Day 07 – A picture of your most treasured item.

This one is hard.

I have a lot of stuff, but I’m not a stuff person.

Really. In fact, I’m so much NOT a stuff person that I really don’t even take good care of my stuff. I tend to leave things out until there’s enough stuff around that it drives me nuts and I walk around like a crazy mom saying, “why don’t you people ever put any of this stuff UP?”

Then I realize that a very fair percentage of it is my own. Sigh.

I’m not going to cheat and put up a picture of people. People are not items. Technically, I guess my brain is an item and do so treasure my ability to think and learn and remember and — well — be ALIVE, but I don’t think that would be playing quite fair either.

So here it is:

Yep. My worn out, very out-of-date collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie Series. I loved reading these books as a child. I think I read them every summer, and had serious issues with wanting to be Ma Ingalls. (I got over that.) When my children were old enough to read them, I bought another set because I didn’t want these to get messed up. Some day, I want a hardback set, but this one will still be a treasure to me.

They’re important because they’re the first gift I can ever remember getting specifically from my dad as a “good for you!” reward. When I was in sixth grade, I placed second in the first ever White County Spelling Bee. White County was just getting ready to begin official Scripps-Howard bees and to prepare, they hosted their own bees for two years. I was in both of them and came in second both times. That first year, my dad was able to work his schedule out to come and watch the finals. My brother was there too. I remember seeing them in the audience, mouthing, “SLOW DOWN!” because I’m a very speedy, instinctual speller.

I don’t think Daddy even asked me what I wanted. He knew me well enough to know that I really wanted that set of books. He was proud of me and he wanted to give me something as a reward for my work.

30 years later, it still rewards me.

Day 06 – A picture of a person you’d love to trade places with for a day.

This is hard. I don’t spend a lot of time wishing I were someone else. There are time I wish that I had made some different choices, but that’s not the same of wanting to live life in someone else’s skin.

So . . . do I trade places with someone who works in one of those “should have” jobs? Musician? Performer? Midwife? Minister? Trading places with someone for just one day changes things a bit because you don’t want to invite the temptation that you will fall in love with what said person does and refuse to return to real life after the day.

What about someone who lives in some wonderful place. I love the beach. I love tromping through mountain woods. I love the urban dynamic of a city, but I don’t think I would want to live in any of those places.

So who would I want to trade places with for one day?

This woman. Or the person this painting claims to be, Mary Magdalene.

History has given MM a huge reputation that really doesn’t have scriptural grounds. Scripturally, here’s all we can really know:

Mat 27:56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Mat 27:61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

Mat 28:1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

Mar 15:40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.

Mar 15:47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid

Mar 16:1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

Mar 16:9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.

Luk 24:10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

Jhn 19:25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Jhn 20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

Jhn 20:18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Luk 8:2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;

So we know that Jesus healed her, we know she gave everything she had to him, and we know that she was the first person to see him after his resurrection.

That’s the day I would choose to swap. I would love to have spent the years physically with him, and I would love to be known as someone who was a supporter of his earthly ministry, but that day.

That day.

What other day would I trade with any other person?

Mary Magdalene, painted by Anthony Frederick Sandys, 1829 – 1904 British, Pre-Raphaelite. View at

Day 05 – A picture of your favorite memory

If I had realized that these pictures were on this computer, I would have used this pictures for yesterday’s — my favorite night — but it will definitely work for my favorite memory too.

It isn’t just the beauty of the sunset above Florence, Italy or the fact that I was in Italy to begin with. It was the whole day. Before this, Sheila and I had traipsed up and down the same street several times, looking for the place where we planned to stay for the remainder of our trip. It was raining. It was cold. We were lugging bags with us. We were tired. The directions we had weren’t good.

When we finally located our place, we were wet and at least one bag had been dropped in a puddle. We trudged up to the third floor, spread things out to dry, rested a bit and then walked BACK up the hill to an overview of the city of Florence.

I wanted to cry.

There were colors in the sky I had never seen before. Colors that explained why Michaelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel the way he did. The rain had moved through, the air was cool and crisp for the love of Pete, I was IN FLORENCE, ITALY!

CS Lewis said, “A pleasure is only fully grown when it is remembered.” Times like this are wonderful examples of that truth. That day, I loved being where I was. I did not discount the experience. However, looking back on it — being able to put it in its full context — it is an even richer experience.

Who’s ready to go to Florence?

Day 04 – A picture of your favorite night.

I don’t know if this would be my favorite night of all time, but it definitely ranks high on the list. Jerry Mitchell is one of my heroes. He attended Harding in the early to mid 80’s and wrote for the university’s paper, The Bison while he was here. Since then, he has gone on to do investigative reporting in Mississippi and has uncovered information and evidence that solved several previously unsolved civil rights cases.

This picture was taken the night that he came and spoke about his work at Harding. The next night, he was given one of our alumni of the year awards — WAY past due — but this night, it was just a small group and we were able to meet him and talk to him.

I wish you could’ve seen how kind and attentive he was when Caleb and Daniel were talking with him. He really listened, took their questions seriously, and encouraged them to continue thinking and learning about the civil rights era.

You all know of my lifelong love of To Kill a Mockingbird and Atticus Finch. That night, I felt like I was listening to and talking with Atticus.

This is another recent favorite. As part of the club process, Chi Sigs and Regina hosted a paint war mixer. I mostly watched and kept people’s valuables from being assaulted with paint, but it was still SO MUCH FUN!! Look at all those pretty colors! The next day, my Facebook feed was FILLED with beautiful pictures of color and happy smiling faces.

Good times. I love my job. I love my people.

Day 03 – A picture of the cast from your favorite show.

Season 1 cast

Final season cast

It’s over.

It’s over and I miss it.

Lost was a television show that was unlike any I’d ever seen. I’m not a big TV watcher, but Lost was an intelligent, character driven show that included references to books and authors that shaped my life. It asked big questions. Can we start over? Can we leave our old self behind and become someone else? Do we know what would be good for us? Do we choose who we are or does our essential self remain the same and ultimately make our decisions for us?

If we are lost, are we ever found?

If you really could go back and change past choices, would your life be better?

Yes, it was a cultural phenomena. Yes, it left questions unanswered with its final season. Yes, I would do it all again and watch every single episode. It fed my soul for a bit of time.

Day 02 – A picture of you and the person you have been close with for the longest.

This is a picture of my sister Sheila and me. It was taken last fall at Harding’s Homecoming – specifically at the Chi Sigs and Regina reunion.

Sheila is two years older than I am so she has always been a part of my life. We played together when we were little. She was always a bit more of a tomboy than I was, but we both spent a lot of time outside. We both loved to read, although I tended to gravitate toward contemporary fiction and Sheila delved into the classics. We are very similar yet also very different.

Music has always been part of our lives. Our mom used to play a wide range of classical, choral, and show tunes, but I was the one who crossed the line into that heathenish world of rock and roll first. I think I drove Sheila crazy with my radio blaring out top 40 and classic rock. I finally introduced her to classic Chicago and she liked the big band sound.

Sidenote: Sheila must have been wearing heels the day this picture was made because she’s not taller than I am. Hmmm . . . .

Our adult lives could not appear more different to most people. I’ve only lived in Arkansas and Louisiana and my southern twangy drawl is obvious. Sheila spent six years living in Europe and speaks three languages fluently. She is still a deeper, more thoughtful person than I am. I am easily distracted and quick to take up (and abandon) and new interest. I still tend to read more fiction and listen to more rock music.

But she’s my sister. We have cried together, laughed together, been angry together, and explored the mysteries of the universe together. She reminds me to get up and go outside. She reminds me that life is not about the here-and-now, but about eternal things. She reminds me that it’s good to open my home to others, but that really all these things we do are not as important as being in relationship with God.

I grew up hearing my grandmother talk about her “dear sisters” (there were three) and I have a feeling that I will do the same.

Yes. Yes, I will.

Meet Sheila — my dear sister.

Day 01 – A picture of yourself with fifteen facts.

1. I tend to take a lot of pictures.
2. I don’t tend to take a lot of pictures of myself.
3. This picture is why I don’t often hand my camera off to other people. Seriously. Is THIS a good picture?
4. I laugh a lot.
5. I laugh loudly. Probably too loudly for someone who works in a library.
6. I wear dark colors a lot because of that whole slimming effect that our mothers and grandmothers told us about.
7. I don’t like it when my weight keeps me from wearing what I want to wear. I tend to just wear it anyway.
8. I keep trying to grow my hair and failing at it. I have a fear that at my funeral, there will be a life time supply of pictures of me with the same hair cut.
9. I had waist-length hair until I was 17.
10. I will turn 43 this year. I want to lose 43 pounds to honor that fact.
11. 40 did not sound old to me. 40 was a WONDERFUL year. 43 seems like old is getting closer.
12. I’ve lived in the south all my life and I really love it — the quirks of our history, laid back lifestyle, the richness of our language culture — but I do NOT like summer in the south. It is WAY too hot.
13. I know that there’s a jogger inside of me. I can feel her in there. I can feel her wanting to rise to the challenge, but being afraid that her lack of experience in physical matters will lead to her early demise.
14. When I was 17, I not only had waist-length hair, but I thought I was overweight. I wasn’t. I would give just about anything to be that “overweight” again.
15. I am blessed by a great number of wonderful friends who have laughed with me when I laughed, cried with me when I cried, encouraged me when I wanted to quit, and sustained me when I was completely empty. I know they will also travel this food journey with me.

In an attempt to be less of a delinquent . . .

I’m going to do this 30 day challenge that I have seen many of my young Facebook friends doing lately. Granted, this is not in depth soul searching, but it will help me get back in the habit of coming here regularly and will also help me start sharing more about myself in written form. As comfortable as I am with being a performer/teacher/talker type, I really don’t share about myself a lot.

That’s just too personal.

But here goes. Here’s the 30 day plan:

Day 01 – A picture of yourself with fifteen facts.
Day 02 – A picture of you and the person you have been close with for the longest.
Day 03 – A picture of the cast from your favorite show.
Day 04 – A picture of your favorite night.
Day 05 – A picture of your favorite memory.
Day 06 – A picture of a person you’d love to trade places with for a day.
Day 07 – A picture of your most treasured item.
Day 08 – A picture that makes you laugh.
Day 09 – A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.
Day 10 – A picture of the person you do the most messed up things with.
Day 11 – A picture of something you hate.
Day 12 – A picture of something you love.
Day 13 – A picture of your favorite band or artist.
Day 14 – A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without.
Day 15 – A picture of something you want to do before you die.
Day 16 – A picture of someone who inspires you.
Day 17 – A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently.
Day 18 – A picture of your biggest insecurity.
Day 19 – A picture of you when you were little.
Day 20 – A picture of somewhere you’d love to travel.
Day 21 – A picture of something you wish you could forget.
Day 22 – A picture of something you wish you were better at.
Day 23 – A picture of your favorite book.
Day 24 – A picture of something you wish you could change.
Day 25 – A picture of your day.
Day 26 – A picture of something that means a lot to you.
Day 27 – A picture of yourself and a family member.
Day 28 – A picture of something you’re afraid of.
Day 29 – A picture that can always make you smile.
Day 30 – A picture of someone you miss.

I am such a delinquent

Hi. My name is Lisa and I am a delinquent blogger.

In my defense, here’s an overview of the past few weeks:

  • Snow. Snow again. More snow.
  • Illness wreaking havoc on loved ones. OK, so maybe I just had a husband and two boys with fever and aches and bronchitis, but it still threw off my groove.
  • Spring Sing practice. Go Yea Rah Regina HEY!
  • Lost birth certificates. Legally changing names on birth certificates when ordering duplicates. True story: For sixteen years now, Emily’s birth certificate has claimed that she is Emily Barley instead of Emily Burley. We’re finally getting that fixed so she can no longer claim that she was adopted or is the child of the mail man.
  • Teaching a new class full of students from China.

Who ever said life is boring? In four brief statements, I included weather trauma, illness, dancing, accusations of adultery, and international relations.

But here’s an update on my work in Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Weight Loss. First of all, it’s wonderful. The concepts remind me of Paul’s encouragements to renew our minds and live as the new man not as the old man. I like philosophies but find that in some areas of my life, I need much more of a how-to. This book is providing the how-to.

The first chapter deals with the negative emotions that are often the reason we overeaters reach for food. In time, they become buried under our weight. The primary activity of the first chapter is to spend time writing about those negative emotions and turning them over to God in order to allow him to deal with him, rather than keeping them to yourself. Since I raised with a strong Southern belief in not airing dirty laundry in public, I tend to keep such negative thoughts to myself so I’ll not be sharing that list here. Instead, listen to Williamson’s own words about the process:

Mostly, I want you to know that this is one of the few books I’ve read in my life that strikes me as true. I read a lot. I read fiction, I read non-fiction, and I read self-help. I read new books, I read old books, I read ideas I agree with and ideas that challenge me. Few books — outside of the Bible — have struck me so thoroughly as true. Maybe because this has been my lifelong struggle, but I have hope that if I make it through this book and continue to live out the principles, I won’t have to spent my whole life fighting this battle. Being aware? Yes. Fighting? No.

Renewed hope is a wonderful thing. If nothing else, Williamson has renewed my hope in a part of my life where I had lost it.

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