Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Most Exciting Thing About the Election

This is not a political blog. If you want to know how to vote, there are plenty of other websites that will be more than happy to tell you.

red state vote 2012

Am I thrilled with either of the presidential candidates? Not really. Does that change my responsibility? Not really.

The larger question is, am I an American citizen who cares about my country? The answer is yes and the mission is clear: VOTE.

As ugly as campaigns get, the vote is sacred. Your ballot is secret, between you and God.

You could go from here to November without revealing your opinion about the issues or publicly throwing your support behind a candidate. Or you could shout your convictions from the rooftops. Doesn’t matter. When you cast your ballot on November 6, 2012, your vote will speak as loudly as Bill Maher’s, Rush Limbaugh’s, Rachel Maddow’s, or Ann Coulter’s.

blue state vote 2012

To me, that’s something to be excited about.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, use these months before election day to prepare. Get registered. Get informed. Get ready.

With courage for the process and respect for the privilege—without getting wrapped up in the histrionics—prayerfully, politely, powerfully, prepare to VOTE.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13 NIV

I can’t choose just one favorite Schoolhouse Rock song, but Shot Heard ‘Round the World comes close. “The continental rabble took the day!”

Please feel free to use the VOTE 2012 images from this post in your social media.

What does voting mean to you? Are you excited about it? Why or why not? If you are raising children, how will you talk with them about the election and voting?

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Bicentennial +3

Today marks the 203rd post for everyday epistle.

hello, country buntin’

A lot has transpired since our centennial post Lyrical Interlude last October. Good time to recap:

Also began testing advertising. Seeing as I’ve yet to make a penny, this test may end sooner rather than later.

Whisper was the most-read post between our centennial and bicentennial +3. It catapulted to the top where it’s third behind I Like My Bike and Milk Wars.

The second most-read post  between our centennial and bicentennial +3 was Leah. The third was Field Trip to Visit a Cowboy.

everything’s coming up pinwheels

I’m still learning and having fun. Expect I’ll keep writing, testing, and making course corrections. Knowledge acquired from the ground up sticks with me. Feels like I know it by heart.

Hmm. That sounds an awful lot like praise for the process from an impatient, results-oriented, change-it-yesterday kind of girl.

Like I said, I continue to learn. Thank God, don’t we all?

Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom!
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:3-6 NLT

Live and Learn by Clint Black, a gentleman of country music.

What are you learning?

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Summer Collection: J Crew, a Dress, and a Dog

Desiree, a salesperson at my go-to store, once said of the J Crew design team, “They don’t disappoint.”

Ella dress in porcelain paisley, jcrew.com

She’s spot-on. I mean, look at this dress.

Yes, I borrowed the photo from the J Crew site without asking permission. It’s fair use since I’m commenting on it. But please, Jenna Lyons, charge me with piracy.

Throw me in J Crew jail where I’ll be forced to wear navy blue and white reverse sailor stripes and work in exotic locales like Tanzania, Bali, and New Zealand.

Sentence me to a lifetime of schoolboy blazers, cotton capris with a hint of stretch, and vintage V-neck tees in Byzantine blue, heather graphite, and the perfect shade of bright plum circa spring 2010.

Now about this dress named Ella. Exquisite. Prettiest thing I’ve seen since last month’s J Crew catalog. Oozes summertime when the living is easy.

If you read this blog, you know my dog’s name is Ella. Perhaps Jenna Lyons has been reading this blog, too, and she’s been inspired.

“See that little dog Ella?” I can hear her telling the crew at the Crew. “Who owns a creature of such intelligence, taste, and style? Feel the epistle. Inhabit the epistle. Express the epistle!”

Ella dog in wheaten fur

Voilà. Out comes the Ella dress in porcelain paisley. Named after my dog. And a steal at only… $298?!

Why do you do this to me, Jenna?

How could you design a dress for me at the end of the traditional spring-summer shopping season when my clothing budget is as dry as the sun-scorched earth of Al Gore’s inconvenient truth?

How could you introduce it in May—the month of Mother’s Day gifts, graduations, and summer camp deposits? How could you name it after my dog then price it oh so high above me?

This is one reason J Crew is successful. Besides quality, design, color, and hipness factor, J Crew appeals to those of us in the masses as attainable and out of reach at the same time.

That, and they steal writers’ dogs’ names for their dresses.

A girl’s gotta dream.

Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:14 NIV

Tempted by Squeeze.

How do you keep your idols at bay?

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Field Trip to Visit the Media Moguls

Tomeka Forrest Bostic and Stephanie Jersey Bailey

It’s time again for another blog-cation. Today we go to the headquarters of Vyzion Entertainment where I’m posting as a guest writer.

Vyzion is a gutsy start-up that aims to bust open the marketplace of ideas for entertainment and talent.

Stephanie and Greg Bailey founded Vyzion Entertainment in 2009 as an independent record label. In 2011, the Baileys joined forces with my friend Eric Bostic and his wife Tomeka. They expanded the company by adding Vyzion Radio as a platform for independent artists and an affordable advertising venue for small businesses.

Greg describes Vyzion Radio as “international, free, public radio.”

Greg Bailey

The company is on-air 24/7 with listeners in more than 200 countries and 2,200 cities from India to Los Angeles to Detroit to their home base in North Carolina.

Vyzion DJs are not limited to a single genre like traditional radio. They are free to play the music the listeners want to hear including independent artists and DJ mixes. Bailey foresees Vyzion as a channel to introduce new music to the world.

“I want the station to be for everybody,” said Bailey.

Eric Bostic

He and Eric served in the U.S. military and strongly believe in freedom of the press, unhindered by corporate or government influence. They work to keep Vyzion self-sustaining and independent as the company grows.

Vyzion recently began to offer “exposure without exploitation” to modeling talent like Zewdi Reda Miss Ethiopia and to writers.

Guess which category I’m in.

Supermodels, you’re safe for now. I’m posting as the blogger with a topic most wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole: Truth, Grace, and NC Amendment One.

catch the Vyzion

We can try to ignore the elephant in the room or we can listen, discuss, and figure out what to do. Same way we can continue to be spoon-fed what traditional media wants to give us or we can bust open the marketplace with new ideas.

Catch the Vyzion, click over, scroll down to read my post, and let the music play.

Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 NIV

Let the Music Play by Shannon because here we play what the people want, too.

Go to Vyzion now. Tell Eric I sent you. 

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The Fear of Summer: Romancing the Routine

mom, I spy your routine!

Summer evokes a mild case of panic in me.

Oh, sure, there’s the good stuff. Long, sunny days. Outdoor swimming pools. Vacation plans. Quality time with the kiddo. But if I learned anything in all my years of schooling, it’s that summer is synonymous with the loss of routine.

I was one of those strange children who didn’t like weekends. More at home with the rhythm and clear expectations of the classroom, I skidded toward summer break on a downward spiral. And I know I’m not alone.

We Type As like our routines. Changes in THE PLAN are exciting, but they can be frightening at the same time.

Maybe you’re not Type A. But maybe you’re a parent. Maybe—I’m guessing here, you and your children thrive on some semblance of structure.

Come on, moms and dads. Back me up on this. Doesn’t the thought of filling all those unstructured hours of your child’s summer vacation strike a wee bit o’ fear in even the bravest of super parent hearts?

Ridiculous, I know. Yet the fear of summer lingers. It nabbed me yesterday morning in yoga class. I like my yoga instructors Grace and Boomer. I’m comfortable in this routine, this respite from the stress of relocation, motherhood, and what to cook for dinner. I don’t want to give it up.

But how will I continue to do yoga when my son’s out of school for the summer? What will I do with him during class? Turn him loose to run wild through the YMCA? Sit him in front of the Wii for an hour? What if he wanders out to the pool alone? What if (insert catastrophe)?

runs with shovel

And how will I blog this summer? When will there be time? Who will read it? What about the other projects I want to pursue? What if I miss all the opportunities? What if I wake up in September and they’re ALL GONE? What if the world ends tomorrow? What if (insert catastrophe)?

The only way to roll with the changes is one step at a time. One season at a time. That’s why they usually don’t happen all at once. Thank You, Lord.

I’ll take a cue from yoga. Follow my breath. Put my shoulders back and down. Let myself feel grounded. Take a moment to be thankful for another day.

Then I’ll put on my sunscreen and forward march into summer.

The day is Yours, and Yours also the night;
You established the sun and moon.
It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth;
You made both summer and winter. Psalm 74:16-17 NIV

Dear Routine,
Though we’ve got to say good-bye for the summer, darling, I promise you this: I’ll send you all my love every day in a letter Sealed with a Kiss.

How do you roll with the changes in your routine?

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Filed under family & friends, humor, life

Una Benedizione

“We Italians have a saying,” said my cousin last month at Aunt Leah’s funeral. “An Italian mother is una benedizione.”

mother’s day may 13

Una benedizione. A blessing. A benediction.

What does that mean? The dictionary gives me several ideas.

A benediction is an utterance of good wishes.

Her words, her wishes for her children, are good. Even those awash in worry or irritation, even those carry compassion. She means well.

“Have a good day at school.”

“You can do it.”

“Get down from there!”

“Wear your coat to stay warm.”

“Wear your sunscreen so you don’t burn.”

“Wear your seatbelt in case there’s an accident.”

“Mamma loves you. Always.”

A benediction is an invocation of divine blessing. 

Silent prayers house the longings of her heart. They stretch over her child as he sleeps. They strain upward and plead with God.

“Lord, bless this child.”

“Lord, save this child.”

“Lord, protect him.”

“Lord, use his abilities as You see fit. As You made him.”

“Lord, help me be a good mom to him.”

A benediction is a service to bless the congregation; a ceremony to set things aside for sacred use, as a church, vestments, or bells.

She prepares imperfect sanctuaries for a noisy congregation and presides over a ceremony of the unseen. The sacred service of things taken for granted.

clematis

She wraps children in blankets, birthday presents in paper, boo-boos in bandaids. She feathers the nest with goodnight kisses and turns the pages of bedtime stories. She walks the night feeding a baby, comforting a sick child, or waiting for a teenager to make curfew.

She washes and folds mounds of laundry and lays out vestments for her charges. She cleans up rooms, dishes, and misunderstandings. She completes a task only to see five more erupt into chaos.

She answers endless questions. She faces the fire of a two-year-old and the swagger of a sixteen-year-old. She weeps with those shunned, disappointed, and bereft.

Her orchestra is populated by pots and pans. She directs the sweet, ringing bells of small feet and voices. She conducts personalities like instruments du jour: recorders, pianos, saxophones, violins, trumpets, booming drums. She oversees a heady score—the allegro and adagio of raising another human being.

A benediction is the state of being blessed. A mercy or benefit.

She bestows a state of blessing on her children that remains after she is gone. Though the official benediction may come at the end, it’s been conferred throughout the service.

Mi manchi, Mamma. Sie stata una benedizione per me.

I miss you, Mom. You were a blessing to me.

The Aaronic Benediction

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you
and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26 NIV

Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer who sings and pulls heartstrings.

How has your mom been una benedizione to you?

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Year of the Tiger: A Love Story

Year of the Tiger loved Year of the Dog the first time he saw her.

lanterns

He pursued her until she loved him back. They were inseparable. They married and ran away from home.

Time passed slowly. Finally they were blessed with one child, Year of the Monkey, a Solitaire.

Monkey made the days and nights seem longer, while the months escaped into years.

Tiger and Dog ran away from home again, this time taking Monkey with them.

They are best, these three, when they pull together. Best when inseparable.

The work of living takes Tiger far away sometimes. It cannot be avoided.

Year of the Dog and Year of the Monkey become a pair. They eat Chinese food or pizza and wait for Year of the Tiger to fly back to them.

Today there will be no waiting. Today they are home, all three. Together they will eat cake. They will feast on the decades and dream of the future.

Happy Birthday, Year of the Tiger. The Lord has been good to us.

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as You have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May your deeds be shown to Your servants,
your splendor to their children.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:14-17 NIV

A gift: Perfect Moment by Darden Smith. Love don’t travel in straight lines.

Birthdays are a natural time to take stock of our lives. What’s the state of things in your world today? What or who can you celebrate?

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