Monday, October 29, 2012

25 Things I Want My Daughters To Know

This post is dedicated to my girls.   I love these two creatures!  We've not had a perfect
life or family, but that was never my ambition.  Scott and I probably got just one thing
completely right with our kids.   We've loved these two like crazy.

I've gotten the biggest kick from watching them both grow into young women with their own
strengths and differences.     

A few years ago I first thought about writing down some of the things I wanted my girls
to know.    And as I look at what I've written below, much of it has been learned from
just my plain ole mistakes and experiences - good and bad.  (and some are just for fun.)

As young women, they're both still "a work in progress."   But, hey - so am I.   My blog has
given me an avenue to share these things.   You're welcome to read along.    


Never...ever....enter your children in beauty pageants

Yeah, I don't think this one even needs an explanation.


Always use a firm handshake &
look people in the eye when you talk to them.

   I know.  You've heard this all your life.  A weak, limp, dead fish 
handshake sends a terrible message.  
And "darting," shifting or wandering eyes does the same.


Always exercise your right to VOTE.

True, it's that time of year right now.
Do your homework.
Educate  yourself on what 
the candidates stand for -- and vote.

And p.s. regardless of what you hear...
 (Jesus isn't a republican......or a democrat.)


Don't hold on to bitterness or unforgiveness.

You will be hurt.   You will be disappointed in people.  
You may even be betrayed by someone you care about.   
Whether they ask for it or whether they deserve it, 
forgive them.
It doesn't let them off the hook, it lets you off the hook.
Life is too short.   Keep moving.


See people through your own eyes.

Despite what you hear about somebody,
make up your own mind about them.
You might see them in a totally different way.
See them for yourself.


Encourage the artist inside you.

We all need a little "creativity" in our lives!
Paint.  Draw.  Write.   Make something!
Your life will be richer!



While I strongly encourage traveling with a "purpose"
(mission trips),
see this world.
You're only passing through once.


Start your day with Him.

Make morning time for Him.
Before the demands of this world start pulling at you.
Visualize Him sitting in your living room waiting for you each morning.
Time in the word & Time in prayer.
If it's peace you want, start here.


Build your own family traditions.

Ours were camping trips to Huntington Beach.
Brookgreen Gardens.
Clover circles the night before Easter.
George C. Scott's "Christmas Carol" every Christmas Eve.
Oh - and the 12 Days of Christmas 
tucked away in a stocking that hung on your bedroom door.
Take a few of these for your family,
but add mostly your own.


Just like you invest yourself in people,
invest yourself in critters ♥

You can't take care of all the ones that need you,
but you can care for one.
But when you do, remember.
It's a lifetime commitment.
Their lifetime.


Take Risks.  
Don't always be about protecting your own hide

Imagine what you might accomplish in this life
if you weren't afraid to take a risk.
The difference you might make!
Not stupid risks,
but being willing to stick your neck out a little bit!


Give your life away.

When you finish this life,
be sure you can say 
"I gave it everything!"


Be aware 
that whispers of discouragement,
and lies 
don't come from God.

If they don't come from God, recognize them
as coming from the enemy.
Don't buy it.  Don't believe it.   Don't listen to it.


Use your money for good.

 Invest in your favorite charities and causes.
Invest in mission trips.
Help people that need a hand.
It really does feel better to give.


Show gratitude & thanks

When you focus on what's good in your day.
What you have to be grateful for.
You won't notice what doesn't go so well.
Your perspective totally changes.
Be thankful.


Embrace Change

It's the one thing in THIS world, you can count on.
Don't always resist it.    
See the good that can come from it.
Go with the flow.


Be A Woman of Your Word

Be a woman
that SAYS what she means.
Be a woman
that DOES what she says she will do.

Don't say you'll do something and fail to follow through.


Always create healthy boundaries with unhealthy people

And p.s.
It's not the unhealthy person that needs to make the boundaries
in a relationship.
You create the boundaries.


Write handwritten thank you notes

Take the time to write a handwritten thank you note.
The written word can be powerful.
Keep a nice stash of stamps & stationary
& write them.


Make random acts of kindness part of your life.

Your life will be richer and more meaningful
when you INVEST in people.
There's people around you everyday
that could use a random
act of kindness.
Simple.  Intentional.  Acts of kindness.

Recognize that STRESS is rooted in a desire to CONTROL.

When you begin to feel yourself getting stressed.
Realize that ultimately,
you have NO control in this life.
Of people.  Circumstances.  Relationships.
Take a deep breath.
Let it go.


Walk in the rain

It's one of my favorite things ever!
Put on a cap if you must, but get out in it.
It will refresh your soul and your spirit.



It is the best medicine ever!


Be where your feet are.

Live in the "today" as fully as you can.
Don't look ahead too much.
No use to look back either.
Wherever you are today,  be there.


Have a legit, authentic relationship with Jesus.

Nothing else really matters in this world when it's all said
and done.   You can embrace everything else on this
list (or live your own life by another list)
but if you miss this one, you've missed it all.

I love being your mom!
I love you!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Christmas Stash Tradition

For years, I've been building a stash of Christmas ornaments for each of my girls.    I'm not
sure where the idea came from, but it's been one of my better ones.    I  started out with a
single plastic storage bin for each of them.   Every year, (usually right after Christmas
when I got the best deals)  I'd buy a few ornaments for Kate - and a few for Tay - and
add to the stash.  

I've done that for years.    

My focus on ornaments, soon expanded.   I picked up a cool  nativity scene made of
sandstone when I was in Kenya last year.   They each got one.   They have a wonderful
aunt, Pat, who worked at Hallmark for years.  Pat often gave them ornaments at
Christmas as they were growing up. Those were safely tucked away in their stash.
I'd pick up ornaments on special trips - like Jackson Hole, Wyoming last year and even
parted with some priceless handmade ornaments they each created in elementary
school - so they would have those as well.

Before long,  I'd throw in occasional Christmas kitchen towels,  Santa sugar & creamer
sets and Christmas stockings they used as kids.  Yeah, that's when it seemed to start
getting out of hand.   The single storage bin grew to two and three.

Last month, I reached an important milestone in my Christmas Stash Tradition.  
Kate got married in June.   She and Josh have their own home in Charlotte --- and I
delivered her Christmas stash during a visit last month.     Three or four bins.   Wonderful
memories and a great head start on decorating the first ever Kate & Josh Deese tree as
they begin the first of many Christmas holidays as a new family.    It was really tender
leaving those bins with her.

I have some wonderful young friends with small children.   This is a great tradition for me
to pass along.

And Tay?  I've got a year or two left to enjoy adding to hers!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sometimes you just need to sit on the end of your bed.....

"Sometimes you just need to sit on the end of your bed.   Take off your bra.    And have a
good cry."

I've used that advise with my girls on more than a few occasions through the years - and
I've taken it myself.

Sometimes, it just helps.    Men don't understand this at all.    That's okay.

For me, tears can be as healthy as bent over, out-of-control laughing.    It refreshes my
soul and empties me out.   I don't do it in public so much.   Okay.    I rarely cry in public.    
Most of my tears come in private.     At the end of day when I'm troubled.      If I'm feeling
overwhelmed.    Or when my emotions are just below the surface and need to come out.

I've also done my fair share of crying before Jesus.    When I get up some mornings to
have my quiet time with Him - and I'm feeling a little beat up.....a little undervalued by
the world.   Stretched too far.    Completely over my head.    Afraid.   Discouraged.  
I just pour out my heart to Him.     In my quiet living room.    Long before anybody
else is up.

Tears can be my honesty gauge.    As I pray out loud to Him - and I get really honest
with Him. About a disappointment.    Or being so tired of waiting to see Him work out
a situation.   Or answer a prayer.     When I'm praying to Him about someone I care
deeply for.   Or when I get down to what's closest to my heart, the tears come easily.

And He listens and hears.     And I feel better.  

Good advise for my girls.     Good advise for me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Ain't No Need To Grumble"

I can hear Liz today.
She was this wonderful, large, African American woman that I met years
ago when I took my first job with Piedmont Agency on Aging.

When she would come into the Senior Center, I would say
" are you, Liz?"
and a huge broad smile would spread across her face and she
would respond "...I'm good...ain't no need to grumble...."

And she didn't grumble.
Liz never married, but raised many of her sister's children.
She was in her late 70's when I met her.   That was over 25 years ago.  
Liz was poor by most standards,
but very rich in her appreciation for life.
Liz loved life.     And, she had a great laugh!   A GREAT laugh.

A big woman, Liz struggled physically to get around.
She's shuffle her feet across the floor and once she found a seat,
she often stayed put until it was time to go home.
That woman had a great spirit about her - and I loved to be with her.

What a great thing to say about somebody.   I loved to be with her!

I've been thinking about Liz today since I read this morning's devotion from Sarah
Young's book, "Calling Jesus"   October 9.

"You have been on a long, uphill journey, and your energy is almost spent. 
Though you have faltered at times, you have not let go of My hand.
I am pleased with your desire to stay close to Me.  There is one thing,
however, that displeases Me; your tendency to complain.  You may talk
to Me as much as you like about the difficulty of the path we are following.
I understand better than anyone else the stresses and strains that have afflicted
you.  You can ventilate safely to Me, because talking with Me tempers your
thoughts and helps you see things from My perspective.

Complaining to others is another matter altogether.  It opens the door to 
deadly sin such as self-pity and rage.  Whenever you are tempted to grumble,
come to Me and talk it out. As you open up to Me, I will put My thoughts in
your mind and My song in your heart."

Liz understood this view on grumbling and complaining.  

I wish I could say that I always vent on Jesus first.     Yeah.   That's not my usual
practice.     I get upset about something.   Some injustice that was done to me.
Some unfair criticism that was made of me.   Someone hurt my feelings.  Or maybe
somebody just did something that caused me trouble or anxiety.  And what
happens?    Well, some people may keep things in.   Me?  Ahh, no.
It's got to come out!    I've got to vent!

My usual target for venting is my husband.    Unfortunate, but many times true.
He's such a great listener!  And, he almost always takes my side.  (Smile)
Isn't that bad?   To inflict that on such a good friend?

We all turn to someone to vent.   True?

I'll never forget.  Years ago, Kate was a freshman at Clemson and also on the
Women's Rowing Team.    It was HARD.   In addition to her classes, she
trained many mornings on Lake Hartwell before the sun came up -- and then
again in the afternoon when classes were done.  She was pushed
to the point of exhaustion on a daily basis.  She and I  laugh about it now, but who
would she call when it got really overwhelming?

Her mama, that's who!

She would call me in tears and vent away.   Funny thing, though.   She would pour out
her heart and frustrations to me -- and after 10-15 minutes, she felt 100% better.  
Me?    I'd say, "I'm so glad you feel better" - and then I'd hang up and take all morning
to get over the conversation because I carried what I heard at least until lunch time.

That's the thing about venting.    Grumbling or complaining.     The person who hears
it may have to "wear" it for a while after we're through getting it off our chest.    It's not
always easy to brush it off and walk away from it.

I visualize venting like this big over-sized, wet,  wool coat with ugly plaid lining.    Once
it's put on someone, it sometimes hang on them with weight and burden.   Not a good

I'm trying to grow in this area.

Recently, i've actually left the office.    Got in my car.      Started driving and started talking
--- out loud to Jesus.   Venting on Jesus in my car as I drive home.  You should try this!  
It's very effective!  He's always ready to listen.     I can say what I need to say to Him.  
I can get it all out.   And when I'm done.   He's good.   He don't wear it for several hours.
He's not burdened by it.    Such a good solution for me!     Yeah, the only draw back to
car venting is the people that may see  you on the road, but what the heck!   When
you get to be my age, you care less and less what people think!

"whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me to talk it out..."

I'm telling you.     There's something to this!     My husband would be so relieved if I
did it more.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My Day With A Wrinkled Egg & Black Bear

I raised my girls to celebrate birthday weeks -- not just a birthday (singular.)   Yep.
We milk our birthdays for all they're worth!   Kate turned 26 on Thursday.   Since she
& Josh live in Charlotte, we didn't get to see her on her actual birthday. It gave us
an excuse to meet up today and close out her birthday week.    The Deese's drove in
from Charlotte.  Taylor & Quinton, drove up from Anderson University.   My mom drove
up from Easley.

Our rendezvous point: one of our favorite places - Flat Rock, North Carolina -- and
nearby  Hendersonville.

We've been bringing our girls to this area since they were little.    Fall has officially kicked
off many years in our family by the very trip we enjoyed today.

Scott & I started our journey in Greenwood this morning with a stop at........yep......
Starbucks.  I'm totally obsessed with Chai Tea Latte right now! So, we had to pick one
up on the way. Mmmmmmm.  The young lady at the Starbucks wasn't so big on the idea
of me taking her photo early this morning, but I was photographing the entire day - and
she was my starting point.  She somewhat went along with it....well, sort of.

Chai Tea Latte in hand, me and my sweet man were on our way!

It was a beautiful morning as we headed up Hwy 25 toward the North Carolina line!

Scott & I both grew up very close to these mountains, so it feels like home to us when we
come back up this way.     It's a little early in October to see the changing leaves, but the view is still beautiful.  

Okay, here's our exit:

Once on this road to Flat Rock, you'll see the Carl Sandburg Historical Site,  The Flat
Rock Playhouse and a favorite lunch spot just ahead!

The Flat Rock Bakery is tucked away on the backside of the Wrinkled Egg Shop.  It's
physically little  more than a hole in the wall -- but the food is GREAT!

One of my favorite things at the bakery is the scones -- all flavors -- and the bread.    Delicious!

Weather permitting, we always sit outside on the porch - under the trees.

Okay.   I haven't done justice photographing my sandwich -- but it's the BEST chicken
salad on the planet!  Full of fresh chicken, grapes & walnuts & served on a delicious
chewy Chipotta Bread!   Man! So good!

There's lots of colorful art here.    Since the bakery is on the backside of the Wrinkled
Egg (and sorry, I don't know the story behind the name) - it's hard to avoid the chicken art.

The shops in this string of stores is full of eclectic art, antiques & one of a kind pieces.
Yes, those are metal goats and pigs at the front door.

After lunch, we head just down the road to Sky Top Apple Orchard.

We started going up this steep hill to Sky Top Apple Orchard when the girls were little
& the road was just a dirt & gravel.   It's straight up the mountain.

Back then, you could go & not see these crowds -- but it's gained popularity -- and families
come from all over to pick apples and sample the apple cider and pumpkin donuts

That's our kiddos up ahead.

The tractor rides are fun - as they drive you around the property.

After a family photo at Sky Top, we ventured back down the mountain for the short drive
into Hendersonville.  

It turns out, there was an "Art on Main" event in downtown Hendersonville.   Lots of local
artists with exhibits lining both sides of Main Street.

We always stop at Mast General Store.

A shot of Mast General Store from upstairs.

Saw this very regal looking guy with his owner.

After milling around the shops and art, we ducked into a great coffee spot on Main
Street -- the Black Bear Coffee Company.

Lots of seating for conversation and quiet.

I told you I was obsessed.   Chai Tea Latte # 2 for the day.

This is actually the ceiling of the Black Bear Coffee Shop. The ceiling tile is covered
with burlap coffee bags!  Cool, huh?    And, big surprise -- this one is coffee from

After enjoying the day with our girls and their fellas, we ended the day as it started.  

Just me & my sweet man again.

As we walked back to our car to start the ride back to Greenwood --we spotted  
this!   Fall is coming after all!