Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Catalyst, Reporting for Duty!

I have written a few past Thanksgiving posts from Fredericksburg, Texas -- a place I love to visit, especially when I am with the Clark family.  It is such a joy to be with a large and fun family with multiple generations and lots of laughter.  I feel blessed to have shared so many great experiences with Joe and his family for Thanksgivings past.

This year (like many others -- I used to kinda switch off my turkey eating each year), I'll be here in Dallas with my own family and Joe will be with us.  And the best part is -- I'M COOKING AT MY HOUSE!

Let me explain...

My sister-in-law cooks the turkey and its trimmings almost every year, but this year she is in a boot, so I offered to cook at my house.  Joe and I are planning the meal and cooking it (mostly) and my mother is going to be with us for moral support (aka telling us what to do).  Mom and I decorated the table and I pretty much totally copied Alicia Wood's tablescape from The Lush List blog (http://www.thelushlist.com/2016/11/elegant-thanksgiving-tablescape/), so it looks fantastic.  I'm trying my friends Cynthia and Nick's turkey cooking method.  All is set.

I'm grateful to have friends and family coming over for a full table and I'm certainly blessed to live here in the USA and have a job that I love and plenty to eat.

Hope you'll join me in feeling blessed and happy, because you are blessed and happy.

So much happier than the kids we serve at Community Partners of Dallas.  We are collecting toys right now and we're short on tablets for our older kids.  If you are willing and blessed enough to be able to donate one, we really need you.  Go to Amazon (https://smile.amazon.com/All-New-Amazon-Fire-HD-8-8-Inch-Tablet-8GB/dp/B018SZT3BK/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1479762451&sr=8-4&keywords=fire%2Btablet&th=1) and buy a fire tablet and have it sent here to our office:

Community Partners of Dallas
ATTN:  Paige
1215 Skiles Street
Dallas, TX  75204

All kids need an escape and abused and neglected kids need an escape more than most.  A tablet can do that.  Thanks for sharing your blessings with a kid who really needs it.  Feel free to tell the people around your Thanksgiving table about what you did for us.  You can be a catalyst for change!


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grateful Doesn't Say Enough

Please allow me to take a moment and point out that I am

SO SUPER EXTREMELY GRATEFUL AND BLESSED TO HAVE A HOME FOR COMMUNITY PARTNERS OF DALLAS WITH THE MEADOWS FOUNDATION!

Truly, how many landlords (that receive no rent and pay for everything except the electric bill) provide and plant beautiful pansies out front?  What a gift The Meadows Foundation gives to non-profits in Dallas!  Their support has been the largest gift we've ever received.  I'm in tears writing this, just thinking about the hundreds of thousands of abused and neglected children they have supported through our agency alone over the past eight years.

Today, I'm happy to have pansies in our front beds and every day I'm happy that The Meadows Foundation chose us to have this building.  Three cheers!


Thursday, October 20, 2016

REALLY?

Are you who you think you are?

I keep thinking about polls (natch) and how the system puts us in a box.  You know the stereotypes:
  • I'm from Highland Park, so I'm snobby.
  • I'm 55 years old, so I have dry skin.
  • I'm from Texas, so I love country music.
Actually none of the above are true for me.  Of course, stereotypes typically have a kernel of truth -- otherwise they wouldn't make sense.  We do tend to put people in boxes because it's an easy way to get out of having to get to know them -- really know them.

It's so much easier to just assume that because someone doesn't dress that well or doesn't live in my neighborhood that they just don't deserve my attention.  

Earlier this week I went over to a volunteer's home to pick up something that I had purchased at a charity auction.  Not only did the volunteer not introduce herself to me, she made me feel like I wasn't welcome in her home.  I think she thought I was old -- and I did nothing to dispell that thought because I was unable to quickly find the ticket number she required on my cell phone.  I don't know why she was unfriendly -- maybe she had a bad morning -- but I can tell you that her treatment has only made me check myself.

Am I who I look like?  Who I think like?  Seth Godin often talks about the "people like us do things like this" mantra when we make decisions -- such as "people like us" buy i-phones, eat at Mi Cocina, go to college.

But are we really that easy to label?

I heard a speaker from the New York Flower School who did a demonstration for my garden club last week (and yes, I realize that being in a garden club sticks me smack dab into that flower box for you).  She said that 90% of her brides who are blonde choose pastel flowers for their bouquets and 90% of her brunette clients choose darker tones.

Maybe others can make assumptions about me.  I do fit a lot of the typical stereotypes, but I'm going to quit judging and try to get to know people.  Why don't you join me?

I worry most about the kids we are serving at Community Partners of Dallas.  Will Jason always be the boy who was sexually abused?  Will Heavenly always be the girl who came to school dirty and withdrawn?

Will you give them a chance and get to know them for who they really are?


As a reminder -- I'm no beauty.  Here I am in all my glory -- wet hair and all -- but I am worth knowing.  You are too.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hello From the Other Side

It's been 10 months since my last blog post.

NOTE:  That reminds me of my short stint as an Episcopalian about 20 years ago:  "Forgive me, Father, it's been ten months since my last confession..."

NOTE to NOTE:  Surprisingly, blogging fills a similar role -- confessionally speaking, I mean.

I'm not sure why I stopped, other than feeling as though I was super busy at work and personally.

NOTE:  Didn't even plan to start blogging again today, just decided to jump back in on a whim.  Boom.

Anyway, back to our story:

I guess the biggest personal change is that I MOVED!

I used to move about every two years because I would buy a house, make it beautiful, sell it for a profit, then buy another one and repeat.  But my most recent move (about 10 years ago) into where I thought I'd be living for the rest of my life, was not my last move.   As the years went on it became apparent that I had one more move in me and I have now moved into and decorated what will be my final home -- yippee!  I posted a couple of photos below.

So, I'm going to try to get back to blogging occasionally.  Can't promise I'll return to twice a week like before, but who knows?  Life is fun and we all need a little confession occasionally.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Four Favorite Things I Love Right Now! Part 24

How about a Four Faves -- Christmas version?

Isn't that all we're thinking about today?  Christmas -- or as the Real Housewives of New Jersey would say -- baby Jesus's birthday?

I'm ready to go with gifts and have been for about a month.  I know some of you may be jealous, but I went to Europe a couple of times this year, so I started early, plus I did shop a little yesterday for a few Christmas Eve gifts for the family.

Without further ado, here are my Four Faves Christmas Style!

  1. Blue Bell Peppermint Ice Cream is the best!  Good luck finding it in Dallas today, as I only left 4 at the last store -- and I would bet $100,000 that they are out now. 
  2. These new Pajamas from Soma are the cutest, most glam things ever.  LOVE!  I feel like Lady Gaga and Sia would approve, don't you?
  3. This sweet book brings me to tears every year.  The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado is part of my personal tradition every year. 
  4. Everybody knows my a Chex Party Mix (called Trash in my family) is the best -- despite the flawed result of a party mix contest at Community Partners of Dallas a few years ago.
  5. Recipe:
  6. 2 C Corn Chex
    2 C Rice Chex
    2 C Wheat Chex
    Plus 2 more cups of your fave of the above -- I mix it up.  My niece Lina loves Kix, so I throw them in here too sometimes
    1 C pecans
    1 C pretzels
    1 T soy sauce (I add a little more here)
    1/2 C butter
    1 1/4 t season salt
    1/4 t garlic powder 

    Melt butter in electric skillet at 250 degrees.  Stir in seasonings and blend well.  Add all and stir to coat.  Cover with vents open.  Heat for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  Cool on paper towels.  Enjoy!


Hope you are spending lots of time with family and friends.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

First World Problem Hodgepodge

New Hodgepodge this week!  Thank you, Joyce, for always coming through with thought-provoking questions for the weary bloggers out there...


1. What's your biggest 'first world' problem?
I have no garage. I don't really miss it for the car -- I have a circular driveway -- but it is at holiday time that the storage for decorations is nil/packed in the attic.  Makes it so inconvenient to access. My other option is to take my only guest room and store it in there.
2.  Each year Time Magazine names a 'Person of the Year', someone who has 'for better or worse...done the most to influence the events of the year.' It was recently announced they've named Angela Merkel Person of the Year for 2015. Your thoughts? If you were in charge, who would you declare Person of the Year? 
Since this is the time of year that we give out 10,000+ toys to abused and neglected kids, I'd give it to the donors and volunteers who make children's dreams come true.
3. Do you have a nativity set in your home? If so share it's history and how you display the pieces.
Yes!  I have quite a few!  I have a few small ones that stay out year round.  I love this one (the first one) and it is fun to collect the pieces, but my favorite is the one Joe gave me (it's the second one). It is the most beautiful, I think.

4.  Do you make an extra effort to give back in some way during the holiday season? How do you encourage those who need encouragement this time of year?
I love volunteering at my church during the holiday -- this year I'm not attending on Christmas Eve in order to have more room for visitors. I'm attending the travelers service and ushering.
5. Who is your favorite person to shop for? Why?
My mom is tough because she buys everything she wants for herself and she has spectacular taste. When I find something for her it's a Christmas miracle!
6. What's the last delicious thing you ate?
My homemade chicken salad.
7. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is________________.
Tell strangers that they are beautiful/handsome. Smile and laugh a lot.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Three cheers to Willard Scott upon his retirement from The Today Show today. My grandmother always called him her secret love.  He is mine too. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Was Frank Sinatra One of Us?


Yesterday I heard a program about Frank Sinatra.  He was never my favorite rat-packer (I'm more of a Dean Martin fan), but it was very interesting to hear about his life and they also had a guy playing the piano and crooning a few of his songs throughout the speech.  Fun event.

One of the stories told was about Frank as a young boy telling his parents that he wanted to be a singer like Bing Crosby.

His dad told him he'd end up a bum and his mother threw a shoe at him.

Funny how Frank's story turned out, huh?

My mother really wanted me to be an attorney.

I was a theatre major.

My dad told me I was getting a degree in basketweaving.

I loved acting and singing and while I didn't become another Sinatra, I did get to perform in the Junior League of Dallas Show each year and I know my degree helps me to be a good speaker -- and I know that helps me at Community Partners of Dallas.

We don't have to have parents who support us or agree with every decision we make, do we?  If you have the drive, you can still become a success.

The kids we help at CPD don't really have anyone who supports their dreams for the future.  They can still make it.  Frank did.

They don't have to know exactly what they're doing while still young.  They can still do it.  I did.

I bet you did too.

Remember these thoughts from Dale Carnegie:

Do you remember the things you were worrying about a year ago?  How did they work out?  Didn't you waste a lot of fruitless energy on account of most of them?  Didn't most of them turn out all right after all?