Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bless Our Hearts

6 month old Mark and I needed to run to the store to pick up a few baby items. His parents were out of the country on a mission trip. He and I were on our own mission trip.

Destination Target!

On our way to check out, I cruised by the stationery department. (Next to office supplies, these are some of my favorite aisles.) I was looking for the perfect card when a young woman interrupted me, "Excuse me. May I ask your opinion about something?"

I was expecting her question to be, "Do you think my grandmother could read print this small?"

Instead, she caught me off guard with this: "I see you have your baby with you, and I was just wondering, what kind of world do you want for him, and what should be done about it?"

I quickly scanned her basket to see if she was handing out pamphlets. She obviously had to be asking on behalf of a political candidate, a religious cult, or Amway.

Empty basket. No clues.

I wanted to give her a dollar for thinking I was Mark's mother rather than his Grammy from Miami. But in case hidden cameras were rolling somewhere I decided to take her question at face value and gave this response:

"I don't think I'm as concerned about the condition of the world as I am the condition of his heart. I am praying for him what I prayed for my boys; that whatever happens in his life would draw him closer to the heart of God. That means regardless of his health or the economy or any political situation, his hope would be found in the Lord."

She seemed a little stunned and asked, "Then what should we do about it?"

"We pray." I answered. "I want them to be blessed in every way. But I have seen people with very little by the world's standards be people of great faith. And many of the world's most miserable are those who seem to have it all. What do you think?"

"Uh, same thing." and off she went.

Mark looked at me like, "What was that all about?!"

That was four months ago, and I'm still wondering what that was about.

On this election day I am declaring again, my hope is not in our government. I am not afraid of the outcome. If God chooses to humble our nation as a way to get our attention, then bring it on. The Lord Jesus Christ never said it was all about the economy.

I am so done with one party thinking we are God's gift to our country while spewing hateful e-mails about the other one. One candidate is no more the antichrist than the other one is the savior. I would come up with a new political party if I could think of a catchy name and mascot!

I do want God to bless America. But most of all, I want Him to bless our hearts.

Monday, September 15, 2008

If You Give a Lizard a Magazine...

1. Pray
2. Coffee
3. Make the bed
4. Oatmeal & juice
5. Get dressed
6. Start laundry
7. BSF Moses lesson
8. Gut the pantry and start over
9. Put every single photo in an album or frame
10. Organize absolutely all of the clutter in my life

It has already been a good day and it is only 9 a.m.

This morning I woke up with a mental list of things to do. The longer the list grew, the more convinced I was that I needed to pray out loud before I did anything else. I think Beth Moore wants to shout, "Glory!" (LOVE her.)

The heat and humidity are decreasing to a level that makes it comfortable to have coffee outside. On the way to the kitchen to grab a cup, I noticed a lizard under Drew's ottoman. This time last year I climbed up on the counter until Drew could come home to catch it. Six months ago, I tried to catch one by stepping on it, only to watch it wiggle away while its tail wiggled under my big toe. Today I calmly turned around to the stack of magazines by the love seat and tore off the back cover. I gently moved the ottoman, scooped up the lizard and carried it out the back door, through the lanai and tossed it in the bushes, while praying out loud, "please don't jump on me, please don't jump on me..." (#1, check!)

Hearing the back door open brought Pavlov's ducks in from the pond. In May we had a sweet little mallard family of six that we fed for fun. They invited the neighbors and the number doubled. A few weeks later it doubled again. This morning I stopped counting at 60, and that didn't include the black ducks with red heads or the little white birds with long peckers.

As I walked back inside for bread, I realized how large the magazine stack had grown. After I chucked magazines and catalogs and lizards (#10, check!) I saw a Women of Faith devotional book that Joan had given me last year for my birthday. I carried my coffee, (#2, check!) book and yesterday's cinnamon roll (sorta #4, check!) out to my chair. The ducks wanted seconds. My conscience was clear.

I sat. I prayed. (#1, check!) I read. I counted squirrels and other critters in my view. I decided to come upstairs and blog it all down so I would remember this sweet morning.

Something happened to the SAVE NOW button and the draft was NOT auto saved. I spent the next hour trying to recover it. (#1, check!)


So, I got dressed, (#5, check!) took Drew to the airport, came home and finished my lesson for Wednesday. (#7, check!)

Now I am trying to recreate what I wrote this morning. I keep thinking it was more profound than this.

I hear Monday Night Football starting downstairs and the Cowboys are playing... (#1, check!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Color Committment

I think my life would be simpler if I had a signature color.

If you ask me what my favorite color is, I'd probably say...it depends. Am I wearing it or decorating with it? Is it a purse or a Sharpie? These things matter to me.

I still go back to my childhood of shopping for school clothes and supplies. None of this 'if the shoes fits, buy it in every color' business. We got one pair, and it had to go with everything.

My friend Debbie has a signature color. Pink. She goes for it every time. Looks darling wearing pink. Tastefully splashes pink around her Florida home. Her business/website is www.pinkfloridathreads.com. Think Debbie...Think pink.

We had a surprise party for Karen when she turned 30. The theme was, "The Lady in Red". We all wore red boas and toasted her with red champagne. Her master bedroom is elegant and bold and red. Come to think of it, Karen is elegant and bold, too! Love that lady in red.

And then there's everyone's favorite man in black, Randy. Simplified his life and laundry by going with black. Black socks, black pants, black shirts, black shoes. You get the idea. I doubt if he held color swatches up to his complexion to see if he was a winter or summer, but he chose to go with black and I celebrate his monochromatic theme.

I have the Brian Regan dilemma of having too many favorites. Grape or cherry? They're both favorites. That's not all bad, but it's frustrating when I get down to having to make a choice. Maybe I just don't want to hurt the other colors' feelings.

Orange is not my favorite color. Neither is purple. Or yellow. Don't hate 'em, just wouldn't choose something that color if I had the choice of red or pink or blue. I would have said 'not green' until they brightened it up and paired it with black and I love that green.

Last week I sent stickers to some of my little friends back in Texas. Emery (3) asked her mother what my favorite color was. Karen wasn't sure, so Emery chose the red one to wear in my honor.

Just like that, she picked red. I would still be there trying to decide between red, or pink or blue. Then you've got your gold and silver...

I can't handle the pressure!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Stop the Paparazzi

Somebody stop the madness.

I love a good photo-op as much as the next photographer. I have some candid shots of Matt & Scott that I treasure and plan to use as entertainment for the grandchildren someday.

But a few weeks ago, I saw something that was totally over the line. It was the cover of a tabloid with the caption "Celebrity Cellulite". There were photos of celebs from the neck down and they were not pretty. I guess they identified them in the article, but it just made me mad. And it wasn't even my cellulite.

So, I have a solution. I may need to have lunch with George Clooney to hammer out all the details, but basically it goes like this; Get the well paid high profile celebs to generously fund a group of photographers (me and some of my camera happy friends) and pay us to photograph the paparazzi's mothers in unflattering situations.

I've seen the celebrities take a camera and take photos of the paparazzi. Doesn't phase them. But let me get a photo of their mamas in bikinis on the beach, and I'm telling you this outrageous behavior will come to a complete halt. Just call us ...The Stop-a-razzi! (we'll have t-shirts!)

I'm free for lunch next Friday, George. Have your people call my people.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Dear airport sign makers,

ARRIVALS and DEPARTURES ... is that your best stuff?

So far, every time I drive to the airport, I am arriving.
I may be arriving to pick up someone or arriving to drop off someone but, hello...
I'm always arriving.

Maybe they should require experience in elementary carpool signage before one gets promoted to airports.

Try DROP OFF and PICK UP, and then maybe I wouldn't have to go around and around so many times before I get it right.

On behalf of the millions of us who could avoid a panic attack if we didn't have to make that last minute decision, I thank you.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Many Not So Happy Returns

I have a love/hate relationship with Target.

Love to shop there. Hate to return anything there.

On September 1st, 2005 we spent Labor Day cleaning out our garage.I know that because it was the day I walked out of the Allen store vowing never to shop at Target again.

I had tried to return an unopened, $100 Target brand, shelf unit without the receipt. I had bought it on sale, and it was still in stock and on sale. I wasn't expecting to get cash back. I knew the merchandise credit would be spent within the week so I didn't mind lugging the thing back to the store in the 100 degree heat.

Turns out, they had a new return policy and I could only return it for something in the same department. I knew it wasn't the employee's fault so I asked to speak to a manager. Then I asked to speak to her manager. I wanted someone to explain to me why they would not issue a store credit. I had them walk me around and show me the boundaries of the shelf department. There was nothing I needed on those 2 aisles and the whole thing made me mad, so I showed them and lugged my big heavy shelf home. In the 105 degree heat.

A month later I found the receipt and took it back; still heavy and in stock and on sale only to be told that my receipt had expired.

While I was waiting for the manager (!) I called my sister so I could complain out loud to someone and still be in earshot of Target Customer Service employees and guests. It would have been more effective if she had actually answered her phone, but fortunately my improv skills kicked in and I faked a very dramatic conversation with her.

"I'm at Target and I am so upset."

"Because I need to return a box of Target brand shelves and my receipt expired about 2 weeks ago."

"I've never heard of that either. No, they weren't used. I never even opened them."

"I asked them for that and they said I could only exchange it for something in the shelf department."

"I know! It is ridiculous."

"No, I paid cash."

"That's a good idea. There should be one of those forms around here somewhere. If not, I'll just write a letter to headquarters and copy it to my e-mail address list. Maybe if enough of us boycott Target, they will get realistic about their return policy."

"The Allen paper? I guess I could write them, too."

You get the idea.

Between the letter, the fake phone call and hormone replacement therapy I began to walk in forgiveness toward Target. It also helped for Joan to bring me back to my senses by reminding me that we did most of our 12 Days of Christmas shopping there every January when they marked things down 75-90% off.

So my boycott only applies to the Allen Target. I'm sure I was the topic of conversation at their shareholders meeting the following quarter. They miss me. I know they do.

Both of our kids registered for some of their wedding (and now baby) gifts at Target. They are stuck with many duplicate or wrong size items because the gift receipt was not enclosed.

Really, Target? That's how you treat your valued customers? Engaged couples and expectant parents who bring customers into your stores through your gift registry are then assumed to be shoplifters? Don't you have every bit of personal information on them in case you need to track them down? They get one return a year without a receipt and that sounds reasonable to you?

As frustrated as I am with Target, I want to give a shout out to Michael's and Bed, Bath & Beyond for issuing store credit without a retina scan and for taking competitor's coupons, expired or not. They know the majority of their coupon customers need readers to see the fine print, and welcome our business anyway.

I'm generating a list of the best and worse places to shop, return, exchange and use coupons. Make a note next time you have a good experience. But call me if you get messed around.

I'll give you my sister's fake phone number.

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