Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Behind the's where life is lived!

Did you ever think that just about everything we do is a presentation for someone?  An academy award winning performance that you may or may not be applauded for, but certainly noticed, held accountable for, whispered about or at best, ignored.

I was thinking about this when I was helping daughter Madison prepare for her drivers test.  All the months of learning and practice boiled down to a 20 minute drivers test that would subjectively be determined by luck of the draw - depending on which examiner she was assigned.  The young man who checked her in (HE WAS 21 YEARS OLD) was one of the examiners.  Seriously, four years older than Madison.  He pointed out which guy graded harder (the one with the ponytail that looked all of 25, versus the older woman that spoke English as a second language.  Our cheerful informant was just working the desk that day.  I won't tell you who Madi drove with, but she did pass.

Does it look that hard??
I know I have mentioned before that I have rekindled my interest in knitting (spoiler alert - Merry Christmas to many family members).  Lately, I have become bolder in my attempts at different projects and am not shy about trying difficult stitches and patterns until I get them right.  My mom also knits and every time we have a new family member (birth or marriage) she knits a Christmas stocking for them.  She had joked with me that I would soon be ready to test my talents with one of the stockings.  I thought, "sure, why not".  Well, let me show you why not.  As shown with the beginning of Averie's stocking, it may not look like rocket science when you view what the world will see, but take a gander "behind the scenes" and look at that nightmare going on in all directions.  I AM NOT READY FOR THAT.

So that brings me to real life and I wonder how many times we have been guilty of looking at what we see as the "finished product" of our family, friends, strangers on the street, and assume we know how easy they must have it.  On the outside, everything looks like things are coming together for them; relationships, work, money, kids, health, etc.  But that is all we may ever see.  We have no idea the real life living going on "behind the scenes".  From now on, I am going to work on thinking less about the "presentation" and give more consideration to what could be a tangled nightmare that I know nothing about.

Flip-side...There are no words.....
And that's what I know for sure.  Things aren't necessarily as they seem - not for me, or for anyone else.  We are always preparing for our next production - and the next one may be for you.

Until next time.


your pal.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Every cookie has its price.

I can go for extended periods of time without eating sweets, until I am eating them several times daily.  Does anyone else know what I am talking about?  And keep in mind, I am selective about what I will binge on.  If I buy store bought cookies, they will sit in the pantry until I throw them out. (they are just not binge worthy)  I bought a huge bag of jolly ranchers about three months ago and still am working off that same bag.  But, let there be peanut M&M's in the house and I am like a rabid addict, once started, can't stop.  Even worse....candy corn.  If I break down and buy a bag, I know that once it is opened, I might as well resign myself to eating most of it in one sitting (even as I feel sick), just to get it out of the house.

I was wondering where this behavior came from.  Especially since I am so particular in what will draw me in.  I think I had a glimpse into my madness when I was eating a oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (did I say singular - HAHAHAHAHA) and thought to myself, I need to hide these or Terry will eat the rest of them.  The good news was, I didn't hide them and even more good news...I had a "recovered" memory.

Chief negotiator and crew
When we were growing up, Mom had the pleasure (and I use the term loosely) of trying to instill a fair allocation of EVERYTHING amongst five children - all very close in age.  There was no special advantage to birth order since five in six years tends to level the playing field.  We took turns for everything.   We divided everything and we split everything.  Let me give some examples.

We all had chores which we were assigned weekly by the days of the week.  We each had our own day of the week (Mom always had Saturday and Sunday).  Not only did you have the chore that went with your day of the week but you got to sit in the front seat on your day of the week, and have first pick of TV shows on your day.  Obviously, no one worried about child height/weight/age for front seat safety back in those days!  And if you had Monday one week, you would have Tuesday the next and so on and so forth.

My brother and I loved to bake.  If we made a double batch of cookies (and made them small) we could usually get around 72 cookies out of that batch.  After they cooled, we would take the total number made, divided by six and put the cookies in six baggies - marked with our names on them.  Katy used to hide her stash.  I am sure mine never lasted that long.  We didn't fight over the special treats, Mom made sure of that.  We just divided them.

On Saturdays (Mom's day), before the Lawrence Welk show came on (and probably just to keep the complaining down), Mom made popcorn and allowed us to each share a 16 oz. bottle of Pepsi.  The rule was, whoever did the pouring, the other party got first picks.  We learned about fair share and fairness at a young age in our household.

Banana Bread
But perhaps one thing that isn't readily apparent  was a life long lesson  learned early on - negotiation skills.  Halloween night was like the New York Stock exchange with every one's treasures poured out and bidding going on that became more sophisticated, the older we got.  Ahhh, those were the days!

All I know is, some of my best childhood deals started out with "if you give me one of your cookies...."

Until next time,


Your pal,


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What do you get when you wonder and worry?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and while our immediate family has been fortunate and escaped this particular type of cancer, we have not been untouched by the cruelties and suffering brought on by the sudden onset of this disease,  Many of our close friends, and extended family members have had to deal with this diagnosis and have heroically braved the battle.  And while many have won the initial skirmishes, not all have won the war.

While we know intimately the women who are waging the front-line battles, many times forgotten are the little heroes behind the scenes.  The children of these brave women who often are left "wondering and worrying" what will happen to their mothers - perhaps not understanding the full diagnosis, treatment plan, side affects, etc., basically the journey their mother is about to embark on.   This is true for any child whose parent is suffering a life threatening illness (be it dad or mom) but October in particular brought it to mind for me.  And we all know, parents worry about their children and what can be done for them.

Serving Austin and surrounding areas, one of the best kept secrets that needs to be spread is an organization called Wonders and Worries.  This group serves children who may have a parent diagnosed with a serious illness.  This group serves children regardless of the parent's ability to pay because that is the last thing a seriously ill parent needs to worry about at this point.  This organization has so many success stories of children and parents coping and surviving what can be a family's darkest hour.

I have had the honor of serving on the board of Wonders and Worries for the past eight months now and I continue to be amazed at the great work being done by a caring staff relying solely on donated dollars.  I know charitable giving is very personal and everyone has limited dollars to give but I would encourage you to visit the website:

Read firsthand  what has been done and continues to be done in and around the community.

For all of you who have or are struggling through a life threatening illness, particularly those of you with children - you are my shero (or hero).  Know that if you are in Austin, there is help available for you.  If you are in other locations, please look and see if there are other resources available.  God's blessings to you all!

Until next time,

your pal,


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What did we take pictures of.....before Selfies?

I had dinner tonight with my 17 year old daughter Madison, and her boyfriend Robert.  Wait, he didn't actually join us but I felt like he was there because Madi was busy "snapchatting" him while we waited for our meal.  Okay, and during our meal until I told her I didn't want to spend the entire evening in the restaurant.

I shouldn't assume that everyone knows what "Snapchatting" is.  This is an app on smart phones and tablets that allows you to take pictures of yourself and send them IMMEDIATELY to whoever you are "Snapchatting" with.  This can be one person or many.   You do this instead of talking or texting because we all know a picture is worth a thousand words.  Even pictures received at the rate of 3 per minute.  It's like a tennis match with pictures being volleyed back and forth until someone's face falls off from fatigue. 

The benefit of pictures versus words - words, if not chosen wisely, can leave an ugly mark and these are sight unseen.  Con - you can write words on the Snapchat so caution should be exercised at all times when combining the two.

Notice the countdown
Another benefit of Snapchat , the picture only lasts for a matter of seconds and then it disappears forever.   Downside:  A wily recipient can screensnap the photo if done really quickly (sorry Marissa, I needed an example),  Don't quote me on this, but screensnaps are frowned upon in several states.  

Snapchatting is not to be confused with "selfies".  Selfies are when you take pictures of yourself in various poses, pouts or places and share them with proclamations of praise, prose, or prattle generally to invite solidarity, commentary, or both.  (I feel fairly certain that some people are unaware that the camera lens would exist for any other purpose).  Selfies need no special app - you just point the phone at yourself and presto - you have taken a picture of yourself.

If you are really savvy, you will then check out what apps you can download to take that unfiltered shot and enhance the naked photo with the best lighting possible, perhaps eliminate any unfortunate red-eye and crop out any unnecessary clutter in the background.  You can create your own backgrounds to create a theme for the portrait (picture seems so tame now) that you are creating.

Just for fun you can download many other apps - though these are the ones you use when you save pictures of other people.  They have apps for what a person would like like when he/she is  xxx amount of years older,  or were xxx amount of pounds heavier.  Those are always fun for a few laughs.

And so many venues to post whatever you want to call the photos these days.  I never get it right and Madi corrects me all the time,  If I say snapshot, it's supposed to be screenshot (I think) or if I say picture of you - I really meant selfie.  I think you catch my drift.  But back to venues -obviously you can email or text pictures (old school and so limiting).  There is Facebook (where all your friends and friends of friends) can see, depending on settings.  Don't forget Instagram and Twitter.  I am sure there are more that I don't know about, because it's hard enough to try and keep up with those.

Don't get me wrong, I do love all the pictures and technology is amazing.  And now if you want  a picture of just about anyone - there is no short supply.  I chuckle when I think of our family pictures we have posed for in the past, but I also remember how much joy and planning went into those photographs, especially when we were doing the pictures as a Christmas surprise for someone.  

This is what I do know - I want every picture of my grandkids...and I don't care who is taking them.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What do you do with the loose ends?

Adorable, right?
Recently I have started knitting again. This is something I learned to do when I was in grade school and belonged to 4-H.  (Does that club still exist?)   I have picked up the needles from time to time over the years but I admit, it has been MANY years since I have taken the time to really enjoy choosing a project and completing it.  My daughter gave me a starter set for my birthday this year (her birthday is today-HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARISSA) and I promptly knitted a hot pad.  The first one looked more like a Chief's arrowhead, but I quickly got back in the swing of things and have been very successful since.  Guess who my inspiration has been??

One thing that comes with any knitting project is loose ends.  At first, I didn't know what to do with them.  Erroneously, I thought one should just cut them as close to the finished piece as possible.  This would be WRONG.  If you clip a loose end short (and hope for the best) at some point in time, it runs the risk of coming unraveled.  This is because you haven't dealt with it properly.  A loose end must be woven into the finished piece so that it becomes a PART of the piece.  I had to buy a tapestry needle and learn how to do this, but it was really quite easy. 

Blest be the tie that binds.
It made me think of all the loose ends we have in our life.  Some of these we create on our own - and we can leave them dangling for quite some time.  Maybe looping around to revisit them from time to time, never quite finishing the work as it was meant to be but always having a knitted stitch where a purl should be in the pattern of what was and what is. 

And then there are the loose ends that happen suddenly - no warning and many times caused by no act of our own.  Now we too are left dangling, caught off guard and holding on tightly to this thin piece of thread.  Wondering how this rough interruption happened in our planned piece of work we call life. 

So many things I don't know, but this is what I do:  Sometimes we wonder if we will survive at all but  we must remember; the loose end cannot be cut lest we unravel completely.  All loose ends, good, bad or indifferent, must be woven into the tapestry of our life so they become a part of who we are and not just who we are.   

Until next time,

your pal,

It's never too late to do the "right" thing

Even this is my opinion! What is "the right thing"?  Many times over the years, I have heard people say "I want to do the...