Friday, May 28, 2010


I would like to welcome you back on this Memorial Holiday week-end. 

Originally, my husband and I are from Memphis, Tennessee. In the early days of our marriage, we thought we were serving God. It was the best we knew how, which I might add, was not so hot. 

Neither of us had much of a role model in terms of active Christian upbringing in our immediate home environments. My saving grace were the summers I spent in a small rural town with my grandparents and "aunties". Serving God and going to church was on the forefront of their agenda. Going to Sunday church was not an option. Plus, I loved it! I felt like a celebrity! 

My Grandfather led the music for Union Methodist Church for 50+years. On occasion, my cousin ( the blonde) and I would sing a duet, "The Old Rugged Cross" from the well-worn hymnals. Actually, she could carry a tune and I just howled as the pianist banged out the melody. This is hysterical, since I do not even sing "Happy Birthday" even to my closest loved ones (based on an actual request). To put it bluntly, I Have ZERO, I repeat ZERO musical ability. In grade school I excelled in speed reading, but made the lowest score in Willow Oak's history in musical aptitude. 

More than anything...when the preacher or Sunday School Teacher would talk about Jesus it would make me tingle all over. I loved sitting on the polished wooden pews, in awe of the arched ceiling, and admiring each stained glass window. I was curious about the engraved names. Who were these people, and who were these people that loved their relatives enough to honor them in this manner?

I loved the tangible feeling of God's presence. I especially loved the pomp and splendor of the Holiday sermons. The artist in me adored any addition of plastic flowers to commemorate each special occasion. 

My husband and his family joined the Episcopal church when he was ten. He said the closest resemblance of his family being Christian in their beliefs was their huge white Bible covered in the original plastic and placed in the middle of the coffee table. He said it was only dusted off on special occasions - either to add the most recent  photograph or another birth/death certificate. He still remembers the sound of the plastic cracking when it was opened. 

We both both knew we needed to go to church somewhere. So as options were eliminated, we decided to attend the small, but cherished, Episcopal church in the heart of midtown Memphis. 

The only thing we knew was; this was the church his mother attended before her death, it was NOT convenient to our home, and it was considered a "high church". Wooooaaahhh - what did that mean? 

We gathered our little family and attended our first service. As I slid into the polished wooden pews, in awe of the arched ceiling, and admiring each stained glass window. I was curious about the engraved names. Who were these people, and who were these people that loved their relatives enough to honor them in this manner? 

We were very conspicuous.  There was no hiding the fact that we were newbies.  We looked like we were dancing off-beat to a tune that everyone else knew well, but us - bowing, kneeling, chanting. I loved the tangible feeling of God's presence. Strangely, I felt at home. 

The first service was not without drama. I nearly passed out and was nauseous from the incense. I felt a bit terrified as the priest, and his entourage prepared to enter the service dressed in all of the formal regalia along with the altar boys carrying the cross. I did settle in a bit- because after all, I did know the words to the "Lord's Prayer." 

At the end of the service we were met by one of the Godliest, friendliest, loving couples I had ever encountered. They introduced themselves as Father Sykes and Rosemary. It was mutual love at first sight. 

Over the next few months, this couple began to disciple us, and include us in every church function. Father's Sykes' wife, Rosemary, discovered that I had some artistic talent, and they desperately needed help preparing for their upcoming Fall Church Bazaar. I was hired!

I about hurt myself volunteering, heading up, and decorating for every 
extracurricular activity. I was like a mad woman in the land of unused talents and abilities!  I arranged to have their entire Sunday School Department walls painted and then I added age appropriate murals on each wall. No white space was safe from the decorating duo! The two of us became hooked at the paintbrush and glue gun. We were inseparable! We laughed and laughed and laughed...until one day... 

Father Sykes and Rosemary were hosting the most important event of the church year at their parsonage. Not only did I help Rosemary scrub every nook and cranny of their house, but she invited me to prepare my world famous secret recipe deviled eggs and SERVE THEM

Visiting Priests and their wives would be attending this luncheon from all areas of the country. There was a tremendous amount of pressure for things to be perfect. Linens, fresh cut flowers, fine china, crystal, and my secret recipe deviled eggs. Could life get any better? Exhausted, but satisfied, everything was in its place. 

The guests were ooohhing and aahhing over every minute detail. They had gathered around the buffet tables - tasting and admiring our fare. My dish was included with the top notch cooks of the church. M-m-m-m...The men and women alike commented on just how perfectly each deviled egg was sliced in a uniform fashion, and were licking their fingers. 

Finally, one very prim and proper lady asked me for the details of preparation and the recipe. I couldn't believe it! She wanted MY recipe! I had everyone's attention NOW. 

Step by step I was rehearsing in my head...after all, this was not the first time I had prepared these silly eggs. I knew the secret to removing the egg shells without tearing the outside of the egg was to crack them- then briskly roll them between the PALMS of your HANDS.  How hard could that be? So with head held high, (probably one of the proudest moments of my life) I began... "The secret is.... after you cool the eggs to a certain temperature - you crack them and then simply..... ROLL THEM BRISKLY BETWEEN     YOUR LEGS!" 

OMG! I'm not sure what an out of body experience is - but, I think I had one! I saw this lady that strangely resembled ME! I could tell she was thinking one thing - but saying another! She was very, very pink and looked like she was about to faint!

Father Sykes, being of Swedish descent with blonde hair and sky blue eyes, was now glowing like a red hot thermometer! It was anyone's guess as to which of their guests would pass out first! Several of the ladies nearly choked!

The last thing I remember was Rosemary choking back tears and hysterical laughter! Being in the ministry did not make  her exempt from snorting when she laughed. 

What happened next I couldn't tell you. All I can say, is that no one, but no one, says it better than my  childhood friend....SNAGGLEPUSS! " HEAVENS TO MURGATROYD ! EXIT GRACEFULLY - STAGE LEFT."

This video is a few minutes long, but well worth the extra time it takes to watch.  Perhaps it will bring back a fond memory or cause you to giggle out-loud.  Go ahead, no one is around to hear you SNORT! Please enjoy! PRESS  THE  PLAY  BUTTON.

In the midst of family celebrations, we want to honor the memories of  our fallen Veterans and their families.

    t-t-f-n (ta-ta-for now)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

As Sponge Bob says, "IT'S GOING TO BE A GREAT DAY!"

This week-end is not only Mother's Day, but the  three year Anniversary of Modern Orange. I posted on someone's FaceBook page that many things can change between the starting gate and the finish line. On November 11th, 2011 the love of my life and #1 fan left this world to be with the Lord.  I thought of attempting to write another Anniversary Blog, but somehow this seemed more fitting.  Some things bear repeating...some left-overs tast better the second time around.

WELCOME BACK DEAR FRIENDS! The measure of success of any great blog is determined by the number of committed followers.  Please consider following this blog and sharing with me your comments.  I value your input.


If you are reading this blog, then for sure, you must have some idea of what an ordeal it has been to get this tiny piece of my world into yours. Believe it or not, many, many years of intercession have been necessary for this to take place. Disappointingly, my best cheer leader, my best friend, and my spiritual mentor of 23 years went home to be with the Lord on February 18th, 2010. Two days after my birthday.

The only way my heart can endure the loss is to know she can pray even more fervently for my dreams linked arm in arm with HER spiritual mentor, Jesus the Christ.

In the last several years of her life she confided to me that she wondered if her prayers really made any difference. I, for one, am her living proof.

"What's the big deal about a blog"? This project has been a reflection of my life. It is time for this caterpillar to be transformed into God's original design - a butterfly. I am thoroughly convinced the body of the caterpillar is a disguise hiding the beautiful things to come. No one really pays attention to a caterpillar - they appear too round, too many legs, and too clumsy. A pretty absurd creature if you really think about it. But alas, deep within its heart.....the caterpillar carries a secret. As we get to know each other more intimately, I will trust you with more and more pieces of my heart, my dreams and my secrets.

I was somehow fooled into believing that the most challenging years of my life were behind my husband and me. The Lord totally restored our failed marriage in 1988. We have experienced many triumphs and many heartbreaks. But now, we were finally on course to fulfill the biggest dreams of our lives- the deepest desires of our hearts - relocate closer to our children and grandchildren.

Not so. Several months ago the love of my life was diagnosed with breast cancer, a rare diagnosis for a man. Not only rare, but in our case, a total surprise! My husband is a big healthy man, with a big voice, big feet, a big heart, and a big call of God on his life.

Needless to say...our applecart has not only been turned over, but the big fat wheels have fallen off! This past week he has undergone surgery, and as we speak, we are still awaiting test results.

I WANTED TO SCREAM! WHAT'S UP WITH THIS GOD! NOT NOW! NOT EVER! DEV-U-U-G-G-H-H-H-STATED! Did I mention I was devastated? Even the high road sometimes has potholes and can become slippery when wet.

The seemingly, "bullet proof and invincible " power couple that has prayed 22 years for everyone else's problems and healing , career Aflac Agents, who have filed cancer claims for multitudes of clients, were now filing their own. Few people understand the battles we have been through to still be able to put our shoes under the same bed.

I have felt like an emotional yo-yo. Up - down - up - down - tied in knots. All of the promises of God, the love, prayers of family and friends, and my whacky sense of humor has been the buoy that has kept me afloat. I have laughingly compared myself to Sponge Bob in one of my favorite episodes. He starts crying and his eyes turn into sprinklers watering everything and everybody in his path.

 Soooo - all this to say - it has become even more important and more urgent that my husband share in the dreams he has so lovingly allowed me to pursue. Sunday night May 9th, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m. we hit the publish button for my blog, MODERN ORANGE. My prior blog rehearses all the drama pertaining to this. 

Immediately after MODERN ORANGE became official, my husband grabbed  my hand and says, "Come on! I've got something to show you!" Hurriedly, he rushes me down the hall into the kitchen
(which could be a blog unto itself).

I nearly lost my breath! I really, really did resemble Sponge Bob more than ever!

Right there in the middle of the table, next to my orange  Mother's Day roses, was an adorable birthday cake, decorated with my favorite orange color, and a single burning candle.  

  "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MODERN ORANGE", written in cursive across the top.

Bobbing up and down in the air was a brightly colored "CONGRATULATIONS" mylar balloon.The balloon was attached by orange ribbon to a chilled bottle of Sparkling Grape Juice! 

To top it off...a musical card in almost life-size proportions was my friend, SPONGE BOB
Making a special appearance to sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to MODERN ORANGE

I could not have said it better! Sponge Bob ends his rendition of the happy birthday tune as only he could by singing..."THE BEST DAY EVER!".  

My husband and I ate birthday cake at midnight, savoring every bite. We laughed and cried all at the same time. Both of our sprinklers had been turned on!

Psalm 34:8 The Message: Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see-how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.

t-t-f-n (ta-ta for now)