Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two Miracles Before Noon

The name of my blog is Real Life In A Minute and that is what it is about....real life.  Yours and mine, and little moments that seem to isolate themselves and call for more reflection.  They may bring you a giggle, a memory, inspiration, motivation, a new idea, compassion, love, intellect, or they may even put you to sleep. 

I was going to let yesterday's blog stay for awhile because I really want some help with that topic.  If you have time go back and read it too.  But this one is far more important.  It started at the gym.

We were just finishing our hour of Zumba dancing.  Lucy actually ended class five minutes early.....unheard of!  There we all stood, every thread of our clothing wet with sweat and water dripping down our faces.  Lucy, our 'teacher' said we were going to have cake!  Cake???  Number one, we don't eat there.  Just drink gallons of water to stay alive.  Next, we come there to, yes, have fun and help the heart work better, but, also to shed as many calories as possible.  And we are going to eat cake?  At 11:00 AM?  I don't think so.

But we do, we all do, and here's why.  LaDonna was dancin' right in front of me.  Lean, tall, the picture of health.  She steps up and announces that ten years ago today she was told to go home and get her affairs in order, that her brain tumor would soon end her life.  No hope was given for her survival.  Today she wanted to celebrate her life, and she wanted us to celebrate with her.  We would have it no other way so we dived in to chocolate cake piled high with hot pink and green frosting.  Never were calories so worth it.  You can always exercise another hour.  Eat the cake!   Miracle #1.

Next stop, with sticky fingers, is the library.  I'd spent twenty minutes nosing through the stacks and was checking out with three DVDs and four books, plus three books on tape.  My plans were to leave the library and head to the bookstore to pick up a copy of "Menonite In A Little Black Dress".  I though it might be a fun read for our (brand new) book club but wanted to read it first to make sure.  A young lady walks up the counter to return her books.  The book on top?  You guessed it.  It was "Menonite In A Little Black Dress"!  Out of all the thousands of books in the library, it was the very one I wanted.  I'd only seen it in book stores and had thought it was a new release.  Was it just a coincidence?  Hmmm.  I call it Miracle #2.

Those kind of things don't happen every day but when they do it is really cool.  Enjoy your day!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Martha Stewart and Etsy

Martha Stewart, you know her, sent me an idea today.  It's for anyone who has more little scraps of paper than they know what to do with....and more time than they know what to do with.  However, I AM a recycler so I wanted to pass this on. 

Do you love little books?  Apparently a lot of people do!  My husband is one of them.  He's not into the creative kind that I am going to share, but you will always find him with a little tiny notebook within arm's reach.  I tend to keep my lists in my head.  Now what was it I needed at the store???

Martha's LIttle Book Idea:  Martha's ideas always amaze me.  Not that they are so unique but that she actually gets into this level of creating.  I know she has a huge staff but, still, she really gets into this stuff herself.  Her link tells you exactly how to make one like hers.   Having read her biography I respect her accomplishments and the empire she has built.

Etsy Idea:   What I really like about the Etsy idea is the creative aspect.  She has also included little baggies in her books for receipts, buttons, stubs etc.  How clever. Her link gives you all the details about her little books.

If you are a crafter, enjoy these ideas and send us a picture of your little book!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Three Cups Of Tea and Stones Into Schools

Here in the USA most of what I have learned about Pakistan and Afganistan has been from CNN and political speeches.  The Taliban and AlQuaida are there.  That's been enough for me to paint the entire area with a broad brush of dislike and disgust.  I almost said 'fear' but I realize I actually do not fear them; their presence is only real to me because of 9-11, and otherwise they are a faint rhetoric of military and political babble...something over which I have no control.

However, I have just finished reading "Stones Into Schools" by Greg Mortenson, subtitled Promoting Peace With Schools, Not Bombs.  Before I retired I was a public school teacher for 30 years.  I taught mathematics to thousands of students over the years, many of whom did not share my interest in the subject.  I realized, in order to reach them, I had to approach our interactions truly as a relationship.  The mathematics was an appetizer to the main course of relationship. 

"Stones Into Schools" is a sequel to "Three Cups Of Tea".  If you have interest in this subject I would suggest you read Three Cups Of Tea first, and then decide about the second book.  Three Cups Of Tea is wildly successful by any measure:  #1 NYTimes Bestseller, critics, reviews, book clubs, neighbors, and friends.  It reminds us that even the most insurmountable problems are most effectively approached through relationship building...and then miracles can occur.  They occur because people are inspired!  In this case, one INSPIRED man, an American nurse and son of US missionaries to Africa, is responsible for well over 100 schools in the most remote parts of Pakistan and Afganistan where girls were not permitted to go to school, and the boys who did go were often 'taught' in an outdoor tent at best.

Education is a powerful thing.  The premise of both books is the thought, no the conviction, that being able to read and learn will go further to promote logical, independent thought and, eventually peace, than bombs that drop resulting in killing of innocent people, maiming many more, and setting a third world country back even more.

The people of Pakistan and Afganistan are trying awfully hard, trying their best, to help their countries evolve, to help their children learn and be safe, building upon hopes and dreams just as we do.  I respect them immensely for their efforts in the face of chaos and uncertainty and danger.

You might enjoy Three Cups Of Tea and its sequel....check the reviews online.

I'm off to exercise the body, zumba dancing to some uplifting fun music, and celebrating the day and the freedom and opportunities I have as a woman to learn and do with no bounds.  I am so thankful for that, to God and to our fore fathers.

Enjoy the day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Favorite Snowman

The most snow we've had since the Blizzard of Early 90s.
  And it was all gone in a day!
  We had fun though.
Can Spring be far behind?

And a great big thank you for The Sunshine Award from Mama Hollis!   I will share this one soon.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How Are You Unique?

A couple of months ago I was out riding my bike, and I found this letter in a puddle.  I guess it had been raining back then too!  Seems like it's been raining forever where I live!  Anyway, I fished the paper out of the puddle and brought it home to dry.  I know it is valuable to someone but I have no idea where to find them.

It's hard to read, I know.  It appears to be a school assignment:  to write about why you are unique.  Here is what a little girl wrote:

"I am unique because my eyes are three colors...blue, green, and gray.
  I am unique because I can make people laugh and I like to laugh. 
 I am one who loves my dog Roxie.  I am one who dislikes when Sandy, my other dog, fights Roxie and when my brother's mean. 
 I am unique because I can cheerlead and draw penguins really good. 
That's why I am unique."

To me this is priceless.  I'm not throwing it away any time soon.  We all get so focused on all that needs to be done everyday, meeting other people's needs, being productive, and on and on.  Maybe it would be a good idea to take just a moment and think what you would have written about yourself.  Not your children, not your wife or husband, or friend.  Just you.  How are you unique?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Friday Night Knitting Club

I just finished reading NYTimes #1 Bestseller, The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.  I bet many of you have read it too.  It's a light, fun read although it gets heavy in parts.  This is a story of a group of women of different ages, different backgrounds, different goals, and different lifestyles who get to know each other and share their lives over the process of knitting.  It wasn't initially a love of knitting.  For some it was just a curiosity, some were trying to learn, and some had knitted "forever". And some just came for the cookies!  However it ended up being the vehicle that intertwined their lives, both present and future.

If you enjoy "people watching" in general, and stories about women in particular, you will enjoy seeing these women grow into themselves.  They become fast friends, their relationships begin to overlap, and their interdependence is front and center in the story.  Family plays a big part in this novel......it is really all about family......both the one you are born into and the one you choose.

The author, Kate Jacob, has a website at http://www.fridaynightknittingclub.com/index.html.  She loves connecting with her readers and will even arrange to call in to your book club if you are discussing her book.  Now that is cool.  There is a sequel; I think it is called Knit Two. I will get to it eventually but it will have to wait its turn.

Enjoy the read!  Especially nice in winter.