Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Resolutions, the Cowboys and a birthday, oh my!

 *The following is from my weekly column, published in The Red River Sun newspaper.

   My New Year's resolution is simple. I will not make any New Year's resolutions! Personally, I cannot think of a more stressful way to begin a new year than to stare at a list of things I need to do.
   Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things I would like to do or would like to improve about myself in the coming year. If I begin writing them all down, I could be here a while.
   However, writing them down as "must accomplish" tasks will only set me up for failure. Chances are, I won't keep them all, if any. Who needs that kind of disappointment!
   Instead of resolutions, I've decided to use all 365 days to become a better me…one day at a time.
   If I drop a bad habit along the way, forgive, forget, exercise more, stress less, and love more, I'm sure I'll be quite pleased with the outcome come December 31, 2016.
   As you face the dawning of a new year, face it with enthusiasm and excitement! Staring down a new year is like an artist looking at a blank canvas. It's up to each one of us to create something wonderful. 
   In thinking about the new year ahead, I'm always reminded of a quote from the movie, Forrest Gump. "Don't you just love New Years? You get to start all over. Everybody gets a second chance."
   In September, my hopes of seeing the Dallas Cowboys make it to their first Super Bowl since 1995 came crashing down when Tony Romo broke his collar bone.
   At that point, I began just hoping for a playoff appearance.
   My hopes came back in force when they defeated the Redskins 19-16 on Monday night football on the leg of Dan "The Man" Bailey. Someone needs to tell Jerry Jones to give Bailey a huge raise!          When your kicker is your MVP, you might need some reorganization!
   After the next week's 28-7 loss to the Packers, I still held on to a tiny bit of hope…a small glimmer…a miracle…anything that would get them to the playoffs!
   I've come to realize I might need to get another hobby. I get more wound up watching the Cowboys play than I do on press day around The Sun office, which by the way can be pretty crazy!
   Maybe I should make one resolution…to stop watching NFL football. Yeah, that one would only last until the first game played in the new year. Not gonna happen!
   I'll continue to live by the mantra, "Next year is their year!" and one day hope to see "The Boys" win another Super Bowl. I hope they appreciate my loyalty!
   Where has time gone? On Saturday, my youngest will celebrate her 19th birthday! I've watched her grow into a determined young lady who has a huge heart for little kids. There is no doubt in my mind she will be an amazing kindergarten teacher one day. She has filled our lives with so much joy, pride and laughter.
   Wishing you a wonderful birthday, Madie girl! Love you big!

Ginger Wilson is the Childress editor of The Red River Sun and can be reached by emailing or you can follow her on Twitter @gingwilson

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Keep calm, it's just a cup!

Social media erupted this past weekend when Starbucks unveiled their new cup design for the holiday season. Former evangelist Joshua Feuerstein was appalled the cup lacked the traditional snowflakes and ornaments and encouraged Christians everywhere to boycott the company.

Feuerstein claims Starbucks is waging a "War on Christmas" and is trying to take Christ out of Christmas. As a Christian, I find Feuerstein's outrage to be petty, misguided and ludicrous.

Last time I checked, Christmas is not about snowflakes or coffee. I find Donald Trump leading in polls as the Republican presidential candidate, the Dallas Cowboys' six game losing streak, and the gray hairs that show up in force each day to be much more disturbing than Starbucks decision to go sans snowflakes on their red cups.

Suppose Christians across the nation actually listened to Feuerstein and boycotted Starbucks, causing the company to lose money and close stores. What about all the employees making minimum wage who would lose their jobs? What would their view of Christians be then? Think about it…

As conservatives and Christians, we often rant and rave about how the "left" get so offended about every little thing. Isn't this the same? C'mon, people…it's a red cup. Christ is not a red coffee cup!

Christmas is about the birth of Christ, who was sent to this world to save people from their sin. He paid the ultimate price so one day, we could be saved of those sins and spend eternity in heaven. He didn't do it so we could spend eternity at Starbucks and I feel quite sure He loves the powers that be at Starbucks, snowflakes or not.

How about sharing our love for Him with everyone we know instead of spewing hate for a company who might not believe as we do. I don't inquire as to the religious or political preference of every single company before I do business with them, nor do I encourage others to boycott those whose beliefs differ from mine.

If you are truly upset about the Starbucks cup, then by all means, stop spending your money with them. But, before you criticize the company for taking the "Christ" out of Christmas, you might think of all the things that distract us all from the true meaning of the season.

Standing in line for hours, fighting crowds and spending massive amounts of money on Black Friday to buy the latest and greatest gifts for everyone on your shopping list, doesn't reflect the meaning of the season, but millions of Christians do it every single year.

Kind of pales in comparison to a snowflakeless cup, doesn't it?

We should pick our battles and this is one I think we should avoid. Waging a war during the season we celebrate the greatest gift we've ever been given is a bit hypocritical.

This Christmas season, choose to love. Choose kindness and choose to reach out to those who don't know Christ.

I think you'll find the blessings you receive will overflow all the red Starbucks cups in the world.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A letter to Cowboy haters

Okay. I get it. You hate the Dallas Cowboys. It is evident by the repeated posts on social media throughout the week leading up to Sunday. You post anti-Cowboy memes and share hate filled posts from other Cowboy haters. You post more anti-Cowboy photos than you do of your family. 

When the Cowboys win, you are suddenly missing in action from social media. You are nowhere to be found. Silence. Nada. When the Cowboys lose, you are happier than a kid on Christmas morning and begin your obnoxious posts all over again. 

You don’t like Romo and have come up with some pretty lame nicknames for him. It's surprising people of your age actually call people names, but one would think you'd be a bit more creative. You dislike Jason Garrett and curse Jerry Jones. You call the Cowboys washed up, overrated, overpaid and crybabies. If "you" were the quarterback, you'd be able to suck it up and play with a broken collar bone. 

So, here’s my question for all you Cowboy haters out there. Why don’t you talk about your favorite team? It seems more logical to me to talk about the team you love more than the team you hate. Maybe, just maybe, deep down inside you were once a Cowboys fan. Maybe they “let you down” when you expected them to win and they didn't.  Maybe you lost a bet and had to shave your head or wear something ridiculous to work one day. Maybe Santa forgot to bring you a Dallas Cowboy suit when you were little and you’ve held it against them all these years. Maybe one of the DC Cheerleaders turned you down when you asked her out on a date. Maybe you have DCED (Dallas Cowboy Envy Disease) and it's not covered under your health care plan. 

Maybe you hate the Cowboys because they have an allegiance of fans like no other. Fans who stick it out in the good and not-so-good years. Fans who refuse to hop on the bandwagon and like the team with the best record. Fans who don’t have 10 different team jerseys in their closets. Fans who don't have to pledge their hate to their least favorite team weekly, but fans who pledge their loyalty to their favorite team. 

Hate 'em all you want, but just remember...the Dallas Cowboys were, are and will forever be...America's team. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

It's about time

   Seven weeks ago today, we pulled away from our daughter's college campus. As we drove away, my husband rolled down the window and hollered, "We love you" in a cracking voice. As we left the parking lot, my emotions got the best of me. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut.
   Two hours later, we arrived at home and walked into the house for the first time as official empty nesters. The silence was deafening. 
  The next week was a blur. I would cry going to work, cry on the way home and break down crying before going to bed. Although I know my job as a mother will never be complete, I felt like I had been fired from being in charge of her life. She was on her own. She would be making her own decisions. She would need me, but not as much as before. 
   My emotions were all over the place. I was sad, but I was thrilled she was starting a new journey in her life. I stalked her Twitter and Facebook to see what time she was posting. Was she staying out late? Was she doing her homework? Was she making smart decisions? Was she making friends? Was she lonely? Did she miss me? 
   I quickly realized she was having the time of her life and was happy.
   Since I was 17, I've been a mom. In less than a month, I will be 43 and for the first time in 26 years, I don't have a child to take care of at home. 
   For those 26 years, I've considered myself Jeff's wife and Chase and Madie's mom. Somewhere along the way, I forgot all about me and put my dreams and plans on the back burner. I loved having kids in the house. The activities, the recitals, games, skinned knees, broken bones, broken hearts, homework folders, reading books, helping study for tests and whole laundry list of things moms just do. I began to wonder if I was really good at anything other than being a mom. 
   The past seven weeks, I've been focusing on my relationship with my husband. For the first time in all those years, it is just the two of us. We didn't always do a good job of making time for one another when our kids were younger. We made everything about them and you could tell we had a lot of catching up to do.
   Earlier in the week, I pulled out an old journal I wrote in several years ago. As I began reading some of the entries, I found a list of things I wanted to accomplish "one day." You know that magical phrase that we use to make us feel better about putting something off until tomorrow. I'll get around to it "one day." There were eight things on the list and "one day" had yet to come for every single one of them. 
   It wasn't because the opportunity was never there. It was because I put things off to be a mom. I put things off to be a wife. I put things off to be an employee. I put things off because they required time and let's be real, I didn't really have a whole lot of time. Who has time to do anything when you are raising kids? The stark reality is...we all do. We make time for the things we want to do and put off those things that are not crucial to living our everyday life. 
   My daughter started a new chapter in her life, which makes it the perfect time for me to do the same. I just have to take that first step. Before long, those "one days" I have will turn into "no days."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A fool in need of an attitude change

   I am in desperate need of an attitude change. STAT! For the past couple of weeks, I have developed a sour attitude to several things and let me tell you...I DO NOT LIKE MYSELF!
   I find this very disturbing for a number of reasons.

1. It's not like me to just be mad at the world.
2. It's my favorite season of all...Fall and football! How can I be upset at anything?!
3. My sour attitude is like poison and it's not good on those around me.

   I think it all started when I was offended by something someone said to me and it went south from there. They apologized and I said I let it go, but I found it slowly creeping into the back of my mind. I think the enemy loves when he sees us filled with frustration, aggravation and anger. As long as we are filled with those raw emotions, we are unable to find true forgiveness and happiness.
   Other little things got under my skin, that usually don't. Someone driving slow in front of me, the red light taking too long, idiotic comments on social media and to top it all off, I spent 1 hour and 3 minutes on the phone with Dish Network tonight. I talked to four different people, two of whom I had a difficult time understanding. When I got off the phone, I was wishing I had a real phone that I could slam down with all my might.
   After the marathon phone call with Dish, I snapped at my husband, gripped and complained for about 10 minutes about everything and headed back to my room. As I sat down on the bed, I looked on my bedside table at my Bible.
   I'm ashamed to admit reading it was not something I wanted to do at the moment. I was angry. I was upset. I was mad. I was frustrated and there was absolutely nothing that could make it better. I was going to wallow in my toxic attitude.
   It's times like these I'm thankful for the gentle nudge God gives us. You know the look your parent gives you when you disappoint them? Yeah, I felt it. I knew I was behaving in a way that was far from pleasing to God. I picked up my Bible and turned it to Proverbs. I've always liked the book of Proverbs. Reading this book of the Bible is like sitting with a good friend. It's chock full of great advice for life.
   I recalled a scripture about anger in Proverbs and I looked until I found it. Proverbs 29:11 says, "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." about slapping you in the face. I read this scripture a few times hoping I could read it in a way that would give me some justification for my sorry attitude the past couple of weeks, but convicted me.  Good, 'ole in your face conviction.
   I started thinking about the things that have been under my skin the past couple of weeks and I realized I wasted a whole lot of time being upset about things that are out of my control! Life is way too short to spend it holding on to little things.
   I will always struggle with being a control freak. It's just part of who I am. I just have to realize the things I can and cannot control. I cannot control the red light, customer service, statements I don't like on social media, or people who offend me. What I can control is my reaction to those things.
  So, I did what I should have been doing for the past couple of weeks when my attitude was less than becoming. I prayed. I asked God to rid my heart of the bad attitude and to bring me back to the Ginger I know is in there somewhere. I asked Him to help me control my reactions and to forgive me for the times I did not behave in a way that was pleasing to Him. Luckily, very few people have been a witness to my bad attitude. I've been successful in letting it only come out when I am at home, which hasn't been great for my marriage. I'm sure my husband wants as far away from here as possible.
   Prayer not only changes things, it changes people. I'm looking forward to waking up with a new attitude.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

To everything, a season

   The day I've been dreading for the past 18 years is finally here. On Thursday, we will load my daughter's belongings into her car and take her to college. It's a day she's been anticipating and one I've put in the back of my mind, hoping it would not arrive as fast as it has.
   I've watched her prepare for college all summer long. From orientation to picking out bedding and decorations for her dorm room. She is greeting the next chapter of her life with excitement and I have no doubt she will experience some of the best times of her life in college. Although I'm having a hard time letting go, I know letting go is part of being a parent. I just wish it didn't hurt so much.  It's one of the many seasons of change throughout a child's life. For us, it's a big change as we adjust to becoming "empty nesters."
   Through tears, I began thinking of all the things I will miss about having her at home. I'll miss the sound of her laugh when she is watching one of her favorite television shows. I'll miss the smell of her perfume and hair products wafting through the hallway in the mornings. I'll miss peeking in her room in the middle of the night to check on her. I'll miss her sitting at the kitchen table talking to me while I'm cooking supper. I'll miss the sound of the back door opening and her saying, "I'm home." I'll miss going into her room searching for my favorite earrings she's borrowed. I'll miss her coming into my room at night and sitting next to me while we talk about her day, boys, school, friendships and her plans for the future.
   I'll miss those goodnight hugs she's never outgrown, kissing her on the forehead and the sound of "I love you mom" before she goes to bed. Most of all, I'll miss her daily presence.
Although the things I will miss about her are many, there's so much more I'm looking forward to.  I look forward to hearing about her classes, professors and new friends. I look forward to random text messages during the week to let me know she's doing okay. I look forward to the phone calls, hearing about the food in the cafeteria, the late night study sessions and the excitement of being on her own. I look forward to the first time she comes home for a visit and the pile of laundry she will bring with her. I look forward to watching this chapter of her life unfold.
   Many times over the summer, I've thought about all the things I want her to know before she leaves. You know, the typical mom things like, "Don't talk to strangers. Make sure you don't walk across campus at night. Don't answer the door if it's late! Use your GPS so you don't get lost driving."  When I tell her these things, she just nods and says, "Yes, Mom...I know…you've already told me." She usually says it as she pats me on the hand to let me know everything is going to be okay. It never hurts to say something again, right? Out of all the things going through my mind I want to make sure she knows, the two most important ones are: I'm very proud of her and I love her more than she will ever know.
   In my heart, I see a little round faced girl with her hair in pigtails excitedly nervous about the first day of Kindergarten. In my mind, I see a beautiful young woman who is excited about her first year of college. As I walk away from her dorm tomorrow and begin the trip home, I will do so with the scripture Ecclesiastes 3:1 in my mind, "To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven."

Monday, August 3, 2015

A day at the beach

   As I stood barefoot in the sand, the warm and salty water of the Gulf of Mexico washed over my feet. Just as quickly as the waves rushed in, they flowed back into the Gulf only to do it all over again.
   The sun was beaming down on me, but a cool breeze blowing off the water made for a perfect evening. There were a few boats off in the distance and as far as the eye could see was water. I laughed to myself about how the end of the water in the distance looked as if you would fall off the edge if you got too close. Good thing Christopher Columbus ventured further than the eye could see!
   There’s nothing quite like standing in front of the ocean to make you feel minuscule; even a small wave has the strength to knock you to your feet. It’s in that very moment, you feel such a deep connection to the one who created it all.
   I sat down and watched as my husband and daughter floated in the water on their brightly colored tubes. I captured that moment in my mind as I realized there won’t always be moments like these. Even though she is about to head off to college in a couple of weeks, he stayed close to her just like he did when she was little.
   Two little girls were collecting seashells just a few feet from me, giggling with excitement as they found a new one. When their hands were full, they ran to their dad who was waiting with a bucket. He beamed each time they rushed to him with their new finds. I imagined he was capturing this moment in time as well.
   I noticed my husband and daughter had drifted further down, so I turned my attention to the sand. Growing up in rural America, there were not many opportunities to build sand castles, so I channeled my inner child and began digging in the sand. I wrote my name and watched the water wash it away and built a small one tower castle that washed away within minutes after building it.

   During my time on the beach, I felt such a spiritual connection to the world. I don’t always have difficulty expressing myself, but I’ve found it hard to put into words how I felt that day. For the first time in a long time, I noticed every single sound, every smell and every movement around me. At that moment, everything was right in the world. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

We're going to Jackson

   When planning our vacation, we decided driving all day wasn't so much fun last year, so we broke our trip up just a bit. Our first stop put us in Jackson, Mississippi where we stayed one night. Thanks to the song by Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash, I sang, "We're going to Jackson...." many times during our brief stay. It's one of those get in your head kind of songs! 
   Jackson is a city of about 145,000 people and is the state capital.Although we did not spent a lot of time in Jackson, something happened that will stick with me the rest of my life. 
   We arrived around 9 p.m. and were happy to see Chili's adjacent to the hotel. We had been on the road quite a while and were tired and hungry. After checking into our room, we walked across the parking lot to the restaurant. The parking lot was full, so we were sure we would have a bit of a wait.
   When we walked into the restaurant, we noticed something different. Aside from the waitress and a manager, we were the only white people in the whole place. Growing up with friends who were African-Americans and to this day having friends of color, it didn't phase me, my husband or daughter in the least. The host told us it would be a 30 minute wait, so we sat down and that's when I felt as if I were in someone else's shoes.
   As we were waiting, I began thinking about being in a city in the south, who saw plenty of conflicts when African Americans were fighting for their civil rights. There were times in this city (and across the United States) when blacks and whites could not be in the same restaurant. There were times when a black family were surrounded by whites and felt like outcasts. There were times when hate filled the hearts of so many people that it almost tore our country apart. 
   For a moment I completely understood how it felt to be different in the sense of race. I wondered if some of the people in the restaurant had grown up in Jackson and had grandparents or parents who never had the opportunity to sit in a restaurant with people of a different race. I wondered if there were some in there who looked at us with dislike because of the past. It was my hopes nobody did, because as I looked at the many tables of men, women and children dining....I saw Americans. 
   I believe our country has made great strides since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. marched on Washington and Rosa Parks stood up and spoke for her generation. I believe our country is the greatest on earth, but I do believe there is still healing to do.
   How do we heal? For me, I think we heal the present by treating others with respect. We heal the present by not clinging to things in the past that are symbols of times when all Americans were not treated fairly. We can heal the present by viewing one another as equals. 
   Recently, a controversial flag has taken center stage and has stirred up emotions, hard feelings and conflict across the south. For me, I question the genuineness of those who want to fly the rebel flag now.Why now? I'd challenge anyone who wants to fly it to give me reasons why this flag has such meaning to you.  I've grown up in the same town my entire life and have never seen anyone fly the rebel flag. Because it has recently made the news and has been taken down in states across the south, people automatically feel some connection to it. It makes no sense to me. 
   The flag is not a representation of's a representation of the past. For me, it should stay in the past so we can move forward as a country. 
   Our past is our past and scholars will write about it so future generations can know the history of their country. Not all the history of the United States gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. Some of it is heartbreaking, but it is history. When future generations are reading about our country decades from now, wouldn't it be great if they read about how our country was strengthened by love and not divided by hate?


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How do you want to be remembered?

 My closet is full of t-shirts related to our town's mascot. Almost everyone of them has a catch phrase or slogan that holds meaning to the team that particular year. As I was looking through a large stack, I found one that read, "How do you want to be remembered?" I sat the shirt aside, but for the rest of the day, I kept thinking about the slogan and wondered how I would be remembered one day.
   To get an idea of what others might think about me, I began thinking about friends and family and how I would remember each one of them if they were not here. I'll have to admit, I teared up a bit when I realized how they have been such a huge part of my life. 
   Thinking of friends and family, some of the following thoughts crossed my mind:
  1. She is the most talented person I've ever known.
  2. He never fails to be there when someone needs him.
  3. She has the best sense of humor...she always makes me laugh!
  4. She is the kindest person I know.
  5. He is a success because he's worked so hard for it his whole life. 
  6. She is a strong Christian woman who influences everyone she meets
   Now it was time to think of how others would remember me, but most importantly, how I want to be remembered. It is my hope I will first be remembered as a kind soul who loved God, her family and friends. I only have one shot at this life and I think it's important to leave a good impression on others. I realize not everyone is going to like me and I'm okay with that. Those who do, I want them to remember me with good thoughts. So, here is my list....a few ways I hope others remember me when God calls me home.

  1. She had a great sense of humor and making people laugh. 
  2. She loved kids.
  3. She loved her high school football team...a lot!
  4. She had a passion for life.
  5. She worked hard to be successful and make her dreams come true.
  6. She made a difference in someone's life.
   If you start each morning with the thought, "How do you want to be remembered?" I think it will completely change how you interact with others. I think we will learn to let the small things go, not to overreact, to show kindness when we really want to be anything but kind and to be more conscious of our daily interactions with others. A seven word question.....pretty powerful!

   Think about do you want to be remembered? 


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Playlist of my Life

   I have several friends who are really big on making playlists for every occasion in life. I'm always quite impressed with the end result and appreciate the time that goes into creating a one of a kind creation to commemorate the event.
   While listening to online radio at work, I began thinking about the music that was playing and what songs I would select for a playlist of my life. After much thought, I came up with the following list. So....what songs would make it on the playlist of your life?

The Playlist of Ginger's Life
  1. Groovy Kind of Love - Phil Collins
  2. Feels So Good - Chuck Manigone
  3. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
  4. Gentle On My Mind - Glen Campbell
  5. Welcome to the Jungle - Guns 'n Roses
  6. Friday I'm In Love - The Cure
  7. I Melt With You - Modern English
  8. And We Danced - The Hooters
  9. Take The Money and Run - Steve Miller Band
10. Keep On Rockin' Me Baby - Steve Miller Band
11. Blank Space - Taylor Swift
12. Your Song - Elton John
13. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
14. Common People - Pulp
15. Jump - Van Halen
16. Cough Syrup - Young the Giant
17. Born In The U.S.A - Bruce Springsteen
18. Raspberry Beret - Prince
19. I Think We're Alone Now - Tiffany
20. Hey Ya - Outkast

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chasing the elusive white ball…

   In an attempt to share my husband's love of golf, I've tried numerous times to play the sport. I think I've only made it through eighteen holes a handful of times before I got completely frustrated and traded the clubs in for driving the golf cart. That, I'm good at!
   Golf appears to be the easiest sport on the planet…until you step into the tee box.
   There is so much that goes into hitting that little white ball. I usually spend five minutes trying to remember how to line up, how to grip the club (should I lace my fingers or not?), how to stand and how far to put the tee in the ground. I'm mentally exhausted before I ever tee off!
   I'm not much of a practice swing golfer, which drives my husband crazy. He'll always ask, "Don't you want to take a practice swing?" The tone in his voice is always more of a statement than a question, but after 26 years of marriage he knows what my answer is going to be.
   One of the last times we played, I was prepared to play the best golf game of my life. On the first hole, I stood in the tee box and mentally pictured myself smacking the ball straight down the fairway within feet of the green. This was it…I was pumped and ready for the next LPGA tour.
   I pulled the club back, my chin touched my left shoulder and I swung through with all my might. I looked into the air to spot the ball, but knew I must have hit it farther because I still couldn't see it. As I stood there with my hand shading my eyes looking for my ball in the distance, my husband quietly said, "It's still on the tee."
   The look on my face must have been a good one, so my quick thinking husband said, "It's okay, it's just a practice swing."
   After another attempt, we were finally able to begin playing. I hit it straight down the fairway, just not quite as far as I envisioned. You see, this is where the game of golf tricks you into believing you are good. On one hole, you'll hit it straight to the green and sink the putt of a lifetime for a birdie. On the next hole, you spend five minutes in the rough looking for your ball and then miss a two foot putt by a mile for a double bogey.
   Out of all the golf lingo (eagle, birdie, par, bogey) the one I'm most familiar with is mulligan and trust me, if you play golf the way I do, a mulligan is your best friend.
   I admire those who play the game and have come to realize it's more than who can shoot the lowest score. It's about challenging yourself and enjoying another day we have not been promised.
   As of late, I've taken to just riding along in the cart with my husband, camera in hand, taking in the scenery.  My hometown is fortunate to have a beautiful course, which provides for some amazing shots for the photography lover.
   As I look out over the breathtaking course and watch golfers chase that elusive white ball, I'm reminded of a quote by the legendary Bobby Jones. He said, "Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots — but you have to play the ball where it lies."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sweet Summertime

   My heart belongs to Fall, but Summer ranks a close second. Summer always brings back memories of being a kid and having the time of your life for three whole months!
I love the sounds and the smells of the season. Fresh cut grass, flowers and tanning oil. Wouldn't that make a great Scentsy?! Although I'm not a fan of the scorching heat (A fair-skinned redhead and the blistering sun just don't get along!) I do enjoy the longer days, star-filled nights with fireflies and sno-cones!
  I spent a lot of time at the swimming pool. Some of you may remember an earlier post about my brush with death on high dive. If you have not read it, look back in the archives and you will get a good laugh! I can remember being so tired from being in the pool, I thought I would drown a time or two. There was always that one boy who thought it was cool to dunk the girls and hold their head under water. At the time, it made me mad and I wanted to punch their lights out. Looking back, it's just a boys way of flirting! Nothing says love like trying to drown the girl your heart yearns for!
   Riding bicycles was also on the list during those three months of freedom. My friends and I would ride all over town without a care in the world. We told our parents we were going riding and that was it. No cellphones to contact us, they just trusted we would be back before sunset and we always were. One summer my friend and I noticed a white van with black windows going through the park. Of course we had to concoct an elaborate conspiracy theory about who was in the van and what they were doing. I'm pretty sure we thought they were kidnapping kids and throwing them in the back of their van and taking them to Mexico!
   When we didn't make it to the swimming pool, there was always the sprinkler or slip-n-slide. Who didn't love the slip-n-slide? When you did happen to catch it on just the right part, you could zoom across the yard. However, land on a part without water and you would get a burn on your knee like no other! For the most bang for your slip-n-slide buck, a bottle of dish washing detergent would really make things interesting! It was always hard to get rid of the huge hole of mud and dead grass on your lawn, but hey, all in the name of fun!
  On the weekends, we would spend time camping at the lake. I'm not sure how my Dad kept his sanity all those years taking us to the lake. Tangled fishing lines, sleeping in a tent and kids fussing in the heat of the day were enough to drive someone berserk.  I guess you just don't notice those things when you are making memories.
   Parades, cookouts, homemade ice cream and the sound of locusts. Please tell me I was not the only kid who would see how many locust shells would cling to my shirt......
   Summer memories that won't soon be forgotten. What are yours?

Monday, June 1, 2015

What are you doing tomorrow?

   Tomorrow is full of promises. A new day. A new chance to right the wrongs of today. It's fresh, it's clean and a new start. No wonder the phrase "I'll do it tomorrow" exists. Sometimes, tomorrow looks so much better than today
   I'm a doer of the things that have to be done today. As far as those things that do not require my immediate attention, yep...I'll do it tomorrow. I decided to take a look at the things I put off until tomorrow and make a list of just a few of the things I avoid doing today.  Once I looked at the list, I was a bit ashamed of some of the things I'm putting off until that magical day of tomorrow. 

 1. Text the friend(s) I haven't talked to in a while to see how they are doing. 
 2. Begin a Bible study.  
 3. Stop by and visit a relative. No calling them on the phone. A real sit down visit!
 4. Begin exercising. 
 5. Catch up in my journal.
 6. Begin typing the book I have written in a spiral. 
 7. Update my computer's software.
 8. Volunteer to do something for someone.
 9. Cut my hair, color my hair, do something with my hair!
10. Make a photo book from Madie's senior year and print the pictures. 

   What is it that makes us so secure in thinking we will be able to do these things tomorrow? Recently, I read the tragic story of a family of three who had left a graduation ceremony and all three were killed in a plane crash. Just for a moment, think about their tomorrow. I bet they had it all planned and their tomorrow was full of excitement. The young lady had just graduated high school. Her life was right in front of her, but she never saw her tomorrow. 
   We get so wrapped up in the "business" of today, we take tomorrow for granted. Why is today so busy? Why do we feel we have to pack so much into 24 hours? Maybe if we paused for a bit and prioritized the list of things we had to do today, we'd have room for the things we put off until tomorrow.
   So, what are you doing tomorrow? Why not do it today? 

Monday, May 25, 2015

To the class of 2015

When I walked a cute, brown-eyed, redheaded little girl into kindergarten on her first day of school, it seemed like the year 2015 was light years away. Little did I realize how quickly time would pass.
In just four short days, that not-so-little anymore redheaded girl will walk across the stage and receive her diploma. Her and the rest of her classmates will close a chapter of their lives and begin a new one. A chapter full of firsts, excitement, fear, and anticipation. A chapter they are completely in charge of and one that will be full of memories for a lifetime.
   I've thought about what I would say if I could stand before her class and tell them what I've learned in the "24ish" years since I was their age. This, is my advice to the Class of 2015....

   Dear Class of 2015,

   The moment you've been thinking about since the day you entered high school as a nervous freshman is finally upon you. You've spent four years preparing for this day and I have no doubt you are ready. As you don your cap and gown, soak in every single moment. This day is all about you. As you get older, you will see not many days are "all about you" so enjoy it!
   Some of you will head off to college, some will go to work and some have made the decision to defend our country. As you venture out into the world, here is some food for thought:

   1. The decisions you make about your future are not set in stone. Don't be afraid to change your mind or your plans. After all, it is your future and you are in charge!
   2. After you graduate, take time to write (not type) a letter to that one teacher who shaped your life when you were in school. It could be your kindergarten teacher or that coach who pushed you beyond what you believed you could do.A simple "thank you" will mean the world to them.
   3. Hold strong to your beliefs. College is full of professors who will try and convince you God does not exist. Their job is to educate you on the subject they teach. Your job is to learn. Don't allow them to sway you or question your beliefs.
   4. Embrace new friends, but never lose touch with old friends.Sometimes talking to an old friend when you are away from home is the best cure for being homesick.
   5. Call your parents. Write your parents. Let them know you are okay! Even a random text during the day will make them smile.
   6. If you don't write in a journal, now is a great time to begin! Write something in it every single day. Even if it's just one sentence. Look back through your entries and you will see how much you've grown over a year.
   7. Listen to the name it! Except rap...well, maybe just 80's rap. :) Music is food for the soul. Listening to as many different genres as possible will expand your horizons.
   8. Make a bucket list. Put it somewhere you will see it from time to time. Pledge to mark something off the list before the end of your first year out on your own.
   9. Volunteer your time helping others. Giving your time is something that doesn't cost you a single penny, but the rewards you reap from serving others are priceless.
 10. Learn something new. Learn how to play the piano, guitar, banjo, sing, tap, are never too old to learn!

And finally, always remember your hometown and all the people who helped you become who you are today. Some of you will come back home to raise your family. Some of you will only come back for a visit. Remember your roots and where your story began and enjoy the journey ahead of you.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

What are you doing with your 1440?

   A song came on the radio the other day that I've heard many times. As I sang along, one of the lyrics really stood out to me. It was from the song "Suds in the Bucket" by Sara Evans.  The line that really grabbed my attention was, "And no you can't fence time...."
   Wouldn't it be great to be able to fence time? When life seems like it is going to fast, you could just make it slow down...just a bit. The more I thought about it, the more I realized if we had more time, we would just find something else to fill that time. Pretty crazy thought, but for myself, I know it would be true.
   Having a child who is about to graduate, I really like the concept of fencing time. However, I know the time I've been allotted with my kids at home is just about done and with each passing day, I'm learning to be okay with that. It's part of the plan.
   Time is a gift. We have 1,440 minutes in a day and we get to choose how to spend those minutes. We are in control of every single one of them. Think about your 1440. Are you happy with how you spend it? Do you wish you had more? When the final grain of sand falls in your 1440 and you get a new 1440, do you look back and was a great 1440?
   What are you doing with your 1440? 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Dress

   I've managed to keep one article of clothing from when I was a little girl. It's a "Sunday" dress my grandmother made for me when I was a third grader. I think I've held on to it for so long because it's a connection to her.
   Although the fabric is faded from the past 34 years, the stitching is still as strong as it was then. The red ribbon is still secured in a knot she tied and secured with a safety pin.  The dainty lace around the neck and arms has weathered time well. Every single stitch was sewn just for me. I'm sure it didn't take her long to make it, because she was quite the seamstress. It's the fact she took the time to do it just for me that means so much.
   One of my favorite things about this dress (other than the fact my grandmother made it for me) is how proud I was to wear it. My grandmother made me countless dresses throughout the years. I still remember standing in front of her sewing machine as she pinned the pattern, took measurements and allowed me to pick the ribbon. Sometimes, she took me with her and let me pick out the fabric. She always had a way of making me feel special.
   When I wore the dress, I felt pretty. I would spin around in the dress just to watch the skirt flare as I turned. It made an appearance during the school year a time or two. There was just something about this dress that made me want to wear it all the time.
   What have you held on to from your childhood that stirs good memories? 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The hardest part is the climb

   For the record, I have never been a fan of roller coasters. Ever! I'll admit, watching from the safety of the flat ground intrigued me and I thought it would be cool to be a roller coaster fanatic.
   Over the years, I've gathered the courage to ride a few. Once I got to the platform and it was my turn to go through the turnstile, my stomach was in knots. When I sat in the seat and they locked me into place with the seat belt, I wanted to hurl. Then, it began.
   The excruciatingly slow climb to the top. The sound of the cars as they clicked the enormous chain propelling the cars upward sent shivers down my spine. I never rode a roller coaster at free will. There was always someone in  my family or a friend who talked me into going. That peer pressure will get you every time!
   Once we got to the top, I would say my prayers and brace for ultimate death. I grasped the bar with all my might, closed my eyes, clenched my teeth and held my breath. The entire ride. The feeling of coming out of the seat when going over a big hill made my heart beat faster. When the ride was over, which usually seemed like hours, I would open my eyes and thank God I made it. The best part was stepping out of the car and back onto the ground. The humiliating part was walking by the stand where they had pictures of all the cars. WHAT? PICTURES? Mine were always quite comical and NO, I never purchased a single one!
   After leaving, there was always a part of me that was glad I took the plunge and rode the roller-coaster. Conquered a fear! Did something out of character for me. I was actually quite envious of those who had a love for roller coasters. Those who could ride them over and over without blinking an eye.
   I think life is a lot like riding a roller coaster. There are things we are often terrified to do. We get anxious, nervous and scared to death. However, once we've done what we were so afraid to do, it wasn't quite as bad as we thought.
   What's the "roller coaster" in your life? 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Beautiful you

   One morning while getting ready for work, I realized how much I was picking myself apart while standing in front of the mirror. I started with one physical trait and it snowballed from there. I remembering muttering something like, "Oh, well.." and walked out the door on my way to the office.
   The more I thought about the things I had said to myself that morning, the more I realized I was too busy looking for the flaws to see the characteristics that make me, me. I wondered if I was alone in this "pick on myself" kind of morning, so I posed the following challenge to my Facebook friends.
  "Think about your physical appearance. Tell me what one thing you like the best and one thing you like the least."
   As I began reading the responses, I was not what people stated was the thing they liked the best about their physical appearance. When I thought about each person who posted, the trait they liked the best about themselves is what I noticed the most about them! It was definitely their "defining" physical trait in my eyes.
   I then looked at what they liked the least. The one thing they liked the least was something I didn't even notice about them. Several posted their weight or mid-section was what they liked the least. When I closed my eyes and thought about that person, I immediately thought of their best trait.
   The next morning, I had a conversation with my co-workers about my post. I told them the thing I liked the most about my physical appearance was my eyes and the least was the gap between my front two teeth. Their response? What gap?!
   I thought about the responses I had read and what my co-workers told me throughout the day. How could they have not noticed the gap? When I look in the mirror and smile, it looks enormous to me. Why didn't they notice it? For the exact reason I didn't notice the least liked physical traits my friends posted about themselves...we only tend to see physical flaws within our selves and beauty within others.
   We are only as beautiful as we feel and if our own worst enemy is in the mirror, we will never win the "self-confidence" battle. If we look in the mirror and criticize everything we see, how can we walk confidently into the world with our head held high? If you struggle with finding anything you like about yourself, you are not alone! We are looking in the mirror all wrong! We are looking in the mirror, fixing our eyes on the "flaws" instead of fixing our eyes on what makes us beautiful to the rest of the world. Ladies, it's time to begin looking in the mirror with a new attitude!

   Here's my BEAUTIFUL YOU seven day challenge! 
   1. Stand in front of the mirror and smile each morning.
   2. Take a marker and write on the mirror what catches your eye the most. It has to be positive!
   3. Each day, write something new on the mirror.
   4. Each day, send ONE friend a text or email something you think is beautiful about them.
   5. At the end of seven days, combine all the things you've written down about yourself and see
       how the positive has changed your view of the negative!

   Beauty stems from within and if we can look at ourselves with a fresh set of eyes, we will see ourselves the way others see us!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Confessions of an insomniac

   I have never been one of the "lucky ones" who fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow. My husband's head hits the pillow and it's goodnight, adios, see 'ya in the morning!
   As soon as I close my eyes at night, my mind begins spinning like a washing machine! Some of the most random thoughts flow through my mind, all of which have nothing to do with sleeping! Here's just a small sampling of what runs through my mind when I am trying to sleep: "Did I lock the doors? Is the dryer running? What's that noise? Did I set my alarm? Who is going to win the Super Bowl? What am I going to fix for supper tomorrow?" Trust me, the list goes on and on and on.
   I've implemented a trick that works at times, but usually only when I'm very exhausted. I start with 100 and count backwards. I don't ever start counting at 1 because there's no end and that really messes with my OCD!
   I've tried breathing techniques, listening to white noise and everything else short of taking medication, which I have no plans of doing. I've read some pretty scary stories about people who take prescription sleep medication.
   When I realize I'm not going to go to sleep for a while, I will go into the den and turn on the television. Once I start watching it, I'm up for quite a while. Have you ever watched infomercials at one in the morning? You can buy just about anything in the world and most of the time, if you call "now" they will throw in shipping and an extra set of whatever you are buying.
   Commercials are entertaining in the wee hours of the morning as well. Some of the embarrass me and I'm sitting in the room all by myself! I want to know who invents some of this ridiculous stuff they sell! Someone...somewhere is making a lot of money off of gullible insomniacs across America!
  I see plenty of people post status updates in the middle of the night about not being able to sleep. Hum, perhaps we should all form a support group.
   So, my inquiring mind wants to know, are you a "head hit the pillow sleep all night" person or an "I will never get to sleep watch infomercials" kind of person?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Me and Mrs. C

    Throughout our lives, we meet people who leave lasting impressions on us. Today was the day I met a woman I will never forget.
   Shirl Campbell (better known in our area as Mrs. C) writes a column for our newspaper. Her column is a mixture of humor, patting people on the back and telling it like it is. I read her column each week and laugh, cry and have even shouted amen a time or two! She is real, honest and most of all, sincere.
   Mrs. C greeted me with a huge smile and hug when entered her home. As I sat in her living room, I looked at a wall filled with pictures of her family. There wasn't room on that wall for another photo. Some of the frames had pictures slipped between the frame and outside of the glass as a way of getting more photos on the wall. As she told me who each person was in the photos, she beamed. I grinned pretty big when she pointed out the photos of Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and autographed poster of Toby Keith. Another wall held a photo of her parents, one of her and her husband who passed away years ago and President Barack Obama. Again, she beamed with pride as she described the photos.
  We spent time talking about what it was like living in a time of segregation for an article I am working on for our newspaper. We talked about race, the state of our world today, family, her bar-b-que, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., her unwavering faith in God and even a little George Strait. Let's just say she is a big fan!
   I immediately felt a bond to Mrs. C. I felt like I had known her my entire life. Her home was very warm and welcoming. She made me laugh and she made me tear up a time or two. Mrs. C has seen a lot in her 68 years on this earth. Her 25 year-old granddaughter passed away this past Christmas Day after a lengthy battle with cancer. Listening to her talk about this life gone way too soon, my heart felt heavy. In true Mrs. C fashion, she said, "The doctors told us she should have died years ago, but I always told them she would die when God was ready to call her home. Everything happens in His time." Some people would find it easy to be bitter about the situation. A 25 year-old mother of four passing away from a dreadful disease, but Mrs. C praised God for the 25 years she was able to spend with her granddaughter. Her perspective was humbling.
   As I drove the 30 miles home, I thought about what an impact this one woman has. She's crossed so many paths in her life and her footprints are upon the heart of not only her large family, but friends and people in the community. Her sweet spirit reminded me of my grandmother and I wondered if that is what made me feel so connected to her.
   When I began thinking about what I would write in my journal tonight, I decided on a simple entry inspired by Mrs. C consisting of 3 questions I hope to answer in future journal entires.

   1.What impact are you leaving on others?
   2. What are you doing to make the world a better place?
   3. How will others remember you when you are gone?

   My wish is for everyone to meet a person like Mrs. C at least one time in their lives. Friendship knows no color and for that, I'm truly thankful.