Archive for March, 2005

“Do not be anxious about anything….” Philippians 4:6-7

I’ll be travelling for a few days, so thought I’d leave you with some wishes for peace, tranquility, chillaxation. Have some tea; take your meds; listen to some lovely music; get outside; read something inspirational.

Keep me in your prayers and good thoughts — I’m voluntarily going into a bizarre, potentially dangerous situation with people of varying degrees of mental disorder and dysfunction. Oh no, nothing to do with my clients, they’re lovely. I’m going away to visit family!

Thank you for visiting me here. I am so tickled by how kind and smart and funny my visitors are. And now I want to do something nice for you. May I recommend a most delightful spot for you to visit? I love to stop in at Summer’s place. I go there purt’ near every day for notahamsandwich. I went to visit Summer the first time, after she commented at dooce.com. I don’t even remember what she said, but I thought, “Whoa, that chick’s crazy.” So, I went to see, and she is crazy indeed, and I love her. Go see Summer and give her some bloglove. (Do I have to spell it out? Love in the currency of blogworld is COMMENTS. Go SAY something to Summer.)

God bless you. Be sweet to each other. See you Tuesday.


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I stand by my assessment of this guy…

I’ve been taking some email crap about my choice for Sexiest Man Alive. To really get the full Aaron experience, you have to hear him sing. It’s not about appearance so much as it is the combination of appearance and voice. And you have to know this about me: I am an auditory person. My preferred, dominant way of experiencing the world around me is through sound. Music, laughter, nature….all about the sound. There, that should take care of the controversy.

Being such an auditory person, if I ever meet you and talk with you, I will remember the sound of your voice, and I will remember what you said to me. There is a pretty good chance that I will not remember much about what you looked like. Unless I saw you through binoculars from a great distance at an outdoor concert, while you were singing with your brothers, and that sax was blowing, and you obviously still pump some serious iron, I could tell because you were wearing that denim-jacket-with-the-sleeves-ripped-out, and I stared at your biceps until the backs of my knees were sweating, and then I just stopped that! because it’s just not right to stand there staring at a particular body part like that… Well, yea, if that were the case, then I might remember what you looked like;)

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10 Things About Me

I’ve read lots of bloggers’ “100 Things About Me” lists. I’m a really introspective person, but I just don’t have 100 things. At least not all at once. So I’m going to take it slow…here are the first 10, in no particular order:

1. I’ve been married once. Sometimes, just to be ornery, I describe Jif as “my first husband.” (Cue Barry White: my first, my last, my everything…)

2. My “formative” (i.e., “school”) years were spent in thoroughly integrated elementary and middle schools in Delaware, and in a white-as-Easter-shoes high school in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. This juxtaposition of cultures gave me whiplash.

3. Jif and I waited 13 years for LG. That was not by our choice.

4. The name of my blog has been, as it says, motto, mantra, future epitaph — and also my nickname, for years. It comes from what I say, in a tired-laughing-whiney voice to Jif, as I head-butt him in the chest after I have agreed/offered, once again, to do one-too-many things. I believe the weekend that the nickname was coined (and LG made the accompanying bracelet for me) was when I had just had a large book-swap party for LG, followed the next day by leaving on a beach vacation, but preceded immediately by directing and teaching a week of Vacation Bible School, which was preceded immediately by a large adult cook-out. Plus work, etc., etc. The country song of the same name came long after I had the nickname. I would sue that curly-haired singer for stealing my name; but he’s cute — the curly hair and all.

personalized jewelry designed by LG

5. Oh, speaking of cute: People Magazine always gets it wrong with that “Sexiest Man Alive” thing. The correct answer is Aaron Neville.

6. I have attended the National Storytelling Festival about 20 times. And I hope to attend more.

7. I am an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). At least until they read this blog.

8. My very favorite food is steamed crabs.

9. I am not a big boxing fan. I am an animal lover. But for some reason, the one thing that ALWAYS makes me laugh, even when I’ve got the blues, is a boxing kangaroo. I got one for Christmas:

In this corner, in the polka-dot ribbon, MATILDA!

10. See #2, above. I like to think I can hold my own with grammar, syntax, vocabulary, pronunciation an’ whatnot. I have a bachelor’s degree in communication. But when I am relaxed, with those who know me best, my “casual” language is a cross between ghetto and downhome Southern. Think Snoop Dogg meets Dr. Phil. Yea, it’s that heinous. (And yes, I have Shizzolated my blog.)

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Since I started this blog, my Sunday posts have been minimalist. Just a photo, a scripture reference, and a wish-you-well. But today is Easter. The day that changes everything. So, while I don’t have a sermon, I do have some reflections, some things I’m thinking about today.

Many years ago, just before we left work on a Good Friday, a Jewish friend and co-worker came to my desk, sat down next to me and said, “Happy Easter.”

“Thanks, Ellen,” I said, sincerely.

“No, I really mean it,” she said, looking me in the eye and putting a hand on my arm.

“OK…I knew you meant it…what’s up?”

She explained, “I know your faith is important to you, but I never realized, until this week, because I’m dating this Christian guy, I never realized what Easter really means. I always thought Christmas was the big deal to you guys. But now I realize, for you, it’s all about Easter. Without Easter, you don’t even have a religion.”

I had never pared it down to that basic level, but my Jewish friend was right. The Resurrection, for those who choose to believe, is what tells us that Jesus was who He said He was, is who He says He is. And it’s what tells us that God made a way for us to get home.

I recently heard an African-American pastor describing God’s willingness to enter “our” world in the person of Jesus. He said, “Our God loved us enough to come see about us.” I realize that theologically, a lot more happened than that. But that sentiment, perhaps borrowed from Diana Ross and the Supremes, really resonates for me. I’m so grateful when someone cares enough to come see about me. To come to me. Where I am.

There’s a song by Chris Rice that talks about what Jesus did. Part of the refrain is, “Sometimes love has to drive a nail into its own hand.” That violent, gruesome image disturbed me at first. But the more I listened, the more I knew the truth in that lyric. Not just for Jesus, but for all of us. Sometimes love means you do the painful, you do the frightening, you do the impossible. Like responding kindly to a colicky baby in the 10th hour of nonstop crying. Like giving birth. Like moving across the country because the one you love is following a dream that takes you both there. Lots of ways love drives a nail into its own hand. I’d like to share the song with you. It talks about “the way we used to be.” I’m not entirely sure we were ever much better than we are now; but just a few minutes of the evening news confirms for me that we’re now pretty much a mess.

Sometimes Love, by Chris Rice

Is our world spinning backwards?
What has brought about this change?
Can’t you see that people aren’t the same?

I wish I were dreamin’
and could wake up from this sleep,
and find us all the way we used to be

‘Cause the love that used to be is dyin’
Is anybody even tryin’?
And I don’t know how, I don’t know why
But somethin’ in my soul is cryin’ (listen…)

Sometimes love has to drive a nail into its own hand

One pair of hands broke some bread and washed some feet
Opened eyes and soothed an angry sea
Belonged to a man who could see our deepest needs,
And showed us love the way it has to be

‘Cause he knew the price that love requires
And he laid down his own desires
He stretched out his hands to save his friends
He said no other love is higher

Sometimes love has to drive a nail into its own hand

Love can change us, love can make a way
Only love can change us, love can make a way

Wandering around blogworld this week, a lot of people are talking about Easter and its traditions. I read blogs of Christians, Jews, agnostics, probably an atheist or two, and perhaps other religions which weren’t identified in the posts that I read. And I know a variety of people visit me here. If you are celebrating the Resurrection today, you’re pretty much already in party mode. It’s a life-changing, world-changing day for you. And if you’re not celebrating the Resurrection, if you believe and think differently than I about this day, I especially want to say to you, I’m glad you’re visiting, I’m thankful you’ve read this far. And even without the beliefs that accompany Easter, may you know the spirit of Easter — love that comes to see about you; forgiveness that doesn’t keep a record of your wrongs; a fresh start, a new beginning every morning; and a way to get home. Peace to you.

He is risen, indeed.Post

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…make your own…

Coconut Nests

1 1/2 cups melted chocolate chips, semi-sweet or milk
2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
50-60 mini jelly beans

Makes 15 to 18 nests

Mix melted chocolate and coconut. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper. Make an indentation in center of each nest with a spoon (OK, that’s so not true; you can drop with the spoon, but you really have to shape with your fingers, and make an indentation with your thumb). Press 2 or 3 jelly beans into each. Chill till set. (If you want more than 1 batch, make them separately, because the chocolate can begin to harden while you’re making all those nests.)

Put them in pretty Easter containers and give some of them away. Don’t eat them all, that’s not good for you.

Now, go and check out this Hot Hip-Hop Bunny action and then come back and I’ll tell you why I like it so much. Go on. And click “back” to come back. (WAIT!!!! If you’re at work, turn down the volume first. OK, now go.)

OK. First, I like it because it makes me smile and bounce. Second, did you see the Easter B’s shoes? I have those same pink Chuck Taylors. Just like the green Chucks I had in 8th grade. Yes, I’m 40something. Yes, I wear them. You wanna make something of it? This happened last summer:

Ms. Snooty Snarklebutt (not her real name): Oh, look at your shoes. You must be really confident, to wear shoes like that.

Susie (big-smiling): Well, yes, Snarklebutt, I guess I am.

But that wasn’t entirely true. Sometimes I’m really confident, but sometimes I’m not a bit. So even though it wasn’t technically honest, I still thought it was a better response than the first one that came to mind, which was to push her down the stairs and say, “WTF is that supposed to mean?” So even though I sort of lied, I still sort of think it was the right thing to do, because we were at a children’s function. At church.

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“I’m comin’ out, so you’d better get this party started!”

Here’s what y’all said (more or less; your comments are in bold):

Gumby, everyone’s favorite former little green slab of clay, received an invitation to the ball. The very same ball that Cinderella attended. As he got ready for the most exciting night of his life, he took special care to wave the stench from his freshly shaved pits, and to perform a breast self-exam. Wanting to look his very sharpest, he took a long time looking for his nipple ring, although he never did find it. Do you have any idea what that DOES to a person?! Our good green friend did not know that as he played joyfully in his Air Shower, some sort of hidden shower cam was recording his every move.

At the ball, all heads turned when Gumby, who is quite a celebrity, entered the ballroom. He was asked to contribute to the evening’s entertainment by singing backup for Diana Ross and the Supremes’ song: Stop in the Name of Love. And he happily agreed. He also belted out a hearty Happy Days are Here Again! before wowing everyone by showing the world that he can pat his head and rub his tummy at the same time.

Next, Gumby was invited to take part in a martial arts demonstration. This was a piece of cake, or even COOKIES for Gumby, who had been diligently practicing karate and Kung Fu Fighting.

Then it was time for dancing. He began by slow dancing with an imaginary friend much taller than he is, first waltzing, and then reminiscing with The Safety Dance and a little Vogue-ing. As he showed his skilz on the dance floor, he checked out the competition, looking at the other hotties in their skintight green suits and thinking … nice package. Just then, he spotted his old pony pal Pokey, and the next thing you know, he’s waving to an old acquaintance he just ran into, and is pulling out his cameraphone from his breastpocket to record the moment, but oh HORROR! – Gumby forgot to put on clothes! Silly boy. Wait, what’s going on over there? Lovely Hawaiian ladies are giving hula demonstrations and passing out leis. Gumby grabs his friend, Pokey (just as he’s about to jump into Cinderella!) and leads him over to the Hawaiian ladies, a smooth move that will surely get him laid. That is, lei-ed.

Once they’ve been lei-ed, the old friends team up to demonstrate their oral skilz, first, reciting an oath (On my honor, I will try, to do my duty…) then, as Gumby is importing the fourth ballet position into modern, interpretive dance, Pokey narrates the point in the story which, if it were written, would read:

I am the swan,
I swim your polluted
Waters. Poisoned
by Man, by Machine,
I shall die, now,
most symbolically.
And the
tears of my ancestors
will rain down
from the heavens
and the universe
will weep for sorrow,
for joy,
for me.

As everyone applauds the magnificent oratory, an evil voyeuristic therapist steps forward with the videotape that was recorded by the shower cam, and announces, “I have here the episode of Entertainment Tonight where Gumby unveiled his new pec implants!”

Chaos broke out in the ballroom. The voices! The voices! Make them stop!!!! But Gumby was cool. He tipped his imaginary cowboy hat, and Pokey smiled knowingly, thinking, “He’s getting ready to open up his green can of whoop-ass and let loose with some major kung-fu action.” And he did just that, sending the evil voyeuristic therapist on his way. Pokey yelled after him, “You should know better!”

Everyone was so relieved, that they spontaneously began a Gumby-song-sing-along and someone was even generous enough to bring the box to the sing-along. Cookie box. Cookies.

I was ready to leave the ball by that time, and Gumby agreed, “I’m with you, Susie.” It was at that moment that I knew I wanted Gumby’s image to represent me in my blog profile photo. He just has that oh so fashionable manner that one might see when meeting the queen. He has the ability to greet in both a common and royal manner. I knew that his was the kind of smile, the kind of wave that would someday prompt a visitor to say, “Gumby is waving ‘hello’ to all the people that visit your blog. He makes us feel welcome and happy.” I think it speaks well of Gumby. Well done, Gumby.


And well done to you, blog friends. This was so much fun. I feel like I had a little party and you all dropped in, and I got to spend a minute or two with each of you. Thank you for visiting and playing. And if you are a first-time visitor, please fill out a visitor’s card and drop it in the offering plate – oh, no, wait, wrong crowd.

Y’all come back, now, ya heah?

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There has been some discussion, through comments and email, about what Gumby is doing in my profile photo. Please let me know what YOU think Gumby is up to. Leave a comment. I’ll let you know after a while what most visitors think:)

Gumby is:
A. Performing a breast self-exam
B. Salsa dancing
C. Practicing for the arm-pit-farting competition
D. Having “the BIG ONE”
E. Reciting an oath (On my honor, I will try, to do my duty…)
F. Other — you tell me!

And as always, your answers say more about you than they do about me or Gumby!

(UPDATE: Would you like to see more Gumby? Click here to sign the “Bring Back Gumby!” petition.)

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He steals the palm from a church-going child…

…and he chews it up. Like a heathen.

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Sunday Post ~ Winterpast

Sunday Post ~ Winterpast

See! The winter is past; . . . Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come . . .
Song of Songs 2:11-12

I hope this is true for you, in your garden and in your heart.

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In the various places where my psychotherapy practice is advertised, one of the taglines in my ad is “sliding fee scale available.” Therapy is ungodly expensive, for most people, and insurance doesn’t cover nearly enough. For example, most insurance plans, even the good ones, don’t cover marriage counseling, if the therapist is ethical and actually bills it as marriage counseling. I am grateful that my practice is busy enough, and that my husband is well-employed enough, that I am able to reduce rates for many people who would not otherwise be able to afford therapy. I have absolutely no qualms, no hesitation, no resentment about doing this. I felt called to my work almost as I imagine a minister feels called to his or her work, and out of gratitude for that calling, and absolute love of my job, I am happy to adjust my fees when the need arises.

I used to work in agencies where clients seeking reduced fees were required to bring in tax returns, bills, and all manner of personal documentation to prove that they were, in fact, as financially strapped as they claimed to be. I don’t require anything like that. That’s invasive and embarrassing. I use an honor system; whatever you tell me about your finances is what we’ll work with in negotiating the fee. And frankly, I have faith that the clients who end up on my couch are the ones that God intends end up there, and I’ll let God work out the finances. There are those people who happily, easily pay the ungodly hourly rates which are reasonable and customary in our area, and they help balance out those who must pay a lower rate or nothing at all. It all works out.

Today, we helped some neighbors move. We like them a lot, and it was a very enjoyable job, just spending the time with them, and it wasn’t terribly sad because they’re still nearby. But, it was exhausting, as moving always is. So as it’s getting near dinner time, we’re both too tired to cook, can’t even think of what we’d cook if we weren’t too tired, you know how that is. So we decide we’ll go out. Last week, Jif and I went out for an almost shamefully expensive, extravagant meal. It was our anniversary celebration, so we splurged. Tonight, we didn’t want to splurge. We wanted good, quick and cheap. Hmmmm, where to go.

“Oh, I know just where! Let’s try that new place over by LG’s pediatrician’s office. I have these new marriage counseling clients, and they said they go there every single Sunday, they love it so much. Plus, it must be really inexpensive, because they don’t have much money. I’m seeing them for half my usual rate, because that’s all they can afford.” Jif says sounds good to him, so we three stroll into this nice, new “grille,” ready to eat good an’ cheap. BUT…

The lowest entree price on the freakin’ menu is $32.00.

Mr. and Mrs. Help-me-i’m-po’ EAT THERE EVERY SUNDAY.

I ordered soup and salad. A phrase I’ve recently seen another blogger use comes to mind … “that shit ain’t right.”

I’m just sayin’ . . .

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