November 10, 2007

Flagrant Disregard

This morning I decided to look up the lyrics to the song PBS uses in their spot. I googled the first few words and PBS together and voila! I was handily offered the opportunity to click on a link for a blog. You can now visit that blog as well. Just click the link for Flagrant Disregard here or over there ----> under "Blogs I Visit." This guy has very short, sweet, funny blogs about his kids and his daily life. I read the one about the song, and then started at the beginning. He started in March 2003. I don't regret a word.

Today I recommend that you take ten minutes and visit Flagrant Disregard.

The song, by the way, is this:
    Song: Only You
    Album: Uncommon Denominators
    Artist: New Rythm and Blues Quartet (NRBQ)
    Released: 1986

And, bonus, it’s on iTunes AND Wal-Mart. Just search for NRBQ.

Only You

Only you, no one else anymore
Only you
‘Cause I know you will remember us all
Because you have never been pretending
Only you

Only you know we’ve taken so long
Only you
And only you can create a new song
Only you, my only inspiration
Only you

I’ll always be as I am
And I’ll always give a helping hand
to who needs it
I’ll always do what I can

I’ll always be as I am
And I’ll always give a helping hand
to who needs it
I’ll always do what I can

Only you look for good in us all
Only you
Because of you life is easier now
And to you my love is never ending
Only you

Only you

October 30, 2007

A Camelot Wedding, Some Perspective

A couple of weekends ago, my older sister got re-married. Her first wedding was pretty and mostly traditional. Most of her family (while happy for her) didn't really understand why THIS wedding had to be elaborate to the point of being spectacular. She's done it once, he's done it once, why do we all have to do it again? I'm about as romantic as a wet leaf, so I was definitely wondering why. I wasn't asking why, because I made up my mind early on that I would not do or say anything to steal even an ounce of her enthusiasm and joy. Still, I was wondering.

So, Friday evening those of us involved in the wedding gathered on the field for rehearsal. The dancers stumbled through their routine, the horses (yes, horses) were not happy with all of the people and weren't on their best behavior, some people couldn't make it that early, and so on. We made it through one very rough run-through when one of the adults came to the field and announced that all must stop. Somehow, my three-year-old niece had vanished into thin air. One second she was playing on the floor with my dog under watchful eyes; the next second she was gone. No one could say how one toddler could disappear so thoroughly, but we went into full-scale search mode. A lost little girl in the Cherokee National Forest with a handy lake on the property is bad news. We searched cars, called out search-and-rescue, sent people to watch the lake and search the woods, and sent others in cars even though in eight minutes one child could NOT have gotten far. Then, someone found her. The poor baby had an "accident" and was hiding in her room in embarrassment compounded (likely) by 30+ people yelling her name. We looked in her room, but she was hidden well. Search-and-rescue got called off before they had time to mobilize. We shouted the good news in a chain throughout the property. We rang the big bell that usually calls campers to meals or worship. We did not finish the rehearsal. Even to my older sister, it just wasn't that important. The wedding would go as it went, but until then, it was out of the spotlight. We had dinner instead, and the relief in the air was palpable. During all the stress of the rest of the preparations - rotten strawberries, lost bobby pins, a broken car - we all had a clear reminder to relax and enjoy the day. We hadn't lost one little girl, nothing else was as big a deal is it might have otherwise seemed.

The wedding was gorgeous. The dancers weren't perfect, but it was prettily done. The horses weren't thrilled, but they didn't freak out and dump their happy riders into the lake. The whole scene was like a fairytale or a movie. The spotlight was back on the celebration. It was a good day.

I'm not wondering why anymore, either. Somewhere in the chaos, I realized that even though they'd both been through the ceremony (not like this!) before, this time was about starting anew. It was about launching happily ever after properly (properly for them). It wasn't about experiencing the wedding ceremony, it was about emphasizing the absolute importance of THIS wedding ceremony to them and their children.

Take ten minutes to appreciate what's precious and important. It'll be far less exhausting than taking a whole weekend of working and searching. ;)

October 4, 2007

Raining in Autumn

This morning I took my son grocery shopping. It was almost raining when we got out of the van. I say almost because it was just this cool, gentle mist with a heavier droplet every now and then. It seems to me that rain doesn't feel quite like this in any other season. As I've mentioned before, this is my favorite time of year.
Apple cider, crunchy leaves, warm colors, and everything else that attends fall just makes me happier. Today I realized I could add rain to the list. Winter rain is misery, spring rain is refreshing as it washes winter away, summer rain is a relief (at least here in Georgia), but autumn rain is peace. Something about standing outside when the air has a nip to it not yet a reminder of winter's biting cold, lifting my face into the mist and letting that occasional droplet slide down my cheeks like a tear or rest on my lips like a kiss from heaven brings me indescribable peace. I hope there's something in your life that brings you the same gentle fulfillment.
Have a beautiful autumn.

September 28, 2007

thinking positive thoughts

It's been more than a month, but I never claimed to be a steady blogger. I hope things are going smoothly for you as school starts, summer ends, and the weather (finally!) cools off a bit. This is my favorite time of year. Having fall as a favorite season labels me as "melancholy" according to something in humanities class ten(!) years ago. It's likely true. I do see some sadness in fall. Leaves are dying, wildlife is preparing for a long winter sleep, and the weather is often grim, at best. However, I see it differently. Fall is overflowing with fabulous colors, the weather isn't abusively hot anymore, a several-months'-long nap sounds like a lovely thing to me (lucky bears and other creatures), and I personally find a cool autumn mist soothing rather than dreary. Melancholy or not, this is still my favorite season.
I'm also currently involved in a Bible study with a small group of women at church. We're reading (not just our Bibles) Joyce Meter's "Battlefield of the Mind." We're eleven chapters in, and wow! This has been such an awakening experience for me. I've always been something of a skeptic and a bit of a pessimist. Starting this blog was one effort at making myself think clearly and without negativity. Now I'm all wrapped up in this book, and I'm seeing through Joyce's words and God's that positive thought is more powerful than I came close to guessing. In case you were wondering, I recommend the book. How could I have known when I started this random and sporadic blog that I was laying groundwork for this Bible study? I couldn't have, and that makes it even sweeter to me. It is one more evidence that I am being gently guided by a loving God.
I'm going to wrap this up. I have a lot going on in my head that I could share, and more still that I couldn't. I did promise short entries, though. So my suggestion for you, today, is this: Take ten minutes to watch the leaves tumble to the ground. As you drive to work or the store or wherever, keep an eye out for the random, amazing tree that is already turned. You might find living gold, or a tree so red it looks like it is on fire. Breathe deep and enjoy that particular fall flavor in the air. Enjoy the earth changing. Have a blessed day.

August 9, 2007

Clifford the Big Red Dog

My son is a huge PBS fan. He loves Curious George, Dragon Tales, Arthur, Sesame Street, and Clifford. It amazes me, because some of these guys were my friends growing up, too. None so much as Clifford, though. I don't remember watching Clifford on TV. This doesn't mean anything. I don't remember preschool, either, but my mom has pictures. I remember Clifford books. Thankfully, my son likes those, too.
Here's why I like Clifford now (aside from the fact that he's still just an awesome dog). Clifford and his friends both human and canine are relevant. By that I mean that the issues they face are issues that kids of every generation face. Sharing, not sharing, lying, telling the truth, doing the right thing, being loyal to friends (or not). Clifford's show also addresses making mistakes and dealing with natural consequences- and staying friends in spite of whatever the mistake was. The kids and dogs aren't perfect and they aren't always kind, but they always work it out by the end of the show. A handicapped girl is encouraged, a toy is returned to its rightful owner, and the show ends with Emily Elizabeth reading a story to Clifford.
There's also Clifford's Big Idea- a short blurb expressing one good thing each day, emphasizing that doing these things make you (and the people around you) feel good. Clifford ideas are simple: Be fair. Share. Be kind. Be helpful. Tell the truth even when it's hard. There's more, but I think you get the idea.
My big idea for today is to take a leaf out of Clifford's book. See if the Big Red Dog is barking up the right tree. If you have kids, find Clifford at your local library or bookstore and read together. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

July 26, 2007

Here you see a picture of the lake at Smoky Mountain Christian Camp in Coker Creek, TN. Why? Well, because it's beautiful, and we all need beauty in our lives. I took this right around 7am the last time I was at home. Yes, my family lives there. Lucky, huh?

At 7am, walking my dog in the cool mountain air, I can almost grasp the concept of a "peace that passes understanding." There's something about the lake, and the mist, and the sun, and laughing at my city-dwelling dog because he has to smell everything that soothes my soul. Some little distance behind where I stood to take the picture, my sister is getting married in a few months. In a soccer field. On horseback. Why? Because this is her refuge, and even the soccer field is pretty. Camp is where she met her husband-to-be, and it is where they want to cement their joy in each other with lifelong promises. For me, that's a lot like walking by the lake as the sun comes up. Seeing my sister this happy soothes my soul.

So my thought for today is this: Walk somewhere beautiful at your favorite time of day. Delight in the joy of someone you love. Get out of your daily grind, and laugh at the newness of being somewhere different. Go somewhere you love to be and watch the sun rise or set. Think about what soothes your soul, and do it. Even if you only do it for ten minutes. Even if you can only go as far as your backyard. Appreciate something beautiful.

July 8, 2007

Why Ten Minutes

You might be asking, "Why Ten Minutes?" Two main reasons, and a lot of little ones. I'll share the main two as a sort of introduction.

Reason one: here in Georgia (and in other places, too) we say, "If you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes; it'll change." Frequently, it does. A sunny sky clouds over and a storm rolls in like a freight train. A cats-and-dogs, high wind, high volume storm slips away and leaves behind a rainbow and dazzling puddle prisms. Life's a lot like that, too, in my experience. If you don't like the way things are going, and you can't alter them by any act of your own, wait a while. Hang in there. Hold on tight to your umbrella, pull your poncho close, and in a little bit, the sky will clear.

Reason two: a wise woman told one of my sisters once that a lot of daily stress can be dealt with by taking a ten minute vacation. Your children and the rest of the world can't do much harm in ten minutes (well, maybe hers couldn't). Go to your room or some other quiet, private place. Close the door and spend ten minutes reading a book or imagining a warm sunny day on the beach, or creating in your mind the exhilaration of reaching the summit of the mountain and looking down to see more of the world than you thought possible. Pray. Nap. Empty your mind and just exist. Take ten minutes. Refresh your soul. The rest of your life will wait for ten minutes.

My posts here will rarely be very long or time-consuming (i won't say never, because that would be inviting reasons to write catastrophically long posts). In fact, I'll try to keep it to ten minutes' worth of material or less. I'll also try to keep it light. I'd like to give you, my reader, ten minutes to be amused and encouraged. You have your own issues; why would you want to read about mine? I hope you'll come back to see me again. Until then, give yourself a break- take ten minutes.