Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pomp & Circumstance

I witnessed both pomp & interesting circumstances yesterday at the commencement exercises for the FSU class of 2008. Our daughter-in-law-to-be received her specialist degree. She got to wear the doctoral robe and all that special gear and I loved it. My mom graduated from FSU in 1949 and when we celebrated our daughter’s graduation with a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree from FSU it was very special. My dad also earned 2 degrees from FSU. So there’s some history and sentiment here.

It was with dismay that I listened to the commencement speaker’s address. He got my attention when early into his remarks he brought up “The Audacity of Hope”. I wishfully anticipated that he was going to build on a beautiful concept and address the graduates on the power of faith and hope. Instead, he started a rapid downhill slide when he used the platform to plug his political candidate. He did ask one thought-provoking question: “What are you going to do with rejection in your life?” Unfortunately, he didn’t take the opportunity to instruct or encourage.

I was sad for the graduates who deserved all the honor, encouragement and respect on that special day. I have now added to my list of “books I want to write” one based on basic speaker protocol. As a speaker, I came away with a starter list of cardinal rules to incorporate into the book:

  • Always honor the time limitations set by the program planner. It is extremely rude to thumb your nose at the clock.

  • Your audience is your reason for being there. It is not about you. It is an opportunity to speak into their lives, not a platform to glorify yourself.

  • It is an honor to be a speaker, not a right. Respect for the audience is essential. It's insolence when you don’t display that.

  • Hats off to the largest graduating class in the history of this wonderful college!
    Nothing can mar the victory of your remarkable accomplishment.

    (I’m tempted to send this review to the University president. Should I do it?)

    Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Minature is… really tiny

    This post was supposed to be a book review of John Ortberg’s “If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat”. I have heard great things about this inspiring book so I ordered one from an Amazon reseller while talking on the phone with a friend about the book. Multi-tasking has a price.

    I can not tell you about the book because I can not see it to read it. I’m not kidding. I can’t complain or send it back because when I looked back at the description, it did say hardback. (Minature version). Who could know that minature is 2 x 3 inches and condensed version doesn’t begin to describe it. The good news is that if you fall asleep reading this book, it won’t hurt you if it falls on your face. The bad news is that there isn’t enough to read to make you sleepy. I suppose the laughter was worth the price.

    Friday, April 18, 2008

    Best Friends Forever

    My new BFF is Matt Maher. He sent me his new CD for FREE because I blogged about him! I love his new CD “Empty and Beautiful” and have played it countless times already. For your information, he also wrote “Your Grace is Enough”, recorded by another favorite artist, Chris Tomlin. This is the first time in eons I have won anything! And the first tangible reward I have received from blogging! (Oh, but who can count the value of the intangible rewards?!) It made my day when I received the gift in the mail.
    If you missed his offer, you can get his CD here for the amazingly low price of $8.97.

    Since I introduced my new BFF, I felt it was time to introduce my old BFF. Since I can’t live a day without music, we have been friends a long time. He’s always in tune with my moods and very willing to jump right in and agree with me. He never tells my secrets or talks back. The only strike against him is he never helps with housework. Meet my piano - isn’t he beautiful?!

    Thursday, April 17, 2008

    Of Blogs and Beauty

    Lately, I've spent most of my blog time reading rather than writing. The talented writers, amusing videos and sheer volume of available resources in blogland is staggering. I have been researching to determine if I should use blogspot for my Lifepoint Blog or a different blog platform. I want to separate them, so I have decided to go with Wordpress, unless someone out there has better advice. I know they don't allow ads, but that's the only drawback. Personally, I am MUCH more likely to click through to buy something if someone has done a post about a product anyway. I have lots of interesting posts floating about in my head, but since I am supposed to be working right now, I'll just share this beauty tip for now. Very comforting for those of us who are noticing the steady pull of that thing called gravity.

    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    Plantation Day

    Did I already mention I love weddings? The one I attended yesterday was full of emotion for all the expected reasons and some unexpected ones as well. It was another beautiful setting, just north of Tallahassee on an old (and now exclusive) plantation. It was poignant for me as the beautiful bride came down the aisle (and what bride is not totally beautiful?!) to remember the first white I ever saw her in was her diapers. Time is surely fleeting. Our daughter was married 5 years ago on the plantation just south of where we were and that was an unforgettably wonderful day.

    Some fascinating history was thrown in as well. The reception was held in the building where the first showing of Gone With the Wind took place. The ceremony was held by the "pool house", where immediately following the ceremony, a peacock entertained us with his strutting. He did eventually show his full fan, but since I am no photographer, I didn't capture that.

    I learned something unexpected on this occasion. This event created a gathering of business colleagues in a social situation. I found it to be cathartic. We all work together daily, often under stress to meet deadlines, goals and fulfill stringent demands for excellence. I don't recall that we have ever just done something relaxing or fun together in 7 years of business. It was good to do that. I think we all needed an opportunity to see each other in a setting outside of the daily hustle. I know my attitude was refreshed.

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    I’m Rich!

    I’m a rich woman. Maybe I can’t take you on my yacht and have my people serve you delicacies while we bask in luxury. But I can look out over acres of beautiful land from the windows of a home that is safe, has central heat and air and running water and a fully stocked pantry. I can get in my car and go wherever I need to. I have more than enough.

    I was reading Lysa Terkeurst’s blog yesterday and the plight of orphanages that are literally out of food in Liberia grabbed me. It is so easy to stay detached from the needs in Africa, Haiti or wherever because those places are so FAR away that it is easy to feel removed. But 2 of Lysa’s precious boys came from the orphanage in need and that brought it home to me. I was in a store yesterday and almost bought some clothes for myself. And the Holy Spirit reminded me of rice. Read about it here. The needs across the world are so enormous, but if each one of us responds to the ones that are marked with our name, we can make a big difference. One bag of rice at a time. One smile at a time. One grateful heart at a time. Your life makes a difference.

    Tuesday, April 8, 2008

    My New Look

    Oh why, oh why did I do it? I got so tired of my bangs being in my eyes that I took the scissors to them myself. Always a bad idea. My marvelous hairdresser knows better than to cut my bangs too short, (a pet peeve) so they tend to be too long one week after I visit her. Hair in my eyes or parted in the middle is another pet peeve. This new look makes me feel like I'm this gap-toothed child, except she is cuter. Sigh. Bangs are the price for having a forehead that's the size of Texas. It's a good thing my hair grows fast.

    Free Music Alert!

    I visited Big Mama, one of my favorite bloggers this morning, and she had just posted about the opportunity to win a free CD for bloggers with at least 50 unique visitors per month. I think I met the requirement to be in the first 100 people to sign up, but this will have to be a banner month for me to have 50 new visitors. I'm sure the music of Matt Maher will inspire and catapult me to higher levels of creativity and technorati maneuvering. I laugh when I read what BooMama says on her blog, "Read by Tens of People Every Single Day". Except she is just kidding. Go here for your chance to win a new CD from Matt. This is an artist I want on my iPod!

    Thursday, April 3, 2008

    Moments in Time

    My trip to Sarasota last weekend was filled with activity. A good time was had by all, but I am certain my sister deserved the most rest after our visit. I have always been awed by her artistic talent (especially since I didn’t get any of the same), but to see her in action in her photography business is a sight to behold. She did a photo shoot for me for my new website for Lifepoint. I will look forward to having that site up in the next month or so.

    I have been visiting with other photographers through blogs, like upstart Uncommon Blonde and professional Heather Stewart and can attest that there is a lot more to taking pictures than point and shoot. My observation is that it not only takes an artistic eye and attention to detail, but add in technical savvy about camera settings, lighting and the ability to use photoshop like a magician. Throw in patience and the physical strength and endurance of a marathon runner and you have a tall order for success. I would sum up the power of photography with the quote by Cesare Pavese that says,
    “We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
    It is powerful that a photographer has the ability to capture those moments in windows that can be looked through again and again.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    Eagle School

    I have been working overtime the past week with Cupcake on scholarship applications, essays, papers, and even lease agreements, so I haven’t had much left when it comes to blogging. Tonight she was finishing up an essay on passionate character building (what a concept!).

    You know how you can look at something every day and not see it? There is a quote on the wall by my desk that I hadn’t actually read in awhile. Tonight we were looking for a quote on leadership and character and I didn’t have to look far.

    "A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. In the end, leaders are much like eagles…they don’t flock, you find them one at a time." - Author Unknown

    It inspires me and it spoke to her. Why scratch with the turkeys when we can soar on eagle's wings? Upward and onward.