Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Road Not Taken

The hardest thing about the road not taken 
is that you never know where it might have led.
        --- Lisa Wingate

From the present moment, we can see the past stretching out behind us, a bit foggy perhaps, but there nonetheless. Despite its distance, some parts of it are as clear and intense as they were when they happened. But they are past. Not to be relived.

Instead we turn around and face forward, into the future. We hope we take the road for joy, not letting an opportunity slip by. 

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Friday, June 29, 2012

Agave Cactus Blooming on the Kansas Prairie

This is a very famous plant - an agave cactus in bloom, in case you didn't recognize it. What makes it famous is that it's on the Kansas prairie, specifically at Farley Machine Works in Chase, Kansas. It's located right along Highway 56.

They have added cables to help anchor it. We do have some wind here on the prairie. And it is now about three stories tall.

Until a few months ago, this plant was just the lower, bushy part. They brought it in and out of the sun by rolling it into the machine shop when necessary. It's on a trailer built by the owner's grandson.

The towering stem with blooms is the "flower" part. If you look closely you can see the blooms are different at different levels. The lower ones are starting to dry and the upper ones are not yet bloomed.

The sad part of this story is that it's expected the plant will die once it has bloomed. When we visited on Thursday, a part of it had been found broken on the ground that morning when they arrived at work.

I don't know much about cactus plants, but you can see the leaves seem a little dry at the stem. Maybe it just can't support that bloom for long.

I confess I knew nothing about this, but my friend, Pam, asked if I wanted to go. This would be a time when it's handy to know an extension agent who specializes in horticulture.

She tells me the flower part will die, but the main part of the plant will probably live another year or so and it will make little baby plants - pups, they're called.

In fact, it has already made some. And someone stole them. But, the owners do have one at home as well.

This plant was bought as a Mother's Day present in 1976. These plants are known to live 30-40 years, then bloom, and die. Of course, they're not expected to do that on the Kansas prairie. No one knows what will happen to it, but they're doing their best to keep it alive.

You can see the lean in it, but that's not unexpected considering the height and the wind.

People are coming from all over to see it. The machine shop has put out a guest book to keep track.

I'm glad I have friends who, when we have lunch plans, will ask if I want to go see a three story cactus plant in a neighboring town and eat on the way back! It was an adventure. Thanks, Pam!

You can read the Wichita Eagle article for more info.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why the Health Care Vote is Personal for Me

Today the Supreme Court upheld the Obama Health Care plan as constitutional.

I am relieved.

Not a single Republican voted for this plan in congress. It was all about party lines instead of having any compassion for people who don't have health insurance - people of both parties. I am one of those people, and not by choice.

Chief Justice John Roberts' vote today is what gave the 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court. I do not know this, and I'm sure he will not speak about it since justices don't offer comment, but I'm guessing he is personally against it. But, he did his job today, and upheld the constitutionality of it. That is the job of the justices in this case. He did his job admirably. I want to offer my gratitude for him doing his job instead of bowing to the pressure of a political party. He has assured his place in history, as many people who did what was right instead of what their party wanted right now.

I am relieved because in 2014 I will be able to buy health insurance. I want to have health insurance. For the first time in my adult life I am uninsured, and it is not because I want to be. No company will insure me. If you've never looked for health insurance as a individual - not part of a group - you probably do not realize how difficult it is to get. Besides, any health issue you might have is a pre-existing condition and not covered if you can buy it.

For those of you who believe it is all about personal responsibility, let me say that as far as I know, I did not do anything to cause a tumor to grow on my right ovary. However, the fact that I had it removed, in order to determine if it was cancerous, makes me uninsureable. (It was benign, I'm happy to say.)

I live in a state that has a high risk pool I can buy into. However, to get a $10,000 deductible plan, it would cost me about $500 a month. The upshot of that is that I would pay $16,000 a year before they would pay anything. There has only been one year of my life where I required that much medical care, and I hope there is never another one. It makes no sense for me to do that, even if I did happen to have an extra $500 a month.

My hope is that when insurance companies cannot pick and choose their customers, and everyone has to buy insurance, the competition will drive prices down. We will see. I just know something has to be different.

You can read my health care story, and why this is personal to me.

Click on the photo to see more.


To be clear, I am not inviting debate about this issue. This blog is my opinion, and my incredibly personal story. Please share your dissenting views on your own blog instead of mine. Thanks in advance. 

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Margaret Atwood's Creative Process

I love "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. And I love that she's on Twitter regularly. Here she talks about her creative process.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Five Social Media Tips for Politicians

It's political season, and my social media streams are suddenly bulging with politicians I haven't heard from since the last time they had an opponent. It seems word has gotten around that social media is powerful, but no one bothered to share how to use it.

So, as a person who manages social media for clients, I'm going to share a few tips specifically for politicians. Yes, I'm giving away information - consider it my contribution to your campaign.

1. It's "social" media - not the place for you to just drop into on a whim and expect people to fall at your feet. If you haven't been in this space for weeks, months or years, maybe since the last time you were campaigning, you better approach me gingerly. I will "unlike" your facebook page so fast it will make your head spin. You know, I can see what you've posted previously. If it's nothing but fundraising, you're gonna lose me. Quickly. You don't have to visit with every person, although that would be nice, but you can post something more interesting.

2. Do not ask me for money in your first interaction with me. Would you walk up to me at a gathering, introduce yourself, and ask me to donate all in the first breath? I hope not. If all you post on social media is fundraising, that's what it's like.

3. This is a good place to share what you're doing - where you're appearing, what's happening in your campaign, what you think about the news topic of the day, a photo of your trusty dog, etc. Then, once I know you, and care about you, you might mention it would be helpful if I gave you money.

4. People always want to see "behind the scenes." I don't care what business you're in, that's what people want to see (Okay, maybe not if you're in the hog rendering business.) If you're a politician, this is a great place to offer some kudos to your volunteers, show us a photo of your campaign office, or some other insight into who you are.

5. Photos are powerful. Videos are powerful. (Don't tell me you didn't notice Old Glory up there at the top of this post.) Make some of them about something other than you raising money.

If you don't have time to be on social media regularly, either hire someone to do it for you or consider if it's something you should be doing. You hire people to make brochures. Your Facebook page will probably reach more people. Think about where you're putting your money. (This does not mean you have to hire me, it means you have to think about what you're doing and if it makes sense.)

Yes, social media is powerful. It can also be a detriment if you don't use it well. Those of us who are in the space all the time think that if you can't manage this, you might not be able to manage whatever office you're running for very well either.

There are about a jillion other things I could say, but these few tips should get you started.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Monday, June 25, 2012

Beauty is God's Handwriting

The idea of beauty has been central to my life the last few years. I have continually gotten the message that I need more beauty in my life, that I need to create more beauty, that I need to appreciate beauty more.

I've thought about this for many hours, and written thousands of words about it - some of them here. Still, the answer did not come to me.

Then a few months ago I was interviewing my friend, Jesse, for a magazine article I was writing. He's very involved with his church and we were discussing the stained glass windows and other beautiful parts of the church. Then he said something that crystalized part of the puzzle for me. "The sheer force of beauty itself is a vehicle for the divine." 

Interestingly enough, his comments ended up not being used in the article, so it could be argued that interview was really just for me. So Jesse could say this to me in a context we wouldn't have otherwise been in.

We have so many examples of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One of the things I find beautiful is handwriting, and I'm currently focusing some energy on a project to capture handwriting samples from people. ( Then, through a totally unrelated series of events, this quote came to me:

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting. 

                             - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life circles around, it seems.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What Do We Lose

There comes a time in everyone's life when you have to decide if you're going to do something different, make big changes, go in a new direction, or if you're going to keep doing what you've been doing.

You may not just be going through the motions, but you're in a pattern. The same pattern you've been in for awhile. You have to decide if you're going to stay there or shake things up.

I've always been attracted to those stories where someone is travelling through a town and sees an old house for sale and buys it on a whim and starts a whole new life. Conveniently, they just happen to have a large sum of money recently acquired by the same event that leaves them free to roam. Most of us - happily so - are not so un-tethered that this is feasible. 

Of course, fiction is much easier than real life. In fiction there's never a moment of loneliness because you've uprooted yourself and left everything and everyone you know. In fiction there's a group of people eager to take you in and befriend you. Reality isn't so beautifully scripted.

But, if we're afraid to take the chance what do we gain? Security, I suppose.

Maybe the bigger question is what do we lose.
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Visioning Retreat

Soon I'll be going on retreat with a few friends where we will engage in a visioning process for the coming year.

This will be the fourth time I've done this. Each year it's a different group of people who go and it's always insightful. The only person who has been to each one besides me is my friend, Teresa.

We very loosely use this book as a guide. We were able to hear Lucia Capacchione speak a few years ago. I really wanted to engage in the process she outlined and found a way that was possible.

I have a friend who has already spoken up that she would like to come next year.  I know she will be an amazing addition to the group so I'm hoping that works out. It's always enlightening for me.

I'm really eager to devote some time to this process of stopping, thinking, organizing and visioning. It helps me focus my energies and I really need that at the moment. I think of it as a blueprint for the coming year.

Here are some posts from previous years if you want to take a look at what we've done.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Friday, June 22, 2012

Evangelism is Not for Me

I have an issue with evangelism. That probably says more about me than anyone else.

Let me be clear that when I say "evangelism," I don't necessarily mean in a religious way - I mean about almost anything. I think what bothers me about it is the intensity level. I seek to eliminate drama in my life. I don't have people who are high-drama as friends, I try to live in a way that limits unpleasantness, I avoid confrontation, etc. etc. etc. Evangelism seems like drama to me.

It also limits people to the one issue they're evangelical about. I do not believe humans are so one-dimensional. I think we're far too complex to be boiled down to one thing. When I see people who are completely devoted to one topic, issue or cause, I think they're not being honest with me. There must be more to them, but they're keeping it hidden. The evangelism becomes a smokescreen to detract me from who that person truly is. It's like a magician redirecting my attention. I don't like that feeling of having the wool pulled over my eyes.

At the same time, I admire people who are so clear about anything. Until we have defined what we want, what we are about and who we are, with complete clarity, it's difficult to accomplish much. For me evangelism feels like an easy way out in that regard - a position arrived at not by consideration, but by finding comfort with others who share the point of view. This, again, presumes people are too complex to be centered on only one thing.

I think most of us have experienced that "group think." I know I have. It's easy. It's nice. It's simple.

Evangelism also allows no room for differing points of view. And evangelists try to convince you of their point of view with emotion and by putting down others. What people don't understand is that if I don't share your viewpoint, you can't convince me with that as a basis. A common foundation is necessary to have any hope of having someone see your view point.

Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Bread Business

Musician Paul Thorn said in an interview, "If you're loved by everybody, you're not saying too much."

There's a lot of truth in that.

He was speaking about writing songs, particularly from his Pimps and Preachers album. But I think it's applicable to many kinds of writing and other kinds of speech.

I've been mulling over a blog post for awhile titled, "Honesty comes with a price." Over the years I've had multiple instances of paying a price with friends and acquaintances for honesty. Mostly because I share my thoughts and feelings - largely unedited - in this forum.

I don't say anything here I wouldn't say face to face, but - sadly - there are few situations in real life where one talks about their honest, deep feelings. So, my words here on occasion seem to shock people. And people do what is natural when they're shocked, they back up.

In the midst of working on this post, I ran across this quote by Spanish writer, Miguel de Unamuno, "My aim is to agitate and disturb people. I'm not selling bread, I'm selling yeast."

It's never my intention to agitate or disturb people, but I seem to do it regularly nonetheless. If only I could use this power for good in the world.

But I'm not in the bread business either.


You can listen to Paul Thorn on YouTube. I've never seen him in person but he plays regularly around the country. I'm sure it would be a fabulous show.

Just from this album, I encourage the following:
The melody in "Ray Ann's Shoes" is hauntingly beautiful.
"You Might be Wrong" should be required listening for anyone offering their opinion about anything.
"That's Life" is a tribute to his mother.
"Tequila is good for the heart" is something anyone who's had a broken heart can relate to.
The title track tells its own story.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Putting on Airs

When people "put on airs," it means they're acting like they're better than they are - that they're higher class. Where I grew up it's a real slam to be told you're putting on airs.

I'm sure at some point I've said that about someone else, despite it not being my judgement to make. Aside from the obvious fact that I have no insight into how people feel about anything.

That came from a place of insecurity on my part, as most such things are. What we're really concerned about is that that person thinks they're better than we are. Or, more specifically, we think they are better than we are in some way - that they know something we don't know.

It's funny how life cycles around.

Not too long ago, someone referred to me as "putting on airs" when I mentioned lemon curd on Facebook. Admittedly, I didn't grow up having tea and eating lemon curd on scones. But, as soon as I knew such a thing existed, and experienced it, I knew I wanted to experience it again.

So, I learned to make lemon curd. And occasionally I will mention it on Facebook because it's part of my life. Is lemon curd high class? I honestly don't know. Is the dish I bought at a flea market it's in here high class? I guess it depends on your perspective.

But I do know we humans are often insecure about things we don't know/understand, and sometimes that manifests in these ways. We've all been there. It's just another bit of human nature. We are infinitely interesting.

Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Age, Attitude and Approaches

I spent a couple of hours recently talking with someone I really enjoy that I don't get to see very often. We talked about everything from evolutionary psychology to the show, "Six Feet Under." (Which, for the record, we both happen to love and if you haven't had the pleasure of watching it, get thee to your local DVD rental store or surf on over to Netflix or do whatever you do to satisfy your media needs.)

Although statistics would indicate we couldn't have a conversation because I'm more than twice his age, we found plenty to talk about. Does this mean I'm immature? It may, but I think it's more than that.

The last few years I've spent some time puzzling over this and I've come to the conclusion it's about the approach you take to life more than anything. Many people my age are burdened. That's the only way to put it, that I can think of. They are worried about paying for college for their kids and getting their 401K beefed up and what they're going to do about the credit card debt. Maybe I should be worried more about those things, but two of them are not issues for me so I can devote my thought to other things.

It's not that I don't have any worries - I most certainly do - they're just different ones. And, I see no point in spending hours each day/week/month worrying. What will that accomplish? Nothing. If there's something I can think about and come up with a solution for that's different, but just to worry about something, obsess over it - I see no point in that. Either there's a solution or there's not. Either you're going to enact it or you're not. So get about doing it or let it go. If you're not going to actually do something, there's no point in giving any more thought to it.

People who have more of this attitude to life resonate with me. One thing I do notice about people who are more plugged-in is that no one freaks out if I need to check my email or send a text while we're talking. Everything is easy, casual, laid-back and full of possibility. These folks are usually in a mode of taking in experiences, meeting people, doing things - we may not want to do the same things, but they're usually doing something, and so am I.

My pursuits tend to be more internally oriented, with a desire to share them at some point. I read. I write. I go to lectures. I listen to podcasts. I create. I have conversation. I take in information and consider it in new ways.

I am blessed to have friends from 19 - 92 who are excited about life and doing interesting things. It's one of the reasons I do not believe age is an indicator of much of anything except how many years you're been on the planet. I don't think it says much about who people are or what we should expect from them.

Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lifelong Learning and Technology Ties

I'm a bit of a nerd/geek/techie/whatever you want to call it. The reason is that I love what technology makes available to me. And, for me, the main attraction is the ease of continual learning.

I've begun to realize this is a real dividing factor among people and how they feel about technology and particularly things like Twitter, Facebook and blogs. People often say to me, "it's just junk." My response is that if all you're finding is junk on blogs and social networking sites, you need to connect with different people. You've chosen poorly. Find smarter, more interesting people. I find more useful and interesting material everyday online than I can possibly read and absorb.

If you're a person who wants to be learning something new all the time, you love how technology makes that so easy. If you like to remain connected with people from all time periods of your life, and meet new people who share your interests, you love the options of social networking. Part of the reason I love those connections is related to learning - all of those people have interests and information they can share with me.

However, if you're content with the circle of people in your world and the information those people bring, this would have less appeal. I guess it's a matter of degrees. If you are not interested in expanding your circle of friends, and you don't feel a need to learn new information all the time, I can see that these things would have less appeal.

I may be prompted to go read about a particular town because I meet someone from there. Someone's interest in spirituals may lead me to connect those with the quilts used on the underground railroad. Yes, I might gather the same information from a book at the library. But, I would have to think of the subject by random, or run across it by accident. While I'm very creative, I don't like the odds that I will accidentally learn about a 1500's era shipwreck in Nehalem Bay, Oregon. And some things can't be learned that way because they're fleeting and won't ever make it into print in a library.

I get on Facebook and learn about the lives of people I haven't seen in decades. I want to know about their lives. I want that connection. They may share a bit of information I find valuable. They may just tell me about their day. They may show photos of their families. Because I care about those things, I want that interaction. Yes, much of it is not earth-shattering. It's conversation. Much of your daily face-to-face conversation isn't earth-shattering either. It's about building familiarity, so you can move to the next level. Facebook allows me to do that with people I can't geographically be face-to-face with.

As with all things, it's a matter of interests, I suppose.

Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I'm a girl who loves surprises. And late Friday afternoon I went to the mailbox and found one. My friend, Hollie, sent me these pretties. Obviously, she knows me well - there are handmade linens and sparkly things.

Hollie has surprised me before - always with something lovely. I'm blessed to have people in my world who do such things. I need to learn to pleasantly surprise others. It makes the world a much better place.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kentucky Butter Cake

For Creative Sisterhood recently I made a Kentucky Butter Cake. I hadn't baked one in awhile and I had forgotten how much I love this cake. The texture of it is spectacular, not to mention the taste.

The butter sauce is runny, so I always put the cake pedestal on a platter to catch the drips.

This cake would be wonderful with other things too - lemon curd, fresh fruit and whipped cream, a raspberry sauce... But, so far I've only made it with the butter sauce as a topping.

I firmly believe the bundt cake is under-appreciated, and this cake is a prime example of why.

Kentucky Butter Cake

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs

Butter Sauce

In a saucepan combine
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cook over medium heat, until fully melted and combined, but do not boil.

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Blend in milk, butter, vanilla and eggs. Beat and pour into greased and floured bundt pan.

Bake in 325 degree oven for 60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cool slightly, and put cake on serving plate. Slowly pour sauce over cake. 

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Friday, June 15, 2012


I love this bit of glass because I think it so beautifully illustrates Tiffany's secret of getting such rich tones in his glass. You can see it clearly here. Tiffany used layers to create a variety of  hues. That, combined with other techniques, makes Tiffany glass distinctive.

What is not more interesting with layers? In some ways this seems a metaphor for life.

We layer our clothes. We eat layer cake. And we appreciate people who have layers to their personalities. Admittedly, we may not like having to excavate all those layers when trying to figure someone out, but one-dimensional people aren't very interesting.

Of course, if we could peel away the various layers in this glass, I'm certain it would still be beautiful. That may not always be true with people. But, that's part of what being human is about - we are complex - we have good in us and we have not-so-good in us. Hopefully all blended together it evens out into something amazing, something beautiful.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Words by Hand

Handwriting fascinates me and has for a very long time. I've been collecting it for years. It took me a long time to think of it as a collection, but I suppose it is. I love to find things like this - an old club roster from the forties.

So, I've decided to catalog some of it on a website, I'll be posting tidbits like this that I've picked up somewhere, and also inviting people to participate by sending their own handwriting samples.

There will also be some videos showing the handwritten word like this one:

I'm excited about this. I think it will be an interesting project. If you want to participate, see details at

It's more fun to go to the mailbox every day now!

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quote of the Day

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. 
                                                --- Henry Miller

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kindness by Way of Blackberries

If you've read here for any amount of time, you know of my love for blackberries. You may have followed the ongoing saga of the one blackberry bush I've finally gotten to grow and the limited amount of berries it has produced the last couple of years. I've joked about the cost per berry being extremely high.

Well, this year they ripened more than a month early, no doubt due to the extremely mild winter. I was on the road for much of May and got this one, big, juicy berry before I left. I was hoping some would remain when I returned, but wasn't optimistic since their season is short.

When I got back I went out to check and saw there were no berries to be had. I figured the birds had helped themselves to the banquet of berries while I was gone. I took solace in the fact that next year will probably bring a bumper crop.

Yesterday my neighbor, Bob, told me his wife, Ruth, had something for me. I was running late for a meeting, and got home too late to see them last night. But, I went over this afternoon and Ruth said, "Oh, let me get it for you." She emerged with two baggies of frozen blackberries. While I was gone, Bob went over and picked them every couple of days, and Ruth washed and froze them so I could have them when I got back.

I'm so incredibly touched. They are the kindest neighbors. Yes, these are the same neighbors who mow for me. I didn't ask them to pick them for me. I don't even recall having talked with them about my love of blackberries before. They just took it upon themselves to do something so sweet and kind. I am so blessed to live next to them.

They humble me with their kindness.
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Second Thought, Indulgent, Writing

Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing here. I write almost every day - sometimes about something that's on my mind, and sometimes just recording the day's events. There are times I think it's the ultimate in self-indulgence to believe that such things need to be taking up space on the world wide web and that I should just stop using the bandwidth.

Then someone will send me a nice note, or a sweet comment, about something that has made a difference in their lives, and I approach the next blog post with renewed vigor.

I've been thinking about pulling some of the better posts into a book. It's something a few people have asked for, and seems like it would be a good thing to do. It's just yet another of those projects that can't seem to find a supply of time to get done. And, speaking of self-indulgent...

Writing is something I've done every day, pretty much since I could. I'm not sure when I realized people kept journals, but I became devoted to it at a pretty early age. Pages and pages are filled with words - maybe some are important, but all are heartfelt.

It's somewhat amazing that anyone takes the time to put words to paper - or screen. I still do both, and I know many other people do as well. Despite that, I do wonder at the wisdom of doing it so publicly sometimes. But, I keep doing it, not heeding even my own second thoughts.

I can only assume there's a reason. Maybe it will become clear to me at some point.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Handwritten Letter

There's still something magic about handwritten letters. I still write them. I still love to get them.

Sometimes I worry that they will disappear. Then I realize that, like everything, it will go in cycles and they'll become something cool again.

At least I hope so.

Otherwise, future generations will never understand the thrill of pulling a letter out of the mail box, and that would be a tiny tragedy.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Friday, June 08, 2012

Idea and Ideal -

I think they meant to say, "The idea of freedom..." followed by "This ideal is embodied..."

I took this at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Technically, either could be correct, but I think they meant, "idea."

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Barry Manilow in Wichita

Barry Manilow performed in Wichita Thursday night, and Greg and I went. The ticket prices were such that almost anyone who wanted to see him could have afforded to go. They were as low as $9.99. They also provided glow sticks, which I guess are common at Manilow concerts.

We were joking that Greg was expecting a truck show and was going to be very surprised when Manilow took the stage. But I think he had fun just seeing the stage, setup and all.

I'm not a huge Manilow fan, but we all know some of those songs. And I love his attitude. I heard him interviewed on a show a few years ago and the host asked, "Do you just think, 'Oh God, they want to hear "Mandy" again?'" Manilow said, "No, I think, 'Thank God, they want to hear "Mandy" again."

The glow sticks were cool to see throughout the arena.

The sets were very "broadway," but always interesting.

He told a really touching story about his grandfather taking him to a place in Times Square where you could record your own voice. It was a good show.
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


I am incredibly grateful for my life. The blessings are plentiful. Each day I'm amazed at just being alive, much less anything more. I lead a charmed life.

These days I'm also trying to figure out some challenges. I say that, but in reality, I'm befuddled about what to do. So, I'm really doing nothing except waiting for an answer.

However, one of Patsy's Rules for Living is that it's almost always wrong to do nothing. So I've decided what I need to do is surrender. Then I'm doing something, although perhaps not the traditional "something."

Your good thoughts and prayers are appreciated as these roads are traveled.
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

What Else I've Forgotten

Tonight I was looking through some photographs on a laptop I don't use regularly. So, there are photos from the last few years, separated by days/weeks/months between downloads. It gives a compressed sense of time.

I rarely download onto this machine except when I'm travelling. So, there are photos from various trips, some of which I can no longer identify. Like this building. I don't know where this was taken. But, I am certain I loved the lines of the windows.

In some cases I have a faint memory of taking the photo, but I can't place where I was at the time. It makes me wonder what else I've forgotten.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Monday, June 04, 2012

Beauty Leads to the Divine

I've been thinking a lot the last few months about the importance of beauty in our lives. We seek it in so many places.

A friend said something to me one night about beauty being a pathway to the divine. I think that may be part of the attraction.

I'm still thinking about it all. But I know I need more beauty in my life. It's why I seek flowers, art and more. It all boils down to beauty.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Brother Claude Ely

I sometimes think about what we will leave behind when we depart this world. Many people leave their influence through children, grandchildren, etc. Even after we are gone, and our direct descendants are gone, the influence remains. Others leave writings, recordings or other tangible bits behind.

When I heard a story about a book written by Brother Claude Ely's great nephew, I thought how wonderful it was that he had gathered the information and created this book. People have all kinds of lives we can't imagine. But, they create them. And live them. In this case, Brother Claude's life has been captured in these pages - at least part of it.

Brother Claude Ely was a preacher/musician born in 1922, who is still remembered in the areas where he ministered. It seems he was quite a striking figure - a big man with big ideas and a big voice. His music is considered to be one of the examples of gospel music that influenced rock and roll.

He went across the country, holding revivals and tent meetings. Many of his recordings were done during live church services and include the shouting mixed in with the music - a hallmark of the Pentecostal churches in the south.

Ely came to religion when he experienced a miraculous healing from TB when he was a young man. He was always passionate about his chosen profession.

His signature song was this one, "Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down." It was covered by multiple people, most famously perhaps by Johnny Cash. Ely died in 1977, during a church service, falling backwards off the bench while playing the organ.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Music Lesson

I get some good-natured ribbing from people about my love of art. I was recently in a museum and when I could tear myself away from the Impressionist exhibit looked at this painting: "The Music Lesson," by Dutch painter Gerard tor Borch (1617-1681).

Because I know Dutch painting of this era is filled with symbolism, I started looking for the meanings. Here are just a few in this painting:
1. The students with instruments are looking at each other. This would be unusual in this time frame, to look so directly at one another, so it suggests amorous attention.
2. The woman is wearing brighter clothes than you usually see in portraits of couples in this era, so we know they are not married. This makes the gaze all the more charged.
3. He is playing a lute. The lute is very suggestive. It could indicate marital bliss, or it could indicate lust.
4. Her foot is resting on a foot-warmer. These are used to indicate courtship rituals or female lustfulness.

This is just one little example of what I love about art. What we see might well have meant something different to people in the time in which it was painted. I love learning all those little tidbits, and I've picked them up just reading in museums.

It's "The Rest of the Story" in pictures!
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Church Holds Cornhole Tournament

When I saw this sign on a Toledo church, I couldn't believe it. I actually turned around and went back to make sure I had read it right. Then, still disbelieving, I did a search to make sure the slang meaning I associated with "Cornhole" was "common knowledge." It is.

I'm assuming they're playing the game and not having lots of anal sex. I did not inquire, even though it was a Sunday morning and there were people around.

But the larger question is why would you put this on your church sign - on a major road - in giant letters? Why? It's difficult for me to imagine that no one in that congregation knows the meaning of this phrase.  Maybe their goal is to get publicity and I'm playing right into their hands.

Regardless, I remain shocked anyone would use this on a church sign. And I don't shock easily.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

Friday, June 01, 2012

A Little Humor Goes a Long Way

I recently stayed at a hotel chain I haven't stayed in for a long time. I had some trepidation, but the room was actually quite nice.

However, I'm guessing they must have some issues with theft of towels. Honestly, I didn't know anyone actually stole towels from hotels. Why would you do that? They're generally not very nice, and that's certainly the case in this hotel.

But, I thought their approach was quite nice. Instead of saying, "Don't Steal," they found a more fun way to do it.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest