don't know if it is Spring, or just the fact that God is blessing me with success in the weight loss arena. Whatever it is...I'm glad of it.

In a few weeks, the pollen will have taken its toll on many folks, the weather will turn insanely hot overnight, and we will wish for a brief rainstorm to wash it all away. But for now...I'll enjoy the flowers that have appeared and the promise that is inherent in the seasons that remind us of God's faithfulness to us.

Happy Spring to you!