I’m 50. I only look 35. A lovable 35.

Not me sillies. I’m not turning 50.

Well, at least for another 23 days.

Good grief.

With our daughter at camp for two weeks, our youngest and I hit the open road.

Arriving in O-ville at 7 pm, along with a torrent of rain — an hour later I was out the door to help an old friend (as in a friend for a long time) celebrate her 35th birthday.

Jeez Louise — were we ever 35?

mary6

 Mary thanking everyone for coming and making us all swear in blood that we would not harass her on Facebook tomorrow.

I got to see some gals I hadn’t seen in 30 some years. And meet plenty of new faces.

 

 mary9

 

Those of us WPHS alums. We were racking our brains to think of what cool thing we used to do with our hands at football games.

We couldn’t think of anything. Well, Diane was clever enough to do a Number One. My hand is just floating indecisively.

But the greatest thing about the night — other than seeing old friends —  was that they birthday girl had special personalized mugs made for each guest by the artist/Ironwoman to my left in the above photo.

I LOVED this idea.

 

mary8

 

 

 26.2 would be cool.

Visionary. That was awesome for some visionary person. Not I.

 

mary4

 

 

Diane and Allison — BFF and Best Friend respectively — had each known the birthday girl the longest.

Me.  I got Lovable.

Don’t know how true that is but I can’t wait to show my children that someone thinks I am.

Here’s the one I was most impressed with.

 

mary3

Unflappable. Some woman is thought unflappable.

Dear goodness. I become unhinged about a hangnail.

Well, if it is a real painful one.

Correction.

I was most impressed with the woman who garnered Unflappable till I saw this one.

mary7

 Anointed.

Who gets anointed? Well other than King David.

So I was impressed. And it was a fun evening.

Here’s wishing Mary a very happy birthday tomorrow.

From her much younger friend.

 

 

 

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Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Decked Out Halls. Madison, Georgia Christmas Tour.

The Madison Christmas Tour is this weekend. My in-laws and my across the street neighbors are on the candlelight portion.

CRAZY.

For my in-laws not so much.

But for my neighbor the ever-creative, ever-talented Trish Jones (her coolio decorating/art blog) — in a word. WOW.

She and her house from the 1800’s are up to the task.

It’s just that she is a wife, mother of three with a thriving Etsy shop . . . and well, she is a mother of three.

Here was her house tonight.

 

We were met at the door by some proper young docents.

Then I witnessed this derelict docent racing back to her station inside.

Wonder who was distracting her from her duty?

Earlier today, I went over there for a sneak peak and it looked so great.

 

 

I’ve never matured enough in my decorating skills to use fresh fruit.

Not that I  don’t like it, it’s so Williamsburgy and traditional.

And traditionally, I’m decor-challenged.

Trish. 🙂 Sorry I took this before I reset my camera’s speed.

Look at all the neat touches. Just scattered about.

Trish bought this tree on eBay last summer and handmade all the ornaments.

Homeowner Rob, running to complete some decorating task or running from the camera.

Look at her cute solution to the non-working fireplace in their bedroom.

The journalist hard at work.

I could go on and on because her things were so adorable — but in the interest of hard-hitting journalism — I have the courage to show you the behind the scenes story.

A few hours before showtime, a few traces of life with three children remained.

And . . .

So I took off my crackerjack reporter hat and put on my good neighbor hat and started folding.

Rob jumped into.

If you’re in our neck of the nape tomorrow, the show goes on for one more night.

It is a lot of fun.

Because my house is not on display.

What about you? Would you open your door to hundreds of good folks at Christmas time?

* * *

And that completes my 30 days of November participating in NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month.

Woo! Made it.

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She knocked on my door and changed my life.

There was a knock at my front door.

I opened it to find a round woman of dark skin and even darker eyes.

Her smile was wide as my mood was deep that day.

She introduced herself, “I’m Annie. I walk by your garden all the time. I saw your front door open today so I thought I’d stop and ask if I could take a look.”

The more we talked the more it felt natural to be around her.

Like I had known her forever.

That was three years ago and we are fast friends. She calls me one of her daughters, though we are much closer in age and could be sisters.

I’ve learned through her life what it means to trust in God for everything. She doesn’t worry about things — she says Jesus will take care of her.

When we pray together — she will often correct me afterwards. Once she said I shouldn’t just pray for my children, I need to pray for everybody’s children.

I kind of got mad just a smidge, but later thought she’s right.

She’s stretched my world through being her large, enormous spirited self.

*    *    *

Linking up with Jana for Stream of Consciousness Sunday. Our prompt: Who has dropped into your life and made it better?

This was hard for me. I knew there was no way I could explain the intricacies of Annie and my relationship in five minutes. Five unedited minutes.

But I had to give it a go. No other human has just knocked on my door and affected my life so.

I need to get our picture. Bummed I don’t have one.

Who is someone who’s come into your life and changed things?

 

Here are the rules:his was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post (in the sidebar). .
  • Link up your post below.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

 

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Some are silver and the other gold.

There aren’t many things in life that take over 20 years to develop.

Twenty-six years to be exact.

I had to recount (on my fingers) to make sure that number was right.

I went to Atlanta today for lunch with a friend.

A friend who makes me smile. One who made me smile 26 years ago when she asked if I wanted to share a room in her house in Decatur. First year law students, my intial roommate had transfered after the first set of finals. I was stuck in an apartment way off by my lonesome and not very happy.

So when Deborah approached me about moving in with her the next year I thought, she looks nice. And I’m tired of going back to the old stinky apartment by myself.

So she made me smile through the hell of law school.

I smiled at her wedding…and

I smiled a few years later when I held her baby girl.

Here’s another smile. Her baby grew up and is now a freshman at college in the same class and same school as my son.

Literally a floor and two rooms apart. (At least we mums hope so.)

How did that happen?

I needed a new outfit for a trip and most importantly after this month of seismic emotional change in my life, I needed a smile.

Well, I didn’t find a new outfit for me. Bought a few sassy Atlanta things for my daughter.

But I smiled a lot over lunch.

Sorry for the posed shot, but the waitress was making me tense because she seemed to be wanting us old broads to move along for the lunch crowd.

Notice who finished her salad first?

D-squared because her maiden name also ended with D.

We not only smiled. We laughed a lot.

Love makes you smile.

And love with lunch is a good thing. It can carry you through lots of down time — like meal preparation, homework and putting away clean laundry.

What made you smile today?

Surely there was something.

Linking up with MamaKat and prompt: 3.) Aside from your kids, pets, your husband, your coffee and your wine…what makes you smile?

Mama’s Losin’ It
 

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We did it. ZOOMA Atlanta.

The alarm went off at 5:15.

We all got up, dressed, a cup of coffee and bagel.

Then we were off to run 13.1 miles.

 

Got to the start line and started checking Facebook.

 

 

 

 

The course was beautiful.

Surrounded by vistas of the lake, we ran up and down and all around.

 

It was an awesome day and race.

 

A great post race party followed.

Melissa and I after the race.

Eggs and pink champagne.

 

Then on the shuttle back to the hotel, we bumped into some fun running Tweeps.

 

We all gave ZOOMA a big thumbs up.

On the ride home, we discussed our next race travel trip.

Who knows where the road might take us.

Any suggestions?

 

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Getting set to run 13.1. Up and down and around we go.

I traveled up to Lake Lanier Islands with a couple of friends today to run the ZOOMA Atlanta Half tomorrow morning.

 

The funky bags we got at Expo.

We checked in.

Checked out the cool things.

 

 

 

It is really pretty up here.

One thing became quickly apparent to me.

There was a…..

 

And as I looked around I saw lots and lots more.

But as we seasoned runners like to say,

What goes up must come down.

We hung at the pool and the girls drank their water.

 

 

I was nowhere to be seen for I was off in search of another form of hydration.

We just checked out the course online and I heard “Jamie, what have you got us into” more than once.

Ha. ha. So fun for me.

So with our bellies full of pasta and magazines in our lap — we are getting our game on for the tomorrow.

I wonder if someone set an alarm?

 

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How to stay inspired for the long way home. Accountability partners.

Or long run home.

 

I’ve talked some friends into running the awesome ZOOMA Half Marathon up at Lake Lanier with me.

———->>>> Check out my sidebar re ZOOMA.

Let’s say some of us haven’t been running all that much.

With race day less than two weeks away, we decided to do a long run today.

I woke up this morning, stared into the black and thought: how am I going to run?

Got my slow-poke kids off to school, arriving home exactly eight minutes before our scheduled run.

Opening the door from dropping them off, I raced into find running shoes and once again thought, “How am I going to do this?”

A tired me pity party started to rage.

At 8:30 they showed…darn. (If you ever tell them that, I will deny it to my dying day.)

But once we started, it wasn’t that bad.

Heck, it was such beautiful morning and we had a great time.

Funny thing is, they look to me as the one who keeps us all on track with our running.

Maybe they won’t after this post.

Does having an accountability person help you get out the door to exercise?

 

 

 

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Musing on Introverts. They make the best friends.

Well, they make the best friends of your children to have around.

My high school senior has a good friend who is very introverted. He’s bright, cute but doesn’t say much.

I LOVE having him around.

Why?

Because I’m sort of an introvert too. (A closet one.)

Or a person who’s about 55 percent “in” and 45 percent “out.”

And choosing to join Mama Kat’s prompt’s today, I was intrigued by the question, “Share a lesson you have learned about friendship from an introvert.”

 

*    *    *

 

 

* The value of silence.  Humans by nature are self-centered. Introverts are no different. They just let their extroverted friends take the stage. I’m learning that I don’t have to comment on EVERYTHING. When we shut up and listen, we learn more. If we learn more about things and people — on subjects we agree or disagree – we become deeper and truer to ourself.  (Expressed like a true introvert.)

* You think they’re are spacing out then WHAMMO. I love surprises. (Scary ones.) And there is nothing scarier than thinking a person is all fluff and light and then…BAM the truth comes out. Introverts are never ending. Their greatest weakness (thinking too much) is also their greatest strength.

* They remember birthdays, your children’s birthdays…heck they remember your parent’s birthdays (and their first names). They say “I’m praying for you.” And they really are in an emotionally and spiritually connected way.

* They don’t have to be right. They might think they are…but it’s not worth causing discord to make sure everyone knows how smart they are.

* They are self-sacrificing. And ultimately here is the lesson for us all. Granted they put themselves last (and sometimes resent it) because this is how their DNA was woven. Still the credit goes to them for clamping their tongue, encouraging the discouraged and not saying…

“I told you so.”

And on the rare occasion Introverts tell you “they told you so” —  you really don’t realize they are — because they are only doing it for your good.

What about you?

What have you learned from a special introspective friend?

 

 

 

Mama’s Losin’ It

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A Sparkling Party. Musing on friendships — again.

Friendship.

It doesn’t know distance or time.

Back in August when school started, I started running (literally) with a younger crowd.

Having children in the high school, elementary school and primary school, I have a wonderful group of friends.

But this running group introduced me to an even younger group. Women with babies and preschoolers.

Just writing “preschooler” exhausts me.

Last night a bunch of these women, I didn’t know four months ago got together for a dinner and cheapo-sparkly jewelry swap.

We all brought a piece of jewelry and then proceeded to swap the boxes around. Then we did the old pick-a-number-and-steal-a-gift-if-you-want-to game.

Since I only play these things once a year, I forget how it goes. I drew number 20 which was the best I could do – other than number one.

Jill was number one and this was the coveted bracelet she traded last minute for.

 

My prize. (Just to be clear it was the ring on the right. The one on the left was my grandmother's.)

 

We had a great night.

Even if you lived in the same spot for over a decade, there are tons of nice folks to get to know. And I’ve grown quite fond of these younger women Tebow and I run with each morning.

Yep — even after partying hard last night — we showed up in the parking lot for a run this morning.

Okay.  We didn’t party hard.

What does mean anymore? If  I knew I’d probably be terrified.

It was cold this morning….and we still showed.

The younger gals, Tebow and I. And that made me happy.

Do you have friends of all different ages? Real friends — not just acquaintances.

(Not that intergenerational acquaintances are to be discouraged.)

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Musing on Ingrid from the Great White North. It can’t be time for you to go?

Friends.

When you think of all the people that cross your path over a lifetime, why is it when your life intersects with a certain few — something takes?

A friendship is kindled.

Proximity doesn’t matter. Some of the best enemies live next door to each other.

Meet our Candian friend, Ingrid Nieman.

Every year for 19 years, she has travelled from her home in London, Ontario to share Thanksgiving with my extended family.

She flies in the Sunday before — and usually brings the cold weather with her. Not this year. We had a very balmy week (by Canadian standards) and now that she is leaving us, they are predicting snow showers.

How did this coming from London (Ontario that is) down to Georgia to celebrate an American Thanksgiving start all those years ago?

“I wasn’t even carrying their furniture line, but we would meet time and time again at trade shows,” Ingrid remembered the other day. “We just became friends.”

Hanging out with Ingrid the Sunday before Thanksgiving. As always a good NFL game is on the television.

My father-in-law had an outdoor furniture business based in Minnesota. Ingrid had a retail store in Canada. She now is sales representative for a number of outdoor furniture lines.

One spring at a trade show after talking about the differences between the Canadian Thanksgiving (held in October) and the American one — my in-laws invited her down.

That was 19 years ago and she has been coming ever since. People in our church and in our town, all recognize her — as the Canadian Thanksgiving visitor.

Throughout the years, another tradition (or task) has developed. Each Friday after Thankgiving, Ingrid begins to wrap my in-laws SUPER NOVA Christmas tree with lights.

Actually, it starts the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving, when they head out to Jack’s Creek to get the tree. “Out at Jack’s Creek, they know me. I’m the one who does the Christmas tree. Though I think they imagine I’m Jack and Nancy’s daughter.”

So with  a bursting houseful of visiting family (and my children who live over there while cousins visit), Ingrid works away on the tree.

Here it was Saturday night.

That's an interesting look.

Yes, sweet Ingrid comes for over a week the end of November every year to eat turkey with us. And have some of my pecan pie. And then to put 2,500 lights on a tree. How does one put all those lights on the tree, a job she estimates can take up to eight hours?

“It comes with my personality. Triple A, controlling…perfectionist,” she said with a laugh.

No. She might be a perfectionist — but to come and hang with our family for a week, year after year — you’ve got to roll with a lot.

Sad to see you go for another year, Ingie. A big NFL fan, we’ll miss watching these late season games with you.

Ingrid’s tree (at my in-laws).

 

It’s hard to believe another Thanksgiving has come and gone.

And hard to believe so has Ingrid for another year.

Is there a special friend that shares Thanksgiving with you?

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