Archive of ‘Relationships’ category

Thankful

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When you ask someone what they are thankful for, you normally get the response of family, friends, and God in different orders. If he/she has been through a serious illness then the person will add ….and my health.

I am very thankful for all of those things, but there are three things that make me smile every day!Coffee

  1. Coffee

I love coffee. I look forward to my coffee every morning. I am not a nice person until I have at least one cup. Yes, there are different levels of coffee. The smallest finest ground fresh coffee is the best to me.

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  1. Technology

I am able to be an integral part of my daughter’s lives because of the amazing generation changing cell phone. They are my lighthouse in the sea of life.

We have a text group recently named by Kelley- *My People*, and we talk about whatever good or bad is happening to us.  With Kelley in Jackson and working horrendous hours in residency and Jade being a full time working mom with a part-time job and talking college courses, the hours in the day are stretched really thin for them, but this allows us all to stay connected.

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  1. Positive People

I love talking to positive upbeat people who have been through unbelievable hurtful bad things in their lives, but they dig deep within their soul, and they find a reason to smile every day. They do not belittle other people to avoid dealing with their own pain.   We are all in this together and not a one of us will escape alive, and karma is always a bitch, so find one thing every day to be grateful for having because in the blink of an eye, it may be gone.

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Elizabeth Gilbert said it best today(11-26-15) in her blog post:

“I learned my gratitude by having practiced its opposite (ingratitude) for so many sad years. And after years of nothing ever being quite good enough, life finally taught me this — that without gratitude, nothing is EVER gonna be quite good enough. No place will ever be the right place, nothing will ever happen the right time, no reward is ever enough, all the people around you are always the wrong people, the room is always too hot or too cold, somebody else is always having a better time than you, somebody else always has a better car than you, or a better job, or a better marriage, or better hair, or a better destiny in general…and life is basically THE SUCK. I know this from painful experience, and it’s terrible.”

I am going to strive to practice gratitude and be thankful every day! If you make only one New Year’s resolution, choose this one.a280493fd1ffbb281a30062c9f8d6bb9

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Mama Gat

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Mama Gat was born in 1924 and given the name of Maxie Mavaline George. She was known by some as just Susie.  She was one of eleven children born in the harsh year of 1924. She married at the age of fourteen to Milford Gatlin, and she had three children: my dad-James (Jim), Robert, and Sue. Papa was a veteran of World War II, and she learned at a young age to be a strong independent woman.

She was such an amazing hard working woman that I do not know where to start.  She would work at the factory all day then come home and pick vegetables from her garden and prepare them to be canned or put in the freezer. The vegetable soup and the green beans were my favorites.  For many years we went to her house for Sunday dinner. I appreciate that so much more now than I did then. She would work all week and then all day Saturday doing something like going to the sales or Ripley or Wren or making flowers to have extra money, and I think she did enjoy her Saturday work because she was doing something she wanted to do, and then she would be in the kitchen from early Sunday morning until lunch. We would eat, help her clean the kitchen a little, and then visit for a short time and go home.  Never thinking that she really did not get to visit with us very much, but she did love to see the smile on our faces when we took that first bite of those fried apple pies, chocolate pie, or that homemade chocolate pudding.

Mama Gat 007    She would come to Daddy’s to spend the weekend or go to my sister’s house for a visit, and she would bring her own pots and pans because they cooked exactly like she wanted them to cook the food. It would take a little while to unload the van.Mama Gat 002

I see her in every part of my house from the beautiful quilts she made each of the Gatlin clan to the beautiful round end table she gave me.  Mama Gat 009 I also now have some of her other furniture. When she came to my house and I did not have the right sweet tea glasses then that is what I got for Christmas that year. Mama paid attention when she visited, and she knew exactly what I needed. She always wrapped our presents, and I think that is where Sue gets her love of beautifully wrapping each present.Mama Gat 010Mama Gat 012

She would babysit for me when the girls were small, and I needed to go somewhere through the week. She would let them “fix” her hair even if she had just left the beauty shop. She loved to travel and go, and we enjoyed seeing her able to relax and enjoy herself.  Mama was very independent, and sometimes we would lose her. Sue would start calling the family and her friends and eventually Sue would track her down. She was always there to listen when I needed to talk. She did not say much but when she did, you needed to listen. She called me Liz in honor of Elizabeth Taylor after my second divorce.  I tried to reassure that I would never catch up with Elizabeth Taylor.

I see some part of her in many of the family members: her nose, eyes, her work ethic which she instilled in each of her children and they passed it on to their children and then we passed it on to ours, her crafty side, her my way is best- so there is no point in arguing, and her love of family and friends.

She loved the Rebels, and she loved watching them play whether in person or on TV. She attended games until she was not longer able to navigate the stairs.  Mama watched football and basketball and any sport she could find to watch.

We all miss her, but she is with us in our hearts and our memories.

 

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“When someone is in your heart, they’re never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times.”  Mitch AlbomFor One More Day

 

“Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone.”  Mitch Albom

 

“What you have done to this point cannot be undone. What you do next… It is still unwritten.”  Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper

 

Online Dating

online-dating_broken-heart_58729801Online Dating seems to be the most prevalent way to meet someone in 2015. I still think knowing someone that knows them makes it easier, but if your friends do not know anyone, then online dating would be the next pathway. It does not matter the age, gender, sexual preference, or preferred activities of an individual. There is an online dating site for everyone.

Five Best Online Dating Sites
http://lifehacker.com/five-best-online-dating-sites-1594072317

eHarmony
This site was recommended by a friend. I actually paid money around $27.00. The questions were a little redundant, and the whole process of when you find a picture that you actually liked was to me unnecessary. You send questions, they send questions, you send break or makers, they send break or makers then just maybe you can message the individual.
This would eliminate anyone that is not serious about seeking a relationship and someone who thinks this should not be this much work (ME).
All of the “matches” presented to me were not matches for me. I had heard that eHarmony did a better job with matches because of the lengthy questions you complete before it begins. It could be me; Maybe, I did not do a good job of answering the questions. The matches were also very far away. I do like to travel, but four states over for a first date that you may or may not like did not sound like a smart financial decision.

Meetmindful
This is a site I stumbled upon while reading an article written by Elephant.  This site is for very spiritual people who are interested in a mindful existence.  Some interests on the profiles were meditation, self-development, and fitness as lifestyle, organic or natural foods and spirituality.  Most of the participants were very far away.

Plenty of Fish
This was a better option because it is free, and you can put a little bit of personal information in this option. You can view more locals which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Several people I know are dating someone they met on this site.  Last year, I met a guy on this site who wanted to talk about football. We never met or discussed meeting; I had someone to talk football with at least twice a week.

Tinder
 The first time I tried this in Charleston, it was a fail! I swiped the wrong way, and I got some interesting messages.   This is when it was a swipe thing and only in a limited mile radius. Now it is much better with a little heart and an X. You can insert some personal information and your educational institution. Your mile radius is much bigger now, and I do not think it is viewed as the hook up site now. It is more like a dating site.

Online-Dating-to-Offline-DatingProfile Pictures
The pictures that guys will use for their profile are unbelievable! If you are a guy read this carefully. If you are a female, ask your male friends to see their profile pictures and help them if help is needed.

If your profile picture is any of the following, change it!
This is my opinion.  Some experts do not agree.

  • A dog is licking your ear
  • Your children are in the photo
  • You are looking at a mirror and your phone is in your hand.
  • Showing your chest- really…
  • Flipping a bird to the camera – yeah, that is the man a woman would want to take home for Thanksgiving.
  • Your grandchildren are in the photo
  • A cat is in front of your face
  • No picture—a picture is worth a thousand words– remember that phrase!
  • Half a face in your picture
  • A picture where your past girlfriend or boyfriend  has been cropped out… her hair is still in the picture or his hand is still in the picture
  • Animals in the picture
  • Dead animals in the picture
  • Your truck or your boat

online-dating-red-flagsBe aware of scam artist on dating sites.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/6-red-flags-of-a-romance-scam/

  • They will tell you a long sob story. How many people are going to write you a three paragraph message or an e-mail the first time they contact you?
  • You can tell sometimes that English is not their first language.
  • They are looking for a soul mate nothing temporary.
  • The picture is too perfect. You can sometimes google the picture, and it is something chosen from a website.
  • Sometimes they use the military as a front. They are soldiers stationed in a foreign country. They would eventually ask for money to come see you.

Ask for their LinkedIn profile and their Facebook name. This usually scares them away. Be direct.
As always, research anything you consider doing and remember anyone can create a profile. I think most people are legit, but there are always a few creepy scam artists lurking.

imagesFirst meetings should be always in public places with people around and preferably at a place where people know you.

Consumer Affairs
“With an estimated 1,000 online dating sites in existence, it can be hard to sift through all the options and decide which the best site is. Being able to know how to evaluate a dating site is essential in the decision process, and it will bring you that much closer to finding a good match.”
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/dating_services/

Florence: SA Day

Florence 023DT FLorenceHow do you celebrate Singles Awareness Day? Go to Florence – no, not Italy- Alabama!  I started pondering this question, and I decided to do what I love to do best which is go to a different city and see new things and meet new people. Florence, AL, would be a fun quick trip.  I had been to Florence one other time in a conflicting September a few years back with a friend celebrating her birthday and Fall Single Awareness Day, so I had seen some of downtown.  My first thought was my second home Destin, but that needs to be a longer trip.

I asked Michelle what spa to call, and then preceded to book an appointment with Epicurean Spa, and I made reservations for the Hampton Downtown; they have an online check in that is awesome. Do not choose the Hampton Midtown by mistake. I called the wrong one first, and I was informed that Applebee’s was the only restaurant within walking distance. I knew that was not the correct Hampton.  I did check with Marriott, but there were no vacancies, and the spa was a wee bit expensive. Even though it is rated very high as far as Marriott spas, I felt confident that spa treatments are great wherever you go.

I waited late to book the spa, so I was up bright and early leaving Tupelo for my 9:00 spa time. I had a body wrap and detoxifying treatment and a skin purifying treatment and relaxing deep cleansing facial. My massage therapist was the young and beautiful Crystal Martin. She was very nice and knowledgeable about the products. I was wrapped up like a mommy with the body wrap, but I could move my fingers, and she stayed in the room with me.
Crystal said, “I sometimes leave so the client can relax”.
I said, “Oh no, you are not leaving me in here unable to move.” (I would not be a good replacement for Dakota Johnson for the second part of the Grey trilogy.)
She stayed with me the entire time and started my facial. You lie on the table all wrapped up for around 45 minutes then a warm shower is next to wash off the stuff that she applied to your entire body. It was relaxing. NO dead skin on this chick!!

When I left the spa, I headed downtown and then I decided I wanted lunch at the Marriott and changed directions. I had a fried green tomato pimento cheese sandwich with lots of bacon (reminded me of a similar sandwich at Café 212 in Tupelo, MS  http://www.cafe212tupelo.com/) and wonderful green beans with caramelized onions.  I ate outside on the covered patio, and the view was very nice. Florence 003 After lunch and a little relaxation, I headed toward downtown. The weather was warmer on Saturday, so downtown had browsers.

Florence 022 The first place I stumbled upon was the Court Street Market.  There were several things in this building, but the one place that I immediately fell in love with was The Carriage on Court. It was an open floor plan wine/cheese/ flower, etc. shop. It reminded me of New York. 

http://courtstreetmarket.org/vendors/carriage-court/ 

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I found two adorable tops at a boutique called My Favorite Things that I did buy, but I had to remind myself that there is a certain cash limit to being nice to yourself on this special weekend. I met two nice ladies (one from Virginia), and the owner was very helpful.

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Then I walked in to Jewel’s Accessories. This beautiful women with a huge smile greeted me at the door. I told her I wanted full curly blond hair like she has. This stated our warm honest conversation and our friendship. Graham is a delightful person with a huge personality. When the karma shirt is marked down, let me know. My life has been ruled by karma-some good and some bad! http://www.jewellsaccessoriesboutique.com/  Jewel
I wandered around more and found a great book at the Thrift Store down the street.

Then I went to Rosie’s to relax before heading to the hotel. Fortunately for me, Rene’ Anderson was behind the bar. She is so kind and so delightful to talk to that I ordered food and stayed longer than I had planned. She is artistic, creative and has a great thirst for knowledge and strives for a good life for her family.  Her love story made me smile for a long time.

This store has very classy traditional clothes and a cozy shop atmosphere. I loved the painting above the register.

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I finally made it to the hotel, and the check in was easy. There were no hot cookies yet, but they always have a great coffee for you, and I did walk back to the lobby when the cookies were ready. I tried a strawberry cheesecake cookie- It was so good. I was really into “be nice to Wanda” today! As I was checking in, I ran in to a friend from Tupelo celebrating Valentines’ Day with his special valentine.

I walked down to On the Rocks to watch the Ole Miss game. http://florenceontherocks.com/  I ate a great burger then I walked down to FloBama to watch the second half. Someone had told me there was an eighties band playing tonight.  They were correct, but it did not start until 10:30, so I watched the game and talked to this delightful couple who has celebrated Valentine’s Day thirty-two times together, and they still liked each other! We had a good time conversing and then the Velcro Pygmies took the stage! I do not know how to describe the outfits of the band. My first thoughts were a combination of Boy George, Richard Simmons, and Kiss. The music was really good, and they had a big stage presence. http://www.reverbnation.com/venue/flobamamusichall

Yes, I was a little shocked.

Yes, I was a little shocked.

When I Ieft the hotel earlier, I walked to On the Rocks. When I left FloBama, it was freezing, so I called a cab to go back to the hotel.

I enjoyed lunch the next day with a friend at Ricatoni’s.  The lasagna has a delightful red sauce. It was a warm and inviting atmosphere.Postcard of Forks

Afterward lunch, we went to the remnant of an old plantation- the amazing Forks of Cypress. This is a great video of the Forks of Cypress Tour.     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeTWJK-SGtw

Beams of Forks of Cypress

Beams of Forks of Cypress

Before the fire..

Before the fire.. 

small replica of FOC - Florence

small replica of FOC

Alex Haley did not live to see Queen published. This was the story of his great-great grandmother and his great- great grandfather’s family and plantation. http://www.alex-haley.com/alex_haley_queen.htm

A friend told me that I reminded him of Frost’s poem and that he knew I had “many miles to go before I sleep”.  I think he knows me well.  I think beignets will be in my future. Until next time…..
Excerpt from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

Cruise Again- Anyone?

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I would Cruise Again! Cruising is fun! No sea sickness at all but a little cotton mouth from the patch. I think it was a very calm cruise which I am sure helped with this. I also slept well except for one night when the bed was doing a little moving.  We had a room that did not have a window, and two ex-teachers accustomed to getting up early were able to sleep late. The schedule was always flexible.

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The food was great: the chocolate dessert was my favorite. The best hamburger was found on this cruise thanks to the “fixings” bar with bacon bits and mushrooms.  The atmosphere was so relaxed. What is there to fret about if you have three meals and a wonderful steward who cleaned your room and brought you breakfast if you put the card out before midnight. All you had to do was circle what you wanted.  We ordered a light breakfast—you know to tide us over until we could go to the real breakfast. Waking up to a knock on the door and then fresh coffee being placed on the counter was a treat!  The last morning we went to the formal breakfast. I would do that every morning on the next cruise. I felt like royalty.

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We had an 8:15 dinner time and after the first night, we found delightful companions to spend our dinner time with each night.  Paige Copeland and Daniel Heidrick – thanks for welcoming us to your table. The menu was enticing every night.Cruise -Jan. 14 046

One night after dinner, we enjoyed two comedians, and there was also a casino on board, a piano bar and several other places to relax.

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When we arrived in Progreso, we walked off the boat and went to the first establishment that had food, cold Coronas and the most important thing– high speed internet. We both needed to work on our online classes and communicate with the world. Adelia got a $20.00 amazing massage, and we enjoyed the three for five Coronas.

I bought a cute blue beach dress and Retina A. The dress was $25.00, and it was $20.00 for two tubes of Retina A. Bargains! The place where I bought the Retina A was named Drugs and Deli which made me laugh.  I guess the contents of the store were not that different from the old drug stores like Brent’s Drugs in the movie The Help. You could buy several different types of antibiotics, Flexeril and Ultram just to name a few. I was afraid to purchase anything like that because I thought this might not make it through Customs.   I knew Customs would not care about my wrinkle helping cream.

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Alcohol was also cheaper, but travelers must pay a tax to bring home alcohol, and carrying the alcohol safely home without breaking it would have been a hassle for me. Not worth it! While walking through Customs, potential customers were given free Tequila shots to promote the product. Beautiful and reasonably priced gold and silver jewelry was abundant. I wish I had purchased some jewelry. Adelia told me to buy souvenirs in Progreso because they were cheaper. She was correct! Some people were told to wait until they were in port in Cozumel. My cruise expert knew where was best to shop.Cruise -Jan. 14 032

Our next stop was Cozumel. We found the Three Amigos restaurant after we departed. Good food, great view and high speed wireless internet – a winning trio of offerings. After we finished working and returned our laptops to our room, we began the search for a free beach.  After taking directions from several people and walking a long way, we faced the fact that there are no free beaches in Cozumel. At this time it was around lunch, and we had to board at 3:00, so paying $40.00 for beach privileges was not a wise investment.  Adelia got another massage and then we shopped and boarded the ship.

The next day we were at sea all day, and we enjoyed the pool. There was always something going on at the pool: Hairy Chest Contest, ice sculptures, music, etc.

The day of departure there is choice of whether to put your luggage out or carry it yourself. We carried our luggage and that made it easier to depart quickly.

We rode a bus back to the airport for our 4:00 flight. Our new friend Jennifer ate lunch with us before boarding her plane back to Oklahoma. Jennifer is a house mother for a fraternity and a director at Upward Bound. She is an amazing young lady that I hope to see again soon. Adelia is a great travel companion, and I am thankful that she invited me to accompany her on this trip!

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I would cruise again, but I will always hope and pray for calm waters before each voyage!

BV - cartoon

Rebel Football Love

hotty toddy

LyceumOle MissSEC Football Team love is hard to describe. It is a feeling, an emotion that is hard to explain if you are not a southerner with a team.  Football in the south is an institution that is cherished and loved by many people. I have no comprehension or tolerance for people that changes teams according to the team’s record or their affiliation with people.  I was an Ole Miss Rebel  fan in ’94 and 2004 when we were 4-7, and I will always be a fan.

For my family and most of the Ole Miss family, football means tailgating at all home games.  We started out tailgating in the circle around thirty-five years ago when it was just us and a few other people. We had a card table, a few chairs and KFC. When my girls were old enough to sit through a ballgame, they climbed the magnolia tree and played in the Circle before the game and then they were introduced to Ole Miss Football.

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I have no comprehension or tolerance for people that changes teams according to the team’s record or their affiliation with certain people.  I was a fan in ’94 and 2004 when we were 4-7, and I am a fan in 2014; I will always be a fan.Eli

Football tailgating preparation begins at least a week in advance. Deciding departure time on game day and coordinating food selection and arrival times of all parties is like coordinating a party or social event. Our location has changed due to the new parking restraints, but we have settled in at our new location. It is very convenient for Daddy and Jane, Donna and John, and Peg and Ralph to be able to back the vehicles up and unload.

We pick our crew up from wherever they can park and bring them to the tailgate.

We pick our crew up from wherever they can park and bring them to the tailgate.

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We have an intricate tailgating plan.  Daddy and Jane bring the tents, grill, chairs, food and lots of other stuff. Whoever gets there at the same time Daddy does helps with the tent. Tyler will ride down and coordinate when possible.

The Hills bring the tv and the satellite dish, the heater, food, the sides of the tents and lots of other stuff. I bring two dishes and my Cranberry Dicey Gold which is a very good mixture guaranteed to enhance your pre-game experience.  (Thank you, Michael Murphy and the Jake Owen Gold Tour for giving me the opportunity to concoct this drink.) My bring list decreased when I had to start parking at the Wesley House.   All of the other parties involved bring food and whatever else they want to bring.  It is like a family reunion every home game.  We look forward to the fellowship, laughter, and stories.2013 008

 

One interesting man who loves Ole Miss Football and was featured in a video is Mr. Glenn.  He tailgates with us for the home games, and he dislikes LSU like no one I have ever met. (It is true that many Rebels had rather beat LSU than anyone else on the schedule.)   You can count on him to bring fried chicken every week, and he will surprise you. He had champagne and cigars for us after our last home game.   He also danced after the Alabama win, but I cannot find the video on ESPN.10-28-14 camera 0192013 855

I miss this group of people after the last home game, but God willing, we will all be back next fall to spend time together and say, “Hotty Toddy”.hotty toddy

All fall  trips are scheduled for me around the Ole Miss Football off weekends and away weekends. The departure and arrival of trips planned for the fall must accommodate all game times of parties involved in the trip.  While traveling with a State fan (Lori) or a Bama fan (Michelle), game times must be taken in to account of all teams and a place chosen in said town to watch all games. You must watch and cheer your team on to victory if at all possible. I do feel that Bo could hear me this season say which receiver was open and the linebackers could hear me yell- “Stop him.”  Running toward the tv for away games also helps everyone on the team run a little faster.  We understand the importance of supporting our team even if it is just viewing the game at home.

Weddings should not be scheduled in the fall. I do not understand anyone who gets married during football season. Jordan and I watched one game on our phones with the volume down waiting on the bridal march.

Enjoy your bowl game and remember that many teams are at home wishing they were playing in a bowl game, so cheer for your team and be thankful for their hard work that made a bowl game possible for your team.Vince quote # 1Laquon

 

Of Parties, Prose and Football
 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/travel/faulkner-and-football-in-oxford-miss.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Katy Perry gave the Ole Miss mascot the best hug of his life.    http://usat.ly/1rbMkfe

Gigi’s Corner

Gigi’s Corner  at this very moment is a happy place to be!

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Stop with the flash, Mom!

What can you say about a new life being added to your life? Your life is forever changed in a good way. What is the negative to someone else to love? There is not a negative.

Kaden’s entry in to the world gave my family a new appreciation of the precious gift of life and how it can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Do you ever feel like you have led a charmed life? I do and I say this after experiencing some low points: two divorces, breast cancer and other family trials. When it comes to my children, I have led a charmed life. I know that and I am so very thankful. Why has my life been so wonderful? My children are happy and healthy.

When Kaden was in NICU, this was an in your face moment of my charmed life. When your children are in pain, you are in pain and feeling helpless is a scary feeling. You have a problem, let me think about it. I will work on a solution, inform you of that possible solution, and mark that off of my to-do list. Yes, this is how my mind works. No, I cannot change it only tone it down and try to keep it under control. I could not fix this: I transgressed back to my silent mode and my old normal coping method of just keep moving and make sure everyone has clean clothes and food.
I could not fix the pain and bewilderment that my family was feeling especially Austin, Jade and Aunt Kell. This was a time when Mom could not make everything better.
We were the lucky ones. Kaden experienced a setback, but his prognosis was always good. We just had to be patient and give his little body time to rebound. What about the parents who do not have this prognosis? How do they deal? I was reminded of my friend Deanna who had premature triplets that spent so much time in NICU. Their prognosis was good also, but the time factor had to be so hard, and the setbacks so hard to cope with on a daily basis. I have a new appreciation of her inner strength and love for her children.

There is a lesson in everything that happens in our lives.
What was our lesson from this? Patience and the understanding that just because things do not happen as you thought they would does not meant that the final results will not be spectacular. Comfort from family, friends and prayer will get you through tough times. Many people love you if you will just let them in to show it.
I think this boy is going to keep us all on our toes.

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Kaden: Every day Gigi and Aunt Kell get pictures of me. Really, folks, are you not tired of seeing pics of me yet?
Gigi and Aunt Kell: No, nor will we ever be!

Cheers and Hotty Toddy!

Gratitude and Pay It Forward

My summer discoveries are really simple: practice gratitude and try to make someone’s day a little brighter with a smile, a hug, or a kind word or all three. If I repeat myself in any of my blogs, it is because I need to write those words again for me.

1. I feel gratitude every day for my wonderful life. Being grateful for all that I have and all of  the wonderful opportunities I have experienced keeps me balanced.   Solitude and meditation work for some people, and it did help me, but I tend to gravity toward interaction with people.  (I first wrote medication and that may work better for some people.)  Whatever you need to feel grateful for your life, go for it!   I felt extreme gratitude every morning when I looked at the view from the balcony. Everything that happened in my life led me to that balcony and to that wonderful feeling of inner peace.  Trying to preserve it now, but it is a struggle when you enter the familiar rat race.

2. People enter your life and people leave your life and that is as it should be. Do not spend too much time trying  to understand the how’s or why’s.  Some things are not meant to be understood; they are meant to be accepted and used as a life lesson. Remember the love you received from those people because you would not have been a part of your life if you did not feel loved on some level and for whatever reason, it is where you wanted to be at that time in your life.  As Elizabeth Gilbert said, “Whenever you think of them, send them love and light.” Cherish the good times.

3. Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you. Do not be around people who delight in finding and pointing out your shortcomings. Everyone has things that he/she does not do well. Pointing out the inadequacies of others will not make your inadequate behavior any less noticeable. We need to be lifted up and  challenged to never stop growing, learning, and embracing new things and new people. Find the people that after you talk to them you think about your conversations, and you feel enriched by being around them and you want to investigate that new book or that idea that they present.

3. From my life book, Eat Pray Love,  “let it go”. Focus on the joy of living. You can only control what you do. Everything else is out of your control. The world will not stop turning if you just let go.

4. You know from when you are young if you are one of those people who want to know the how and why and if you willing to go the extra lengths to find answers. I knew I was one of those people from a young age, but I made choices that allowed me only to look at life from a small window. Keep looking and searching for your pot of gold. Everybody has different dreams and different ideals of what he/she considers to be “the good life”.

5. Human beings are amazing creations that are adaptable and filled with love.

6. Happiness is not measured by material things. I saw the happiness and the love that comes only from having food, shelter, and clothing and someone to love.

What would happen if each year companies modeled a “Pay It Forward” initiative like Bell State Bank and Trust? This program illustrates Anne Frank’s statement.
Check out this link shared with me by my mentor:    http://payitforward.bellbanks.com/
Pay It Forward: 2013
“In 2013, Bell State Bank & Trust and Bell Mortgage employees again had the opportunity to Pay It Forward by giving back to the communities we serve. Each year since 2008, every full-time employee has received $1,000 and every part-time employee $500 to Pay It Forward as they see fit to those in need. In what has become a year-round tradition, our employees carefully consider their Pay It Forward gifts. Our Pay It Forward gifts since the program’s inception are nearing $5 million that has been given to people in need and causes we care about.

This past year, we made an addition to Pay It Forward that doubled its life-changing impact. Through our “Pay It Forward: Community Connect” component, each employee selected a customer, vendor or community member who themselves had the chance to Pay It Forward to an individual, family or organization in need.”

Have a wonderful week!

Wine, Eggs, and Conflict

Wine 002

It is in most Southern Girl’s DNA to avoid conflict because our grandmothers and our mothers avoided conflict and tried to make everybody happy. This makes some women happy, but to others, it is an energy and soul draining life. We also avoid hurting someone’s feelings at all cost. We sprinkle sugar on the truth. We choose to overlook things that happen while hoping these things will go away and stay in our little happy place that we created in our minds. This brings me to ask you a trivial question: “What kind of wine do you like?”  I was buying wine last night. It was on sale (My friends know how much I love a Sale sign.), and I was looking at all of the different selections, and I realized that I really did not know what my favorite wine was, so I bought four different kinds: Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  I thought my favorite was a red blend, but I really had no clue.

http://www.myrecipes.com/menus/top-wines-under-20-10000001695654/

I immediately thought of the movie Runaway Bride. Who does not love that movie? Do you know how you want your eggs? Do you know what you need to be happy? How much of you are you willing to change or give away to be with someone or to make everyone else happy?   Do you know what you like or what you want or do you try to bend to whatever someone wants you to be so you can be his dream woman, her dream man, or the perfect daughter, son, mother, father, brother or sister?

Runaway BrideMaggie Carpenter to Ike Graham:
“When I was walking down the aisle, I was walking toward somebody who didn’t have any idea who I really was. And it was only half the other person’s fault, because I had done everything to convince him that I was exactly what he wanted. So it was good that I didn’t go through with it because it would have been a lie. But you – you knew the real me.”

Yes, I know you have to bend and tolerate things that  would not have been your choice, but at what point do you give yourself away  and realize that you are living someone else’s life.  You wake up one morning, and you feel anxious and not happy, but you do not know why because the farce has been going on so long.  You do not know what it takes to make you happy because you have not taken the time to find out or let’s be real, life does not give you a lot of time to focus on you. I am now getting that time, but it is been hard to wrap my mind around the process of not being identified by my past.

Some people were born with the gift of authenticity, but most of us were not. What does it mean to be authentic or genuine? I think you must know yourself before you can be authentic and then be true to that self that you discover.  It makes me think of the line from Shakespeare as Polonius said to Laertes: “This above all: to thine own self be true…”.  We are not responsible for other people’s happiness, but we are responsible for making someone unhappy if we do not present our genuine authentic selves to the world.

How do we find that? Well, I think it involves a constant pursuit of trying to know and love yourself. Sometimes that requires serious soul searching and painful alone time.  It also means being honest, humble, and filled with love, and you cannot have that if you are filled with resentment because you are not living the life that you want because you do not know who you are and what you like and dislike, or you are not willing to take a chance to be who you want to be.

Embrace conflict if it will keep you from being unhappy or making a bad decision. The conflict will pass as does most things on this earth.  I have so much to learn about me. It is going to be an action packed journey filled with laughter and love!
The real me loves Malbec Wine, and most of the time, I do not want to cook, and I can live without dog hair.

Happy Father’s Day to my Daddy

Dad in NOLAA father’s love is a special gift that he bestows on his children. A man who loves his children unconditionally and teaches them to love their children unconditionally gives his children the best gift that he can give to them. This gift will carry them through life with an open and loving heart. A child will be more willing to embrace the changes and challenges of life if he/she knows that his/her parents are always in his/her corner cheering for his/her to survive, thrive, and enjoy this life.  It is unfailing support that some children are given just because they were born. It reminds me of the love of God because we did absolutely nothing to deserve it.  I know that all children do not have this love, and my heart goes out to them because I do not know what I would have done without the support and love of my Daddy and yes, when I say it, I make it two syllables!

There is a reassurance and a confidence when you know that love and support is only a phone call away. When you know that your father will not judge you for whatever road you choose to take in your life, it allows you to make choices that were what you needed or wanted at the time- granted, they may not have been the best choices, but the support was still there. I am sure for my dad at times it was like watching a slow train wreck (and may still be), but he never left my side, and he listened. I am sure there were times when he put down the phone and said, “Jane, you are not going to believe this.”

His love for his grandchildren is also the same as his love for me and my sister. They know that Pops always has their back, and he will do whatever he needs to do to help them. Their love for him is so strong.Dad- Hotty

Other things I learned from my dad:

  • A good book is a treasure and should be devoured and learned from on a daily basis. Yes, Whistle and The Godfather were read by me at a young age. (You did not know I found them in the bookcase.)  We can both escape to another time and place just give us a book. Be patient because you can talk and talk or a great show my be on tv, but we do not hear you or comprehend what is being said on the tv.
  • Education is a treasure. Not all people have had the opportunity to receive an education. It is not something that should be taken for granted. You can never be too educated, wealthy or wise!
  • Seeing different places and meeting new people enriches your life and your viewpoint of the world.  New York – my first real Italian food, Miami – the guy who brought me carnations at the airport, Europe – I was a pain in the ass, but you did not leave me over there!  The Nutcracker in Atlanta on Peach Street- Daddy worked during the day, and I played in the hotel. My love of travel began, and it is stronger now than ever which reminds me, I need to buy that lottery ticket today!
  • Being willing to take a chance to make something happen takes strength and confidence, and you took a chance many years ago to better our lives. I know now how much courage that took.
  •  The love of good food, good company, the Ole Miss Rebels- Yes, we love our team, but the people you share that love with is what makes memories. I hope they win tonight!

Dad Thanksgiving

  • The cabin- Provide a place where away from home that is like a family retreat where the doors are always open and love will abound for family, friends and our adopted family members.

As I sit here writing this on this beautiful Sunday morning in a beautiful antebellum home in downtown Charleston, I can hear the church bells ringing, and I am so thankful for all of the bumps, hills, mountains that I had to climb to get here, and I am so thankful for my daddy- the strong man in my life who has always been there for me, and I know with one phone call he will provide that one way ticket home.

I love you, Daddy, and I hope you have a wonderful day, and I hope your Father’s Day present blooms beautiful red flowers for many years.

Happy Father’s Day to my Daddy

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