Friday, November 30, 2012

The 30 Day Challenge

In the last few years there have been plenty of 30 day challenges, things like losing weight, random acts of kindness, and P90X killer workouts.  I usually don’t jump in because I’m prone to not make the 30 days because of what I think are valid excuses. And nothing beats me up more than starting something and not finishing.

The craziest challenge I took on and completed was 365 days posting on the blog in 2010.  I thought that one up all by myself and two years I’m still wondering why. OK, that was a little overboard, but now I fully understand the meaning of burn out.  Certainly that’s why my posts have been sketchy at best.  I’m finally ready to write again.

It’s the last official day for the 30 day November grateful journey. I, of course, didn’t take the challenge. However this morning when I heard Jim Brawner get out of bed, I was overwhelmed with gratefulness: grateful he’s the father of my three kids and Big to my gaggle of grandkids, grateful he is such a man of integrity and loyalty, and grateful he loves me in spite of me.

I suppose when I married him while we were both still in college, I did take on a challenge of sorts, kind of a lifetime challenge. Anyone who says marriage isn’t challenging is lying or taking too much Valium.  But, I suppose all of our trials and highs and lows have only made us stronger.  Mistakes yes, regrets none, because trial and error have made us who we are.

Grateful I took that challenge a long time ago ... you bet.  There’s no one I’d rather do life with than Jim Brawner. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is leftovers. For some reason everything tastes even better the next day.  Maybe 24 hours gives the sage in the dressing and all spice in the pumpkin pie time to really do its work.  When I was a kid Mom would bone the turkey into bite-sized pieces and hide them in the freezer.  Every brown sack school lunch the next week would have white bread, mayonnaise, and almost-thawed-turkey sandwich. Fabulous!

By now most of the leftover turkey has been finished off or frozen, we’ve tackled Black Friday with Excel spread sheets and the relatives have gone back home. Peace on earth has returned, maybe.

Thanksgiving can set the stage for wonderful memories or a nightmarish 4 week dread of Christmas.  And it’s all based on leftovers ... not the food kind.

There’s a gloom that can creep in and stick like tree sap if we let it.  The sheer adrenaline crash after the long weekend is enough to exhaust most of us.  And dealing with a cracky, rude uncle, or a mother whose expectations will never be met, or entitled kids home from college will wear down the strongest. Those people may all be gone, but the snide, sarcastic comments and lack of consideration have left many just wanting to sleep until January 2.

My pastor friend Jim Fryer posted today, “There are over seven billion people on this earth. Are you going to let one person ruin your day?”  I think that’s one way of asking if you’re going to let Aunt Martha’s comment about your tough pie crust or your dad’s joking about your lack of football skills hang around like spoiled leftovers.  

So, toss all that in the trash and take it out.  According to the music piped in at the mall “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.  The exciting thing is we get to choose; recount our blessings and enjoy the holidays or nibble on emotional leftovers for the next month.  What will you do?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Have You Ever Noticed?

Recently I discovered my two year old granddaughter intently watching masses of ladybugs crawling on a tree trunk outside a restaurant.  When I asked what she was doing she said, “Sue Sue, look at this!  I found millions of ladybugs! Millions! They’re crawling everywhere!”  

She was wowed. 

What struck me was likely scores of people had walked by the same tree and I wondered how many had noticed the ladybugs.  If any, I guarantee they were under the age of five. That’s when I began to understand why life speeds up, out of control.  We become so unaware. We just don’t know. We miss so much.

I want to slow down and become a noticer!  How about you?