Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas – Stars

   I’m not sure when the bug hit, but it has been part of me as long as I can remember. I would stare up at the stars in the sky with wonder and awe and enjoyment. As Christmas approached, my dad, being the tallest person in the house, would place the star on top of the tree. It was made of a foil material, shiny and metallic. When the lights around the room were turned out, the Christmas tree lights turned on, and it was dark outside, the room would suddenly become a reflective tapestry of light patterns. Little lines, made delicate against the walls with the white lights, would entertain me for hours. I remember lying in the floor with my family, just watching the lights.

   When I go out at night, my eyes still wander up. My jaw still drops when I see a floating trail of light stream across the sky. I smile when I see planets lighting up the sky like brilliant and perceptually tiny globes of fire. Little pin pricks of light form constellations. Stories combine together the light points to make up patterns, reasons and direction.
   The shepherds must have had quite a few that year in the hillsides around Bethlehem. There they were, watching their flocks, and perhaps gazing up at the sky. Not a sky blazoned with city fluorescent lights, but a dark sky that would have shown a milky way to take your breath away. They saw other things that night as well, angels came to the shepherds. Perhaps for years after, they looked up at the sky and remembered the bright lights, the beauty of the sky that night.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas – Music

   As Christmas approaches the CD’s containing Christmas music are being pulled out, and found all over again. Some of the songs are old friends to my ears, tunes I have grown up singing. Songs such as “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” have been sung every year for as long as I can remember. Music has been part of the family Christmas tradition for years. We sing traditional hymns, carols, and then Tom T. Hall’s Sneaky Snake. I’m not quite sure how that last one got in there, but the kids (old and young) like it.

   Now, in the kitchen, there is a CD player with music sitting nearby in a basket. As Christmas music is pulled out and played, I find the kitchen turning into a combination of my private concert hall and worship service. With one of my favorite songs, Joy to the World, I sing loudly as pots and pans clank and bang. Always on the look-out for what will be a new favorite, I scour stores looking for Christmas songs I have never heard. But, even with all of that, it is the ones which contain the sweetest memories and the truest words ring out which are held precious.
   Come on over, we will have pie, coffee, and listen to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. Or mix up some sugar cookies to Country Christmas Favorites. Sitting by the fire, we can have instrumental guitar music playing such favorites as O Holy Night, Away in a Manger, and Silent Night. Decorating and wrapping are best done with the jolly favorites like Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer and some familiar Bing Crosby crooning. Whatever the musical mix you prefer, sing along this Christmas and celebrate the day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas – The Ornaments

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is decorating the trees.  Every year, I find a blend of familiar and new.  New arrangements of old ornaments are carefully planned and placed on the tree.  Ribbon is wound around the branches in sweeping swags of color, picking up the light and adding their own new color scheme.  But, it is more than the color, it is the memories.  The memories when I pick up flour based cookies, that are more like fired clay, that were painted by a great-grandmother who passed away several years ago.  The memories are good and strong.  Another ornament is of the Nutcracker, as the dancers are posed in porcelain, forever echoing the grace of that movement.  It reminds me of Florida winters and the Saenger Theater.  An ivory colored porcelain ornament with doors that swing open on tiny hinges reveal a nativity and bring back other memories.  As this Christmas approaches, I am looking forward to pulling out the ornaments and renewing the memories. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday Kindness

It seems that every year there is a collection of people who get up super early and head to the various stores in search of a great deal.  And with that, there is also a division into camps as to should or should not the early morning shopping occur or are they just a bunch of crazies.  I headed out yesterday to the throng, after a late start due to sleeping in just a bit.  I checked on other friends who had been shopping and now were returning home, only to read how they had met crowds of unfriendly and rude people.  Apparently, there were grouchy people galore.  However, when I ventured out I found just the opposite.  Shoppers were helping each other.  Drivers were waving people to cross in front of them with a smile.  A lost little girl was returned to her mommy.  I heard laughter, pleasant conversation, and of course sleepy yawns.  All in all, a good way to kick off (and nearly finish) the Christmas shopping.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Summing Up the Complaint Monitoring Week

   This week I have been attempting to monitor and curtail any complaints that might be coming from me. So, today being Friday, I’m going to stop and attempt to sum up the good and bad of what was, wasn’t and what was learned.

  Firstly, let me say that it was not a perfectly accomplished week. I had my moments of the moan and groan syndrome. However, I do think it was somewhat curtailed with intent to try and not complain. But that is really only the tip of the results. Instead it has been a week to remind me of the implications of the choice to or not to complain. I have been both reminded and learned anew the domino effect that complaining can have. As one word piles on to the next and then the next and next, soon a whole tidal wave is occurring which is eating time, energy, and not solving anything. However, the opposite is true as well, and the positive words can rebuild and create an atmosphere of cooperation and effectiveness. There are also differences between complaining and acknowledging less than perfect or ideal situations. This is not an excuse to hide, nor to just skim over the not so pleasant stuff. You may find yourself needing to wade right in. Go ahead, this is when perspective comes into play, and understanding another’s point of view is very important. When we start not to complain, we also may find our self seeking out the other to understand them better.
   Boiling this down, it comes to having an attitude of gratitude, of being appreciative and maintaining the perspective to be both aware of and seeking for the gratitude which may or may not come easily. And to remember that this holiday which has just passed is an excellent reminder of the action of giving thanks even in the midst of war.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Am Blessed

   “I am blessed, I am blessed, every day I live I am blessed.” The familiar words are from just one of the songs that reflect the attitude of Thanksgiving where we recognize blessings regardless of the day’s situations. The Thanksgiving holiday is one that we celebrate with memories of Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock, and Wampanoag Indians. However, it was not something that happened once and then just simply was repeated as an annual festival since. Instead, the colonists declared a time of giving thanks in 1620. They invited Indians that had helped them survive the first winter without their complete population being lost to disease and starvation. It was not repeated until a drought broke in 1623 following a prayer service asking for a long rain. In the late spring of 1676 another thanksgiving was declared. With such separation between them, we can hardly call this a regular occurrence. Instead, it was more of a special declaration to mark something that really impacted everyone.

   President George Washington proclaimed a day of giving thanks, but not everyone supported this. It still did not stick as the national day we are familiar with now. Instead, it was Sarah Josepha Hale that wrote editorials and letters focused on gaining the attention of this date and succeeding with President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. Sarah Hale thought that in midst of a brutal Civil War, in the aftermath of the Emancipation Proclamation bringing a new struggle to the freedom issues within the war, the fighting at Vicksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, and then riots following a draft proclamation; the entire county was much like a powder keg dangerously close to being blown to bits in the midst of the sparks. Sarah Hale wrote in the Northwood publication, “Thanksgiving like the Fourth of July should be considered a national festival and observed by all our people. There is a deep moral influence in these periodical seasons of rejoicing, in which communities participate. They bring out… the best sympathies in our natures.” In the midst of a brutal war, a politically charged climate which presented dangers to the union which were very real, and with many families mourning the loss of husbands, brothers, sons, uncles, cousins, nephews, friends, neighbors, wives, daughters, aunts, nieces, communities, leaders, health, ways of life, homes, crops, jobs, traditions, and stability. In the midst of this, there was someone proclaiming the need to give thanks.
   It was in this very dark time that this woman persuaded enough people to throw their support behind this holiday, that President Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation. The President issued a proclamation which identified how we are “prone to forget the source of the bounties of fruitful fields and healthful skies.” He did not leave out the war, but instead, “In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nation’s, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict… No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gift of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sings, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.” The proclamation turns into a prayer asking for the “wound of the nation to be healed, restoration consistent with the Divine purposes, and the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and Union.”
   That was many years ago and in 1941; Congress finally sanctioned this as a legal holiday. Our nation has seen wars, famines, and losses since the early intrepid pilgrims gave thanks for their survival of a winter and since the terrible battles and ramifications of the Civil War. However, in the darkest of these days, we had leaders who stopped to give thanks. I would urge you to stop today as well, no matter your situation, and give thanks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Complaint Perspective

   Perspective can mean a lot of different things. To an artist, it could change the angles, the way that the eye moves across the picture. Perspective could be the focus for the author, writing in first or second or third person. Perspective is that view which can move the brush stroke, camera click, or curl of the pen’s ink to move ideas and attitudes from one area to another.

   With that, I found out today that with trying no complaining it also depends on perspective of heart, mind, mouth, and spirit. I mean that I have to maintain the right perspective throughout the day. I found out a couple things today. One is that it’s not easy to maintain. The proverbial apple cart doesn’t have to be upset and dumped, it can just be tipped a bit more than is comfortable. At that point, I would like to stop and remind life (and anyone within hearing distance) that I am not a teeter-totter. Yet, that doesn’t work so well. So, today I tried to maintain a calm attitude. I practiced giving things to God as they came and found that the teeter tottered back to where it was supposed to be. With that, I found that the way I responded made an enormous difference. If the perspective is a negative one, it is much easier to find myself complaining rather than dealing with someone or something in a positive manner. My mind, heart, mouth, and spirit need to stay where God wants them to. Easy? No, of course not. But, worthwhile? Absolutely!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just Cover my Mouth with Duct Tape

   Well, day two of not complaining has come and gone. What I noticed today is that not complaining is much more difficult when others are around who are complaining. Why is that? It’s almost like the common cold. We take flu shots, drink orange juice, and still the common cold floats through populations.

   So, if complaining is contagious, it is also possible that the reverse could be true. Perhaps by not complaining in the midst of complaining will produce a positive result. But, with what purpose; why not just go ahead complain? Think about the difference. One thing goes wrong in the day, you stop to complain to someone else. They are just a bit more deflated after the conversation. Then, when something else doesn’t go right, it becomes even more wrong. You complain more, perhaps with some additional volume, and it deflates others a bit more. Not to mention, that midst all of this that a considerable amount of time that could have been taken to deal with and possibly solve the problem. With that in mind, I’m hoping that that is effect I see.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Truth or Complaint

   I’ve presented myself a challenge to really monitor and curtail any complaining I might be doing for this week. I’m hoping that I find at the end of the week a new focus on the words I use and the attitude they are shared with.

   So, the first day came and went and as I look back, I think that one area that must be buttoned up is the difference between truth and complaint. If someone sidles up and asks, “How are you?” If we are honest, we may have to say something other than the standard answer of fine. Instead, we may need to answer that we are really having a rough day, perhaps feel poorly, or are just so-so. There is a difference between acknowledging truth, even unpleasant truth, and complaining.
   It is the next breath that the complaint can come. Complaints are the whining and nagging that can come after. For a Sunday, it wasn’t too hard overall, but there were a few moments when I caught myself afterward. Was that a bit of sarcasm and carping that just came out of my mouth? Where is the duct tape when I need it? Again, I stress that it is not the same thing as discussing or simply stating facts, but it is when the criticism comes in. So, it was hard, but I did find my focus was a little different as I tried to be more fact based and less fault finding.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cancerous Complaint

   Nobody wants to ever hear the word cancer involved in a medical report for themselves or a loved one. In fact, even the hint of a possibility of a shadow is too close for comfort. Yet, probably the vast majority of us have the cancerous creep of complaining that creeps into our lives and spreads through joints and nodes.

   Yeah, well, but… The excuses come in quickly. What is complaining and what is simply stating something that is needing change or to be addressed? Is there a difference between venting, seeking, advice, and gossip?
   As Thanksgiving approaches and as so many take it upon themselves to think of something they are thankful for, I’m going to conduct a little not so scientific experiment. I’m going to try to go this week without complaining. I want to know both how hard that is, and what the results are.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


   If I could live anywhere, regardless of how far it is from everyone of my friends and family… it’s a nice dreamy thought. Someplace with mountains and a lake, pine trees, and quiet woods. Or perhaps it would be a warm breezed bluff over a beach, with palm trees and the sound of the water lapping on the shore below. A windy plain with high grasses blowing back and forth, and enjoying the subtle colors of grasses and flowered blooms, this might be nice as well. Of course, these are just ifs.

   Thanksgiving is coming in a few days, not really an if. But, for some it will be an if just because it will be if they have something for that meal, if they have something to help mark a special day, if it is a special day. Today we have the chance to help some people remove the if. A mobile food bank is setting up and delivering food to the community as it needs it. I can only imagine the change of discussion from if dinner is had, if even a full meal will be had, to an excitement of how the materials can be dispersed and planned. The if changes to when, the excitement builds, and a hope is rekindled.
  The power to overcome the if, that is a power indeed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Of All the Things to be Thankful For

   Stand back, you will probably think I have lost my mind – until I explain, but I am thankful I can throw up. I promise not to be graphic here, but this something I am really thankful for. Why? Well, I know someone who cannot throw up. Due to some different health problems, there is just no physical way for that to occur. In other words, this way of the body removing something it deems as unwanted must be dealt with differently. So, after recently getting over a stomach bug, I am reminded once again that I am thankful that I can throw up. My body can remove that material and I can find myself on the mend once again.

   I’m thankful that I can pay my bills. It’s not that I particularly enjoy having bills, but I am thankful I can pay them. Whenever I write a check or look at the budget, watching funds flow in and out, I am thankful that I can pay the bills.
   I’m thankful for my work. I enjoy the challenges, new tasks, and those moments when a concept is really understood – those are really stellar. Hard work, perseverance, teamwork, and some really wonderful people comprise to put a spring in my step many days. The work demands continuous learning and a willingness to care about why someone does or does not complete a task. I’m thankful for the chance to serve.
   I’m thankful for many things, some of which might even seem a bit odd. But, I will continue to give thanks for the odd things.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Puppy Rhythms

   A new puppy in our lives has created a flurry of activity, a dramatic decline in our paper towel and carpet cleaner inventory, and a change in the rhythm of our lives. Puppies, high spirited and energetic, are fun little fur balls. They are charmingly cute in the way they instigate trouble and investigate the world surrounding them. At the same time, you know that much like toddlers, if you hear silence, it generally means that they are into something they shouldn’t be.

   Buddy has been here almost two weeks, and already our lives have shifted. More than just items being placed higher and shushing each other when he is taking his nap, Buddy has been the source of a great deal of laughter, enjoyment at watching his antics, and just the simple pleasure of snuggling with a warm and squirmy puppy.
   Much like a baby, puppies follow patterns. They go out, they come in, eat and drink, play, go out, sleep, over and over… When he is asleep, is time to do tasks quickly and get items that require more concentration done. Then, when he is awake, it is hard not to just leave everything where it’s at to go and play with him.
   Buddy is growing, gaining several pounds already. He will continue to grow, to become a large dog and lose his puppy features. But, he has already made a permanent imprint on our minds, hearts, and lives.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Celebrate Each Day

   The brain child of a crack media team, the product of a marketing configuration, leads to a series of banners around the parks at Disney with the wonderful slogan, Celebrate Today. I really do love that idea, and yesterday had a reminder of how this is a choice.

   My beautiful chocolate lab, as she is approaching her tenth birthday, is having breathing problems. There is an obstruction in her nose. Currently, we don’t know what it is – whether polyp or cancer, But, whatever it is, it is leaving my independent girl as someone who wants held and touched. My heart is sad, and I’m concerned about her. Driving home, it struck me that this is the time of my choice. I can choose to celebrate today. It’s not that I’m ignoring what might be coming in the next days and months, but those days are not here yet. So, I’m choosing to celebrate today with Megan. I will enjoy her personality and her character. I choose to not ignore, but to celebrate regardless.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hanging up the Memories

   Some people hang up stockings, some people hang up memories. For me, the holiday season is rich with memories. Family dinners with my cousins and I running around my grandmother’s house, crowded with people who loved us; memories rich with love, laughter, music, and joy. Cookie baking, ornament making, and of course putting up the nativity were favorite activities.

   My mother had and has a special penchant for the nativity, and I remember quite vividly how she moved the nativity pieces through the house for months. She wanted me to understand that the celebration we have on these days is not just a quick thing, but it was a process over time.
   Last night, I put up one of the nativities which will adorn the house. I know some will say it’s too early, but I disagree. What more beautiful Thanksgiving decoration could I possibly have than a crèche with a new family represented inside? And not only a new family, but a baby that was to grow into the man that died and was brought back, the man who still lives today. This nativity is not the fanciest one, not the prettiest one. It’s chipped and the painted plastic has worn off on many places. The little plastic sheep and cows look worn. The angel has lost the glue which held her high against the wood, and now must be tucked in. It is something I played with as a child, learning from these symbols the story of the holidays.
   I look forward to these new holidays, as a chance to hang up the memories once again and make some new ones.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Season

   The holiday season is fast approaching, with jingle bells, nativities, Thanksgiving turkeys, school programs, and red nosed reindeer. It is hard to believe that these days of carols and cheer are nearly upon us once again. I don’t have Thanksgiving preparation started let alone Christmas. But, that is about to change. Decorating is officially beginning.

   I love this time of year. I love the smell of the fresh cut Christmas trees outside of the grocery store. The sound of Christmas songs that we only listen to once a year. Holiday movies come on, and I can hear a Hallmark movie playing in the background. Soon, the house will have people in it sitting down to a meal of turkey, stuffing, and all sorts of wonderful other tasty things. I do look forward to the fuss and care each item receives, as it comes out bearing memories of holidays past.
   But, beyond all of this, I love this time of year when people seem a little bit nicer, a little readier to spread “good will towards all men”. I love the time with family, with friends, to stop and smell the Christmas cactus. Take a moment to light a candle, to remember those you love, and start celebrating now. Let’s go hang up the wreaths.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Swimming Lessons

   If you ever happen to be able to see the Finding Nemo show – go see it. The show is great, the singers wonderful, and the puppets are truly personifications of the characters. Enter the theater, sit in the chair and as the lights dim, prepare yourself for a swimming lesson. I won’t give you particulars on the show; it’s a wonderful treat to be surprised and delighted like I was. But, I will say to pay attention to Dory. She has a rather precarious grasp of memory, but has a firm stance on an attitude which can be helpful. “Just keep swimming” is a line that you hear scattered throughout the musical, often coming from this fishy character.

   Just keep (fill in the blank). Perseverance is a difficult attitude to maintain at times. Whether it is a resolution made on the cusp of a new year or any type of choice or change, it can be much easier to maintain the status quo and not move forward. But, if you keep swimming, moving, running, thinking, exploring, the very words imply movement and action. It is when things become difficult that it is even more important, it is when we stick out the rough times and do not just hide away from life.
   There are times when I want to hide away, say that things are too much and too rough. Stop this, I’ve been sucked into a whirlpool and want out of the ocean! I may need a break after being tossed and turned in currents. But, then I must keep swimming.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Just a Little Bit of Pixie Dust

   Disney sells the experience extremely well, the details are carefully planned out and put into play with precision and effort. Subtle touches guide the visitor without even making them aware of what is going on. Instead, it is just a bit of Disney magic, a bit of pixie dust.

   What would it be like to sprinkle a bit of pixie dust across this town I live in, from the sunny state with Disney? We could do it by air, in a crop duster, but instead of spraying a chemical for crops, it could be pixie dust. What that is exactly supposed to do, I’m not entirely sure, but it sounds like it would do something good.
   Let’s see, what would pixie dust do? Maybe we could fly a bit or it cures the problems and fixes the broken things. Maybe it would make the plants grow taller and bloom brighter. Street lights would take on a sheen of gold that spilled out to the concrete. The food would be tastier, the chocolate a bit sweeter. After having a cold this week, I am feeling like I don’t really need pixie dust for that, even though it would be nice. Instead, as my sense of smell returns, so does taste. As I can start tasting again, flavors are richer and deeper than they were before. As my ears unplug, I start hearing little sounds again of birds singing, the sound of the dog walking across the driveway, the wood crackling in the fire. Pixie dust would be fun, but my cold lifting might have the same effect.

Friday, November 12, 2010


   Veterans Day was yesterday, a day set aside to remember our veterans, those who have served in both peace and war time. So, let me start by a saying a big thank you to all of those who have served. Not only those in uniform, but the support in the offices, the support in the homes, and the support of the families; thank you for your sacrifice, your work, your effort.

   She always smelled like White Linen, walked miles nearly everyday, and had both candy and wisdom for each visitor. A conversation sparked a memory of Granny, the name that everyone used for my great-grandmother. With her pearly white hair, quick wit, and deep family love, the combination of many years of life lessons, sorrows, and triumphs made her into a source of strength within the family.

   What made her from just another wonderfully loved grandmother into Granny, the matriarch with guidance and wisdom for her family? What changed her from the woman who liked to walk in the woods and watch football while taking little naps to the woman who survived when she wanted to give up?
   I think part of it was a decision to continue on during a difficult time. There were some extremely difficult situations, times when I’m sure she just wanted to give up. But, she didn’t and that I think is where the crucible was turning the raw materials into something tempered and extremely strong. Persisting in life, in times when it would have been much easier to pull the blankets over her head and refuse to move, she got out of bed and continued on. Instead, she did even more than just survive, she flourished and became a vital and well loved woman of wisdom, lively personality, and a community that loved her.
   I miss Granny, I miss the smell of white linen and her laugh. But, I thank her for the lessons she left.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Air Fern

   These little plants attach themselves to power lines, trees, fences, and pretty much any other stationary objects. Air ferns are not really ferns, but these tenacious plants attach themselves and gather nutrients and moisture from their surrounding environment. It was kind of amazing driving down the road and seeing plants wrapped in little garlands around different things.

   There are times when I think I need to be like these bromeliads and hang on tight to the world around me, finding nourishment in the environment. It is at the times when I am in the most unlikely of places and still need to grow. So, I plant my roots and collect nourishment from the sun and rain around me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


   I have never been one gifted with small talk, I prefer to jump into meatier subjects and put away the lighter fare for silliness and games. Sometimes this is a struggle, because small talk can be nice at the occasional function and in elevators. But, in general I find that most people really want a moment when the small talk can go away and instead will be really honest. So, on the trip, I met someone that needed that moment where small talk was passed over for something more understanding.

   It was in a wonderful Mexican restaurant at an open air mall in Florida that our waitress came, and did a beautiful job with the service. I will call her E. E started out just providing service, taking orders and filling refills. But, the lighter fare turned into something more meaningful as we found out that E was a mom who was working on getting her life back after recovering from a drug addiction. A mother of two girls and a mommy to be of a new baby, this woman was searching for something more than a discussion of the freshness of the food or good service. It was a pleasure meeting her, and learning about her determination to regain her girls and her life.
   Maybe you are like E and need someone to talk to. Maybe you are listening to E. Either way, sometimes we need to ditch the small talk and reach for something more important. It may be with the server at the restaurant, a neighbor, co-worker, or friend. Just be open to considering it, listen for the opportunity and when it comes, be ready to take it. You might be the only encouragement of the day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Lesson from STS 133

I had planned and dreamed for months of watching, feeling, and hearing a shuttle launch. The Discovery was scheduled to launch November 1, 2010 as mission STS 133. Well, Robert Burns was right as he told the mouse that fore planning can run amuck.
    “But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
     In proving foresight may be vain;
     The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
     Gang aft agley,
     An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
     For promis'd joy!”
    Well, it was not “grief an’pain” but disappointment as the Discovery launch was pushed back one day after another until now it is rescheduled for November 30. But, even though the best laid plans did not go as planned, I did get to see this assembly of parts together on the launch pad. It continues to amaze me that the many thousands of parts assembled to create enough thrust to safely launch this bird into the atmosphere.
   So, the Discovery didn’t launch as planned, and here is the lesson – keep trying and persevere. Persevere when things do not go as planned; persevere when there are technical difficulties and weather delays. Persevere when others do not understand the dream. Persevere through and keep working, because though the plans can “agley,” without a plan and perseverance there is no discovery.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Celebrate Today

   What a whirlwind week! Iowa to Orlando and back led to many different people and places to see, food to eat, and miles to walk; a wonderful not as planned trip. I have had so many different blog ideas from the trip, but I wanted to start with one that struck me as we went to some Disney parks. The theme Celebrate Today is on the banners as you approach. I love that phrase – Celebrate Today. In two simple words, this sums up a very complex idea.

   Celebrate, take the saved for important and special occasions eat on the good china mentality, and apply it. It is an appreciation of the small and big things, a mentality that seeks out the good. When we look for the good, it is often that which we see. If I celebrate something, I am often looking forward to it. I anticipate the enjoyment of the moment, the sharing of a time or purpose with others.
   Today, notice the immediacy of that – really stop and take notice. Today, not tomorrow where we are looking forward to something which has not arrived. Today, not yesterday when we are looking back on what was and cannot be changed. Today, the immediate moment, the time we have and can change.
   Celebrate today. I am going to challenge myself to keep that Disney mentality moving forward. I hope you do to.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Today is an early early early day - I would say that leaving on the jet plane at 6:20, airport arrival by 4:30, means getting up by around 3 AM - wow that is definitely worthy of three earlies!

With that in mind - I'm going to get a little more shut eye....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

taerT ro kcirT

   What a great night for taerT ro kcirT. Never heard of it? Well, we were just having too much fun away from the house on the night when all of the cute little beggars come out for candy. So, when we returned, there was no candy to give. The general discussion as the house was being approached was, “make a dash for the door”, “get everything you need now,” “don’t make eye contact and Hurry!” It was a mad dash with giggles all the way. There were a few persistent door ringers and knockers even though the lights were turned out. So, the concept was born, a backwards trick or treat – rather a taerT ro kcirT! The trick-or-treater approaches the door. But, when they are about to knock, we knock from inside and start yelling trick or treat. Then, we open the door and they give us candy. Sounds like a great plan to me! Candy, candy coming to me, I don’t even have to put on my shoes to go out! Okay, so obviously the kids aren’t going to go for it. But, you can’t blame a girl for trying.
   I started wondering what else we do that for in life, where do we have it backwards. What else do we approach, only to have someone inside the door take instead of give? Perhaps you have been in a taerT ro kcirT relationship with someone, be it a professional or friend or family relationship. It is essential to have not only good boundaries, but to also be ready to give instead of take. You see, we can be on both sides of the door any given day. We can be the one who is intending to receive the gift, and end up being the giver instead. Boundaries are essential to know your role, otherwise we can become confused and just start approaching random houses with our candy – having it taken away from us, rather than being shared with. No matter where relationships occur, they are quite difficult. They are messy, confusing, and at times just frustrating. They can also be rewarding, gratifying, and encouraging. But, think of successful relationships that you have witnessed. The roles are understood, and both give and both receive.
   I don’t think we will be seeing a taerT ro kcirT trend starting anytime soon, at least with candy. But, I hope that we do become more aware of how we may indeed be stealing someone else’s candy from the wrong side of the door.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Vacation is a wonderful thing, but I find my eyes growing heavy.  So I leave you with these words... go vote!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Visiting the Body

   Yesterday, we visited the Lord’s body in Lakeland, Florida. I love visiting other churches. You get fresh ideas from seeing how they do things. I also love the feel of the fresh perspective of being able to worship with others, hear them sing and pray. But, I think my favorite part is experiencing being part of the active body of Christ, a different part than I usually see.

   It is easy to forget amidst the routine of the weekly worship that there are others throughout the world engaged in something similar. It might look a little different. The music styles, languages, or location may be different. We may all dress differently and have a different style for a service. But even while there are those differences, there are so many similarities that we must not forget to recognize.
   I had the opportunity to worship with fellow brothers and sisters in the Church yesterday and was so warmly welcomed. So many smiles, handshakes, and conversations occurred that it was a wonderful reminder of how wonderful heaven will be. You see, we share a common purpose. And with that we are already part of something much bigger than we as individuals are part of. It reminded me of how sweet it will be to see these people again someday. Probably, it won’t be in Lakeland, Florida. But in heaven, we could finally have a chance to sit down and talk. We can sing together, worship together, and pray together again.