Published in the Rains County Leader on July 25, 2017:
As children, finding joy is as simple as picking a dandelion or coaxing Daddy into being the Tickle Monster for a few minutes. As the years pass, however, joy sometimes becomes more elusive. More joints hurt, more friends develop debilitating or terminal illnesses, and social calendars have more dates for funerals than for weddings. Joy is still possible, but it takes more work, and it sometimes requires an attitude adjustment.
If you’ve spent any time on Facebook, you know it can be a joyless place if you’re not very selective about what you read. Some users post nothing but political tirades and negative news while others give more information than most of us want to know about their long list of medical complaints, medications, and procedures. I’m all for being well informed and also for keeping up with friends and praying for them in their times of need. However, caution is necessary in order to keep all that negativity from sucking all the joy out of life. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 27, 2017:
The world of training and showing dogs is a subculture that most of us never experience except maybe to watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show once a year. My introduction to the culture came when we moved to Florida in 2005 and I met Sue and Sophie. Sophie is a beautiful, pure-bred Miniature Schnauzer, and Sue was a fellow caregiver who had decided that dog training would be fun and might also relieve some of her stress. Sophie was better suited to racing around an obstacle course then to posing and strutting around a show ring, so Sue decided to pursue Dog Agility.
Sophie will soon be twelve years old, and she recently retired with seven MACH titles. According to the American Kennel Club, a dog becomes a Master Agility Champion when she earns “750 championship points and 20 double qualifying scores obtained from the Master Standard Agility class and the Master Jumpers With Weaves class.” I understood very little of what that meant until this weekend when David and I attended our first dog show in West Monroe Louisiana. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 20, 2017:
To say that I decided not to plant a garden this year wouldn’t really be accurate. What really happened was that I procrastinated. Taking it one day at a time, I told myself that I would begin the tilling, the preparation, and the planting tomorrow or next weekend. I told myself there was still plenty of time until now it’s almost time to begin thinking about a Fall garden. The amazing thing is, after all that dawdling, I’ve discovered that I don’t need a garden after all. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 6, 2017:
When I first began writing a weekly column in the newspaper, I never thought about the collateral effects of opening at least some aspects of my private life to public scrutiny. I had been writing a blog for several years before becoming City Girl for the Rains County Leader. Although I occasionally received an on-line comment about something I had written, it was disconcerting the first few times someone I didn’t know asked me face to face how my garden was doing or what new antics Kitty had been up to.
It didn’t take me long, though, to begin to enjoy these brief encounters. One of the things I like most about being a writer is knowing when my words have touched someone, even if it’s only to make them smile or stop and think for a minute. It’s really nice to know that something I’ve said sticks in a reader’s mind long enough for them to engage me in conversation about it. In fact, it’s really nice to know that I have readers. Now that I’ve gotten used to it, I enjoy the impromptu conversations I have with friends I didn’t know I had. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on May 2, 2017:
Thunderstorms had been predicted all day on Saturday, but every time we looked at the weather on our phones, the onset had been moved to a later time. Finally, as I was beginning preparations for dinner, the sky darkened enough that I turned on the kitchen lights. We no longer have network TV, so after the dinner dishes were done, David found a movie on his laptop, hooked it up to the TV, and we settled down to watch the latest Jack Reacher flick. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 14, 2017:
Because I’m the church secretary, I’m sometimes a few minutes late to Sunday School after I make a stop in my office to pick up a form I need someone to fill out or an envelope the treasurer has asked me to deliver. Then, it’s not unusual for someone to stop me before I make it to class to ask me to correct an address or to check the lost and found for a Bible. To tell the truth, I kind of like being one of the last ones to arrive. As I walk down the hall toward the Fellowship Hall where the adults meet, I can hear the sound of funny stories about the work week being told, of concerns for friends and family being exchanged, of lives being shared. It sounds a lot like love. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 7, 2017:
It’s almost impossible to avoid politics in this day and time – especially on Facebook. Last week I saw a picture of cows standing behind a barbed-wire fence with a red arrow pointing to the fence post. The caption read “A non-political post. You’re welcome!” I thought it was cute, and it seemed innocuous enough, so I shared it. Several people “liked” it, and a few people shared it – but two of my friends actually made political comments about it.
I’m as political as anyone, but I have yet to see a political exchange in which one participant has influenced another participant to change his or her mind – at least about politics. I was, however, involved in an email exchange that changed someone’s opinion about me. (more…)