Lessons Learned, Uncategorized

God is like your GPS. Um…I don’t think so.

God is like your GPS.

Sound familiar? I’ve heard that analogy a dozen times in sermons or devotionals. But God is NOTHING like my GPS. And for that, I am truly thankful. Let me explain.

But first, a little back story.

I am the poster child for the directionally challenged. I have absolutely no sense of direction and I get lost often. This is always an unpleasant experience.

Each fall, my sister’s family and my family want to visit a corn maze. And each year, I ask “Why?”  Why does one choose to wander around aimlessly for hours in a state of perpetual “lostness”. Where is the fun in that? But being the
good sport I am, I go along. (Seriously, I am a bad sport and I go along, griping
the entire time, making comments like “Yeah, this is great fun. Who’s idea was
this again?” as we round the same patch of corn for the 3rd time.

But back to the GPS.

My husband swears by the GPS. I, on the other hand, have been disappointed by it on numerous occasions. I am more of a landmark person.

Turn right on Forever Green Ave. This is just after the McDonalds which is on your right and the Eternal Acres Funeral Home which is on your left. That language, I understand.

Go 20 miles, turn in 265 feet? This means nothing to me. And I really don’t like someone talking to me when I am trying to concentrate. That goes for Tom Tom, or Kim Kim, or as my daughter likes to call her, Gigi.

I am getting to the God part. Really!

So a few weeks ago, I was asked to give a presentation to a group of school counselors. The location was new to me, although I was somewhat familiar with the general area. (This is always a bad thing – I sort of think I know where I’m going.)

Because it was just about 20 miles from my home and I had plenty of time to get there, I thought I’d give Gigi one more chance. Big mistake.

I’m driving and I’m making great time. I’m sipping my coffee. I’m listening to Gigi and wondering what she does for fun when she’s not working.

Then she says, “Your destination is in 265 feet.”  Okay. I slow down, but keep driving. And in 265 feet, I arrive at…

the Quick Trip.

While this would be a convenient place for the counselors’ meeting with all the coffee and hot dogs that could survive a nuclear explosion, I think something is not right.

I’ve had this feeling before. The panic starts to slowly creep in. It’s one thing to be late to a meeting and another thing to be late to a presentation that you are giving. What do I do? I immediately look for a friendly face.

And there he is. Mr. Handyman. I am relatively sure that is not his actual name but that’s what it says on the side of his truck that he was trying to quickly get in as I am calling his name.

After 5 minutes of him punching the address into his GPS (side note – years of handyman work make one a very slow typist) he says, “Well, it looks like you’re in the right place.” Then he chuckles. Yeah, it’s hilarious.

I thank him (and make a mental note of the make and model of his truck should I encounter him again and want to cut him off in traffic.)

Then I do what I hate doing, I make the call. In cases like this, I often call my husband and ask him to somehow google an aerial shot of my destination and talk me through it. I hate making this call. Not only does it highlight my weakness, but it also usually gets me a lecture about my lack of trust in the GPS and how I don’t listen to it, to stop being so literal, 265 feet is an approximation, surely the place is close by, just turn around, blah, blah, blah.

But, he doesn’t answer. So now my only choice is to call Dee, the person in charge of the meeting who asked me to make the presentation, and admit that I am not only lost, but odds are good I am also going to be late.

So God is NOT like a GPS at all. God is more like… Dee. Let me explain.

Not only does she answer my call (in the middle of leading the meeting) but she knows EXACTLY where I am and how to get me where I need to be.

AND she leaves the meeting, walks out into the parking lot and with one hand on the phone (still talking me in) she waves her arm as I pull in.

I made it. I can’t describe the relief I feel. When I get to her, still waiting for me in the event I can’t find the actual meeting room (good call, Dee, very perceptive!), she says, “I’m so glad you made it.”

Me too.

So the life lesson today…

God is right here, waiting on your call. He knows EXACTLY where you are, He’s waving you in, and He’s so happy that you finally made it.

And there is indescribable peace.

And for that, I am truly thankful.

Next post: God is nothing like my Roomba.


Advice for the Holiday Season

It has been really hectic week at work and at home and I was having some trouble coming up with a post for this week. It’s not that no one in my life (including me) has committed a goofy act to write about, it’s just that none of them stand out more than the others.

So as Thanksgiving and Christmas (and all of the stress that comes with the holidays) approaches, I thought I’d share some words of wisdom from one of the smartest philosophers of all time…

Erma Bombeck.  Enjoy!


I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the “good” living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather rambling about his youth.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have burned the pink candle sculped like a rose before it melted
in storage.
I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television, and more
while watching life.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment, realising that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”
There would have been more “I love you’s” and more “I’m sorry’s”
. . . but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute . . .
look at it and really see it . . . and never give it back.”

That is some great advice! And here’s a bit more from Erma to remember at Thanksgiving.

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.”

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not a coincidence.”

And lastly – “In my family, gravy is a beverage.”

Here’s to living a life with no regrets!

Leave a comment with your favorite Thanksgiving dish. I need some new ideas. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll do the same old favorites…but I can dream! 🙂

Recipes, Uncategorized

What Scares You?

You can tell Halloween is here. Sure there are pumpkins on porches and empty chocolate wrappers strewn around my house, but the dead give away is all the horror flicks on AMC, TMC, and just about every other channel.

I usually try to avoid getting the wits scared out of me. I can’t watch a scary movie unless I have a person sitting on either side of me (preferably over the age of 18) and I have my two hands in front of my face.  I can only watch by peeking through my fingers.

Perhaps I was traumatized as a child. Wait a minute…I was traumatized as a child. It is all coming back to me now (picture dream-like music and a fuzzy TV screen)…

Mom dropped my older sister and me at the movie theater to see Herbie, The Love Bug. (This was not the Lindsay Lohan Herbie, but the much better Michele Lee Herbie.) I think I was about eight years old and my sister was ten. (Dropping two young kids at the movie theater all alone is unimaginable now, but it was pretty normal in my day.)

I am sure I was super excited to see Herbie, but I can’t really remember – my memory is a little fuzzy. But this I am sure of – right after my sister and I got out of the car, she announced that we would not be seeing Herbie as planned. Instead, we would be seeing Dracula Rises from the Grave.

I know I was only eight at the time, but you didn’t have to be a genius to know that Dracula was worlds a part from Herbie.

I am sure Mom had told me to stay with my sister so I did. I lasted until the first neck puncture, which then sent me running out of the theater.

I sat on the curb waiting for Mom to pick us up.  I’m sure I looked pretty pathetic as I sat there hoping I could find some garlic and a cross when I got home.

I have absolutely no memory of my sister getting in trouble. But what I do remember is this…

As my parents passed my bedroom that very night, my dad said (and I quote), “Let’s put Dana’s name on her door so Dracula will know to get her and not us.”

To this day, I sleep with my covers pulled all the way up to protect my neck.

I wonder what the Statute of Limitations is for child cruelty.  When I bring it up now, Dad just laughs and gives some lame explanation like he was doing me a favor – saving me from watching future horror movies and getting scared later down the road. Thanks, Dad.

So it makes sense that as an adult, I prefer calm over fear in every situation. And all the new vampire craze? Not for me.

The only thing scarier than that Dracula movie was teaching my daughter to drive. Where is Herbie when you need him?

Happy Halloween!  Let me know what scares you.

This slow-cooker Mexican pork is great for a Halloween night.

Mexican Pork

Ingredients: 3 lbs pork (any cut will do), one package of Taco seasoning, one package of Burrito seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, and red pepper flakes to taste.

In a bowl, mix all the seasonings together to make a dry rub. Roll all sides of the pork in the dry rub and place in the slow-cooker. Cook on high for six hours.

Pull the pork apart with two forks. Place meat in a flour tortilla, top with lettuce, shredded cheese, guacamole, and salsa.  (I am sure you can make the dry rub with just one of the seasoning packets,  or just 1/2 of each one. As you can tell, I am not a chemist  🙂  ) Let me know how you like it. (Thanks, girl at the tennis match who shared this recipe. I changed a couple of things.)


Riding the Dam – meet the characters

The book I’ve been working on is about my father’s growing up years.  I hope you’ll enjoy meeting some of the characters in this almost all true story. The setting in San Angelo, Texas in 1952 and the story is told from the perspective of ten-year-old Allan.

My family - Mom, Dad, me, Ellen Ruth, and Booger
Dad at the airstrip
Dad was what you would call a fixer. He could fix anything and  I gave him several projects. Dad worked for the CAA as an air traffic controller. He had taken flying lessons as part of the G.I. bill and he knew a lot about airplanes. In fact, he knew a lot about everything.    Dad was a bargainer, and I don’t think he ever paid anyone their asking price. He believed in a zero-sum world. If someone gained, then someone had to lose. Dad was the kind of person who won every argument, knew how to solve every problem, and was never taken by anybody. Except maybe once.
Mom and me

Mom was the youngest of twelve children. She was part Cherokee. Mom never talked much about her family. I guess the life and family she currently had was too overwhelming to allow her to reminisce much about her former one. Her family settled in Texas by way of Mississippi in the early 1900s. They lost everything in the Civil War and the Reconstruction Period that followed. If Mom had a hate list, Yankees would be at the top.

                                      Me and Raymond (that’s me on the left)

Raymond was my best friend. Mom said we met at church. I was sitting in mom’s lap and Raymond was sitting in the lap of his mom, Virlet Hodge. Story goes, Raymond saw me from across a few pews and let out a little squawk. I returned his hello with a howdy-do of my own. Raymond then blew a long raspberry that was so loud it woke up old Mr. Lewis who was sleeping in the back row of the choir loft. So as not to be outdone, I let out a gas bubble bigger than the state of Texas. Dad always referred to it as the fart heard around the world. Thus began a perfect and enduring friendship.

The Sisters: Grandma Ruth, Aunt Hope, and Aunt Rosemond

My Grandma Ruth had two sisters, Hope, and Rosemond.  Grandma Ruth and Aunt Rosemond owned a beauty parlor and they kept all kinds of potions and other things to make ugly women look less ugly in a huge cabinet. They called it The Beauty Cabinet. I always thought that it would have been better to have a big cabinet full of liquor to give their husbands so they would think their wives looked better. Aunt Hope was different. She taught me how to catch, kill, and fry up chickens and wrangle snakes. Once, Aunt Hope saved me from a bucking bronco.  It wasn’t the last time she came to my rescue.

I hope you enjoyed meeting the characters from Riding the Dam. Let me know what you think.  Thanks for stopping by!


What I’m reading…

…just in case you’re interested.

Sometimes people ask me what books I’m reading.  (By people I mean two friends at church and Carol who cuts my hair.) So I thought I’d take a post and tell you about two books I’ve just finished reading.

I’ve taken a detour from my usual memoirs. (There’s just something about a true story that I love.) But, I really enjoyed these two New York Times Bestsellers below.

The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews

This is about a man, who feeling like a failure, goes back in time and finds himself in the presence of some famous people who were in very unique and difficult situations.  David, the main character, meets Lincoln, Anne Frank, Columbus, King Solomon, Joshua Chamberlain (from Gettysburg), Truman, and the angel, Gabriel. Each one gives him a nugget of wisdom – seven decisions that he must make to help him achieve success once he returns to the present.

The seven decisions are:

#1 The buck stops here

#2 I will seek wisdom.

#3 I am a person of action.

#4 I have a decided heart.

#5  Today I will choose to be happy.

#6  I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.

#7 I will persist without exception.

This book definitely has a Christian bent and it gives inspiration to someone in a trying situation and encouragement to someone who simply wants to be a better person. My favorite passage is:

I possess the greatest power ever bestowed upon mankind, the power of choice. Today, I choose to persist without exception. No longer will I live in a dimension of distraction, my focus blown hither and yon like a leaf on a blustery day. I know the outcome I desire. I hold fast to my dreams. I stay the course. I do not quit….In Jeremiah, my Creator declares, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to proper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” From this day forward, I will claim a faith in the certainty of my future.

Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This story is told completely from a dog’s perspective. It has humor, conflict, and sadness. I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll like it if you are a dog lover. Stein got the idea for the book when he learned that Mongolians have a belief that when dogs die, they come back as people.

I don’t really embrace the idea that dogs come back as humans, but if they did, my dog, Snickers is going to need to take care of that orange stain in my carpet that he is responsible for.  Apparently the stick of butter he swiped from the kitchen counter did not come out as smoothly as it went down.

I am not a NASCAR fan, but the racing analogies were good and they do have some application to life.  My favorite lines are: No race has ever been won in the first turn…but plenty of races have been lost there.          and           …the race is long–to finish first, first you must finish.

Here’s another little detail you might be interested in. Stein wrote a version of Racing in the Rain for Young Readers (the 8-12 crowd). Somehow this is the book I got from the library. I didn’t even notice it until I finished the book and read his acknowledgement to Harpers Children’s Books. I am guessing the adult version is really good too, but I liked this one…a lot.

If you are interested in other books I’ve read, visit the Books Worth Reading page.    What are you reading? Leave a comment and tell me what it is and why you like it.

Here’s a heads up on my next post. I’m participating in a bloghop next week.  A bloghop is just what it sounds like.  People hop from one blog to another.  These bloggers are all writers. We are all making a post that includes pictures of our characters in the stories we are writing.  When you visit my blog, you won’t have to hop to the other blogs (unless you want to). I just wanted you to know the entire blog will look very different on Monday.  I will go back to normal the following week (normal is such a subjective term).  I hope you’ll visit!

P.S. I’m behind on recipes. I am trying out a few slow-cooker ones and I’ll post them soon. They’re from the food network and they look yummy.


This Halloween, I’m Going as the Invisible Woman

Have you ever felt invisible?

I have. Often. More than I’d like.

Sometimes it’s at the grocery store, the mall, and even at church.

I see someone I know and start to approach them and then…

Nothing. It’s like they see right through me. They don’t know me at all.

This is doing nothing for my self-esteem.

At first I thought it was me. Maybe I had dis-prosopagnosia.

Prosopagnosia is a condition where you can’t recognize faces.

Maybe I have the opposite of that – I recognize every face as someone familiar…when really I’ve never met them before.

I see a person at a distance and they look so familiar. Surely, that’s Jane from the baseball field or Bill from church. But when I get closer they give me a look that says, why is that strange lady looking at me? Which is then followed by the look that says, why is that strange lady approaching me?

Or maybe I don’t have a condition at all. Maybe people are more self-absorbed or so busy these days that they don’t notice others (and by others I mean me). The problem clearly lies with them.

Today I was checking out at the grocery store. A woman walked up beside me with her teenage son. As I was sliding my credit card, I looked out the corner of my eye and I could tell I knew her.

What to do…

I could say hello – that’s the friendly thing to do.

I could ignore her  – she might think I’m a snob.

I take the risk.

I turn and say, “Hey, it’s good to see you.”

She gives me that look (the one I am becoming all too familiar with) and then she gives me a hesitant, “Hey”.

Then her son turns to her and says, “Who’s that?”

And I hear her say, “I have no idea.”

Really! I am standing right here! I CAN HEAR YOU!

Is the world completely void of all manners? Even I would have pretended to know who I was.

You know what I mean.

Maybe I just need a pair of glasses.

Because I’m feeling depressed – a result of my deflated ego – tonight’s dessert will be what’s left of the Halloween candy that I bought way too early.

Rats! That means I have to go back to the grocery store!

Have you ever felt invisible? What’s your favorite Halloween candy? Leave a comment and let me know.


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I can’t believe it’s already October! My husband is right – the older you get, the quicker times goes.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Although two years ago there was some crazy research controversy regarding the need for frequent (yearly) mammograms, the truth is – early detection does save lives.

A mammogram is a must for every woman – especially for those who belong to a family of women who have survived or fallen to the disease.

I had mine today.  I had a very nice and efficient technician. I like efficiency.  It took me longer to change out of my clothes and into the robe than the mammogram itself. (Does it open in the front? The back? Why can’t there be more consistency in medical wardrobe?)

Sure there was some discomfort, some pulling here and some tugging there, but it was no match for the pain I felt trying to get the paper ID bracelet off my right wrist. After changing back into my clothes, I stood there for about 3 minutes trying to tear it off.

When I felt eyes staring at me, I retreated to the privacy of the restroom to continue my pathetic display of weakness. I continued to struggle and then started to use one of my keys to tear at it one thread at a time.
Finally! It was off.

Unfortunately, they don’t let you wear deodorant on mammogram day and my struggle had produced quite a bit of sweating. Just as I was heading out the door the sweet little Pink Lady shouted after me, “Mam, do you want me to take off your ID band?” Of course she was waving a pair of scissors when she said this. I lifted my right hand, the one with the red wrist, and waved back to her.

(And who was she calling “Mam”?)

So all it all it was thirty minutes well spent:  Mammogram. Check. Exercise. Check. And I was able to start reading a book while in the waiting room – Betty White’s, Here We Go Again. She writes about her early life in television. It looks like it will be a good read and I’ve gained a quote for the quote board.

“Happiness is good health and a bad memory.” Ingrid Bergman

I’m really looking forward to next week when I get to visit the gynecologist. I hope it’s not too late to start losing weight. This is the only time I allow myself to be weighed. As if the whole visit isn’t humiliating enough.

Below is a very powerful and educational video on the importance early detection. It just takes 4 minutes to view.



After a day like this, you need some good comfort food. Try this Award Winning Sloppy Joe recipe. Everyone in my family loves it and it is SO easy.

Sloppy Sloppy Joes from Crock Pot Recipe Collection                        (2008 Publications International)

Ingredients:    4 pounds ground beef, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 cup chopped green bell pepper, 1 can (28 oz.) tomato sauce, 2 cans condensed tomato soup (undiluted), 1 cup brown sugar, ¼ cup ketchup, 3 tablespoons dry mustard, 1 tablespoon prepared mustard, 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder,  and 1 teaspoon garlic powder.

Brown beef in large skillet. Drain fat. Add onion and bell
pepper and cook 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Put meat mixture in slow cooker.
Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve on
toasted buns.

Cook’s Note: I never make this much, so if you use less meat, alter the liquid ingredients accordingly. Wear a bib – these are really sloppy!

Marriage Mint, Recipes, Uncategorized

The Number One Problem in Relationships

Well, that’s that. All My Children’s last episode. Instead of a “who shot JR” ending it was a “who did JR shoot” ending. Perfect!

While I loved the show and appreciated the way AMC made my treadmill routines bearable, I am happy to say that I did not watch AMC for marriage and parenting advice.

For that I turned to General Hospital.

Just kidding. 🙂

One of the best lessons I learned about relationships came from one of my graduate family courses. I can sum up the lesson this way – the number one problem in relationships is expectations don’t match reality.

Think about it. The last time you were really angry with a significant person in your life you were probably expecting them to behave one way and you got something different.

I’ll give you an example, early in my marriage I expected my
husband to pick up after himself. Unfortunately, that was not my reality.

Now my expectation is that his Diet Coke will be sitting on the end table long after the last sip, his socks and shoes will be resting right in front of the recliner, and his wet towel will be laying on the bathroom floor. Now my expectation does match reality. See how it works?

Let’s not say I lowered my expectations…let’s say I altered my expectations.

Sometimes it works the other way. For instance my husband exceeded my expectations the other day.

One side of my kitchen sink was clogged. It is possible that I got lazy and started pouring grease down the drain instead of disposing of it properly. (I’m not saying that that is what happened; I’m just saying that it is possible.)

After three days of trying the drano/liquid plumber combo, the sink was still clogged.  I expected my husband to call the human plumber.

He didn’t.

But then he surprised me…he took apart a coat hanger, stuck it down the drain and voila!, no more clog.

Sometimes we get lucky and things balance out.

I was so thrilled that my sink was no longer clogged that I did my happy dance all throughout the family room. (Sadly, it doesn’t take much to excite me.)

Then I tripped on his shoes… left right in front of the recliner.

I am pondering lowering my expectations.

These banana nut muffins from Tyler Florence will exceed all of your expectations. I make them often and they are yummy and seem healthy – they’ve got bananas in them.

The recipe is below, but I’ll also give the link.


Tyler Florence’s Banana Nut Muffins

Tyler Florence's Banana Nut Muffins

Ingredients: 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teasponns of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 4 overripe bananas, 1 cup of brown sugar, 3/4 cups of melted and cooled butter, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.

Mash the bananas, then add the brown sugar and mix. Mix in melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients. Stir in pecans. Bake in lightly buttered or sprayed muffin tins. (I like to use the large sized ones.) Bake for  18-20 at 375 degrees.

Quotable Quotes, Uncategorized

Ode to All My Children

Well, it’s really here. The last episode of All My Children will be Friday, September 23. Sure there were the occasional story line problems, ultra politically correct episodes, and unrealistic situations; but it provided a great escape for 60 minutes.  I plan to enjoy it with a Diet Coke, box of Cheese Its, and a box of tissue.

Good-bye my pal, All My Children.

So long laughs, loves, and all that sin.

Good-bye Erica, Dixie, Crystal and Tad.

Jake, Jackson – it’s makes me so sad.

Adios Opal, Ryan and selfish Greenlee,

Kendall, Zack, Jessie, and blind Angie.

You saw me through pregnancies and two babies-

I felt so normal next to all your crazies.

Running on the treadmill wasn’t a chore.

With you in the video player, I just wanted more.

I’ve watched you some 30 of your 41 years.

You made me laugh and even shed some tears.

I still remember Uncle Palmer and Aunt Phoebe.

I hope you find Babe and Angie will see.

The affairs, evil twins, dead come back to life-

Will Erica ever again be Jackson’s wife?

I heard we might soon become online friends-

But I’m hoping All My Children will rise once again!

You might like this Crankshaft comic tribute to AMC.


It’s always better to leave too early than stay too late. ~ Kathryn Joosten, actress (said when her character, Mrs. Landingham, was killed on The West Wing. From Rob Lowe’s book, Stores I Only Tell My Friends)

Quotable Quotes, Recipes, Uncategorized

Thank You For Being A Friend

I just returned from a beach weekend trip with four friends. This year marked the 20th year of us going to Panama City together. Typically, there are six of us who go each year with only one or two of us rarely missing due to a family or work conflict.

Each year we get better at a couple of things. We used to plan elaborate meals – ones low in fat, but high in taste – hoping to impress each other. We used to bring our rackets, tennis shoes, and workout clothes. Twenty years later, we’re proud of the fact that we are completely satisfied with a staple of nachos, Raisinettes, and cereal and engage in no activities which involve sweating.

The other thing that we’ve gotten better at is judging each other less. We’ve declared a Judge-Free Zone when we get together. This means that there is no judging one another’s parenting, marriage, children, eating habits, cellulite, chin whiskers, or hair color (or lack thereof).

We’ve all learned that in spite of singing lullabies’ and reading endless bedtime stories, attending teacher conferences and PTA meetings, and all of our other best efforts, we screw up. We’ve each come to realize that life is hard and parenting is not for wimps.

I’m blessed to have several friends, my beach friends and others, who accept me warts and all. They are willing to overlook, forgive, and/or accept my many shortcomings and uncanny ability to forget birthdays, butt text, and lose at every card game.

These are the types of friends with whom I can share my fears, dreams, and life secrets without concern that they will laugh or use this information against me (or put a really ugly picture of me on their facebook page).

It’s important to have good friends to go through life’s rough patches such as    challenges with spouses and children, family illnesses, parent deaths, job losses and changes, and empty nests.

I hope you have friends like this.  If you don’t, get some. Life calls for give and take and it is much too short to surround yourself with “friends” who only take.

If you happen to be a friend who only takes, change. A piece of simple, yet profound, advice I used to give my elementary students was:  To have the kind of friend you want, you have to be the kind of friend you want.

So the next time you are together with your friend(s), declare it a judge-free zone and enjoy life and each other more.

If you ever lose your mind, I’ll be kind. If you ever are so happy and land in jail, I’m your bail. If you ever lose our teeth and you’re out to dine, use mine. It’s friendship, friendship. Just a perfect blendship. When other friendships are up the crick, ours will still be slick. “Friendship” by Cole Porter

In addition to eating nachos and Raisinettes, we  dined out and had some great Florida seafood; but it was Flamingo Joe’s red beans and rice that got my attention. It was perfect! Jennifer, the owner and chef, Joseph Black, graciously shared the ingredients: Schreiber’s beef base, garlic salt, Caribbean spices, white pepper, beans and rice. Finding the right combination should keep me busy for a while. If you happen to know a good combination, please share it!


Flamingo Joe's Red Beans & Rice



Chef Joseph Black (pics courtesy of Gail )