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 now....it'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 it....how 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."