Monday, June 30, 2014

Nice and Sweet, Sweet and Nice

Years ago I took a creative writing class, because everyone has a book in them.  At that time I believed that a book was possible and now I am content to write my blog and if others enjoy it, great. If they don't, it doesn't break my heart. William Faulkner said, "Don't be a writer, be writing."  No matter I write because of the joy it brings to me.  In this creative writing class our instructor gave us a list of words that we shouldn't use or over use and one of the words was nice.  She asked us to consider other words that are descriptive instead of just using nice.  It was a nice day.  He is a nice person.  Getting home early was nice.  Bringing us dinner was nice.  It was nice knowing others were praying for us.  Of course we understand these sentences and the thoughts being conveyed but they don't really tell us anything.

I'm reading a book by Dani Shapiro, Still Writing.  It's written in short snippets or sections just long enough to be considered paragraphs.  She is giving her experience to anyone who wants to read her process in writing, not the how to's of sentence structure or proper use of prepositions but her experience of distractions, life, and practice.  I just finished up her thoughts on repetitive words and phrases.  She gave the example from her book Black and White.  The editor notices she had used the word muffled eleven times.  She felt that was unusual because muffled wasn't a word she used in everyday life.  She knew it was a clue she hadn't explored her thoughts deep enough that would be reflected throughout the story. No, this was more than grabbing a thesaurus and substituting words that meant the same as muffled, it was digging deeper into her character's life.  This year for Lent I gave up sweets.  No, that's not quite true, I gave up using the word sweet because it is the most overused word in Christendom, slightly beating out amazing.  I understand we have amazing grace, how sweet the sound and a sweet, sweet spirit in this place, tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, sweet hour of prayer, swing low sweet chariot, in the sweet by and by, sweet Beulah land, every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before and wild and sweet their words repeat of peace on earth, good will to men...that's a lot of hymns with the word sweet included in them.  But I don't think that is why we seem to use sweet as a descriptive word for everything nice.  I was just seeing if you were paying attention.  

Mainly women use the word sweet and sweet is especially a buzz word in women's ministry but here of late, the word sweet is on the rise in men.  I think they have discovered that sweet can be used to cover a multitude of sins just like "bless your heart"....because we women have learned that using sweet can mask what's really in our hearts...yea, it's not the good, good stuff.  All of us have used or have been the recipient of "my, wasn't that sweet of you" when those words meant the total opposite.  

Almost everything and everyone is described as sweet especially noticeable on Facebook.  My sweet husband, my sweet friend, our sweet time, sweet fellowship, sweet service, sweet song, and so on.  Maybe we love using the word sweet because it comes naturally to us Baptists since we can be all things sweet when it comes to dessert.  We have probably just fallen into the trap of just repeatedly using a word we see used all the time.  Our husband, family and friends deserve better than sweet.  For Lent anytime I used the word sweet ubiquitously I paid a dollar fine and at the end of Lent I gave that money to the order our adopted nuns belong to.  Granted, I got pretty good at not using the word sweet since it wasn't an overly used word in my vocabulary, so I added in using the word nice...because I use it more often.  At the end of Lent I sent in the sweet and nice money and more cause it wouldn't have been a very generous offering.  I went to one thesaurus website and the following are just a few words suggested for use instead of sweet.   

I would also add kind, generous, thoughtful to this list.  The word sweet is just too abstract to be used for those we care about and those things and places we love.  I'm not saying give up the word totally let's just rein it in a bit.  Let's honor our friends and family with a better description and vocabulary.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Difficulties Alongside Celebration

I have just been involved in one of the most frustrating experiences of late.  Granted I do not have a college degree but I was only short twenty one hours to graduate, so I got the majority of my education.  Common sense is a gift I've enjoyed for most of my life, so I can figure things out usually but I have decided that the electric and battery operated toothbrush makers of America are in a conspiracy to make either changing the head of the toothbrush so complicated or changing the battery in a battery operated toothbrush so exasperating that most will buy a new brush rather than be frustrated by the complications.  I just spent 30 minutes trying to understand with the tiniest of instructions on the back of a replacement head package how to successfully accomplish that feat, you know, change the head of a toothbrush.  Truthfully, I went with the electric toothbrush because I never figured out how to get the back off the toothbrush to replace the battery.  I know I am not the only one in this distress because I have spoken to several friends who have taken the same wise choice as me after dealing with toothbrush frustrations, just buy a new one.  So today, finally, after reading and re-reading the directions for the hundredth time and finally getting the little tool included in the package to work like it is supposed to, I got the dag nab-bit head off the toothbrush.  I had to because my hands had been all over the was a must change the head type of situation.  Putting the new head on the brush was a piece of cake.  After a bit I decided to try out the new brush head that had taken so long to replace but I forgot an important fact that about fifteen minutes before trying out the new brush I had eaten three red jellybeans.  I somewhat freaked out when I saw red on my brush and in the sink...dang the brush head is too stiff but no it was three sour cherry jellybeans.  All is well in the brushing world around here.  Of course this whole paragraph has been something you've just been dying to know.

We have been eating My Fit Foods for dinner somewhat to be healthy and counteract those jellybeans but mainly because it is easy to prepare but we needed a break.  We decided to go out for dinner and after sorting through our choices we picked Chinese.  But here's the thing...Roy rarely comes home in bad moods.  He can have a trying day at the office but the bus ride home gives him time to sort through and move on whatever his daily concerns have been.  Last night was different, he was kind of snarky and picky.  It carried on through our drive to and at the restaurant.  Now there was a day that I would have jumped all over this because I believed I could trump his most snarky and picky days with my own attitude.  I was quickly getting to that point when Roy asked, do I seem to be in a bad mood?  "No darling, not that I have noticed" is something I could have said but didn't.  I didn't want to lie!   He had that studied look and said I am going to have to quit reading Blood Feud on the bus coming home.  He surmised spending all that time reading about Hillary and Michelle had influenced him and his mood.  Thankfully he recognized the source because he rarely brings home the 'office.'

The July cherries from Henry and David were delivered yesterday.  A note was included with the shipment that the cherries had ripened sooner than expected so they were delivered just a week after the mangoes.  We have loved this gift from Nancy and Megan.  We tried a few of the cherries before we put them up and dang if they aren't some of the best cherries I have ever eaten.  Also happy to see Sprouts has them on sale this week.  It is that greatest time of the year for fruit.

This has been the least productive week but I am happy to have had a week like this.  Too many weeks like this would make one lazy.  Reading and writing and taking naps in between the stuff you have to take care of like obstinate toothbrush heads.  This past week has been a private celebration for this phase of dental work to be done with last weeks implant completion.  I can smile and laugh again without my hand being in front of my mouth.  This has been a six month process, so I believe a week is a good time frame for celebration.  We will resume the process in late September, something I am quite happy about because dental work stresses and fatigues me, even with a great and caring dentist.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Getting Our Minds Out of, I Mean On The Gutters

I am so trying to keep my mind out of the gutter or should that be gutters?  Maybe I should be thinking I should get my mind off gutters.  Who would have thought that gutters would be such a problem?  Roy has been getting estimates from various places because he was told that our gutters had been installed wrong.  So he contacts our warranty guy to ask about that while gutter guy #1 is giving us an estimate to correct said problem.  This morning I get the lovely surprise having the DW gutter guy and warranty guy at our home and me with messy hair and no make up.  At least I had taken a shower and brushed my teeth.  Anyway I am trying to get a hold of Roy whose life is consumed in meetings.  The DW gutter guy is clearly miffed that we have been told that there hadn't been proper installation and gives us a much better quote on cost of adding gutters to the side and back of the house.  Finally Roy is able to call me and I get him caught up, so he puts a hold on our gutter guy #1 and gets the number of DW gutter guy.  Just when I thought my life was free of gutters today, I get a call from a company that wants to set up an appointment for a remeasure from gutter guy #1.  I DON'T KNOW NOTHING ABOUT NO GUTTERS!  I didn't say that but calmly gave the lady Roy's phone number.  And now it is raining and here's hoping the gutters hold.  They will hold, just too bad I put out bird seed thirty minutes ago.  And either Roy has taken off the nozzle on the garden hose or somebody has stolen it cause there weren't a nozzle in sight for me to clean out the bird bath.  Yes, life is totally exciting here in Rancho De Five, where seldom is heard a guttering word and the clouds are spilling rain out all day...maybe not all day but has for the past couple of hours.

So I finished a really good book, The Professor and then read The Right Thing...which was a little disappointing.  I don't know if it is due to the really good book right before it or not.  I didn't really get interested in the characters and didn't really care even though I would have liked to have some of the particulars at the beginning and maybe they would have caused me to be more sympathetic to their plight and cause.  To mix it up a bit, I have started a non fiction book, Flappers.  Major players of the jazz age and their rise and fall or rise and steady adventures in life.  I didn't realize how WWI and the ensuing age was quite freeing for women of the time.  I mainly bought the book because of the interesting novel I read about Zelda S Fitzgerald.

Well, it is Tuesday and the gutter situation is resolved and life can go on.  We were still in the 72 hour cancellation time and we did just that and went with the DW gutter guy.  Roy got the last of those little details taken care of last night and faxed the contract this morning.  Whew, I wasn't liking my attention having to be in the gutter so much.

I am struggling to stay in and be present in the moment.  My mind and heart is fully focused on my upcoming trip to Asheville.  Thanks to a friend's recommendation we have found a real estate agent that works in the Buncombe County area.  We might have to find agents that work in the other areas we are interested in.  Too many times I begin thinking through our list of what we want, what is or won't be a deal breaker for us and then plain old daydreaming of having four seasons...I love you baby and if  it's quite alright I need you baby....sorry had to stop and sing for a moment.  And if we don't find what we are looking for, I will be content to do a short term lease and get the heck out of the see I can't stand the heat so that is why I stay out of the kitchen.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday! It's the Weekend!

Did anyone get the license of that truck that hit me?  Oh yea, it was going to the eye doctor today.  I haven't had my eyes dilated in a long time since the ophthalmologist I went to did that other way you paid extra for.  Today, I went to a new doctor and office.  Loved the whole experience but this afternoon I feel as if I have been crushed and run over.  Guess it is all the extra light coming in my eyes that is making me feel so sleepy and lethargic.  I didn't fall asleep but I have truly been resting my eyes since returning home.  It could be that I had to stay away since Chris was here.  After the appointment I went to Cracker Barrel for brunch.  Then I headed over to Home Goods and Target.  It has been a while since I have been in Home Goods.  Of course I found things that needed to come home with me and shopping at Target, well that 's a given things' not on the list items' are going to come home with me.  I got a Sonic Diet Cherry Diet Coke and headed over to a local glasses place to order new glasses.  This doctor office doesn't have the glasses in their office.  Gee, where shall I go?  It's not like I didn't pass three offices on my way to the one I finally picked.  It was the ol' drive by thing.  I'm  happy with my choice and should have new glasses in a couple of weeks.

Several weeks ago I mentioned the terse store is now closed in Hobby Lobby at 8:03pm and a terse warning from Zondervan makes me wonder where second chances are in the Christian world.   Last year sometime I signed up for their emails and I decided after deleting many of those emails without even opening them that I would unsubscribe.  When I started the process of unsubscribing they let me know that in choosing unsubscribe I would NEVER EVER be able to subscribe again!  I'm willing to take my chances....I did it, I unsubscribed.   I will just have to take my chances on missing out on themed Bibles, Jesus Junk and a few good books.  Not worried on the book part, that's what browsing through a bookstore is for and Amazon periodically lets me know about books I might like.

It is now Friday and that truck that ran over me yesterday has come back for a return.  Don't know if it is from the heat which in summer terms is not that hot yet or what.  Both of us had hair appointments today and thankfully I am a little blonder but hopefully not any dumber.  Since my appointment was at 10:00 and Roy's at 2:00 we met at Luby's for lunch.  Senior discount is now from 11:00-3:30, not that we go to get the discount but it is nice to save a few bucks here and there.  Roy hardly ever gets the LuAnn platter so it is me saving the bucks.

Our Realtor in Asheville sent the MLS listings for a few places we are interested in.  Love it because there is more detail and info.  Hopefully, some of these will still be on the market when we get there.  Mountain views and low humidity....many more good hair days....I am all for that.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mission 55:6

Sometimes when we are in the midst of conversations I think Roy forgets who he is talking to.  When we go to Asheville later this summer, we are going to do some exploration into buying a second home, mainly looking at town houses and condos.  Most town homes are independent dwellings but located in a community that has the designation.  There are a few that look rather traditional and all those aren't even going to be considered.  Did that, no thank you on repeats.  Also ruling out wall to wall carpet, dark and closed off rooms, paneling even if it is in a home that would fit the paneling description, a rustic look, and anything that does not have a mountain or hill view.  As we've been looking at online sources and getting prepared to talk to a local real estate agent there, we've been narrowing our search and it is down to three areas, west, north and east of Asheville proper.  Then there is one area that would be considered more of a wish type thing, but it is fun to look at properties online and dream of an unlimited budget and excellent help since it is not near any major cities.  Our consideration is more in long term than short term goals meaning that once Roy retires, this would become our main residence but most probably my main residence in the interim. This heat is already getting to me and it isn't even into the, pardon the pun, the heat of the summer.  But that is down the road but we want to be smart about those things.  If we don't find anything to our liking and that could happen because several years ago we looked around the Maggie Valley area, we would most likely try to find a long term rental for most of the summer months next year.  It helps that Roy has so many weeks of vacation and flying up that way isn't expensive.

OK, so I have totally not even written what my intent was.  So yesterday, as we discussed pros and cons to some of the homes we have favorited, Roy says in all seriousness to me, I would like you to pull together the numbers for the costs incurred, but not including groceries, gas and such, to do analysis toward the costs of running two homes.  What is wrong with that statement?  It looks to me that some Excel might be involved and I have given up Excel for permanent Lent.  It's a new thing, all the cool Christians are doing it.  I asked Roy, did you confuse me to be someone that works for you just because I am talking with you in my church clothes?  Do you think that math and statistics have somehow become one of the loves of my life and I want to pull together numbers?  Oh and there is that word budget...  Maybe if we named our new home budget like our church named their budget Mission 1:8, I could get more enthused.  Maybe we could name it Mission 55:6-Oh that I had the wings of a dove!  I would fly away and rest.  Oh and verse 7 adds, I would fly away to the quiet of the wilderness.  Seems like this would be very appropriate to our mission.  Even now writing about naming the budget hasn't wowed me.  Anyway, Roy decided that maybe I am not the one to gather the details and put them into a work sheet.  Guess there is always hope that one day, some day, those things would come to me.  I'd really rather they wouldn't.

Maybe we should also name our dental budget too.  The process that began in January came to a pause today.  The implant was seated but Carol used temp cement because she wants to make sure my gum and tissue heal properly for a perfect fit.  The good news was, no infection which was a minor concern.   She had to have a custom abutment made due to the placement of the structure the oral surgeon did.  Needless to say, I will not be using him for the other portion of dental work that needs to be done.  I cannot sing the praise of Dr. Carol Geer enough.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Doing Life

O Blessed Day of Sunday afternoon.  We went to church, The Fresh Market, T Jin's, and did a drive by the eye doctor office where I will be going this week.  We stopped at Wendy's for Frosties and I got mine in a waffle cone.  Perfect top off to send me to nap time, which lasted much longer than anticipated.  Now it is stink-in hot outside; Welcome Summer!

This was a week where I felt a day behind because Roy had taken off Monday but by Thursday I knew it was Thursday.  I got to see friends on Friday afternoon at Black Walnut.  We had a quorum for our club, Vonda, Dana, Marcia, Jill and me.  Peggy was on the lake and Claire was at work.  We gathered not to say goodbye but see ya soon to Jill who is moving to California to be married.  We will miss her and her talented all out piano playing.  It was a serendipity gathering because it was last minute.  I could not get there for a bit because I was waiting for the gutter guy to come.  Once I had done my gutter matching duty...color...I was off to see my friends.  I didn't eat at BWC because I was meeting Roy at Luby's for dinner.  We called Dena and she was free to come with us.  So we had a lovely dinner and we mainly went there because of the fried shrimp special.  While we were finishing up our delicious lunch/dinner, our friend Louise from Life Bible study passed by with a tray of Luby goodness.  Roy was planning on grilling sliders and corn on the cob Saturday evening, so we asked Dena and Louise to join us.  We had a great time!  After trying all the slider offerings of the local grocery stores, we have decided that Whole Food's sliders are the best because the meat is lean and the veggies and spices they add is just right.  After our dinner on Friday I went over to Dena's to help her rearrange some furniture.  There is always the treat of me breaking into uncontrollable laughter when moving furniture because the memories of moving a chair up the stairs always come to mind.  Fortunately, I was able to help with minimal laughter.

Tuesday and Wednesday evenings were my first two of the summer on Lake Bain.  Well, technically I was not on the lake but on the dock.  Peggy had family in for the week and I always love seeing them.  The evenings were cooled down by a lake breeze and the sunsets were beautiful.  Only the mosquitoes marred both beautiful nights.

There isn't much to this post to the eye but to the heart there is an abundance of gratitude.  I have been blessed all throughout life with some of the best friends ever.  Underneath it all I am so thankful for those I get to do life with and I am equally grateful for those I don't have to do life with right now.  No jumping through hoops to keep them happy, don't have to deal with their insecurities and rigidness and their aversion to change. I'm enjoying this time of life and this season of not having to deal with such.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Practiced People

Sometimes through a series of books or articles on a particular subject, you come away with a side note that is more interesting than the principle subject.  Several weeks ago from some research I was doing, the side note that grabbed my attention was  practiced people.  There are varieties of all kinds of people in life and throughout the different times and seasons I have met those who I would describe as a practiced person.  To be honest in different seasons of life, I have been a practiced person.  My first recollection is when I went to college.  I thought I will just take these positives from others I know and incorporate them and everyone will think I am the funniest, wittiest person they've met.  Ha!  Guess I didn't practice enough.  From tennis days, I had a friend  who I would definitely call practiced.  She absorbed traits and styles from others, practiced them until they became a definite part of her personality.  I don't think anyone ever knew her as a real person.  Her handwriting was a practiced art from childhood, from a friend in the 5th grade whose styling of letters were copied perfectly.  She once showed me the original writing and her growing practiced letters which eventually became as exact as the original.  She was the goddaughter of a rich and famous Houstonian and in a pinch she and her husband would be called in to replace invited socialites who for some reason couldn't attend.   Now, they weren't poor by any means and  they're very affluent in their own right, but at these events she'd pick up gestures or styles and practice them until they became her very own.  Honestly, we all do this to a certain point, but she did not like anything original to her, at all and she spent her life being a practiced person in the arts, as a hostess, her gestures, and what she served at meals.  She wiped out her past of where she was born and how she had grown up in her stories. Her life became the narrative that she desired it to be.  She truly is one of the most practiced people I have ever met.  She is probably the best practiced person ever since her life revolved around constant practice.

There are all levels of practiced people and practiced people come in all forms and varieties.  I'm not talking about people who are practicing good manners, practicing politeness or practicing dance steps or lines for a play.  We could all use a little more of that type of practicing.  The Andy Griffith show had an episode where a man comes to town and he knows everything about everybody and he knows the map of the city as well as his own name.  People are put off by him and want Andy to run him out of town.  Finally, Andy gets to the bottom of it and this man had served in the military with a citizen of Mayberry who talked so highly of his hometown, that this stranger to the city read the Mayberry newspaper before arriving and thus the people themselves had been the source of his knowledge of the town.   He just wanted to be able to say, Mayberry, my home town.  The way he went about it, the presentation, is what made everyone apprehensive. 

Book plots and movies are plentiful in presenting those who practice being someone else literally or those who think their success in life comes at the behest of a well practiced life.  The look on their face, they way they stand or enter a room.  What they wear.  The chastisement to those who aren't walking in a practiced tone of life abounds.  There are clues that are almost too visible to those whose lives are consumed with practicing to be someone besides themselves that an alert observer will see.

The times I have found myself being a practiced person happened when I was in the tennis world and many times when I am in church world or ladies who lunch world and a few times at Biltmore world, although rarely do I act as a practiced person there anymore.  I'd rather watch the practiced people rather than being one.  Oh yes, my very favorite one that I really don't have to do anymore was when being Mrs. Monarch, not Nancy in business situations.  Thankfully, I am Nancy, now the most I have ever been in life.

I don't know if we can practice enough to be a totally practiced person.  Maybe being a rehearsed person is within the range of possibility.  In the moments that can't be controlled, ambushes or surprises, many times the practiced life vanishes and the original default part of a person is revealed.

I am not referring to biblical practice like Paul writes about in Philippians 4
  1. Philippians 4:9
    • New International Version
      Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
      Philippians 4:8-10 (in Context) Philippians 4 (Whole Chapter)
    • New Living Translation
      Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
      Philippians 4:8-10 (in Context) Philippians 4 (Whole Chapter)
    • Amplified Bible
      Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.
      Philippians 4:8-10 (in Context) Philippians 4 (Whole Chapter)
No I'm pondering and thinking on those who practice being someone else.  Just observations from a piece I have been working on this year.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Things Remembered and Things Lost

I've been thinking off and on about milestones from the earlier part of life.  Why do I remember vivid details about some and others I can't quite remember.  Yet, I can sing all the lyrics to The Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan's Island, Green Acres and such....oh yes, Petticoat Junction too.  Like I can remember the day my parents too me to college.  I remember how loaded down the car was with everything I thought I would possibly need for college life.  I don't remember arriving or them leaving me there at Falls Hall.  I do remember Sherry and I had picked out this really cute Noah's Ark themed decor from JC Penney's and I had kept the quilted bedspread of it up until a couple of years ago.  At one of my first meals in the cafeteria I mistook a jalapeno for one of those salad peppers, a mistake I have not made again and then after dinner rubbed my eye and the juice from the pepper still clung to my fingertips.  Yea, I made a great first impression on all that collegian dinner.  I know if I go back to my journals I will be reminded of that day but just off the top of my go.  Sometimes when I think about guys I dated, I can see their faces but lo, I cannot remember their names for the life of me.  Guess I didn't practice writing Mrs.___________ enough in my notebooks or something.   And I liked those boys even a couple I thought I might marry...first name David but can't think of his last name at all.  Not that this is keeping me up at nights, I just find it interesting what we remember, even sometimes minute details and other times those most important things....gone, haven't a clue and again if I found my journal from that time, it would all flood back into those memories.

Guess I have been thinking of these things since I have started reading memoirs.  Just today I read a great blog post on literary memoirs and made note a few more books to read, not that I need anymore to read.  If I were to write a memoir and I'm not, the theme of the stories would center around seeing through lies and stories adults told and then unwisely questioning or calling them out on them.  Not to be malicious but thinking truth mattered and I hadn't learned that adults don't like children to see through their explanations of things and the end result is not truth but usually punishment for the child.  Years ago I noticed my niece Megan had the same ability and I shared with her that it is troubling as a child but it will serve you well as an adult.  She was just a young child when I told her that, I doubt she even remembers that warning.  I never read the book but it must be kind of like Judge Judy's book, Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It Is Raining.

 In the midst of all these thoughts I tried to remember sermons preached and lessons taught through the years.  I was at Explo 72, kind of would be like Passion Conferences now, and I remember being with my friends but I don't remember one word that was preached.  I remember examples and props used in the recent past, but I don't remember what point they were supporting.  The exception to this would be Beth Moore, my LBS teacher and a few other retreat or conference speakers but what they taught at that time, resonated where I was in life at that time.   Musical and worship experiences do stand out in my mind maybe because in worship and singing, it is truly an experience that one participates in.

Reading Twitter comments about the #SBC14 is kind of like watching the birds at the bird feeder which happens to have been one of the things I did today at the same time.  There are those who are more interested in fighting and scaring off other birds, there are birds sitting under the rose bushes fearful of all the clatter going on over their heads at the feeder and there are those who are fighting for a place at the table, feeder.  Some birds are content to chase and peck other birds as they chase after seed being dropped from above and then there are those few who are content to eat and drink and stay out of the conflicts.  My little scraggly looking mockingbird is on the fence looking in at the fray.  Sometimes standing there with its mouth wide open and I don't know if it is trying to look scary or if it thinks maybe its mom is near by.  Yep, I think my birds outside the window kind of describe my feelings about the whole SBC convention thing.  In reality nothing done there affects my walk with Christ, it may affect church, but not my personal walk with the Savior.  I am too far down the chain for anything happening there to make a difference in my life; being married but not a mother, not domestically minded or fit the profile of what a truly spiritual Baptist woman should look like, although I did get a great laugh about the ever famous, ever boring, never relevant Sunday School Quarterly being called popular.

Since I will be spending some extended time in the Asheville area soon, I've been looking online at church websites.  For sure I know I'm not going back to Biltmore Baptist after the lest than stellar Sunday morning I spent there in May.  Looks like the WMU is alive and thriving in NC and maybe a bit of the music wars still going on.  I have started looking at Episcopal and Presbyterian churches to visit.  Oh...just thought of this, maybe I am due for a visit to the Chapel of the Prodigal in Montreat, for a quick check in and a fatted calf lunch which could be barbecue.   I'm good with that.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Waiting on The Other Side

It felt a little strange being on the other side of surgical procedures.  Yesterday, Roy had what everyone in their 50's is encouraged to have by Doctors.  This wasn't his first rodeo but it had been a while.  In the past six years we have grown accustomed to any type of procedure if done in the early mornings involved me being the one.  As I got ready yesterday I kept telling myself I get to eat, drink and wear makeup.  To pass the time in the waiting room, I packed up my Vera Bradley back pack with an iPad, notebook and a book along with a Diet Coke and peanut butter cheese crackers.  The morning wasn't quite as early as when we have to be at the Med Center for me, so that was welcomed.

The wait wasn't too long before Roy was called behind the door to get prepped and that I would be called back in 20 or so minutes and for the record I was not going back to be prepped but to keep Roy company. In the past when the roles are reversed, he sits calmly beside the bed reading work emails and is rather quiet.  I am left to amuse myself and pray before being wheeled away.  It was not that way yesterday with me, because, well, because I don't have work emails to read.  With the little shower cap thing on his head, Roy looked like lunch lady Doris.  He just needed a large spoon and gravely voice to say, "more creamed corn?"  One of the nurses made his little cap look like a beret and we sang Raspberry Beret to him along with several other Prince songs. ( The songs were from his Prince era not the era of the artist formerly known as Prince.)   I was making Roy laugh and that is one of my favorite things to do.  I think the best laugh we had involved Roy needing to scoot up higher on the bed.  He needed to be careful and not put pressure on his hand  because the drip thingy was on the top of his hand, not the bend of his arm.  He asked me to pull his arm and I replied, uh I know what happens when someone says pull my finger, I am not brave enough to find out what happens when someone asks you to pull on their arm.  What would be the result?  Oh, the humanity!  I think Roy would have wet his pants, if he had had any on and if he hadn't had to cut off the liquids at midnight, he was laughing so hard.  Roy was given the dealy to call the nurse if need be.  He thought it was for more pain medication...and I may or may not have been caught using it as a microphone to sing and request clean up in holding room C.  Maybe they rushed him into the procedure because we or rather I was being disruptive in the holding area.  Hey, I was just trying to be a good wife.

Soon it was time to leave his side and go back to the waiting room.  The waiters for patients one and two were soon called for consultations with the Dr.  Wow, much faster than I thought and because Roy was patient three, I knew a calling would be coming forth (oops, too much SBC14 reading on Twitter) so I put up my iPad and just read my book.   Yep, it wasn't too long and I was called back and put into a really small room.  I am somewhat claustrophobic so I kept trying to read but it was difficult.  Since I have not been on this side of a procedure in so long, I had a moment of doubt.  Why the small room?  Why is there Kleenex boxes?  I had a moment of panic because I had never given a thought to, there might be something wrong.  Quickly, I composed those inner fears with praise and gratitude and I went back to trying to read my book in a little bitty tiny room.  Then the Dr came in and gave the good news, then they sent me back to the WR.  Not too long after I was called again and given instructions for the rest of the day for Roy, who I could see over the nurse's shoulder.  We was totally being Roy, snoring.  Oh by the way, the nurse had the most beautiful name, Nancy.  Although Roy kept calling both of us Megan.  He was talking nonsense, quite funny actually and then it was my task or should I say joy, to help him get dressed.  I always ask him after my procedures, did I dress myself or did you help me?  Guess I can dress myself under the influence of drugs. After a few stops and starts, we finally got him to the position of his shoes.  Oh my....finally, he was ready for the wheelchair and it was time to get the car and load him up.  He must have asked the nurse 50 times if he could ride his bike later in the day.  No!  

You know Roy is a bit groggy when he suggests Cracker Barrel.  His other suggestion was Luby's and I could not in good conscience let him hold and move a tray down a line.  Got blessed by the best waitress at CB and she got hot biscuits out to Roy.  He was famished after the long fasting day on Sunday.  He ordered coffee and Diet Coke to go along with his lunch.  Also a new thing, I have never, ever seen Roy eat five biscuits!   By the time we finished brunch cause I got breakfast, he was almost back to his old self.  We came home and he slept.  And what a neat God thing, when he was seriously considering riding his trek against orders, the rains came down.

Things are back to normal today and for this we are thankful.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Conversations of the Bird Sort

I don't know who enjoys the bird feeder more, Buddy or me.  I probably posses the morally correct reason, joy whereas the entertainment factor coupled with a capture and dinner factor for Buddy makes the moral compass point directly to me.  Today one particular dove has flown into the window about three times.  How do I know it is the same dove, I watched it.  The birds and their antics paint a society that isn't too different from their human counterparts.  Life and characters surround that feeder.  My favorite to watch these days is the baby now teenager mockingbird.  It is learning the intimidation mechanics that comes naturally to them but still get a tad ruffled and will go to the open beak posture.  Don't know if it is trying to look meaner or hoping one of the doves mistakes it for one of their own.  The feeder is home to bird versions of people.  There doesn't seem to be an end of bird bullies.  If they are eating in the flowerbed the majority of time is spent chasing off one or two birds yet behind the bully there's a whole lot of eating going on.  He or she should just know there is enough for all and quite chasing off other birds.  There are quite a few primping birds.  Their main hangout is the bird bath or on top of the trellis.  If I knew all the words to summer love I could be the background music for the love birds that visit.  Only thing, the female isn't as interested in summer love when dinner is being served.  Lots of male cooing going on...not many takers...this is what it sounds like when doves cry.  I know...but it had to be done cause the song is an ear worm this morning which is trying to be replaced by Summer Love.  Only it is just the ending of Summer Love that is going through my head.

The crows have a young un among them.  It looked like mama crow is trying to get Jr to eat on his own.  She came over with a few peanuts for him but then flew over to the fence.  Jr got a little frantic and finally left the safe confines of the birdbath and found mom again, only she moved out of reach again.  He's left the nest now he needs to move along seems to be the message from mama crow.  The mockingbird is still a little intimidated except not on the fence.  Any bird sitting on the fence when he is around gets a buzz flyover and he clears the deck.  When the crow with the mangled leg comes to eat, I am astounded at its ability to maneuver and hold its own with the other birds.  Like I wrote before there is a little microcosmic bird life personified taking place in the side yard.  

I met Roy at Lupe's this afternoon.  Worst service ever!  Roy even got up with our glasses trying to find our waiter.  I think Lupe's was a little short staffed today.  It could have been opposite day because after lunch he headed over to Target and I went to mail a package for Megan and Erin.  Now he has taken Buddy over for her mani/pedi because the cat whisperer is in at the Vet's office.  Makes a huge difference on the trim and Buddy's attitude.  Ah, they are back.  Buddy wasn't happy and hit the jackpot and bit the Dr, the whisperer, and the receptionist.  She's a rather docile cat except when it comes to trimming her nails.  Where did I go wrong?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Continuation Into Thursday

Just thinking that I have done something three weeks in a row that I haven't done in almost three years.  I have been to Nordstrom three weeks in a row.  The last two weeks I met Mimi and Laurie for lunch. Today, no lunch but on a mission.  The third floor home dept is always a fun place to spend time and the last two weeks I have looked at some red tin canisters but never bought them.   I had planned to go to Nordy this afternoon since Chris had changed her schedule to come today instead of tomorrow.  She is taking the citizenship test tomorrow and guess she has kind of worked herself up thus making her blood pressure sky rocket and called last night to let me know she isn't coming.  That's pretty much ok, oh I will have to do some minor cleaning but we've been rather not messy of late.  I was happy not to find stuff to do this afternoon.  Mornings are much easier to be occupied.    So, I headed into Nord with a Nord Note and when checking out, the canisters were half price, so I went back and got a second one.  Such a nice surprise, it paid to procrastinate.  Then I headed over to the Tanglewood Gift and Stationery store next to Le Peep but it is gone or has it moved?   When I am somewhat in the area, I try to get to Three Brother's Bakery and pick up a few gingerbread men.  Then a quick stop at Fresh Market and Barnes and Noble.  Not a bad morning at all.  The traffic gets to me now, when it never bothered me for 17 years when we lived in the area.

Last day of school tomorrow.  Dang, should have made one more Target run.  Facebook will have first and last days of school and I love to see those pictures of kids.  Even though school or no school in our home just thinking about tomorrow being the first day of summer vacation for kids feels like, even for us, relaxing days ahead.  Hot days but never the less, relaxing days.

The Oxford American magazine came this week and it is a great issue.  Probably because it is more literary this issue.  There is an article on Mary Lee Settle and I know all of you have heard of her before.  She was a southern author and I have collected her books.  Back in the day when it was more fun and challenging because the Internet wasn't at immediate command.  I went through lots of antique and used book store to get the Beulah Land Quintet first editions.  I believe there is an excerpt on her book Addie in the magazine which is non fiction about her grandmother's life in Kentucky.

I put out the money for Abel tonight so I won't have to do the outside pajama run in the morning when I hear the summer sound of lawn mowers.  We usually are the late Thursday afternoon or early Friday morning cut but you never know.

As it happens sometimes it is now Thursday morning.  Once again I got hooked on WWII on AHC, formally known as The Military Channel.  Roy bought me a D-Day magazine by Time last weekend.  I think he is pretty much over watching these shows with me.  I cannot help but think of the what if...if God hadn't But God Moved.  The amount of research they put into rockets, jets and DNA work on animals was beyond every other nation.  Thankfully the downfall of this horrible time leaders is the time tested, always going to take you down...a huge ego.  They began believing their own PR and with the victories scored thought they were geniuses and military brilliant.  The way the remaining leaders tried to broker their future with negotiations with the Allies is just plain and simple ego, when there was nothing to their fallen empire but deception, inhumanity and chaos.  I had never seen one program last night in how the Allies after the war put a plan into place to help German's see the truth and rehabilitate their thinking and the trial for war crimes cemented the truth that these men are criminals.

I need to quit blogging and get to cleaning.  We changed out the air filters last night which means there needs to be some vacuuming today.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Early Morning, Thankful I Wasn't the Bird That Got the Worm

It has been quite some time since I've been awake and out of bed to see the sun rise from the study.  Buddy wasn't awake and wandering throughout the night, thus I got better sleep.  Also, for the past week I have been fighting off something and haven't felt the best but made the turn for the better last night.

If you're looking for an interesting read this summer, Incognito might be the book for you.  I finished it yesterday afternoon.  It is the author's story of attending Harvard Divinity School in the 80's and how she became an ordained minister in the Methodist Church when she wasn't even considering that option when she applied and accepted.  Her determination to do this with scholarships and money from jobs she picked up is interesting and her relationship jungle, even more.  But the best part of the story is how she came to experience God and His Will in a way unique to the HDS experience.  She is a wordsmith and her writing style is enjoyable if not downright brilliant.  Several of her thoughts went into my quote journal.

OK, you know when you are getting snubbed by Siri that things are bad.  Several times in the past few weeks I have asked her for directions and her response is, "Sorry, somethings wrong, I can't help you now.  Try a little later."  Something was wrong for quite some time, so I began to ask her compassionate questions like are you OK?  Can I help in anyway?  Is someone hurting you? I don't know but it seemed as if she got a "tone" in her voice with me.  I Googled this to see if anyone else had experienced this phenomenon and by cracky, she is snubbing others too.  Good, I hoped it hadn't been a personal thing because I use Google maps more than her.

Funny, you can get so much done the earlier one gets started although I predict a nap will be in my future.  I have a package ready to mail and I am doing a spring cleaning kind of deal with blankets and throw rugs. Now I need to sit down and make a few appointments before I leave for Asheville later this summer.

In light of yesterday's post I saw this quote today and thought I would share it.

I think that is what film and art and music do; they can work as a map of sorts for your feelings.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Psalm 49:4-Musically Unraveling The Mysteries

This past week the birds, especially the mockingbirds, have been singing early in the mornings and at dusk.  I love hearing them and it is a wonderful melodious tune to awaken with the morning songs.  Sometimes even the cooing of the doves adds a nice percussion beat to the whole experience.  I think these songs are fitting with what I have been meditating upon and learning from.  

We know to be anxious for nothing but sometimes that doesn't translate into actions.  I'd like to think that my thoughts on some timing issues are just that...timing but hiding under the mask of timing, if I am honest, there is an anxiousness about it all.  Roy and I are just at the beginning of this, just talking about timing and I am trying very hard to stay in the present and not keep picturing down the road.  I know there are three places in transition, beginning, middle and end. The past few years I have learned the hard way to stay present in a moment.  Fanny Crosby said, "Live in the moment and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering."  Still I can't help sometimes but to think what if or how will this look.    In lawyer talk I guess we are doing our due diligence presently on questions, research and the big picture.  It is all kind of fun and scary at the same time.  But new to my way of looking at things and ponderings, I have found two novel ways of helping me sort through.  Music and journaling.  Yes, I know there is nothing new under the sun and I have kept a journal since the fourth grade but the new comes in the "how" of using these tools of music and writing.   And these new tools based on God's Word because I think if it isn't based on God's Word, you could get some pretty crazy ideas.  

Psalm 49: 4

I will submit and consent to a parable or proverb; to the music of a lyre I will unfold my riddle (my problem).

4 I will incline my ear to a proverb;
    I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.

4 I set plainspoken wisdom before you,
    my heart-seasoned understandings of life.
   I fine-tuned my ear to the sayings of the wise,
    I solve life’s riddle with the help of a harp.

4 I listen carefully to many proverbs
    and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.

I will tell in song accompanied by harps the answer to one of life’s most        perplexing problems:

I have used music to motivate me to exercise, do housework or get myself out of a bad mood, but I have not used music to help me solve the riddles or perplexing problems of life.  So, after seeing this verse several weeks ago I began doing some research into the how and experimenting with all different kinds of music, beneficial music to the soul.  To accompany the music, I used the journaling methods in the book Journaling by Adam L. Feldman that are so wise and helpful.  At first I didn't know what I was to do or what this looked like, but I jumped in enthusiastically wanting to see how God could take these two everyday, common things and turn the music and words into viable solutions and steps in an unfamiliar timing and process.  What I have discovered is sometimes the mystery is revealed in the actual practice but many times because I have given time and prayer to the process, the answers come at the most unique times.   Answers is not a good word, more like direction or understanding...yep, that's what I am looking for.  It's kind of like some of my most creative ideas come when I am brushing my teeth.  

Not being trained in anything musical except for the appreciation of it I can't help but think how much more would be gleaned from this practice if I had any type of musical knowledge but maybe the sincere wonder of it all is better than training in my case.  Short attention span....  Interesting how the rest of the Psalm plays out because the answer to his question in verse 5 is answered as the rest of the Psalm reveals one of life's difficult questions, why do the wicked prosper?  Or why is someone else picked over me when it clearly comes down to personalities.  The whole why, why, why, why....  If Psalm 49 was written by me my questions would be where and when and why, but not the a,e,i,o,u and sometimes, not that kind of y...just the why.  

I haven't properly put this into perspective here on the ol' Monablog, but I encourage you to get the book and use music, beneficial music, that speaks to your spirit and heart and see where this road of thought might take you.  Highway to Hell might not be the appropriate choice.  See how God opens up your mysteries.  He is much better at solving and helping us solve than Nancy Drew.