Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Year... New Me!

Every new year I always want to make changes.... all the regular ones -- lose weight, get organized, become nicer. But this year I stumbled over a wonderful blog called Advanced Style.  A terrific look at style for women of a certain age by Ari Seth Cohen.  It has suddenly reminded me that it's time to have fun again. Maybe all the recession, and seriousness of the past year had clouded over the fact that I love to have fun and fun is everywhere and doesn't have to be expensive.  And this year fun is starting with my wardrobe.  I have grown tired of basic black. I am breaking out the COLOR.  No more demure understated jewelry - it's time to set free my inner wild child and break out the beads and the bangles.  And maybe wear ALL OF THEM at the same time! One of the great things about getting older is... that I am well past caring about who or what someone may think of me.  I have lived with myself long enough to know that doesn't really matter.  My new role models are Iris Apfel and Lynn Dell and all those other women who are still living joyously well into their nineties!!  So 2013 here I come!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I think it's really exciting when I get a tiny glimpse of what God may have in store for me. My friend Bill Myers recently attended a conference and when he came back he announced to me that it was finally time to rev up the action on our film company Amaris. Apparently we have gotten a DIVINE YES and we are to step into who we really are. It's amazing what can happen when you feel like you finally have permission to be who God wants you to be. Suddenly everything starts happening! That's how God works - Suddenly. It doesn't feel so suddenly when you have waited days, weeks, months and years for things to happen. But when that moment comes it does seem to be SUDDENLY.

So much has happened since Bill's announcement. We have interest in two of our kid's properties, potential investors have miraculously appeared. Our web series was featured in the Beverly Hills Film Festival! And all of it - suddenly!

I love this idea of "stepping into" who you are. I remember years ago after I first moved to Los Angeles and had spent two wildly exciting years making my way in the entertainment business, I went back to Florida to visit friends. One of them told me that I had changed. When I asked how, they said it was as if I had become more of who I had always been. It's not like I was different, I was just more of me!

I think that is what happens when you really allow God in your life and follow His lead. It's hard to trust an invisible God. But once you learn how to, it's hard not to trust him. And so I am becoming more of who I already am. God sees the completed me. He is not bound by time. Little day to day stuff...doesn't even register on the eternal space-time continuum. We are so caught up in our hours and minutes that we forget where we are going. God never forgets. He calls us, nudges us, entreats us. He wants us to discover who we are! He wants us to discover the person He created us to be. It is all there in front of us. We just have to realize it and then "be" it. Perhaps the "being" part sounds daunting. But just as we put our clothes on in the morning (hopefully), we can "put on" that person we know we really are. Deep down I think we all know who we are in God's eyes. But perhaps we have just become too tired, or too beaten down. Maybe we have just hit that wall one too many times and quit trying. It's easy to tell ourselves we are too old, too young, too poor, too uneducated, unskilled, too busy, overloaded, trapped. Maybe it feels impossible to be that person that longs to get out of our mundane, mediocre selves. But with God all things are possible. And particularly the things that He has already dreamed for you to be. Start believing if only a little every day that you are the greater, better you that you really are. Start trusting God to guide you into becoming you. Try it for five minutes and see how you feel. Then ten minutes. For an hour. For a day. You may find yourself standing a little taller. Your dream might even look a little more possible.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thank God for Doctors!

I just had surgery last week. I had an umbilical hernia that needed fixing. Nothing as major as a heart bypass. But still surgery. Doctors, nurses, the pinging sound of machines that take your blood pressure and heart rate. The smell of clean. Everyone is professional, positive. Cheerful. You will feel some pressure here... i.e. pain. This may pinch a little. (More pain). You may experience some discomfort after you wake up... ( A LOT OF PAIN). No one ever likes to say the actual word pain. Although there is a little smiley face sign on the wall with little frowny circles that indicate your level of discomfort. I think Yellow is no pain. Purple is SCREAMING. But you are to rate it from one to ten. One being nothing to ten being massive amounts of expletives delivered at high volume. Luckily I was only at 9 right after my procedure and spent most of my stay in the six and seven frowny face range.

I don't recommend surgery if you can avoid it - but thank God we have doctors that know how to do this stuff. My two surgeons were wonderful, funny women. My hernia surgeon, Dr. Leslie Memsic is a tiny, hilarious lady who could easily have a second career as a stand up comic. Dr. Lisa Cassileth, my plastic surgeon is a gorgeous willowy blonde with a down to earth sense of humor. Both of them really helped me feel like this wasn't going to end in some tragic scene shot in the rain with black umbrellas. They made me feel like they knew what they were doing and things would be fine. No promises... just assurance. For years I have had male doctors for most everything that I have needed. Men delivered my two children. My primary care doctor that I have had (and dearly love)for ten years is a man. But this time it was two funny women. Which is exactly what I needed. Maybe there are more women going into medicine these days. I hope so. There have always been women in the nursing profession which in my opinion is the least appreciated most important job in the WORLD. But it was great to have women doctors. Like mom's who are really good with scalpels.

Anyway male or female I completely appreciate the years of training and skill anyone needs to have to take a deep personal look under my skin. If my mechanic messes up... well I might need a new car. If my surgeon makes a mistake... not such a good outcome.

So now as I sit at home recuperating for the next couple of weeks I get to think about how to better take care of my body. Maybe feed it better. Give it more exercise. More rest. Less stress. So that I don't need the services of these highly trained professionals again any time soon. And now, a week after the surgery even the memory of the pain and fear is diminishing. But not my thankfulness. For them. For their gifts and abilities and for God who is the great healer of us all. My doctors can treat the problems but God mysteriously helps my body to heal.
So thank you Dr. Lisa and Dr. Leslie and to all doctors everywhere. And thank you God for providing me with two such wonderful women at precisely the right time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Waiting: Again

So here I am waiting again! Maybe today it will only be for a few hours or it could be for a few more weeks. In all honesty I HATE WAITING. I have learned to adapt to people not being on time. I have learned how to do other things, read, focus on other stuff when some big announcement is coming. But I think the hardest part of waiting is when you are at the last threshold -- when you know you have only one more hurdle to jump over. When there is only one more "T" to cross and "i" to dot. That to me is the absolute worst time. And it doesn't matter what you are waiting for. The cute guy to call you back. The last week before giving birth. The results of a medical test. It's when you know that your answer or the event is GOING to happen but you just don't know when. For me this is when the control madness takes over. I want to do ANYTHING to make the last few hours/seconds/days pass quickly. And of course time just SLOOOOOOWS down. Even when someone is talking to me - it's like their voice has even deepened and slowed. Everything is moving at a snail's pace.

And I am not a slow person. My whole life has been on fast forward -- except for these horrible times of waiting. I read fast, talk fast, make fast decisions, write fast, eat fast. Fast. Quick. Speedy. That's me. Let's go, go go!!! So I guess maybe this waiting business is something God does to me - to help me realize who really is in charge. And it's not me. I have absolutely NO CONTROL over anything except my emotional state at any given time. And I barely can control that. I can't control my husband, children, grandchildren, the traffic, cashiers, bureaucrats, the government. Nobody. No control. Sigh.

So here I am. I can control what I write about. So today it's about waiting. Maybe tomorrow it will be about discovery or having or being. But today my job in my tiny little universe is to WAIT. Thanks God. I will do my best. But I do have a little teeny tiny prayer. Please hurry up!

Monday, August 9, 2010

End of the Summer Blues

Since I am a teacher, my summer is coming to a close very quickly. Next week will begin the whirlwind of the new semester. Lots of meetings, stuff to read, questions to answer and course descriptions to write. And just as that week comes to a close the students arrive. I love my job. I love teaching. I love the students. But that doesn't mean that I won't miss my lovely lazy summer days.

This past summer I had a number of things that I was supposed to do, but because of scheduling and economics I spent my vacation at home.... doing.... nothing. Well, nothing by society's standards. Obviously I must have done something. I sat on my front porch with my granddaughter and watched butterflies. I read her books about dinosaurs and monkeys. I watched reruns with my husband and daughter. I drank lots of stylish Starbuck's coffee, read lots of books, went to the beach, visited my mom and dreamed big dreams.

In my Fall, Spring and Winter life I am too hopelessly over committed to do such luxurious things. If the economy had been more favorable we would have probably traveled more, spent more, shopped more. But this summer was more like my childhood summers of old where money didn't dictate happiness. Joy came from the natural rhythms of life.

Knowing summer was coming to and end, I have been resisting this change back to my workday self for the past two weeks. Dreading it really. I wish it could be summer always. But I guess life can't have an up without a down. We need to be busy so we can understand what calm is. It wouldn't be a vacation if we didn't have something to take a break from. But summer isn't over yet. I do have six more days left. I am going to try to take advantage of them. I am going to stay up late, take a nap and squeeze in at least one more day at the beach! And my husband keeps reminding me that summer is actually not over until September 21st. Hmmm... I wonder if I could just call in sick until then....Probably not. I guess I better get busy and finish relaxing!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Midsummer God Thoughts

P: Hi God.

G: Hi Peggy.

P: I am having a hard day.

G: I can see that. What can I help you with?

P: Well. I don’t know – that’s the problem. I just can’t seem to get my act together, today. I am not eating well. I have been feeling sad. I feel like I want to accomplish something, but there isn’t anything I want to accomplish. I feel old. I feel tired. I feel like life and particularly my summer is slipping away.

G: Why are you feeling like this?

P: Because I am old and tired and summer is slipping away.

G: Hmmm … I guess that depends on your perspective.

P: Well – you have the ability to be omniscient. You KNOW what’s going to happen. I don’t.

G: I don’t mean that kind of perspective. I mean, how you look at each day. Each moment of each day. I think you are trying to live in the future. And that is impossible – at least for you.

P: I am living in the future?

G: Well.. you say summer is slipping away. Summer just is a group of days on a calendar. Summer is a season. You are seeing it all completed and you’re back at the whirlwind of work. You are seeing a string of events instead of a continuous present.

P: Ugh. I don’t know if I like living in the present.

G: Why not?

P: All the stuff I have to really deal with.

G: Now we are getting somewhere

P: Ok. The air conditioner is broken. We don’t have any money. I am waiting to hear about a medical procedure. I am worried about my granddaughter. I gained 3 pounds on vacation. And I haven’t completed all the projects that I had planned for the summer. And those are just the big things. My shoulder hurts. I have phone calls to return. I am not liking my hair color.

G: So what is really wrong is that you are dissatisfied with things as they are today.

P: I guess so.

G: What if you looked at the things that are working. The good things. Perhaps that could help.

P: Like?

G: Ok. Your bills are paid.

P: Ok.

G: The weather is pleasant outside.. so you aren’t suffering for lack of an air conditioner today.

P: Ok.

G: You have me to talk to.

P: Well, yeah.. ok. Don't get me wrong.. I love you. It's just that you're invisible.

G: I know. That makes it hard for a lot of people. But to continue.
You still have a job.. a lot of people don’t.

P: Yes.

G: A job you like.

P: Yes… Ok. You are right.

G: You still have three weeks left to do whatever you want. For some people that is their entire vacation for a year. And of course most of the people on the planet don't have vacations at all.

P: Sigh. I guess when you put it that way...

G: Why don’t you think of some things?

P: All right. My family is healthy.

G: Good.

P: I am healthy.

G: A wonderful thing.

P: I like my wind chimes. They are very soothing.

G: I like wind chimes too. Wind is a cool thing, isn't it? It's invisible too and yet you can see it's effects. Hmmm....

P: Thats a very profound thought.

G: I try my best.

P: Ok. I also like my cats.

G: Cats are one of my favorite inventions.

P: I like my computer I am using right now.

G: Keep going.

P: Its very quiet and peaceful in the house right now and I like the way the sun filters through my sky light into my living room...But I am feeling sad, God.

G: Because you think time is passing by?

P: Yes. It’s like I was 16 a couple of months ago and 35 yesterday. I turn around and another 25 years flew by. Everyone is 20, 30 years older (and look it). Children have grown up, parents have grown older or passed away. Television is in color now. My life has gone too fast.

G: A lifetime really is just a blip in the continuum of eternity. But eternity is really just the present moment forever.

P: Hmm. What if I don't like my present moment?

G: That would be a problem. Luckily the present goes from moment to moment. And you're present can change... in a moment. It's really up to you.

P: It's up to me?

G: Yes, you get to decide how you spend your moments. You can be miserable, looking at all the awful stuff or you can be joyful. Personally, I prefer joyful. Look for the beautiful, the lovely things. They are everywhere.

P: Joyful, huh?

G: Yep.

P: So I can just decide.

G: Yes, that's pretty much it.

P: All right God. I am going to do it. I am going to decide to be joyful for the rest of the day.

G: Good plan. But just try being joyful right now. And let the rest of the day take care of itself.

P: Thank you God. I love you.

G: I love you too Peggy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ahhh... Summer!

          Ever since I started teaching again five years ago,  I have discovered summer again.  Twenty years prior in my business life,  I worked a 60 hour week with a two week a year vacation.  Oh, we got days off for Christmas and New Years and Thanksgiving but the rest of the year... working. Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. Every day... five days a week and weekends to catch up on reading etc.        
        So now that I am back in the educational world I get to rediscover summer. And its a big deal. Since I am a bit of a workaholic, summer is a really important time for me.  My family jokes that when I am on vacation they have to work.  That's because I have plans. Big plans. To clean the back room, get the yard under control, clean out closets. But that isn't what summer should be about. So I am doing something a bit different this year.  This year Summer is about dreaming. Summer is about watching clouds. Summer is about literally smelling the roses.  Summer is sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee and watching the sun set. Summer is reading a completely frivolous novel. Summer is easy unconfining clothes and lemonade (sugar free). Summer is listening to my wind chimes and watching for my favorite white butterflies that visit my flowers. Summer is going to the beach and going to the zoo and going to visit my mom. Summer is about what life should always be about. Living. Enjoying family.  Enjoying the surroundings I have worked so hard to have.  Perhaps the real question is -  why do I wait until summer to enjoy all that life has to offer?  I believe sunsets happen EVERY day. And here in California flowers bloom pretty much year round.  In my neck of the woods there is a Starbucks on every corner and plenty of books to read.  And do I really have to wear stupid uncomfortable clothes to work?

          I remember my summers as a little girl. My parents both were college teachers so we got the long summers off. And it was off to my grandmother's house in Texas.  We would stay for a month.  A month of swimming and ice cream sandwiches. A month of playing out in her huge back yard while the adults sat in lawn chairs talking into early evening.   We sat in the porch swing in the morning and took naps in the afternoon. We ate barbecue, green beans, gumbo.  And we went to the library and checked out lots of books. It was a time when we weren't all so glued to our computers and TV's.

Lately, we have stopped watching so much television in our house.  And I have discovered music again and the outdoors.  Summer does that.  It gets us back in touch with a different time. And I want to relish every moment.  My newest dream is to live summer all year long.  It is a dream. But I am working on it! What were your summer memories. What will your memories be this year?