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.

 

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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.

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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

 

How Do I Spell Potato Skins? YUM

Family gatherings…a time to spoil your peeps with the best food and fun.  My family comes home twice a month for family dinner and I am always excited to have them.  After being gone three weeks, I was over due, so this week it was a highly anticipated event.

The birthday boy requested taco salad, so I of course upped the ante with some home made guacamole.  For an appetizer I decided to try my hand at potato skins…can I just say yummy?  Here’s how I made them:

A day ahead:

  • Fry up a pound of bacon.  When it’s nice and crispy, crumble it up into small bits
  • Dig up some green onions and chop them into thin slices.  Peel a few whites apart for little rounds.
  • Clean and dry your potatoes.  Place each on a square of foil.  Drizzle on some olive oil and roll the potato to coat the surface.  Liberally sprinkle on garlic salt and pepper on every side.  Roll them up and bake until tender.
  • Wash away the onion scent with Gender Bender

That day:

  • Cut each potato in half.  Scoop out some of the potato to save for scrambled eggs.
  • Salt each potato.  Fill with cheese and crumbled bacon.  (I had some bbq pork, but at the last minute decided not to use it.  Not necessary!)
  • Baker at 350 for 15 minutes, add more cheese and bake another 5 minutes.
  • Top with a dollop of sour cream, green onions and the last of the bacon bits.
  • Wash away the onion scent with Gender Bender

We consumed them.  Wait, it’s more accurate to say we inhaled them.  They were great.  I loved every minute of having them home.  First Sundays all the littles have recitals and play us something they’ve learned, so that was a treat.

And if you don’t like the smell of onions on your skin?  That’s right.  Get some Gender Bender.  $9.  It’s a steal!  Go to www.madaboutposh.com and click on COLLECTIONS, click on CHUNKS.  It’s good for just about everything!

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MerMagic…or in other words, lighten up!

mermaid.JPGThe new Posh line tantalizes my senses and my imagination.  Mermaids!  Shimmer and glimmer.  All things cool and bubbly.  Actually, I never wanted to be a mermaid.  After all, I can’t swim.  I know.  I took swim lessons many a summer, but always dropped out when I got sunburned.  I excel at holding onto the side and kicking.

That doesn’t stop me from being a Posh mermaid, though!  A sparkling face wash, a shimmery scrub–wowsers!  Here’s the thing.  We take life too seriously.  We need to lighten up.  Posh keeps me smiling while offering me the best skin care on the market.

Intentionally smile today.  Tell a joke.  Put a grin on a post-it note memo.  Skim right through those Facebook texts screaming about the next scandal, and post instead something that edifies.  The mood in America fluctuates between gloom and volatility, and you never know what will spark the next hullabaloo.

It’s up to you.  It’s up to me.  Intentionally lighten the discourse and the burdens of those around you.  In turn, you’ll feel a lightening in your own soul.  I may be just one person, but I will be one person who lightens my own little corner of the world.  I just happen to do it with style and glimmery Posh.  Want some?  Go to www.madaboutposh.com.  mermagic

Show Some Teeth

One of the most charming things about Paris proved to be their language.  I speak none of it.  Well, take that back.  I went knowing bonjour, bonsoir, merci, and thanks to The Little Mermaid, la poisson.  I now know how to ask for the check.  But I never tired of listening to it.

We stayed at a hotel with only  two English television channels, one dedicated to sex and the other to violence.  How do they view us, anyway?!!  We spent a great deal of time offering our own subtitles to French TV.  We were never accurate, but far more entertaining, if I do say so myself.

Yet, despite all the obvious language barriers, we thrived.  We found our way around.  We ordered food, a lot of food.  We enjoyed Paris.  We discovered the universal language of a smile speaks volumes.  These lovely people stopped, helped, and smiled back when presented with a smile.  Countless people, since we were always lost, who were busy running errands or heading to appointments took time to give us directions and help us on our way.  A delightful wait staff proved ever helpful.  We’d heard they didn’t like Americans.  That was not our experience.  What they liked were smiles.  Of course, I gave away a lot of Posh as thank yous.  They always smiled back.

I wonder what life in the good ole’ USA would be like if people smiled more.  Landing in New York, we found subcultures of people who also didn’t speak English.  They also were busy running errands and heading to appointments, but we found them far less friendly.  The national dialogue polarizing us filters into the mindset of a nation thriving on contention.  Like nothing else, a smile brightens a countenance and energizes a relationship.  It’s a universal way to engage others and create a happy space between two people.  I’m thinking we need more smiles.  Definitely.  Show a few teeth today, and see if you can get someone to smile back.

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