3.31.2011

TO COIN A PHRASE

There are certain lines, phrases or sentences penned or spoken that just have a ring to them.  They have a sort of flow, a pop factor, a way to paint a word picture that captures all or part of the thought, emotion, or the irreverence.   Some phrases have actually been trademarked. Owning a word - novel concept much like Native Americans feel about "owning" land.  Other times, there are no words in the English language that can fully contain the thought, and even the best effort falls short of the majesty of the moment.  Many of the following phrases (since some readers are literalists I must add at this point to read this sentence with sarcasm to catch the real meaning) would be great song titles, catch phrases of pop culture that might sweep the nation like the 1970's "groovy" did (let's bring it back!).  My husband was reciting the words to Bread's "If" to me this week.  Those lyrics are accurate of words inability to always capture it perfectly, to hold fully the feeling, but they are all we have...  

If a picture paints a thousand words,
then why can't I paint you
The words will never show
The you I've come to know.


If you were water, I would drown in you.

What I really wanted was my loss back.

You set my crazy loose.

Whether conditions.

Playing in the puddles.

Every part of you streams to your soul merging to make you who you are.

Conversationating.

Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship.

Hell to the no.

My life is a shitting desert.

All that I am is wrapped up in all that you are.

I don't want to park my bus there.

A word is dead when it is said, some say.  I say it just begins to live
that day.


Where you used to be there is a hole in the world.

There is such a thing as cleavage follies and if not, there should be.

You cannot outrun grief.

Laughter is a vehicle not just a place.

There is one thing I know about God, I am not Him.

Time is a monster.  It cannot be reasoned with.

When all you see is your pain, perhaps then you lose sight of God.

It didn't build up a front porch.

She really gets who I am, fans it into flame and then jumps up and down when I get there.

Christmas craps.

Don't get in a peeing contest with a cow.

3.30.2011

HMMMMMMRRRRRRRR

I am risking losing the readership of my dear friend Big D by including in this post a bit of history.  She doesn't really like facts and history - just humor:)  First off, I don't have passionate opinions about many things.  I mean by that, I don't picket outside businesses or write letters to the editor, or get into political debates (I do have an opinion though).  I don't boycott stores (other than Walmart and that's just because I hate Walmart in general).  Only a couple of things in life do I regularly and with a bit of umph express constantly my disdain over.  Hummers are one of those things.  My beef lies in the capitalistic way in which we have all grown accustomed to living.  Me included, as I like to benefit from capitalism too.  There is a bit of in your face capitalistic, self-indulgent, arrogant swagger in the Hummer that I take a bit of umbrage with.  Partly human nature lends itself to always wanting what is just a bit off limits - another capitalistic principle which helps to fuel supply and demand.  I know this might offend a few readers, one of which is a dear friend who drives a Hummer:)  Though, I would say this right to his face, and he would laugh at my ridiculous way of saying it to him.  Hummers were originally called Humvees produced by AM General for the U.S. Army in 1983 after 4 years of engineering and testing.  They looked somewhat slightly different than the civilian version that was released for public consumption:) in 1992 and called the Hummer.  Since 1992 there have been several model changes to the Hummer.  Average cost of H-1's are $55-70,000 with later models of the H-2 and H-3's down in the $30-$40,000 range or less if you go bare bones without all the amenities.  Their cost is not necessarily out of line with other high end SUVs.  The first wave of Hummer purchasers were, you guessed it, celebrities like Arnold Swarztenegger.  Soon the Hummer craze took off and spread from celebrities to the wealthy to eventually a broader economic base as the prices came down and less expensive models were released.  I have no issue with what experts claim is a very dependable, rugged and designed for longevity vehicle.  I'm not convinced that is why most Hummer owners purchase the vehicle totally.  I know they don't purchase it for the gas mileage which comes in at a whopping 7-12 mpg or so, just above the 1970's Winnebago.  It just seems opulent and wasteful in the world we live in - more about indulgence and status.  It could be that I am a bit more finesse oriented, not as much in your face geared, in just about every avenue in life.  Sitting here typing this post at my dining room table, I hear a rumble and look up.  I live on a corner with a four way stop and can see people's vehicles clearly.  There it was again today - the bright canary yellow Hummer short bed.  Ugh, I said to myself.  If driving a Hummer isn't a bold and full of yourself statement in and of itself, driving a bright canary yellow one takes it to yet a whole other level!  I once had a bright canary yellow Chevy Chevette back in 1984.  It got way more than 7-12 mpg, but I hated that I was constantly noticed (ok and laughed at simultaneously).  There could be advantages to owning a Hummer - if civil war breaks out you might stand a chance in maneuvering your way to safety better than if you drove say, a Ford Fiesta.  If a flash flood occurred you could withstand driving through roughly 30-32" of water.  And, if you let your son drive his prom date to the prom in it he may think you are the coolest dad in the world (now that one isn't half bad!).  

3.29.2011

DON'T SHOW YOUR TEETH

Have any of you been to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Secretary of State or whatever your state license branch is called lately?  I've been there as a sort of regular in the past year.  I think the last several times I was there they yelled my name "Lynn" loudly as I entered much like "Norm" on the show Cheers.  If I counted correctly I have actually waited in line in the Bureau of Motor Vehicles approximately 7 times in the last year.  It's a side effect of divorce, retitling cars, taking your maiden name back, retitling cars again, remarriage name change, retitling cars again, buying a vehicle.  Twice in the past year I have had to update my driver's license which involves a new picture.  Can't say that I am a fan of pictures of myself to begin with.  But, getting photographed for your driver's license, which you will carry and show to nearly every merchant for the next four years, is most definitely not high on my list of favs.  I'm not totally sure why in my state the license branch has adopted a "NO TEETH SHOWING NO SMILE" picture policy, but they have.  Standing in front of that drab curtain, feet perfectly aligned on the taped X on the floor, I am already feeling quite vulnerable.  The curtain is suspended from the ceiling and everyone sitting, waiting like lab rats in the chairs behind me, can see my mid-calf to my feet.  I know what they are thinking, "That lady is getting her picture taken.  I hate that.  I'm sure it won't be a flattering picture just like mine wasn't."  As I stood there the state employee said, "Tip your head to the left.  Too far, go back to the right a bit.  Ok, don't show your teeth."  There was a blinding flash like a solar flare and a loud CLICK.  As I am trying to regain my vision from temporary license branch blindness, she states that the picture came out fine and prints out a temporary paper version for me until the real license comes via mail to me in 7-10 days.  I laughed at the picture, both this one and the one from the license picture from a few months earlier when I had taken my maiden back.  Possibly the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has this no teeth/no smile policy to allow police officers to more readily identify criminals (most are not smiling while being arrested and booked) to a picture in the state ID bank.  The only thing prohibiting me from being a criminal, according to the look on my face from my license picture, was the rectangular sign that is held in front of someone being charged and booked.  The thing is, I have smiled and said thank you to a police officer after a traffic stop which would now not match my no teeth/no smile license picture.  I think all of humanity just looks better when they smile - criminals included!

3.28.2011

THE SOFT SPOT

When I was a kid there was a special patch of grass in our yard that didn't match the type or texture of the rest of the yard.  Since it was an old farmhouse that had been in the family for years and years and years, grass had probably been re-seeded there after something had been removed - a tree or bush.  It couldn't have been any bigger in size than maybe four by five feet and lay directly underneath the scraggly pine tree in the front yard.  Visibly you could see a color difference much like when you stand on a beach and see rich color variations as the waters change depths.  This grass was a green so deep and vibrant that it hinged on blue.  It was baby fine but thick and unearthly soft for grass.  There was nothing better than on a hot summer day to stretch out on that piece of blue-green grass, pretend you were on a island and let the soft velvety grass lay against your skin.  The combination of shade, grass, a breeze and the uniqueness of this tropical island patch of grass was restive - a place to just be.  I still have several "soft spots" in my life that I go to - that magical piece of grass so to speak.  Yesterday was a beautiful spring, sunny, blue-skied day.  I found myself constantly looking outside, wanting to be a part of it.  The outdoors is a soft spot for me.  As I walked some miles with my husband, we talked about how the outdoors is magical for both of us.  It's my restive place to find my center and I run to it to be refreshed and renewed, and at other times in my life, healed in my spirit.  Standing in church and hearing music that reminds me of all I am compared to the greatness, love and grace of God, I fall on my back in that patch of blue-green grass to just be in the presence of God right then.   Nothing else matters at that moment and all that was not right before is now right - in the soft spot of God.  I too am blessed to have been given the gift of deep love after a lifetime of want for it.  My husband's smile of contentment flows through his eyes as I describe to him all that I see when I look intently at him. When I gently touch the life lines that are brushed into his skin at the corners of his steely blue eyes, I feel myself on that small patch of blue-green grass as a kid, laid out on my back without a care in the world - that all is right in the universe.  It's in those places and moments that I wish to stay, feeling connected-loved-safe.... just being. 

3.25.2011

LOST LYRICS

Rifling through files yesterday I ran across some poems I wrote in high school for a creative writing class.  I read them and giggled.  My vast and broad years of inexperience ceilinged the subject matter and depth of my writing.  Reading through those writings, it struck me that a creative writing teacher in high school has to get a fair measure of entertainment by just reading homework assignments:)  I read her comments and smiled at her generosity of words toward my mediocre to poor writing attempts (she might whip out her red pen if she read this blog)!  In the mix of stuff I had penned nearly 30 years ago, I found lyrics written for a song that had never been paired to music.  It was called “Fire and Ice”, inspired by a current event at the time – Russians had captured a small Alaskan fishing boat and crew off the Alaskan coast when they entered into what was then the Soviet Union’s waters.  The crew was never heard from again.   Now mind you, those lyrics were not top 40 material and never went any further than being mailed to a musician friend of mine and then sitting in a file for the past 30 years.  They were horrible lyrics.  I tried my hand at lyric writing again this past fall at the urging of a friend.  He had plucked a phrase of mine from an email and suggested I try my hand at writing lyrics to “Whether Conditions”.  To be honest, it was much, much harder than sitting down and writing a blog.  You can be wordy in a story, a recounting of an event, an opinion, a spin on something.  You cannot be wordy in lyric writing.  I struggled to condense, edit, re-write though I enjoyed the challenge of writing within such a tight parameter and in a way that is not familiar to me.  There was something kind of alluring about painting a picture through very few words.  I would very much like to try my hand at lyric writing again.  It’s a field of new that I want to discover.   So what makes great lyrics – words alone, the backdrop of music, a combination of lyrics-story-music-the right time, the singer’s interpretation?  I’m thinking that if there are songs topping the billboard charts with words that consist of constantly repeating phrases such as, “tonight's gonna be a good, good night” (Black Eyed Peas - "I Got A Feeling), I might stand a chance at writing lyrics.  I am wondering how long it took the lyricist to pen, “I Like Big Butts”? 

3.24.2011

SHE LOVES THE SOUND OF HER OWN VOICE

Growing up in church I knew the ins and outs of maneuvering around a building while my parents gabbed and visited post service.  I don't remember much under the age of 4, so I must have been kept close to my parent's watchful eyes.  I adopted a bit different approach parenting than the way I was parented.  You would think with an only child I would have been a bit more protective, less willing to give freedom.  Actually I was just kind of loosey-goosey when I look back on my parenting (what in the world was I thinking!!).  Maybe it came from my daughter's independent ways, or the fact that as an only child she was around adults a lot, but she was never afraid of doing things alone.  One Wednesday evening at church I told my daughter it was time for church to start and I would take her to class.  As I took her hand, she turned to me and said in a 2 year old voice, "I can take myself to class."  A small thought ran quickly through my head, but I was convinced by her pleading eyes and little voice that she could find her way to her classroom.  "Ok," I said to her, "You know where to go, right?  Go straight there and I will meet you outside your class when church is over."  She smiled wildly at me glowing with pride that she could do it herself.  To this day I can't remember what I did after that conversation with her.  A smart and wise mother would probably have stood there and watched to see if she was going in the right direction - towards the classroom.  No doubt as the events soon unfolded, I must not have been a smart nor wise parent that day.  A few minutes later I decided it was time to go into the sanctuary to the adult service.  Before I reached the sanctuary doors I heard Hannah's voice on the PA system followed by a loud response of laughter.  I was still sorting it out in my mind as I opened the doors to the sanctuary.  Before my eyes was my 2 year old boldly holding the microphone while talking and smiling at the sound of her own voice.  Where she had gone was definitely not to her classroom!  As I walked down the center aisle amidst laughter to remove the microphone from her hand, I think my face was a bit red.  I don't remember what conversation she and I had on the way to her class, but I remember clearly thinking I was neither too smart nor too wise in this thing called 2 year olds.  And, that my independent daughter loved the sound of her own voice.  She still does.

3.23.2011

PREFACES

Do you ever read the preface of a book?  Those pages at the very front that lay out what you might encounter via plot, characters, timeline - an introduction of sorts?  I don't much care for prefaces.  I suppose that it has something to do with my personality.  My preference and style is to just get to it, take it as it comes, figure it out as I go.  Some people preface things they say, a verbal sort of introduction.  I say why?  Is it that what they have to say they believe their audience can't grasp without a preliminary expose of what they are going to say in the body of their speaking?  Is it that they just love to belabor a point, set it up, lead a duck to water?  Is the point or news so shocking that they need to set up parameters or cushions for what is to come?  Do they think that it seems more caring to put the verbal sprinkler on mist instead of full power?  I don't like prefaces in speech.  They allow me too much time to begin to try to guess what they are going to say after they are done prefacing.  My daughter was the queen of prefacing.  She would invariably come to me in her teenage years, and still now as an adult, with a statement such as, "Mom, I have something I need to tell you."  My heart would either momentarily skip a beat in terror of what was coming (I would rather just be hit by a car than look it in the face and see it coming unable to do anything about it), or I would rush ahead mentally and guess at what she was going to divulge.  Either way I hated that delivery system of preface. I have listened to sermons over the years that have a huge preface and little body.  Can't say I like that either.  I also don't like when people hand out materials in seminars or classes and then proceed to read every word to you verbatim off the handouts.  Really, you can't come up with something other than what I have in front of me - some addons, some highlights, questions, original thoughts of your own.  Statistics say when you speak, hearers can only really digest and hold onto about 8-10 minutes worth of material.  So, don't waste it on a preface:)

3.22.2011

LEFTOVERS & LIDS

My mom's refrigerator is always jam packed.  I mean, it's crammed to the brim with this and that, bits of former meals, celery wrapped in tin foil (she swears it keeps it fresh), brown twinged cabbage (she shaves the brown off and keeps using it), containers of stuff that she will rework into something from some recipe she clipped from the plethora of magazines she subscribes to.  She tends to keep things that I would never save, or maybe even cook to start with.  Before I make it sound like you would get food poisoning if you ate at her house, she is a good cook.  She uses most every scrap of everything to make something.  Always is she cooking, trying a new recipe, making something to take to someone who has had surgery, a baby, a toothache or says they love "this or that delicacy" of hers.  I'm not a saver by nature.  She is.  On any given day you can find stacks of Cool-Whip bowls, old butter tubs, yogurt containers and ice cream tubs filling her cupboards.  She uses them to give food away she makes to family and friends thereby foregoing having to bother with getting the containers back.  She was a plastic recycler long before it was trendy.  Gladware beware, Caroline is already there!!  Plasticware for leftovers leads me to mom's lid drawer.  If her refrigerator is cram packed, what do you think her lid drawer looks like:)  Having lived with my parents for a short stint when I moved back, I found myself alone in the house one winter day after they had gone to Florida for the winter.  I made dinner that night and then looked for, you guessed it - a plastic container to put the remaining food in.  After securing the correct size of plasticware to match the amount of food, I turned toward the lid drawer.  In my head I could hear old west salon music play like when the villain would swing open the salon doors.  The terror of the lid drawer lay in front of me.  I pulled on the drawer but it was so full of lids that I couldn't get it open all the way.  A lid was wedged somewhere on the top of the stack and was impeding the full opening of the drawer.  My disgust over this blasted lid drawer increased.  I yanked on the drawer harder and harder until the lid gave way and the sea of lids which lay willy nilly with no rhyme or reason, stared at me.  How would I find the right corresponding lid to match this container!!  I sat on the floor in front of the drawer and began rifling through them, eyeballing sizes and colors that I thought might fit.  It was like searching for a toothpick in a pile of sawdust.  I personally own very few leftover containers and never save a Cool Whip bowl (I don't buy it) or a margarine, yogurt, sour cream or cream cheese container - ever.  I had my fill of my mom's lid drawer, the disorganization and my inability to find the appropriate matching lid to the container that now held my leftovers.  Plastic rage filled me and I began throwing lids across the kitchen floor.  No thought in my head to look any more for the right lid, but only to rid my soul of plastic rage at my mom's lid drawer that I had since I was a child.  Before I knew it, I had thrown every last lid across the kitchen floor as I repeated a trifecta rosary of swear words.   The drawer now completely empty, and my anger ejected from within, I sat and laughed at the relative new mess of disorganization I had created.  Rearranging a larger drawer to house the lids, I moved them to a "deluxe" suite where they were now free to sit in a more expanded space while still taunting, daring me to find the right one amidst the droves of plastic.  I confessed to my mom upon her return in the Spring and her question as to why the lids were moved to a different drawer, "Plastic rage rose up in me and your lids found their way across the floor before finding their way to a bigger space!"  Who needs that many lids anyway?

3.21.2011

WHICH CAME FIRST - THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?

I like easy.  I like simple.  I love restaurants where there are few choices and the menu is scaled back, the food presentation beautiful and the taste is fresh and unadulterated with excessive ingredients, preservatives and processing.  Thinking about choices yesterday and today, it led me to grace and love.  They seem like big, overly complicated things to not only wrap our brains around, but even larger than life to be able to do, and do successfully.  Sometimes I have viewed grace and love as a mountain that I just cannot seem to climb - the circumstance that is calling me to give grace and choose love is not easy or comfortable.  I want to exert my "right" to be angry, hold someone accountable for the unfairness, the lack, the hurt, the choice they made that affected me or made me feel unloved.  In my moment of holding back grace and love I remember that only giving grace and love when it's easy isn't truly and fully giving grace and love.  My mind wandered back to the Garden of Eden.  It was there that God gave Adam and Eve all things beautiful, all things to be enjoyed, including each other.  All things, except for that one tree.  Why, I thought, would God give them all things and yet leave one thing that they could not have?  God did not want "have to" love because if it's not a choice, it's not really love.  Neither did I want love in my life that was "have to" love.  Conversely, God gave grace to Adam and Eve (me, you and all humanity still) because of His love for us.  Which came first - grace or love?  Quite simply, love came first.  Obviously God didn't love that Adam and Eve chose to seek after something that would not bring them ultimate freedom in their lives (nor does He when I do the exact same thing).  But, His love looked past their choice, my choice, to wanting restoration and peace - His grace, unmerited favor.  Could I give it away even if it wasn't deserved?  It says in I Corinthians 13 that love keeps no records of wrongs.  Love means I not only bestow grace for a wrong, but I relinquish the right to keep track of it by a tally mark in my mind and spirit.  I am finding out that when love enters the picture there is no length that you will not go - that God did not go.        

3.20.2011

A FAN, A MAN AND A PLAN

I love Saturdays.  I mean I really, really, really, really love Saturdays.  It's the one day of the week where the pace changes, the routine falls off, the rhythm slows.  Saturdays in this part of my life are quite remarkable.  For instance Saturday we lazed in bed until almost 11 a.m. talking, laughing, reading the paper, drinking coffee - simply being and not rushing off to do something.  Now granted since marrying 7 weeks ago we have gotten almost no projects in the house done.  But, we have enjoyed each other which is far more important:)  Yesterday after rising we decided to put up the ceiling fan we had purchased for the bedroom.  Our house was built in the 1950's and has plastered walls which create depth and richness and solidness with beautiful refinished wood floors throughout.  The bedroom had the original 1950's square recessed light in the ceiling which gave off virtually no light.  This fan installation would be the first "home improvement" project we have done together (other than moving, putting some furniture together, etc.... all of which went grandly).  This would be the ultimate test of our compatibility - working on a project together.  It was not just replacing a regular overhead light with a fan, but a boxed recessed light to a fan.  We like to place the bar high!!  Without any instructions we both seemed to move seamlessly in sync gathering tools, an old towel, the shop vac, ladder, taking the fan out of the box and assembling the blades, laying out the parts.  It was odd.  For 25 years I had to do every home improvement project alone and in the rare event that my first husband was there, I still did them alone so to speak!  There were times during our fan installation that he or I would stop to have fun - a kiss here or there, a laugh, a climb down the ladder for a hug, a bite of pineapple upside down cake and a sip of coffee.  Music played and as we neared the end of the project, I ran downstairs to flip the breaker back on.  When I rounded the top of the basement stairs I said loudly, "Is it working?"  He responded with, "Baby, I'm not turning it on till you are in here.  We will turn it on together!"  And that we did.  We stood and marveled at our work, how fluidly we worked together and really just loving the air moving in the room finally!  Later in the day we went for a walk and while holding hands walking on that beautiful Saturday afternoon, we both said how much we loved working on the project together - how it was relaxing and enjoyable to work in sync like that.  Last night as we laid in bed, lights out with the fan on, we felt like we had not only finally accomplished a home improvement task, but more than that.  We had done it with grace, enjoyability and ease with each other.  Next weekend - grouting the kitchen tile:)

THE END RESULT

There are two kinds of people - those that can make small talk, bringing up subject after subject and tagging sentences to create a fluid conversation, and those who cannot think of one thing to say other than "great weather" and who cannot connect to the response of the person to create another one liner that builds a conversation.  My jobs over the years have included tons of small talk.  In fact, in many, small talk is what builds clientele or customer service.  Now, for me anyway, small talk is much like blinking - it occurs without me thinking through what to say, how to say it, responding to their response to carry the conversation deeper and make it flow.  Humorously (as I did win the Cherry family funniest person away) I told a friend the other day, "Small talk is like foreplay.  You can skip it and possibly get what you want in the relationship/interaction/business deal, or you can use small talk as a vehicle to connect/win/pull the person in - to disarm and warm them, make them feel valued.  Small talk gets you to the mountain usually:)"  Having known some that struggle to make small talk, I found that there are "Small Talk" websites that give categories of sentences to begin with.  Those sites have hundreds of starter statements, questions, comments that are intended to spark conversation.  "This weather is amazing", is a sentence that people use and can be generic to fit into both crappy and gorgeous, hot and cold weather conditions.  It's a little lame to me, but better than nothing.  What the sites don't teach is how to tag onto the next question or comment to create ultimately a conversation.  I think anyone can create a one-liner comment or question to start, but it takes the gift of conversation to be able to move across the interaction board with your red checker piece to jump their black pieces and end up in their world, connecting-building a bridge to them.  My theory for non-small talkers is this; don't worry so much about what you say but that you say something.  Concentrate on your ultimate goal of making the other person feel valued and connected instead of concentrating on subject matter, the questions you need to ask.   Small talk isn't necessarily just a filler of dead silence and time.  It opens up a world of connection that holds the power to build business, customer service and ultimately humanity.  We all need value, interest, and affirmation.  It's amazing how, "Don't you just love sunny days" can spark something that can lead to so many things.  Concentrate on the person, give them attention, ask them questions to get them to talk back to you and don't over think it.  I have been known to start small talk with someone and before you know it they let their guard down and tell me something fairly personal, their life story or begin to relax as the wall goes down.  Small talk can be used too as a weapon of disarmament - deflection so to speak in volatile situations to redirect and value the person through a complaint, a crisis or break through the wall of distrust.  So, tomorrow spend some time in conversation foreplay - it will take you amazing places in business and relationships with people.

3.16.2011

COMFORT

I thought about the word comfort today.  The noun definitions of comfort speak about; a state of ease or well-being, relief from affliction/grief, someone/thing that brings solace or ease.  The verb definitions are the action it takes to produce the noun part of comfort - bringing physical relief, cheering someone, soothing a soul/a hurt/the body/mind/spirit.    The Apostle Paul begins his second letter in Corinthians 1 by saying, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."  I love that verse.  It speaks more than just God's power to ease our spirit's well-being, although God does that.  His desire is not harm, but give us relief and help.   I went to the chiropractor today looking for relief from some discomfort - to be able to get a full breath.  Through an adjustment, he brought some much needed physical ease to my body.    Standing in need of God's comfort so many times in my life, I have needed not only relief (a break from the agony of whatever), but also I simply needed the noun version of comfort - GOD himself.  Maybe you are stronger than I am, but there are times I need comfort, relief, help, cheer.  Having been in chronic, severe pain for extended periods of time, pain has the capacity and power to take up every square inch of your mind, to preoccupy every thought.  Comfort has somewhat the same effect.  Comfort is like sand over rocks - pouring over hurt, pain, despair, worry, failure.  It fills in around the hurt, cushioning us.  I have a few articles of comfort clothing.  They really aren't spectacular to view, but when I have them on I feel in that state of relief.  I feel at ease.  When we give comfort to others, we are like comfy clothes - providing relief for them, cheer or support.  We have the power to translate the comfort of God into human interaction.  I have been the recipient of that comfort and hopefully, have given some to others.  When I was very ill, laying on anything caused excruciating pain.  To find comfort I would gently place pillows along both sides of my body to ease the pain.  Those pillows cushioned the pain.  God has done that for me over and over again in my life.  He's the pillow to my aching body, sand in the cracks against rocks in my life, a cool drink when I have been parched and the warmth of sun to the winters I have faced. 

3.15.2011

A VERSION OF BILL MURRAY'S "GROUNDHOG DAY"

Bill Murray makes me laugh.  Any movie he's pretty much ever been in, I have loved.  There is just something in his face, his carriage, his delivery - this sort of unpolished, a bit messy, sort of sarcastic and irreverent way in the characters that he plays that speaks to part of who I am.  Loved him in "Caddy Shack" and "Groundhog Day" and one of my favorites, "What About Bob".  He played similar characters in other movies, like "Ghost Busters" but it is "Groundhog Day" that is probably tied as one of my favorites of his movies.  I love the premise of that movie; until we learn to enjoy what is in front of us we don't get to experience life fully.  He wakes up in  Punxsutawney, PA to report the groundhog seeing his shadow on Groundhog's Day and then continues to wake up day after day experiencing the same day over and over again.  He hates being there, the reporting, the experience and is frustrated that he continues to have to live it day after day.  Finally, he becomes present in the routine, the sameness, the moment and eventually gets to stop reliving the same day.  I have my own version of "Groundhog Day".  I, completely opposite of Bill Murray's character, don't want time to move on.  I want to forever be stuck in this place that I find myself in daily - being loved fully and loving deeply.  For the past months I go to bed every night at the same time my love does.  We have a bit of a routine.  He gets in bed first and then watches as I drop my clothes on the floor with a look on his face of adoration.  With a bit of a sigh that escapes his lips, he says, "You are the most beautiful and the sexiest woman in the world".  That is a very, very subjective statement which is extremely humbling, produces deep gratitude for God's gift of this love and leaves me feeling washed over daily in a bath of love.  Laying there every night with his arm around me and his leg entwined with mine, we eventually fall asleep:)  When morning comes before we race to get ready for the day, one of us makes coffee and brings it to bed with the newspaper where we spend time talking, laughing and just being with each other - a great start to the day.  I think to myself every morning that I love this "Groundhog Day" I am in - going to bed and waking up next to my love.  The thing is I get to do it all over again tomorrow.  And, hopefully the day after that and the day after that until one of us leaves this earth.

3.14.2011

HANGERS, A PERSONALITY MARKER

Open your closet and look inside it.  Don't look at whether you think you have too few clothes or that you are a clothes monger.  Instead, what kind of hangers do you have?  Do you utilize the freebie ones that clothes from the dry cleaners come back on - the crappy, lightweight metal ones with sometimes a piece of stiff cardboard on the bottom where pants are hung and that leave shoulder nipples on shirts when removed from the hanger?  Or, do you have those heavy weight white rubber coated ones - the ones that have some substance to them, although still a form of metal?  Possibly you have plastic hangers, thick and sturdy to hold anything from a simple shirt, a pair of pants to a suit coat jacket?  Maybe you have those beautiful wood hangers that put you in mind of precisely cut shoulders atop a beautiful sculpted neck?  Now, maybe you have a mixture of hangers - a mish mash if you will of all of the above and some not even mentioned - a varitable cornucopia of hangers.  I mean, come on Lynn I can hear you saying in your heads, who cares about hangers - they're hangers.  I don't know how personality tests are necessarily created - a degreed and doctored psychologist writes questions based on theories and generalities and a determination of categories is agreed upon as a marker of personalities. I have created my own sort of personality marker - hangers.  My daughter, when she was growing up, wanted hangers that all matched (peach to be specific and when she could no longer find peach she then had to replace the entire hanger collection as she could not tolerate a mish mash).  Clothes hung in her closet (& still do) directionally facing the exact same way, both the hanger and how the article of clothing hung on which side of the hanger.  Her clothes on those hangers hung by category groupings of color too.  It was an amazing display of colors and complete perfectionist order.  Me, well I'm a bit more loosey goosey than she is.  My closet has colors intertwined along with differing hangers (a few anyway), along with the occasional sweater hung by a spaghetti strapped cami.  Come to think of it, there is little continuity compared to hers.  Last week I was sitting on the floor in the spare bedroom where my husband keeps his clothes in the closet.  The doors were slightly open and I became transfixed with what I saw - beautiful wood hangers, clothes hung directionally the same by colors and the hangers seemed to be spaced like tile is laid - with spacers:)  There was not a hanger out of place or hung sloppily.  I am currently working on how to perfect my slightly askew hanging clothes and how to translate this visual personality assessment test to written form to be used in standardized personality testing nationwide.

3.13.2011

THE PIANO LOUNGE

You probably have figured out by things I have written about that I love music.  I have an appreciation for most music (not so much Brittany Spears, Kesha or a handful of others), even music that maybe I wouldn't download, if the musician is true and pure to whatever form it comes through.  Over the weekend while in the great state of Iowa, we patronized a piano bar in downtown Cedar Rapids (you know the city that was flooded back in 2008).  Ok, first off you wouldn't picture a place like that in Iowa - not exactly where most of us would picture music flowing freely.  More likely you'd think of it in Chicago or New Orleans, maybe Nashville, Memphis, New York City's Greenwich Village, but not the state best known for corn and famous people being born there (I didn't say they stayed there but were born there).  A small baby grand sat in the makeshift front of this basement bar.  It was dark and loud.  Both of which I liked as it allowed you to just get lost in the frenetic noise of the crowd and music.  Conversating was hard, but I don't suppose that is necessarily the purpose of a piano bar now is it:)  A black rather roundish man commandeered the piano bench, piano and microphone.  He appeared to be close to 60 and had in front of him absolutely no music, only slips of paper and pens to write your requests on and a large sniffer glass for tips.  Really, I suppose one would have to say that he was a performer more than just a musician as he wasn't the background music, but rather why you would really go there - to hear and request your favorite songs.  As a music major when I started college, I was amazed at his ability to play pretty much any song that was requested, and especially those to which a $20 bill or higher was attached.  He belted out Billy Joel, Muddy Waters, Bon Jovi, Don McLean, Steppenwolf, Charlie Brown, Elton John, Ray Charles and even recent artists as he played that piano feeling the music with his fingers in a pounding powerful way.  He would occasionally stop and wipe his entire face with a small white towel that he kept slung over the microphone stand.  At one point I leaned into my husband, when the gentleman known as Sidney was holding an ending note vocally that would have caused me to go into an asthma attack, and said, "If that man can hold a note that long, he has some definite lung power.  Looks as if it would serve him well to use it to run a few miles too!"  He had birthday requests and called the various persons up front where he rearranged and altered lyrics of songs to both scream creativity and overt sexual naughtiness.  One couldn't help but laugh at how he put words together to both hide and twist the meaning and lay it clearly out.  I wondered sitting there if a man with all that talent aspired to such a place in life or if he had tried a more traditional route to fame but found only a few make it.  His repertoire was astounding and he engaged the audience to clap, scream, and sing lyrics with him.  As I sat there I thought again about how this didn't really fit in Iowa, and yet maybe it did.  Music is a great equalizer it would seem.  In that room of 200+ people we all sang loudly our portion of "Bye, Bye American Pie" and in that moment it was just pure enjoyment, a great memory in each of our minds of a place and time in our pasts when we heard that song and something to do on a cold Iowa night.  Maybe a piano bar IS fitting in Iowa come to think of it.  If you are ever in Cedar Rapids, Iowa you might want to check it out - if you like loud music, darkness and a drink.  But if you don't like any of those things, well you can always watch the corn grow.

3.11.2011

FORTUNE COOKIES AND HOROSCOPES

Breaking open a fortune cookie after lunch yesterday with my daughter, I declared that I was sure whatever was written would somehow magically fit into my life.  Or, at the very least would be the very thing, the vehicle, the prophecy of some deep, dark hidden longing of my heart.  As I pulled the little slip of paper from the cookie, I popped one half of the fortune cookie in my mouth where I commented, "Wow!  This is a really fresh fortune cookie."  Delight oozed from my face as I told my daughter to brace herself for what would surely be words to hang the rest of my life on.  If not, then I would at least learn the Chinese numbers written underneath the wisdom that awaited me.  I smiled as I quickly read through the small sentence of life altering wisdom that had just been delivered inside a small crunchy Asian delicacy - the fortune cookie.  It read, "Good fortune will soon be heaped upon you."   Excited I was, that somehow the universe had reached through the bakery, the distribution center, the restaurant, even the waiter's hands as he picked up the cookie out of the box that lay in front of me.  It was obviously a sign of good things to come and I would most definitely not prepare for life in general and let it just come in the waves of goodness that were soon to be upon me.  My daughter's fortune read, "The star of riches is shining upon you."  We laughed at that one as her car was presently in the shop with a new engine being put in it, and she was deep in the throws and expense of her master's classes.  Laying in bed this week I perused the horoscopes enroute to the classified ads.  I am a Leo - any surprise:)  Again, I felt like the cosmos were gently and magically guiding my existence - that I was being propelled forward.  The words jumped off the page - "Passion will guide your life in the very near future.  Be true to it."   Well, I thought, how did the paper know of my divorce, my remarkable experience of finding a soul connection and the passion that had unleashed itself in all areas?  Why had I not before now known the full effect and power of both the fortune cookie's wisdom and my astrological sign's power?  No worries, I'm sure next week when I finish my order of chicken with pea pods the Fortune Cookie wisdom will seek me out, guiding my life through the cookie once again.

3.09.2011

OUT IT CAME

After going through a divorce and not wanting to date for a time (one just isn't quite ready for that right away), I would smile at my friend's comments about needing to date.  Usually I would respond, "Yes, someday I will date.  Just not right now."  I mean the first time I got asked out (by the creepy neighbor man who stalked me for a time) I proceeded to almost hyperventilate as panic rose at the speed of light in me.  Working outside all day he commented that he had watched me the entire day as I worked on my outside projects (totally inappropriate)!  And, why didn't I go in a take a shower and he would take me to dinner!   Like he was doing me some grand favor:)   I had absolutely no plans other than to blog, run and eat oatmeal in the bathtub once again, but I boldly said, "I'm sorry, but I have plans."  I proceeded to go inside the house where I cried for hours totally unprepared to know how to reject someone who asked me for a date or the feelings that were sweeping over me of having to start over, the overwhelming sense of never finding true soul love.  As the months went on in my single state, I got a bit bolder about the "thought" of maybe a date.  One day at a baby shower hosted by a colleague of mine (a male and the only male in attendance) for one of his staff, I decided to mess with his love of matchmaking.  He knew I had recently taken back my maiden name and suggested that he hook me up with this millionaire friend of his.   With a very serious and "Yentl" sort of look on his face, he asked me to be specific with him, "What are you looking for in a man, Lynn?"  I'm not totally sure what came over me at that moment - a crack in my filter, the hilarity of being 44 and having to be set up, a realness of life, the cloak of great sarcasm, but I blurted out, "There are two things I am looking for in a man." I watched, with a bit of humor that plays inside your head when someone doesn't have a clue you are playing them a bit.  A giddy almost I-am-the-messiah look swept across his face as he prepared to meet my wants through his matchmaking skills.  "I boiled it down to two things I want in a man; someone to rake my leaves (literally I have a couple of big trees and fall had been an exercise in raking constantly) and someone to have sex with.", I said with grand confidence.  He didn't know what to say or do at that moment.  I'm convinced that my brazen response caused him to temporarily short circuit.  What man doesn't want to hear that a woman wants sex:)  I thought about that in light of my recent whirlwind 30 days of dating and wedding.  Without even consciously meaning it literally, I did get someone to rake my leaves.  And well, the sex.  What can I say:)   Both of my demands have been met and surpassed.

3.08.2011

WHAT DO PEOPLE SEE

I love to observe people.  It is amazing to me how much you can see in people's mannerisms, facial expressions, body language, interactions with others, eye contact - even their spirit that can be felt and seen though not in a tangible sort of way.  Recently my husband and I were walking through an outdoor courtyard in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  Strolling quickly with our hands entwined with each other, we walked past a man who was no doubt trying to sell something.  He commented, "Happy or married?"  We both smiled and replied at the same time, "BOTH!".  Last week we were sitting in the business office of a car dealership finishing up the purchase of a vehicle.  The business manager said, "I have been watching you all day.  Never have I seen two people who so love each other.  You have something that is rare.  You have the real deal."  We told him how we met and that yes, we felt that same sensation - that this is a remarkable and magical love.  Our friends, family and even random strangers comment that we look made for each other. (Actually I have said that to my husband many times - that I truly believe God made Him specifically for me!)  I have wondered what do these people see - what intangible spirit or presence flows between us that others sense and remark about.  Oh, obviously you can see the love - the touching, the tenderness, the attention to the other - but there is more, unseen yet noticeable to those around.  What I hope they see is a woman in her middle years who has been given the gift of soul connection and love which leaves an indelible mark outwardly.  I hope they see something magical that reminds them love can come no matter how long the road takes to bring it.  No one yet has said, "Will you two get a room!", at least out loud:)

3.07.2011

BIG BOOBS AND BLING

I have a theory.  Really I have many.  This one makes a direct connection to large breasts, low tops and big blingy jewelry.  Even though maybe there are no documented studies at Boston University or the National Institute for Health regarding my theory, there is a strong indication of the tie between cleavage displays and large necklaces.  If you know me, or read what I write, then you know I possess neither large breasts that can produce mountains of cleavage, nor do I own large flashy bevies of jewelery.  Two cases in point; my best friend, Big D, and a waitress at one of my favorite restaurants who calls me Jodie Foster constantly.  Both are beautiful woman. Both dress well and always have hair, clothes and makeup that is styling.  They are put together well (unlike me who might just prefer a ball cap and a pair of jeans to being dressed up!)  Sitting in my favorite restaurant over the weekend with my love and a group of friends, the waitress (who calls me Jodie) pulls up a chair to visit.  She is charismatic and endearing.  And, she is wearing a very low top with mountains of fleshy boobs mounding out.  I'm not sure you could have flossed between her breasts:)  Highlighting her "ode to the rocky mountains" chest was a very large (did I say VERY LARGE!) silver medallion.  Now I'm not here to say it was an ugly necklace.  Quite the contrary - it was actually quite beautiful.  But it was hard to really focus on it for long as I felt more like it was a "GIRLS BELOW" flashing neon sign highlighting the path for my eyes to travel to see the abundant mountain range.  Of course I looked - how could you not!!  In order to not look one would have had to actually turn to the left or right of her which would have been, well rude and obvious:)   I'm not sure how jewelry companies market certain lines of jewelry, but I think I have a brilliant idea.  Since it appears that cleavage bearing woman who love to showcase what they have also love big bling that highlights the path below, why not market to that group of people - a sort of "Mountain Marker" line of cleavage pointing necklaces.   Ok, wait I'm going to trademark that!

I'M NOT FINE UNTIL I'M FINE

I don't know who technically should be credited with originally creating the phrase, "I'm not fine until I'm fine", but I'm going to go ahead and take credit for it.  Not too long ago I was conversing with a dear friend of mine.  We were talking about processing things in our lives - both in coming to terms with things we don't like that seem to be staying in our lives longer than we would chose to have them, and giving yourself permission to fully feel the emotion attached to circumstances for a season.  I said to her, in describing that emotional processing, "I'm not fine until I'm fine."  Thinking about that phrase I smiled at how I (and all of us probably) quantify being ok or being fine.  Usually for myself, unless I am overly deliberate and conscious, being fine or ok is what I think and/or feel when the waters I am in are relatively calm - the hardship level is low - the desires I crave are being met.  In conversation with someone today they mentioned that they knew things were going to be ok in the long term in regards to business.  I listened intently to their statement and then commented, "Well, of course you think that now - business has turned positive and your hope now showed up as a real seeable tangible.  The circumstances have changed.  But, what if business had not improved would you still be fine?  What if hope had not materialized yet?"   I lived many, many years in the "not fine" state.  It always takes a season to get accustomed to it too.  It's sort of like walking indoors from a brilliantly sunny day - everything appears darker till you adjust to the light change.  How do I retain that edge that comes with living in a not fine state even after I am fine?  How do I keep that dependence on God when things are good and fine?  I want to be fine whether I really am fine or not.

3.05.2011

30 DAYS TO THE ALTAR

If you read my blog dated December 26, 2010 you can tell that I was struggling through Christmas and life in general on that particular post.  It was a low point.  Late that night I fumbled onto eharmony.com really quite by accident as I didn't have a master plan of enlisting, enrolling, subscribing or whatever you call it in the world of on-line matchmaking.  No clue did I have of how to really maneuver the site nor did I fully read it at all - not Lynn.  I just started clicking on various things and one took me to this really extensive questionnaire.  I started answering questions which took about an hour to plow through. It was indepth and made me really think about who I was, what I was about, what made me passionate, what I loved, what I wanted in life, what I valued.  When I answered all the questions it said I was enrolled - WHAT!!!  I was clueless.  Then it said I was 35% done with the profile and that I should post pictures.  What the hell I thought, I'll put some pics up and finish it Monday night after work after I thought about whether I really wanted to do this.   About 11:00 p.m. on December 27th, 2010 I logged onto my email to find 17 matches from e-harmony in my in-box.  I FREAKED OUT!   I really didn't know I had signed up as I hadn't finished my profile.  I began to read through 17 profiles of men from all over the US (again I am an idiot and obviously hadn't set geographic parameters).  It took quite a bit of time to read through them all.  Some were alarming in their inability to be original or too right or left winged or too religiously fanatical and I knew right away there was no way, no interest based on what they written.  There were 3 that were more local to my geographic area.  I read those too.  Of all 17 there was only one that jumped off the screen and screamed that he was it.  The ironic thing was he lived in my town.  I didn't respond to any of them that night.  The next day at work I got an eharmony invite from the one that I wanted to find out more about - the one that lived in my town.  Over the next 5 hours we went through all the phases of eharmony.  I could not see any pictures as evidently I was on during a free enrollment period of time between Christmas and New Years.  I had no clue what he looked like only that I loved his humor, his candidness about his relationship with God, his love of things I loved, the way he wrote and articulated himself.  We got to the end of the written steps where I suggested since we were local we just meet and see if there was anything between us instead of going through it with eharmony.  The next step was his email.  I couldn't get to it without paying to join eharmony - a stipulation during the free trial enrollment period.  I was screaming in panic at how to get to his email - I had no way to contact him without it or to go backwards in the eharmony steps to send a message.  I called my girlfriend laughing hysterically telling her I was joining as I knew he was asking me out.  I paid $200 to join - yes you heard it $200.  His email came through at that moment along with his profile pictures.  His email was this, "So, when do you want to meet?"   I had just paid nearly $30 a word to get asked out:)  His pictures were beautiful.  There was playfulness in them.  He was sexy, athletic with beautiful silver hair.  I responded immediately with, "How about 7:00 p.m. tonight?"  We actually met at 8:00 p.m. that night.  It was an immediate connection.  We closed the restaurant down at 11:15 p.m. and he walked me to my car where he gently kissed my cheek and asked if I wanted to see him again the next night.  That was it.  We were together every day for the next 35 days till we stood before the city clerk and got married.  Yes, we got married at 44 and 52 years old after knowing each other for 35 days!!  January 28th, 2011 was the day.  I wore black, no pantyhose (ugh), a simple necklace and he had on a suit as he walked to clerk's office from his downtown office.  The pictures show two middle aged people totally enraptured with each other - love pouring out of their eyes, their body language - joy surrounding them both.  It was simple, serene and meaningful.  It was 30 days to the altar, but a lifetime of my path leading to this man.  Our paths had crossed several times in the months leading up to eharmony but we didn't know it or each other.  One click of the mouse changed everything.  And I mean everything:)

DIRTY SNOW

Most of the winter snow is gone.  Most of it.  Ok, all except the large mounds created as a result of snowplowing along roads, edges of driveways and parking lots.  The winter soaked grass has made its appearance - a sort of moldy, strange, muted and washed out puke green of sorts.   I both love and hate this tail end of winter.  I love the hope that seeing grass again brings, longer hours of daylight and birds singing more than in the preceding months.   But, I hate it too as there is this awkward, almost pre-teenish stage the earth moves through until it gets to full spring.  Ugliness.  Dirtiness.  It seems that warm bright green will never sweep away the filthiness of winter's mark.  The book of the prophets prophecy of God's newness after destruction, after misery, after waywardness, after oppression, after captivity, after dirtiness.  My own life follows suit to spring and to what the writers of the book of the prophets talk about - God making new things from old, dirty, in bondage, ugly stages of my life.  I've had quite a few tail end of winter stretches where the longness drug on and on.  I thought about my life since June 2010.  There have been some big piles of dirty snow that I thought would never melt back to Spring.  But, they have.  God brought His goodness to the drab, the puke green.  He restored joy, brought laughter to sorrow, gave me a deep desire and longing of my heart.  Spring came to me.