Sunday, August 31, 2008

Red Shoe

I remember when Mary moved into Christian Towers. Mary was a wonderful woman who had a contagious joy about her. I wondered how she would live independently as she was blind and a single leg amputee. She got around in her wheelchair very well, I learned and was far more independent than a lot of "independent" people I knew.

In Mary's life she had been married to four Baptist ministers and all four had died. She had a strong faith in the Lord and loved to tell others of his goodness.

I'll never forget a conversation I had with Mary one day. She was telling me how upset her son had made her. He had questioned if she was independent enough to live at the Towers. She told him in no uncertain terms that she was quite independent and would even prove it to him. She said she'd get her red shoe on and her red dress on and go out and catch another minister!


In the presence of sassiness,

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Time with my Sweetie

Vann took me to Dallas (Frisco) for my birthday. This was the big _-O! We had such a great time. We stayed at the nicest Hampton I've ever been in (and we've been in a lot of them). We ate at La Hacienda Ranch last night. I wanted him to experience that. Two or three years ago Donna and Judy and I went there and the salsa was so great! We commented that we wanted to take it home with us and drink it for our breakfast juice the next morning. It was a little spicier than I remember. (Or maybe I just can't take the heat anymore since I'm _-O. We ate at a great little BBQ place today.

We got to shop at TJ Maxx, one of my favorite stores and Vann shopped at the mall. I got some Michael Kors black flats that reminded me of my most favorite shoes that I almost had in 4th grade. They were black patent flats with the t-straps. I remember I got the shoes home (in 4th grade and tried them on and one of the straps was broken! We drove back to the mall that night to exchange them...and it was a long way. They didn't have my size. sigh. Guess it's kind of weird to still kind of be grieving some shoes I almost had almost _-O years ago.

But my real birthday gift, other than this precious trip, was that I got some of the most comfortable Naot shoes at the Walking Store in the mall. A couple of my friends have them and say they love them. I do, too. I think I'll sleep in them tonight. :)

Thank you, Vann, for a wonderful trip. You're even more fun to be with now that we are over _-O!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008


My friend, Cheryl's daddy died today. Her daddy. Their family learned about 4 or 5 weeks ago that he cancer. He went down very quickly. I think she was relieved he was finally going to get to go to heaven and not have to suffer. She's grieving, naturally, but is taking great hope in the fact that he's meeting Jesus and seeing his parents and his brother.

I remember when my daddy died 4 1/2 years ago. My "diddy". It was very sudden, like blink your eyes and he was gone, sudden. We had no real warning. Of course my daddy went to the doctor whether he needed to or not every 20 years.

I remember people would ask me how old my daddy was when he died (83 years) and say stupid stuff like, "well at least he had a good long life." Don't say that. After a while, I was saying to myself, "well, at least he had a good long life." I was sharing with someone that my dad had passed away the month before and actually said to them, "well, at least he had a good long life." And they said...get this..."Yes, but he was your daddy." Exactly. It was at that point that I was able to cry uncontrollably and let God have my feelings.

When Vann and I were walking tonight we got to talking about my mom (who is in a nursing home) and his mom (who died from cancer at 49 years of age). Neither of those seem just. My mom is now being fed pureed food. ??????

Mom never wanted to live like this. At the same time to not feed her would be starving her. Such huge ethical issues. Mom used to tell me, "If I ever end up in a nursing home, please just make sure my hair is done." We tried, Mom, but you got to the point in your dementia that you threw the curlers out of your hair.

I know God is in control, but this isn't tidy and I don't like it. There. I've said it. I don't like it. That's o.k. God still loves me. I still love him. I don't have to like everything or understand anything at all.

Tonight I can just "be" with these thoughts and hand them over to my Father. Daddy God, I was just wondering... Can I climb in your lap?


Monday, August 25, 2008

Always remember...YOU ARE UNIQUE...

just like everyone else.

One of a kind,

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pride Comes Before a Fall...Boy, Does It Ever!

My sophomore year in college seemed to be highlighted by a lot of giggling with my friends about others tripping or falling. (I'm not a very noble person. Hopefully I've grown a bit. : } ) In fact, if a fall produced a little bit of blood, that was even funnier. Like I said, not too noble...

We had had a week or torrential rainfall. Our college campus was/is lovely. The University of Montevallo opened it's doors in October 1896 with beautiful cobblestone sidewalks and streets through out. Lovely, right? Yes... except when it rains.

Do you know what happens to lovely, historic (82 year old) cobblestone after say, 82 years? It settles and makes lovely, and I do mean lovely...and deep puddles when it rains.

Our fine university felt it was time to do some upgrading around our campus. They had actually torn up some of our cobblestone sidewalks and were replacing them with smooth, concrete sidewalks.

Well, we finally got a break in the rain action. The next day was gorgeous and the birds seemed to be singing an even lovelier song than usual. The day after the rain, I was walking back to the dorm from the Jeter History building. I got behind a girl I didn't care for very much. I don't remember her name or a lot of what she looks like, but she reminds me of the girl friend of Toni Collette in the movie, In Her Shoes. Toni's friend's name was Amy in the movie. I still fast forward through the scenes with Amy in them as she reminds me of this girl. I'll call the girl I was walking behind Amy.

Anyway..... the reason I didn't care for Amy very much was because she was always whispering or talking about somebody and putting them down. I thought, "how rude!" (Oh, the irony!) As we were walking back to the dorm, I was behind Amy and she was, as usual, gossiping about yet some other poor soul. I was inwardly (in my mind) rolling my eyes at her. Then I saw something Amy didn't see. She was headed straight to the area that was roped off and f i l l e d with mud and water! This was where they were installing a new sidewalk. It was like a long, deep trough of mud and water. As she was walking and gossiping and yickety yacking, she literally walked straight into that long, stretch of water and mud and fell down face first!!!

She hopped up with her eyes and mouth wide, completely and thoroughly appalled at what had happened to her. I couldn't believe my luck! I had actually just seen the best fall in the history of falls. I was laughing so hard! (On the inside of course!) Not really. By the time I got back to the dorm, I couldn't contain myself and gathered my friends around me as I embellished the story. They cackled with delight with me and I felt like I had won. Won, you say? Yep. I'd told the best story of all about falling. Mature, right?

Well, like I said, and Proverbs said long before me, pride comes before the fall.

That very afternoon I had a study session in the Jeter History building before finals. It was World History and I cannot begin to tell you how bored I was. I thought I'd just "sneak" out of the classroom and down 3 flights of wooden stairs in a building built in 1896 wearing - - Dr. Scholl's original sandals! Did I mention that I wasn't a brilliant sort at 19 years of age?

Do you know what happens when you try to tiptoe down 82 year old wooden steps in Dr. Scholl's original sandals? They turn into SKIS!

Honest to goodness. I skied down the first 20 steps with a thunderous PBump PBump PBump PBump 20 times!!! I ran to pick up my sandals because on step 20 my left Dr. Scholl's original sandal had gone east and my right Dr. Scholl's original sandal had gone west.

By this time, the study session and the professor had come running out of the classroom to see what could be the matter. But I was nowhere to be found, no sir! I was outside the Jeter History building bruised and bleeding. (When you fall, you get extra "points" when you bleed...)

Seems like after that seeing others fall didn't have the same effect on me. Oh, except for the time I fell in Target! Another time.

Trying to become more noble,

Refresh - Refreshing!

This morning our second assembly at church took on a different look. This assembly is geared to those ages 18 - 35 and WOW! I only have one "complaint." It didn't last long enough...and I had been at church since 7:15 this morning!

Sharing the Lord's supper face to face with others, the music and time of lifting up God in all his glory and the stories told were just, well, refreshing, renewing, rejuvenating and ...right.

The assembly seemed to speak to so many this morning. Why? Because Jesus was being lifted up and God was being glorified. I'm not saying that that doesn't happen at other times. Of course it does. But sometimes we just get so caught up in "the way we do church" that we don't (rather I don't) worship the living, breathing God. I "do" church, but sometimes my heart isn't there.

I'm thankful for the ones who participated in the planning and most importantly, the praying, for Refresh. I'm thankful to our shepherds who saw the benefit in offering worship in a way that would speak to those who need to be spoken to differently. Check out Conexus. Vann has a post coming up that says it quite eloquently.

We have to let the message of God speak...not traditions. Refresh can become a tradition, too. The message of God is fresh. It's all about Jesus. Praise be to GOD!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thank You!

Thank you, Suzanne for giving me the Arte y Pico blog award. She gave this to me on August 11th and I'm just kind of slow about following directions. Still new to this blogging venture. :) Suzanne's blog, Lilly of the Valley is honest. I love hearing the way she is becoming more God's woman all the time. Thank you, new friend.

Now it's my turn to give this award to 5 inspiring bloggers who I enjoy.

1. Conexus has inspiring and challenging thoughts on what it means to be God's church. Also some fun serendipity.
2. Anne writes Everything Under the Son. Honesty, humor, real. Thanks, Annie Lou.
3. Tammy writes In the Grip of Grace. Real and so powerful.
4. Not So Deep Thoughts by Denise is fun! Always God honoring, too. Thanks, Denise. Keep writing! :)
5. The Cleft of the Rock always has something thought inducing.

Congratulations! Check them out for great reading. The rules for this award are:

* You must pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, based upon creativity, design, interesting material, and that also contribute to the blogger community.

* Each award must have the name of the author with a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

* Award-winners must show the award and put the name and link to the blog that awarded it.

* Award-winners and the one who has given the prize must show the link to the Arte y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

* These rules must be included in your post.

Enjoy giving out this award!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Meet My New Grandson!

This is Oliver Ferdinand Conwell. Yes, of course we name our cars! Don't you? My car's name is Dora (the Explorer), Vann's car is Silver Streak. Serge didn't have a name for his car and couldn't believe we did. We decided to name his car Serge, Jr. He liked that. Caroline's car is Jesus (pronounce Hay-Soos - the hispanic pronunciation.) Weird? How many of you can say, to your CAR, "Thank you, Jesus for getting me here?" :)

Anyway, back to my beautiful grandson. Katie Lea (our oldest) has been saving for a new to her car...not just any car, but a Doodle Bug. She found one she liked a lot (thank you to the Hanner's) but it wasn't in the color she wanted. But the price was right. She took it to get a paint job and Oliver is good as new.

He's so handsome, isn't he? He's a pale mint green. Just delicious.

Funny. Cheryl, my friend at work, got a new Doodle Bug about two weeks ago and now Katie Lea got one. I want one! (Sorry, Dora. You have been good to me and have many miles left to go.)

Gleeful grandmama,

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What a Perfectly Ordinary Day

As I was driving home tonight I thought to myself, "What a perfectly ordinary day!" It seems the days we tend to remember are the days with all the razz a ma tazz.

Today didn't have any razz and not a lot of tazz...and that was very good.

I remember seeing a video one time called "The Estate Sale." It struck a real chord with me since I love going to garage sales and estate sales.

The premise of the video was this old woman had died (o.k. you probably figured that one out) and the estate sale was taking place. People were perusing all the things that had been hers.

A couple of women at the estate sale were looking at the woman's items and wondered aloud what she was like, what made her happy or sad. The video then flashed back to the old woman who had died and her family as she was raising her children and enjoying being a homemaker in many years gone by.

As the video went on, the woman who had died became older. The children were grown and she was all alone. She was saying to herself that she wished for just one more "perfectly ordinary day."

That poignant video has stayed with me for a long time. I want to live each day. Really live. I want to look people in the eye and be in the moment. I want to listen. Really listen to what others are saying, not only with their words, but with their heart. I want to love others every day. Really love. Not just my family and those I'm close to but all I come into contact with.

If I get the opportunity to grow old, I don't want to have any regrets. I want to be thankful for what was...and is.. and accept it all as a part of God's plan.

What a perfectly ordinary day.

Thank you, Father,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rain, Rain, Stay Awhile...

When we were kids we'd sing that song,

Rain, Rain, Go Away.
Come again another day.

I have never minded the rain. In fact, I rather like it! We've needed it so badly in west Texas lately, it's been like nuggets of gold dropping from the sky. We've got a good rain going right now.

This morning as I was driving to work, there was just the right mix of rain, clouds heavy with more rain and sunshine. I know there were rainbows somewhere. Rainbows are just the epitome of serendipity!

As a little girl I liked the school days when it rained. We'd have to stay inside and play inside games like 7-Up (don't remember how it went, but it had something to do with the class putting their heads on the table and someone going around and tapping you, I think.) I remember those inside games as being a little more personal and fun than the outside times...for me anyway.

I love curling up with a good book (or computer) when it is raining outside. Truth be told, I especially enjoy taking nice long naps on rainy days. I've enjoyed watching our "turtle boys" tonight. They seem to be more active in the rain.

Don't you especially love to hear the slow rumble of thunder when you are warm and safe inside? Tonight it is slowly raining and soaking the ground. Everything will be so pretty and bright green in the morning.

I don't spend a lot of time cooking or baking much anymore. Cheryl is the cook for our B & B. But tonight I've got a batch of pecan pie muffins in the oven right now. (Cheryl's recipe) They smell so good. The rain is pitter pattering down and I just now heard the low rumble of thunder!!.

Ahhh. It's a good night. Very good indeed.

(Making up words is fun!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

"My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance."


Yearbook Yourself

I found this cool website when reading The Ballinger Family blog. It's called Yearbook Yourself. Check out what I did with some of my photos. It was pretty fun!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reluctant Texan

That's me at 3 years old. Pretty cute with those cowgirl boots, huh? The tights make it extra special. :-)

God is amazing, isn't he?

I'm hesitant to tell this story because we always tend to present stories in neat, tidy, pretty packages without a lot of hardship, anguish or confusion present. Well, my story isn't quite so tidy, but I'm thankful for it nonetheless. Sometimes our hard to tell stories are the very ones that God uses. That's my prayer.

Several years ago we were praying for God's leading and one of the shepherds at our current church called and left a message for my husband to contact him about talking to them about a ministry position they had. I heard Abilene, TX on the voice mail and thought, "No, that is just too far away; too hot; too flat; too brown; too too." For a millisecond I considered erasing the message and not even telling my husband. You see I'd spent my entire life in beautiful Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA. But I didn't erase the message. I wouldn't. After all, we'd been praying for God's leading, right? Right.

That night I had a dream that I was shaking my finger at God and telling him I couldn't move to Abilene as it was so flat, brown, hot and they didn't have all the things I considered beautiful like big tall trees and flowers. In the still quiet way that God speaks to me he let me know that "there was beauty all around in Abilene, I'd just have to open my eyes and heart to it."

I woke up from that dream and knew we'd be moving to Abilene. We explored several ministry positions in Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas and Abilene and sure enough God lead us to Abilene. God was sure right though. There IS beauty all around!

While I still can't quite get the hang of gardening in Abilene (as is evidenced by my dead flowers) I'm amazed at the things that have opened up for us while living here.

We get to enjoy walks in our neighborhood and around McMurry's track - - Atlanta was mostly too hilly and there was always the traffic!

I was able to open a neat little bed and breakfast, Journey's Inn (a long time dream of mine) with a dear friend. We meet the most wonderful people.

I work at the prettiest place in Abilene - - really! Wesley Court is gorgeous! I've learned so much about working in a continuing care retirement community. I had only worked in the independent living part of retirement living before moving here and am now exposed to the assisted living and nursing care aspects of it as well.

A dream of ours had always been to live in an old house. Our house was built in 1926 and has all the features we had always quietly wished for! Our oldest daughter begged me to find a house that was at least two stories and had trees - - a bigger order for Abilene. But our house has 3 stories and trees and even a pond, turtles and fish! That is sooo God! That was nothing we deserved or even asked for. I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy these things. That's pure and simple God, not me!

Katie Lea went to ACU and graduated and now is living at home to save some money and Caroline is "away" at college but close to us.

We never would have met Serge had we stayed in Atlanta. We'd have never had him as our son!

Our church is wonderful. We work with the young couples and they are such a blessing. Some of my dearest friends are at our church.

I love my seven minute commute to work! It was an hour in Atlanta and an hour and a half to come home. I love reading good books now instead of just listening to them on tape.

Abilene is such a blessing. It is our prayer that God will use us in this city for his glory, his purpose and his vision. I'm so sorry I was a reluctant Texan. I just want to be your child. My citizenship is in heaven. Yes, Father.

Listening for you,

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Love a Good Quote

A good quote is like a good painting to me. The less words used to get across the essence of the meaning is genius.

I once had an art teacher who said the most beautiful watercolor paintings were those that didn't use many strokes. I agree.

What are some of your favorite quotes? Favorite scriptures? I'd LOVE to know. I'll be sharing some of mine with you along the way...

Word tinkering...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Olympics Now, Then and the Future

When we lived in Atlanta, I remember the big deal it was when it was announced that the Olympics would be there in 1996. It seemed like it would be such a long time away but it was only 6 short years.

The New York Times reported:

Atlanta Selected Over Athens for 1996 Olympics

Published: September 19, 1990

LEAD: With a powerful display of personal lobbying and financial clout, Atlanta today won the right to hold the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, turning back a strong sentimental appeal by Athens to become the site for the 100th anniversary of the first modern Olympic Games.

It was an exciting time. Caroline was just 2 years old and Katie Lea was 6 years old when the announcement came. We knew by the time the Olympics came it would be a great age for them to remember.

Several of our friends left town and rented their houses out to people for $3-4000 for a week during the Olympics. I'm still wondering why we didn't consider that idea!

As a family we had discussed how we would handle the grid-lock traffic; how we'd get to work, etc. We decided if it got too bad we'd just stay at Christian Towers, the retirement community where I worked.

The day the torch came through Decatur, the community where the Towers was, some of the staff went to downtown Decatur to watch this momentous occasion. We walked the mile or so to be a part of the fun. The excitement was tangible as we waited.

I'll never forget a young man who was on top of the Starbucks building there dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume. (I don't know.) We kept an eye on him because he had the best view of the upcoming torch bearer.

The traffic ended up being lighter than usual during the Olympics. Since we had told the girls we'd likely spend some nights at Christian Towers, we did one our sleeping bags...on the hard floor...did I mention it was a HARD floor?

Ah well. That's what memories are made of.

Now with the Olympics in Beijing I'm reminiscing about that time, when Mark Spitz won 7 golds, when Olga Korbut and Mary Lou Retton charmed the world with their million dollar smiles and when Nadia Comanici won the hearts of the world.

I'm looking ahead to the Olympics in 2012. Serge, our adopted son from Rwanda is hoping to run for his country. In 2012, I'll be pulling for our Serge. :)

Running the race,
(the non-Olympic variety)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm Grateful For...

Our Executive Director at Wesley Court, Cheryl, has given her 30 days notice. Those of you who know me and connect the dots, this is also my business partner with our B & B, Journey's Inn and my dear friend.

I wrote Journey to Joy yesterday more for me than for anyone else. Sorry, but it's true. Ever since I learned that Cheryl was resigning, I've just been a little blue. Cheryl and I talk all day, most days, and we laugh a lot at work. The uncertainty of the next step looms. Who will replace her position? What will they be like? Will they like to laugh?

Of course, Cheryl and I will still see each other a lot, I sure hope, but it will change. I am absolutely and positively happy for her. This resignation from this job had to happen. Her husband's businesses need her attention, her kiddos need her and she needs to travel to Louisiana a lot to see her parents. I'm just sad for me right now. We have the best team of managers at Wesley Court and to be honest, we are all grieving a bit right now. She's been our hub at work.

God is reminding me that he is really the hub. Jesus, take the wheel...

So, since I feel a bit sad, it's time to take my medicine. Gratitude countdown.

I'm grateful for...
~My God who loves me all the time, no matter what
~My dear, understanding husband
~Our precious daughters
~Our precious adopted son
~Cheryl's friendship
~Other friends I cherish at work
~Our house
~Our turtles and fish
~Journey's Inn and our guests
~The rain we've had lately
~Ability to write
~Good memories
~Ability to walk at night with my sweetie
~The the air conditioner is supposed to be fixed at Journey's Inn before our guests arrive on Thursday!

Feeling better already. I'm out to hunt for more things to be thankful for. They are out there. I just need to put on my gratitude eyes. :)

Cleaning the lenses on my glasses,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Journey to Joy

Many years ago when my oldest daughter was a baby, I'd pray (no, beg) with God to give me joy. Katie Lea was a strong willed child and as a baby had colic. I was blessed to be able to stay at home with her, but many days, the joy just wasn't there.

When Katie Lea was about 2 or 3 years old, I was once again asking God to give me joy with my strong willed child. He allowed me to see a great article at just that time that changed my perspective on so many things.

In this article, a man wrote about his battle with cancer. He said that he had always been a joyful individual, but since his diagnosis of cancer, joy had eluded him. One day, a dear friend suggested that he give thanks. The man said, "Are you mad? I've got cancer, or have you forgotten that?!" His friend quietly said that he remembered it quite well, but that maybe, just maybe if he offered thanks for the things he WAS thankful for, then maybe joy would come.

Six months went by and the man began giving thanks for his wife, his children, that he had been able to keep his job. He bumped into his friend later and the friend noticed the man was overcome with joy. He told his friend that he began giving thanks for the things he was thankful for and before he knew it, he was even thankful for the cancer.

This article had a profound impact on me. I began thanking God for Katie Lea's health, for my husband, for our home, for friends, for cool breezes, for the beautiful flowers, for the smell of baking bread, you name it. I'm guessing you know what happened. I started thanking God for Katie Lea and her unique personality. I began thanking him for the beautiful creation he had placed in our lives. Before I knew it I was really joyful! I was really enjoying life! I was really enjoying our Katie Lea...our Kitty.

I'd love to sit here and tell you that every day is joyful. While certainly most days are, I sometimes get off track and don't count my blessings. But, when I stop to count them, joy returns.

For me, Gratitude = Joy. Pure and simple.

Counting my blessings,
(and you are among them)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sharon's 60th Birthday

My friend, Sharon is 60 today! We worked at sister facilities in Atlanta as Administrators of two senior retirement communities. Sharon is still at her facility there.

It seems only last year Sharon and I were celebrating our birthday months where she was turning 50 and I was turning 40. But, lo, it was 10 years ago! Where did the time go? I sure don't know.

This photo was taken about 10 years ago. If you are reading this, Happy Birthday, dear Sharon! I miss you.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

She Gets Her Nails Done Where I Do!

Caroline showed this to me. Katie Lea and I howled! Enjoy. Nail Salon with Anjelah Johnson.

Can't wait until we have Bunco! Denise will have it down by then!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Caroline's Home!!!!

I've missed our Care so much this summer. Vann went out to get her from Atlanta (she had stopped there to visit some friends) and they took a two day trip to get home. I think it was a way to have a daddy/daughter trip. So thankful they did that, really.

I just can't get enough hugging in. When we joined hands to pray over dinner Care commented that she didn't think I'd ever held her hand that tight. She may be right!

I told her to not EVER do that (go away for 3 months) again, but of course, I hope she will. Why? She grew so much this summer. God showed her amazing things and I can't wait to hear about every single thing.

God is so faithful and is raising up Care in his love and his ways. When others tell us we've done a good job with our children, Vann and I truly scratch our heads...not in false modesty, but in all truth. You see, we know how human we are and how MANY mistakes we made. I'm just thankful that God is our children's daddy and is covering them with his love and grace.

Thank you, Father, for bringing our Care and Vann back safely to us today. What a beautiful gift.

Oh, and tomorrow morning at 6:30, it's garage sale-ing time! Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!!

Still grinning,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Inbox culture

I've read a couple of books lately by Seth Godin. He's a real revolutionary writer and thinker. Here's something he had on his blog. Points to ponder.

Seth says...

"When you're done with your email queue, are you done?

Do you spend your day responding and reacting to incoming all day... until the list is empty? ... and then you're done.

I'm noticing that it's easier than ever to have that sort of day. Online tools are arranging interactions in a line, allowing you to feel satisfied with a constant stream of incoming alerts and pings.

Years ago, I got my mail (the old fashioned kind) once a day. It took twenty minutes to process and I was forced to spend the rest of the day initiating, reaching out, inventing and designing. Today, it's easy to spend the whole day hitting 'reply'.

Carving out time to initiate is more important than ever."

I (Susan) kind of like checking my inbox. There's something magical about seeing a new message (or a new comment on a blog). It's kind of like a gift. But at work, it's an endless list of things to do.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mean as Spit!

At the Towers we had a little (literally - she was about 4'7" tall) lady who lived with us. She was so cute, but man, she was mean as spit!! I'll call her Mattie.

This little character reminds me of her.

I remember one time she had come in my office and was about to leave. She asked me to lean over to her (like she wanted to tell me a secret.) Well, silly me, did as she asked. You're never going to believe what Mattie did! She nibbled my ear, yes sir! Honest to goodness. When I drew back I asked her what she did that for. She said it just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Did I mention I dealt with a lot of mentally ill folks? (Like you hadn't already figured that out.)

I remember another time we were getting new carpet on the first floor. Notices and reminders had gone to all the residents that they wouldn't be able to use that area for several hours. This particular hallway was on the way to the laundry room so they understood they couldn't use the laundry room for those hours either.

Well, Mattie came downstairs during that appointed time with her laundry and all of all her "little clothes" and started to step over the big roll of new carpet and into the gloppy, gooey glue when I called out to her, "Mattie, DON'T! There's glue! You can't use the laundry room now!"

Mattie looked at me and harumphed and stepped over the roll of carpet...sliding on the glue and fell down (I kid you not) FACE FIRST! I wanted so badly to guffaw at her. She pulled her little 4'7" frame up and was covered from head to toe with brown sticky glue.

But, you know what I was thinking. Serves you right... :)

Sometimes justice is just so sweet...


Monday, August 4, 2008

Where's Miss Keeety, Keety, Kitty, Kitty?

Last night Vann and I walked around McMurry track at the same time and didn't hear Ms. Keeety, Keety, Kitty, Kitty. I've wondered about her all day.

Hope she's alright.

Just wondering,

Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful

I visited my mom in a nursing center in Birmingham, Alabama a few weeks ago. My mom has vascular dementia and that has robbed her of her memory.

Long gone are the days when she lit up a room by sharing her delight and joy with everyone. All of my friends enjoyed coming to my house I think more often than not, because of my mom than me. Mom always took a genuine interest in everyone she met.

As a young teenager I was often sullen going through the pre-adolescent angst. My mom was relentless in her pursuit of joy and gratitude. We heard Mom around our house frequently saying, "Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful" or "That's delightful!" She would sit at the kitchen table and paint or draw because as she said, "it made her heart sing."

There really aren't words to describe this last visit with my mom. Since I only get to see her a couple of times a year, the change in her is significant each time. This time I found Mom in a Geri chair and spending most of her time sleeping. She will eat if someone has the patience to wake her up for each bite. Our times together were basically me watching her sleep. When I was about to leave, I leaned down and hugged her and kissed her and told her how thankful I was that she was my mom. Her eyes fluttered awake momentarily as she said to me, "Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful."

Mom is still in there. Even though she may not know who I am, I'll never forget who she is or what she has done for me. She showed me that gratitude in all things is beneficial to me and those around me. Out of that gratitude, joy is born.

The soul remembers what time nor memory can erase.


Busy, Busy

I've been busy this weekend...on the computer, that is. I've set up not one, but two new blogs with different purposes.

The two new blogs I've created are going to be co-hosted by Cheryl, my friend and business partner, and me.

When I'm 64
is about issues of aging. Cheryl and I have been in the retirement industry for over 45 years combined and we have some pretty great stories from those years. I'd love to hear stories you know of, too. We hope to make it an open forum type of blog. Some are hilarious, others poignant.

Vann has been encouraging me to get a blog for our Bed and Breakfast, Journey's Inn, too. So, check out Escape the Ordinary. It is ramblings about the fun and challenges we have with that.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I have another story from Decatur Christian Towers. All apartments had their electricity and water included in their rent. Just for the record, gas was not one of our utilities. :)

Fannie Pierce was an 88 year old woman who had lived with us for 25 years. One day she came to the office to request that someone from maintenance come to her apartment. Her concern was that we test her apartment for carbon monoxide. Puzzled, I asked her why she was concerned about that. She said that every time she sat down on her sofa, she went to sleep.

You are getting sleepy,