Monthly Archives: August 2013

Guess who got the spanking?


I’m gonna miss these pals of mine as they head to TX today. We have made some great memories together and survived some hard times in VA!

Take the Automatic 7

I returned to the lake this weekend.

My own personal cheerleader, Ian, completed his focused mission of getting Every.  Single.  Person.  to get their saggy buttocks behind the boat & into the tube.  His effort earned him 6 extra rides more than his brother, FTW  (for the win).  I told him while we bounced along that tubing felt like a constant spanking.  But I could NOT stop laughing.

When my next bounce partner requested me, how could I say no to this face?

Or this one?

As Hostess S pointed out, when you’re in The Tube with your bounce partner, you’re in your own little world.  There’s a special bond forged.  Sort of like a super short-term room-mate.

Over the last 3 years I have done my fair share of venting/complaining/worrying-out-loud to these mamas regarding my teens & tweens.  And do you know what my crazy kids did?

Wrestled.  Offered laps.  Shared Skittles.  Woke up early.  Told stories.  Made me SO…

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Am I ready for some football? You talkin’ to me?


Where have these 5 years gone?

Take the Automatic 7

Are you asking ME if I’M ready for some football?  Well, I don’t rightly know.


I do know that it was a safe distraction to lure the 8 year old away from MI “hackey” by speaking freely of the awesomeness of football down south.


I do know that he looks oh, so cute in his uniform,

but even his game face has a hint of a smile.


I also know that the quickest way to see your infant as a grown up is for him to put on a helmet and shoulder pads.


I know his DAD and Big Bro are ready for some football as there has been much discussion on the different meanings of “safety” and what a touchback is and where to grab the dude you are attempting to tackle and how to spin away from the dude that’s attempting to tackle you.


But up until today, this has all been speculation…

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Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you


Roadkill Goldfish

Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you.

Yes, this is what happens when you constantly hear everything you do is awesome. This is what happens when people fawn over your every Tweet and Instagram photo. This is what happens when no responsible adult has ever said the word “no,” made you change your clothes before leaving the house, or never spanked your butt for deliberate defiance.

If you ever even consider doing something like that, I promise you that I will run up and twerk so you will see how ridiculous twerking looks. I will duct tape your mouth shut so your tongue doesn’t hang out like an overheated hound dog. I will smack any male whom you decide to smash against his pelvis – after I first knock you on your butt for forgetting how a lady acts in public.

Why would I do that? Because…

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Loathe Entirely


I have been thinking about haters for over a month now. I actually thought I didn’t have any or wouldn’t have any.  And then one showed up around 7am on the day that our START assignment was to ignore them—or at the very least, don’t give their opinion too much weight.
Only she was calling me out for something I did that she didn’t like. She wasn’t really hating me, she just wasn’t getting her way, wasn’t being patient, and was acting poorly.  And she was doing all that AT me.
I don’t really think it is accurate for me to call her a 3D “hater” because:

1) She doesn’t know me well enough to hate me and

2) She and I weren’t on the same timetable for the favor she was requesting of me.

Her thought was ASAP, mine was in a day or two. She found this unreasonable.
Her online spew AT ME caused me shock & surprise, which feels oddly like outrage. I immediately began mentally listing things I already am doing and became extremely defensive and rebellious—wanting to make her wait.  At the same time, I battled within my mind over doing a better job with more time vs making her happy by doing it NOW but substandard. Furthermore, I was no longer in the right frame of mind to fulfill her request in her way OR mine.   Because it had to do with writing, which is on my to do list for the risk I wanted to take that round, I felt even more thwarted if I ignored her request completely. Although I succeeded in not responding to her rant, I did not do so well with the “ignoring.”  She is VERY hard to ignore in real life AND online.

In the end, on that same day I ended up giving her a version of what she asked for, although it would have been a better version had she waited.  So who won?  Was it a tie?  What was the desired outcome?  I find myself a peacemaker, but should I have truly avoided and ignored this request for an “above and beyond” ministry favor from someone in the church?  I don’t know. I was paralyzed creatively until I got that task off my plate.   Afterwards she kind of gave me a “was that so hard?”  kind of attitude vs true gratitude, but that part I can ignore with ease.
My definition of a real live 3D hater is someone who knows you, defies you, and comes against you at every turn. This person may be jealous, hurting or both.
My definition of a START hater is a pesky stranger who pops up at inconvenient times when you are focused on your goal and about to do something risky or awesome and triggers the internal voices—be they negative, self-defeating, or just plain distracting.
Some haters love you but hate your dream. Don’t ignore them.
Some haters hate you but love your dream. Don’t ignore them either.
Some haters hate you and your dream. Others hate everybody and all their dreams too.
Those are the ones to ignore.

Unless God calls you to love one. Good luck with that.

Meeting Mr. Maggie at Malbons


There’s a gas station in Virginia Beach where we like to eat.  Not even lying.

My husband lived here for about 8 months before the kids and I moved here from Michigan and he spent his solo time wisely–scouting out the best BBQ.  This one is totally our favorite.  I mean it is so good that the sauce isn’t even necessary.

So there we were, eating legit BBQ in a gas station on a Saturday late afternoon when an older gentleman struck up a conversation with me while hubby was picking up our Boss Hogg platters.  By some divine miracle, I had purposely left my phone in the car which turned out to be one of my best decisions that day.

He started by mentioning that “this whole area used to be farmland.”  That I did know, although we have only lived here about 5 years.  I enjoy speaking to people I don’t know as if we are already friends, much to the annoyance of my family.  As luck would have it, none of them were around so I asked him, “Have you lived here your whole life?”

“63 years,” was his nostalgic reply.  He launched into stories about the trouble he got into as a child, taking a bus to Norfolk waiting for a hot day where he and his hooligan pals would hang around the back door of the “speak easy” and look at the burlesque show.  “There was no air conditionin’ see?  So we would wait for a hot day and go down there when we knew they would open up the back doors so we could watch.  The men would chase us off, but the ladies would feel sorry for us, see, and make them give us something cold to drink.”

“How old were you?”

“Aw, I couldn’ta been more’n 9 or 10.”

By this time my husband was back with our meals.  I introduced myself and my husband and asked him for his name.  We shook hands.  He didn’t crush mine, which I am always relieved about when I meet a burly guy.

“They call me ‘Maggie’ from my football days.”

“Did you go to school around here?”

“Princess Anne High School.  Class of 1963.  No one could say my last name so they just called me Maggie and it stuck all the way through the service.”

Hubby humphed politely and turned his attention to his sandwich but I was riveted.

“So you played football…do you ever keep in touch with anyone you went to school with?”

“Aw, shoot yeah.  You’d be surprised.  Why, I was in the middle of Viet Nam when our unit called a strike on a town filled with communists.   We were watching and waiting to carry out our orders in the middle of the night when I saw a small moving light.  I thought ‘What in the world?’  I told my unit to hold on a minute and I walked out there into the field, and there were four American guys wandering around outside this city we were about to strike.  I said, ‘What in the world are ya’ll doin?’  One of the guys said, “We’re lost.”  I said, ‘Rick?  Is that you??’  It was my best friend growin up.  He was in the Army, I was in the Navy and there he was in the middle of a field in Viet Nam.  I told him, ‘You better come with me,’ and he said, ‘We were just about to go into that village.’  You just never know.”

When I asked if his high school is still in the same location as it was when he went there 44 years ago, he told a classic senior prank tale that deserves a post of its own.

What a treasure–meeting Mr. Maggie.  My husband even softened a bit when he spoke of the Karmann Ghia with “factory air” that he bought from a lady who wanted it out of her garage for the low low price of $1,200.00.

He was scratching off a lottery ticket as he explained to us that a similar one had been priced at $300,000.00 recently.  I’m not sure if his stories are true, exaggerated or the details are verifiable, but I do know one thing…

I won the lottery that day.

We Do It For The Rachets


I have a boo-boo on my leg that my family lovingly calls “The Rachet.”  It is a spider bite on my left shin that I got 4 months ago and it is healing very slowly.   At first it looked like a harmless mosquito bite without the itch.  I now keep it covered with a bandage most of the time, but at night I often have it uncovered.  Someone will catch a glimpse and all manner of grossed out shenanigans ensue.  Good times.  Very encouraging.

My kids, all teenagers are constantly teaching me The Slang Of The Now and according to them, rachet =gross.  There’s a whole thing now on social media where girls take pictures of themselves–selfies–without makeup, no hair primping, no photoshop or Instagram filters and proclaim in the caption: #WeDoitFortheRachets.   This is a thinly veiled attempt to get people to argue with them how beautiful and attractive and not-rachified they actually are.  It works about 2% of the time.

So within a few more weeks, my Rachet spider bite quickly swelled out to the size of a quarter, then began to turn black in the center.  It still didn’t hurt at all.  In fact I hardly knew it was there.  This was when I knew we weren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto.  And by “in” I mean “dealing with.”  And by “Kansas” I mean “a mosquito bite.”  And by “Toto,”  I mean “whoever can stomach looking at it.”

I had no further symptoms, besides unsightliness and not being able to shave around it.  The long hairs around the perimeter added a nice festive touch to The Rachet.  It was like a mini mob of onlookers at the scene of a sinkhole.  I didn’t have a fever, fatigue, it didn’t itch, so I left it alone and didn’t seek medical attention for about 6 weeks.

When the black part got bigger and the area started recessing, I finally went to the doctor.  He sent me to a surgeon.  Who promptly went on vacation.  So I saw another surgeon.  He said they *could* do an outpatient procedure, or I could leave it alone.

So I opted to leave it alone.  I’m not a fan of the sharp utensils, unless they are spreading delicious Nutella on a cinnamon crunch bagel.

It is now shrinking and healing and it has me wondering…what things HOLLER for my attention–and what things WHISPER but need it nonetheless?

And also…isn’t the healing of the human body amazing?  Even when it doesn’t happen on our timetable.

And also…all The Rachets need is attention, love, and to be taken care of by somebody.   No matter how obnoxious/quiet they may be.

START review


cell phone pix feb april 2013 505

I purchased this book at the Atlanta Orange Conference in April, hoping that Jon would be one of the Keynote speakers. I am re-reading it in August with new eyes as a result of the START experiment. About every 3rd page is dog-eared with wisdom and something to remember or reference. Readers will find the humor and practical advice Jon shares to be relevant for anyone alive who is compelled to do anything of worth. Hash-tagging any of the three subtitle phrases or #STARTexp will bring you in contact with a mob of supportive community and helpful discussion on twitter.

I also appreciate the word picture “fear piñata” and am now using that image in my everyday thought life.

The roadmap to awesome Jon has produced is a powerful yet simple concept but challenging to accomplish. I will keep this book as a reference for the rest of my life and give it to everyone I know & love, as well as random strangers on planes, who desire to be even more awesome.

On the Eve of Going to College


To my son, 18

I love him when he steps to strike the playoff-winning goal.

I love him when his room holds 9 disgusting cups and a bowl.

I love him when he hits my arm and tells a goofy tale.

I love him when his French grade hovers just above a fail.

I love him when he “later” purges items from his car.

I love him when he buys his own plane ticket, very far.

I love him when his attitude and mine don’t mesh so well.

I love him when his girlfriends’ parents like him–I can tell.

I love him when we have to go to court to make amends.

I love him when he acknowledges me to teammates and friends.

I loved his tiny baby body, eyes, neck, toes and face.

I love him all grown up & out to storm the world with grace.

The Care & Keeping of a START machete


[Thanks to fellow Starter Stephen Gutshall for contributing.]

The machete is commonly known as a large cleaver-like knife. In the START experiment, the “machete” you will use is cleverly disguised as a journal with goals, dreams, risks and tasks recorded therein.

In various tropical and subtropical countries, the machete is frequently used to cut through rain forest undergrowth and for cutting down sugar cane. In the START experiment, your machete splits open flimsy excuses, destroys inner voices that lie, and clears away the brush of average.

Because the machete is common in many tropical countries, it is often the weapon of choice for uprisings. In the START experiment some uprisings may come from without—comments from the discouraged, criticism from those with limited understanding, people who mistake your intentions.  Still other foes come from within–self-defeating statements such as not having a place at the “the cool kids table,” self-doubt, and fear.

Your START machete should be used daily.  With confidence and practice, you will become one with your weapon.

Directions for using your START Machete:

Step 1:   Sharpen your START machete.  Lubricate laser-focused thoughts with community support, like-minded adventurers, and energetic encouragement.  Match the angled edge of the blade to the surface of the obstacle and strike with medium pressure a dozen times on each side.  AKA:  “hustle”

Step 2:  Grip your START machete firmly.  Also check the security of your mental grip and maintain appropriate distance from the disillusioned complainers and generally negative people. AKA: “haters”

Step 3:   Stand close enough to your target not to require a long reach but not so close that you will have to delay your swing. Keep in mind your target may change and therefore your stance and proximity to obstacles or “average,” must also change.

Step 4:  Swing down at an angle, away from legs and feet to eliminate reckless harm to self and others who are standing bravely next to you.  Snap wrist as the widened area of the sharpened START blade meets its target.  Celebrate that you now have less obstacles than you did 3 seconds ago and are now clearly more awesome.

Step 5:   Clean off debris–old ideas and habits, and renew your START machete with the oil of pride for a job well done, a risk accomplished, a goal met.  Diligently repair and maintain your START machete for future use.  Always store your START machete nearby where you can find it when you need it again.  And you will.