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!”

 

Who’s Your Favorite Patriot?

Tough question, right?  When I look for a worthy candidate, I’m left scratching my head.  Leadership is like using a catalyst, an agent that causes a chemical reaction when mixed with another compound.  Nothing happens until the catalyst enters the mix.  When our Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia more than 200 years ago to write the Constitution, our population numbered around 3 million, yet six world-class leaders sat among the authors of that historical document.  The mix of those great minds resulted in a document standing the test of time.

Today we number at more than 200 million Americans, and in looking at the explosion of media before us, one would think rock stars, Hollywood icons and quarterbacks serve as present day heroes.  Our world, both locally and abroad, suffers from a drought of great leadership.  With the press so firmly partitioned into bias camps, we find no good way to separate the sheep from the goats, much less ascertain the truth of what takes place, who did what when, or which quote to believe.

Now before you clamor for one public figure or another, realize I speak hypothetically.  No real contest exists.  I am expressing equal disdain for all public figures in every bias camp.  My past vote for candidates remains private.  I bear the utmost respect for the office of the Presidency and the man who serves, whether I count him my favorite patriot or not.  Because I respect the office of the President of the United States do not assume my opposite assignment of villain status to all his naysayers.  None of these dignitaries in any office earned my vote as favorite patriot, so don’t jump on your your high horse too quickly, just take it all at face value.

My candidate for favorite patriot this 4th of July is…the unknown soldier.  He cannot be vilified.  He cannot be microscopically scrutinized for missteps or words inadvertently spoken.  His sole accomplishment lies in the anonymity and totality of his service.  His willingness to give his all without recognition or remuneration or medal of any kind speaks volumes about his character and qualification.  Indeed, he cannot be faulted in any way.

And that’s the real problem, isn’t it?  Everyone feels the need to point fingers, weigh in, assess blame, state an opinion.  Where are our public servants?  Is their conspicuous absence the fault of the press?  The people?  The cowardice of the public servants?  Until we can read a true and faithful report of the real actions and words of a single public figure, gratefully accept the service rendered, politely suggest things to improve the situation, making sure everyone involved feels safe to participate, and at the end of the day we bury our hatchets and sleep peacefully at night, our hero will remain the one unimpeachable candidate resting in an unknown grave.  The Unknown Soldier.  May he rest in peace.  May we find more of his ilk and stature in the days to come.  We desperately need them.

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.

 

Are We Funny, Quirky, or Obsessed?

Isn’t it funny what sticks and what doesn’t?  A little minion at our house absolutely adores Monk.  No day is complete without an episode, or two if at all possible.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  We love that time of day.  Snuggling, laughing together.  And we enjoy our shared jokes, citing Monkisms in the pool, driving to town, doing chores.  Yes, she is obsessed with Monk.

Yet the obsession begins and ends outside the realm of personal tidiness.  Her penmanship?  Not Monkish at all.  Cleaning?  Nope.  Dust bunnies and spider webs never call her name.  Personal hygiene?  Not so much.  We have yet to find a toothbrush she wants to employ.

We each pick and choose where we place our focus, what we adore, what we very conveniently overlook.  I love recipes and meal planning–but I never measure ingredients.  I mean, how important can that be?  I choose what matters to me.  I bet you’re the same way.  Do your little obsessions make you quirky or annoying as all get out?

I believe that quirkiness makes us human, not as a species, but as individuals.  A dog at our house is quirky as all get out too, but while he considers himself human, we rarely inform him otherwise.  No, it makes us human as in flawed, less than perfect, slightly crazy in a good way, as long as we deem our obsessions healthy and productive.

My family thinks I obsess over Posh.  Hmm…I do love Posh.  I am obsessed with the packaging, the quirky product names, its effects on my skin.  It’s also my bread and butter…take that back.  As a side hustle, it serves more as my barbecue sauce.  It seasons and makes our lives richer and more palatable, adding spice to my days.  Is it productive?  Yes, we discovered a little too late this well known fact: You cannot survive on Social Security.  Posh income adds an important contribution to our financial well being. So, yes, I guess I am obsessed with Posh in a good way.  It’s a blessing and a curse.

Sawdust and Wood Shavings

caveat:  this is not a happy post.  Don’t feel obligated to read it, despite the fact that I felt obligated to write it.

It’s been 9 weeks since my son’s death.  I hoped, despite all warning to the contrary, it would be a matter of bouncing back.  No.  I still have a hole in my heart.

During the day when I find myself busy with friends, working my business, dealing with kiddos…I’m good.  It feels like he’s at work.  These activities never included him, so I carry on as if nothing changed.  Yet every evening I listen for his truck.  My head knows things my heart finds irreconcilable.  That rumble never shoots past our house and down the drive to his.  And never will.

Walking down to their house and entering his shop, the wood shavings from his projects no longer litter the floor.  Friends carefully stowed his tools away.  Very few of his things remain in view, yet the house he built bears his fingerprints from the shop to the third floor attic.  And I see him in his wife and children, reciting his favorite sayings and hanging onto his memory for all they’re worth.  These shavings just aren’t the same thing as being able to see him, talk to him, hug him one last time.

Somehow, being a believer makes it harder.  I believe in a loving God.  I know He is a God of purpose and all is meant for good.  Yet in the midst of unbearable sorrow that knowledge brings me no comfort.  Sundays are the hardest.  I unlock the door of my heart in worship and I am undone.

I know anger is a part of the process, yet I feel no anger, so have I not begun to heal?  Such a worrisome thought.  I had more time with my son than many a mother who gets to enjoy a full lifespan…what a blessing!  Yet I never got to say goodbye.  I wasn’t done mothering.  The hole in my heart feels like a gaping wound and perhaps it always will.

It’s Sunday night.  Time to lock things up for the week.  Time to carry on.  Sawdust litters the floor of my heart, Alma John, and I miss you!  I look up at the chair where you plopped down to chat with me several times a week, and you’re not there.  How I wish you were.  Just too much sawdust.

 

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 http://www.madaboutposh.com and click on JOIN.  empower women.JPG

 

Debris

Scraping the debris of life requires concentrated effort.  Sure, I can sail along ignoring issues for a long time, but eventually life looses its fizz and feels flat.  Anxiety mounts. Something feels wrong.  It takes a mental backhoe to dig down to the bedrock of hurts and issues too long ignored.

A daily scrub of introspection eliminates all that.  Yes, just taking time each day to look at my heart and mind circumspectly, leaning against a heavenly measuring stick, keeps my soul squeaky clean.  I like to add some Bible; I’m a huge fan of the Psalms.  The trick lies in finding time.  I am seldom alone, and all these people in and out of the house insist on talking to me!  When the boys were growing up I often hid in the bathroom.  Now that I’m old I pretend I’m napping.  Sometimes it works, but don’t tell them.

I love a scrub in my shower as well.  Posh does scrubs really well.  Eco-beads, bits of loofah, seeds…all kinds of organic action work together to exfoliate and cleanse.  I get those annoying little bumps on my skin–keratosis pilaris if you want the medical term.  A Snarky Bar eliminates them.  Try one.  You’ll thank me later.

scrubby

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 http://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.

pretty

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, 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.

pretty