Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My dog is missing!

My 12 year old Sheltie, Chelsea, is missing! She looks just like Lassie, in miniature. She's 24 pounds, and is spayed. She was last seen in the Old Cahaba neighborhood of Helena, AL at 6:15pm on Tuesday night. She is a really sweet dog, very loving and trusting - but she's deaf, so she cannot hear you if you call her to you. She knows hand gestures of "come", "stay" and "sit", if you can get in her line of sight.

If you see her, please contact me right away at

It's going to be so cold tonight - please help us find her!! This dog is my HEART - she's been with me through so much, and words fail to express how much I love her.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Flat tire

Its 4:53am. I am sitting on the side of the road with a flat tire. It's raining and 36 degrees outside. Not a lot to be grateful for...or is there?

Let's give it a shot:
- AAA - my coworker, R, suggested I get a membership a couple of years ago and now, it has more than paid for itself. Who else could I call before 5am that could come get help me?
- my coworker, R - not only did he suggest getting AAA, when I called him to tell him I wouldn't be able to make it to work on time, his first reaction was concern not annoyance.
- getting over to the side of the road safely after my tire went flat and finding a safe spot to park that is out of the way of traffic.
- the random guy that actually reversed his truck in the middle of the road to check on me - "I saw you were alone and I would want someone to make sure my wife was safe."
- a half tank of gas - there are lots of times I let it get a lot lower than that, and it would be tough to keep the car warm with no gas
- my big old winter jacket - I almost didn't put it on this morning, but did at the last minute. Now, it's keeping me warm and cozy.
- my cell phone - it called AAA with no problems, and I can type this on it while I wait (I was going to blog today, anyway!)
- a packed breakfast - I won't go hungry while I sit here.
- my Kindle - I can read if I get bored.

There. Things aren't so bad when I look at them through eyes of gratitude. They could definitely be a lot worse!

Dear God, thanks for the many blessings You have given me. Thank you for the chance to see this for what it really is, and for not making it worse with a bad attitude. I do realize that, in the grand scheme of things, I am a lucky woman. As for other things not tire related, please keep an eye on S today - he is going to need some extra TLC in the coming weeks. Please show me how I can be of service and comfort to him and anyone else You see that could use it. Amen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I used to hate praying...but now....

I used to hate praying. I used to hate the idea of praying. I used to think it was stupid to pray, that people that prayed were stupid, that anyone that had ever prayed was stupid.

And then, I tried it. Really tried it. In a book I read a lot, there's a quote that says "almost the only scoffers at prayer are those who never tried it enough," and for me, it's turned out to be true.

As it turns out, I don't have to be all that fancy or even know exactly what the heck I am praying to. The thing that counts more than anything is the ACT of prayer - taking the time to pause and ask for help, guidance, comfort and strength. Just as important is to offer up thanks for the many things in my life that have nothing to do with my having earned them, but instead serve as evidence of grace and providence.

When things are going well, it's easy to pray - but when things are NOT good, or when I am afraid of what God's answer will be to my prayers (i.e. "No" or "Not yet!" or "I have something else in store for you, little one..."), I flat out refuse to do it, even though I KNOW it will make things easier, if not the circumstances themselves, at least my attitude towards them. Praying is not stupid. I only used to think so because I was scared that I would have to admit that there were things out of my control and that I was not the end-all, be-all when it came to making the decisions about how life would go. The true irony is that I had nothing to be scared of. Another line from that amazing book I quoted earlier is: "When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God's hands were better than anything we could have planned."

So, the relief comes from the act of praying, and then, the faith that not only will things be alright, they will be better that I could have planned....because I prayed.

So, scoffers can scoff. I honestly feel badly for people that flat out refuse to try. I only hope they don't hold out as long as I did. We don't have to suffer in the storm - we can be calmed, if only we ask and keep asking.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why I am going to miss Regis Philbin

For the past few months, like most of America, I've been watching the tributes to Regis Philbin. We always have the TV on here in the studio, and every morning after we finished the show, it is tuned to "Live with Regis and Kelly". Since they announced his retirement earlier this year, they've played montages of clips from his many years on daytime TV, and it's brought back many memories for all of us.

As his final day approached, I've found myself getting really sad - which doesn't make a lot of sense, on the surface, considering I've never met the man. Why was it making it me so sad? I couldn't put my finger on it. This morning, while I was in the shower, I finally figured out why I am so sappy about Regis leaving the show after all of these years.

It's the end of an era. An era for TV, sure...but actually, it's the end of an era for me, personally, too. Regis represents an important part of my childhood to me. On sick days, when I stayed home school, my mom would let me what Regis and Kathie Lee, The Price is Right (with Bob Barker as the host), and Oprah in the afternoons. Regis was the last bastion of my childhood sick day routine. One more tether to my mom that is gone.

Better than chicken soup, Regis was part of "medicine" that made me feel better. Whether he were interviewing a celebrity, dressing up in one of their campy Halloween costumes, or just sharing about his adventures from the night before, Regis Philbin brought a sense of humor to my mornings. While I laid on the couch, my mom would walk over to the TV, and click on "Live!", and I knew that for, at least, the next hour, we'd be entertained, and I'd forget about feeling badly.

As I grew up, and entered into the broadcast media field myself, he also provided a template of how to be relatable, humorous and relevant, without being mean or blue. He showed how to be human and humble, funny and lighthearted, passionate and classy. Regis was someone to emulate and imitate, and many people have tried.

Regis, we'll miss you, buddy. Thank you for the laughs and for the memories. Thanks for being a part of my childhood, someone that made my mom and me laugh, someone that made all of our mornings a little bit lighter and brighter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Reminders everywhere....

A conversation with a dear friend yesterday bolstered my commitment to posting daily gratitude list. She and I both agreed that our attitudes make the biggest difference in our circumstances. While we'll still have the same house/job/significant other/family/problems either way, our attitude toward each of those things will change everything.

I love listening to Joel Osteen - his positive attitude always lifts me up - and yesterday, after my conversation with L, this is the message I heard from Joel!

Message received, loud and clear! I'll send up praise under all circumstances.

In the next 24 hours, I am hoping that my bosses will be giving me a contract renewal. I have had a lot of trepidation as my current contract has dwindled down to its final weeks. Will they give me a new one? What would I do if they don't? They've indicated that things are "fine"...but in these uncertain times, you never know. They've asked me to be "open minded", and honestly, I am not even sure what that means, but I am pretty sure it means that it's not going to be the big ol' raise I would have liked.

Instead of worrying today, I am choosing to be grateful about whatever outcome occurs. If they offer me one, I'll be grateful - I'll still try to make the best deal I can for me and my husband that I can, but I'll be in an attitude of gratitude about it. If they don't offer me one, or we can't seem to come to an agreement, I'll still be grateful - grateful for the job that brought me to Birmingham, where I met the love of my life, grateful to have had a 17 year run in a career that I love so much, and grateful for God pushing me to towards what must be His plan for something else.

What else am I grateful for today?
- Homemade hummus and salsa - yummy and fresh, and good for us!
- Falling gas prices - with as many miles as I drive each week, it's a huge blessing.
- Time with a beautiful blonde 5 year old girl in a sparkly sweater - 5 minutes with her made my whole night last night.
- Time today to get caught up on a few nagging things on my list that I have been avoiding

Dear God, thank you for however today turns out. Thank you for all of the blessings in my life. Thank you for the reminders in the past 24 hours that You've got this, no matter what. Please be with my friend N today as he resigns from his job, and thank you for the awesome new opportunity for him. Please also watch over L as she tackles the issues that have been plaguing her. Please show me how to be of service today, where possible, and please give me the gifts necessary to pull that off! Amen.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Instead of....

I used to be one of those people that thought the world was against me - that no matter what I did, that I would end up worse off than I started. It's a long family joke that something always goes wrong - my dad often says "Of course, _____ happened. We are the Jerseys!"

Thank goodness for gratitude! After getting in the practice of looking at life through grateful eyes, I can see that, in fact, the world is NOT conspiring against me. Instead, things are pretty darn good, if I pay attention and make a point of appreciating what I DO have, instead of focusing on what I don't.

For example, instead of grumbling about having to get up at 4am for work, instead I woke up today, grateful to have a job to get up for, and a coffee pot with a timer so that I am fully loaded with caffeine this morning.

Instead of grumbling about being tired after not getting enough sleep this weekend, I can thank God for blessing me with such a full weekend, complete with freelance opportunities, two dates with my adorable husband, and time with friends.

Instead of grumbling about how many Christmas presents we are going to need to buy, I can be thankful that we have so many friends and family in our lives.

Instead of grumbling that my husband spent several hours playing his new video game this weekend in his man cave, I can be grateful that he was at home, safe and sound, after a week of traveling for work, and that while he was playing his new game, I had time to knock out almost 2400 words on my Nanowrimo novel.

Instead of complaining about gaining weight since the wedding, I am going to be grateful that I have had good food to eat. (Now, I can also be grateful that I have a body healthy enough to do the exercise I need to do to take it back off...)

Dear God, help me to remember to be grateful instead of grumbly. Help me to be of service to "the least of yours", in whatever way You see fit. Please keep an eye on my loved ones, friends and family, and on the victims of the Penn State scandal and on the many, many people that have submitted to have a Magic Christmas Wish granted. Amen.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Football players praying, Indian food, and rawhide

Today, I feel grateful for:
- An outward display of the power of prayer to help heal the Penn State community by both teams playing today - now, THAT is a way to react to this whole scandal
- A yummy dinner at a new Indian restaurant - I have heard about it for the past 2 years, and finally got around to trying it, and it sounds like S wants to go back again!
- A successful day on the TV front
- New clothes for cold weather
- Rawhide bones - they occupy our dogs for hours

Dear God, thank you for the many blessings in my life - those I listed and the ones that I didn't. My heart still goes out to all of those affected by the Penn State scandal - thank you for bringing all of the students last night in a candlelight vigil and prayers by both football teams on the field today. That is much more along the lines of what I would hope to see in the way of a response to the travesty that came to light this week. Please comfort and protect all those that are suffering under the strain of this situation, and please provide healing and resolution for the victims. Keep an eye on my loved ones, friends and family, too - and show me how I can be of service to any of them, if it's possible. Please remove my resentment about ____, and help me to treat everyone with kindness, tolerance, patience and love - whether I feel like it or not. Amen.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The right to debate and Veterans

For the past two days, I have had an ongoing debate with one of my coworkers about the separation of church and state - we've raised our voices, cut each other off, quoted the Constitution, researched online to prove our points, walked away from each other, and rallied other coworkers to join in and choose sides.

When I step back and look at the incredible freedom we've enjoyed, I am filled with gratitude.

First of all, we are free to debate. In many countries, that would be punishable by death. We are free to question the establishment, to complain about the government, to openly question authority, to have opposing opinions. What a blessing to live in a country where that is not only allowed, but guaranteed.

To take it one step further, I am a woman - in a debate with a man, and that is still alright. I am free to work, to have an opinion, to vote, to participate in the process - other blessings that make me happy to live where I live, when I am living here. It wasn't so long ago, that in this very country even, women couldn't vote. I am glad that we can today.

We have access to information. We were free to research a vast library of information, available and unrestricted by our government. Alright, most of it was done on Google or Wikipedia...but we, at least, had access to whatever we'd like to use to back up our points.

I've done nothing to earn any of these rights. I just happened to be born in a country where this is the status quo.

Today, I am grateful for veterans - the men and women whom have bravely served, some making the ultimate sacrifice, so that we Americans can live in a country where debate can occur, without fear. We don't have to agree on the points of the debate, but we can all absolutely agree that we owe a gigantic and unrepayable debt to the veterans that have served this country so that we can debate.

Thank you, Veterans. All of you. You are real life heroes, and today, I am grateful that there are people like you that have integrity, bravery, and a willingness to serve. May God bless you and protect you, each and every one.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughts on the Penn State scandal from an almost alum

My heart is broken over the scandal at Penn State. It's just bad all around. I went to Penn State for 3 1/2 years - '94 to '98, and while I finished my college degree at another university, I've always had a huge soft spot in my heart for the University and had always held Joe Paterno in high regard.

First of all, I am sickened by the actions of the assistant coach - I can't even imagine the twisted mind that would ever think it's alright to behave in the manner he did with those boys. I hope he rots in whatever jail they can throw him in, and in whatever level of hell is reserved for the people that do bad things to children.

Secondly, I can't believe the spiral of silence around reporting the allegations. No one did enough in the defense of the young victims. It's not enough to tell your boss. If they won't listen, tell the police, for crying out loud! If they won't listen, tell the media! Do something until the crime stops happening. It's our job to protect innocent children, not the reputation of our football program.

Third, I hate that this is what Penn State is making headlines for, that this will be the legacy of Joe Paterno's 45 year tenure at the school, that all of the positive things about PSU are being overshadowed by the actions of one man, and the inaction of several more.

As someone once told me, the only powers we have as humans are the power of prayer and the power of example. So, I'll pray for everyone involved - the victims, the perpetrators, the investigators, the attorneys, the families, the students, and the fans - and I'll be an example, if I can. If I see or know of something that is wrong, I'll report it to whomever will listen.

What do YOU think of what happened?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Love notes, Gleeks, and Inspiration

Today, I am grateful for:
- Love notes left in surprising places by my adorable husband
- Friends that have obsessions about the same TV shows as I do that text back and forth with me in real time - we are GLEEKS!
- Inspiration from StoryWonk to get some more words written for Nanowrimo last night
- Run with C - I haven't been running in ages, and she inspired me to get back into it
- Restored power for my friends in CT - they are total troopers!

Good morning, God - thank you for another day of my awesome life. Please guide my thoughts and actions today. I want to make you proud, and I want to be of service where You see fit. Please remove my fear of _____ and direct my attention to what You would have me be. Please keep an eye on M - lots of drama surrounding her these days - help her to be the eye in the storm, and give her the ability to match calamity with serenity. Keep an eye on S on his work trip, and on all of my friends and family. Amen.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A month of Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving this month, I've been seeing lots of posts in Facebook of people saying what they feel gratitude for each day. It's inspiring to see, and it seems like the people participating this month are experiencing a shift in their attitudes. Are you participating in the month of Thanksgiving? Have you noticed a shift in how you are looking at the world?

Ever since starting these gratitude lists a few years ago, I find myself traveling through the day with my eyes peeled for positive things to report back to you. The more I look, the more I find - the more I find, the happier I am - the happier I am, the more I look - lather, rinse, repeat. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy on more than one level, and it makes my heart happy to see so many people experiencing it for themselves this month!

Today, I am grateful for:
- Lunch with B yesterday - good for my soul (and a sweet treat since she paid for it!)
- Gracious responses when I practice saying "no" and taking things off of my plate
- Cheap fix to my car/brakes issues - turns out that I don't need new brakes after all!
- Gorgeous weather and scenery - I just love November in Alabama!
- Reconnecting with friends via gratitude lists

Dear God, thank you for the many blessings in my life. Thank you for shifting some stuff around in this crazy brain of mine, and for the inspiration from B and J.A. to be a "quitter". Help me to focus on being present - really being where my feet are. Help me to be of service to others where You see fit. Please protect my beloved S as he travels these next few days, and keep my sister safe, as well. Keep an eye on M - it's been a tough couple of weeks on that girl, and please help K get better soon! Amen.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A husband that cleans, baby showers for a friend, and boundaries

Today, I feel gratitude for:
- A husband that cleans the house on a regular basis - with my busy schedule, it wouldn't get done if he didn't do it (and he does a better job that I would anyway!)
- A fun gathering of my favorite ladies yesterday to celebrate a new baby on the way
- In-laws that I like to spend time with - they are fun and great cooks!
- A successful celebration of one of my favorite groups last week - great food and fellowship!
- Generous donations for this year's Race for the Cure - y'all know who you are!
- Seeing my friend J make such great progress on his weight loss goal
- Being able to put down boundaries and set aside some time to do "nothing"

Dear God, thank you for the many, many blessings in my life. I would have included more about S - he really is the best husband ever! - but you already know how great he is. I am a lucky lady! Thanks for the time with friends and family, as well - it's nice to be surrounded by so many people that enrich my life. Please look over K as she tries to get healthy, and J-M as she travels to get answers on her cancer treatments. My sister is traveling this week, too - could you keep an eye on her, too? Please help me know what to do with the _____, and help me to stick to my guns with eating right and take care of myself. I hope if I can be of service today, I see the opportunity - if I am going to miss it, please nudge me in the right direction. Amen.

What do YOU feel gratitude for today??

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cruising along

Day 2 of Nanowrimo - up to 3,395 words! It's interesting to be "meeting" some of my characters. I had written character outlines, but as they've become part of the story, they are showing more and more of themselves.

I read some of the intro to my husband - and he says he's intrigued. He might be biased, but he says he can't wait to hear more.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 1 of Nanowrimo

1713 words on Day 1! Only 48,887 to go...

Yesterday was actually fun - beginning to put the ideas down that have been kicking around in my head for the past few weeks felt good. Celeste (my main character) is already surprising me. Her boyfriend drives a Harley? Who knew?

We'll see what today brings...