Saturday, December 19, 2009

White Brain Matter Really Matters

I bought a capo today for my guitar. A capo is a clamp that you place on different frets of the guitar to change the pitch of the open strings. If you Google capo, be sure not to spell it Kapo because a Kapo is a term that describes a prisoner who worked in a lower administrative position in German Nazi concentration camps during WWII. The spellings are definitely not interchangeable. Back to the capo. I needed the capo to play "Country Roads Take Me Home" and to look like I know what I am doing when I play the guitar. It's working.

This blog is totally out of my circle of knowledge, but I heard a report on the effect that white brain matter has on learning something new -- let's say something like, maybe, I don't know, let's go with playing the guitar. Yea, that's a good example. White brain matter really matters when you are learning to play the guitar. I wanted to know more.

All of us have heard the brain referred to as gray matter. The gray matter can be thought of as the actual computers of the brain. Using the computer as an analogy, the white matter represents the network cables connecting the computers together. The white matter is white because of the fatty substance known as myelin that surrounds the long nerve fibers. The myelin acts as electrical insulation and allows messages to pass quickly from place to place. Finally a fat that is good for you. This white matter forms the basis of the deepest parts of the brain. So, the faster the passage of messages from place to place in the brain the quicker the brain learns. This is certainly a layman's explanation, but it's a pretty accurate description.

We know that children are sponges who can soak up new information at an incredible rate. Perhaps they are learning even before birth while they are still in the womb. Researchers believe that the connective tissues in the brain form faster and stronger as children are exposed to new types of learning -- languages, musical instruments, math, etc. Additionally, researchers suggest that some of the connections must be made at an early age or they will never form. In other words, we have a window of opportunity to learn certain skills or we lose the ability to learn them at all. These connections may be contributed to the formation of white brain matter.

Gray matter development peeks in a person's mid-twenties and then starts to slowly decline. Researchers have recently discovered that white matter may not peek until a person is 40 and then slowly declines. The decline depends on a litany of variables. Two of the most commonly cited variables are brain exercise/stimulation (do you continue to learn new things as you age), and physical exercise. It seems that exercise of the brain AND the body are important to prevent many of the evils that aging forces upon us.

An Internet article that I read today suggested the following ways to keep white and gray brain matter as strong as possible to prevent the horrible disease Alzheimer's:

1. Write, write, write. The process of writing demands correlation between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Translating complex feelings into words demands that both sides of your brain work hard to accomplish the task. I will remind my husband that I am not just bloging, I am preventing degenerative brain disease from occurring. Thank you very much blog.
2. Learn a new skill or language. Learning something new, especially something that is totally new territory to you is crucial. This new information is a huge boost to your neurological reserves. Perhaps the learning process can even cause new connections to be formed.
3. Learn to play a musical instrument. The same kind of new connections that form when you learn a new language, form when you learn to play a musical instrument. I feel smarter already. Thanks guitar.
4. Travel widely. When you travel to countries that don't speak English, you are forced to assimilate and learn a new language. Your brain is in learning overdrive. You will practically feel the neurotransmitters firing in your brain as you struggle to learn enough words to suffice during your trip.
5. Exercise. It's just good for you and you know it. Aerobic and cardiovascular exercise may benefit areas of the brain that are most susceptible to the ravages of aging.
6. Be Happy and Connected to others. Feeling a sense of connection to others - either individuals or groups can actually slow the aging process.
7. Don't stress. Stress can actually permanently damage the tissues of the brain and is certainly not good for any part of your body.
You can read articles by the Internet arthur at

Here is my summary of how to stay young as detailed above:

1. Write down your feelings (maybe start your own blog)
2. Learn to play the guitar (or some inferior musical instrument)
3. Learn a new language
4. Travel to new and distant lands
5. Have friends you love and go hang out with them
6. Exercise regularly
7. Don't stress

Please follow my suggestions, you know I am a doctor......

Monday, December 14, 2009

A new Fender Guitar

I just came in from our front porch at 11:45 p.m on a Monday night to write this blog. I should already be in bed. I have a long day tomorrow and an equally demanding week. But, I always stay up too late. It's amazing what you can accomplish at night and I find myself more and more often working late at night either on Facebook, blogging, or cleaning the house. My husband is also turning into more of a night owl. Funny how we change as we age!

Ok, what was I doing on the front porch at 11:45 p.m? I was practicing on my new Fender acoustic guitar! That's right, I have a new guitar!!!! Until now, I have had the immense honor of using a very generous friend's Takamine acoustic/electric guitar. The Takamine sounds wonderful and it fits me perfectly. I have tried to buy the Takamine from its owner, but he is adamant that he plans to learn to play and he will not sell. I can appreciate his reluctance. The Takemine is a 1983 with a beautiful sound. In my teacher's hands it really has a beautiful sound. Sometimes I framm it until something akin to a beautiful sound leaps out of it in pure frustration! Still, I trudge on hoping to get better. The picture is me with the Takamine guitar. Practice, practice, practice.

I often practice on the front porch. My husband appreciates that I often practice on the front porch rather than in the house. I understand. I can hear myself play. Not sure if the neighbors are happy about my front porch playing at 11:45 at night. Sorry neighbors. I figure the louder I play the better I sound. I am afraid it's like talking to someone who does not speak English -- just talk louder and they will understand. Right? I think if I play louder or harder that maybe listeners will appreciate the passion and energy of the music. In other words, I hope to fake out the listeners until I can really play. I totally believe that it's working so far.

Back to the Fender guitar. A friend of our family recently brought me the guitar as a Christmas present. It's not a new guitar, but he knew that I was learning to play and he had this great guitar. He brought my husband a very nice golf club that he played with Sunday, but he will have to blog about that. I am interested in telling you about the Fender.

I almost cried when I opened the guitar case he handed me. When I saw the word Fender and the beauty of the guitar I was elated! I was getting ready to buy a new guitar so that I would have one of my own, so this Christmas present was perfectly timed. As I brought the guitar into the house, our friend said that it had not been tuned in 10 years and probably was terribly out of tune. As I sat down to tune each wonderful string of that guitar, I realized that they were perfectly in tune with the exception of one string that needed minor tuning. I immediately began playing my short list of songs. Beautiful. I can't wait to hear the guitar played by someone who is especially talented. Maybe I should think of a name for this fine, new guitar. I will ponder the perfect name for a Fender acoustic guitar owned by a Rock and Roll Wanna Be!

The generosity of our friend is so much appreciated. You can all appreciate the kind of friends that you have known for 20 years who you can call on if you need them. My husband and I will make great use of our new Christmas presents.

It's a great time of the year to call up old friends and make sure that they know you appreciate them and value their friendship. I don't do this nearly as much as I should. Facebook and this blog have been great ways to reconnect with friends from high school and college. Keep in touch. Life is short and has no guarantees. I hope that I will become talented enough on the guitar that you can hear me play some day on my new Fender acoustic guitar. If you hear some very loud guitar music, it could be me. Practice, practice, practice.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's all about Give and Take

I love celebrations. I still love celebrating my birthday. Of course, I don't love getting older, but I love celebrating my birthday! I don't need gifts, I just need the day to belong totally to me and for everyone to recognize that it's my birthday! Very much like a child, but my grandmother was the same way until her death. She always looked forward to her birthday. Birthdays are meant to be celebrated. If I play the Georgia lottery, I always use important dates as my numbers. I do plan to win very soon on my birthday and anniversary numbers.

Please play the Georgia lottery. It supports education. Don't win, just play. We need the money.

My sweet husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary this week. We had a great day that I will always cherish. As you readers know, my husband is not big on mushy talk, but he always tells me that he loves me. Because we stay up way too late each night, he wished me happy anniversary and told me he loved me at 12:01 a.m. For some strange reason, we always stay up until midnight to wish each other happy anniversary, happy birthday, merry Christmas, etc. It's strange for two adults, but it is what it is. By now, I guess it's a tradition with us.

Back to our anniversary celebration. My sweet husband wished me a happy anniversary before we left for work and called me during the day to send his wishes again. About mid-day the most beautiful red roses arrived for me -- a dozen long-stemmed red roses from my favorite florist in town. I love flowers, I especially love roses, I most especially love red roses. The anniversary day is progressing beautifully.

We had decided that we would go to Valdosta for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. Sweet husband suggested one of the great restaurants down town, maybe Red Lobster, where ever I wanted to go. All day I thought about where I wanted to go and even ate a smaller lunch so that I could completely enjoy the dinner. By 5 p.m. I am ready to leave work and head out of town!

On the way to Valdosta I asked my husband where he wanted to eat and that sweet husband of 21 years who had sent me a dozen red roses and promised me a beautiful dinner in Valdosta suggested with complete seriousness that we try that great, new restaurant - The Smok'n Pig! I am pausing for this to sink in to my readers. Go back and read this paragraph again. Seriously. I have attached a picture of the Smok'n Pig restaurant for your viewing pleasure. Well.......I suppose the fine folks at the Smok'n Pig won't mind that I have on high heels and a dress. Surely BBQ can be enjoyed in my fine frock as well as in jeans. Because my husband really enjoys eating, I reluctantly agreed to the epicurean delights of the Smok'n Pig!

Let me give you a food critic review of the Smok'n Pig: Go eat at the Smok'n Pig! Go today. Wear your stretchy pants. Take friends. Go for your anniversary! The food is fabulous. They have a beef brisket that is the most flavorful, tender meat that I have every tasted. The sweet potato souffle is heavenly. I ate until my fine frock was screaming! To make the night even more sophisticated, we brought home a to-go box full of left overs.

The moral of today's blog - it's all about give and take. I had my sweet husband of 21 years and a dozen red roses. He had his wife of 21 years and Smok'n Pig BBQ. Life is good and I thank God every day for allowing me to marry the love of my life and most importantly that he is STILL the love of my life. Life is great. If we had gone to dinner at one of the restaurants that I had in mind, there would be no blog to write. Thanks Smok'n Pig for being blog-worthy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Things you must do in life

I was once told that at some time in your life everyone should own a vehicle that is a convertible. I have owned one and loved it. Funny thing about convertibles in south Georgia is that it's too hot in the summer to ride with the top down. If you do dare put the top down in the 100-degree July heat, you turn on the air conditioner so that you don't melt into the upholstery. Spring and fall are the best times to ride with your top down. If you haven't owned a convertible, maybe you should put it on your list of "things you must do in life."

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that playing the guitar was one of the huge items on my "must do" list. I totally am playing the guitar now. Of course, I have just scratched the surface of guitar knowledge but I am progressing. Just so you know, playing the guitar is ubber hard. Really, it is. I know those silly people who claim they just learned to play by ear make it sound easy, but it's not easy. It's hard, it's complicated, and it has many layers. My teacher tries patiently to introduce new information to me, but mostly I just want to framm (great word to describe how I play) on the strings and pretend to be Slash from Guns and Roses. How anyone masters this stuff is still a mystery to me. Maybe I just have so much more to learn that I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you haven't learned to play the guitar, piano, drums, etc. maybe you should put that on your list of "things you must do in life."

During the summer I had the awesome opportunity to ride on a zip line through the Central America jungle. I wrote about this in an earlier blog. There were 11 different lines that we "zipped" from in the jungle. I have never had so much fun. The first zip was completely scary because I didn't know how to balance myself, but the others were great. I couldn't wait to get in the air to look at the jungle below me, around me, and above me! I took pictures, but I kept telling myself to try to burn the memory of the experience into my mind for safe keeping. Each zip brought its own treasures of animals, flora, and differing heights. I am so thankful for this experience and hope that I can repeat it many more times. If you haven't ever zipped through the jungle on a zip line, maybe you should put that on your list of "things you must do in life."

For one of my and my husband's milestone wedding anniversaries, we flew to New York during the Christmas holidays. I had been to New York before, but my husband had not. I knew that the trip would be a wonderful opportunity to watch his face as he saw the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Times Square. I was not disappointed. He was impressed by the non-stop activity, the lights, and the multitude of people in NYC. He was not impressed with the food and while I stopped at the Starbucks on every block, he stopped at McDonald's. He claimed that only McDonald's has sweet tea in NYC! He loved the subway and soon had the entire city mapped out in his head. His favorite trip was to the Bronx to see BOTH Yankee stadiums side-by-side. I was a little scared in the Bronx, he loved it. The splurge of the trip was that we stayed in an amazing hotel in Times Square. We had to pay top price for the room, but we were treated like royalty with champagne and food sent to our "anniversary" suite. If you have never visited New York City during the Christmas holidays and splurged on a fabulous hotel, maybe you should put that on your list of "things you must do in life."

I love flowers. Every kind of flowers. Not cut flowers -- that seems like such a waste. I love planted flowers, particularly flowers that bloom for an entire season. I have planted lots of flowers every where we have ever lived. Seeing those flowers bloom, makes me so happy. I believe it's quite a miracle that you plant a tiny hard seed in the ground and it comes out as a beautiful flower. I particularly like to take "cuttings" from a mature plant and produce lots of new plants. The best plant to start from cuttings is weeping willow trees. Just cut about a 12 inch piece of the weeping limb, strip the leaves, and stick it in good soil. In about two weeks tiny little green leaves appear on the limb. Let the roots get strong for a season and then plant it in your yard. Instant weeping willow tree. It's a little like birthing a new creation. If you have never taken a cutting from a plant and created your own entirely new plant, maybe you should put that on your list of "things you must do in life."

This list will definitely continue in subsequent blogs. I would love to hear what you would suggest we add to our list of "things you must do in life."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dual talent art show

I went to the most amazing art show tonight. Actually it was two art shows in one. Two amazing artists, both female, combined their exceptional talents into one beautiful show. The experience was really inspiring for the attendees. I don't usually mention names in my blogs, but you should know that the artists are Carrie Viohl and Chelsea Ragan. Two young, talented artists who never let convention or rules dictate how they will express themselves. Their art is fresh, young, and amazing in the way that they take objects that would be ordinary in less talented hands and turn them into pieces of art.

If you have read my blogs before, you know that I would love to be a great, unconventional painter (along with a great rock and roll guitar player -- but that's for another blog). This longing makes me appreciate artists who use mixed media or who just see the world in a different light than the rest of us. Both Carrie and Chelsea see the world in their own unique way -- the beauty of their vision is that everyone who is blessed to witness it loves their interpretation of the world around them. Carrie expresses her art through photography and Chelsea expresses hers through mixed media with its basis in painting and drawing. If you missed the opening, you should go by the gallery in Thomasville, Georgia and see the art. It's worth the trip.

Every time I see an artist's work I wonder what happens in their mind to allow them to create original pieces of art. Were they born with innate talent or did they get just the right encouragement or exposure to the arts at just the right time as their little brains developed? We know that studies have shown for years that children who are exposed to art and music early in life perform better in math and science throughout their academic career.

Note - Just humor me for a minute on this. I don't know much about kids. Really, I don't know a darn thing about kids. However, I know about flowers. I know that fertilizer must be given at the right time in the right dosage to make the flower grow. I know that too little water kills a plant as surely as too much water will kill a plant. I know that failing to "deadhead" or properly prune a plant will prevent it from ever being as beautiful as it could be. I know that a plant that is not grown in the correct zone of the country is a dead plant waiting to happen.

What in the world is the relation to art and plants? Well, when I am planting, fertilizing, or pruning my plants I make sure that these things are done at the appropriate time so that the full affects of the effort are realized. I want to do the right thing at the right time for the plant to flourish and be its most beautiful. The Connection -- when I am gardening, I often think that our children must have strong roots in the home (planting), receive the proper amount of inspiration or exposure to events that help to shape their minds (fertilizer), and be taught the restraint to allow them to take what they have learned to realize their full potential (pruning). If they miss any single one of these -- planting, fertilizing, or pruning -- can they ever reach their full potential? Once again, I don't have any answers, only questions.

I have wondered about these things for years. My mom is a wonderful gardener, her mother, and her grandmother were great gardeners. I have always received good advice about how to take care of plants. For some reason, I have always related this advice to the development of children. Like growing plants or following a recipe, if you miss a single step the plant may die or the recipe may fail. Perhaps I am still thinking about Michael Oher from The Blind Side. His life could have turned out so differently if he had not had someone to plant him where he needed to be planted, fertilize him, and prune him to become a great man.

Carrie and Chelsea obviously had the necessary planting, fertilizing, and pruning to become great artists. How do we make sure that children who need someone to fertilize them have access to that person? We can't all adopt a kid and raise them as our own. We are lucky in our community that we have such a wonderful art center that is reaching out to children to ensure that the seed of creativity that I believe God instills in all of us falls on fertile ground.

A little rambling tonight -- two things I hope you will do -- go see Carrie and Chelsea's art show in Thomasville and support your local art center in any way that you can. You and the community will be richer for your efforts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I am too old to be young, but too young to be old. I consider it a time of observation. A time to look back at what events, thoughts, incidents have shaped me while at the same time looking forward to how I will help shape the events of the future. I am not sure that any of us have a tremendous impact, but perhaps in our little part of the universe we are wildly impactful. The problem with trying to figure out our impact is that we don't usually know how much we affect people or situations until long after they have passed.

A movie this week has me thinking about bravery and how it manifests itself in our lives. The movie, Blind Side, is a true story of a young African-American man (Michael) who went through horrors that we pray that we will never know or completely understand. He was "adopted" by a wealthy white family who treated him like their son. He escaped the slums, drugs, and crime of his home and prospered in his private high school, at Ole Miss, and finally was drafted into the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens. His story is inspirational and moving. Michael had to be extremely brave to put aside everything he knew, even if those things were negative, in order to start a new life. Imagine leaving your family, friends, and neighborhood to live with a family that you don't know and don't know if you can trust. Michael Oher was very brave.

The family who adopted Michael was very brave also. Racial barriers still exist in the south and the Tuohys certainly went outside their normal societal restrictions when they allowed a poor, African-American male to move into their beautiful home. By the end of the movie Michael is calling Mrs. Tuohy "mama." Leigh Ann Tuohy resisted the push by friends and family who did not approve of Michael Oher being a part of the Tuohy family. I can imagine hearing "it's just not done" or "what do they have to gain by helping that boy?" The NCAA was so suspicious of the Tuohys willingness to help Oher that they interviewed him more than once to determine if the Tuohys, athletic boosters to Ole Miss, had helped Michael so that they could recruit him to their Alma mater.

In the end, Michael succeeds in winning over everyone who bothered to get to know him. He passed his courses in high school, graduated from Ole Miss, and was a 2009 first round draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens. None of this happens without the bravery of the Tuohys or Michael.
I talked to a college professor this week about the bravery of young people. The world is so different today than it was when we were growing up. He made the statement that when he married he had never seen the ocean and had never traveled out of his home state of Arkansas. He went on to say that his children had done more by the time they entered elementary school than he had when he entered college. Young people learn to be brave very early because they must. While we were insulated from the world by parents, teachers, and church, young people today have the entire world at their fingertips through their cell phones. They are born knowing how to use technology in ways that some of us struggle to master. This knowledge makes it possible for them to have friends in countries throughout the world and to have knowledge about events immediately. As Brad Paisley says in his song Welcome to the Future, "Every day is a revolution" in their world.
So, note to self: Young people can be crazy, disrespectful, flighty, and mouthy, But remember that they are witnessing a revolution every day in their world. Would I handle these daily revolutions any differently? I don't know. I am too old to be young and too young to be old. I am a participant and a witness to what may come....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thank God for friends.

Last night my friends and I had a girls shopping night. I was tired because I had stayed up until 3 am the night before at the midnight showing of New Moon. I am so glad that I did not miss the fun trip with friends due to mere tiredness. We had such a wonderful time. Each of us has a different personality, we look different, we have different jobs, and we love each other. The combination of differences makes for the greatest times together.

We hit Dillard's first with an 11-month old gift card in hand. There is a New York trip in the plans for December so shopping was a priority. The store had very few people and we hurried from hats, to purses, to sweaters with little interruption. That is until I spotted the Lancome make-up counter. The nice lady behind the counter with the beautiful name of Saye, asked me if I wanted to have a mini-makeover using Lancome products. Well, of course I want a mini-makeover using whatever products! A makeover is a makeover. The makeover was so wonderful and the results were fabulous. I had to text my friends to finish their shopping and come look at me! Of course I then spent too much money on Lancome products. I am sure that I look younger already with my new Genefique eye cream!

In Guy Terms -- having a makeover done at the Lancome counter is the equivalent of having your vehicle professionally detailed versus you washing it in the driveway. Get it?

Next stop Tokyo Japanese restaurant. Wonderful food, wonderful service, great friends to share it with. Of course the waiter was once a teacher in our little town and we had a great time sharing stories. While we ate we received text updates on our local football team and celebrated with claps and cheers when the team won their playoff game. Everyone in the restaurant knew our team had won!

When you visit Tokyo restaurant be sure to order the Island Sushi roll. It's a full meal and you will be very happy with your order. All cooked ingredients with a little wasabi and ginger on the side with eel sauce for dipping. Just the right amount of sweet and hot!

By now it's 10:00 p.m., but Kohl's doesn't close until midnight! Kohl's here we come. We touched every item in the store. Women's dresses, purses, shoes, Christmas items, men's shirts, electronics, jewelry and Halloween stuff 60% off. Good times! We finally tallied our purchases at 11:45 p.m and headed toward home with the back of the SUV stuffed with goodies. This was a record shopping trip. I don't think I have ever shopped until midnight. Also, it was one of the best shopping trips. Good food, good friends, good health, and the football team won in the playoffs. Life is good. We are blessed. Thank you Lord for allowing me to be able to pay my bills. More shopping to do.....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My mentor

I have had the tremendous gift of a mentor who has provided me with insight and encouragement in my current career. She is one of those rare people who makes your world better because she is a part of that world. I describe her as a steel magnolia personified. When you see her in a professional setting there is absolutely no doubt that she is in charge and that her vision is being promoted throughout the organization. At the same time she is charming, charismatic, and loved by the people she surrounds herself with. I tease her that when she walks into a room of strangers, she charms the men, she befriends the women, and she raises $10,000 for her favorite charity. The wonderment of that statement is that it's true. She is really amazing and I am blessed to have her as a mentor.

Early in my current position, she would call and give me advice or "heads up" about pending situations. The unique thing about her is that she always made these phone calls seem like she was learning something from me. She never made me feel like a neophyte who was boring her with chatter that she had no time to be bothered with. She made me feel important, smart, and capable. She also challenged me through her tremendous example and pieces of advice. I am forever grateful to her willingness to take me on as a mentee when she had her own career to manage. I am not sure that I could have been successful without her guidance and kindness when I needed her the most.

After she moved higher in the organization, I talked to her less, but still relied on her for the most important kinds of advice. I always trusted her instinct and found that she never missed the target as we analyzed a situation looking for the best solution. She has two direct-reports who have become CEO's of their organizations and countless others who turn to her with their toughest problems. She never fails us.

Because of her tremendous abilities, she has been promoted to the top position in higher education in another state. I am elated and devastated at the same time. I know with Internet, Facebook, email, Blogs, Twitter, etc. we can keep in touch, but I will miss seeing her and knowing that I can talk to her whenever I need her.

She always encouraged her mentees to become mentors to others. My prayer is that I can be the kind of mentor to a new professional that she has been to me. The biggest honor I could have is to be compared to her in some small way. I do not have the words to express the gratitude and respect that I feel for her. Some of you may know who I am talking about but, others may not. I just hope she knows that she has positively changed the lives of everyone she touched in South Georgia. I am forever in her debt. My prayers and thoughts are with her as she charms and befriends new acquaintances. My love to my Mentor. Thank you for your generosity.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

James died about 2000 years ago. Why am I reading his writings?

I love the book of James in the Bible. There are only five short chapters in the entire book. But, each chapter is packed with great, sensible advice for living our lives. According to my bible, The Book, "the book of James was written to Jewish Christians in order to provide them with some practical instructions in the Christian life. It contains many short, proverbial sayings and reflects in a remarkable way the teachings of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount." You may have deduced from my previous posts that I like practical, direct instruction. Theory is great. Give me facts and concrete directions.

The first chapter of James is entitled "Enduring Trials and Temptations." I don't like this part of the chapter. The premise is that when your life is full of difficulties and temptations that you should be happy because your patience has a chance to grow. Friends, you know that you should never pray that someone learns patience -- there is only one way to "learn" patience and that's through trials and difficulties. The chapter gets better (I know, who am I to decide what's good in the bible) as the word of God assures us that if we desire to know what God wants us to do, just ask him. He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom. That statement blows my mind just a little. If God is ready to give me a bountiful supply of wisdom just for the asking, I am asking! See, practical directions on how to get wisdom.

Chapter two is entitled "Do not despise the poor." None of us think about despising the poor, but James makes this a more relative statement when he warns us that if we treat a well-dressed man with rings on his fingers with respect and ignore the man dressed in threadbare clothes then we are sinning in God's eyes. More practical knowledge. Don't fawn over the rich guy. Make sure we are looking at everyone the way God looks at them -- very hard for mere humans to do.

The third chapter is entitled "Control the tongue." These quotes are amazing, "If anyone can control his tongue, it proves that he has perfect control over himself in every other way." Another quote "So also the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do." Additional quote "...but no human being can tame the tongue." Because we are imperfect humans, James knew that we would be unable to completely control our tongues. I think about this quote every day. Sometimes I am able to control my words, sometimes not. Constant battle.

The fourth chapter is entitled "Draw Near to God." I love this chapter. It tells us to give ourselves humbly to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Unbelievable that the God that created the universe and sent our savior to die for us would draw close to us just because we need him. This is a very encouraging chapter.

Chapter five is entitled "Admonitions to be Patient and Faithful." This chapter encourages us to keep praying about our troubles and that we should rejoice about our blessings. Also included in this chapter is the direction to admit our faults to each other and pray for each other. This is one of my favorite verses "The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results." Wow. More practical insight from James.

I read my bible each night and I try to follow a logical pattern of reading, but I find myself returning to the book of James very often, because I like what James is telling me. Sometimes I think James had me in mind when he penned his words 2000 years ago.

Do you have a favorite book, chapter, verse that inspires or challenges you? I would love for you to share that information with me. Thanks for reading my blog and I hope that you are blessed today.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's never too late

I have degrees in business and never thought much about art and music. I was running too hard toward another degree or the next opportunity to stop and wonder if I had any interest in art or music. That was until the last couple of years. Keep in mind that I am not contemplating whether I have any talent in either art or music, but rather do I have an interest in either one. Well, it just so happens that I have an immense amount of interest in both. I started painting about 4 years ago. Nothing serious, but I love color and I love abstract art. The cool thing about abstract art is -- it's abstract. There are no rules. You can incorporate all kinds of elements into the painting. I love to use different papers, putty, and sand to give my paintings texture. You may be thinking that anyone can do abstract painting and that some of the famous painting look like a kid painted them. You may be right, but keep this wise piece of advice in mind: It might be possible for anyone to create a piece of abstract art, but it takes an artist to create a piece that other people want to look at. An artist friend told me this. I like it.

I found that the more I painted, the more my creativity was improved in other areas of my life -especially in my professional life. While a business-kind of brain is essential for my job, a creative brain is also essential. When you are trying to think completely out of the box to create a painting, you train your mind to learn to think outside the box in all types of situations. Although I had read about the benefits of art and music education to the development of children, I was completely surprised by the effects that painting was having on my way of thinking. I started to see other artists' work in an entirely different way and still seek out artists in order to be inspired by their work. Now, I know that you will never look at my artwork and think Picasso, but I hope you look at my artwork and think Tina.

Now to music. Anyone who has read my facebook page knows that I have taken guitar lessons for the past six months. I love the guitar more than I can tell you. I am just learning the basics and can play a few songs, but learning this particular instrument makes me feel like doors that I never even knew existed have magically opened. The creation of music may be one of the most rewarding experiences for a human being to be a part of. To take a box with six strings on it and strike the strings in such a manner that almost every song known to mankind can be replicated is a powerful and magical feeling. I absolutely can not get enough of learning about and listening to guitar music. I told my guitar teacher recently that I am so glad that I got all that college completed before I found the guitar. Not sure I would have stuck with the whole college thing if I had started playing guitar too early.

I almost covet the talent that really good guitar players possess. Of course, they became good musicians through hours and hours of practice. Another great piece of advice from a friend, "no one can practice for you." My fingers on my fret hand now have sufficient calluses so that my fingers don't feel like they are being cut by the guitar strings. I love my calluses. You only get calluses from practicing. I have calluses and very short fingernails on my fret hand. Life is good. Guitar is sounding better.

My point: It's never too late to start doing something that you have dreamed of doing. Who knew that in my forties I would start painting and begin playing the guitar? Who cares who knew. The fact is, in my forties I am painting and playing guitar. I know that God leads us to what we need in different stages of our lives. I am immensely thankful that I have the blessings of art and music at this stage in my life. I am not sure that I could have appreciated either of them earlier in life. I didn't stop to "smell the roses" until just recently. Painting and playing the guitar are definitely roses in my life and I am stopping to smell those roses as often as possible.

I would love to hear about dreams that you have that just maybe you have been inspired to begin. We need to encourage each other. Life is short. Live it to the fullest. Remember, it's never too late....

Monday, November 16, 2009

I just call it love....

This may be a short post, but I need to tell you about one of the ways that my husband shows his love for me. I am very blessed to be married to my sweet husband for more than 20 years. He is the love of my life and the thought of ever living without him hurts beyond measure. I hope he feels the same way. If you know him, don't ask him. He does not do mushy talk very well. Not doing mushy talk is really the theme of today's post.

My husband is a great man. He is kind to animals, he loves his mom and visits her regularly, and he works hard. All great attributes for any person to have. If you don't know him well and only know him when you see him, you have no idea about his wonderful, tender heart of gold. But, that's ok, I know about it. Do not tell him that you now know about his heart of gold. He likes to be known as a little tougher than "heart of gold" dude.

Before I get too mushy myself, be certain that he does things that make me crazy. He does not know how to put a dirty dish in the dishwasher and has no idea how the new rolls of toilet paper mysteriously appear in the bathroom. However, he does do alot around the house and keeps our pool and yard looking like it's done by a professional. I don't even try to cut the grass anymore. Why make him redo it? He sees mystery bahaya grass everywhere when I cut the grass. I just let him make it perfect.

Now the point of the blog: My husband does one little thing that makes me feel like a million dollars each time he does this. With my job, I often have to travel out of town and come home after dark. I would rather be at home, but we do what we have to do. On the nights that I return home late, as soon as I turn onto our road in the subdivision, I see the lights shining at our house. Not just the inside lights, but every single light on the outside of our house is turned on to welcome me home. The uplights in the trees, six front porch lights, the lights on the fence by the driveway, the landscape lights, the lights on the sides of the house -- 30 or 40 lights are turned on by my sweet husband to welcome me home. The house and yard are glowing with light. I now look forward to those beautiful lights each time I return home. On the occasion when he is not home when I return, the absence of those lights always makes me a little sad. I wonder if he knows how special I feel when I see those lights.

Guys may not always use mushy words to remind us that they love us, but I will take a heart of gold and those welcoming lights any time. I just call it love....

Does your significant other have a special way to show his/her love? Keep it clean.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hey, you're not in South Georgia any more....

I spent about 4 days in north Georgia. Specifically, I was in Athens, Lake Lanier, and Alpharetta. I love all of those places. Athens -- what's not to love. Lake Lanier - beautiful scenery. Alpharetta - great shopping. In Athens I found a restaurant that I love but had not visited in years -- The Grit. If you have not tried it, try it. If you have tried it, you will undoubtedly agree that it is one of the most unique places in Athens. It's a vegetarian restaurant. (My husband does not believe that the word "Vegetarian" and the word "Restaurant" should be used together in a sentence.) However, The Grit not only has unique, delicious vegetarian dishes, it has the most delicious, huge pieces of wonderful cakes and pies. For lunch friday, I ordered hand-made hummus with pita points and fresh veggies and a huge piece of caramel, brown sugar cake. Oh my goodness, I am happy just thinking about that delicious piece of cake. I think each piece costs about $7, but I don't care if they charge $70. The cake is worth the price. Of course, you don't have a unique, vegetarian restaurant in a university town without the waiters and waitresses being unique. Lots of tattoos, piercings, funky braids, fishnet hose, black-dyed hair, and trendy hats. I love the scenery.

When I got to Lake Lanier, the pace was much slower than Athens. The lake is so beautiful and the friends I spent the night with were gracious hosts. I love their house on the lake. Not only is the house especially beautiful, but the setting is a bit like paradise. Of course good friends and great hospitality make the scenery even more beautiful. Thanks to my Lake Lanier buddies for a wonderful weekend.

On the way home, I stopped to do some shopping in Alpharetta. If you have read all my blogs, you know that I have some shopping challenges. Not really challenges, I can shop for great items for my house, but it's the clothes shopping that makes me crazy. But, I found some great shops and had a very productive day of shopping. I will admit, shopping is just different in metro Atlanta than it is in south Georgia. No surprise there, but even the shops that are located in both metro Atlanta and south Georgia are not equivalent. Note to the buyers for the stores: Send more of those cute items to south Georgia. Metro Atlanta has plenty of stores to choose from. We need cute stuff too!

On the way home, I stopped in Alpharetta and had lunch at Figo Pasta. This particular Figo just opened and is off the beaten path close to North Point Mall. Couldn't get there again if I had a map. It was just one of those finds that happens when you get off the Interstate. I had the most delicious coconut, ginger soup. Sounds confusing, but the blend of flavors made me almost lick the bowl. I also had an Italian ham panini. The food was so delicious that I sent a text back home to let people know about the great meal I was having.

Now for the tea. I ordered a half sweet/half unsweet tea. I knew as soon as the nice young waitress put it on the table that we had a problem. I was completely certain that the amber colored concoction with the straw sticking out was not my usual black pekoe tea that most southerners drink (I am sipping on a nice glass of black pekoe tea as I blog). I wasn't even sure that it was tea. Therefore, my question to the nice waitress took this form: "Ma'am, what am I drinking?" You will never believe what they had done to the tea. She smiled and said "blackberry half and half tea." That's just crazy. Blackberries belong in cobbler, not in tea. The tea (I use the term lightly) was not all that bad, but geez give a girl a little warning if you are going to spike her tea with wild berries. I decided to go with the flow. When in Alpharetta, do as the Alpharettians do -- drink blackberry tea with coconut/ginger soup and Italian ham paninis.

I love to visit north Georgia, but coming home to sweet tea, ham biscuits, and home made pound cake is always nice. What is the most unusual meal that you have enjoyed while traveling in Georgia?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Could I tell you a little more about Victor and a few random thoughts?

If you read my post on Veterans Day, you know about a high school friend who died when an IED destroyed the vehicle he was riding in. The response to that post has been overwhelming. Surprisingly, readers often said to me, "thank you for sharing your memory of Victor with us." I didn't really think about the story of Victor's funeral -- a story that hits me to the very core -- being the way to share the story of our military personnel's sacrifices. I want to tell you a little more about Victor and some random thoughts.

Victor was actually sent back to the states due to some health concerns. I don't remember if he had diabetes or another health problem that concerned the military. He was told to work hard to get the condition under control if he wanted to return to active duty with his unit. From what I was told, he did everything that he needed to do to get healthy and to improve himself enough so that he was allowed to rejoin his unit. I can't imagine the pain his wife and mother felt watching him leave for war and then getting the news about his tragic death.

When you read my blog, think of this real life soldier as just one of many stories of the tremendous sacrifices that our military families go through. Rather than one day to honor veterans, we should honor veterans every day that we wake up with the glory of freedom in our country. I have two facebook friends -- both high school friends -- who are in the military. I hope that they know how much my family appreciates them. It was one of those facebook friends in the military who told me that they have a saying, "Care for the wounded and living because the dead have already made their way." Remember our military women and men in your prayers because they have to be tough to do the job for us.

Today, as I was driving for about five hours I had lots of time to think. How does the future change based on a person ceasing to live, ceasing to put events into motion, ceasing to prevent events from happening. If you remember in "It's a Wonderful Life" when Clarence the Angel gave George Bailey the gift of never having been born, every life that he would have touched was changed. The one that always strikes me as being the most ironic - and the most thought provoking - is the life of George's brother Harry.

When George saw Harry's tombstone indicating that he had drowned at the age of 9, he became upset and told Clarence "that's a lie! Harry Bailey went to war - he got the Congressional Medal of Honor, he saved the lives of every man on that transport." Now here is the part that amazes me. Clarence told him, "every man on that transport died! Harry wasn't there to save them, because you weren't there to save Harry." I know it's just a movie - albeit one of the greatest movies of all time - but the premise of the movie is food for thought.

How many lives are impacted by each of us every day? It's a huge leap from Harry Bailey NOT dying as a 9 year old to him being alive to save the men on the transport. But the leap is plausible. Clarence the Angel may not give us the ability to see what the world would look like if we had not lived, but I think that the idea is worth a thought. Rather, let's think about how the world is different because we ARE alive.

How is the world different because you lived? I don't have any answers, just questions. Who believes in himself/herself more because you were around to encourage them? Who did the right thing because you helped them through tough times? Who finished high school or college because you told them that you believed in them. Who never lost a husband/brother/dad because you took the keys from a friend? What child is blessed because you are his/her parent? Who is lucky to have you as a friend? All great questions to make us think about the impact of our lives on an every day basis. Not just the big things we celebrate, but the small ways that we change the lives of the people we touch every day.

Enough questions for tonight. Definitely going for a lighter blog tomorrow. Have a great Sunday and thanks for the many ways that your life has made my life better. I hope that my life has touched yours in some positive way.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you Veterans

One of my high school classmates was killed in Iraq early in the war. He and his patrol unit were making their normal patrols for the day. The first vehicle (not sure if they were in jeeps or tanks) missed the IED buried in the sand. Victor's vehicle didn't miss it. From what I understand, when an IED causes major impact damage the military has very little to send back to the family. Victor was the first person that I had known as a teenager who was killed at war. I still have trouble wrapping my mind around the whole incident.

I don't fully understand what motivates members of the military to have the courage required to walk into harms way day after day in the name of our country. If you talk to a veteran who has returned from a tour in Iraq or Afghanistan, they are eager to return. They want to be there with their unit. I am eternally grateful for their courage, I just don't have the capacity to understand it. However, at Victor's funeral I did receive some insight into how our brave soldiers do their jobs.

The funeral was conducted outdoors at a National Military Cemetery. The Congressman who spoke at the funeral was a veteran. He explained that all of us will die, but that our military can die for a purpose. At least this is some explanation of how and why our military men and women are so brave. We will all die -- no one gets out of this life alive -- our military die with the purpose of defending freedom. This I can understand.

After the Congressman spoke, there was a jet fly-over and taps were played. Taps always make me cry. However, I was not prepared for what came next. There is a military roll call at the funeral of fallen soldiers. The officer in charge began to call out the names of all of the active-duty military members of the audience. He called each one loud and clear and they answered from either their seat or from where they were standing. Finally, to my surprise, he called Victor's name. He called it a second time. He called it a third time. No answer. His words reverberated in the complete silence as many of us stood shocked to hear Victor's name called with the expectation that he should answer the call. Finally, the officer turned to Victor's mom and said "Victor does not answer. He has given all in the name of his country." I sobbed as did many of the audience. The American flag was folded and given to the family. Victor left a mom and dad, brothers, a wife, small children, and many friends to carry on without him.

Everyone has a story of a courageous veteran or a courageous family of a veteran. This is mine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I don't like lizards

I don't like lizards. This is a huge confession to my wonderful blog followers. My family knows that I don't like lizards, but most people don't know this. When you tell people your fears, you open yourself up for these fears to be used against you. Let's get this out in the open -- if you think you will use this new information against me and put a lizard on me, around me, or anywhere near me then you and I have a big problem. As a matter of fact, if you do any of the above, you are evil and should be destroyed. Ok, now that we have that clear let's get on with the story.

I know that lizards won't hurt me, but they will make me hurt myself. When I see one, I throw stuff at the lizard, start screaming and run away. Every time! The lizard does not move and then laughs at me. I truly believe that the lizards that live around my house have invited lizards from other neighborhoods over to see me do the lizard freakout. One of my good friends let me borrow a fern for a party. I told her to make sure there were no lizards in the fern. She said, "I don't have lizards." Of course you don't, they all live at my house.

The first time I started seeing lizards was in the first house that my husband and I bought together in the small town we lived in. Lizards in the flowers, hibernating in the ground in the winter, and even crawling up the side of my open convertible - uggghhh! I asked my husband "why are there were so many lizards, what in the world is going on?? I never saw lizards when I was growing up. Why am I seeing them now?" That sweet man made a profound statement when he said, "girl, you grew up on a chicken farm. A lizard didn't have a chance at your house!" I immediately started looking for places that sold live chickens!

I visited central America this summer and saw huge 3 and 4 foot long iguanas. They were beautiful irredescent shades of green, yellow, and turquoise. They hung from the vines in the trees. They were in the treetops as I raced through the jungle on a zipline tour. They lined the riverbanks when we took a river cruise. I was absolutely not afraid of these monsters. I took pictures of them and did not run screaming from them a single time. Why? Why am I afraid of a 4-inch lizard, but not afraid of its 4-foot long cousin? I have given this much thought and have concluded that the monsters can't hide in the ferns, slip through the crack in the door, or hide in the outdoor pillows when you bring them inside. Those 4-inch devils can do all of those things.

Once when the 8-year old nephew was visiting, I found a lizard in my garage. Since he is a cubscout, I knew that he could handle the lizard for me and most likely do it with a story to tell in the end. He chased the lizard for about 15 minutes and finally came in to give his report. He said he caught little pieces of the tail two times (their tails break off in order for them to escape) before he finally captured it. For good measure, he gave the lizard a warning as he tossed him into the woods -- "go tell your friends!" I hope that the lizard felt sufficiently threated by the 8-year old cubscout that he did indeed tell his friends and that he won't be back.

I saw a lizard in my attic sunday. That means that I can't go into the attic until the end of summer when I know with certainty that the lizard is cooked in the Georgia heat and it's safe for me to go into the attic. Perhaps I will just sell the house?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Midnight Movies are addicting

I love Harry Potter books, movies, Halloween costumes -- everything Harry Potter. I have seen every movie at least 4 or 5 times with the exception of the new movie only in theatres. I have only seen it twice. Without a doubt I will see it many more times. I think I will buy my own DVD copy of that one. It's bound to be a classic.

The books were read in record time. I devoured each one within the weekend that they were released. J.K. Rowling is a genius writer. If you have ever seen an interview with her you know that she is a bit ecentric -- mostly downright strange. But how could a completely sane person decide that non-magical people are muggles, nargles can be kept away with a charm necklace, Hogwarts is a place to train young magical minds, and that the Hogwarts Express Train could be boarded at Platform Number 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station in London? And don't forget Diagnon Alley, the Leaky Cauldron, Gillyweed, Hogsmeade, Mudblood, Nagini, O.W.L.S., Parseltounge, Huffelpuff, Gryffendor, and Slytheryn. The language of the books is as great as the story line.

I was able to talk my husband into going to see one of the movies at the theatre. He only consented when another couple asked us to go. After the conclusion of the always exciting battle betweeen Valdemort and Harry, I asked my husband if he liked the movie. Now, my husband is a wise, pragmatic man and he said to me "Well, it's just like the last Harry Potter movie you made me watch. The bad dude is trying to kill Harry Potter and Harry Potter is trying not to be killed." Now, I love the intricate story line, the wonderful terminology, and the cinementography, but I think the whole series can be summed up as "the bad dude in trying to kill Harry Potter and Harry Potter is trying not to be killed." Dang that sweet man killed my Harry Potter high! But only temporarily!

When the latest movie came out in theatres, our local theatre had a midnight showing. Midnight showing!!!! I can watch Harry Pottery, stay up super late, and be surrounded by Harry Potter friends! Sign me up! The only catch, obviously I am a little old to be this excited about a midnight showing of Harry Potter. What to do? I called the 8-year old nephew. Surely he won't let his favorite aunt down and refuse my midnight showing offer.

His first question when I asked him to go with me to the midnight showing - "you're not tricking me into going to another one of those plays are you?" The kid does not like live plays. You have to be quiet and still for too long. After I assured him that no live play trickery was involved, he agreed to go with me.

We planned all day to be ready. We stock piled boxes of candy that were all dumped together in a ziploc bag (these don't make noise during the movie) and we planned out our nap time during the day so that we would be super ready for the movie.

We were the 2nd people in line at 11:00 p.m. It was great. I was going to a midnight showing of Harry Pottery, my favorite little man in the world is with me and we have snacks. Life is good. We even had a pillow if the little man got sleepy. The movie was too good for sleeping. Neither of us blinked an eye and he loved the movie as much as I did. I love that kid.

I think I am adicted to the midnight showing of new movies. Now I have a ticket to the midnight showing of New Moon. I will be in line by 11:00 if you want to join me.......

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I think I am becoming a vampire.

Not really, but I don't like the sun. About two weeks ago, I was on my front porch on a perfectly over-cast day. The sun came out and started shining onto the porch. As the sun invaded, I stepped closer and closer to the front door so that the sun couldn't touch any part of me. That's when I asked the question -- Geez, am I becoming a vampire?

I will admit that I love the Twilight Series of books. Not sure why I love them. Teenage romance is not a big interest of mine, but I love that Edward, Jacob, and Bella. If you have not read the books, I suggest that you pick up a copy from your child and read it. Some very inventive author has taken the series and turned it into a way to prepare students for the SAT. Now the Twilight series is not just teen romance, it's SAT preparation! Didn't see that one coming.

Obviously, my skin doesn't sparkle (see Twilight series if you don't understand the reference) when the sun touches me, but I have lived 40+ years staying out of the sun and I can't start sunning now. For all of those 40+ years I have envied my tanned friends while my pasty white skin looked sickly and sad beside theirs. However, I may have the last laugh. That sun is not good for the skin. "Wrinkles be gone from the fair-skinned 40-something lady!" I feel better just making that declaration.

Not only do I not like the sun, I don't like the south Georgia heat! I like south Georgia, just not the heat. Big girls with big hair are not meant to baste in the heat and humity that exists in our nice part of the state. I hybernate in my house on the weekend from July to mid-September. While my friends are at the beach enjoying life, I am hiding from the sun. I know it's crazy, but can I change now? No.

My mom told me: Honey, your dad's people wrinkle and my people sag. Have a good life. I figure I have a big enough fight with genetics, I can't tackle the sun also.

My request to my beach bunny friends: Please make a marquerita toast to your pasty white friend and apply another layer of sunscreen in my name. I will be at the dermatologist getting genetically-induced crows feet lasered off. Until later.....

I have new contacts for old people

Do you know that when you reach your forties you become blind to anything that is within about two feet of your face. I have watched my friends pull out the readers to read something and I would think what in the world is wrong with these people. Well, now I know. Here is the story...

I have had glasses since my first year in college. I have had contacts since the year I married, approximately 20 years. As a near-sighted person, I could always see close-up but not distances. Well, that has all changed. Now I can't see close up or distances. What the.....

My eye doctor put me in stronger contacts to see distances. I now have to wear readers to determine if I am cutting up the potatoes on my plate or the napkin beside the plate. It's nice seeing distances, but seems like silly little habits such as reading a book, telling time on your watch, and identifying your food are still important.

I asked the doctor what causes this sudden inability to see close-up. His answer: "birthdays." That's right, stinking birthdays! You know that time of year that you once celebrated. Now, birthdays make you blind up close. I still celebrate birthdays. Well, last year when I could see up close I celebrated my birthday. This year I will need a large print calendar to know it's my birthday. There's more to this "can't see up close craziness."

Doc's theory is that the lens of the eye - which is shaped like a chocolate m&m - gets thicker (fatter of course) and loses its ability to focus properly. Additionally, the "strings" that hold the lens in place may become less effective. Thus, fat lenses and loose strings cause you to have "can't see up close craziness." I will call it CSUCC for short. Funny what that acronym spells. The SUC part is certainly accurate. (Disclaimer: If you are a doctor reading this and you feel that I totally got the explanation wrong, do not correct me. I like my interpretation of my doctor's theory. It blogs well.)

I now have readers in black, red, aqua, and lime green. I need some with more bling. If we have to look old, we should glue some rhinestones or something on the darn things!

So, is there any good from this? Of course, I have my vision. I have corrective lenses for distances and readers for up-close. Thank God that both are available.

Do any of you have this same thing happening? Birthdays: what else do they bring?

What people think of you is none of your business

I like this saying. We do worry about what people think of us - it's natural. But, if you accept the statement above as truth, you must accept that we are being "busy bodies" when we even try to figure out what people think of us. I hereby decide to stay out of the business of what others think of me.

A friend recently said "I guess I don't need EVERYONE to like me." Great statement. I have adopted it. I hope you like me. I will try to be nice to you, but I truly don't need everyone to like me. We can move on now.

I hate gossip. I really hate malicious gossip. I truly try to not talk about other people in a negative way. I have a whole list of faults and failures. I don't have any room to judge people or to air their faults and failures.

When you live in a small town, you have to learn the connections. Everyone is connected. Failing to know the connections can be disasterous. Keep in mind that not only do you need to know who is related to who, who is married to who, and who works for who. You also need to know who was previously married to who. Best bet - don't talk about anyone - listen alot! Small towns are wonderful places to feel valued, but you don't want to "step in it" by talking about somone's family! To quote the great philosopher Miranda Lambert - Everyone dies famous in a small town. (See earlier post for more on Miranda Lambert).

Do you believe "What people think of you is none of your business?"


Saturday, November 7, 2009

I want to be a rock star or a country music star

At one time I wanted to be Cher, then Beyonce, now Miranda Lambert. Understand, I don't really want their lives as I love my life. What I want is to be talented like they are. Cher has mastered the art of stopping time. Seriously, she is like 125 years old, but she looks like she is 25. I don't like her anymore for this reason. I wanted to be Beyonce because she had "real girl" thighs. Not skinny little, starved, Hollywood thighs. Now she is too skinny. I have to move on.

Thus, Miranda Lambert. A friend who saw her in concert described her as "thick." I like that. I only want "thick" girls as friends. Skinny girls make me feel guilty for eating. I love the saying: Lord if you won't make me skinny, then make my friends fat. If you are my friend, I need you to be "thick" or "fluffy". It's better for all of us if you are thick or fluffy.

Now, back to the real covet issue. I want to play guitar like Miranda Lambert. I covet her talent. I have taken lessons for about 6 months. I am starting to improve, but learning the guitar is hard. I mean it's like really hard. Very fun and I am addicted, but it's very hard. My teacher is Eric Foster-Whidden at our local art center. He is great. Sometimes I ask him to play my guitar just so the guitar will get some relief from me. I always ask my office to pray for Eric on the day I have lessons. He praises my progress, but I am sure my playing is hard on his ears.

I want to be a singer also. I actually prayed for God to make me a singer. It was a serious prayer. I really want to be a singer. Rather than make me a great singer, God sent me a message, three times in one day, that said "If you can talk you can sing, If you can walk you can dance." Seriously I saw that saying on three different plaques in the same day. I bought one to remind me that I am already a singer. God is good and he is in control. Let's end on that positive note.

My dogs rule the house.

I have two dachshunds and a Chihuahua that became ours due to a death in the family. They completely rule the house. My husband is a totaly softie for animals. We refer to the dogs (I feel bad even typing that word) as the babies! Seriously, we call them "the babies." When we go out of town, we hire a baby sitter. Of course, the baby sitter was interviewed by the dogs before she was approved by us. Don't ask how, just accept that the interview went well.

Stretch (a genius), Cocoa (rides the short bus), and Rudy (short for Rudolph) make up the baby gang. Each is beautiful, independent, and completely unique in their personality. Stretch loves me beyond reason, Cocoa and Rudy love their daddy. They are jealous if he spends time with one of the others and not them. Tony loves the babies more than he loves me. This may not be true, but I don't want to ask him because his answer might upset me.

Of course, the babies sleep with us. All three of the babies...Every morning I get up and strip the bed and wash sheets. Maybe this is not necessary, but I do it anyway. We have a king-size bed that may be too small for two full-size adults and three babies. I suggested that the babies sleep elsewhere. The hubby is opposed to this idea. The hubby and the babies have won so far.

I love the babies, but they keep me up at night. Also, they shed. As you know, husbands don't dust furniture. Only wives and housekeepers dust. I don't have a housekeeper. Wait - I am the housekeeper. I dust the hairy furniture.

More baby stories to follow.....

I officially hate shopping for clothes!

I went shopping tonight for new clothes. It was a hopeless situation. All of the sales clerks were 12 years old, the clothes are ugly, and I can't determine what is cute anymore. Seriously, I asked random people if items were cute. They felt sorry for me and gave me their opinions. I think I heard whispers as they walked away. Things like, "that's so sad that she can't tell what is cute." When did I get so old? Geez.

Maybe I will ask friends to just take my money with them the next time they shop and bring cute stuff home to me. For instance, one of the beautiful ladies in my office had on a great dress with calf-high boots thursday. She looked sensational. I think I would look like the milk maid. Funny how things look good on others, but not so much on me. When did I get so old? Geez.

Seriously, tonight I wanted to slap the sales girls as their teenage skin stayed taut and wrinkle free as they commented on my purchases. I know they mean well, but I think I hate them. No, that's too harsh. I hate their skin. Yes, it's the skin I hate. It's clearer now, I hate 20-year old skin. If you happen to have 20-year old skin, I have no use for you. Sorry, but one day you will have no use for people with 20-year old skin. Just keep living. You will see! When did I get so old? Geez.

This is my first blog. So sorry that it's about getting old.

That boy cracks me up.

I have an eight year old nephew. He is hilarious. I like to sum up his life philosophy thusly: If you don't want to be my friend it's a big loss for you. Hope you make better decisions in the other areas of your life. Of course, he has not articulated this life philosophy to me, but I think I have summed it up pretty good. He is a cubscout and is not troubled by the trivia of the world. I really like that kid.

Recently, I picked him up at his house to ride the last 2.5 hours to my mom's house in the mountains. I was laughing before we pulled out of the driveway. His humor is always positive and usually involves him making some goofy face. In the middle of I-85 traffic at 5:15 p.m. with at least a billion cars surrounding us -- all of which were going 4.2 miles per hour -- he reached over and slapped the bottom of my arm and exclaimed "Jiggly Arms!" I laughed just now thinking about it. Of course, I had to flat-hand pop him in the chest the 15th time he slapped my arm and yelled "Jiggly Arms."

Of course, we had to stop to get him something to drink and to use the bathroom. He also decided that he needed beef jerky that came in a can like Skoal or Copenhagen. After we finally got it open, it looked just like smokeless tobacco. We dared each other to try it. He finally tried it and started spitting crushed beef jerky from his mouth and nose. I laughed out loud. Sometimes it's worth the clean up to see an 8-year old clown spit beef jerky.

Next, he said "I can't even scratch my armpit with this arm." I said "Goober use your other arm." His answer: "Can't you see I have a Sunkist in my hand." Sometimes his pragmatic knowledge does not rise up and help him in sticky situations. We finally decided that the Sunkist could be put in the cup holder and he could scratch his armpit with his opposite arm. I love that kid.

For Halloween he decided to be Fat Albert. I don't know why Fat Albert, he is a skinny kid. We convinced him, with the help of a crazy gray wig, that he should be Fat Albert Einstein. He could still stuff his shirt with pillows and he could also be the smartest guy in the history of mankind. He loved the idea and had all of his pictures made with the thinker pose on his face! I really love that kid. The picture shows us dressed up for Halloween with the nephew in his thinking pose.

On the way home, he played some electronic game the entire 2.5 hours. Funny, that I don't have a single story from the ride home. Electronic games should be banned when riding in the car with your aunt.

I have lots of nephew stories. I will continue to share. He has an older brother that I love also. Stories brewing......