Thursday, December 17, 2009

"A Christmas Interloper"

How many years had it been? Well over thirty by Emma’s own account. Many life events had occurred in that period of time ~ years of college, graduate and post-graduate study; the eventual Ph.D; the beginning and establishment of a long and successful career; love found, love lost; love found again; marriage; and in recent years, the death of a beloved spouse. Yet, all along the way, much happiness and laughter, albeit sprinkled with times of adversity and sorrow. All in all, however, a very good life. One might even say a rich, full, and rewarding life.

But thirty years!?! What would he say? Better question, what would she say? Even with these and many other thoughts whirling around in her mind, she decided to do it. This time she listened with her heart, and not necessarily her head. This time.

After about an hour of research on the Internet, Emma found an address and a phone number that seemed likely. She mentally went over her short introductory speech that included several “what ifs”: What if he hung up on her? What if he cursed her? (After all, he had a right to do so.) Worst of all, what if he didn’t remember her? While these scenarios played out in her overactive imagination, what she really thought was, “Who cares? I’m going to call him.”

It was Saturday night around 7:30 p.m. As she dialed the unfamiliar long distance number, she was thinking, “He’ll probably be out. Or he may be at home with his wife. I wonder if he’s still married?” If so, the conversation would be very brief, as she assured herself, “I’m not going THERE!”

“Hello?” The voice was low and soft, as if the person had just woken up from sleep or a long nap.

“Hello. This is Emma. Emma Carson. (Silence.) You may remember me as Emma Long.”

It took a few seconds, but the recognition was there. And then …

They talked and talked – for well over an hour. It was a comfortable, easy talk. Just questions about life, work, the usual things. “Do you remember…?” “Whatever happened to …?” It was fun playing “catch up” for a while.

No, he was no longer married. (WHEW!) Divorced. Apparently the wife had been a “piece”. Emma shared a bit concerning the loss of her husband. They each talked of some health issues. Their very conversation seemed to breathe an air of mutual sympathy and caring.

After hanging up, she felt she’d done the right thing. Just checking up on an old friend. Well, maybe slightly more than an “old friend”, but that’s what it felt like: a visit with an old friend.

The next day was church. As Emma listened to the pastor, he talked about the service they’d have on Christmas Eve. He asked the congregants to consider inviting someone to church who might not otherwise have a place to worship. Emma immediately thought of him. But calling again? So soon?

“Wanna go to the school dance with me? Huh? Huh? Pretty please?!?”


Way too junior high school-ish.

Double YIKES!! Triple YIKES!!!

Being a very resourceful woman, she did the next best thing: she wrote one of her highly articulate letters. A concisely conceived, yet warm and inviting letter explaining about the service and asking if he’d like to attend.

“I’m writing this to give you more time to think about
what I want to ask you. I thought about asking in
a phone conversation, but felt that might be awkward.
No expectations, no pressure. Just one nice, good,
friendly person asking another nice, good, friendly
person to a worship service.”

After mailing it, she thought about how all this might seem to him. After all, it had been over thirty years. Would he consider her to be an interloper into his life? While the phone conversation had gone well – each expressing enjoyment of it – inviting him for a visit was quite a different thing than picking up the phone for a chat.

At this point, all she could do was to wait for his response. Sooner hopefully than later, Emma would discover if she were a Christmas Interloper. With fingers crossed, she hoped that, if so, she would at least be a welcomed one. After all...this is the Season of Miracles.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December: Blessings to You & Yours

Dear Gentle Readers:

This entry actually comes from the Domino Calendar I created in 2008 to give as Christmas gifts. The calendar was wildly successful, and so I share the December 2008 page with you at this time.

Christmas is for most people a time of being together with family and friends; the sharing of special meals; the observance of familiar traditions; and perhaps a time for the exchanging of gifts. It will be no different for Domino and me as we make our travel plans to be with family members. My sister’s dressing somehow is imprinted on my taste buds and I can hardly wait for the delectable feast she conjures up at the holiday time.

It is also at this time of year that our thoughts turn to the blessings in our lives. I would like to share some of mine at this time and I encourage you to do the same. As the old saying goes, “Get rich quickly. Count your blessings!”

A Moment of Wonder: I share with you my blessings – knowing each of you are a part of those blessings.

2009 has been "A Year of Blessings"

God’s providence in my life
(enough food, clothing, transportation, and adequate housing)
Family, Friends
A job that is rewarding and challenging
Good health and adequate health care
A church home and family whereby I may worship and fellowship

Domino and I wish you a very
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Meditate on: Family & Friends
Scripture: Philippians 1:3
“I thank my God for every remembrance of you.”

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sister & Nephew Time

This past weekend, my sister and her youngest offspring came for a visit. If you follow my blog, you'll know that Terry and Matthew were the first family Domino had. Naturally, my sister and Matthew were eager to visit Domino, and Domino wriggled in excitement when I told him who was coming to visit!

It was a joyous reunion -- Domino's paws hardly touched the ground the entire time they were here. Extra arms to love and hold that precious pup! And he gobbled up all that attention. Note Domino wedged in my arms and huddled up to stay warm! What a pup!

My sister and I had some very good quality "sister time". Thanks, Terry, for your help in acquiring my new MYTHIC PHONE I am, indeed, loving it! But mostly I love the time we spent together.

Great hugs, Matt! Great stories, Terry!
What's said at OTB stays at OTB!
~ Photos courtesy of Terry Lee Knight

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Season of Gratitude

I'm going to dedicate this blog entry to things/people for which I am grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Things for Which I am Grateful
in No Particular Order
  • a sister's love

  • the ability to learn

  • good books to read

  • friends with strong shoulders to lean upon

  • a warm home and food on my table

  • Domino, my beloved Chihuahua

"Gratitude is when memory is stored

in the heart and not in the mind."

~ Sam Hampton

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

To Your Health!

Important Women's Health Issue:

Do you have feelings of inadequacy?
Do you suffer from shyness?
Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Margaritas.

*Margaritas are the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions.
*Margaritas can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything.
*You will notice the benefits of Margaritas almost immediately and with a regimen of regular doses you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live.
*Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will discover many talents you never knew you had.
*Stop hiding and start living with Margaritas. Margaritas may not be right for everyone.
*Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use Margaritas.
*However, women who wouldn't mind nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.

Side effects may include:

Erotic lustfulness
Loss of motor control
Loss of clothing
Loss of money
Loss of virginity
Table dancing
Dry mouth
And possibly a desire to sing Karaoke


*The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you are whispering when you are not.
*The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.
*The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to think you can sing.
*The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.

Please share this with other women who may need Margaritas.

Thank you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thank You

Domino depends on me for everything: food, water, shelter, and health care. Everything he receives comes from me. I believe that because I have committed to having Domino, I must see to the very best of his welfare. In the book of Genesis, we are instructed to have "dominion" over the animals. To me, this means we are to be good stewards of and for the animals. This includes little Domino! Rest assured, he receives only the very best from me!

While Domino cannot speak words of thanks, I receive gestures of thanks in the form of a loving, affectionate animal -- and more often with licks of love and gratitude. Oh, yes! It's very clear to me that Domino is expressing gratitude.

Likewise, everything I have, everything I will ever have, comes from God. I depend on Him for everything I need, and He faithfully supplies my every need. Rest assured, I receive only the very best from Him!

A Moment of Wonder

Although I do not take for granted the life I have, I admit I am occasionally remiss for not giving enough thanks to God. I am good at asking for things, but am I as good at returning thanks? He takes care of all my needs, and provides for me on a daily basis. May I be more mindful of the blessings He has bestowed upon me.

Meditate on: Gratitude

Scripture: Psalm 92:1

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD."

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Morning in the Life of a School Librarian...


TGIF, and all that stuff. But that doesn't stop the insanity from invading my work world -- the world of being a school librarian. It does help, however, to know it will end at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon. Then I will celebrate TGIF. At the closest Happy Hour bar I can find.

I report to work every morning around 7:25 a.m. My start time is 7:30 a.m., but I use that 5 minutes to get ready for the day: turn on the laminating machine, put the three newspapers on the shelf, and boot up the OPAC. Then I sit down and log on to my PC -- which is a misnomer, because, for sure, there is NOTHING personal about it. But that's another blog...


From 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on this day in history, I have had these questions -- or requests -- asked/made of me. And I am NOT making up any of it, either. After all, I AM an information specialist. My master's degree in science in library and information sciences (36 hours of coursework) helps me to be able to answer these questions.

* Do you have a glue stick?

* I need a pair of scissors. (Not even phrased as an interrogative.)

* Do you have any poster board? (I am beginning to pick up on the fact that a class project is due TODAY!)

* Would you like to help sell water for the Sophomore class? It's a fundraising activity.

* The photocopier is jammed.

* The corollary to the above: The photocopier is out of paper.

* Where is the Lost & Found? (Yes, the Library has the privilege of sponsoring the L&F, which is not always just books, backpacks, and textbooks -- IF you know what I mean...)

* Has anyone turned in a history book? (See above question.)

* Where does the Homecoming Dance start tomorrow night? (At least it's an information-based question.)

* What time is it? (#$&$#!&% !!!)

* A corollary to the above questions: What time does this period end?
(My answer to this is always: "The same time it ended yesterday, the day before, and every other day this school year." The student then just states at me, surely thinking, "Ms. Scholl has gone nuts. She needs a man in her life. "

* Has Mrs. Garcia left my Spanish test up here for me to take?

* Ms. Scholl, I know this is not Library-related, but do you have change for a $10.00 bill? (At least the patron was honest in that it was not, indeed, a Library-related question. Also, the student does not realize what librarians earn, and therefore do not even carry bills in that large of a denomination.)

* Have you seen _______? (Fill in the blank with name for any of our 470 students and/or 50 faculty/staff.)

* When do report cards come out? (I don't even DO report cards.)

* When will Mrs. Neill be back? (She is the college counselor who offices in the corner office of the Library. I am also her "receptionist" since my area is the first thing you see when you enter the Library.)

* Ms. Scholl? Would you please wipe my behind?

These questions were seriously asked this morning in a two-hour period while I was trying to do REAL library work. (big sigh) OK. OK. Maybe not the last question, but only because students seldom use the word "please" for their whiny questions.

Oh, for a truly library-related question such as, "In which database could I find information on _______?" (Fill in the blank with any academic/intellectual topic of your choice.)

A la Glen Campbell..."Oh, such as the dreams of the every day Librarian..."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Certain Things...

There are certain things I can no longer do. Let me rephrase that. There are things I no longer want to do. Some of these things include listening to certain pieces of music, going to certain places, and being with certain people.

Allow me to explain

I married my college sweetheart in May of 1980. We met at Southwestern University where we were both music majors and, as such, had many classes in common. We studied music literature, music history, and music theory together. We even took a piano ensemble class together and frequently played four-handed music together. One such piece was a Brahms Hungarian Dance.

Listening, as I often do, to WRR Classical 101.1, this morning I heard that same Brahms piece. In a “flash back” moment, I was abruptly snatched from the present, and hurled back in time when Tim and I played this composition in that piano class. Then, almost as suddenly, I was in a “fast forward moment”, remembering when we reprised that same piece for a concert we were doing together – many years since first learning the music in that piano ensemble class.

The memory was fresh – as if it were yesterday. As lovely as the piece was then and is now, I slammed my hand against the on-off button of the radio and drove the rest of the way to work in silence.


This year – 2009 – marks my 30th reunion from Southwestern. I have several friends who graduated with me. Though Tim did not graduate that year (he was a year behind me in school), he was an inseparable, woven-into-the-very-fabric-of-my-body part of my time at SU. The thought, however, of going back without him is unthinkable, unspeakable, and undoable to me. There are too many tender memories in the buildings, the halls, in the nooks and crannies of the Fine Arts Building, in the campus itself for me to be able to go back without tears. Not only would the memories of us as students haunt me, but also of the times we attended other reunions (our 10th), and of the times we drove through campus -- making that slight detour off of I-35 – as we drove down the interstate. It’s too sensitive. It’s too fragile. I won’t be attending my 30th reunion.

During our life together, we met and made many friends – lifetime friends – or so I thought. But when death comes, it doesn’t just take your beloved. It can also take or change other relationships. Suddenly you go from a couple to a single. The dynamics in relationships change. One such relationship has succumbed to this fate.

While I am happy for this couple, for their togetherness, and the fact that they have a strong and vital marriage, because there are so many memories of us/them, it’s somewhat painful to be with them. I know they sense it, too, but we’ve never spoken of it aloud. It’s too sensitive. It’s too fragile. The relationship is not exactly lost, but it has changed, altered, shifted. In short, there’s a big hole. That hole is Tim.

In a loftier and truer sense, however, the relationship IS lost. You can never have exactly what you had before; therefore it is lost.

“Time stops for no man,” is true, especially in the grieving process. Death comes. You grieve – hopefully in a healthy way and you “get better”, whatever that means – but when you finally drag your head up from your grief, time has marched along and you are several years, maybe more, behind everyone else. Some things have changed. You no longer look at the things the same. You can’t. Music, places, people are different and you must start to redefine yourself by your current set of circumstances.

It takes time. It’s not fun to have to “re-compose” one's self. It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s scary. It’s lonely. Yet, it starts to happen. Slowly, maybe. Or perhaps in larger spurts. But it does come – if you’re lucky, if you have enough prayers said on your behalf, if the planets all line up, and if the stars are in your favor.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Birthday Wishes

The Birthday Fairy has just informed me that I have three wishes for my birthday. Here's what I am wishing...
1. Peace on earth
2. A cure for all kinds of cancer (does that count for more than one wish?!?)
3. Jesus at my breakfast/lunch/dinner table

What are your Birthday Wishes?

Birthday Month

"Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me..."

Yes, this is my birth month. October 26, to be exact. I'll be 52 a week from today. I was asked by a co-worker today how I would celebrate it. Actually, I've not thought of anything yet. It's not like it's a "special number". The special number was two years. On my 50th birthday, I was playing for the funeral of a dear friend's mother. Doesn't seem possible that Miss Norma has been gone two years...

Tim's birthday was last Wednesday, October 14. He, too, would have been 52. A friend knew this to be Tim's birthday and asked me, "How are you going to handle it?"

"Same as I've handled it for five years." But it seems to be different every year -- the feeling of loss. That feeling ebbs and flows -- just as life does. Another friend simply emailed me on Tim's birthday and wrote six words: "With sweet thoughts of Tim today...". Very meaningful. Thank you, Brenda.

It's not that I'm against celebrating, I just don't think I want to do anything very special. Besides, it falls on a Monday, and I'm not usually up for anything "big" on a work night. At my age and stage of life, if I want anything, I will have to arrange it. Seems like too much work.

Actually, what I'd like to do is to plant pansies in my garden. Miniature pansies. The purple and yellow variety. Pansies are the "flower of thoughtful reflection". What a lovely thought. I like the idea of planting pansies in October and thoughtfully remembering my friends who also have birthdays in October -- and indeed, all of my friends. Maybe Saturday would be a good day for that...

To all my October Birthday Buddies: Mom, Tim (who are now both deceased), Sarah, Sandy, Ben Scholl, Ben C., my friends at work, James, Mary Beth, Ryan, Grant, Sherri, and Sharon ~ ~ ~ "Birthday Blessings!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Naming Contest

Dear Gentle Readers ~

I’ve recently cleaned out my husband’s “office” at home and plan on renovating it for my own purposes. The room will have a treadmill, a chair-sleeper (it folds down into a twin bed), and a lamp for reading. For years, the room was called “Tim’s Room”, or “Tim’s Office”. Since Tim’s death, I’ve called it “that room”, with somewhat of a sneer in my voice! Shall we just say he left it piled high and wide with lots of stuff.

Now that I am re-designing the room, I’d like a name for it. And that’s what leads me to YOU: a group of highly intelligent and creative people. I am soliciting names for “that room”. I’ve given you the purpose of the room and what will be placed in it. Please don’t suggest “Guest Room” because I already have one of those! And I already have a “Home Office”. I’m looking for something catchy/creative/novel/different.

The contest will work this way: please provide me your suggestions, and the one I use will win a prize – a gift card for $25.00 to Barnes & Noble. You may submit more than one name.

I thought a contest would be fun and would provide me with a lot of naming possibilities. And someone would win a card!

So please email, or post, your suggestions by Sunday, May 31, which would have been our 29th wedding anniversary! I will look over the submissions, choose one, and let you know of the winning name on Monday, June 1.

Thanks for your help. Have fun!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Heart 2 Heart

Last night I received a phone call from the brother of one of my dearest friends, Sandy. He was calling to tell me that my friend – his sister – was in a local hospital with heart failure. My friend is 8 days older than I. I am 51.

From the of age two, we lived next door to each and for the next sixteen years were cohorts in both the good and evil schemes which we planned and implemented. She was with me during Tim's last three days of life, and helped me to get him into hospice right before he died. She has been there for me through all of life's major events. And vice versa. Sandy is a major persona in my life.

Upon calling Sandy, I learned that her doctors thought her condition might be due to one of these conditions, or perhaps a combination of these conditions:

1. a blockage in her arteries
2. a virus/bacteria left over from a recent URI had traveled to her heart
3. a vitamin/mineral deficiency due to gastric by-pass surgery performed some years ago

Sandy had an angiogram this morning and the results were good: no blockage. At this time, her doctors will treat her for numbers 2 and 3. If she improves, she will go home Saturday. This is an answer to prayer – and a quick one, too.

My friend is in a very high-level position with a school district in Texas. She is also working on her Ph.D and stays busy in both areas. Perhaps too busy. I’ve often asked Sandy what she does for fun. Her answer is always the same, “Nothing. I work and study.” All work and no play make Jane a dull girl, and maybe a sick girl, too.

While talking with her, I lovingly suggested the following to her:

“Sandy, while making a living, don’t forget to also make a life.”

She said those were wise words and that she would think about it.

In our busy world, I think we could all use this piece of advice. I know we all have to work to support ourselves, our children, perhaps our elderly parents. Somehow, however, we must learn how to balance our lives.

Make no
mistake about it, stress -- from whatever cause -- can and will kill. Stress may take you out swiftly with a sudden and unexpected heart attack, or it may cause a dread disease that will gradually suck the life out of you. Then you die.

In recent years, I have learned to say “no” to things. That was a hard lesson to learn, but it pleases me to be able to say I've become pretty good at it. Through that lesson of life, I find that I have a greater level of joy for the things to which I do say “yes”, and appreciate having more time for my friends, my family, and myself.

To my busy family and friends: just think about it. There is more to life than work. Seek balance. Practice balance. Learn to say “no”.

Just do it. Your heart will thank you.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Random Stories: Short Vignettes on Recent Life Happenings

Miracle on Sycamore School Road

Every so often, a month has a fifth Sunday in it. On such Sundays, my church has a potluck luncheon as an opportunity for us to feast and fellowship together as God’s children. Yesterday was one of those Sundays. After partaking of the delicious bounty of food that had been spread before us, the congregation had the chance to participate in a Silent and a live Auction.

There were about 15 items up for grab in the Silent Auction, including a Pamper Yourself white wicker basket containing various bath products and a lovely lavender scented candle. Although I had donated the item, I thought about bidding on it! Other items were a soup supper; a bling-bling pearl and silver necklace; several CDs of contemporary Christian music; and some religious wall hangings.

The main attraction, however, was the Live auction, in which a beautiful, hand-made quilt had been generously donated by one of our church members. (I would say “church lady”, but that has SNL connotations that are not all that complimentary!). I had my heart set on getting this quilt, and making it a gift to my sister, and figured I could go as high as $500.00. Surely that would be enough to win me the coveted quilt!

The bidding began at $50.00, but quickly escalated and eventually narrowed to an older church member and me. I left her in the dust at about $490, and figured the quilt was mine! But NO! All of sudden there was another bidder against me! It was a friend, Christa, who sings in our church choir. Having told her prior to the auction that I wanted the quilt for my sister, I was somewhat surprised to see her actually bidding against me! Looking back on it, I now remember seeing her I-know-something-you-don’t-know smile – meaning, she was up to something! Little did I know what!

Bidding had reached a fevered pitch. The congregation would gasp as increments of ten dollars were bantered between the two of us. Christa and I haggled and haggled until her bid reached $590. It was a lot of fun, but I had to stop. With only $500.00 to bid on the quilt, I was insane to continue bidding. I’d be selling plasma for the next year, but it would be worth it. Yet – I stopped. I gave Christa a big hug and congratulated her on the win. It was a wonderful feeling to know that we had raised so much money that would be used for children and youth ministries.

I watched as Christa wrote out her check, folded the beloved quilt, and laid it in the very chair I’d been sitting in and said, “It’s yours.”

“You’re kidding!”

“No, I knew you wanted it for your sister, and now she can have it.”

After several (admittedly and ashamedly feeble) attempts to resist her kind and thoughtful offer, I humbly accepted the quilt and gave my friend another big hug. I was almost in tears as I thought about what had just happened and how my sister would feel hearing the story and receiving the beautiful quilt.

Later that same afternoon, I met my sister in West, Texas (along I-35 south of Hillsboro) in order for her to take my beloved Chihuahua, Domino, for the week. It was then that I related the Miracle on Sycamore School Road (the location of my church), and presented her with the quilt.

It was a moment of shared love and joy for two sisters. My thanks to Cindy for creating such a beautiful quilt, and to Christa who so lovingly gave of herself so that my sister could have the cherished quilt.

DISCLAIMER: The picture at the top of this posting is not of the actual quilt. I just found a heart quilt and inserted it. As soon as my sister gets me a picture of the real quilt, I will add it to this posting.

The Golden Hour

Some of my gentle readers may have heard about the Golden Hour. From a medical standpoint, this refers to the critical time that trauma victims have to get the much-needed medical attention for their injuries. In other words; the sooner, the better. Wikipedia has this to say on the topic:

“The golden hour, from an emergency medicine perspective, is the period of time that occurs within a few minutes to several hours following injury. It is well established that the victim's chances of survival are greatest if they receive care within a short period of time after a severe injury. The ‘golden hour’ is not a rigidly defined time frame. Rather it is the core principle of rapid intervention in trauma cases.”

Saturday morning, I helped to proctor entrance exams for prospective students of my school. I administered exams for Advanced 9th grade students. As an aside, there were 52 math (problem solving) questions. I could answer about 4 of them. YIKES!!! Remember: this was a 9th grade level exam. But I digress from the point of my story…

What does proctoring exams have to do with the Golden Hour principle? Usually I arrive at my desk in the Library around 7:20 a.m. each morning. This means I rise at 6:00 a.m. each workday morning. Since we were to be in our testing rooms by 8:30 a.m., I arose at 7:00 a.m. that Saturday.

Thus, the Golden Hour of this story refers to the extra hour of sleep I got on this Saturday morning. I couldn’t believe the difference that it makes – rising at 6:00 a.m. versus 7:00 a.m.

Oh! The testing went well, and I look forward to the “little something extra” in my next paycheck. Sure beats selling plasma.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Dance Lesson: Then and Now

The young women were beautiful and the young men handsome. While some came “drag”, most of the young people came “stag”. All were well-dressed, well-groomed, and well-behaved. To what am I referring?

I was asked to help chaperone the High School dance at my school last Saturday night. Originally scheduled as a Valentine’s Dance – but due to a conflict on the original date – the dance had been rescheduled and subsequently re-named a Mardi Gras Dance – though well past the date of Fat Tuesday. I suppose just calling it "A Dance" would have been lame.

I arrived fashionably on-time – meaning, the time I’d been asked to arrive – at 7:00 p.m. E
ven though there were a few students milling around, the Gym was mostly vacant. Things began to pick up, however, around 7:20 p.m., and by 7:30 p.m., things were in full swing.

As many of you already know, Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Note, please that the 1970s were the coming of age years for this writer.

People watching has long been one of my favorite pastimes – although I rarely have the time to indulge this small delight. Chaperoning this high school dance gave me nearly three hours to “play” at being Margaret Mead; that is, observing young Homo sapiens in their native habitat, engaging in their courtship rituals.

I noticed a number of things at that 2009 dance that were quite different from a 1970’s dance. In no particular order, here is what I observed:

1970s Girls’ Dress
Long, floor-length dresses, often referred to as “a formal”
Modest apparel that left something to the imagination
Shoes, though perhaps excruciatingly uncomfortable, were worn at all times

2009 Girls’ Dress
Short dresses were the norm; a few girls had knee-length dresses (which I found more attractive on them than some of the skimpier ensembles)
Lots of strapless/backless dresses – some I personally would consider somewhat immodest
Outrageously high-heeled shoes which were discarded upon arrival into what looked like a Shoe Mosh Pit – “dancing” took place bare-footed

1970s/2009 Boys’ Dress
Not really much of a difference – I suppose the pendulum has swung around far enough that 70’s clothing really is making a come back. Even the boy’s hairstyle of today reflects that of the 1970s: longish and casual in nature

1970s Dancing
Exclusive boy/girl dancing with “real” dance moves
Dancing usually reserved for “the one that brung you”
(I never would have considered dancing with someone who was not my date –
and I always had a date!)
Those not dancing were not on the dance floor were seated at tables or were standing and talking

2009 Dancing
“Dancing” could be defined as standing on the dance floor while talking and gently swaying with your partner, or in various combinations of boys and girls
Some, though not much, exclusive boy/girl dancing
Girls dragging boys by the hand to the dance floor where the “dancing” was performed
Girls dancing with other girls in groups of 3 or more
Boys huddling together talking with hardly any “swaying”
Large groups of boys and girls just standing on the dance floor talking

1970s Transportation
We usually arrived in a car with our date
Sometimes, two couples would share a ride

2009 Transportation
Young people, though usually it’s their parents (or their parents’ money) will rent a limo for the evening to chauffer a group of the young dancers to and fro’

There were, of course, other differences, but these were the ones that were most striking to me. Not intended as a criticism to the youth of today, my intent is only to compare. Having last attended a dance (and a college dance, at that) in 1979, I realize that like most other things, change happens: trends change; style changes; traditions change; in general, times change.

Still, it was a fascinating look at Today’s Teenager. One thing, however, remains the same for teens of all generations: for all their outward glamour and pseudo-sophistication, they are normal teens doing what normal teens do – getting together with friends for a good time.

And I’m glad to say, everyone did have a good time (the chaperone included) while also exemplifying good judgment, character, and propriety. Who could ask more of a teen from any generation?

Friday, February 13, 2009

February Devotional

“Unconditional Love”

There are many things I’ve learned about dogs since acquiring Domino. One of them is their amazing ability to give unconditional love. I may be tired – not in the mood to play or do much with Domino, but he always shows his love for me. He does this with doggie love licks, his adoring eyes, and the wagging of his big, bushy black tail. There is no doubt in my mind of his love for me. Interestingly, he is usually the first one to show the love, and I follow along after his example. Even when I’m tired, Domino’s love for me revitalizes me and fills my heart with such wondrous love.

God was very smart to create dogs.

A moment of wonder: I should never forget the unconditional love the Father shows for me day-by-day, hour-by-hour, and even minute-by-minute. He provided the supreme sacrifice by the giving of his Son so that I may experience eternal life. Now that is love!

Meditate on: LOVE

Scripture: I Corinthians 13:13
“And three things remain…love, hope, and faith…and the greatest of these is love…”

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Words of Wisdom

Dear Gentle Readers:

I have been a long-time fan of George Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008). My husband, Tim, and I saw Carlin twice in Vegas. Shortly before Carlin's death, I saw his performance at Bass Hall (March of 2008). While some of his routines can be "bawdy", here are some genuine pearls of wisdom from a man who, in my opinion, had a very keen insight into human nature, and was not afraid to call it as he saw it. Thanks, George, for the memories.

  • We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
  • We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
  • We have multiplied out possessions, but reduced our values.
  • We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
  • We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.
  • We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
  • We conquered outer space, but not inner space.
  • We write more, but learn less.
  • We plan more, but accomplish less.
  • We've learned to rush, but not to wait.
  • We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
  • These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce; fancier houses, but broken homes.
  • These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw-away morality,one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
  • Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
  • Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
  • Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
  • Remember to say, "I love you" to your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
  • Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

Spring in Haiku

I realize that it is still officially winter, but spring is right around the corner. With that in mind, and to welcome and usher in the new season, I offer this haiku for my readers' enjoyment.

Buds burst forth with joy
in new-found rays of sunshine
Spring has come once more

Birds feast at feeder
water at nearby birdbath
Beauty of nature

Flowers in spring dress
revel in splendid color
Nourishes the soul

Pristine sky of blue
spring in her skirt of green grass

summer is patient.