Friday, April 30, 2010

Confession Time

I'm kinda crushing on the World Wide Web right now. It's true. Those who are around me a lot have heard me talk about the Magic of Facebook or my buddy Wiki.

How could you not be a little bit infatuated with such a wonderful invention that allows you to connect with like minded people around the world and provide you with fabulous information at the tap of a few fingertips!?!

Just the other day I had to enlighten several youngsters in my office about the joy of Romper Room. You can read all about that on my Wednesday post from earlier this week. Well, it has been many years since Romper Room was in its heyday so I turned to Wiki and he coughed up the info I needed. One youngster said, "Thank you that was very informative."

Then there was the day that someone asked "How old is Sesame Street?" Hmmm, I'm noticing a theme here. But just type in the secret words - and then ask your question. Bingo, just like that you have an answer.

Well, and just today at lunch Yahoo popped up and asked "Why do ladybugs have spots?" I couldn't help but click on the question to see the answer. Apparently it might have something do with warning other animals to not eat them because they might taste bad or be poisonous. It appears to be a thing in the insect/animal kingdom that bright colors are to warn others off. I don't know how true this is; it sounds a little suspect, but I didn't have any more lunch hour left to go in search of verification.

Then there's the poor beleaguered Facebook. They seem to have major security problems and you do have to be careful. But, where else can you connect with cousins who you haven’t spent a lot of time with, former school mates, other people with similar interests? It truly has been a fun adventure for me to get to know people I may never have had a chance to meet before. Like my buddy in Boston who is a fellow Lewy volunteer? Facebook has shown me that she truly is an amazing woman with a huge heart for helping others. Or the writers who have befriended me and allowed me to get a glimpse of what the life of a published author is like.

I even have a farm on Facebook, although today they asked me for email address to even get to my farm and now I am not so sure I will continue that. Sad day if I don’t since I enjoyed my virtual farming.

And Twitter! I just am getting started on Twitter, but I am following THE Tom Hanks and how cool is it to get tweets during the day about what is happening on the set of his most recent film! Tweets from Tom just make my day!

So, my love affair with the web has grown and I am okay with that. I do have to remind myself to stop surfing sometimes and go to bed. Will it ever get out of control and take over my life? I don’t know. Let me Google that to see what my buddy has to say about it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Romper, Stomper, Bomper Boo

So, I still consider myself a youngster. Really, I may be yay close to a half a century old, but inside I feel like a kid. I’ve always felt this way. Once, in my thirties, I came home to visit my family and my sister greeted me with, “Daddy said you will always be immature.”

To which Dad responded, “I did not; I said she will always be young at heart!”

I’m okay with being young at heart. But some days I feel old.

The other day something at work caught my attention and I couldn’t help but sing, “Wally Gator is the coolest alligator in the swamp.” One coworker burst out laughing and another said, “What the heck!?!”

Yep, one coworker is my age and the other is just a baby of 30-something. The conversation turned to cartoons and other TV shows of the decades best known to us old folks.

Do you know Romper Room!?! It was one of my favorites back in the day when Mom pulled my blonde hair back into pony tails on either side of my head. (Too bad I couldn’t find a picture of that ‘cause I was adorable.)

There was just something about hearing the theme song and standing at attention while we said the Pledge of Allegiance. Even the lessons with Do Bee and the activities were fun. And every show I waited with bated breath to find out if Miss Barbara would see me through her Magic Mirror in Televisionland.

Romper, stomper, bomper, boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me do. Magic Mirror; tell me today, have all my friends had fun at play?

Then one day it happened…after reciting Romper Stomper I heard Miss Barbara say, “And I see Tammie” as she peered through her Magic Mirror. I was famous. I had been seen in Televisionland and I was ecstatic.

As coincidence would have it my boss came by my cube one day last week while I was out and saw a quote I had on my white board. He added his words of wisdom and signed a coworker’s name. “Do be a do be and don’t be a don’t be.” I chuckled when I saw it since the person he claimed wrote it is much too young to know Romper Room and has been quick to tell me so.

Then the stars were aligned just right today as I walked into the break room to hear the youngster telling an even younger youngster about Romper Room and the Do Be comment. What else could I do but recite “Romper Stomper” and get out my Magic Mirror to see who I could see in Break Room Land!?!

Nope, my age doesn’t bother me too much since I always have that little blonde girl inside me and there is nothing wrong with being young at heart!

First day of kindergarten circa way back when. Notice the note to my teacher pinned to my chest lest I forget to give it to the teach!

Monday, April 26, 2010

I am Angry!

I am angry!

Anger is one of those emotions that people are encouraged to deal with but not hold on to and definitely not show. I’m sure you have heard the saying “don’t go to bed angry.” Get over your anger, tamp it down, go to counseling, anger management. The reality, though, is that there is such a thing as righteous anger. Anger that is spurred by the injustices in our world and goads us into action can be considered righteous anger.

I am angry!

It is true. It doesn’t eat away at me. It doesn’t cause me to lash out at my family, friends, or coworkers. But the wrath bubbles up and it inspires me. It drives me to fight a battle I never wanted to fight but I am right in the middle. I can’t back away at this point. I have been called into this battle and I will continue on until the source of my wrath no longer exists.

My enemy has a name – Lewy. He is a thief. His work causes devastation, loss of hope, frustration. Lewy destroys everything he touches. Lewy isn’t a person. He’s a disease that afflicts over 800,000 people in the United States. Read more about Lewy here.

Lewy took my mom in the prime of her life. That was when the fight was on.

Sadly, there are many people in my life right now who have been touched by Lewy. Some are at the end of their loved ones journey and some are just getting started. My heart breaks every time I read or talk to someone who is just starting down this road. I can’t bear the thought of what Lewy does to these people we love.

I am angry!

But, my angry stirs me to fight. It causes me to go on no matter how hard the battle becomes. I continue because people need to know they are not alone. I continue because someday we will conquer the enemy. I dream of the day Lewy is nothing but a bad memory that can no longer hurt anyone. Until then I funnel my anger into the battle.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Death of Fear is Certain

“Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.” Ralph Waldo Emerson uttered these words many years ago, but they still ring true today.

Several years ago I assessed my life and realized I had missed out on a lot because I let fear hold me back. Determined not to continue on this path I embarked on my “Year of Living Adventurously.” My goal was to try something new every month. Through that year I began to step out of my comfort zone and experience more. It was a great year and it inspired me to be more adventurous every day.

One of my greatest fears involves my desire to write. I believe that God has given me the ability to string together words in a coherent (generally) manner. I also believe that God wants to use my writing to make a difference for at least one person in this world.

Knowing this doesn’t calm the fear that my work may never be good enough. I have written on and off for years. Still I find it hard to put myself out there and have others read my work. Writing for me is fine, but I will never be able to allow God to fully use me if I don’t put myself out there.

The thing about writing is that it involves a lot of rejection. It’s a fact of life that any published writer will confirm. We writers have to develop thick skins. I have gotten better about that through working with my mentors at the Christian Writer’s Guild. And, I have been blogging for about three years now. One would think that it would be easier by this time.

Sad to say, it is still a struggle for me and one that I am determined to overcome. That involves submitting my work to publishers and editors. I know that my blog has affected people. I have friends and strangers who have told me how my writing has touched them. So I need to continue doing the thing I fear until the death of fear is certain.

Now, for the real purpose of this post. Drum roll, please. I have submitted the first chapter of the novel I am working on to a contest sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers. Genesis is the opportunity to have authors read and critique my work. It is a win-win way to ease into submitting my work. Even if I don’t place or win I will get valuable feedback.

I worried that my first chapter didn’t tell enough of the story. I whined some about how it’s not fair that this contest doesn’t get to see more of my work. Then I realized the beauty of this contest. If the first chapter doesn’t catch the eye of the judges it isn’t as effective as it needs to be. The first chapter doesn’t tell the whole story. It gets the reader interested in finding out what happens next and keeps them reading. I will soon find out if that is the case with my book and if not, I have the opportunity to do some fine tuning.

I took one more step toward putting this fear to death and I am proud that I did. Next step soon to follow!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

100 Moments - Trapped

#90 Trapped

The Joy of Commuting

Photo taken on my Blackberry while stuck in traffic.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I read with interest a post today by McNair Wilson today on his blog Tea with McNair. In a great post entitled Volcano vs. Earthquake he puts a little perspective on the volcano eruption in Iceland that is interfering with air travel across Europe.

While the volcano has cost airlines money and stranded many travelers it has not claimed any lives. In contrast the earthquake in Haiti killed at least 150,000 and left an entire city virtually homeless.  It has been three months and the country is still reeling from this devasting occurrence.

Life in Europe will return to normal. Travel will soon again be safe and things will go on. But life returning to normal is still a long way off for Haiti. They continue to need our help and our prayers.

McNair worked at Compassion International for a year and as with everything he does he embraced the company's mission with gusto. So, his support and recommendation for the work Compassion does is enough for me. Please visit his blog and read Volcano vs. Earthquake to find out more about the work Compassion International does in Haiti.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Song in my Heart

Way back in the dark ages, also known as seventh grade, I joined the choir at my little Catholic school. I do like music, but to be totally honest I was there because of the end of year trip to Elitch Gardens Amusement Park. By that age I had already realized that I couldn’t really carry a tune.

But it was okay, because I had mastered lip syncing really well. This was before Milli Vanilli so there really weren’t any good role models….I learned on my own. I know, you’re impressed, aren’t you!?! Well, Sister wasn’t so much impressed.

There I was in the middle of the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever” when the inevitable happened. Sister became wise to my noiseless mouth movements and promptly kicked me out of the choir. No Elitch trip for me.

Despite my lack of being able to carry a tune and true musical knowledge I love to sing in church. I don’t sing very loud since I realize that though the Father loves to hear my voice raised in song, those around me may not appreciate my praise. It makes me sad that many people in church don’t sing along. They don’t actively participate in this wonderful act of worship and instead treat it like something to be witnessed.

As a child I often thought the music was just there to fill the quiet, boring spots in the service. I have since learned that the music is a vital part of our worship. The Bible encourages us in many places to sing praises to God. 1 Chronicles 16:23 says “Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! Each day proclaim the good news that He saves.” Psalm 9:11 has us sing of His unforgettable deeds. Because He has been good to us Psalm 13:6 commands us to sing.

In fact, a quick search of an online Bible source resulted in 133 instances of the word sing. The Psalms themselves often were songs written by David and others of that time. Music has long been part of our Christian heritage. One thing I have never seen is the exhortation to only raise your voice in song if you can carry a tune. God doesn’t care about the way our voices sound; He cares about the way our heart is tuned as we praise Him.

So, today, won’t you join me in allowing God to fill our hearts with song and allowing that song to take root and season our worship? We don’t have to wait until the next church service. We can sing His praises right now, right here!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Grand Adventures of Momma Girl and Kitty Boy - Saturday Edition

Today is foggy and drizzly and I am loving it. There is something about this weather that speaks to my soul. Sunny, warm days make me want to get in my car and hit the open road. Rainy, overcast days make me want to curl up with a good book or good movie and my kitty cat.

Kitty Boy curled up without Momma Girl

Wouldn’t this be the perfect day to do just that and snuggle up on the couch? It would if it weren’t for the tragedy that happened this week. It was a Wednesday night like any other. Well, not quite like any other, my nephew turned five and so I went to his house for dinner and birthday cake. That was where I fell in love with Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. No, it’s a tragedy that I crave this ice cream now, but that wasn’t the true tragedy of this Wednesday.

But, I digress; it was a day almost like any other. Then I made the tragic decision to do a small load of laundry. It was ten pm when it happened. There, in the middle of the job, Mr. Washer shuddered and died with the basket still full of clothes and water. Distress filled my heart and soul.

I know if you are still reading you are probably thinking I am being a tad melodramatic. Maybe, but you have to understand that for 15 years I lugged laundry to and from my parents house or the Laundromat. It was the bane of my week; I hated laundry day.

I dreaded laundry day for over a decade. Then I bought my house and had a washer and dryer to call my own. I was in love with them. The knowledge that I could do a load any time my little heart desired filled my heart with butterflies and daisies!

But the sad demise of Mr. Washer has stolen the butterflies and daisies. So, today when I rightfully should be curled up with my kitty boy lost in a good story I will once again drag my laundry out of the house, into the truck, and down the road to accomplish the dirty deed. Thankfully, 1-800-Dad-Help has agreed to come by this week and see what can be done with poor, dead Mr. Washer. Keep your fingers crossed that he isn’t really dead, but just in a coma.

Mr. Washer in healthier days

Friday, April 16, 2010

Living Vicariously

Years ago, in high school, I imagined a grown up life that included an early marriage to a loving husband and six kids. Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself single into my forties.

Instead of six children of my own I have been blessed with six nieces and nephews. My youngest sister's family lives a half mile from me. She and her husband have two children. She has shared her life with me in an incredible way.

When she was pregnant with her youngest and her husband, a Marine, was in Afghanistan, they weren't sure he would be back in time for delivery. They asked me to be her labor coach. I gladly accepted the role.

I got the calls when the baby was squeezing her so tight she couldn't breathe. I heard about the nights of sleeping sitting up. I accompanied her and her older child to the ultrasound that revealed the gender of the baby. And I was there the morning the false alarm took us to the hospital at 5:30am.

When the time came, I sat with her all day, I cut the cord and I placed that precious little one in daddy's arms for the first time.

Over the years I have experienced Barney, The Wiggles, Dance, Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. I have picked up kids at daycare and stayed with them when they were sick and mom had to work.

I have been soccer mom and taxi service. I have been at school musicals, back to school night, birthday parties, karate practice, orthodontist visits and soccer games. I have been called to pick up kids when they missed the bus or forgot their art supplies.

Overnight visits have allowed mom and dad to get away for a night, a weekend or even a week. I know the joy of waking up beside the warm body that sprawled across the bed and kicked me all night. I grin when I think of waking to that smiling two year old face saying "Hi Tammie!"

I have been a horsey and a pillow and a mean lion. I have bouncy, bouncied on the trampoline and been laughed at when I went down and couldn't get back upright on the trampoline. I have played games, read stories and kissed hurts away.

My sister is an amazing mother and she has shared her two wonderful children with me. I have six nieces and nephews. I regret that I haven't been able to live close enough to share these things with all of them. I have never regretted the time spent to help when my sister needed me. I have lived vicariously!

I originally posted this on my other blog in 2007. I have been thinking about this post since the little one that I was privileged to attend his birth just turned 5!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Audience of One

We are bombarded with opportunities these days to compare ourselves to others. The media is resplendent with pleas to see how you stack up against the hottest celebrity, the most awesome athlete, or the most influential politician. It runs rampant in the workforce also. One worker is compared to a coworker when it comes time for raises or promotions. In schools students are graded on curves in relation to the rest of the class. We are a society who doesn’t only want to keep up with the Joneses; we want to know we are better than the Joneses.

As Christians, though, we really are just living for an audience of One. God doesn’t require us to be better than anyone else. He doesn’t look at us in comparison to our neighbor or coworker. He measures us against our own potential. I admit this has been a hard concept for me. I get sucked into the hype of the media and corporate world. When I was in school I found myself working to be smarter, better, more prepared than my classmates. It is tiring to always be trying to be better, more.

God doesn’t ask us to be better than the Joneses. Psalm 139 tells us He knew us while we were being knitted together in our mother’s womb. He had a plan for us from the beginning. The reality is He doesn’t care if we can surpass each other. All He really cares about is if we are open to His leading. He wants us to be who He created us to be. He wants us to surpass who we are in the flesh and become more like Him.

When we are so busy trying to create ourselves in the image of some star, mentor, or famous athlete we are missing the chance to be the one He created. And, God has let me in on a little secret as He and I have explored this idea. If I am busy focusing on being me and living up to God’s expectations for me I will be exactly what I am supposed to be. I won’t have to worry if I can be as smart or thin or agile as anyone else. The world may not appreciate me, but God will.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Saltine by Any Other Name

Is a macaroon!

The truth is I am experiencing some writer's block. I have lots of ideas bouncing around, but I can't seem to get them down on the computer in any coherent manner yet.  This seemingly random sentence is my way of an explanation for the fluff posts recently. So, here we go about macaroons!

Saturday nights my local family have the tradition of going to church with Dad and then having dinner. This started out when Mom was still alive and she couldn't get to church. I would stay with her while the others went to church. I would cook dinner while they were gone. Now we rotate so every third Saturday is my night to cook.

This week was my week to cook again and I came up with a menu of chicken-apple salad, caprese pizzas, and coconut macademia macaroons. The surprise is that the macaroon recipe came from the side of a Premium Saltine box and included 30 saltine crackers.

I couldn't resist the idea of an easy macaroon recipe so I gave it a whack....literally! The recipe called for 30 crackers finely crushed. So I got out the rolling pin and beat those crackers to a pulp :-)

The cookies were delicious and definitely something I will make again.

Friday, April 9, 2010

100 Moments - Growth

The week got away from me and I didn't end up finishing today's post. So, I thought I would offer another moment captured in time.

#12 - Growth
This was taken in my dad's backyard on Easter Sunday. The tree is finally beginning to bud.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kitchi Update

Yesterday after a snowfall, fresh tracks believed to be made by Kitchi were found beneath a bridge several miles east of the zoo.

For the naysayers who believe Kitchi has become a meal for a larger animal the zoo keeper on the news last night said that otters are predators and are pretty good at taking care of themselves in the wild.

I'm still rooting for you, Kitchi, to find your wild!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Monday, April 12 marks the 3 month mark from the life changing earthquake in Haiti. Remember the earthquake? Life has gone on for most of us. Life goes on in Haiti, also. But it goes on differently; in some ways, less than before. There are still millions of people who are homeless. There are still orphans who need love and caring. There are still people who are unemployed and unable to put food on the table for their families. Yet as life goes on the people of Port-au-Prince are surrounded by rubble, destruction, death and missing family members. Remember Haiti? Haiti needs us now more than ever.

So much needs to be done; where do you start? You start where you are and help who you can. I have come across a blog called Culture and Sensitivity in the days since the earthquake. The blog is written by a man named Steve Edmondson who made trips to Haiti before the earthquake to help out. Since the earthquake he has stepped up his efforts. When he realized the people needed tarps to help cover their camps during the rainy season he put out a request on his blog for help and the response was amazing.

Despite all that Steve does he felt the need to do more. In a recent post he wrote of The Story of the Star Thrower. You may have heard this story.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, so he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.” “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

As if he hadn’t heard, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he turned, smiled and said, “Yes, but I just made a big difference to that one!”

Steve has decided to do something more. He has decided to start picking up starfish and throwing them into the ocean. Steve has been touched by the people of Haiti and he has in the last few months set in motion the creation of an organization to offer “Compassion. Dignity. Hope….one life at a time.” This tag line for his organization says it all. More information will be coming about the organization details and a few of their first projects. I am in awe of Steve’s efforts and am humbled by his story.

I encourage you to visit Steve’s web site and read about his time in Haiti. He brings the stories of the people to light and shows the need as well as the hope that is found in Haiti. He is making changes, one Haitian at a time.

Monday, April 5, 2010

100 Moments Captured in Time

I was visiting over at Siestas and Cupcakes when I found this fun photo project. As I have pursued my writing, I find that my photos have taken on a different tone. I have always seen stories in the everyday things and now my pictures are beginning to tell some of those stories.

I also just got a fancy and fun camera that will allow me to really play with my photos and try some new things. So, I decided to join in and begin capturing 100 Moments in Time. The project entails a list of 100 words and the goal is to capture each word in a picture.

Would you like to join me on my photo journey? I think it would be fun to see the different perspectives we will each have on the words on the list.

So, here's the list:
1. Safety
2. Stale
3. Feathered
4. Hot
5. Open
6. Forever
7. Love
8. Touch
9. Colorless
10. Blue
11. Smell
12. Growth
13. Irony
14. Wrong
15. More
16. Feel
17. Muse
18. Child
19. Within
20. Pale
21. Earth
22. Torn
23. Scars
24. Stray
25. Drops
26. Against
27. Dry
28. Fresh
29. Covered
30. Bold
31. High
32. Shadow
33. Concrete
34. Vein
35. Rush
36. Yellow
37. Empty
38. Cliché
39. Central
40. Loss
41. Wonder
42. Sweet
43. Poetry
44. Heavy
45. Fall
46. Chair
47. Statue
48. Kool-Aid
49. Dark
50. Breath
51. Garbage
52. Silk
53. Teacher
54. Cream
55. Wash
56. Corner
57. Rose
58. Field
59. Two
60. Red
61. Music
62. Rope
63. Decrepit
64. Chase
65. Dream
66. Dance
67. Smile
68. Smirk
69. Reflection
70. Soul
71. Lock
72. Key
73. Rust
74. Find
75. Lose
76. Drag
77. Wind
78. Rest
79. Swing
80. Meeting
81. Vacant
82. Hazy
83. Release
84. Gather
85. Swarm
86. Road
87. Wait
88. Stand
89. Distance
90. Trapped
91. Desk
92. Detach
93. Shatter
94. Home
95. Shy
96. Tackle
97. Begin
98. End
99. Time
100. Life

100 Moments - Decrepit

And here's my first photo. I took this photo about a year ago, but I felt it fit this word well.

#63 Decrepit

Friday, April 2, 2010

Kitchi on the Lam

The local news has been amusing me recently. You see, last week four North American River Otters escaped from the local zoo. Three of the four otters were quickly discovered elsewhere in the zoo, but Kitchi has made a clean break.

I have visions of Marty from Madagascar in search of the wild. Kitchi has tasted his freedom and he has no desire to return to the confines of the zoo. He's been keeping a low profile although there have been sightings of him south of the zoo. So far he has managed to keep out of the way of the authorities and avoid capture.

An article in our paper today said that zoo officials haven't given up hope, but that the trail has definitely gone cold at this point.

It may not be kosher for me to say this, but "Run, Kitchi, Run!"