Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jo’s Legacy

It hit me this week that my baby will be moving out in 3 months. People have asked me what I will do with an empty nest and I have just laughed and said, “I’m pretty sure I won’t be bored.” Now I realize that flip answers won’t cover the absence my heart will feel.

Tonight I found comfort in reading the words of an old friend who loved my Cupcake deeply. I found her legacy recorded on the website of the college Cupcake will be attending. Concidence? I don’t think so.
The Curto Collection is a wonderfully written history, but it is a reminder to me that love is eternal. Jo Curto has moved to heaven, so I have not visited with her in quite some time. She writes, “Until I quietly slip away while explaining the “s” form of the verb and join those others who loved TCC in that Great Classroom in the sky, I will continue to count my blessings, not the least of which is the opportunity to feel needed and to belong.” I feel like I have visited with her tonight after reading her papers online. I bet she would have written an addicitive blog had she had that opportunity.

Jo was the kind of neighbor you dream of having. Her door was always open but she was never intrusive. She would watch our kids in a pinch with no notice. She was intelligent, funny, kind, strong and altogether fascinating. She was the one who entertained our older children when Cupcake was born and then brought them in to meet their new sister. She became “Nana Jo” to Cupcake - I had always loved the name “Nana” and she happily went along with that. Of course I knew she had her docotoral degree, was a professor and a published author, yet she was very unassuming and never wanted to talk about herself. I am not surprised now to learn that she was a prolific author as well as mentor to many budding writers.

Her writing has reached through time and space to comfort and encourage. I am reassured to know that as Cupcake moves away, she will be living in the shadow of Jo’s legacy. Jo describes the college saying, “TCC is not its publications, not its programs, not its technology, not its buildings, but its heart and soul are the people, from administrators with awesome responsibilities to young people with faith that TCC will help them overcome fears and doubts, realize their dreams, and meet their needs.” Thanks for everything, Jo.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It was a Good Friday!

Friday was a remarkable day. I went to Tallahassee for a wedding and it was a special day for many reasons. Weddings are holy events that speak of love, hope and joy. This one was held at 2 p.m. at Bradley's Pond in an absolutely beautiful setting. The weather smiled on the couple in a glorious way – it was sunny and 75 degrees. The people, the music, the message… it was all wonderful. I was accompanied by our son and his fiancĂ©, so that was a special bonus. The day held divine appointments.

Springtime in Tallahassee is a sight to behold. The azaleas and dogwoods are breathtaking. They bring to mind the song “Was It a Morning Like This” that says, “Did the grass sing, did the earth rejoice? ... over and over like a trumpet underground, did the earth seem to pound, He is risen.”

I just smiled as I drove around Tallahassee. That is where all of our children were born and in my mind I could here their laughter as I drove by one park where we used to go fly kites and play. I wish you a Happy Easter. May your heart find joy in this holiday of hope.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Can You Believe It?

I oversee customer service and marketing for a nutrition company as one of the many hats I wear. Dealing with people is always fascinating. One of this week’s chuckles came when I read an email from a guy that said, “I have not been angry for the last 52 years.” What?! Are you kidding? I am incredulous. (Okay - the truth is, I simply don't believe him. He would have to be in a coma to accomplish that!) He goes on to state a truth I do agree with …“I have come to the conclusion that there are no medicines and supplements or doctors available to cure any diseases like old age, death and fear.”

That's an interesting thought. It’s true that modern medicine has not come up with a cure for death. But I think of the message that resounds in me this Easter week. Jesus overcame death and the grave. So indeed there is a cure for death in Christ! He also revealed the cure for fear and old age and anger and…. He covered it all for us. I am incredulous, but in this case my fascination is punctuated with, “I BELIEVE!”

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Living Intentionally

I have been pondering the meaning of Intentional Living for several months now. I often catch a radio program when I am in the car in the afternoons hosted by Dr. Randy Carlson. I love how he advises people to do ONE thing to change things. (Not a list of things - ONE thing!)

An assignment with one item is do-able. I have certainly observed and experienced that feeling overwhelmed simply causes me to STOP. Productive activity comes to a halt when I yield to the feeling of being buried alive. Suffocation is not conducive to creativity.

Decisions are the doorway to change. One decision can change your life forever. That thought holds both promise and fear. I choose the promise. That’s my decision today.

Intentional living is making decisions that express your values and priorities without having to consciously ponder the right thing to do. It is a result of goals, direction and knowing who you are and what your purpose is.

Synonyms for intention are purpose, design and aim. I resolve to live intentionally. Today and everyday.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Goin’ to the chapel!

We’re goin’ to the chapel, they’re goin’ to get married!
We are so thrilled that we are getting another beautiful daughter!
Our son proposed this week on The One’s birthday and they are making plans.
I hear the proposal was romantic and memorable and he presented her with a beautiful ring. How he pulled that shopping feat off without me or his sisters knowing is a mystery waiting to be revealed. Favorite Son was drilled relentlessly when he was younger by 2 sisters, me and my mom on how girls want to be treated. (LOL - maybe we haven’t stopped drilling and grilling.) Apparently, he learned his lessons well.

I am ready to go shopping for my dress. Oh – they haven’t set the date, so you think it’s too soon? Rats.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Happy Weight

Bet you thought I was going to tell you I am now happy with my weight. Fooled you! But I am closer in my mind, which definitely counts.

In my bloggy wanderings yesterday, I visited a site called
The ELFF Diet (Eat Less Fatty Food Diet) and was encouraged by her post on Your Happy Weight. She summarized an article from last month’s Self magazine, (which I don’t read on purpose- but that’s another blog topic). I loved this test on finding your happy weight. I was encouraged because this test revealed exactly the number as my WW goal weight. Here’s the test:

  • Step 1 - Multiply your height in inches by itself and and then that number by .031. 66 inches x 66 inches = 4356 x .031 = 135 (This is your weight at a body mass index of 22)
  • Step 2 - Multiply the number by .95 if you have a small frame, leave it unchanged if you have a medium frame, and by 1.05 if you have a large frame. (To determine your frame size, measure around your wrist. Under 5'2", small frame is less than 5.5, medium frame is 5.5 to 5.75, and large frame is more than 5.75. 5'2" to 5'5", small is less than 6, medium 6 to 6.25 and large is over 6.25. If you are over 5'5", small frame is less than 6.25, medium is 6.25 to 6.5, and large frame is more than 6.5. Whew. That's a lot of numbers!) I come up with a small frame, having a wrist measurement of 5.75. So 135 x .95 = 128
  • Step 3 - Add one pound if a sibling or parent is obese. +1 = 129
  • Step 4 - Add 2 pounds for each decade you are over age 20. +2 = 131
  • Step 5 - Add 5 pounds if you've had any children. +5 = 136
  • Step 6 - Subtract 1 pound if you exercise and weight train once a week, 2 pounds if you do it three times a week and 3 pounds for five or more days a week. - 3 = 133
  • Step 7 - Add 4 pounds if you smoked at least a pack a day for a year or more and have quit.
  • Step 8 - Add 1 pound if you allow yourself a treat now and then. +1 = 134
This number will give you your happy weight.

I have been so encouraged the last 24 hours thinking about my “happy weight” and I find this interesting. For the last two months I have been beating myself over the head and not talking politely to me about still being 4 pounds over my goal. This negative self-talk was not motivating me. I realize that I am a person who is motivated to move toward what I want, rather than away from want I don’t want. I have read that the average person is more motivated to move away from pain, than motivated to move toward pleasure. That is definitley not the case with me. This could become a deep discussion with lots of examples but I will keep it on the subject of weight today. Instead of telling myself, “you are getting fat and that is not smart and you look bad”, I have been saying, “I am happiest when I am at my ideal weight, I feel better, my clothes fit great and I am happy about that!” So simple, yet so powerful. So be happy, no matter what your weight and be polite when you talk to yourself. Life is good.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Variety is the Spice of Life

If variety is the spice of life, then springtime in North Florida is curry and chili pepper combined. Interesting. Our temperatures can move 40 degrees either way in one day! Last week, I was soaking up sun in the 75 degree heat in the afternoon, after warming up from a frosty morning. But I simply didn’t own the right clothes to be sitting at a rodeo Sat. night in the 38 degree weather. There’s a new Equestrian Center near us that hosted their first rodeo event and I about froze. Returning home and sitting on the hearth in front of a blazing fire was the highlight of my night. I’ll have to return on a warmer evening to fully appreciate the barrel racing, bull-riding and all that fun. I don’t imagine the snow cone concession did much business this weekend.

Earlier Saturday we had gone to the Econfina creek for a cook-out. At noon, it was about 50 degrees and windy. It is amazing to me that such a pristine and beautiful area is almost in our backyard. It was very beautiful, but once again, my favored spot was by the fire. I couldn’t help but think of all the college kids that have started arriving for Spring Break at Panama City Beach (right down the road) and are pretending it is warm. That’s another amazing diversity - 40 miles can take you from country living to another world of MTV and Spring Break craziness and a day can take you into 2 seasons. Variety is the spice, layering is the fashion and adaptability is key. Such is life.

Friday, March 7, 2008

It Was the Best Of Times

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness.” In 1859, Charles Dickens penned these lines in A Tale of Two Cites, though it seems he could have been describing 2008. When you read the headlines, it’s easy to become glum, so I have to turn my thoughts to higher things.

Well written prose and poetry is a kind of music to my soul.
So I go to the last verses (my grandmother’s favorite) of “The Day is Done” by Longfellow to share peaceful thoughts for this weekend:
“Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents like Arabs,
And as silently steal away.”

And just for good measure (the measure being my heart is full!), meet the one who continues to impart a legacy to love the written word, to love God and to cherish all things beautiful. She is doing well!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Simple Truth

I received an email from a friend about a month ago that had a link to this movie about Johnny the Bagger. I’m not usually a big fan of the clips that go around on the internet, but I watched this one twice that day. In addition, I signed up for the newsletter on the website put out by Mac Anderson. He describes the message in this movie saying , "it bypasses the brain and goes straight to the heart." The movie (and book) are supposedly about customer service, but it’s really about how your life can make a difference. It inspires me, touches me and motivates me to be kind to everyone I meet. When I received the Simple Truths email today and this movie was featured, I watched it again and decided it’s only fair to share it with you. It will be a very worthwhile 3 minutes, I promise. Click Here to watch.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Extraordinary Wives

I have a confession to make. I got my mad on this week. The good news is that I worked through it and two good things came out of it.

The first is I realized I still have a lot of work to do on a personality characteristic that needs to go. I don’t fight fair. Let me explain. I am a diplomat and I like everyone to be happy. However, this means that I tend to let things that bother me get repressed until one unfortunate day when someone (usually Builderman) pushes the button that flips the lid where all that stuff was stored. Mount Vesuvius erupts with dangerous repercussions as witnessed on my visit to Pompeii last summer. So in this unfair fighting technique, we’re dealing with today’s issue, plus all the other issues that gathered since the last eruption. The rule book on marriage says this is absolutely a crummy relationship strategy. I know that…and this week I was reminded to apply that which I know. I believe that is commonly referred to as wisdom.

The second thing I gained is a membership to the League of Extraordinary Wives.

Uncommon Blonde told me about Mrs. Fussypants and The Gentle Art of Ruling Your Husband. (What Your Momma Wishes She’d Known.)

This is a forum of women who are happily married and/or working on it. You can comment and participate in the forum if you join through the site mentioned above. It feels good to be a part of a sisterhood that is willing to bite the tongue bullet and commit to building a better marriage. A bit of laughter with the girls helped get me back on track.