Working Out

It was June, I think, or maybe July.  I’m not sure.  I know it was very hot.  And that Daddy was still going for treatments at the Cancer Center.

This particular day Daddy’s physical therapist, Miss Ida, whom I loved and adored from my own visit to the PT office where she worked, had helped get Daddy situated in the passenger seat of Mama’s car.  Mama got in the back, and I drove the two of them down and over to Highway 96 where the Center is located about twenty minutes away from the house.

When we got there, I pulled up under the breezeway to let Daddy out as close to the door as possible.  Mama went in and came back with a wheelchair.  I helped Daddy turn his legs around, and then we wrapped his arms around my neck, and I lifted while he tried to help.

At this point the lymphoma was zapping his strength and his broken hip from a few months before, though healing, was hindering his physical abilities as well.  I lifted, but my efforts did little to get him from the car to the chair.  We tried again, and I got him up a few inches.  And then…..

I almost dropped him.

He almost fell onto the edge of the car and to the pavement below.

I was mortified.  Daddy was fine, but still.  WHAT IF?

A kind soul happened upon us then–no coincidence at all–and she came right over, enveloped my Daddy in her arms, gently placed him in the wheelchair, waved off our thanks, and went on her way cheerfully, wishing us a good day.


It was easier getting him into the car on the way home, and somehow we got him from the car to the house without another incident.

But that moment stuck with me.  My upper body strength was sorely lacking.  If I couldn’t take care of my Daddy, something would have to change.  Immediately.  I was broken over the fact that it had been a stranger who had come to his aid–that after all he’d done for me through all the years, I couldn’t help him–unfathomable.

And so I began working out back then.  Nothing too serious, just trying to build up my strength so that I could help lift him.  And when he was bedridden at the end and would slide down in the bed, I was able to move him back up in the bed.  I am thankful for that now.

A couple of days ago, I woke up thinking about how we work to build up muscles.  How we work and push them beyond their limits to be stronger and to be able to do more with them.  Almost completely recovered from a frozen shoulder, I am ready to start rebuilding my core and my ability to “lift and tote.”  Mostly for groceries, but still–it’s a good thing to work on.

Then I started thinking about our hearts.  And how we love.

That’s a good thing to work on too.

We don’t build up our arm muscles by continuing to do the same thing every day–by only lifting the laundry from the dryer or the groceries from the car.  We have to be consistent, and we have to go outside our comfort zones to be strong and stronger.  We have to lift things we wouldn’t normally lift.

I think it’s the same in building up our hearts–and our capacity to love.  We don’t do it by loving the same people all the time.  We do it by loving folks outside our comfort zones.  And by doing it consistently.  That’s the only way to build up our love muscles.  Loving those we wouldn’t normally love.  Going out of our way for them.  For others.

And that’s the only way to build up the kingdom too.

A kingdom where I’d really like to live.

Wishing you all a day of working out–and building up those muscles.  For the good of all of us.

Love to all.


“Die Frau als Hausärztin (1911) 135 Bruststärker” by Anna Fischer-Dückelmann – Die Frau als HausärztinLicensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

Your Magic Power

You have a magic power.

Did you know that?

Within you lies the power to change the world, to change the lives of those around you, one smile at a time.

Today I saw this video, and it amazed me.  Each one of these precious souls is beautiful in his or her own way.  But after being told he or she was beautiful, can you see what happens?

Go ahead.  Watch the video.  I’ll wait.

*elevator music playing here*

Do you see it?  Do you see what happened?

Yep, each one of them became even more beautiful.  Their lights shone brightly!

All because of kind words from a stranger behind a camera.

We can do this for each other.  We have that power.  We can speak the truth and light into each other’s eyes and hearts.  With a sincere and kind word that encourages.  When we are brave enough to reach out to another with a gentle touch, the possibility of good grows exponentially.

How will you use your magic power today?  Start by telling the person in the mirror how beautiful he or she is, and then carry on from there.

Because you are.  Really.

Love to all.




My Glass Was Never Empty

Saturday I had the privilege of singing the praises of two of my favorite “things” in life–

my daughter and my alma mater.

Thanks to one of my Piratefriends, I served on the Discussion Panel at Wesleyan College for parents of potential students.  This day was extra special because it was for Scholarship Day.

I love sharing about the changes and growth I have seen in my daughter since she arrived on campus in Fall of 2013.  I love talking about my years there and what our campus does better than all the others.  I just love being home.

It was a beautiful day at Wesleyan.  After the panel discussion, we all walked over to the Oval Hall for a lovely buffet lunch.  The room is already so elegant, and the place settings and beautiful desserts and delicious looking dishes made it all the more so.  We each had a glass of water and a glass of sweet tea at our place.

There were servers busy making sure no one’s water or tea glass was empty.  They kept the chafing dishes full of vegetables and chicken and salad.  They were quiet and efficient.

As we dined, the Wesleyannes came in and sang the Doxology followed by another beautiful song.  The young women all dressed in their matching gowns had voices that blended beautifully and made magic in the room.  I noticed the young woman who had kept my water-glass full standing off to the side listening.  As soon as the music was over she went right back to filling those glasses.  Her respect touched me.

A few minutes later one of the Wesleyannes stepped up the microphone to share the story of her choosing Wesleyan a couple of years ago.  The young woman server, so neat and crisp in her black and white ensemble, was standing close by.  Again she stopped and looked to the speaker.  What struck me most was the expression on her face.  She couldn’t be any older than the young woman speaking.  The emotions that this realization stirred up made me look away.

I am so lucky.

So is my daughter.

And so are every one of the young women who are enrolled at Wesleyan.

I looked at my glass.  The server was conscientious and had a good work ethic.  It was never more than half empty.

Why was it that she was working the luncheon where so many women around her age were busy making decisions and dreaming about a future in college?

I don’t know her story, really.  Maybe she’s a day student somewhere.  Maybe she is saving up to go to college one day.

But as I saw the intense respect and focus on her face, I knew that we are fortunate beyond measure.  I gave thanks once again for the sacrifices my parents made to make sure I could go to college right out of high school.  And I don’t want my children to take for granted even one day the privilege that getting an education is.  Not everyone is so lucky.

I’m thinking about the young woman who made sure my glass was always full–I hope her glass stays full as well.  I hope her life is full of love and laughter, and that she dreams big and has the resources to make those dreams come true.

Let us make today one of seeing those around us and knowing they have a story too.  And one of giving thanks for this life we are so lucky to have.

Love to all.


Learning to Love the Red Lights

“I hate red lights.”

It was Cooter, piping up from the back seat.


Well yeah, we were at a red light.  And we were running tight on time.

In true Tara time.

I was born late.  Several days past my due date.  And I’ve been trying to catch up ever since.  (Or so my folks always told me.)

Running at the last possible minute.  Just about–oh, pretty much always.

So I’m sure my little guy’s strong feelings of dislike for red lights comes from me and my impatience with them when we are on our OutandAbouts and NEED to be somewhere.


I am sad about that.  As his words echoed in my head, I realized that red lights can be good.  They make me look around, outside myself.

When I am at red lights, I have a moment to breathe, right where I am, before continuing on my journey.

Red lights are not for or against anyone–they turn red on the just and the unjust.  Everyone gets a turn to stop and a turn to go.  Eventually.  Though I am waiting, others are able to go ahead.  And that’s the ebb and flow of life.  It’s not all about me.  We all get our turn.  Eventually.

Finally, when I am sitting at a red light, it’s the only time when I am on the road that I am able to make eye contact and remember that there are other PEOPLE on the road.  It’s not just me and my destination.  The road carries many stories.  And for a moment at that red light, our stories intersect and join.  And then we are all off again, headed to the next chapter.

Tonight I am thankful for family time in the Go-mobile, for that time where conversations are a little different, and maybe even at times a bit more focused.  I am thankful for the thoughts of my children, which make me think, and inspire me to become a better person–if for no other reason than to become the parent they deserve for me to be.

And I even appreciate red lights.  For the times they make me slow down, breathe, remember who I am, whom I am with, and for making me look around outside myself and outside my vehicle.  And see. Others.

May we all have a day of appreciating the red lights in our lives.  Love to all.