Monday, March 31, 2008

I Love Mondays

At least the Mondays that I get stuff done. And the Mondays when I get a good Sunday night's sleep. And the Mondays when the weather is great. And the Mondays when I get a fish burrito for lunch. And the Mondays I can still walk after a Sunday half-marathon. And the Mondays when everything seems copacetic.

Today was one of those Mondays when all of the above happened. Today was a great Monday.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

March Half Marathon - Atlanta, Georgia - CHECK!!

I did it! I managed to wog my way through another 13.1 miles, even though last night I was really beginning to stress about it. Today's race didn't turn out exactly as planned, though.

It started around midnight last night. Steve started complaining about his stomach hurting. He couldn't seem to get comfortable. After about 30 minutes, I prayed that God would heal him and make him feel better. God answered my prayers, and about ten minutes later and after an extensive session in the bathroom, Steve had managed to get rid of whatever bug had infiltrated his system. Needless to say, he was extremely weak, and was no longer viable for being my pacer in the race.

While Steve felt a minuscule bit better, sleep did not come easily for either of us the rest of the night. I probably got about 15 minutes an hour for the next few hours. I was already insecure about the race, and not having adequate sleep made my anxiety worse. Finally, I prayed again that if God thought I shouldn't do it, that He would let me know. Amazingly, I begin to feel a calm about the race and had no more doubts.

Finally, at 5am, I decided to go ahead and get up. Our hotel was about a 5 minute walk to the start of the race. Although the race wasn't scheduled to start until 7am, I figured if I got out of the room, Steve would have a chance to rest better. So, I put on my short-sleeved race shirt, my Capri wog pants, my shoes with timing chip. and my socks. I grabbed my bag of cheerios and headed out the door. I sat in the lobby for awhile and started talking to Deborah from Athens, until we decided to head out for the race.

Saturday's high had been in the 70s. Apparently winter was not through with Atlanta, because the temperature outside at 6am was in the low 40s. It was cold. I managed to stay warm by standing in the middle of the crowd, and eventually pulling my arms inside my shirt. Finally, as we were inching toward the start line (I was at the back of the 14,000 runners), I saw a black plastic bag (used to keep somebody warm) that had been discarded. I grabbed it and wrapped it around my arms, and managed to stay warm for the first few miles. It did warm up to the mid 40s during the race (still COLD) with no sun and a brisk COLD wind, but I eventually got warm - about an hour after we were in the car headed back to Nashville.

Considering my athletic condition for this race, I did pretty good. I finished in 3 hours, 11 minutes, which isn't my best time, but it's within my current average. To give you some perspective, the female winner of the FULL marathon, twice what I did, finished in 2 hours and 41 minutes. Whatever.

Anyhow, aside from Steve's illness and the cold, it was a good weekend. Tomorrow I start trying to really develop some kind of plan for getting healthy. When we were returning last weekend from Oakland, I checked a piece of luggage that weighed 44 pounds, an amount I need to lose (for starters). I thought about how heavy the suitcase was, and realized that is what I am carrying around on my body. So, it's time to get serious.

After all, I have a half marathon to do April 26!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Can't Believe I'm Doing It Again

Wogging thirteen point one miles tomorrow, that is. I am so far into denial I think I am going to be sick. I have no idea how I'm going to do it, but I am going to try. I don't know why I am going to try to do it, except that it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I had great plans since my last half-marathon on February 17. I was going to train, lose weight, and cut minutes off my time. Instead, I have wogged a wittle bit, gained weight, and am thankful that I have seven hours (the limit for the full marathon tomorrow) to finish.

So where does this leave me? I hope to do my best tomorrow, and to do my best after that to train properly. Will I succeed this time? I hope so. I really want to get better in these races, which means to wog more of the distance in less time. In doing so, I hope to lose weight and feel better. But to do this, I have to get serious.

So tomorrow I will go out again, not trained as well as I should be and not in as good a shape as I should be. I will take it easy with the intent to finish. On Monday, I will start again with the intent to achieve my half-marathon goals.

I guess that's the good thing about goals - you can start achieving them at any minute. It's just time for me to start to pursue mine.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Just Another 13.1

This afternoon we will be headed to Atlanta, probably arriving around 10pm. Tomorrow we will do a little IKEA-ing, race expo-ing, and noth-ing. Sunday I will wog 13.1 and head back to Nashville, hopefully arriving before dark.

The Georgia Marathon is one I haven't done before. This means a new course for me, and not knowing what lies each mile ahead or around every corner. But there's a full marathon going on at the same time, so I have plenty of time to finish.

Am I ready for another half-marathon? Not so much, but I keep hoping I will learn my lesson and begin to seriously train. Maybe if I can just get through this one ....

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Knowing how you must wonder how my life stories play out, today I thought I would update you:

#1. The Snake Saga. I dutifully went to Home Depot today in search of snake repellent. After fifteen minutes of looking at varmint poison, I finally found the desired snake product. A passing consumer even vouched for this particular brand of snake-be-gone (the only one on the shelf). However, after carefully reading the label, I found that (a) it probably would not work on the type of snake I may have (according to the snake name given to me by Landscaper Matt), and (b) if I put it in the wrong place, basically the snake will get confused and stay where he and his clan are presently located. Consumer Man said he was also told that one could go to a farm and tack store (or someplace that sounds like it) and get some logs with creosote or something on them, cut the logs up, and place them around the supposed snake place because when the snake rubs up against the cut-up-creosote log, he gets burned. So why would the snake rub up against it anyway? Needless to say, the snake saga continues, much to my dismay.

#2. The Happy Day Theory. I still had a happy day today, I just got very little done. Oh well, at least it was happy!

#3. My belly measurement for a healthy heart, according to the Cheerios (yes, the cereal) website. This morning I showed Molly the exercises that I hope to start one day to eventually get to this "maximum" waist size. Since I was in danger of breaking a hip if I continued to attempt those positions, Molly modified the exercises a bit. Now all I have to do is start them. But not today. Instead I decided to eat all the Reese's peanut butter cups that Maribeth bought on sale at Walgreen's. I don't think it helped my waistline, though.

#4. Training for the Georgia Half Marathon, to be held on Sunday. Didn't train today. I am pretending I am "tapering", a term used by people who really train. In that case, then I will also say that I was "carbo-loading" when I inhaled the Reese's peanut butter cups. I'm not sure what I will be saying on Sunday!!

#5. My revived laptop. For the most part, it is working better. I just had to purchase a bunch of new software to replace all the outdated stuff. I also had to change printers because Dell and Sony are apparently enemies. Also, Molly saved all my stuff to an external something or other, which now only whirrs when I plug it in. She was supposed to come over and check it out, but I think she ran out of aspirin, which she needs lots of when the three of us get together - me, her, and my computer.

I guess that's all the updates for now. Tomorrow I will head for Atlanta. Hopefully over the weekend, the snake will leave and take his homies with him, my days will still be happy, I will start the belly exercises and achieve my ideal measurement by Sunday, I will complete the half marathon in record time (for me) and still be alive and walking, and my laptop will continue to do its thing.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Days

Some days are happy days.

Maybe it's because something good happens. Maybe it's because something bad didn't happen. Maybe nothing happened, period. But whatever the state of happening, it was a happy day.

Maybe the weather is beautiful and you got outside and enjoyed it. Maybe the weather was stormy and you stayed inside under the covers. But whatever the weather, it was still a happy day.

Maybe you spoke to no one the entire day. Maybe you didn't shut up the entire day. Maybe you were alone all day, or maybe you couldn't find a place to be alone all day. But no matter how many bodies you encountered (or not), it was still a happy day.

For me, today was a happy day. I've had contact in many different ways with people I love, I've experienced wonderful results of things I've accomplished, and I've enjoyed that feeling that comes from your heart that says, "It is indeed a beautiful world."

Happy Days - I pray yours will be that tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Too Much Information?

I don't like surprises. I especially don't like scary surprises, like the one that Matt the Landscaper told me about today. He was showing me what his team had accomplished, then happen to mention that they had found a 3-4 foot snake in one of the front flower beds. He also said that he thought it was a copperhead. These were not comforting words to me. The word "snake" is bad enough, but to further identify it in such threatening terms was certainly not helpful.

So, the question remains - was I better not knowing in the first place? Was this information too much information?

There was little chance of my working in the flower beds, but it is a possibility - or should I say was. Now I have to consider that maybe the snake will get tired of the shade and want to work on its tan on my front sidewalk. Maybe it will want to tour the inside of my house and sit by my back door. Maybe it will decide to become people-nivorous and bite me, thus ending my illustrious half-marathoning career. Maybe it will invite all its snake friends to my house and this will become snake heaven.

So, maybe it is good that I know about this group of snakes (because as Matt said, "We didn't get a chance to kill it. It probably was a baby and went back down in its hole, but you know if it's a baby,there's bound to be a mama and daddy somewhere. Thanks, Matt). Maybe it's good information because now I will become a educated predator with the goal of murdering this family via snake deterrent (whatever that is - Matt said I could get some at the store - I guess the Snake Deterrent Store).

Therefore, tomorrow I shall be at Home Depot learning all about snakes and how to deter them from my yard, but the question remains - when is information too much information?

I don't know, but this bit of information I would appreciate knowing - how will I know when the snake and its family and friends are gone?

Monday, March 24, 2008


Busy, busy, busy. The book I've had reserved from the library finally became available. I got 8 miles in, which is good since I'm planning to do 13 next Sunday in the Georgia Half-Marathon. I got back to Curves after a week, which is good, since I found out today what my waist measurement should be (no comment). I got a few packages mailed which hopefully will bring a smile to the recipients. I got a shower, washed some clothes, and cooked supper.

Aren't Mondays great!?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Blessing of Resurrection

Today is Easter, the sole reason for my faith, because it is the day I celebrate my victory over death. Yes, it's my victory because Jesus Christ died and rose alive again, providing a way for me to live eternally. Every day I understand a little more what that means.

I once thought that eternal life began once I died on this earth. It wasn't until recently that I fully realized that because I have accepted God's eternal promise through Jesus Christ, eternal life begins now, this very moment. This moment just continues forever. Life isn't on hold until I draw my last breath - it has begun and will never end. It just changes attributes. Once upon a time, I was an infant; I've now grown to middle-age, and one day I will live happily ever after in Heaven.

Now that spring is officially here, I begin to look at the plants in my yard. Some survived the winter, some didn't, and some are in question. But that's another example of eternal life, because just as my plants are in all stages of life, so are we. What may look dead on the surface, may not be; and even if it is dead to us, it was once alive and will be again in another fashion.

My life has had a lot of twists and turns. There have been days of indescribable joy and days of inconsolable loss. But the gift of eternal life makes it all make sense. Any day is one of a countless number - which makes them all the more valuable because each day builds on the previous, whether it was a good day or not.

I guess what I'm trying to say it that at 50, some things are finally beginning to make sense (thanks to prayer, patience, and a good therapist). I know where I've been and I know what's ultimately ahead; the important thing is recognize each day that I have as the gift that it is.

That's the blessing of resurrection - knowing without a doubt that each day means life - eternally.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Home Again!

Our week-long vacation in Carmel has to come to an end. We stayed in Oakland last night so we could catch the early non-stop back to Nashville. It was a great vacation - Steve played golf everyday and I wrote and read and edited. I think we both enjoyed what we did.

It's nice to be home again. It's nice to sleep in my own bed. It's nice to unpack and wash clothes and sit in a soak in my own bathtub. For me, that's a nice thing about vacation - coming home.

Now, if Shaggy the Cat will just let me sleep tonight, it will be the perfect ending to a great vacation.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Tale of Two Ladies With No Names

Today I had to say goodbye to the housekeeping lady at the resort. I really tried to get her name today - (okay, I didn't try hard enough). I met her the second day we were at the resort, and was in the room every time she came in to clean (okay, so I didn't get out much). Anyhow, we chatted as she did her thing. She was very sweet, and I think it gave us both a lift for those few minutes. Today she said, "I will be very sorry when I come back on Monday and you aren't here." I responded by telling her how much I appreciated talking with her every morning. I feel really blessed for having met her.

On the other hand, back in Nashville, Molly was having her own encounter with a nameless lady. Last night she and nine of her friends were having a surprise party (at Molly's house, which we own) for a friend. Around ten o'clock they went outside to her carport to bash a pinata. A few minutes later, the next-door nameless neighbor lady came over, threatening to call the cops if they weren't quiet. This is the same neighbor lady that threatened to call the cops when Maribeth had gotten a new puppy who wouldn't stop barking (this was the day she brought it home - she wouldn't even give him a chance). I'm not saying that Molly and friends weren't loud - maybe they were and maybe the lady (lives alone, middle-aged, no kids) goes to sleep early. I'm just wondering if calling the cops is the first thing to do if you're trying to meet the neighbors. Molly has lived in the house three years, and the only times she sees this woman is when she is threatening to call the cops? Luckily for mean lady, the neighbors on the other side of Molly have 3 kids, and are usually up until 2 am.

I guess there's no real moral to this story. We all have our nameless ladies that can either be the bright spots or low points in our lives. Maybe they are put there for a reason - to teach us something, to bless our lives, or just to make our lives a little better or more interesting.

I know why the cleaning lady was a part of my life - I'm sure Molly would like to know the reason for hers!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring

Today is the first day of spring. I will delay my celebration until May 1, when I shall be celebrating here. Is there a better place to celebrate?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Tomorrow!

According to Holidays on the Net, every day is a day to celebrate. Just to give you the heads-up, here is a list of what you should be celebrating tomorrow:

Thursday, March 20th:

Absolutely Incredible Kid Day
Companies That Care Day
Great American Meatout
Maundy Thursday
Holy Thursday
National Agriculture Day
Ostara (Wiccan)
Purim (begins at sundown - Jewish)
Proposal Day
Spring Begins
Vernal Equinox
Snowman Burning
Ta'Anit Ester (Fast of Esther - Jewish)
Birthday - Fred "Mr." Rodgers (children's host)
Independence Day (Tunisia)

Looks like tomorrow will be very busy, so I guess I'd better hurry and go to bed!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thank You For Your Opinion - Now Please Shut Up

Yesterday as I was starting to wog on the treadmill at the resort fitness center, the lady next to me started talking. I had already turned on my Ipod, but she started talking to me anyway. We exchanged pleasantries, and she proceeded to tell me in great detail about her recent vacations and about her family.

I happened to mention that Molly's major was political science and that she supports Barack Obama. Apparently that set off some nerve in this woman, because she then proceeded to tell me how I should tell Molly to research Mr. Obama because he is a liar, has been bought, and is being marketed.

She continued to discuss her political views on Mr. Obama even after I said, "Well, that's what's so great about America - we are free to vote for whomever we wish." Finally, during a 15-second quiet spell, I crammed my Ipod earplugs in my ears and she finally took the hint and stopped talking.

I respect this woman's right to her opinion. I respect her right to express her opinion. I respect her right to try to convince others of the correctness of her opinion. But I draw the line at her attempting to berate me because my daughter also has an opinion.

My real regret is that Molly wasn't there to go one-on-one with this woman. That would be one quick debate I would gladly sit through!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Why I Fly on Airplanes

There are many things I could say about flying on an airplane. The most important thing is that I don't like it. I flew for the first time when I was a teenager, and maybe a few more times before I flew eight months pregnant with two preschoolers in tow. After that experience, I didn't fly again for fourteen years.

When we started our family, it was easy not to fly. We certainly didn't have the money for plane tickets, even if we could have mustered up vacation money. The only vacations we took were back home to see family, and with three children, the car was the only way to go. Even after I started working, and we had an extra penny or two, I still drove rather than fly.

Finally, in 2000, flying again was one of my goals for that year. I did get on the plane and fly to Disney World (there was no other place worth flying to). Since then, I have managed to keep flying. Last May, when Maribeth, Molly, and I floated across the Atlantic to Spain (on the Disney Magic, of course), I knew I had two options - stay in Europe for the summer and float back home on the return cruise, or fly home. I flew, helped mightily by an upgrade to "fancy class" by British Airways.

What's the point of this post? The point is why I continue to get on planes. It is not courage on my part. It is not because I like it. It is not because I get places fast, although that is a bonus. I get on planes because I have faith in God that He is with me.

Does He promise me safety? No. Sometimes I even sit in the designated exit rows even though I don't want to help anybody get out. I don't want to look out the window to see if I see flames before I open the door. But I sit there because I know God is sitting beside me.

Does He promise me a smooth flight? No to that one either. I like smooth. Many times I pray that He would smooth a rough patch out. But I know the airways are in His control, and I have to trust Him.

Does He promise that my plane won't crash? No. I am on a man-made machine. I am on this machine with many other humans. There are many life stories and situations on any plane I board. I don't know how my story may interact with theirs. But I know God is with me.

Does he promise anything? Yes, He promises to be with me always, and that is why I can continue to get on airplanes. It's not a test of courage, it's an exercise of faith. Faith in Whom I believe, faith in His promise to always be with me, and faith in His plan for my life.

Exercising faith is hard. It's doing the thing that frightens you and gives you no assurance, but you do anyway because you believe. You look beyond what is in front of you and proceed by what you see ahead.

I still like very little about flying. My favorite part is when the wheels hit the runway and the flight is over. But I fly because it is a way for me to praise God for His eternal love and never-ending promises to me.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Great Day To Start A Vacation

I love watching the ocean!
The view from our room.

Yes, today was a great day. We woke up way too early for a vacation day, but we were still on Nashville time. We got up and had breakfast at a great local cafe, to be followed by a morning nap. We both actually got in a jog, and then I got some quiet time in the hot tub that's only steps away from our room. The rest of the day we just did a bunch of nothing, finishing the day by eating dinner at a local burger place. It was a great day.

I haven't had a vacation like this in a while. A vacation where there's really no agenda, no miles to wog, no Mouse to see. Just a lot of time for whatever I want to do.

I thank God for this gift. Not only the gift of vacation, but the gift of being able to be still and quiet for a while. The gift of being able to be aware of and be thankful for all I have been given. The gift of being able to be thankful because I have stopped long enough to notice.

Being thankful - what a great way to spend a vacation.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

3 for 3 Makes It A Blessed Day!

Number One: It was a cold and rainy morning ... so I opted out of the 5K. So did Steve and Sam. Even a quasi-serious wannabe wogger like me has her limits. Running in the pouring down rain in 49 degree weather when I have to be at the airport at noon is not a wise idea. So I decided to forgo today's race. Thank you God!

Number Two: My laptop has been renewed, thanks to Molly. It still needs a bit of fine tuning, and I have promised Molly I would try to refrain from doing things to it, but it did make the trip to Carmel. Now if I could just connect to the Internet at the resort ....

Number Three: It was a safe, smooth, very long flight from Nashville to Oakland. The weather was cloudy and rainy when we left, but for the remaining 4 hours and 45 minutes, it was fine. Thank you God!

All in all, my three biggest concerns from yesterday were handled. There is a lot I could say about faith, but right now I am too tired and cold (it's a bit chilly here). Besides, even though it's only 10:41 here, it's after midnight according to my old-lady clock. So it's off to bed.

Thank you God, for such an excellent day!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Home Again, Home Again - The Facts

Maribeth and Shaggy the Cat are about to spend a week alone in the house together. Bookies are currently taking bets as to which one survives the week.

I have not packed yet for my week-long vacation. The question is, do I take the BIG suitcase and have lots of room for shopping with the danger of being too heavy on the return flight, or do I back the MEDIUM suitcase and be regulated by the size? I think this dilemma is going to delay packing for another few hours.

I have to fly for five hours if I intend to get to Carmel, California tomorrow. I hate flying.

I'm supposed to be doing a 5K in the morning. There's an 80% chance of rain. I haven't done any wogging of consequence in over a week. I'm voting for big rain - as long as it stops by noon and the atmosphere becomes crystal clear for my 2:35 flight.

The weather in Carmel at my arrival time in supposed to be windy. Wind is located in the air and affects things flying there, which is where my body will be on an airplane. I hate the weather channel.

Molly is a vegetarian, and Maribeth is considering becoming vegan. I intend to remain an omnivore.

I am still not packed, and am leaving tomorrow for a week-long vacation. On a Southwest plane that I can only hoped has been inspected by very diligent inspectors.

My laptop may or may not be done by tomorrow. The dilemma is whether to take it as is, or leave it for Molly to perfect in my absence. I'm voting for perfection, although that means I will have to use Steve's computer with no sound.

Maribeth went to the grocery store and bought a new roll of toilet paper. If there's one thing (and there are many) I'm adament about, it's having an ample supply of toilet paper on hand. I am now back up to twelve rolls in my bathroom. Whew!!

Did I mention I'm not packed yet?

Thursday, March 13, 2008


In an hour I will be barrelling (at the suggested speed limit, of course) down I-65 to Huntsville, Alabama, to pick up Maribeth from the Huntsville Airport. (Yes, there are planes that fly west out of Nashville, but there was some reason she chose Huntsville. Whatever.)

After I pick her up, we will travel westward to Columbus, Mississippi, to have our usual less-than-24-hour visit with GDizzle. His 91st birthday is next week, and we have a few new gadgets to gift him. Tomorrow we will leave by noon (hopefully) so I can return home and pack for spring vacation in Carmel, California. But since we're on a 2:35 pm Saturday flight, I probably won't pack until noon on Saturday. That is, after I wog a 5K. Provided it is not storming.

Anyhow, with any luck and Molly's skill, time, and patience, my laptop will be up and running efficiently and ready to go by the time I leave Saturday. Next week there are no races, no theme parks, and no plan, except to read, write, and sleep.

I think I can handle that!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

High Speed Waiting

No, my computer has not made a miraculous recovery. In fact, it is about to spend a few days with Molly, who has plans to give it a computer high-colonic. Hopefully this will clean it out and help us all to feel better and run smoother.

It's sort of funny, because I can remember our first computer, and the hassle just to get on the Internet - the funny sounds, the interminable wait, and then the frustration at being cut off because somebody picked up the phone or the whole thing just quit. Now I can hardly wait a nanosecond for anything.

I also remember not having a cell phone. How on earth did my family live without the ability to contact me at any given moment? How did I do without this invisible umbilical cord that connected me with my children at all hours?

Maybe progress is about perspective, and remembering things like typewriters and house phones. Remembering writing letters and sending rolls of film to the developer. Remembering what it was to patiently wait, because waiting was the norm.

In this high speed, connect now, instant message world, I need to remember to stop and wait. Sometimes it's not doing more in less time that matters - it's doing less in more time that is truly rewarding.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday - Laptop's Day Off

I have just spent the last twenty minutes waiting for my computer to decide what it wants to do - either grind away or load a page I was planning to read. In order to keep my sanity and the physical well-being of my computer, I am giving it the rest of the night off.

Let's hope we are both better tomorrow!

Monday, March 10, 2008

More Memory

Today Molly went with me to Staples to purchase an external hard drive. The shopping expedition had something to do with backing up my computer files so she can wipe out my computer so she can reinstall stuff so it will run faster. The "run faster" part is really all I'm interested in.

It would be so nice to be able to get an external hard drive for my brain. That way, if I wanted to remember something (or anything), I could just plug into this extra drive. I could certainly recall my stored information faster and find the needed information easier than I do now. You know, like when you leave a room on a mission in another room, but find something to do on the way, and when you get to the destination room, you have no idea why you there.

Anyhow, the hope is that in a few days, my computer will be running quickly, my pictures and files will be safely stored for future generations, and I will once again be at one with the current century.

At least my computer will be.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Playing With Time

Yesterday Steve and I traveled to another time zone to attend a wedding. Since then I have lost an hour, then gained it back, only to lose it again this morning at 2am. I don't know if it makes me ahead or behind, but I know I am tired.

I do like Daylight Savings Time. I'm not sure I really understand the purpose of the whole concept, especially since there are some places that don't even bother changing their time. I do know that with the time change, when I do get out on the golf course I can play late, after the real golfers have finished.

The first week of DST always gets me confused because by the time I think it's time to go to bed, it's WAY past time to go to bed. In the morning, it will be dark when I get up. Again, it will confuse me because I will think it is too early to get up. But I will have the opportunity to see the sun rise.

What's the point of all this? I don't know, except that maybe as we get older, we have to make sure we have all the hours we're supposed to have. Next week we're going to California for a week of vacation. We leave here and get there later but earlier. When we return, we will return even later than when we left, or something like that.

Oh well, as Alan Jackson says, "It's always five o'clock somewhere."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Nashville in March

Just when we think we're ready to say good-bye to winter, just before we get ready to turn our clocks ahead, just as the trees begin to bud, God gives us one more gift - that of a beautiful, abundant snowfall. We have it long enough to watch it develop, measure it as the drifts deepen, then enjoy it. We have time to appreciate the snow's beauty, appreciate that the snow came on a weekend so we have the opportunity to play, and appreciate the fact that it's a seldom-seen treat.

I just hope we remember to thank the Source.

Friday, March 7, 2008

And Now A Word From My Sponsor - God

Last week I managed to catch up a little on my Bible study. One day the commentary was focused around the thought that God is always watching and watching after me. This week was certainly an affirmation of that promise.

I like to think that God was watching with amusement as Molly, Scout, and I rushed to catch a plane. Humanly, there was little chance of our actually getting to the plane on time, but we did. I believe He laughed along with us as we dropped our bags and fell to the floor upon arrival at Gate 206.

I like to think that God knew exactly where Molly's paper wallet with her ticket, driver's license, room key, and photo pass was on Tuesday. He knew exactly where it was, who had it, that it was safe, and when it would be returned. I believe He felt our frustration and worry as He taught us to trust Him to take care of getting it back to Molly.

I like to think that God knows every bump that an airplane flies over, especially when I'm on that plane. Actually I have to believe this, or I would never board a plane. I know these are His skies, and He is in control of everything that flies in them.

I like to think God sent my missing suitcase on a little vacation until it returned to Nashville and to me this morning. I believe He smiled as he listened to my scenarios of where my bag might be.

I like to think God worked with the weather as Maribeth and Mathieu sat stranded in a snowy ditch in Wyoming. I know He watched and kept them safe until help finally arrived. I believe He was happy as they were when they were on their way back to a warm house and dry clothes.

I believe that in every moment of my life, God knows exactly what is going on. Sometimes He allows life to happen as I go my merry way, and sometimes He steps in because He knows what is ahead. He's always with me, always watching after me, because He always loves me. He never leaves me - it's me who forgets He's always there.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Flying THROUGH the Airport

So maybe it was poor time management. Maybe it was faulty communication. Maybe it was somebody's fault. Maybe it was that "last day of vacation and I don't want to leave" mentality. Maybe it was simply irresponsible behavior.

Whatever it was, it was 4:30 and we were still 10 miles from the airport, on a crowded freeway, trying to make a 5:30 flight. Traffic was heavy, and we had no exact change which required waiting for the change line at the toll booths. We still had to check bags, print boarding passes, and turn in the rental car. This would all be before we would have to stand in long lines (at Orlando International it is more accurately known as a crowd) at security before we could reclaim our carry-ons, grab our shoes, and run for the shuttle to our gate.

Remarkably, we made it to the gate at 5:15, just as the inbound flight was deplaning. Molly was flushed, Scout was gasping for air, and I was looking for the paddles to restart my heart. We all made it on the flight and back to Nashville - well, all but one of our checked bags (mine).

What a way to end a vacation!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Vacationing While Vacationing

Today as Molly and Scout were riding Expedition Everest and Rock 'n Roller Coaster, I stayed back at the hotel, reading, napping, and watching Lifetime Movie Network. I sat by the pool and napped on the bed. It was a good day.

Sometimes you have to stop in the middle of all the fun to refuel. Especially if you're 50, trying to keep up with 20-somethings.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

One Person Does Not a Corporation Make

Today Molly lost her park ticket/room key/driver's license/photo pass. She had it one minute, then it was gone. Finally, after several hours, several visits to Guest Relations, countless retracing of steps, and many retellings of her tale, the lost items were returned to Guest Relations and to Molly.

There were many Disney Cast Members involved in this ordeal. Most were extremely helpful and very nice. One was condescending and snooty. When I dealt with her, I was very dissatisfied with Disney, but when dealing with the nice cast members, I felt good about Disney because of their attitudes.

Any corporation is made up of people, not person. People have attitudes and feelings and personalities. Just because I encounter an employee who does not meet my standards of performance, I have to make sure I don't write off the entire company based solely on this one person. I just have to find that employee that meets my needs.

The beauty of this is that Ms. Snooty is probably a favorite of some other guest, and probably gets many compliments on her winning personality. I guess that's what makes this life so interesting - if we are patient and look hard enough, there's someone somewhere for everyone.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Disney Dreams and Nightmares

While sitting at the resort bus stop waiting for a bus to Downtown Disney, I witnessed a classic family meltdown. The players were the parents, three 'tween children, and one set of grandparents. I'm not sure how the fracas started, but it included the grandparents stalking off, fussing about "all because of one kid"; at least two of the children in tears; the husband standing off to the side in self-imposed blissful ignorance; and the mother who was at her wit's end, but still trying to salvage the evening.

By the time the bus arrived, enough ground had been regained so that the family boarded the bus with the rest of us, I think planning to have dinner somewhere. During the bus ride, the mom looked as if Disney World was the last place she wanted to be, which was sad since she probably had looked forward to this trip for some time.

Disney is one of the best places to watch reality and fantasy hit head-on. The most magical place on earth can become hell on earth for families. And yet, we all start out with the best intentions and unbridled hope. We believe that because it's magical, it will also be perfect. We just sometimes forget that life is anything but perfect.

I hope the family got past whatever transpired at the bus stop. I hope they patched things up and got back to enjoying each other. Most of all, I hope Mom got a break and got what she really wanted - her family together enjoying the company of each other, and having the time of their lives.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hits and Misses

Today was one of those. There were highs and lows, good and bad, and ups and downs. The amazing part is how a high (Wishes fireworks) can completely change the residual attitude of a low (having no money for the toll highway and winding my way through 600 traffic lights back to the resort). The struggle is how to change the direction of a low when there is no high in sight, so that the low doesn't ruin the entire day.

Hmmm. Maybe if I could see Wishes every night?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Disney Dedication

Today at Downtown Disney, I saw a man with tattoos all over his small body. The interesting things about this man were that he was an older gentleman (think 60s) and that all the tattoos were Disney related. He probably really had a good story as to his choice of body ink, but I didn't have the courage to ask.

I guess everyone has their way of showing their Disney affections. Mine is to visit often, buy lots of merchandise, and dedicate my guest room to the Mouse. Tattoo Man uses his body. The difference is that Tattoo Man's dedication is obvious every day to everyone he meets. Mine is known to my family and close friends.

The question is, does an outward expression that is obvious to the whole world mean a greater affection than a private one? I don't know, but I will think carefully about this before I head for Miami Ink!