30 Days of Thanks-Day 10

Playing catchup again-this week has been insanely busy! So I’ll keep this one short and sweet. I am so thankful for music and being able to teach music at my church. I’m no expert, to be sure. But I remember what my teachers shared with me along the way, and it made music such a vital, vibrant part of who I am. As stressful as it can sometimes be, it is also deeply rewarding. Bonus: the kids shower me with hugs!

Do you remember the movie August Rush? One of the standout lines from it goes like this:”You know what music is? God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in this universe, a harmonic connection between all living beings, every where, even the stars.” Love that.

One of my favorite songs ever is What a Wonderful World, especially the version by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. (Of couse, I also adore Louis Armstrong’s, too so either one is a winner!) Here’s a LINK to a video of this song that I made featuring my favorite people-my family!

So my advice for you is to slow down today and listen to music that inspires you and motivates you. Or makes you want to dance. You could always sing along in the car despite the weird looks you might get!

30 Days of Thanks-Day 7 & Wordless Wednesday

30 Days of Thanks-Day 7

Since I was in an all day CLE (continuing legal education), I didn’t feel much like blogging last night. But then I thought how fortunate I am that I have a career that I enjoy. That I can help people buy houses, refinance, or get an equity line. When I set my sights on law school, I never envisioned a career in real estate. It was always the glamour of trying cases or the thrill of crafting a brief that blew away the other side that got my blood pumping. And now? Frankly, trial and appellate work don’t impress me much. I’ll take control over my schedule so I can balance work with being a mom over having to appear in court at the drop of a hat. And what thrills me now is writing for my blog instead of drafting a legal brief. I’m not abandoning those skills. On the contrary, I write, read and persuade daily.

So today I give thanks for having the ability to practice law AND still maintain quality time with family. For my career path, which has been paved with many wonderful mentors along the way. And did I mention how happy I am to have passed the Bar exam the first time?!

What are YOU thankful for today? I would love to hear…

30 Days of Thanks-Day 6

I am thankful for my friends. There are those that have know me FOREVER…and know how to keep things in the vault so to speak. (Suzanne, that’s you, ya know!) Dear friends from USC whose friendships I treasure to this day. Former roommates, classmates, and sorority sisters (ΑΔΠ). Church friends (including the awesome staff), Oakbrook friends, law school “survivors.” Seriously, you would call it that too after 3 years followed by a 3 day Bar exam!. Fellow orchestra geeks (like band geeks only more snooty). The Muskies– aka my adoptive brother and sister–love you guys. Recent friends I have made via Facebook and Twitter. And of course my Disney buddies (especially the Pink Ladies, who supported each other through 2 years of Moms Panel applications-and aren’t giving up on the dream.) My life is richer from knowing each of you.

One of my favorite shows was The West Wing. I didn’t always agree with its politics, but I loved the storytelling. Leo and Josh both work for the Bartlett White House, so they are colleagues but also friends. Josh is struggling with post traumatic stress from a shooting attempt. So Leo tells him this story that sums up friendship:

“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.'”

Thanks for being my “jump in the hole” friends.



30 Days of Thanks–Day 5

Since today is Sunday, I would like to give thanks for my awesome church, Tyger River Presbyterian. (You can find out all about it HERE).When I think of my church, I think of the words genuine, authentic, and cracked pots. Yes, I meant that last part: we are all flawed, but beautiful just the same in our imperfections. I love being a part of a community that accepts me, warts and all. And when someone asks me how my day is going, I can unload on them and not respond with the pat “I’m fine” response. (Lucky them). Plus, I have the added bonus of serving on our church staff, albeit as a volunteer Director of Children’s Music. But what better way to channel my inner kid and my love of music at the same time? Win-win. So I’m singing the praises of Tyger River today-and hopefully you have a place like Tyger River, too!

30 Days of Thanks-Day 4

OK so I’m technically one day behind on this (typical of me) so I’m probably going to post 3 this weekend instead of 2. To make things easier on myself, I’m going to revisit something I wrote a few years ago. Kicking it old school, you might say. Oprah Winfrey asked her viewers to send in their proposal stories for a “Most Romantic Proposal” show. I just HAD to share mine. Here’s what I submitted and this is one of many reasons why I am so thankful for my husband…

My husband Clay blew me away almost 18 years ago when he proposed. My family had planned a Christmas vacation to Jamaica-a first for us. Little did any of us know that Clay was going to show up at our resort! He arrived in Jamaica and took a cab ride from hell to his hotel (during which the cab driver stopped at a house to pick up a “delivery”). Clay had tried to book a room at our resort but was told it was full. So he checked into his hotel, threw his bag down, and then WALKED at night in Jamaica a mile from his hotel to our resort with the ring in his shoe. Oh yeah-he also had a bottle of wine I brought back from France that we said we would have when we got engaged.

Of course, the resort didn’t allow him to come in. They paged my parents, who arrived at the front desk and were shocked! Then the manager of the resort asked how much time Clay needed to propose (he clearly lacked a romantic soul). Since Clay and I first met at the neighborhood swimming pool, my family diverted me to the resort pool. Suddenly, Clay jumped out. My first reaction? “What are you doing here?” After shedding the light on his purpose by asking me to marry him, I squealed yes. While my dad arranged for Clay to get a room at our resort (funny how one came open when he plunked down a credit card), Clay went back to his hotel to get his bag. You won’t believe what was on the floor-animal manure! Gives new meaning to the term “roach motel.” It’s a miracle he made it to our resort safely that night, and his determination and desire to make our proposal so unique is something I will always cherish.

30 Days of Thanks-Day 3

Today I give thanks for my loving grandmother, Oma. This is the anniversary of her passing 22 years ago. Ordinarily, I would rather celebrate her birthday, but I have been thinking about her all day. It seems fitting to be thankful for the woman who was more generous of heart and spirit than anyone I’ve ever known. She introduced me to Reader’s Digest vocabulary builders and her recipes (like her delicious congealed salad). We performed more song-and-dance numbers in her living room than you see on Glee. (Think the entire Annie musical and songs like Flashdance and Footloose-oh boy!) My memory of her pronunciation of the word “beautiful” (Bee-You-Ti-Ful) spreads a silent smile and simultaneously evokes a small tear. One final story: while vacationing at Lake Lure, our pontoon boat suddenly stopped. While my dad struggled to fix it, another boat approached to help. Seeing that they had a son about my age, my Oma shouts, “Sherry, show yourself!” We all broke down in laughter!

Oma, the personification of grace and poise and true Christian love-I couldn’t have had a better role model. If I could only be a fraction of the woman you were, it would be a life well lived.

30 Days of Thanks-Day 2

Today I am especially thankful for my mom. Maybe it’s because we spent the day together, shopping and having lunch (in between my doctor’s appointment), but it was a perfect reminder how important our moms are in our lives. The photo was taken on our girls’ weekend to Charleston, and we look all smiles here. Who knew that a few short hours later, I would almost faint on the street and get incredibly sick! But I was in great hands-who better to take care of me than the woman who had done it all her life?

Come to think of it, we’ve had some outlandish trips together-I’ll never forget our jaunt to Atlanta to preview colleges where the accelerator started malfunctioning and I had to drive on I-85 into Atlanta with the cruise control set? (Yes, true story). Or the time we traveled with my parents to St. Croix and she lost her brand new Hook bracelet behind the built-in furniture.

St. Croix Hook bracelet

Blame it on the Bushwhackers (yes, that’s the name of a real drink in St. Croix) You can find the recipe here -and you’ll thank me later!

But my favorite was our family Christmas vacation to Jamaica that got crashed by a certain someone who surprised us all by showing up to propose? Now that’s a separate story entirely-and quite elaborate at that, so I’ll save that one for another day 🙂 Needless to say, I am blessed to have her for my mom! Love you, muz!

30 Days of Thanks: Day 1

I’m bracing myself for my post-Halloween trip to Target today. Because I know what’s waiting for me. Christmas. And I’m not ready for it. Not one bit. Seriously, I want to scream, “Hey, what about Thanksgiving?” Thanksgiving is becoming more and more marginalized in the rush to get commercial Christmas going. Halloween decorations and costumes come down, Christmas trees and ornaments go up. Instead, I am embracing this 30 Days of Thanks so I don’t lose sight of Thanksgiving. Plus, it’s so consistent with a book I recently read, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. What grabbed me from the book jacket-“[h]ow do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark? What is God providing here and now?” The message is clear: take time to give thanks every day and for the simple things, too. If only we could practice this 365 days (as Voskamp’s book suggests), and not just 30 days! Oh well-I’ll aim for 30 days and see how it turns out. No promises, though 😉

So for Day One, I would like to give thanks for the men and women serving in our military. No, I’m not an Army brat and we are not a military family (despite my husband occasionally being offered the military discount because of his uber-short hair). I don’t watch Army Wives. In fact, I’m about as clueless as a person can be on the armed forces. (Shame on me) So why lead off with this, you might ask? On our flight back from Disney last week, Delta did something interesting: they handed out paper and asked if we would write a letter to our servicemen and servicewomen. Granted, Delta’s motives may be to clean up their PR mess from the summer when they charged returning troops from Afghanistan baggage fees. Regardless, just taking time to stop and think about the sacrifices of our military personnel was humbling. In a “why DON’T I appreciate them more and take time to do so” kind of way. I’ll admit it, I don’t think about them enough. Aside for praying generally about their safety and protection, I forget about them. Guilty as charged. I needed to be reminded of their generosity and bravery at 30,000 feet.

Tearjerk moment: My daughter also wrote a note, and I think she did a pretty fabulous job. So thank you to all those who assure the freedoms we so richly enjoy. For the safety and comfort we feel in our homes. And the sacrifices they and their families make year round. God bless our military!

Mojo, Party of One, Your Table Is Ready

October-I love ya, but you’ve got to slow down. I love staying busy but this is over the top. Maybe it’s because we have our Disney trip soon, but right now I am struggling with the juggling. Work, kids’ activities, family stuff-I love it all, but it seriously cuts into my blogging. Yeah, yeah, it’s a lame excuse but it’s true. (Kinda like “my dog ate my homework” only this time, the dog did). And if I’m being completely honest, I have been uninspired lately (for lots of reasons). Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes to keep a blog fresh, inspiring, and REAL. I want that so badly but wanting it doesn’t make it so. And recent disappointments have left me questioning my writing abilities. I think my mojo up and left me. And I don’t like it. I want my mojo back.

Enter Stage Left: our Sunday School lesson. We were discussing suffering and how we should learn to welcome suffering because of what it can do for our faith. On a day where I was pretty low, this was not what I wanted to hear. Seriously, who wants to say, “Pile it on! I can take it!”? And then my friend, Gerry starts talking about how we all want to be more than mediocre, and I about lose it in class. Because I had been asking God the same question a few hours earlier. Wow-it’s something to be caught offguard in a moment where you really feel God speaking. (No need for the Veggie Tales Jonah to come out and say, “This is a message from the Lord.”) After class, I thanked Gerry for the lesson and told hom how desperately I needed to hear it. Know what he said? He had trouble coming up with a lesson for that day and it literally was Saturday night when he stumbled on this one. Chill bumps, seriously.

Stage Right was my devotional the next night: “Trust me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them. Relax…when you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient: to be adequate without My help.” -Sarah Young, Jesus Calling. Then I started to connect the dots. I need to get out of my own way and let God be in charge. Not just in words but for real. So I left my pity party for one and didn’t look back. Sometimes it’s not so easy. I’m not saying it will work for every occasion. But with these two subtle hints, He got my attention. And that’s all I needed.

Post Script: After writing this post, I happened upon one by my friend, Ami that was perfect timing for me to read. Click here to see what I’m talking about. Ami has several blogs and I highly recommend them to you. Of course, she is a fellow Disney nut, so that makes her tops in my book! But beyond that, Ami has a distinct voice and wonderful writing style-so go check my Disney girlfriend out!!!

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