How to Debunk the Flat Earth Theory

Let me begin by qualifying my blog with the acknowledgement that not very many people subscribe to my little epistles.  Thus the scribblings of an old woman don’t affect all that many of you.  You may find this blog helpful in dealing with loss, but even if you don’t, writing serves as a catharsis for me, and so I write.

I always wondered why the ancients believed in a flat earth.  As a young child I saw hills and valleys and knew the earth held form.  Why didn’t they?  What was wrong with them?  I finally figured it out.

Since Alma’s death, new truths assail me daily.  As an adult, I know that the current life expectancy is a 20th century phenomenon.  The ancients lived with death.  Without antibiotics they lost their children to disease.  With crude hunting tools they lost their mates to hunting accidents.  Their resulting emptiness and flat lives colored their perception of the world.  I totally get it now.  They lived grief stricken lives.

Yet even now death steals loved ones away, stealing our joy in the process.  This weekend another tsunami of grief overwhelmed me.  I suddenly realized birthdays and holidays loomed before me…7 momentous days in the next two months, seven momentous days without Alma.  I felt like someone pulled the plug on my reservoir of joy and I couldn’t stop crying.  I felt empty.  Flat.  Luckily (or unluckily) I was at church when this hit me.

The natural tendency is to pull back.  Isolate ourselves so we don’t cause embarrassment or judgment as yet another wave of grief overwhelms us.  And that is the exact opposite of the approach we should be taking.  I somehow got funneled to the very front row last Sunday, so I was pretty visible and as much as I tried to hide my tears, I’m sure I was a spectacle.  The ministry of my church family, their support and prayers, lifted me over that initial wave.  In the afternoon my oldest son helped us map out a way to get past Alma’s birthday.  You see, it’s people who help us get over losing people.

So my antidote to the flat earth is a simple prescription of love from those closest to you.  If you know someone struggling with grief, just give the poor soul a hug.  Save your words for prayer.  Be the form and substance that lifts a person from the flat earth they are experiencing.  Be a mountain of strength for another.

Is Your Church a Family or a Building?

A church is more than a building.  A synonym for church should be family.  I am soooo incredibly thankful for my church family.  Last weekend we witnessed a piece of heaven descending and it appeared in unlikely looking packages.  Our church hosted a family in-town retreat.  Every family that came participated in meaningful ways, knitting our hearts with chains of fellowship. Palpable love. From hugging babies to squeezing together doing dishes, we felt harmonized by heavenly chords.

retreat1We kicked off the weekend with a pig roast potluck.  Yum!  We also had brisket and hot dogs, so every tummy got full and we packed away enough pulled pork for another family dinner.  The brownie bake-off produced an 8-foot table laden with enough chocolate to make Hershey himself proud.  Haley’s lemon brownies disappeared in a hurry though, so a few non-chocolaholics may reside among us.

Ray and the Wise Guys kept everyone laughing throughretreat3 Holywood Squares.  Their creativity amazed me.  I mean, John the Baptist came with his head on a charger, for heaven’s sake!  What does that tell you?  Vanna White couldn’t be there, so she recommended her cousin Hannah Green.  We live among a lot of ingenious people!

Saturday we enjoyed the spoken word, cake decorating, and classes with personal study guides.  An afternoon virtue walk brought personal ministry.  Recreation proved so enjoyable it was hard to drag folks away from the game boards for pictures.  Colin brought a drone for an aerial picture of us all…what will people think of next?

retreat2The retreat topped off with dinner at the Mountain Top Cafe, a message from BJ, a hayride and campfire.  The artistic talent, musical offerings, spoken ministry and teamwork of the entire branch just put the icing on the cupcake.  Literally.  We all enjoyed Cupcake Mountain.retreat 4

A branch is a family, a really large extended family.  Being in close quarters with everyone participating, made us feel more like a family than ever.  Sure, we have our characters, but what family doesn’t?  We also have enough love to spill over and wash us with joy, so yeah, I love my church family!  A church isn’t a building.  It’s a family.

How to Define the Ubiquitous Term “Friend”

What is it that both frees and horrifies me about Facebook?  For me it’s the mirage of faces and personalities that feel real, that Facebook calls my friends.  In some cases they do represent tangible people I see, love, hug, and know.  Sometimes I scrutinize features and wonder if I’ve ever really brushed shoulders with them.

Yet these intangible entities talk to me, correspond with me and are my friends  My Facebook friends.  Let’s not lose the importance of that distinction.  If some of these people lived next store, went to church with me, or had to eat what I fixed for dinner, the friendship might come to a tragic and untimely end.

The term “friend,” since Monica, Ross, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, and Rachel first graced us with the illusion of relationships that seldom exist, has changed.  Dramatically.  The munchkins at my house struggle sometimes in distinguishing the difference between a friendly acquaintance and a friend.  A friend, a real honest-to-goodness live and in the person friend, cheers for you, cries for you, laughs with you, and hugs you when the hurt spills over and runs down your cheeks.  I enjoy my online friends, but I hope I never lose perspective on how priceless a friend really is.  The 2018 loose definition imposed by the internet concerns me.

Alma’s death crystallized this important concept for me.  The outpouring of support from friends lifted us and still carries us as we try to adjust to the changing landscape of our lives.  I cherish my friends.  I appreciate my Facebook friends.  I’d love to meet each and every one of them.  And call them friends.

An Epic Romance

They met at a reunion in Kirtland, Ohio.  Sylvia said she thought he had the most kissable lips she’d ever seen.  “Grandma!” I exclaimed, shocked and too young to appreciate the gift she was giving me.  ‘Twas love at first sight.  He took her picture and wrote the date on a leaf.  An epic romance.  They married during a drought and guests had no rice to throw on the newlywed couple, so folks improvised with oats instead.  Theirs was an epic romance that made a difference.epic 2

Marriage is hard.  My mother divorced and remarried.  Twice.  Divorced again.  When my own marriage floundered, the example of an epic romance tethered me, and God swooped in to save the day like the real action hero we know Him to be.  After all, Bill and I didn’t promise to always love each other; we promised to always stay together.  Some days we don’t feel the love, we practice it.

We know the statistics.  Fifty percent of all marriages fail, but did you know that the percentage increases in second and third marriages?  That first tendency to throw in the towel sets a couple up for continued failure.  In our country alone, there is a divorce every 36 seconds.  That’s painful to read, isn’t it?  It’s time to stem the tide.

Our children need to see epic romances.  Children whose parents are happily married experience a fourteen percent drop in divorce.  The facts speak for themselves.  Men, always woo your honey.  Ladies, always strive to spoil your honey with kindness.  “A good marriage requires falling in love over and over again…with the same person.” (Mignon McLaughlin)  Perhaps Barbara De Angelis said it best:  “Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb.  It isn’t something you get.  It’s something you do.”  The little things that keep sparks flying are also noticed by little eyes, who are learning about life.  About marriage, about real romance.  About epic romances.

 

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.

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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!

On the Road Again Every Day

Okay, he’s not my favorite recording artist, but my gypsy heart loves embarking on a trip, so I warble the lyrics anyway.  I love every part of a trip.  Packing feels like Christmas.  Pulling out of the drive feels like opening a fresh new jar of apple butter.  The scenery, like a thousand snapping synapses, invigorates my mind.  Coming home to my own bed feels like heaven.

The trick lies in living each day as the ultimate journey, savoring each new experience in the scenery of my life.  Assign new meanings to everyday chores.  Derive excitement from the mundane.  Life lived to the max, pedal to the medal and interspersed with rest areas, creates a well-lived epitaph.  Wring joy from weeding.  Distill pleasure from folding laundry.  Let cooking fuel the imagination, not just the belly.  Mine the gold from the hearts lounging on the couch.  Let the Word serve as the most definitive map of life, and consult it often to stay on course.

We’re traveling this time to visit dear friends.  Desperately in need of talk therapy, this trip serves as a poignant divide between the landscape of grief and the fertile, lush foliage I’ll find at the hearth of a sister of the heart.  My goal transcends safe arrival.  I’m in search of a refreshed outlook, a calm spirit and a comforted heart.  I want to return refueled and road-ready for my crazy life.  Four camps, family dinners, a business where I try to bless others, grands camping out in our living room, little league, and a host of calendar engagements through a full summer require this tune up.  Above all, some very precious people need me at top-notch performance.

So I’m changing the tires on the vehicle my mind drives, realigning my chassis, recharging my batteries, and repacking my treasured memories to fit the current route I travel.  Every day I am on the road of life again.  Every.  Single.  Day.

 

What is a Blog?

Blogging.  I am conflicted about the whole concept of blogging.  On the one hand, it seems like the ultimate self-adulation in a world drunk with selfies.  What possible insight does one lonely blogger offer a society stuffed with too much useless information?  Google any topic and you’ll find a plethora of quotes and articles, and probably spend hours sifting through it all.  Adding to the reams of cacophony seems pointless.  On the other hand, the impulse to write burns within me.

I write for myself.  I write for my business, because I love what I do.  I write because words carry innate power within themselves.  Words sear.  Convict.  Touch.  Hurt.  Heal.  They pose as insignificant chicken scratches, but don’t be fooled.

Oh no, my friend.  Words aren’t just mightier than the sword.  They infuse life and motive into the swing of the sword.  Sentient within the universe lies a Being I call God.  He created words and imparted Himself, His essence into words, leaving them open to the heart and mind of the person who uses them, be it a good heart or an evil heart.

I take these words I pen very seriously.  And so should you.  Because once you read them, the voice in your mind forever retains them, truth and untruth.  My friends, I am honored you read my words.  I promise to write strong words, edifying words, words worthy of your time.

 

Wonder Woman

What’s Real and What Isn’t

Now let’s be honest.  Are mermaids real?  The new Posh line focuses on mermagic…and we all know that mermaids aren’t real…or are they?  An old tale in Women who Run with the Wolves talks about a mermaid who changes skin to live on land, and from it I learned be true to yourself.  The mermaid spoke to me as if she was real.  The lesson was certainly both valued and real.

What is real about the new Posh line is great colors.  Great scents.  Great names.  Lots of glimmer and shimmer.  Great products.  Also real about Posh are thousands of results and satisfied customers.  You see, Posh consultants are all, every last one of them, Posh addicts who love the product so they share it with friends.  Well, friends and family and neighbors and strangers.  Actually, we hoard our favorites.  We have no shame when it comes to Posh.

Posh consultants are nothing like sales ladies at a local drug store or Macy’s or Sephora’s.  We didn’t apply for a job because we wanted a paycheck.  We fell in love with a product and the paychecks came after.  This is an important distinction.  How many women do you know who are so absolutely devoted to their moisturizer and their mask and full product line that they keep six on hand…just in case?  Look at your Posh lady’s stash and you’ll see what I mean.

littlest mermaids

 

It’s mermagic.  Plain and simple mermagic, and even the littlest mermaids at our house love Posh.  Every last one of them.

Empowering Women (and men)

Tip Tuesday is a common theme in Perfectly Posh.  We spend a lot of time helping each other figure out better ways to run our businesses.  Unlike corporate America, where people claw their way to the top, brown nose, vie to get attention and steal the credit whenever they can, Posh pits you only against yourself.  Requirements for advancement are clearly laid out and there’s no glass ceiling, no limit to how many can succeed.  We can all succeed.  Every business owner gauges her own successes, maps out her own path, and competes only against herself.

I like cooperation.  I thrive in a sisterhood of friendship and mutual support.  And in that spirit of support, I decided to offer you my top five tips for being happy at 68.  I consider happiness a bar of success.

#5  Decide to try.  Engagement means exactly the same thing in business and in life as it means in romance.  Put the ring on and commit to your business, to your goals, to what makes you happy.

#4  Decide to smile.  Life’s vexing grievances are better swallowed with a cup of pleasure.  Seriously.  Show some teeth whether you feel like it or not.  I find that the smile ushers in the joy, not the other way around.

#3  Decide to train.  Yup.  Be a life learner.  Pick up new ideas.  Learn a new language.  Study a new topic.  Find a mentor.  In some way, every day, every single day, learn something new.  You’ll be happier sharpening your mind.

#2  Decide to serve others.  Simple, really, just serve people.  Make something easier for someone around you.  If you work with someone, help that person succeed with no sense of self interest, no hope for personal gain.  Just serve someone.

#1  Decide to be consistent.  Daily effort.  Ten minutes or two hours–you decide the amount of effort, but doing something daily to meet your personal goals elevates you in the standings of life.  That consistent effort yields satisfaction, which makes you happy.

Want to work with me?  I’m full of ideas, and I love sharing them with my team!  Go to www.madaboutposh.com and click on JOIN.  empower women.JPG