Friday, September 30, 2011

Words of Wisdom

I've said before that I'm not a fan of Dr. Seuss.  But the good gentleman nailed it with the following statement:

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

I'm trying to take that to heart tonight.  Today was my last day in my old job, working with the team that I've been a part of for over four years.  Layoffs and cutbacks go into effect on Monday, and my old job is gone.

I was blessed to have shared the last few years with coworkers who became friends and then family. It wasn't my choice to leave,  but sometimes that's how life plays out. So I'll try on the smile...but I'll probably keep a tissue handy for a while.

Then on Monday, a new adventure begins.  Do you have some words of wisdom for that, Dr. Seuss?

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Service of One

My nephew, Kevin, left today for the Peace Corps.  For the next 27 months his life will be all about helping the less fortunate in Africa.  It will certainly not be easy, but he is excited about this opportunity.

My own children and their spouses have served others in Haiti, Russia, Ukraine and here in the United States after hurricane Katrina, working to make a difference.

So what prompts someone to choose a path that requires self sacrifice, uncertainty, even physical discomfort?  It comes from a belief that change happens one person at a time, and a willingness to be that one person.  Without that, nothing happens.

Whether it is overseas or in our own communities, countless individuals selflessly work to help the disadvantaged, the poor, the elderly, the lonely, the abandoned, the hopeless.  And for the most part, they do it without fanfare, recognition, or monetary reward.  They do it, simply to make a difference.

So, I'd just like to say "thank you" to Kevin and to all those individuals who sacrifice to make this a better world.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

She's Home

I read last night on the blog, Gitzen Girl, that Sara Frankl a.k.a. Gitz, died peacefully yesterday with her mother and brother at her side.  She is home.

She was an incredible young woman who used her nearly unbearble circumstances to bring glory to Christ and to live a life of joy and victory rather than one of bitterness and defeat. 

I thought of her today at church during worship as we sang the following words:

"And I will worship You in the beauty of holiness.
And I will worship You for the things You've done in me.
And when my life's complete, I'll lay my crown at Your feet,
And I will worship You, on bended knee."

I know that Sara is now worshipping her Savior in complete joy!

For a glimpse of the beauty and strength of this incredible young woman, take a moment to read this post from her blog written nearly a year ago.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Beautiful Berries!

Ah, what a wonderful Saturday!  It was warm and sunny and I got TONS of stuff done that I've needed to do!  Nothing feels better than being able to check items off of that never-ending To-Do list.

One of the things I finally managed to get to was picking some of the blackberries that grow in the area.  Obviously, I wasn't the first neighbor to get out there with my bowl, because most of the easily accessible berries had already been accessed!

After challenging an army of sharp, thorny branches, I wound up with a sizable bowlful of beautiful blackberries.  This is the only time during the year that we are thankful for these ubiquitous plants.  The rest of the year, they are a major pain.  Although, come to think of it, the scratches on my hands and arms, attest to the fact that they were pretty painful today also!

So the question is, what am I going to do with these little beauties?  In the thick of the "berry battle" I was pretty sure that a cobbler was in order.  But once I got them in the house and washed up, I decided to freeze them.  That way, they can add their deliciousness to some fruit smoothies this fall!

Friday, September 16, 2011


I have been sitting here with tears streaming down my face for someone I have never met.  Yet if you look to the right of this post, you will find a link to her blog "Gitz," where I just read that she is going home to be with our Lord. 

I wish I could have known her in person, but through her courageous, sweet, funny and inspirational blog, she has touched my life.  Her name is Sara Frankl, "Gitz" and she is a young woman who has lived with a debilitating illness for years.  Unable to leave her home and in constant pain, she chose not to give in to those circumstances. Instead she has been an inspiration to so many who found her blog and have been encouraged by her life.

I "borrowed" the lovely green "Choose Joy" button from her blog because it was such a necessary reminder for me in my life.  I have a choice. I can choose joy in my life!

Tonight, I have spent quite some time reading her words.  And on the tab on Sara's blog that explains about chronic illness, I found the words that seem to sum up so much of who she is. It is those words that I leave with you along with an encouragement to spend some time with Gitz because you will be touched and and inspired by this courageous young woman.

"I love what I have instead of yearning for what I lack. I choose to be happy, and I am. It really is that simple, people. Start every day by being thankful and celebrate your life instead of devaluing it."   Sara Frankl

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Last Ones

I had to make a Costco run tonight.  On my way home I drove past our Borders store and noticed that this was the last day of their liquidation sale.  Everything in the store was 90 percent off. So I decided I'd stop by for one final visit.

I walked into the vast, blank space where empty bookshelves stood looking quite forlorn. Some tables had a few books scattered on them. As I glanced at the titles, I wondered what made these poor, unwanted volumes the last to be chosen. And I felt inexplicably sad.

Then suddenly, I was back in seventh grade gym class, standing with another girl, waiting to be the final, reluctant choice of a team captain for some sports team.  Arrgghh...I should have bought one of those books!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Answer the Question

I just completed answering seven reference check questions about a friend of mine who is interviewing for a new job.  The first six questions were pretty standard: How did I know the candidate and for how long; describe the candidate's management and leadership style; comment on their people-to-people skills, etc.  Pretty basic stuff.

And while the last question was also pretty standard, it got me thinking. The question was:   Anything else you would like to say about this candidate? 

That leaves a pretty wide open forum for all sorts of comments.  I started wondering how the people I know would answer that question about me if they were really being honest.  I'd like to think that their comments would all be positively glowing, but let's be real...I'm not always positively glowing. 

It's easy to think that I don't really have any control over what people say about me, but that's just not true.  If others answer that question honestly, then I have complete control because it all boils down to what they hear me say and see me do. And if I live my life with integrity and love in those two arenas, then all is good.

So, every now and then, I think it might be a good idea to stop and consider how that question would be answered about me. After all, I never know when I might need a good reference!

P.S.  I gave my friend a glowing reference which was richly deserved!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Lesson from a Feathered Friend

My husband and I returned from a wonderful, sunny walk this morning and I decided to water the plants in our courtyard before it got too warm.  I grabbed my watering can and made my way over to one of the windowboxes when suddenly, I saw a tiny little yellow bird just sitting on the ground.  It startled me and I expected it to fly away.  But it didn't. It sat there, absolutely still, with just its eyes moving back and forth.

I called to my husband to come out and see the bird.  We figured that sometime before we had returned from our walk, it must have flown into the window and was now completely dazed.  I quietly went into the house so I wouldn't cause the bird any more trauma and checked on it several times from an upstairs window.  The poor little thing sat there, perfectly still, for the longest time and I began to fear that it wouldn't survive.

A bit later in the morning, I went outside again, and to my delight, the bird was gone.  I called to my husband that the bird was gone and told him that I hoped a cat hadn't been in the courtyard.  He reassured me that the bird had just been dazed and needed to rest before it could fly away.

Sometimes, our lives are like that.  Difficult, painful circumstances often hit us unexpectedly, leaving us feeling dazed and unable to move forward.  In those times, remember that it's okay to take some time to rest and recoup. Allow yourself a season of healing when there's been pain.  Then, just like my little feathered friend, when the time is right, you'll have the strength to move on.