Birthdays

I love birthdays. It is my day to celebrate, but I’m not the only one with this birthday.
My friend, Sally Harris, and I were born on the same day at Magee Hospital in Pittsburgh. Our mothers shared a room, being first time moms of daughters, laughter and lifelong friendship. Sally and I had birthday parties together as we grew up.
When Sally and her family moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico, Sally and I saved our pennies, put them together and bought an airline ticket for me to fly there. It took us over a year to save the money. I went for three weeks when we were fourteen. We had an amazing time riding horses, playing tennis, swimming and being creative. Sally is one of the friends who helped my imagination grow. She is artistic and fascinating. We wrote letters to each other through most of our childhood.
After that trip we saved again and pooled our money to fly her to Pittsburgh. I loved sharing my life with her.
I’m getting the urge to start saving my pennies again.

Happy Birthday, Sally! I’m so glad we’ve been friends our whole lives.

I also collect names of other people with a March 24th birthday. Happy Birthday to Larissa Houk, Chaz Dumbaugh, and Smitty Boros!

The Final Speech

This morning at National Speakers Association – Pittsburgh, speaker Dick Bruso challenged us to focus on our passion. He asked if we could only speak one more time for forty-five minutes to a million people, what would we say?
Many of the speakers in the crowd seemed to be reveling in an “Aha!” moment.
I wrote several statements. Tonight as I review them my brain wheels churn.
If I had one shot to address a huge crowd here is what I’d say.

Get over your mistakes and join the parade.
When God forgives us through the grace and mercy of our resurrected Jesus we can forgive ourselves, too. God says our sins are as far as the east is from the west.
Straighten your arms. Stick them out one to the right, one to the left, east and west. Can you possibly touch them? No. Never in this position. God spans farther and He doesn’t hold our sins against us once we are forgiven, so why do we beat ourselves up over past sins? Learn from them, share them with others if it will help them become more like Christ, but don’t let them cripple us.
God says He rejoices over us with gladness and singing. What a visual that gives me. I think of how CS Lewis described Aslan creating Narnia with songs that matched whatever he made. How much more amazing will it be to hear God singing with joy over us when we get to Heaven.
Don’t let the memory of your sins weigh you down and render you ineffective. I sin, you sin, we all sin. Ask God for forgiveness and get over it. When we ask for forgiveness it is given and we are clean, ready to serve God with joy. When we stumble and sin again, which we all will, ask for forgiveness again and get on with whatever it is God has assigned. Don’t dwell on the error, but on the task at hand.
Paul wrote, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
When you belong to Christ He leads you victoriously so jump into the parade and march. God will breathe in the sweet aroma of your obedience and sing.
I love you, but God loves you most,
Carol/Mom/Nynns/Mona

Scriptures used: Psalm 103:12, Zephaniah 3:17, II Corinthians 2:14
If you aren’t sure you’re going to Heaven and don’t have salvation through Jesus, seek Him. Feel free to call me. I’d love to talk to you about this. 724-368-3369

Lost and Found

Have your ever noticed how when you lose something and try to find it you discover the last thing you lost rather than the current item.
Example: Saturday morning I needed my blue dress shoes to wear to the National Speakers Association meeting. They weren’t on the floor of my closet where they belong. Instead of spending the time to search for them, I changed from my blue skirt to my black one, got my black heels from their correct location and went to the meeting.
Tonight I needed the entries to a jr. high writing contest that I had judged so I can mail them tomorrow. I couldn’t find them on my desk. The last time I remembered having them was at the beauty salon. Was the packet in the car? No, but my blue dress shoes peaked out from a nook in the back of the Saturn.
I looked harder, wiggling to reach under the seat and found my lost address book. Two great finds, but not the one currently on my mind.
Often I give up at this point, happy to have found what I needed days ago. But this time I persisted. I checked my desk again, and discovered the contest entries hidden under the sweater I need to return. Now if I could find the receipt…
I’m exposing myself as one who loses things, but I also find things.
There is a point to all of this, but I lost it along the way. Maybe I’ll find it when I lose something else.

St Patrick’s Day

Top o’ the Morning to ye!
Happy St. Partick’s Day!

I arrived at an early morning meeting. The sun peeked over the horizon, birds chorused, but best of all, a balmy breeze blew. I turned my face into the wind and reveled in it.
I have enough Irish in me to prompt occasional jigs and a bucket of blarney. However, I disagree with part of the Irish blessing. Where it says, “May the wind be always at your back,” I assume so it can nudge you along on life’s journey, I prefer the wind in my face. I love how it blows my hair back and fills my nose with fresh air. I enjoy the caresses of the moving air.
Wishing you the sweetness of Spring,
Carol

The Launch

Last August when my youngest of four left for college I thought my simmering writing career would finally boil. Instead of imagining fascinating new plots my mind lingered on the memory children I saw everywhere. They splashed down a slip-n-slide in the front yard, rode sheep in the barn, shuffled over the carpet in their footie pjs trying to shock each other. Always there is the echo of their laughter. Gratitude overwhelms me with a tinge of sadness.
In an old movie, “The Other Side of the Mountain,” Richard leaves his love promising to return to marry her saying, “What a privilege it is to love someone so much it hurts this badly to say goodbye.” He then dies in an airplane crash, but she remembers his words and finds comfort in them. My children haven’t died, but life as I knew it has changed forever.
My husband urged me to join Toastmasters International. That forced me to create speeches and helped my mind let some steam escape.
Last fall I also joined National Speakers Association (NSA), attended a writers retreat and the Pittsburgh Women Etcetera! Seminar. Networking from those events has lead to opportunities. I competed in the final round in Toastmasters’ Table Topics and Humor. Plus I taught a class at Point Park University through NSA. Characters converse in my mind again. I’m so excited my stomach churns. The lid on my simmering career dances.

Arrows

For the last two days this verse has been swirling around in my head.

Be hold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:3-5

God refers to children as arrows in the quiver, the quiver of our homes and lives. What is the purpose of arrows? Are they to be arranged decoratively in the case, gathering dust? No, arrows are to be shot toward a target. If they are our arrows, our job is to aim them toward the goal, give them momentum and velocity. Let them fly sending them off in the right direction with the most strength possible, and pray they hit the mark. If they fall short we can gather them and smooth their feathers and send them off again.