Sunday, November 2, 2008

An Inspiring Woman You Won't Forget

Here is my other new hero, Tameka Bedgood, a recent subject of an article I am writing about Family Services of the Piedmont during the Greensboro United Way campaign. Her story is gut wrenching and one of drugs, alcohol, prostitution, disease and despair. Her father died in prison and her mother ran a massage parlor. She was on Montel Williams in 1997, weighed 324 pounds and was miserable. She has lived a lot more heartache since that time.

Like Ishmael, Tameka is now smiling and coming back to life after an incredible journey which most folks wouldn’t survive. I will attach her article when it is published and plan to help her write her book. It is story that you don’t want to miss.
Note: Tameka is holding her certificate for being the first graduate of one of the Family Services counseling programs. She is on her way to a new life!

Long Way Gone from Sierra Leone

I am privileged to write about people from all walks of life. I have met political figures, the Vice President of El Salvador, Judge Hatchett from Court TV and my favorites: the average Jane and Joes of the world. Recently I met two incredible people who have changed my life but they don’t know it.

One, is Ishmael Beah, former child solider from Sierra Leone who fought in a war he didn’t want and killed rather than be killed. The fact that he can smile is mind blowing to me and his lecture at UNC-G was inspiring. Read his book, “Long Way Gone,” a story of courage and strength.

You will meet my other hero in my next blog. Keep reading.....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Women

I recently saw the movie, “The Women” and while it did not have the deep female friendships that “Sex and the City” had, it was still worthy. For one, when, if ever has a Hollywood movie featured an all-female cast (and with icons like Bette Midler, Annette Bening and Cloris Leachman)? I think the answer is never. For this reason, it took years to get this movie made according to reviews I read. Sad but true.

Does this mean women’s lives are not interesting enough to captivate an audience? Time will tell, but it did show us that women can be strong, beautiful and career minded. We have the power to be all we can be.

The "New" Forty

Here is the face of the new 40 - Kim Cattrall looking fabulous at 52. How can that be? Well, some nip and tuck for sure, but overall women these days just take better care of themselves and look years younger. Remember when our parents were 50 and we thought they looked ancient?

Those days are gone girls, so live it up!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Swim Out Into the Deep

I am a complete summer person. I realize I have devoted a lot of my posts to talking about my favorite time of year but it’s on my mind. I am working on becoming a better swimmer and enjoying swimming laps in my pool for the first time in years. What’s that about? It is refreshing, renews my mind and is great exercise. I am trying to stretch my mental muscles as well as my physical ones.

Your choice is this - either you stay in the shallow end of the pool or venture out into the ocean. Which is going to be?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lemonade and Dreams

This painting grabbed me in Target of all places. It had my name on it and I fell in love instantly. I thought about it for a week and then rushed back to Target, practically running through the aisles, fearful that it would not be there. After a moment of panic, I found it shoved under a less worthy painting.

It was finally mine and now it graces the pale yellow wall of my cottage-like home every day, reminding me to not give up on my dreams. I thank its artist, Rodney White ( everyday for the poetry that lifts my spirits and helps me to press forward when I need a push.

Always remember that it costs nothing to dream and everything not to.

Life Begins Where Land Ends

I saw the words, “Life begins where land ends" somewhere and they resonated with me on a deep level. Here I am with Emma, my travel and try-anything-fun girl, at my first feeble attempt at kayaking. Emma did most of the work (can’t you tell?) and I found out that it was not as easy as it looks, but it is relaxing and a great get-back-to-nature experience.

There will be more of these adventures, goofy ones I am sure, but all I know is how great it felt to be so close to the water. Now I understand why people are addicted to this sport.

In the end, this first-time water fling might not have been an “On Golden Pond” experience, but it sure was nice.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lynne and Emma's 5 Sure Fire Date Disaster Foods

If you want a second date with Mr./Mrs. Right, stay away from these hard-to-eat foods that might not leave the best impression.

  1. Spaghetti : Do we really have to explain this one?

  2. Soup: Slurping soup is a real turn-off... don't do it.

  3. Ribs: EWW!

  4. Garlic and onions: Do you think your gonna get a kiss that way? Be serious.

  5. Chicken wings: Bar food staple that doesn't make a good first impression.

If you mind you P's and Q's, you're sure not to lose.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It Costs Nothing to Dream and Everything Not To

I have a painting in my house with these words and when I saw it I knew it was meant for me.

What's your dream? What's on your bucket list? I am working on my list but for this summer, it is learning to be a better swimmer. A big wish on my list is to swim with the dolphins.

Keep dreaming; I know I will. Some our wishes are bound to come true.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Do Not Go Quietly Into That Good Night

I hope I can still dance when I am old. I hope I can still flirt with the opposite sex. I hope I can still cry when watching a romantic movie. I hope I can still have romance. I hope I can still walk on the beach when I am old and delight in its beauty. I hope I can still read a great book, laugh, love, sing, pray and so many other things that I can't name.

I hope we will all have this je ne sais quoi into our twilight years.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sunburn Twins

Me and Emma
Here is my wonderful, niece Emma and me after a long day walking in 80 degree weather (without sunscreen!) at the Liberty Antique Festival. We ate BBQ, home made ice cream, kettle corn and had old-fashioned lemonade. It was the perfect day, not a cloud in the sky and antiques on every corner. I stopped along the way to chat with Louis, a big standard poodle with diamond collar and his owner, the lady from Morehead City with the best nautical booth and anyone else who cared to talk. I also found a second edition of Jane Eyre that I can't wait to read.

Why was the day perfect? Because I was in the beautiful great outdoors with someone that I love more than life itself, my adorable and fabulous Emma. She makes being an aunt one of life's best moments.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Home Sweet Home

No truer words were ever spoken - "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home." I am feeling sentimental today and will share some pictures taken during a recent visit at my parent's home in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, home of Andy Griffith.

I can feel the weight of the world lift from my shoulders when I am in the country, where all is quiet and at peace with the world. Thomas Wolfe was wrong. You can go home again.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Evolution of Jane

Jane is fast becoming a favorite name of mine. It is old-fashioned but has panache. And, in my family it is a heritage carried by five generations, starting with my great-grandmother Eliza Jane, who had Emma Jane, who years later had Mary Jane. Mary Jane was my father's sister and while she did not have children, he did and you guessed it. He had a daughter named Jenni Jane. My other sister Michelle, named her daughter, Emma Jane, which is where the story ends for now.

Great books are written about Jane and by Jane. The obvious examples are Jane Eyre and the ultimate female writer Jane Austen, who is still popular years after publishing her first book. I just discovered a new writer by accident, Cathleen Schine and her book the Evolution of Jane.

Apparently, I am not alone in my fascination Jane - the name is inspiration for Jane magazine, Mary Jane shoes, Calamity Jane, Dick and Jane series, movies like the Jane Austen Book Club and Becoming Jane. The name is even captured in lyrics by Jefferson Starship in the song "Jane."Why are we taken with Jane? Determined to have a good life and destined for greatness are the Jane's and I lay claim to the heritage in my family, even though I am a Jane by default. These women inspired me and still do, including my niece, Emma Jane, who surprises and delights me continually.

For all the Jane's out there, this one's for you!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Boots That Walked All Over Me

One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you…. That is a line from an oldie goldie and I just experienced this truth on an innocent, mind-my-own-business walk in the park yesterday. There I was walking at a pretty good clip with my iPod and reveling in the warm spring day. Walkers were everywhere and dogs happily trotted along with their owners.

I noticed a lean, sophisticated woman walking her cinnamon-colored King Charles Spaniel a few feet ahead of me. She was wearing Levi’s and a thin cotton sweater – she reeked of style and stood out in a park full of walkers and runners in typical sport attire. She was also wearing black boots that hit the pavement with an interesting staccato with each stride. It was apparent that the walk required zero effort and she was perfectly composed.

Here’s the bad part. I couldn’t catch her, no matter how fast I picked up my pace and well, I also admit, I gave up after a few tries. I did pass her twice when her little pooch stopped to sniff the flowers and scope out nature. Within minutes, the boots were hot on my trail and she would fashionably stride by me again with her elegant, long legs and black boots. What’s terrible about this is that I also have long legs. Why couldn’t they catch this mystery woman? I took a chill pill and decided to laugh about it, what else could I do? At the end of the walk, I saw her leave in a car with a California license plate. Oh, that explains it. She is a California girl who exercises 23 hours out of every 24. I had to justify it somehow…

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Maintenance Gone Bad

What was she thinking? Wouldn’t you think with all of Ivanna Trump’s money that she would take better care of her guns? You can see plastic surgery results on her face, collagen-plumped lips, but she forgot some major appendages – i.e., her arms.

As to the rest of her, less is more…If you don’t have the ammo to show off (check out Madonna’s arms, thanks to yoga and Pilates) then dress accordingly. Cover up next time, Ivanna.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Anthem to Summer

I just wanna soak up the sun.....

Sheryl Crow says it better, well actually she sings it a whole lot better. This song is my anthem to summer and all that comes with it. Can you tell I have summer fever? I am over spring. I like the temps hot and the days long.

I love Arnold Palmer's (unsweetened tea with lemonade), walking on the beach, reading on the beach, (everything on the beach), shorts, sand in my toes, a tan, crashing waves, Jimmy Buffett, ice cream, summer block buster movies (SATC can't get here fast enough and Mama Mia) - really, I just love everything about it.

So, here I am reading a juicy book and soaking up the sun on Daytona Beach. Too bad you weren't with me............

Backspace Your Life

When life doesn’t go as planned, don’t you wish you could hit the backspace key on your life? Or better yet, wouldn’t you like to delete your past mistakes?

I know I would...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Channeling My Inner Carrie Bradshaw

I wish I could take total credit for this entry but I will have to thank another "Carrie" who is a big influence in my creative life, Carrie Helton. This one's for you, Carrie!

With each passing day and year, I notice how much I am drawn to movies, book and television shows in which the main character happens to be a writer: Marin Frist, the writer and relationship coach in "Men in Trees," Diane Keaton (one of my idols) in "Something's Gotta Give," and of course, my number uno favorite TV writer, Carrie Bradshaw of "Sex and the City."

I live vicariously through these women who are living the life that I want to lead: writing and making more than a living out of it. Of course, these women are beautiful, fashionable, extremely talented and live in prime real estate: New York City, the Hamptons (facing the water of course) and well, you get the picture. They are sought after by men, make a lot of money and life just looks good enough to eat. Am I jealous? Well, sure, I am. Who wouldn't be?

Do you think Candace Bushnell needs help writing her next big hit? If so, I am available. Tina Fey, don’t you need more writers for 30 Rock?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Girlfriends Are For All Ages

What would I do without you? You believe in me when I wonder if I can get back up one more time. You pick me up when I feel like the road is too hard. You tell me I look fine even when we both know I am having a bad hair day. You tell me to go ahead and splurge on that outfit at Ann Taylor. After all, I work hard, don’t I? You cooked me dinner on Cinco de Mayo and sent me flowers when I was sick. Is there anything you won’t do for a girlfriend?

We have cried during movies, over love gone sideways, bad jobs, children, car problems and the pains of everyday life. Girlfriends are forever sisters and like the Ya Ya Sisterhood, united as children and bonded into adulthood. You know who you are and I am grateful for you all. Without you, I can’t imagine what my life would be like.
The National Girlfriend and Sister's Week organization have a motto I can love, "I am only as strong as the coffee I drink, the hairspray I use and the friends I have.”

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ode to the Flip Flop

Oh, the glorious flip flop. It is my shoe of choice for the summer, if you can call it a shoe. I like them in all colors, white, black, pink, you name it. I have a pair that I wear when I wash my car, work outside, shopping and even my “evening” flip flops. Shoe snobs might call them sandals when they pass the nine o’clock hour.

Some of the best times of my life have been in flip flops – usually because that means there is a high probability that I am on the beach with sand in my toes. My digits like to come out and play in the summer and have come out bare, and with polish, thank you very much.

You are strappy or not, chic or simple, one-size-fits-all
I wear you all the time, to the beach, to the mall
So, no wonder that of all my footwear
I love my flip flops ..... best of all

If all else fails, go barefoot.

Do Kids Have the Market on Fun?

My girlies

Is happiness elusive? A Wake Forest professor has just published a book that praises the state of melancholy and thinks that happiness is overrated. Let’s be honest, we know that not every day is a bed of roses, but you sure hope for it. Along the way, there are usually some thorns, and resulting scratches but that is reality.

It seems to me that kids have a corner market on happiness. For the most part kids are upbeat and content with the occasional tantrum thrown in when they don’t get to have their favorite ice cream before dinner, or to stay up late and watch Nemo for the third time. Kids are creative in how they have fun and approach life. They are just generally happy and don’t require much – playing in the park, eating lollipops with friends, jumping on the trampoline – all of these will do.

Why can’t we be more like them? Is it because we are obsessed with our career path, finding Mr. or Mrs. Right and all the other multitude of adult concerns that block out fun? Probably. The ability to let our hair down diminishes as we age – at least for most (Jimmy Buffett types don't apply). This doesn’t mean we never have fun, but we have it more sporadically and with effort.

So, what’s the answer? For starters, when is the last time you went to the park without being plugged into your iPod or cell phone? You can’t remember – that’s what I thought. Try just being in the moment (this takes time, so don’t feel bad if it doesn’t happen overnight) and enjoy nature, the beauty of flowers and the great outdoors. Gradually, you will feel the cares of life lifting, if only for a few hours. It is cheaper and better than therapy and will give you a new perspective to face your challenge of the day in this thing called life.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Long and Winding Road

The long and winding road - a metaphor for life. We never know what is around the bend, do we? I have walked this road many times over the years, in wintery snow and with spring around the corner.

This road leads to family in both directions. Family long-gone lies at one end and my parents (alive and well, thankfully) at the other. The memories are strong and heavy as I walk down this road when I visit. Memories of playing with cousins outside, the black walnut tree under the big white clapboard house, little kittens scurrying under the porch and country food cooking in the kitchen assault my senses.

My aunts lived in the house at the end of the lane, now called McGee Road in tribute to the generations that have held court on this land. Ida was famous for her cooking and jolly humor. I still remember her molasses tea cookies and out-of-this-world carrot cake. Willie Lou or "Bill" as everyone called her, was her sister who kept up the yard and taught math at the local high school. She ruled with an iron fist but a good heart and all who sat in her class learned to "apply themselves" or to get out. These two McGee sisters are part of my past and who I am today. I loved them as a child, and revere them today as an adult.

Who knew where this winding road would lead as an adult? For me, I am hopeful for more roads to walk, but none will ever hold my heart the way this one does. Do you have a road well-traveled in your past?