Be a Warrior

Another year of summer camps has drawn to a close, and I find myself conflicted with warring emotions.  Of course “glad to be home” doesn’t begin to describe how much I missed my bed and my bathroom.  Naturally I’m sighing with relief to escape the sun, the bugs and dirt.  Unfamiliar schedules and different foods lost their allure the second day of camp.  Yet I leave behind countless youth floundering in difficult life situations.  My own misfortunes pale in comparison.

Their needs break my heart.  And so I find myself humming the theme song of Camp Bountiful every day.  “I fall on my knees and I fight like a warrior.  I’m a warrior on my knees.  I call on the name of the One who is conqueror…”  Gotta’ love Steven Curtis Chapman!  I chose pictures of victory for this post, rather than pics of lives in chaos, because I believe the victory lies before us if we choose to embrace it.

In the aftermath I find two camps of thought.  One judges the kids and their music and their demonstrable cries for help.  The other falls on their knees in intercession.  In my lifetime I have never seen a generation so mired in the landscape surrounding them.  The world’s incessant violence, divisive politics, variant lifestyles and degenerating morals leave wrecked lives in its wake, reflecting back to discerning eyes exactly what they see. As the famous pragmatist William James once wrote, “Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.”  So, do you want to make a difference?  What the troubled kids you know really need is warriors.  I choose to be a warrior.  Why not join me?

Alma John and Puppy Love

A number of wonderful dogs graced our home throughout the years.  Shelties, Golden Retrievers, and mutts of undetermined lineage all bore one thing in common:  faithfulness.  We did, however, attract some quirky little things.

Gypsy buried her treasures–like baby kittens with just a head and two paws poking out of the ground.  Quincy spelled his favorite treats and went berserk every time we passed a McDonald’s.  But this little ball of fur lounging beside me just eclipses them all.

Alma encouraged me to adopt this rescue puppy, and our first few days together didn’t begin with a good omen.  This rascal without a pedigree left messes everywhere.  He threw up for two weeks.  He clearly tolerated me without an ounce of real devotion.  But upon Alma’s death the entire landscape of our relationship changed.  He stopped making messes for one thing.  He became my shadow, whining when I closed the door to the bathroom without letting him in.  Love became his over-arching quality.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s still quirky as all get out.  He gets so excited to see me in the morning that he races like a whirling dervish around the living room squeaking his toys in a frenzy of delight until he collapses from exhaustion.  He gazes at me mournfully when a little curly headed granddaughter loves him too much, practically begging me for a reprieve.  He prefers any morsel from my plate over his Nutrish, which Rachael Ray so lovingly makes for him.  I consider Charlie Alma’s last gift to me.  It’s one of his best.

 

Human Foosball

Our people cannot remember a nastier time.  In our lifetimes we’ve witnessed an almost foosballtotal degeneration in the fabric of public discourse.  Americans used to be known as polite, annoyingly cheerful people.  No more.  We’ve sunk into a nation of contentious, sniping pin balls slinging insults back and forth indiscriminately.  I find it alarming.

These sharp lines of demarcation didn’t materialize out of thin air.  Think about it.  Facebook tailors our feeds with things we like to read.  Private news channels spin their own versions of the truth, which we like to hear.  We hang with people we find comfortable.  The result is an uninformed, uneducated public who only know one point of view.  Add a few rants here and there, and rhetoric bounces unpredictably, totally out of control.

But who mans the handles in our foosball game of life?  Remember, the enemy isn’t the person with an opposing point of view.  A common enemy plays us like a pro.  Lest we perish in riots flamed by uninformed passion, every citizen must find it incumbent upon himself to level the playing field.  Speak temperately.  Exercise prudence.  Be circumspect.  Stop reacting.  Find a way to be an example of courtesy.  Put control of the nation back into the hands of rational, caring Americans who decide not to be human foosball pieces in someone else’s game.  Let’s play a game where we call the shots.

 

Yeah, It’s Ice Cream Every Night For Me!

While I’ve always expected my final resting place to be the courts of glory, I admit it…I can tolerate the heat.  We live in an older home, a home without ducts.  You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?  No ducts=no central air.

Sad but true.  The modern world simply cannot fathom how we manage a comfortable existence in primitive aka non-air-conditioned settings.  I see those cool-air-lovers everywhere I go, and they are easily recognized.  They wear clothing with sleeves and long pants.  I dress for the ambient temperature, which in Missouri in July borders between the Taco Bell sauce standards of Hot and Fire.

Let me share with you, as a public service, my tips for living in the fiery furnace of no air, should yours expire and die an untimely death, which of course is always when all air conditioners die:

  • close out the sun
  • ice cream.jpgdress for the temperature
  • move more slowly
  • no cooking allowed (yay!)
  • eat and drink cold foods
  • keep a fan in every room
  • best of all, eat ice cream every night

While we all enjoy our creature comforts, life in a simpler time involved simpler pleasures.  If ever I move to town, the pattern of my life may change.  But let me assure you, I grew up without a/c, I live without a/c, and I may be destined for Hell, because I love my life despite the heat.

When Retirement Isn’t Retirement

One of the pleasures of retirement lies in enjoying friends through an extended and delightful lunch on a Friday afternoon.  Of course, none of us consider ourselves retired.  Larry manages rentals.  Bill manages too many acres.  Debbie and I own small businesses.  Here’s the thing:  Every retired person needs a side gig.

Why, you ask?

  • Who couldn’t use a designated stash of mad money for travel?
  • Who actually enjoys living on a strict budget of just Social Security?
  • Who needs to pique the brain with stimulating interests?

I think I just described 99.9% of all seniors.  Boomers, think about the tax deductions if nothing else!  If you simply cannot fathom yourself in a side gig, comment below and let’s email back and forth.  I’m full of ideas.

Friends who know me will affirm this truth:  I am a serial entrepreneur, and at various seasons in my life I dabbled in several age-appropriate side gigs.  When the boys were young and being home schooled, I wrote a monthly home school magazine and earned side money as a freelance graphic designer publishing corporate newsletters.  When I owned a flourishing bead business and traveled to trade shows across the country, I also enjoyed a travel business.  Each served me well.  Each earned some money, but mostly  I found them immensely rewarding.  I haven’t changed.  Right now I sell a fabulous affordable skincare line, and am positioning myself as a blogger.  Writing brings me full circle to how I started, and since I think better with a pen in hand, it suits me.  Writing brings my soul to water and refreshes me.

Find friends who share your interests and live life more fully, with grace and gusto.  Retirement isn’t retirement.  Not really.  Hopefully not ever.

retirement.jpg

I’m an Esthetician and I Love Perfectly Posh

Five years ago when I opened my skin care practice, I had an account with an internationally respected skin care brand. It was a good product line, with a variety of cleansers, exfoliants, masks and moisturizers for all skin types. It was effective and I got results when I used these products during spa treatments.

However, a couple of years into my business ownership adventure I started to get bored with the products I was using. They still worked really well, but the packaging and scents were clinical (AKA a snoozefest), they could be purchased at many locations around town, and the price point was just high enough that it was a deterrent to people wanting to take a chance on an impulse buy. I needed to find a new addition to my product toolbox.

Along came Perfectly Posh. A esthetician friend of mine had started selling it, and I was drawn in by the fun packaging, clever names and moderate price point. This was a line that spoke to me, and because Posh also makes a wide array of body treatment products, all of the voids in my practice could be filled by opening just this one account.

And so I did! Two-and-a-half years later, I still find Perfectly Posh’s line to be effective, budget-friendly, and so much fun to use and sell in my skin care practice. My clients love the products and are thrilled to be able to use them at home too. Thank you, Posh!

Some of my current favorite Perfectly Posh products:

  • Hot and Gold Maskandrea.jpg
  • Stripper Body Mud
  • Sleepy Sleep Skin Stick
  • Fresh Cream Milk Body Butter
  • Honey Honey Body Creme
  • Big Fat Yummy Hand Creme (any scent)

 

Andrea Lipomi is a licensed massage therapist, esthetician and nail tech in Las Vegas, NV. You can learn more about her practice at feetishspa.com.

I hope you enjoy this guest blog.  Andrea and I are polar opposites in everything but the Posh sisterhood, and I love her dearly.  Posh transcends the line that divide.  

Travel the World for Essential Oils…and never leave home.

Tonic for the WinBare It All micellar Tonic is my new best friend.  Yes, it removes makeup, but I seldom wear face paint.  So why do I love it so much?

First of all, look at the potpourri of herbal infusions packed into this baby!  Lavender, sage, peppermint and chamomile.  What a winning combo!  The toner gives my face a squeaky clean feeling, tightens my pores, and evens out my coloring.  What’s not to love?

Beyond that, look at its value.  One bottle costs $20 and it lasts me over a year, which averages out to about a nickel a day.  I consider that a pretty hefty savings.  Posh aims at being value-driven and Posh lovers everywhere appreciate their devotion to tight budgets.  Buy 5 and get 1 free, long-lasting and used in droplets…my pocketbook (and my husband) it.

Instructions on usage:  I use little round cotton pads from the drugstore.  I tip up the toner and pat four or five drops onto the cotton pad.  Begin at the center and gently round outward on your face.  Never rub hard, but just gently grace your skin with this lovely bouquet and let it do its work.  If remnants of makeup color stain your little pad, go again.  Apply a second moisturizer for the night and sweet dreams!

How do you get this fabulous elixir, you ask?  Travel to my site at http://www.madaboutposh.com and click on SPECIALTY FACE.  You’ll see the Bare It All toner in the fabulous array of products that complement your skincare regimen.  If you love adventue, poke around the other collections and enjoy a host of great naturally-based wonders.  I love to travel, but my pocketbook limits my forays to distant places.  Thankfully, Posh does the footwork for me, collecting the best ingredients from around the world, putting together just the right recipe, and seeking out companies right here in the good old USA to make their products.

We tone up a lot of things, like muscles and printers.  Why not our faces?  Keep your skin young and healthy, so people exclaim, “What?!! You’re going on 70?!! No way!”  I always sing the praises of my skin care routine.

I Suck at Hula Hoops

I know people who sway with the greatest of ease.  Hula hoops made their debut while I dawdled on the swings in third grade.  Kids on my block counted those plastic revolutions until I got dizzy trying to keep up.  Come to think of it, I fail at ALL categories of spinning.  My friends rhapsodized about the fun of carnival rides until I couldn’t wait to try one.  I rode my first in 5 grade, but it left me green and I truly woofed up my cookies.  Yup, I suck at all spinning things.

Yet every one of us manages to dance our way around the sun, day in and day out.  Some of us perform like a rapper with a caffeine buzz, while others waltz gracefully without breaking a sweat.  As you correctly imagine, I never end up at the waltzing end of that continuum.  I’m more the awkward spinner who never balances the hoop correctly and often sways madly trying to keep it from hitting rock bottom.  And when I try spinning multiple hoops?  Put 911 on speed dial.  Really.  One item at a time, please.

The gyrations of life sometimes leave me dizzy and disoriented.  I offer you three simple remedies should you be more like me than you care to admit:

  • First of all, determine your presence in this hula hoop contest we call life.  More than showing up, commit to engage in the process, improving each day in spite of your lack of coordination. Realize every single person on the planet sways in a rhythm personalized by circumstance and respect those differences.  Life=Swaying.
  • Secondly, serve others.  Today.  This minute.  Think of someone who needs your help and give it willingly.  That small act of service in your corner of the world, done by folks all around the globe, keeps our planet-spinning hoops from hitting rock bottom.  We all need a little timely help to keep the hoops swaying.
  • And finally, set apart 5 minutes or more for introspection.  This last step, most critical of all, helps you find your balance.  Isaiah said it well:  “Get thee up into the high mountain.”  As you gain a better perspective, life makes more sense.

I like to believe that hula hoops don’t define me.  I am more than the soul buffeted by swirling winds and dizzying life experiences.  I once saw a documentary on the frenetic lifestyle of the Roaring Twenties, and witnessed a world spinning out of control.  The crash was inevitable, but only because their hoops got so far out of whack.  By showing up, serving others, and finding balance my crazy world spins under control.  A hundred million of us all swaying in sync, keeps society’s crazy hoops from crashing.   I may sway like a drunken sailor, but hey!  I’m swaying.  I remind myself every day, “Be the hoop!  Just be the hoop!”

 

Count it All Joy

The new Posh line releases this week…without me.  (sigh)  I love Posh.  I love everything about Posh, except for missing conferences.  Ann Dalton designed this conference with me in mind, I’m sure, because it promises to be right up my alley, it being held in Nashville and with me being a country girl and all.

I wanted to go.  I mean, I really wanted to go.  But alas, I admit it was simply not meant to be.  The conference date this year got rescheduled from August to July, smack dab in the middle of summer church camps.  Dutifully (sigh), I decided to keep my priorities straight.  God first.  Posh somewhere down the line.  (sigh)

Summer camps became a summer thing for me more than 30 years ago.  People always tell me to have fun when I get ready for a camp, and I must look at them with that strange, are you an alien from outer space and do understand my language kind of gaze that leaves us all feeling just a little unsettled.  They do realize I’m not going as a camper, right?  It’s not about me having fun; it’s about me pouring out myself in service for others.  I find it fulfilling, not fun-filled.

Yet serving at youth camps does fill my soul.  The friendships garnered over the years enriched my life beyond measure.  They comforted me in an overwhelming way when Alma died, and I count those friends more precious than diamonds or dollars.  The rich comradeship from working on projects that actually go off without a hitch, or well, with very few noticeable hitches, I find more valuable than a paycheck.  And the moments I feel God smiling I count most precious of all.  Like Paul, I count it all joy.

I’m camping this week, but you can bet I’m humming an old country love song in my heart.  And I promise, no sighing!

The Therapeutic Value of Touch

The old saw rings true, “Once a nurse, always a nurse.”  I learned as a youngster the value of touch.  My mother was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis before I ever entered the world, and a rough touch left skin slips or bruises on her fragile skin.  I learned early on the art of grasping without leaving a mark.  I learned as a student in pediatrics that babies denied a loving touch develop a syndrome known as failure to thrive and die without intervention.  A gentle touch became ingrained as a way of life.

I now home school a sweet red-headed grand with freckles and a lovable chuckle.  In almost every way she is a delight.  She’s just…messy!  Very, very messy.  I often wonder how a little girl who loves Fancy Nancy and all things pretty, especially all things that sparkle, can present me such ugly work.

Do overs, extended bouts of penmanship, scolding, praising, nothing fazes her.  Every day I see her becoming more and more entrenched in habits of messiness. Thus I decided one day, after receiving yet another page of abominable handwriting, that radical action be taken immediately.  A campaign was in order.  A gentle undertaking to touch her soul.

pensI added a summer course of calligraphy.  We find character building scriptures on relevant topics and letter them in fancy styles, adding flourishes and swirls, and on her paper, that means a lot of swirls everywhere.  She loves it.  Her calligraphy requires a loving eye in order to offer any praise, but here’s the point:  She invests almost an hour in one line or sentence, which is 59 more minutes normally occupied in writing the same line on any given day.  I offer hope for improvement.

Every parent or grandparent possesses the opportunity to touch the life of a child, and every child needs those loving touches.  This sweetie just lost her daddy, so every hug, every word of encouragement, every smile wrenched out of her situation equals a weighted touch.  So I’m learning to be generous.  Touch a child, your own or another’s, and offer an imprint on a little growing soul.  The soul you bless may one day legislate your Social Security, save your life in an ambulance, or just eat family dinner with you…but trust me, two lives reap the benefit, both now and later.  I encourage you, gentle reader, touch a little life.  You’ll find it therapeutic for everyone involved.