Monday, November 28, 2011

Who Do You Write Like?

Who do you write like, ... and why do you write?  Or why do you blog?

How would you describe your writing style?  Short and sweet?  Verbose?  Homey and conversational?  Formal?  Poetic?  Academic?  Literary?  Do you use bits of dialogue or embellish with a lot of descriptive language?  Is your writing delightfully A.D.D. ish and wandering, or organized and straightforward?  Maybe it is subtle and playful before getting to the point.  And on and on it could go.

Arlee Bird, author of Tossing It Out, put me onto a site that was new to me. Maybe I live under a rock or something but I had never even heard of I Write Like.  The site takes a writing sample from you, analyzes your word choice and writing style, and gives you the results.  Kind of like a blood test.  Except you get the results right away and ... it tells you which 'famous' writer your style is most like.

All you do is copy-paste one of your writing samples, like a blog post, for example, and almost magically, you are informed.  For me it says I write like J. D. Salinger.  Sorry J.D. It might make you turn over in your  grave, but I am delighted by the comparison. My fingers fly, then I spell check, correct glaring errors, and leave it pretty much as is.  Very little editing.  Just free flowing thought.  So somebody else sounds like that too?   And somebody famous!  I am exuberant and it will last me all day.

My Hero

 It doesn't matter that Arlee also submitted a sample from the Book of Ezekiel, just for fun, and found the writing style to be like Kurt Vonnegut.  I just don't care.  I write like J. D. Salinger.  I have it in black and white and I'm holding on to it.

So, in J.D.'s words, "I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it."  And I wholeheartedly agree!

Thanks Arlee Bird.  It was a lot of fun.  Give it a try and see who you write like.  Jump back over here and share.    It will be fun.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Day At The Cemetary.

Most of the world, it seems, was out shopping on Black Friday, standing in lines to scoff up life changing bargains.  I spent Black Friday at the cemetery.

First of all, nobody died.  It was just a visit.  We passed through the cemetery gates that day by choice.  In my family, we don't bury people in the ground and just leave them there forever.  We continue to take care of them.  So this was the day to dress my dad's grave for Christmas.  He is decked out with red poinsettias now and he is ready for the holidays.  

My mother is 91, I am visiting her, and this is what she wanted to do.

A picture is worth a thousand words they say, and as we sat in that quiet place I decided it was a picture I'd rather not have.  Mother in her wheelchair bending over to get a better look at the bronze marker.  Walker off to the side.  It took both wheelchair and walker to get us up the knoll.  Me, sitting on the ground cutting styrofoam and arranging flowers.  And, best of all, Buddy, the picture of life playing around at our feet. Daddy would have liked that Buddy was along.

We rode through the cemetery grounds and said hello to many generations of family and friends who have been there for years.  

I wondered what was going through my mother's mind.  She still misses Daddy very much.  She knows she will lie next to him again sooner rather than later.  But not today.  It must play havoc with her thoughts.

We all hike back to the car, load up, and drive away leaving this resting place as quiet as we found it.  

These cemetery times may be ending for my family.  My husband wants to be cremated. So does my sister.  I'm still trying to decide.  It's all for the comfort of those left to 'bury' us, to pay their last respects, and have that closure carved in stone.  To do right by the dead.

We don't die though, do we?  Isn't life eternal?  Don't we just close our eyes here and transition into the next life?  Bungling our way back to God.  Realizing our Oneness.  Finally.

I can't figure out how to link this to the song on my computer.  If anyone knows how, let me know.  However, it's well worth the .99 to download.  Especially if you are sad right now.

Good grief!   I'm done with this topic.  Going out and having some fun!  Enough of this maudling stuff! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Buy One Thing

Hey Everyone!  Let's help make Saturday a great success for our small business people.   If we all pledge to buy one thing, even it's small like just a Coke, from a local small business, what an impact that would make.  

That is their goal and they are asking us all to do just that.  Buy one thing!

They will love you for it.

Too Soon To Think About The New Year?

Is it just too soon?  I think it is, in a way, yet my brain is going there with no prompting at all.  I'll be eating Thanksgiving lunch with my family in a couple of hours.  Tomorrow might bring a  little madhouse shopping just for fun.  Then hold on tight as the Christmas train leaves the depot.  Ready of not, here it comes.  So why am I thinking of the New Year?

That could be because it is my favorite time of year.  I could do without Halloween, Labor Day, even Valentine's Day believe it or not, but I cannot do without New Year's Day.  Isn't there something grand about new beginnings?  That's what it is for me.  A chance to reach higher, set new goals, nurture new ideas or old ones that need a shot in the arm.

So no!  It's never too early for New Year's.  Stay tuned.  We are going to have a gooooood time in January!
And I can't wait!  Sorry to rush you Santa.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Passing The Turkey Baton

The baton has been passed at my house.

I am not cooking the turkey this year.  Neither is anyone else in my generation of the family.  So even though I will be making my own famous sweet potato casserole, trying to reproduce my mother's southern creamed corn, and my mother-in-law's special frozen cranberry salad, my son will be cooking the turkey.
He's 35 now!

I am so delighted.  First of all, he is a good cook!  Secondly, he is enlisting the help of his two younger male cousins and teaching them to cook.  Thirdly, it just feels so good to have him step up and take over the most important role of Thanksgiving lunch.  I couldn't be more proud and I can't wait to taste it!

So I go to the gym for an extra workout to cover tomorrow's meal, then stop by Kroger with everyone else.  I think today must be their Black Friday, the biggest food shopping day of the year.  I went for the fresh yams over the canned ones, peeled them, chopped them, boiled them, mashed them, and topped them.

As I plowed through all this knife work, I had a dialogue with myself.  "I'm really glad I am the one making this dish because these potatoes are really hard and it would be so easy to cut your finger off!".  That is exactly what I said to myself silently.

Then, not nearly so silently, "OUCH!", I said.  Actually I yelled it.  Yes, you know it.  I almost sliced my thumb off.  Bleeding profusely.  I cannot believe this!  I'm immediately in the bathroom, away from the food, hoping I won't need stitches, afraid to look...dripping very dark red blood everywhere!  And there is so much of it! 

Fast forward a few hours.  I'm blogging with my thumb still all wrapped up in paper towels.  It's the only thing that will stem the flow.

Thank goodness, the potatoes are safe and blood-free.  I will live, and tomorrow will be a very good day!
 Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Finding The Gift

So am I really supposed to be thankful in all things?  All the time?  That's what the Scriptures say.  That's what the mystics say too. Does that mean "be thankful" when things are not going well?  When bad things are happening to good people?  How could that be?

Everyone these days wants their video, their book, even their blog to go viral.  That means they want "everybody" to watch it, read it, and most of all share it.  The funniest You Tubes, the best jokes, the newest singing sensation all go viral because we love the way they make us feel.  We love to laugh and to be amazed.  It lifts us from the doldrums of the moment and we like that.

"Gratitude" has gone viral.  It's everywhere.  And not just because it's Thanksgiving.  I think we have finally gotten it about gratitude.  We feel it, we express it, we share it, we live in it....most of the time.  And this Thanksgiving Week it really permeates everything.  We all mentally, at least, make lists of what brings out our gratitude.

But what about when it doesn't?  What about when things are not so good?  You know, a little child gets very sick, a teenager is killed in a car accident, there is not enough money until the end of the month, dinner burns, the baby has the colic, you get laid off,  someone leaves you and breaks your heart.  Do we feel thankful then?  I mean, really.  In the midst of the yukky stuff, does gratitude pull our heart strings and fill our being?
Gratitude to:
...careful cooking that turkey BTW...

That is when "finding the gift" comes in.  There is always a gift.  Right?  Easier to say when we are looking back at a situation than when we are in the middle of it.  You know the pony joke that reminds us no matter what we are going through, there is a gift in it somewhere.  It all depends on how we look at it.

Whether the stone mason viewed his part in building the Sistine Chapel as a low paid, back- breaking task, which it was, or the building of a cathedral, which it was, was his choice.  And we are always at choice.  So after we give our human nature the time it needs to kick and scream and express the grief, depression, anger, and pity we feel,  may we try hard to find the gift in the midst of it all.  It is there. 

Maybe the next planetary step we can all take after Gratitude is learning to find the gift in all things.... with a little help from our friends, as Joe Cocker says.   Let's make that go viral too.

"In all things give thanks."  The Bible  1 Thessalonians 5:18

“If the only prayer you ever said was ‘Thank you;’ that would be enough.” – Meister Ekhart

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Home From The Hills

The past week was wonderful!  I haven't been blogging, you've noticed, as I have been on vacation!  It seems the older I get, the more vacations I take.  Ironically, although I enjoy them tremendously, I don't "need" them nearly as much as when I worked and parented children still living at home.  I loved every bit of life back then but I did need time off to recharge, and it was few and far between.

This time I spent almost a week in the mountains:  the foothills of the Southern Appalachian chain in North Georgia.  One day I got to stand on the highest point in the state...just 400 feet shy of a mile up!  And we hiked the last 1.2 mile, round trip, and most steps felt like they were straight up!  Yes, I was huffing and puffing, and even in the South, there was ice in the shade!  And the wind!  It almost blew us away!

But what a feeling of being One with all, a way to commune with God that only nature provides.

 You can see four states out there!

 This is me, pondering it all.

Here is our cabin.  Nice, huh?

And Maggie the property cat that took up residence with us and dined on salmon and shrimp!

There is more but I'll save it for later.  It's enough right now to just look back and remember the splendor of nature, God presenting to us at His finest.  And be grateful for special times and rejuvenation.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

GA Vs Auburn and Penn State Vs Child Abuse

Picture my living room.  Or great room, as we usually say.  Large screen TV.  Can of mixed nuts, glass of Cabernet, and cheese slices.  On the big screen Auburn is playing Georgia.  If you are from anywhere around here, you know this is a big deal.

Penn State is playing Nebraska today too.  Penn State students will have a "Blue Out" instead of their normal "White Out"... to honor victims of child abuse.  They will all wear blue.  In light of the recent happenings at Penn State and the oustings of the University President, and the forever Head Coach Joe Paterno, it's a little too late. Those two played supporting roles, maybe, hopefully, without realizing it.  The only way to live with it is to chalk it up to ignorance of the "reporting" rule that all teachers and coaches, ALL of them, are all times.  But even if there were no rule, human decency does not let this slide.

I am glad that GA and Auburn are just out there playing football today, with many fans watching on TV hollering and cheering for their teams, and none of that heart breaking sadness in the air.  I hope GA wins but it won't break my day if they don't.  It is just football.  Penn State seems to have gotten their priorities out of order.  Way out of order.  Football and the "football people" forgot it was just a job and just football, when they, by silent omission, allowed the unspeakable to continue for years to young boys looking way up to them.  They put football over all.

At least now they are finally getting it...

My husband, surrounded by his favorite foods and his dog, is telling me all about someone named Malcomb Bennett, Malcolm Mitchell, Marlin Brown, and someone last name White.  He is all excited because GA has two touchdowns, the score is 14-7, and we have all these "good" receivers.  Then there is "Hudson Mason who is a better passer than Aaron Murray", his opinion.  He likes telling me all about these people.  This relatively quiet man gets completely out of himself when he watches football. He has a great time as long as his team is winning but look out when the other team does something good!  I haven't read The Agony and The Ecstasy but I'm thinking it must have something to do with football.


Friday, November 11, 2011

A Life On The Farm

Today is November 11, 2011.   11-11-11! Any numerologists or mathematicians out there attach any special meaning to the numbers in this date? 

Since I have just gotten my 311th Follower, I decided to celebrate by spotlighting her and her blog.  I haven't worked on growing my Followers for some time now, and really, except for occasionally reading their blogs, I have largely ignored them for too long.  So, the first step in changing that is to share my newest Follower with you. 

How many female farmers do you know?  Personally, I don't know any except the ones I blog with.  My father-in-law was a farmer but his wife was anything but.  It's easy to get enthralled with the farm lifestyle and glamorize it much more than reality justifies. It does represent a beautiful connection with Nature.  But it's also cold and it's hot and animals and plants die and it is lonely....I would imagine. This farmer, somewhere in the vastness of Canada, is named Buttons.  Rather than do the introductions myself,  I decided I would use her own words to do it. 

"I am a full time farmer. I love farming. Being a woman, makes me think very differently about things that need to be done. I also love hiking in our bush,and embracing nature, a true gift. I will share the challenges, and the lifestyle changes, needed to live on this farm, which had been long abandoned. This is my journey to get to where I am today. Take this journey with me, from the beginning,and my thoughts of the day. I will try to show you with photos, what I see and do on our working farm. You never know what you might see and read. Our Journey is a personal story from when we bought this old farm and how we made it what it is today. You can read it from the beginning."

When you have a chance pop over to her blog and enjoy her writing about her journey and the realities of farm life.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Special Birthday

175 years ago today my Great Great Grandfather Solomon Phillips was born. November 8, 1836, Solomon came into the world. I don't know too much about him except that he was a farmer and, at the age of 55, was ordained into the Primitive Baptist Church. He lived to be 72 years old.

Solomon and his wife, Cynthia, had eleven children, and one of them, Emily Angeline, was my Great Grandmother. I love her name. She had 82 years on this Earth, good ones I hope.

I found a copy of GGGFather's will this weekend and thought I'd share a little of it with you. So, with the greatest respect, here are some of his words:

"In the name of God. Amen." Seems like it would have ended this way...but it began this way.

"I desire and direct that my body be buried in a decent and Christian-like manner suitable to my circumstances and condition in life. My Soul, I trust, shall turn to rest with God who gave it, as I hope for Salvation through the merits and atonements of the blessed Lord and Savior , Jesus Christ."

"It is my wish and desire that all of my just debts be paid by my execuor hereafter named, as soon after my death as the same my be practically done."

"After the payment of my debts, as above provided for, I give my wife, Cynthia Jane, all of my property of every description, for and during her natural life, to be used by her as she sees proper, except that she has no authority to sell my lands." :)

"I give, bequeath and devise to my son, Cater Norris, after the death of my beloved wife, the North half of my land, and at his death, to his children, and if he has no children, then to his nearest relatives."

"I give, bequeath and devise to my son, Bartley Ellis, the South half of my land. etc.

"I give, bequeath, and devise unto my two daughters, Laura and Rena, two feather beds-one each." :)

"After the death of my beloved wife, and after the items above mentioned have been given to those named, I give, bequeath and devise to all of my children all of my estate---share and share alike."

The children named in this will were the youngest four so it is assumed that the other seven children had already been given their portions upon their marriages. Isn't it interesting to eavesdrop on the life and times four generations ago. I love the verbage and the loving sentiment that I feel when I read this.

I will share some other writings I found but today belongs to my Great Great Grandfather Solomon.

Happy Birthday and God Bless!

PS: Photo from

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What Does Your Car Say About You?

Picture this. A man pulled in next to my car in a mall parking lot. Before he got out of his car, he tossed his empty fast food bag in the back seat. Just threw it over his shoulder, got out and went about his business. Out of curiosity I glanced in the back of his car and saw a back seat full, completely full.....up to the top of the front seat.....of empty fast food wrappers! Immediately my mind began to concoct a story that could be his. There were not too many admirable attributes in that story.

After that I started thinking how much our vehicles really do say about us. Most of us spend many hours in our cars and they become almost an extension of our homes. I'll analyze "my car and me".

I drive a 2005 Toyota Camry with a little over 100,000. On the back of my car is a bike rack that's been there a month and there is a yoga mat rolled up and lying in the back window. Peeking inside you'll see at least one 'book on tape' and a sturdy felt box containing makeup, hairbrush, gum, sunglasses, CDs, checkbook, paper towels, a novel, and a skirt for the cleaners. You might see a cup from a fast food place. The front windshield has a small crack that has been sealed but not replaced and there is a tiny dent in the side. Not perfect, that's for sure.

There are two stickers on the back window. One eludes to the "journey within" and advertises my church. The other says "Total Health And Fitness", the name of my gym.

Now think about your car, or truck. Tell me how you describe it? What could I learn about you from sneaking a peak? Is it generic or does it have "you" written all over it?

The story running in your mind about me is probably that of a rather financially conservative driver who expects to get her money's worth and wants a car that almost never has any trouble. Someone who loves physical fitness and being read to. Someone who always wants to know more about spiritual things and considers that a big part of life. Maybe someone who has no children or maybe whose children are grown(that's the case), since there are no toys or apple cores in the backseat, and no Soccer stickers on the windows.

I don't know that I am really a Camry at heart. I'm thinking maybe a Ford Focus hatchback next time.

And definitely made in the USA!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Love Dr. Mark Moyad

One of my most popular posts of all time features Dr. Mark Moyad. He must be a pretty popular fellow, in addition to being a brilliant researcher, because he certainly draws the visitors! If you're interested in his bio, here it is.

I absolutely love him. And no, we've never dated or anything like that. I've just seen him from afar...from the lectern. The reason I like him is because he bases his information on science. What a radical thought. But, honestly, do you know how much stuff regarding our health is out there these days without a shred of scientific proof? Lots.

My blog revolves around Wellness of all sorts. So naturally I read and pay attention to the latest and greatest in the personal wellness field. I want to know what we can do at home to stay well. If the decision is in my hands, and it is to a great degree, I'd rather spend my money and time on good healthy food and the gym rather than expensive prescriptions. What should I eat and what supplements should I take? It just isn't that easy sometimes to discern fact from fiction.

Enter Dr. Mark Moyad. I lucked up on one of his lectures in Atlanta. Firstly, I was totally shocked to be met with Valet Parking AND a full course heart healthy dinner served by cute guys in white chef coats and hats, all sponsored by Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. Later Dr. Moyad was introduced and took the podium. From the very beginning he had the audience in his hand. He spoke for an hour. We would have listened for two.

Why? Because not only does he know his stuff...and can prove it...he is funny. How he makes cancer lectures entertaining, I do not know, but he does. Although his main area is prostate cancer and nutrition for men, he certainly did not limit his talk to that subject. He is all about heart-healthy. "Heart-healthy" is "all-healthy", he says.

Here are a few tidbits I remember without digging out my notes from 5 years ago:

1. Watermelon is the #1 healthiest red fruit/vegetable for men. Runner up? Tomatoes.

2. Fill a pepper grinder with flax seed and put it on your kitchen table. Use it like so many people use salt. Just shake it on all your food.

3. Bacterial hand cleaners work! They are as good as, ...and wait!...they are even better than hand washing to prevent the spread of cold and flu germs. Make sure you choose one whose active ingredient is 62%. That is scientific and proven!

4. Eggs are wonderful for you to eat. You don't have to eat Eggbeaters or just egg whites unless you just want to. This scientist says it is proven not to be a major cholesterol issue to eat eggs in moderation.

5. Take a multi-vitamin. Nothing fancy in the way of supplements.

6. We should all get a test for Vitamin D. Don't take it if you don't need it. DO TAKE IT if your blood test comes back saying you are low. Ask for this test.

There was a lot more. I hope to hear him again some day, or find my notes, and I'll report in. In the meantime you can find him on Amazon.