The ABC Post About Words

A. “Articulate”: I like to use this word so I can be perceived as it.

B. “Blasted”: No better word when you are frustrated.

C. “Umm...”: This is best used in written form. Especially in reply to something absurd.


The ABC Post About Websites

A. www.watchingtheview.com: I have a weird love for The View. I have stuck it out through many co-hosts and love the debate. However, sometimes watching it for an hour is simply too much. This site watches it for me and lets me know if someone went for the smackdown.

www.work-girl.blogspot.com: Two women living the life in New York and making me grateful for my commute and co-workers.

C. www.people.com: Gossip is my drug of choice. At my peak, I was hooked on heroin and now I have backed it up to caffeine. I am sad that I spend more time on this news than real news.


The Post About Leaving on a Jet Plane

I am headed out on a much-anticipated vacation with some snazzy friends. Tampa, Cayman Islands, and Mexico. However, Gustav may have other plans for us. No matter, I am leaving – even if it means me trapped in a Hampton Inn with a fluffy duvet and the cell turned off.

I was hoping to blog while on the road, but God and AT&T have different plans. Albeit, I pay eleventy billion dollars a month for cell service, internet is costly, text messages/email are costlier, and actual talking is costliest.

So I will be sharing some brief lists each day – the ABCs of various elements of life. I love lists. I love the alphabet.


The Post About the DNC

I have been keeping a close eye on the Democratic National Convention this week. Not just because I consider myself a shiny blue dot in a really red state, but mainly because I haven't made up my mind for whom to cast my vote. Of course, this event is more pep rally, than issues dissesction; so, I haven't been recruited for the Obama Biden team quite yet. I will give equal attention to the Republicans on display in St. Paul and then wait for the lightbulb to go off. Hopefully, before November 4.

One sight that was good to see was one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller, leading the arena in prayer on the opening night of the convention. Here is a transcript of his conversation with the big G:

Father God,
This week, as the world looks on, help the leaders in this room create a civil dialogue about our future.

We need you, God, as individuals and also as a nation. We need you to protect us from our enemies, but also from ourselves, because we are easily tempted toward apathy.

Give us a passion to advance opportunities for the least of these, for widows and orphans, for single moms and children whose fathers have left. Give us the eyes to see them, and the ears to hear them, and hands willing to serve them.

Help us serve people, not just causes. And stand up to specific injustices rather than vague notions.

Give those in this room who have power, along with those who will meet next week, the courage to work together to finally provide health care to those who don’t have any, and a living wage so families can thrive rather than struggle.

Help us figure out how to pay teachers what they deserve and give children an equal opportunity to get a college education. Help us figure out the balance between economic opportunity and corporate gluttony. We have tried to solve these problems ourselves but they are still there. We need your help.

Father, will you restore our moral standing in the world. A lot of people don’t like us but that’s because they don’t know the heart of the average American.

Will you give us favor and forgiveness, along with our allies around the world. Help us be an example of humility and strength once again.

Lastly, father, unify us. Even in our diversity help us see how much we have in common. And unify us not just in our ideas and in our sentiments—but in our actions, as we look around and figure out something we can do to help create an America even greater than the one we have come to cherish.

God we know that you are good. Thank you for blessing us in so many ways as Americans.

I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice.

Let Him be our example.

I think I will pray that in agreement.


The Post About 490

A friend of mine used the phrase today - “I'm running out of second chances for him.” She was referencing a relationship that's been a bit of a struggle for several years. My heart went out to her and I tried to think of some great thing to say with no luck. I think I actually responded with “that's a tough one.” Profound.

However, God was kind enough to remind me of His guidelines for forgiveness – seventy times seven. When someone brings us any kind of pain – whether with malicious intent or not – we are to forgive them without condition. And without limit. For some reason, that seems like it would be easier for the Son of God to abide by that one than for me. Which I guess is the point. I don't have the right amount of love or patience or kindness or gentleness or self-control to forgive in that way. Only because of God's Spirit working in me and around me, do I even have a chance to show that kind of forgiveness. Seventy times seven.


The Post About Muffin Tops

I found this great product in the freezer section at the store:
I wish my muffin top was a mini.
After a sabbatical from working out (because I was working 11-hour days for a month) - I am back in the gym tonight. Bye-Bye muffin top.


The Post About Bless Your Heart

My adoption conference is finally behind me - I really enjoyed it and had a great team - mucho thanks to them! Now, I can get back to the bloggersphere.

The relief that came from the conference being over on Friday was stirred with the sadness of it being the last day of work for my co-worker and friend Amanda. Amanda is from the Bronx and came to Alabama for only a season (2 years). In that time, she snagged herself a husband, learned the language ("y'all" and "bless your heart"), and transformed a bit of my life.

At work, she taught me to take deep breaths and ask for help. In my walk with Christ, she taught me to see people with more divine eyes. She would always say "We don't always know a person's story." She is right.

Amanda is considerate, gracious, honest, & pretty darn funny. A snazzy combo. And she will be missed in the salty 'Ham.

New York - you're welcome.


The Post About Painting

The lovely Tammy Stringfellow leads a class once a quarter called "Masterpiece." She guides us through a great painting and we try to replicate.

is definitely the operative word.

Here is my effort from last night:

I wish I had taken a photograph of the picture after an hour - it was tragic. My efforts at blending were failing miserably. I did something I normally avoid - which was ask for help. Tammy came, she took about 6 strokes and suddenly I was back on track. The final piece turned out pretty good (if I do say so myself.)

It's just like life. If we stop in the middle of anything - haircut, cutting the grass, book, or especially a crisis - the situation can seem tragic. But we haven't seen the final picture. It can also turn out pretty good.

What should this teach us? Patience. Endurance. And Patience.


The Post About Post-Its

I love pop-up post-its. I love them when they pop up. I love them when they stick to my desk. I love them when they move around my office based on needs. I love them when I accomplish the written reminder and then I get to crumple and toss.

Do you know when I don't love them? When they make my desk look like this.
I am too busy. (not too busy to blog) 5.5 days until statewide adoption conference starts.


The Post About Focus

Brennan Manning once said "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today are Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

This article supports that theory.

Where is the love? And common sense.


The Post About If I Could

If I could...
1. I would only eat cheez-its, hummus and drink gallons of sweet tea and still lose weight.
2. I would sing like Brooke Fraser and play violin like Martie Maguire.
3. I would speak fluent Spanish with my Hispanic friends at El Vecino and Sabor Latino.
4. I would wear my hair like Princess Leia and people would want to copy my sassy style.
5. I would travel in my time machine to the 4th grade and convince myself not to let my mother pick out my clothes or choose which perm I should get.
6. I would say "yes" to a marriage proposal from John Krasinski, Jack Shephard or an owner of a Chick-Fil-A.
7. I would carry the Valentino Histore Patent Tote in Red and skip to work.
8. I would say things like "You're fly, sugarpie!" and "Don't pee where you can't stand."
9. I would tile my bathroom floor and be featured in Dwell magazine.
10. I would click "Last Minute Deals" on travelocity and then go wherever they said.

If I could...


The Post About Swimming Boys

I would not say I am an Olympic fanatic. I enjoyed the beatdown of 1994 between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. I wouldn't mind being carried to work by Bela Karolyi like Kerri Strug circa 1996. I wish I could ski like Bode Miller (without the alcohol.) Otherwise, no significant Olympic moments lingering.

But I have been caught up (like much of the country) in a little event called swimming. Personally, I could leave the activity in the water where I found it. This is likely due to the swimming REQUIREMENT imposed on me by one Emory University. Repressed memories of survival swimming for 60 minutes in full clothes without touching the sides or bottom of the pool. I "survived" because of my roommate Angie who would float into me while humming "Galileo" by the Indigo Girls (alums of the same torturous swimming school).

The mens' relay last night was pretty phenomenal - the Americans were expected to win silver. This was the reaction when they realized they won gold:
If Michael Phelps goes on to win 8 gold medals (a record) then he will have to be sending a nice fruit basket to Jason Lezak. Jason swam the anchor of the relay and won it after being behind a full length...


The Post About Lucky 8's

It is 08.08.08. What a great day to remember, right? My dear friends, Courtney and Anthony (see right), are getting married. I had wondered why they had chosen a Friday, but now Anthony will never forget his anniversary... Good call.

As a wedding gift, I bought them a party pack. Also known as a staycation stash. Fun things to do when low on cash or stuck at home - play-doh, sudoku books, board games, etc. At first, it would seem an odd gift for newlyweds, but CoCo and Anthony are unique.

1. They are HUGELY competitive. CoCo doesn't ever give up the good fight. She actually only fights the fights she will probably win because she is that competitive. Games are a good choice.

2. Anthony is quoted at saying he "can't wait for the wedding to be over so he can go to Disney World." Note that he didn't mention any other fun part of a honeymoon. Toys are a good choice.

Congrats little ones!


The Post About Katie

This (Katie Holmes):

has led to this (jcrew's website):

This returning trend must stop. Next, we will all be wearing Z Cavaricci's and Coca-Cola Shirts.

I blame Scientology.


The Post About Pretty - Part 2

I wrote yesterday about conflict and my distaste for it. Surprisingly, there is a confrontation of which I am fond. Well, fond may be too strong a word. It's a confrontation I know benefits me so it's not worthy of a jamie-empire-strikes-back.

My closest friends - accountability partners, if you will - are not afraid to confront me with my own drama. I can be bringing the verbal throw down and I will feel a light tap on my shoulder from one tiny redhead. Or I can be blogging a one-two punch and I will get a gentle reply from one petite cougar. They are not afraid to get in my face about the stuff that should have no place in me, around me, or about me. The beauty? I may get defensive for a nano-second, but I know they are working for my good, so I exhale. "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

You can't have this type of relationship with everyone. But you should have it with at least someone. And ideally, someone you don't smooch on.


The Post About Pretty - Part 1

I generally avoid conflict. The people pleaser that resides full time in my lovely mother has a summer home inside of me. I have coined a term: "wrap it in pretty." The concept is simple - try to communicate things in such a manner that drama is almost impossible to occur. I have developed it into an art form, with much success. My co-worker calls this being "Southern." Of course, she means it as a negative, because we can find ourselves wrapping things in so much pretty that we can no longer discern the real message. We sacrifice the truth in order to keep feelers cozy and unharmed. The downside to avoiding conflict.

To me, being "Southern" or just plain rude, is sharing the conflict with everyone but the person directly involved. We wrap it in "pray for me" or "I'm confused about..." when really we are just assembling our front line for when the real battle begins. It's all about having people on your side. And know that I'm as guilty as the next in using this military technique. However, God is pretty clear on this one: 'If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, JUST BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.' Matthew 18:15

You can't argue with God who designed or Bill Withers who wrote or Will Smith who sampled - "Just the two of us, we can make it if we try..."


The Post About Highway 157

My colleague and friend Michelle were headed to Florence, AL on Monday night to present information about adoption to prospective families. Visit http://www.heartgalleryalabama.com/ for more info!

While enroute, we are 99% confident we saw a drug deal go down in the highway median. We actually stalked the dealer and dealee for about a mile and then decided we were already going to be on the news for the recruitment event and there probably didn't need to be a footnote that said "drug bust vigilantes shot on the way to adoption exhibit."

Immediately after our run-in with crime, we saw this billboard:

Just say no.


The Post About Traffic

I pride myself on being a good driver. Say it with me "Jamie is a good driver." See how that sounded so "right?"

Well it is only partially true. I really don't speed or tailgate or fail to use my blinkers or u-turn or rubberneck. These are all habits of a good driver. My failure comes in terms of multitasking while driving. I have been known to do the following while behind the wheel:
  • Putting on makeup.
  • Talking on the phone.
  • Texting on the phone.
  • Googling on the phone.
  • Reading a magazine
  • Watching a movie.
  • Changing clothes.
  • Collating folders for a presentation.
  • Straigtening my hair.

Probably not the best choices.

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