Kindness is Better Than a Win

“It’s not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters.” Evander Holyfield, retired

American professional boxer (1962-     )

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  Aesop, ancient story teller  

(620 BCE-564 BCE)

IMG_0567Well, the big game, AU vs UGa, that took place in the Heart of the South is now in the history books and most that care anything at all about football know what the outcome was.  University of Georgia on top,  with a final score of 34-7.   The team that won, as expected, was the team that showed up in full force to win the game.  Sanford Stadium was as loud and electrifying as ever before and I am so glad I was one of the more than 92,000 in the stands, despite the near freezing low temperatures.IMG_0573

As I reflect on the day, my mind is not on football, but on friendship, family and kindness.  Donny, Leah, Scott, and I walked miles in very hilly Athens, Georgia to ensure that we connected with some long-time friends.  These friends are from many different seasons of our lives, including high school, college, early married years,  and early child-rearing years. Donny and I have been intentional about our friendships and many of these we saw before the game have been beside us for our parents’ funerals , our children’s weddings, and many seasons in-between.

IMG_0541
Debbie is one of a group of eight that I graduated from high school with. We are known as the FFs! Debbie and I were also roomies at UGa.
IMG_0551
With our life-long friends, The Wests. Keith is credited to introducing Donny to me on the UGa campus 36 years ago.
IMG_0560
Mr. B. and Donny were Dads together to our young children as we raised our babies on Fallsbrook Trace.

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

Helen Keller, American author, political activist, lecturer (1880-1968)

During this long and fun day, one of my favorite things to do is to people watch.  With this, I noticed many random acts of kindness, a college kid allowing a family of four to go ahead of him so that the family could stick together in the crowd, a guy buying a pizza for the students behind him in the concession line, and a police officer handing my daughter her headband that she inadvertently dropped while being admitted into the game, just to name a few.

I also witnessed some extremely rude situations throughout the day.  A fan behind us repeatedly taunting an opposing team fan in front of us (until I turned around and told him to stop!), another fan mouthing off loudly to anyone who would look in his direction as he was leaving the stadium.  These fans could’ve easily been from either team, but sadly they were from the winning team in both situations.

And finally, as our family was pulling out of the still very crowded parking lot, a truck was parked in the way with the driver sitting in it.  His window was opened, so I called out to him to please move up a little so that we could make our exit.  His reply was, ” Other cars have been able to get by me.” and he continued to sit there when there was plenty of room for him to move forward.  We were both in larger vehicles , pick-up trucks that require more space.  Slowly, I made my way around him through the very tight squeeze.  Seriously?!?

With thousands upon thousands of humans gathered in such a small space, this calls for an extra measure of patience and even more than the usual common kindness of people.  When in a circumstance such as this, we do not have the same personal space we usually have.

Sure, I love my Georgia Bulldogs, and since only one team could claim victory,  I am happy they triumphed last night.

Practicing kindness, however, is a clean sweep for both teams!

SaveSave

Wedding Tips Things I Have Learned

IMG_1294
Leah, our daughter and Jessica, our daughter-in-law are engaged!

I have learned a few things about weddings as a MOB (Mom-of-Bride) and a MOG (Mom-of-Groom) since  I had the chance to be both this past year, within eleven weeks of each other.  Yes, our only daughter married in March 2014 and our only son was a groom in June 2014.  We are happy knowing that they have married well-suited partners and are looking forward to a bright future for both couples!

20140329LS_1094
Our daughter, Leah and her husband, Scott become one on March 29. 2014.
jessica + walker_0317
Our son, Walker and his wife, Jessica become one on June 21, 2014.

Fall is a beautiful time for a wedding!  My parents , my sister, Laura Lea and her husband, and we were all married in the fall.  Most weddings, it seems, take place in the spring or summer months.  With that being so, you may be planning a 2015 wedding.  I hope the following lessons I have learned might benefit you:

Advice for the bride and the Mom of the bride (MOB):

Breathe Purposefully and Often (see breathing exercise below).
CRY as needed, and if you don’t want to cry in public, go cry in a pillow.
KNOW that the day will go by no matter what. Do your best to enjoy it.
Also KNOW that one or more things are likely to not go exactly as planned, so as stated above, simply breathe through the circumstances and don’t let a problem ruin these special, fleeting moments.
Laugh and smile whenever you can.

Be happy that your daughter has found the love of her life.

The demeanor of the MOB spills over to the bride which spills over to the groom. It helps for the MOB to be intentional about her overall attitude and well-being.  Exercise often.

Most importantly, PRAY a lot. Pray for His peace that passes all human understanding. The Bible says that those who seek Him will find Him every time. ( James 4:8 & Deuteronomy 4:29) Pray without ceasing, (1Thessalonians 5:16-18) sending up “arrow prayers” throughout the preceding days.
**And lastly, for the Bride and Groom, foster your faith together in God. “Though ONE may be overpowered, TWO can defend themselves, a cord of THREE strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

20140329LS_1471
FOUR-SEVEN-EIGHT BREATHING EXERCISE

Breathe in
through your nose,

for a count of  FOUR.

Hold for a full count of
SEVEN.

Breathe out
through your mouth
for a full count of EIGHT,
completely
emptying
your lungs.

REPEAT

I also learned a few things as a Mom of the Groom. It is truly a myth that the MOG must wear beige and keep her mouth shut.  Make yourself available for the bride, but recognize that she and her mom will likely be taking care of most details.  Keep communication open and always be ready to listen to whatever is being planned.  Stay connected to your son with one-on-one visits/phone calls/texts as much as possible.  Take JOY in knowing that your son has found a woman who loves him and that he wants to share his future with.  Pray for the couple and share Ecclesiastes 4:12 with them. On the actual wedding day, focus on the groom and his wedding party friends.  They will need to eat (a lot) and you can help attend to details that come up for them.

All in all, 2014 has been a memorable year. Six new babies were born into our family,  our son and his wife graduated from college, and both of our two children were married.

If you have been a parent of a bride or groom recently, you may have advice to add!  If so, please leave your thoughts below.

072514-163
Gulf Shores, Alabama, July 2014… 3 married couples

20140329LS_1142 jessica + walker_0440Walker and Jessica now reside in St. Louis, MO where he is continuing his education and she is a nurse.  I try to write them letters a couple of times each month, yes, actual U.S. Postal letters!  We also schedule FaceTime regularly with them.  Leah and Scott live nearby, so we are able to connect often with meals in and we exercise together.  Maintaining solid relationships with anyone, including married children, calls for intentional, conscientious choices.  My husband, Donny and I try to only give advice to the newlyweds when it is asked for, and even then, we give the “short answer”, dropping the subject unless the couple brings it up again.

With the holiday season upon us, I credit my much-loved Fernbank Elementary friend, Jan, who also has two married children, with teaching me that any holiday can be celebrated on any day, so let’s be flexible when it comes to sharing special days with our child’s in-law family.

Life is here.

Life is now.

Let us rejoice in Life.

My Mama’s favorite verse was:

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

NOTE: Since this post was first published in November 2014, both of these couples have become parents. Michael Scott Andrews lll, (Tripp) was born on August 24, 2018 and Elizabeth Noel Page made her debut on September 7, 2018. Donny and I are bursting with joy as we have welcomed our first two grandchildren within a two week period.

Elizabeth Page
Tripp Andrews

The Story Continues…

The Sandwich: A Courageous Conversation

sandwichWhen is the last time you were called to give difficult news to someone or have “that discussion” that you really don’t want to have?

I am very little inclined on any occasion to say anything unless I hope to produce some good by it. 

― Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the U.S.A. (1809-1865) 

Our pastor, Dr. Dwight “Ike” Reighard calls it a courageous conversation.

The next time you need to do this, try using the sandwich method. First, make a mental list of positive things you can share with the person you need to speak with and start with one of these. Next, consider how you will say, constructively, what needs to be stated. Finally, going back to your list of positives, end your conversation with one of these.

Positive***Negative***Positive and voila, you have had the courageous conversation that surely needed to be had and all is well with this vital relationship.

I hope you will try this the next time you feel it is appropriate to say something that is on your mind.

TODAY IS A GIFT AND THAT IS WHY WE CALL IT “THE PRESENT”!

Someone once said that today is the first day of the rest of your life. I think that is a grand way to begin this blog because at the age of 50 +, it is important to remember that each day matters and go forward with that thought. My 50th birthday was celebrated 323 days ago and I am happy to say that I am now a different person than I was on my birthday, August 1, 2008. I have finally lost the 20 + pounds that I have been trying to lose for about 17 years, since my son’s birth back in 1992! NOW, do not misunderstand by thinking that the weight loss has made me a different person. It is my “thinking” that has made me different. It is the fact that I have chosen to put myself up as a priority in my life, making time for workouts and planning good, healthy things to eat.
NO, this is not about that! This is not about exercise or food.
It is about women and how we are incredible care takers, but we somehow forget to care for ourselves.
THAT is what this is about.
I hope that in posting this thought that more women, younger and older than 50 will begin to care enough about themselves that they will put themselves on their “to do”list!