A man came to son number two place of business today.  He brought his $500,000.00 car.  He wants it wrapped in a solid
pee yellow color.   He proceeded to show #2, his Rolex and his shoes and his jewelry. rolex #2 mentioned that he thought Mr. Money bags was trying to impress him.

He would not shake my son’s  hand.  He made some comments about the tattoos.

#2 sent me a text.  Telling me that money sure doesn’t buy class.

He also said thanks for not raising us to be jerks.

I wrote back and said even if we were not your parents you wouldn’t have ended up being a jerk.  I said I was more impressed and curious of people who were very, very wealthy and wore a $69.00 watch.  It made me wonder why?  I don’t need to “get to know” Mr. Money bags with the bad taste.  I know everything I want/need to know about him.

I told him a couple of people won’t shake my hand or talk to me because I am sick.  You wouldn’t want to catch “cancer” now would you?

I told him people are idiots.

It still hurt my feelings that people (I mean idiots) would be so rude to other human beings…,in this case our son.

I wonder……………..if you shake a person’s hand who has tattoos…………….does their creativity, intelligence, loyalty and kindness rub off on you?

Just wondering?   Well, just wondering and venting as only a mother hen could. mother hen

How about we give instead of give up?

Lent threeYesterday, while shopping in a nationwide fancy schmancy health food grocery store, (just happens to be in a very upscale, exclusive Seattle neighborhood), it was sample day.  Yes, lots and lots of samples.  I happen to be standing back watching a very well-mannered, polite, well dressed 11-year-old girl sample a sesame bar.  The “hostess” said, we have several flavors, please try more.  We even have chocolate.  The little girl’s mother jumped right in, (nose in the air a bit, I must say), “she gave up chocolate for Lent”.  So no she will not be having that.  ouch.  Not a very nice way to speak.  I was wondering how the little girl became so polite, when her mom seemed to be so brash.

On this second Sunday in Lent, I am sharing that for the first time in over 30 years, I am not giving up anything for Lent. I am just a bit overwhelmed and out of sorts.  I think Jesus will understand and give me a pass, just this once.   On January 22nd of this year, I gave up all processed white sugar, I gave up a lot of my privacy, I have given up wearing one of my favorite colors, pink.  I gave up staying up late.   I, together with Mr. Right gave up three planned trips this year, I have to give up swimming for a while, I have given up processed foods, I have given up my couple times a year hard cider, no alcohol ever now, I have given up many “friends” and acquaintances (okay, maybe they gave up on me),  any and all colorings, flavorings and yes Virginia I have given up (yes, I know) my daily afternoon lattes, OUCH.

I recently read an article about a priest who gently suggested to his parish, “here’s a thought, why don’t we NOT give up something for Lent this year?  What if we GIVE something instead?”  You know how well change goes over in traditional churches?  Not very well nor smoothly.  He gently but loudly suggested instead of giving a van load of food and supplies to the food bank, how about everyday for Lent, you drive over and donate 2 items?  How about donating a pair a socks a day to the shelter, instead of gathering bags and driving over and quickly making your donation.  What if, for forty days, we give to our fellow-man?

Yesterday on face book there was a little motivational poster, “Jesus doesn’t care how many Bible verses you memorized.  He cares about how you treat people.”Lent two

Today, on this second Sunday in Lent, I am choosing to write happy notes to friends.  I choose to write a couple thank you cards to folks to whom I really want to pour out my thanks.  We are making a run over to the food bank to make a small donation.  Yes, in this house, we have decided to give instead of give up this Sunday. I am well aware that it is not a smooth topic to bring up with tried and true, blue hued hair Methodist ladies.  I am sticking on this one.  We are giving more this Lenten season.  It feels like Jesus will be okay with how we are treating people.  I am good with that.

1,500 seconds of peace

I have a bit of an issue with going to medical and dental appointments.  Some may call it a fear, fret or fobia.  It is real, it is heart racing, blood pressure rising, crying, being ugly, saying ugly things, nasty and out of control.  Sure I have paid “professionals” to see if they could help or figure this out.  They figured out, if they said they could help, I would pay them money.  They would gather bags of money and I would be on my merry way.  Didn’t really work.  Oh it worked for them, they got their bags of money.  Might have something to do with being raised in a religion that does not approve of medical services?  Or it might be, I have just gone to way too many appointments?

Here we go again.  The appointments.  The fear, the dread, the misery, the muscle aches from the adrenalin  blah, blah, blah………….it is just too much.  Everyone tells me to focus on scripture verses or picture a positive mental thought.  Think of something nice and calming, they say……………to be honest, I am so far out of control, I can’t hear, or think straight. chairs on the beach

We live about 25 minutes away from the hospital.  So on Monday morning, that drive was looming ahead of me.  I had to come up with a plan that would at least get me that far.  EUREKA…………………remember all those scrapbooks we have all kept?  We have purchased paper and stickers and printed photographs and glue and tape and made our trips into beautiful works of art?  Think of all the moola we have spent on putting together those “memory books”.   For some reason, I grabbed one.  I covered myself in a warm and fuzzy blanket and settled in for the drive.  I looked at pictures of New England in the autumn.  breathtaking.  I thumbed through pictures of Hawaii.  I felt a little teeny zip lock bag of a few grains of sand.  I remembered the wind and the sun and the sand.  We talked about a funny story and “remember that great dumpy place we ate the most amazing food ever?”  Then I flipped the page and saw the cruise ship.  The pictures of the animal towel creations that “Herbert” the best cabin statesman we could have ever asked for did for us.  We remembered that Herb somehow magically got out the watermelon stain from my white t-shirt and had it hanging back in the closet when I came back to our room.  Between you and me…………..there was a little tiny latte stain that I had not been able to remove from the hemline………………….yep, you guessed it Herb worked his magic there too.  amazing man.   Next page was a trip to the Oregon coast.  Wow, was it windy in those pictures.  I love that I cut out slim, trim, young, fresh, models and pasted them onto one of our photos and wrote a funny caption of how good walking on the beach is for our skin.  What was I thinking?  I was being goofy.

Oh we are here?  Once I closed the book, the fear crept back in, the tears started, blood pressure rose, ears started ringing.   I have a friend who wrote me an email that I printed and read over and over…….”you said it’s hard to remember that God does not give out fear when you are scrambling in a pool of it–I SO agree.  That is why He puts people in our lives to lean on when we need to :)”      …..yesterday to spend my day in goodness, I sewed the afternoon away, making a couple goodies for her……….

Somehow by simply opening a scrapbook, all the Grace I needed fell out of the pages.  I was covered in good memories and Pure Grace and my  mind swirled and twirled in all the goodness.  I forgot about ugliness for 25 minutes.  Sometimes, 25 minutes is forever.  It felt good to take “some time off” from all the worry. It felt lovely to be bathed and covered in Grace.

As I walk through this week, dragging my feet and trying to stay positive….I am lucky for a couple of friends who I can lean on and they can do the worrying and fretting for me, or at least just a bit of it.  It is just so overwhelming and too much for one person.

I am grateful for a steadfast, unwavering husband, who is somehow holding me together.  I am grateful for my friends.  Sincere, kind-hearted, true friends who somehow manage to allow me to be ugly and scared and terrified and then will listen to a silly recipe I just “have” to share.  I want to be that kind of friend to others.  I want to help them as they are walking on hot coals.

Maybe my purpose in life is to lift up my friends?  Maybe I have been seeking all these years as to what is my job?  What is my God-given talent?  What is my purpose?  Maybe it is to be a good friend?

As I try to keep my hands busy and keep my brain occupied, I am trying to think of others.  Just when I thought I was doing something nice for someone she turned it around and made me feel lovely.  She wrote in a message  “and you explaining in the loveliest words about my situation and your love for me.  I am so touched………….You are one of my blessings.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.” 

I can be changed by what happens to me.  But I refuse to be reduced by it.  ~maya angelou

may the force be with you and me

Part of the beauty of having your own blog is that you get to rant and rave so you can sleep peacefully during the night.  Heads up, if you want to skip my ranting and raving, I will totally understand.  If not buckle up, I do have opinions.

In an article written by Diane Diamond today, the West Point Code of Honor was written out for all to see….“I will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do”.  It was mentioned that General David Petraeus still to this day, uses this guiding force in his life.

Now, this will probably surprise many of you.  I think we as a country, got our money’s worth.  Somewhere between 1 million and 4 million dollars we as a nation bought and paid for one of the most brilliant military minds in recent history.  He was well-educated at West Point for four years, he went on to be a trained at Ranger School, he went on to the United States War College, he continued on with his education at Princeton (paid for and continued to make $50-60,000.00 per year while studying) to earn a Master’s Degree as well as a PhD.  He “paid our nation back” by serving our nation in the military for more than 30 years.  He gave back expertise, knowledge, blood (shot in the chest during training) broken pelvis from a jump, sweat (moved his family 20 times in 30 years) tears, the last 5 of the 6 years in the military he was away from his family and then some.  He (and his wife) gave us another fine military man in the form of his son.  His wife has worked tirelessly for 38 years for other military families.   This ends his fine military career.  Time marches on and so does he.  We as a nation were “paid back”.   He retired and became a civil servant to our country. 

As a former military wife, I have seen first hand the “code” played out.  Yep, we have friends who have graduated from West Point.  We have loved some, liked some and others we could have done without meeting.  Just like every other group of people with a common interest, there are good eggs and some not so good eggs.

NEWS FLASH….you don’t have to go to West Point to learn ethics, morals and good conduct.  I happen to be related to one military man and married to another military man.   Neither one wears a West Point ring.  Both raised children with this in mind and live every single day of their lives by a code, a guiding force if you will.   “I will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do”.    Here is another news flash NEITHER man has it as a bumper sticker!  BY THEIR ACTIONS NOT THEIR WORDS, THEY LIVE THAT CODE EVERY SINGLE DAY OF OUR LIVES.

What I mean is, behave however you want, that is your business.  For Pete’s sake, you do not have to put it on the bumper of your car!  If you have a little metal Christian Fish stuck on your car, don’t flip people off while driving.   If you have the name of a college surrounding your license plate, make sure your tags are current and the car is kept up…..or people will think poorly of your alma mater.   In the same thinking pattern, if you want to live a life that is not quite honorable, STOP telling everyone you went to West Point and the guiding force in your life is not to lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do”.

I have to answer for my behavior.  My husband has to answer for his behavior.  I am good with that.  We have to look into the mirror and sleep through the night. Check and check.

Our country is in somewhat of a pickle.  We still have 60,000+ troops in harm’s way.  There are rumblings in North Korea.  There are trouble spots around our globe.  We need to protect our Liberty and Freedom.  We need good men and women to do just that.  We are in desperate need of morals, values and ethics.

May the force be with all of us.

ps.  I am writing this the following day.  Please read the comment section of this posting.  A very interesting and thought provoking question was asked of me.

Roses for Dad

Today would have been my father’s birthday.   He was one of those old-fashioned men.  He wore a suit and tie to work every day.  He wore his old “nice work shoes” in the yard as yard shoes.  He had lots of formal education with degrees to back that up.  However, he also had common sense and was a wonderful fisherman and I have never had better smoked salmon than the kind my dad smoked every single year of my life.

He earned the Golden Acorn award, way before he had children to even attend schools.  He thought my sisters and I, at all times, should behave, be raised and always act like young ladies.  He also made sure we all learned how to catch, clean & filet a fish, shoot and clean a gun.  We all knew how to pilot a boat and were all taught to be excellent swimmers.

He always carried a briefcase.  Actually, now, when I picture him, I can see him in a suit and tie and carrying a big, huge, heavy briefcase.  He brought his work home.  He always seemed to have “homework”.  He was a state than a federal parole officer.  He was appointed by different governors then was appointed by the President.  Now that I think about it, he may have had a bit of stress in his life.

Back some 40-45 years ago and then some, no one really used the word stress.  You worked, you worried, you fished, you just dealt with life.

Maybe not so fast.  I remember having a huge, huge rose garden when I grew up.  My mother did not tend the roses.  She sometimes chose a new Jackson & Perkins color, but it was my Dad’s hobby.  He would prune and fuse and mulch and read and dust and dead head.  He would walk along the garden taking mental notes.  He would make the decision to pull one and replant with something new.  He talked to others about roses.  He new when to put them to bed for the winter and when to gently nudge them awake in the spring.   Every birthday, first day of school, prom, new dress, Easter dresses, cousins came to visit picture was taken with the rose garden as the backdrop.  When you flip through my childhood photo album, you can see me in a leg cast, wearing a prom dress, wearing my first Vogue dress, band uniform, Rainbow girl dress…..yep, all in front of the rose garden.

I guess, sometime in the 60’s or 70’s,  my dad figured out a way to handle his “stress”.  On the weekends or during the early evening hours in the summer, he would fuss and tend his roses.

Today, I will remember him and will think of roses.  He may have figured out the secret everyone seems to be searching for.  Outdoors a little each day, practice your passion.  You will have time to figure out life’s problems and you might enjoy yourself a little while you are doing just that.

Here’s to you Dad and your roses!

quick, one final lesson before you walk down that aisle

In the words of John Wayne, “slap some bacon on a biscuit and let’s go we’re burning daylight”. So we would substitute fake bacon and use  a home-made biscuit and to be honest this is our first trip ever that we are not leaving at the precise military time of “O DARK THIRTY”………………however, today, we hit the trail.  We move out.  We are headed to the great state of California….land of “swimmin’ pools and movie stars”.  Okay, while our hotel does indeed have a swimming pool and work out room, I am not quite sure how many movie stars we will actually see or visit with.

Within the past say 4 months our family has been invited to, presided over, prayed for, sent gifts, sent cards, been apart of, celebrated with and babysat for………you guessed it, several weddings!  One wedding in particular that we heard about, the MOB (mother of the bride) was, how shall we say…..less than kind or friendly.   My ears perked up and I made a vow right then and there………..after our son’s wedding people would NOT be talking about the MOG (mother of the groom), ME, like that!

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:29

So…………….we have made list after list, helped, sewed, planned, encouraged, stitched and listened to ideas etc………last night at 10:35pm was the last phone call.  The groom to be was driving home (talking on a hands free device, apparently in the great state of California it is a $400.00+ ticket for talking on your cell phone, thank you Mr. Policeman for gently encouraging this lesson that every parent is trying to teach, sorry it stung the pocket-book son..lesson learned.)  He had worked extra hours and will today work a bit then take some much-needed time off to celebrate and pull off a wonderful stress free (?)  ….no one has said that, just wishful thinking………… wedding.

It was our final chance to talk to our kiddo.  Yes, he is 27, however, we are still his parents and it was time for some straight talk and not asked for advice.  We have been over and over all sorts of topics.  Last night was the real deal.  This is going to be overwhelming.  This is going to be the event of all events to celebrate in your life.  You may become distracted, a bit unraveled at times, forget to eat properly or drink enough water……..blah, blah, blah…………Here it comes.  You are now the main host of this party.  You will set the tone.  You have been taught well.  You know the rules.  The time has come to put it all into practice.

It goes without saying that your dad and father in law will make sure that all the right people are tipped for their services.   It is now your JOB, HONOR, RESPONSIBILITY to go to ALL of the people who helped put on this celebration and look them in the eye, shake their hand and say a heartfelt and sincere thank you.  I am quite sure you will thank your friends, the DJ, the caterer, the lady with the clipboard, the flower girl…..blah, blah, blah……………The person you have been raised to be, requires that you seek out ………the caterer assistants that lift crate after crate of food and utensils, the grounds keeper who unlocks that front gate, the janitor who holds the keys to the toilet paper cupboard, the gardeners who knelt down and weeded that spectacular garden you will stand in the middle of, the pool and fountain person who wore hip boots and mucked around and got the pump to work and the algae cleaned out and yes the men who will be taking care of each and every one of your guests cars………the list goes on……..grace them with your words.

Honor the presence of God in each one you meet.

We are thrilled and excited to be headed to our youngest son and future daughter in law’s wedding.  I am wearing my “Mother of the Groom” t-shirt today!  I promise to share pictures and sweet snippets that happen on our amazing adventure.  I promise there will be no other blogger in the land who will write about this MOG being nasty or rude or short-tempered.   I will grace others with my words and actions.  I promise.

May we all be bathed in Grace as we welcome a new bride into our family.  I will be back next week.  My family will be bigger, in addition to a wonderful new daughter in law, we gain two more sisters, a mom and a dad and aunts and uncles and the list goes on and on……….I am sure our hearts will be full to overflowing.  My notebook will be filled with doodles and notes here and there, so I don’t forget one special moment.

We ask for and sincerely appreciate & thank you for your prayers of safe travel.

May we walk (drive actually 19+ hours) in his Grace, as we dance through the celebration!

Que the music please.

.59 cents for happiness

Today, if for some goofy, strange reason, your monthly income doubled, would you be twice as happy?  Would you put twice as much into your retirement fund?  Would you go on twice as many weekend adventures?  Would you buy twice as many coffee treats?  Researchers say NOPE.  They have studied and studied (yawn) and done more studies and have found time and time again that people who make twice as much money than another group are about 9% happier.  No, they don’t go on vacation twice as much.  No again, they do not buy twice as many expensive coffee treats and hold on to your hats, no, they do not put twice as much away for retirement.   WHAT?  9% happier, now here I was already deciding what envelopes I would choose to put all that “extra” money into.

Here is a little tid bit I read today:   Even young children, notorious for being bad sharers, were happier giving away goldfish crackers than enjoying them solo.

So if it is happiness you are looking for, think about sharing little amounts on a daily basis.  Yes, we all wrap up care packages for soldiers and college kids.  Sure, we give baskets of get well quick goodies.  I have no earthly idea why the US Postal service is so far in debt, as our family alone has sent hundreds and hundreds of thinking of you cards and postcards.  Doing all of those things makes us happy.  Sure you get a great big jolt of happiness when it is a big offering .  I saw some sales today…………………Mr. Right will be hot on the trail of gathering all those school supplies he likes to donate.   However, little bits of goodness here and there can make one pretty dog gone happy.

I don’t normal “share” what I did for a little random act of kindness.  Sort of takes away the goodness of the act if you go blabbing all over the place.  So today’s little act will not “count” for me.  While going into the grocery store, there was a man asking for spare change.  I don’t know if you know this about me, however, I live in a pretty bubble.  It makes me a bit nervous to be standing alone and asked/ begged for money.  Lucky me there were a couple of men standing there, digging in their pockets and I skirted around the scene.    Good for me.  SIGH, okay, so I put my kale and cilantro and sunflower seeds into my basket and headed to the checkout.  I really didn’t want to go out that same door.  However, I really didn’t want to walk around the entire store and through the parking lot to avoid an unpleasant, not completely washed man.   I don’t like giving money out.  Period.  I don’t like the feeling at all and it makes the person seem less somehow.  I get a weird feeling of “I am better than you”.  Urgh.     Thank heavens I have a brain!  I actually used it today.  I decided to grab a bottle of water for the trip home.  EXCEPT I GRABBED TWO.  Yep, I decided that I was thirsty, so might others be.  It is ridiculous to pay for a bottle of water.  It is wasteful with the plastic bottle.  It is down right expensive to buy water (do the math sometime, crazy, $6.40 per gallon).     I paid for my groceries and water.

I was happy to walk out the same door I walked in.  I did not have to be or feel weird.  I had my groceries in my reusable bags and a bottle of water in each hand.  As I walked by, I handed the man a bottle of cold water.  I told him I was trying to beat the humid air today.  I hoped he could stay cool as well.  Just a normal conversation.  Nothing goofy or strange.  Except, he got a bottle of water and I got a really good feeling of PURE HAPPINESS.

 In order to maximize your happiness, try giving in smaller amounts more frequently, rather than, say, an annual lump sum to your favorite charity, so you’ll get a spike in happiness each time.

For .59 cents my Happiness level spiked.  Pure goodness.  For just a brief moment in time, I bathed in Grace.  I made me feel happy.

Today, I am grateful for:  241.  bottled water  242.  being brave and using my brain  243.  kindness  244.  finding a plastic dinosaur in our car with a note from Mr. Right  245.  my thimble  246.  ability to hand sew  247.   a clean Golden Retriever  248.  coffee in an old chunky mug  249.  sticky notes  250.  spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove