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Friday, June 24, 2011

Boot Camp and Other Brutal Realities

If there is one thing everyone who even half way knows me knows it is this: I do not like to sweat. I loathe to sweat. I was blessed with my Grandmother Hemphill's tall slender genes and for the most part, I have never had to watch my weight. I had read the captions on the glossy magazine covers about diets and exercise plans, but I never worried too much about it. I outgrew my sweet tooth years ago and for the most part, I eat pretty healthy. I could live on Salmon, Tuna, and an array of vegetables.

Something happened to my body over the last three years. Well, it started when I married Charles who likes to snack. That was my first mistake - not marrying Charles, but adapting to his ways. I began to eat peanuts, potato chips, onion dip, ice cream....stuff! And then all of a sudden I put on a skirt to wear to church one day and it was tight...I'm talking even the Spanx did not help. Woe is me. I faced the mirror and realized there was nothing wrong with the light in the bathroom. The fat cheeks I had been blaming on the poor lighting were truly my cheeks. I was blowing up right before my very eyes.

Drastic measures were called for. I needed a lifestyle adjustment...and it had to be fast. There appeared in my inbox one morning the advertisement for a bootcamp lead by one Ms. Tammy Thomas of MS Fitness Pro. She looked like someone who could get me in shape. And so I enrolled.

Three weeks into this and I am wondering when I am going to stop hurting. The good thing is that all of us "happy boot campers" claim to have once been fit. Take a look at the leg photo that looks pretty ragged. You can see we all have a long way to go. Oh, and in the leg photo, I am the one who is lying prostrate flat on the ground. I am already donzo with that torturous contortion.

Frequently Tammy has a "modified" version of an exercise for yours truly. I am the most geriatric of her students.

Actually, I had forgotten how good it feels in my psyche to believe I am improving myself in some way. I am hoping my body will get the message soon...when I can walk again of course.

Makes me think of the scripture in 2 Corinthians about ourwardly wasting away but inwardly being renewed day by day....also about walking by faith and not by sight...I keep thinking about putting on that tight skirt and finding it not tight...I am hanging on to faith that all this torture will be worth it! Cheers!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Getting to "Resilient" at this Point

As I was interviewing our June cover story, Martin Willoughby, local attorney, he mentioned that this book had been a life-changer for him, I knew I had to read it. Gordon MacDonald's books, The Life God Blesses and Ordering Your Private World had been those kinds of books for me years ago, and I was anxious to read this one.

The sub-title is "You Can Move Ahead No Matter What." I think this is another one of those books that go in my stack on the floor...the books that I constantly go back to time and time again because the message so resonates, I sooooo need to remind myself of these wise things, and the words are forever fresh. I can't really imagine why Martin who is YOUNG even read this book except that he is all about the big picture of life and he tries to live so very intentionally. (You can read more about him in the June issue).

But the book is aimed at people my age who are asking the question, "What next?"

I like the concept of resilience and I think it is so very Biblical.  When Paul talked about God working all things together for good in the lives of those who love God...well, I believe resilience definitely is a big part of the equation. I mean, how hard is it give thanks in all circumstances (I Thessalonians 5:18) when you are crying your eyes out over a loss or a crisis? Part of resilience is a little determination to remember that God IS God, but much more is pure grace that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly and beyond all we ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)

The consolation for me in getting older is that I have a backlog of life lessons - up close and personal - and I would not take anything for them because every hard thing brought me closer to the reality that God's promises are true and that apart from him (John 15) I don't manage so well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Disruptive moments

I have spent a considerable amount of time the last few weeks either ducking in the bathroon with Daisy and Thurber or glued to the weather information while ducking tornadoes. Spring in Mississippi is definitely a mixed bag. Having lived through the 1971 tornado in the Mississippi Delta, I tend to pay attention to the Weather Channel.

On my way to Birmingham last weekend I rode through the storm ravaged McFarland Boulevard area of Tuscaloosa. My daughter lived there for two years during graduate school at the University of Alabama. The reality was chilling...and much worse than the pictures on the news. I could not begin to guess where I used to turn to go to the house where Betsy lived during grad school. All the familiar landmarks were completely obliterated. Without the landmarks, I was so lost.

Set me thinking. We need those landmarks in life. God never meant for us to get so comfortable on this earth that we forget that it's all temporary. Every now and then He seems to emphasize that concept...but it is soooo hard for us humans to really get it. I am as attached as the next person to the shiney, pretty, great stuff of this life. But an F-5 tornado can wipe it all out...anytime...short notice. Nope. The Only real thing in this life is the next, and NOTHING can separate us from that one. It would be good to spend more time thinking about that fact than worrying on most of the stuff we stress over in this life.

Friday, May 6, 2011

National Day of Prayer

May 5 was the National Day of Prayer. It was the first time I have ever participated in the program on the south steps of the Capitol in downtown Jackson. I grew up during the days we were all encouraged to love our country and to consider patriotism a virtue.  I felt a tremendous surge of that old patriotic emotion as I listened to the fervent prayers from a diverse group of citizens - we were legislators, business owners, pastors, black, white, men, women - just citizens who want to be one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.

God bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dinosaurs in the Kingdom

Dinosaurs R Us..or at Least Dinosaur is ME

A little research reveals that dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago. Scientists do not seem to agree on what caused a species that had been around for 165 million previous years to up and disappear from the planet. Theories include everything from volcanic catastrophes to disease to biological changes within the dinosaurs that made them less competitive with other animals. In other words, when it came to the “Survival of the Fittest,” the dinosaur did not make the cut. I personally think I understand.

I am having great compassion on the dinosaur this morning. I think he must have glanced around one day to find a world filled with “new-fangled” critters who were more agile, quicker, and probably smarter than he was. He became overwhelmed that the world was going by so fast and he seemed to be standing still doing the same old dinosaur things he’d been doing for generations.

Technology is overwhelming to me at the moment. My assistant Christi is 27 years old. I do not think there is anything the girl can’t do if it involves a camera, a software program, a cell phone, or a computer. She can also throw a spiral football, but as amazing as that may be, it does not intimidate me. It’s the ease and speed with which she manages all things technological that really get to me.

She and another “young gun” friend suggested recently that I join the professional social networking sight “Linkedin.” They thought it would help me connect with some beneficial business contacts. Christi opened the sight and demonstrated it to me. I thought, “Oh, I can do this.” A few minutes later I had accidentally invited everyone in my address book to my “professional” network. All of my friends, who are dinosaurs like me, quickly e-mailed me quizzically asking, “What is Linkedin?”

Truthfully, most of my friends are either (a) retired or (b) never worked in the marketplace in the first place.

So that tells you a lot. Even so, I will not die happy unless I master a few more things in the world of today. I thought when I learned to execute an e-mail my children should “rise up and call me blessed.” And I have to say, they were a little impressed. But that was ions ago.

And since then, I learned to text and thought, “Surely, I have now arrived.”

And so help me…then there was Facebook. And I complied.

Christi said to me, “You need a blog.” And I complied…kind of…it’s just that my life is not that interesting that people would want to follow it and so I don’t update it as often as I should.

Then came Twitter….and I finally just said, “I’m tired.”

Please….could we have a moratorium on technology and social networking? Can I just use the telephone? But then there is automated answering and I discover the whole world “has stepped away from their desk” therefore, nobody answers or returns calls anymore. What is a dinosaur to do?

Right now I am working on learning how to use the camera I got for Christmas. Will let you know how that goes. My prayers have become very very self-centered….”Lord, help me.”

Monday, October 11, 2010

Going Home Again

A few years ago I decided I needed to read some of the classics of American Literature. One of the first books I chose was Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again. I plodded through the book…I mean PLODDED. Despite the Southern themes, I did not identify. You see, I find that I CAN go home again and again…and it’s almost as though forty years have not passed at all.

We just returned from my stomping ground…Indianola. There was a party this weekend for my friend Ellen’s son – also my god-son – and his bride. Maybe it is just an Indianola thing…but it’s always like a big family reunion. Lots of hugging, lots of catching up …telling old stories and reveling in the easy conviviality of being among friends…the kind who share your history, who know you inside out and love you anyway.

We woke up on Saturday morning and I gave Charles a tour of my home town, winding through neighborhoods, visiting the building that once housed my daddy’s business, the house where I grew up and more. I pointed out the B.B. King Museum; we ate lunch at The Crown in downtown Indianola and stopped by the cemetery to check on my parent’s graves on our way out of town.

No matter how the years fly…no matter how long I call somewhere else “:home,” nothing is ever “home” in the way Indianola always will be.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Once a Mother, Always a Mother

I have been in Birmingham the past few days visiting with Betsy. Having a daughter who is a professional living the single life puts me in a place where I kind of live through her a life I never got to live -. She has a lot of friends, travels, only answers to her two very large Black Labs, and it all looks quite glamorous to me most of the time. However, when she has surgery or a crisis…she has a host of friends I call the “girlfriend brigade.” They swoop in to tend to their own, but she usually calls me, too. And I would be lying if I did not admit that I love to be a part of her life. I love to think that even though she is an incredibly strong woman, there are still times she likes to have the security of a soft place - her very dull and quite square mom around. And in those times, the generation gap seems to disappear.

She was once the cute little cherub girl in the pink smocked dresses and the pink hair bow to match who could stomp her foot and tell me I hurt her heart when I said, “no.” “No” from me was probably a far too infrequent occasion.

My daughter is a lot more articulate at this age, and, thankfully, her heartbreaks are not usually a result of something I did or said. It doesn’t matter since her heartaches still seem to be mine as much as hers. I guess it is so true that “once a mother, always a mother.” It is indeed a life-long sentence.

Still, when you see your child pick herself up, rise to the occasion, and seek her comfort and her peace and her answers in God, you get a tiny glimpse of what it means to “pass the torch” and you think, “Thank you God.” And with the same breath you thank Him that she still needs you, you thank Him, too, that you know she doesn’t need you at all.