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Double Dose!

Every time I hear “Double Dose”, I think of Little Fockers.  It makes me laugh out loud, every time I watch that movie and hear “Double Dose”.  Today gave me a different perspective of Double Dose.  Today, Monday, was such a miserable, dreary, thunderstorming day.  Flash floods, lights flickering, all on a Monday morning, heading back to work.  The weather and the day of the week had me singing, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.”  So, this rainy day Monday was a double dose.  I was REALLY down.  Why do we, as humans, put so much negativity on Mondays?  I mean, I get that it’s the beginning of the work week (or school week), which means we are so far from the weekend, but do we really have to wait for the weekend to enjoy life?  Can’t we also enjoy the days of the week that don’t start with S?

I do like Mondays in some ways. Mondays are the beginning of a new opportunity to help the students at the university where I work.  Mondays bring me to one of my favorite television nights.  Mondays are another day closer to the next Friday evening…the beginning of that time when I can sleep in if I want, not get dressed if I don’t want, spend time in sloppy clothes if I want, time I can hit the road and drive to someplace new and exciting as long as it isn’t too far from home, so I can use the rest of my freedom to get back in time for, yes, you guessed it.  Monday.

This Monday the rain, the bad drive to work, the soaked hem of my pants and the head congestion from my allergies got to me.  Headache, sniffly nose, wet, tired from staying up too late Sunday night, not feeling fully prepared for the day, and a hectic, long work day just made this a Double Dose kind of Monday.  But I bet the week will get better! And after a hard rain, shouldn’t there be a rainbow?

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” ~ Dolly Parton

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I’ve always felt that the saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” didn’t really make sense to me.  When I was a little girl, my dad would eat slices of lemons, no sugar or any other additions.  I was intrigued, so I tried it, too.  It was a struggle to get used to it, but I did.  And then I began eating lemons, slice by slice.  So, when life hands you lemons, eat them!

That is what I’ve been doing for the past few years.  I’ve been consuming the sour lemons, dealing with what life had handed me.  I didn’t realize just how sour some of those lemons were.  But now, I’ve taken a big batch of those sour lemons and pulled out a beautiful crystal pitcher, some sugar and clear, icy water and mixed up a refreshing batch of lemonade.  Poured into a tall glass, it has become much more enjoyable than those sour slices.

Now, I’m even looking for new things to do with those lemons.  I’ve begun making lemon meringue pie and lemon pound cake…and lemon pudding.  I still like the tartness of the lemons, but a little sweetness in life that you can also share with friends is much better.

So, now I’m back, doing the things I love.  Writing, crafting, painting, and spending time with people who matter to me.  And I’m smiling a lot more again.  So, just remember, when you are given a big bushel of lemons, they are the sunshine fruit that can make fantastic, sweet treats when dealt with in the right way.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll

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I haven’t blogged in a while as life has kept me busy. But, I took some time to read this blog post and LOVED it. I would like to know this person. What an inspiration. Thank you, Emily C. Heath, for expressing so succinctly what I was feeling about the Red Cup issue, which really shouldn’t be an issue at all. And, Emily, Happy Thanksgiving! In fact, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Emily C. Heath

It’s early November and already this year’s installment of the so-called “War on Christmas” has begun. All over social media I’m seeing rants from angry Christians who are trying to “Keep Christ in Christmas”. And the first volley of shots has already been launched against an unlikely target: Starbucks.

Apparently people are mad that the seasonal cups at Starbucks this year are just plain red. No mention of Christmas or Jesus at all. And, clearly that means that Christians are being persecuted. I mean, my faith is just destroyed if I don’t get my venti blonde roast with room for milk in a cup that features the name of my Lord and Savior.

So, obviously I think this is a little ridiculous. Because, Christians, I promise you that Starbucks red cups are not going to destroy the Christian faith. Seriously, the Roman Empire couldn’t do it, and they could kill…

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Recently, I posted this quote on my Facebook page and was astounded by the reaction…and most astonished by who unexpectedly responded.  The Help was a good movie, but the book was better.  Maybe it was because I read the book first, and I find that my imagination version is usually more interesting than the celluloid version that a director creates.  When I read a book, I can picture what the characters look like, sound like and how the scenery appears.  But the best part about reading a book is the thrill of going back after seeing the movie and re-reading the book, just to see how much better it really is.  And it is…really better.

I remember when little Mae Mobley repeated what Aibileen had taught her.  You is kind. You is smart. You is important.  And in that moment, I knew that every child should have Aibileen, or someone, give them the knowledge that they are kind, they are smart, and they are important.  If more children had that lesson ingrained in them from their earliest days, we would have far less pain in the world.

People of all ages respond to being told they are important.  It isn’t just children who need the reinforcement of being told they are kind.  We all want to believe we are thought to be smart.  The triple threat – being kind, smart AND important.  Those traits are the making of leaders.  I think about the leaders I would follow.  They are all smart…and kind.  And that makes them important to me.  And the most important person in my life who is smart and kind is my husband.  If there was ever someone who should have been told over and over that he is kind, smart and important, it is my guy.

It also makes me think of another movie I saw recently.  Girl Rising.  It moved me that there are so many young girls fighting for the right to prove they are smart.  They fight for the right to an education.  And they are willing to do almost anything to get an education.  They shouldn’t have to go to the extremes these young girls did, just to go to school.  They are important.  And they should be able to prove it.  No one should hold them back.

For all the children, everywhere, you are kind…you are smart…you are important.  Believe it.  Live it.  Pass it on.

“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer  

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Have you ever been sitting quietly and suddenly a song you didn’t even know you knew popped into your head?  Today, I was sitting quietly, reading and in popped, “All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey…”  Okay, I don’t even know the title of this song, but think it was by The Mamas and The Papas.   If this had been 30 years ago, I’d have to ask someone what those words go to.  Now, with the very fast help of Google, I find that I’m “California Dreamin” and can listen to/watch the Youtube video AND find all the lyrics and even order a copy to be downloaded as an MP3.  Wow!

For some reason, no matter the time of year, I will be driving down Loop 1604, heading for work or back home and I will suddenly start singing, “Sleigh bells ring, are you listening, in the lane snow is glistening, a beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight, walking in a winter wonderland.”  What???  That’s a Christmas song.  Oh, yeah…Christmas in July…August…April.  No matter what time of year, I guess I love me some Winter Wonderland.  Maybe it’s my rebellion against the almost continuous heat of South Texas.

Years ago, I heard someone call this phenomenon of songs sticking in your head “earworms”. Horrid thought. But fitting. They don’t go away and are so annoying! I think it is even worse when someone knows you hate a particular song and remind you of it, so it’s stuck in your head all day. It was like that with the awful Barney song. You know…”I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family…”. UGH!! STOP!!!!!!!! Make it go away!

So, what song do you hate to have as an “earworm”? And are there any songs that seem to recur at the strangest times?

“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.”~ Unknown

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An EF-5 tornado ripped through the town of Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th in the afternoon. Twenty-three people died and hundreds were injured.  Another person died of something related to the tornado.  And as I started writing this, I read in the paper that a 25th person has now died due to injuries related to the tornado.  We are constantly reminded of the tragedies that occurred that day.

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Homes and schools were destroyed. But the town and the courage and resiliency of the people live on. Moore is like so many towns in the Midwest. The people are strong. Nothing will beat them down. I knew this from watching the news and seeing the people helping absolute strangers clear their property that had been destroyed by the tornado.  And I saw it in the eyes of the parents, struggling to comfort their children or the children of others as they awaited news of their own.  It was heart-wrenching.

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Watching the news reports, I felt that I needed to do something.  Yet, who am I?  I am just a single person…no organizations backing what I choose to do.  And I live over 8 hours away in south Texas.  Yet, I still felt I had to DO something.  I didn’t mean donating money.  I always wonder just how much is actually helping those who need help.  And how much is lining the pockets of those running the organizations.  So, I stewed over it and decided there WAS something I could do.  I could donate Pampered Chef products so the families can start making meals again.  Food is comfort.

So I spoke to my mother.  And she said a friend she has in Oklahoma City has a son who lost his home.  And they know other families who’ve lost everything.  I knew then that I was going to send packages to them.  And then it steamrolled!  My mother placed an order and so did I.  The packages arrived at the home of my mother’s friend and they were thrilled to hand over all the goodies inside to those families.  But then I mentioned to other Pampered Chef consultants I know that I was trying to help 3 families.  And they donated extra products they had…cookware, tools, plates, cookbooks…on and on.  And I remembered a full-size afghan I had.  It was thick and plush.  I donated that.  And I found more products in my cabinets.  Suddenly, I realized it was going to cost a fortune to mail all of that.

My sweet husband suggested we drive up on a Saturday and deliver it, spend the night in a hotel and drive back on Sunday.  He gave up his weekend of relaxation to hit the road with me.  We both felt humbled to be able to take all of the wonderful donations my friends had provided and deliver them to Moore.

On July 6th, we left early in the morning and drove all day.  My mother’s friend called us and asked us to come to dinner at her home.  Although I had never met these people, they made us feel so at home, treating us like family.  And after dinner, they took us on a tour of the devastation in Moore.  They showed us the path of the tornado and the freakish destruction.  Houses were demolished on one side of a street and almost fully intact on the other, with just a few shingles missing from the roof.  Businesses were destroyed.  Memorials to the lives lost were everywhere I looked.

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And then we visited the site of the Plaza Towers Elementary School.  My heart broke.

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The memorial grows and grows with each passing day.  And the townspeople of Moore will rebuild.  And their will remains strong.  God bless Moore and the families who were affected in so many ways.  I still feel the need to do more.  And I will.  It makes my heart feel just a tiny bit less broken.

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“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” – Unknown

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In so many ways, I’m an accident magnet.  Whether it’s a clutzy move tripping over a crack in the floor or a stumble on a cruise ship (I went one direction and the ship went another – and my foot didn’t cope well at all) or the many, many times I’ve broken, sprained, strained, torn, or in some other way damaged parts of my ankles, knees and wrists, I seem to attract pain.  I’ve fallen down (and up) stairs, in holes and over the curbs or cracks of sidewalks so many times, I can’t even remember all of them.  The ones that stand out, though, are falling down a flight of cement stairs when I was five and tearing ligaments in my ankle, catching my ankle on the side of the gymnastic horse in PE when I was in junior high and somehow sommersaulting over the horse and landing on my foot, spraining it…and the time I walked into a hole in the ground and tore ligaments in my ankle (again).  That final time, I was a teacher and was traveling with students.  The school had to send two people – one to drive their car and one to drive the rental and students back home – while I spent the day at the emergency room.  And they left me there!  Fortunately, I had a friend from college who worked in that city…at that hospital!  She picked me up after work and drove me home.

Oh, and I can’t forget the household boo-boos.  I have left a chunk of one of my fingers on the upper coil of the oven (yes, the flesh was sizzling), cut my fingers over and over on paper, cardboard, plastic, scissors, knives, forks and burned certain body parts  that are extremely sensitive – and normally covered by a blouse – and I did this on the stove.  I guess you can figure out what I did.  Leaning over a burner on the stove is not smart!

And then…there are the car accidents.  I have been hit from the side, from the rear multiples times, and hit from the front.  The strangest one was when I was actually stopped behind another vehicle at a stop sign and they decided to back up.  That vehicle was pulling a large boat.  And the boat’s propellor was heading straight at me.  As I frantically tried to shift into reverse while honking the horn, I saw the propellor tear through my hood.  It was tough trying to convince the police officer (and the insurance company) that I was hit by a boat!  🙂  It’s not often a person can say that.  Or want to.

Each day, as I drive to and from work, cook meals, walk, get out of bed or take a shower, I’m taking my life in my hands.  As a walking, talking accident magnet, I know there will be more in my future.  I just hope I live to laugh about them like I frequently laugh about the burner incident, the oven coil, the hole, and the boat.  And I make sure I’m insured…well.

“The Act of God designation on all insurance policies; which means, roughly,  that you cannot be insured for the accidents that are most likely to happen to  you.” ~ Alan Coren

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