Saturday, January 30, 2010

Grace; How Sweet the Sound!

I’ve enjoyed your comments this week on the post on mentors, mothers and manners, and I’ve noticed there doesn’t seem to be a disparity in regions when it comes to the basics of etiquette. I would venture to say my observation applies at least to the western hemisphere. No doubt our eastern hemisphere counterparts share concepts of courtesy and polite behavior, but cultural differences are certainly significant.

I have to share one more thing that came to my mind about my mother and her concern for the social graces. Whenever I began to talk about a new friend, my mom would ask, “Are they from a good family?” I used to get my back up about that, but I’ve come to the realization that my mom was referring to families where at least one parent is present and committed to imparting the essential lessons to their children. Her question and concern were valid, but I still chuckle at that question.

I’ll conclude this discussion with the consideration of one my favorite words in the English language: grace. Oh grace, how I love thee. Let me count the ways:

I told you I love books.... I can even get encouraged reading the dictionary. ; )

And the Winner Is...

Sara! Your name matched the winning number at Congratulations - you won the Jeanne Robertson DVD. (P.S. Don't do what I did and try to play it in your car's CD player ... it's a DVD. LOL) While congratulating Sara, I have to tell you something about her. She has a link on her blog that says "praying for you". If you ask her to pray about something, this friend is one tenacious prayer warrior. You may want to keep that in mind.

Thanks to all of you for commenting!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Southern Mentors, Southern Mothers

Do you know that if a woman chews gum in public she may very well look like a cow chewing her cud? That, my friend, is according to my mom, who was a contributing author of the unwritten Southern Etiquette Book.
Do you know how to sit and how to stand? How about how to hold your hands? No, no, you only THOUGHT you knew that. The old South rule book I refer to is possibly on the verge of extinction and truthfully, that doesn’t make me sad.

When my children were small, I had a neighbor in Tallahassee that decided I was the daughter she’d never had. She told me, “You are a great representative for health, positive thinking and such, but when it comes to make-up, hair and the art of being a lady, I need to teach you a thing or two.”

She literally took me to her hairdresser, went in her closet and pulled clothes that she insisted I wear, and staged a community fundraiser class on “The Art of Being a Lady” and appointed me her assistant. (Uncommon Blonde still rolls her eyes at the memory as she was being homeschooled and I made her go too. Poor child) Seriously, when I look at the photos of me during that period of time it’s not good. She was markedly older than my mom and have you noticed that styles change?

Don’t get me wrong; I loved her and was grateful to have her love. One thing I learned from her is that you can’t be anyone’s mini-me. You have to find your own voice.

When I watch speaker and comedienne Jeanne Robertson, she makes me think I’m watching my mentor’s birth daughter. She was a beauty pageant winner many moons ago and knows all the rules. Granted, my mentor didn’t have a daughter as she was most unusual and focused on her career during her childbearing years (the 1940’s through 1960’s and didn’t marry until she was about 50 years old.)

I’m giving away a DVD of Jeanne telling some of her funny stories. My favorites are her tales of her husband, who she lovingly refers to as “L.B.” (Left-Brain)

I’ll draw a name at the end of the day Friday and post the winner this weekend. All you have to do is leave a comment to enter. If you want to leave an etiquette rule your mom taught you, I want to hear.

Here’s a clip of Jeanne if you’ve never seen her:

P.S. Disclaimer: This DVD case is not in perfect condition. I find getting the wrapping off of CD’s and DVD’s to be particularly irritating, don’t you? I took the scissors to this case and cut a bit more than intended. At least it wasn’t my hand that got in the way!

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's Not About Me!

I’m glad I’m not queen of everything. If I were, I would add more hours to the day so I could accomplish more and I’m pretty certain that wouldn’t be wise. No doubt I would shorten my life in exchange for smashing more into less time. Thank God He’s in charge!

I’ve decided I love books as much as I love chocolate and walking on the beach and wish I could do more of all three activities! There’s nothing quite like the small things that bring great delight. If you want an exact count, I think I’m reading four books concurrently. I had three in progress, then I won a fascinating book titled “The Male Factor” over at Mocha with Linda’s. (She does some amazing give-aways of books she reviews). When that book arrived, I couldn’t resist starting it too! Surely I’m not the only one who does that?!

I’ve missed visiting with you this past week and plan to go blog visiting this weekend. I’ve learned a lot in the past week as I’ve seen 2 significant people pass into eternity. I’ve reflected on what I learned from each of them and it’s momentous. I just have to share a few nuggets that I received as a torch being passed from my friend, Brenda Pink.

*Get over yourself, it’s not about you.

*Love your spouse like there’s no tomorrow.

*Believe in people and know that each life is a canvas that we can paint on

*Lift people up - you can never give away too much encouragement and love.

Thanks for stopping by – your visit encourages me!

P.S. Come back next week for my first give-away of 2010. It’ll make you laugh.

Friday, January 15, 2010

From Hurricanes & Earthquakes to Eggs & Rosebuds

Just a note as I head out for the weekend. I'm headed south unexpectedly for the farewell service for a beautiful friend who moved to heaven Wednesday. Her husband, Michael, writes:

"There is deep sorrow, but no regrets.
There are questions in my heart, but no accusations on my lips.
God is faithful and true… He is just and kind.
He loves like a hurricane… I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy."

They have asked that in leiu of flowers to please donate to a Haiti Earthquake Fund. The news accounts of the utter chaos in Haiti are hard. I find the level of destruction rather inconceivable. I see the images and hear that a transport plan with help circled for 5 hours and couldn't even land, returning to Peurto Rico when they got low on fuel, and I just can't imagine.

All of this leaves me knowing that life is fragile and precious. Speaking of fragile, I may become known as the egg lady... handing out these eggs that our infamous chickens are now cranking out. Truth be told, they are fabulous. I'm taking these with me to share:

The silver lining to this unexpected trip is I get to see Rosebud! Oh yes, I do. I hear her calling me now!

Monday, January 11, 2010

On the Hunt...

I’m on the hunt for wisdom and knowledge and what an adventure it is. I’ve listened to a wide spectrum of speakers in the past week that have inspired me and caused me to think. It's said,“you’ll be the same person a year from today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” The truth of that encourages me that this will be a very good year!

The first speaker last week was a man with a common name but an uncommon message, Bill Johnson. I attended a conference in Alabama that I registered for after watching this video that I posted in October. I could write a book about what I learned, but it was so powerful that I’m still absorbing and processing it. I’ll be sharing nuggets along the way. Life-changing stuff.

It’s easier to share some take-aways from a business teleconference I attended. Author Alan Weiss was scheduled to teach speakers how to write more effective proposals. His tips on writing in general were fascinating. He insisted you should never “dumb down” your material, as many encourage writers to do. I was interested when he stated two things he looks for in smart people. First is a sense of humor and the second is breadth of vocabulary.

I reflected on his comment when I was challenged today by a difficult person and went hunting for my sense of humor. I’ve been teaching that stellar customer service is one of the essentials to shining in today’s economy. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Fine Home-Builder

I often refer to Builderman in my posts. We’ve been married for 31 years and counting. There’s a lot I love about him. He’s loyal, giving, honest and his strong character makes him utterly trustworthy. He is also the finest builder I’ve ever known.

I’ve always found it fascinating that Jesus was a carpenter. The Greek word “tecton”, used in many of the references to Jesus as a carpenter, actually is more accurately translated as “General Contractor” or “Master of the Craft.” I am an eye-witness to what that means.

Regardless if Builderman is crafting a custom staircase, supervising the many details in acquiring a Certificate of Occupancy on a multi-million dollar home, or crafting a toy for Rosebud, he is functioning as a Master Builder.

When he prays over our family, does acts of kindness for us and works hard as provider and protector, he is excelling as a Master Builder. The demand for fine new homes might be rather lame in the current market, but the true value of a Master Builder will never diminish.

Our children always thought their daddy could fix absolutely anything, and he pretty much can. He excels in common sense and practical knowledge… a very handy guy to have around.

Papa’s Toy Shop is now open for another generation. Rosebud received a train whistle in her stocking at Christmas that amazes me. It has four tones to create a rich chord and a beautiful sound. But we had the most fun when she tested her new swing, hung from a limb of a lovely oak. Nothing was more lovely than her sweet smile...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kitchen Happiness - It Works for Me!

I've got something for show and tell, so I'm joining in with Works for Me Wednesday. When I got there today, I saw she's having Backwards day, so I'll be backwards by going forward. : )

I have some fabulous new friends in the kitchen but one of my favorites came to me quite by accident.

Who doesn't hate to chop onions? Well, maybe Julia Childs didn't hate it, but how many recipes have you deleted the onions from because you just didn't want to deal with the hassle?

My mom is always cleaning out (I missed that gene) and she had a stack she asked me to go through last time I was there. I came home with a basket of perfectly good things she was taking to Goodwill. Now, before you laugh, let me show you this brand new Black and Decker Chopper, my friend forever.

I saw one in the store for around $10 and I'm telling you, this little gadget is worth every penny. (Espeically since mine was free!) I used it during Christmas baking for pecans and that saved my fingers and my time. It's very persnickety about how you assemble it, but once you get the knack, you're ready to go. It's very small and easy to wsh and to store. No more stinkin' onions in my kitchen!

I have to mention that another thing that's new in my kitchen that I totally love is Pioneer Woman's cookbook, a gift from Uncommon Blonde! It is as much fun as her blog.

By the way, Kristen's "backwards" question on Works for Me Wednesday today is "what programs truly work to help you save money, cut back, etc?" I'll be interested to read the posts, as that is not my specialty. ; )

Monday, January 4, 2010

Just a Spoonful of Sugar

I decided there was no better way to start the New Year's posts than with Mary Poppins. I never finished the tale of our trip to New York so here it goes.

The Broadway version of Mary Poppins was breathtaking and enchanting. I sat on the edge of my seat in the beautiful and historical Amsterdam theater and loved every single minute of the show.
There's a song that is not in the move that captivated me called "Anything Can Happen if You Let It". I've decided that's my theme this year. Afterward, we went to Carnegie Deli for their legendary cheesecake and it did not disappoint. Yum.

Here are some of the events of our last 24 hours in the Big Apple...
We went to the top of the Empire State Building and it was clear and beautiful (and cold!)
We picked out jewelry in Tiffany's. ; ) I bought baby clothes in Bloomingdales and a sweet book in FAO Schwarz. Cupcake wanted to take a walk in Central Park and my feet were screaming, "noooooo" so we took the carriage instead.

I think you can tell we had SO MUCH FUN! New York at Christmastime made for a wild and crazy month but we want to make it an annual girl's trip. I need to get to work to save money for all the fun I like to have. Just remember....

Anything can happen if you let it!