Answering the question “Why”

starthereI was just reading a blog on the AFP’s website and it asked the question Why. Actually, that was the name of the blog.  Why.  Assuming the author had forgotten to complete the title of his blog, I clicked the link and found quite the opposite.

I’ve been reading quite a bit on the overall AFP website regarding National Philanthropy Day – it’s coming up early in December. Centered around this “holiday” is the AFP’s Contest asking Who is Your Philanthropic Hero?  Great question and those of you (us) involved with nonprofits probably have a “hero” of sorts in mind.

The more I read and see others claiming their hero, the less my hero is actually a human being. My hero…my original motivation for being involved at all with nonprofit leadership etc, is Blackbaud. Not that I didn’t know about philanthropy prior to Blackbaud. What I didn’t know was how many nonprofits there were, and how they could be “single handedly changing the world” as we speak. I learned that from Blackbaud.

Never mind that encouraged volunteerism became a part of my life – I loved volunteering for the SPCA (now the Charleston Animal Society) for a couple of years. I was able to live out my dream of having puppies and kittens all around…without the incurred expense of having anything more than one cat at the house.  It was heaven.

We ‘get something’ for volunteering as an employee. But you know what? I think I realized a long time ago that I’d volunteer with or without payback. Seriously. The first five years of the greyhound group, I probably spent 30 hours a week volunteering. That’s 1560 hours a year. I pretty much think that the max we get to “claim” at Blackbaud is like…maybe 40 or 80 hours. I did that in a month. LESS than a month.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not bragging. I’m just sayin. Thru my tenure at Blackbaud, I’ve learned what it means to give back. Actually, I’ve learned the beauty of giving back. Regardless of reward, regardless of anything but the pure joy I get from seeing new greyhounds loving their retired life. Would be the same for anyone who volunteers with sencient beings…they return the “love” a hundred fold!

So, as National Philanthropy Day rolls closer, and even Giving Tuesday…we should be thinking about what WE can do to make someone’s life just a bit easier. Put a smile on a face. Food in a belly. Books on a desk. Comfort for a soul hurting.  What ever your passion is…go. Do.  Don’t just sit around and expect someone else will. I think it’s Matthew West that says, “It’s time for us to Do Something!” Yup.  You.

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When is Enough Enough?

sunflowerYeah, I’ve heard the saying that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. And, most of the time, I kinda feel that way.  However, I’m almost at “uncle” stage…reference to the old way to stop a fake fight (“Say UNCLE!”)

Oh, life isn’t really bad and please know that I know others have it way worse than I do. Sometimes it seems as though the sh*t piles up to a point where I can’t see over it.  Yes, that happens to everyone too.

And, I’m not begging for pity – those of you who know me know I use this blog as a way to “blow off steam” and to pray for … whatever. I am doing so again now.

So, what’s been going to that brings me to the point of “enough is enough”?

Fourteen years ago August 31, I purchased a little (yeah VERY little) house in Sangaree. It was a nice, quiet neighborhood. I started to settle down there – got a dog, did some landscaping…and my neighborhood was okay! I enjoyed living there except for the commute to Daniel Island but still, I enjoyed living there.

I had ups and downs. After Flyer died, I totally lost the will to have a nice back yard. The ensuing 10 years pretty much had me battling weeds that sometimes exceeded my height…and my 6’ privacy fence’s height. I had a rosemary bush overrun my front yard.  Yes, I had challenges. But, it was still my place.

Then, in June 2011, my life changed. I had to leave that house … pretty much forever … to move in with my parents and care for my dad until he passed and then my mom (which is ongoing). Life changed again when I married my best friend Jim who had been living in that house since late 2009. We no longer wanted to live separately (as husband and wife) and he moved in May of 2013.

We’ve kept up as best we can with the house. My landscaper comes a couple times a month in the summer and less in the winter to keep the yard looking okay. One neighbor keeps an eye out for any unrest in the neighborhood.

Well…that all came to a crashing halt last week. Seems my neighbor’s child (that used to walk the the dog with me…used to help me with my yard work….) has decided that he can break INTO my house with his friends and smoke pot, drink, and do whatever other illegal things he feels like doing.

So, today, I started the process rolling to have him arrested if he does, in fact, trespass again. Oh, and his friends too.

Do you want to know what kind of emotional agony I’m in over this? Doesn’t matter. I’m gonna tell you anyway.

I don’t understand people. I keep to myself. I don’t bother anyone. I come and go from MY property without trespassing on others. If I’m planning to cross that line, I check.

Yet this family that I thought were good neighbors seems to believe that their son can do nothing wrong.

I consulted a couple of police-oriented friends. One gave me the steps to take to make this known to the county sheriff’s office. The other gave me advice from a “God” standpoint – and I offer this to you too.


“God does not want us to be victims.” (That’s a direct quote). Here’s my interpretation – we all have rules that we live by. The OVERRIDING rules in this country are the laws. Most are similar to the Biblical laws – thou shalt not…and while “breaking and entering” isn’t on that list, I kinda think God doesn’t want people to trespass. Again, an interpretation.

So what to do now?  I am waiting, praying, and hoping that this all comes to an end without any legal intervention. Maybe you can pray for that too. And, for the continue protection of my family.

Thanks for reading.

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Prayer for a sister

Dear Lord Jesus, precious Savior,

My sister in Christ begins the deepest part of her journey and I pray in your name that during these times she puts her trust in you. There will be times of doubt. There will be times she looks at decisions and wonders if they were of her, or of you. 

Your Holy Spirit will provide her with everything she needs, equip her for the journey. 

In these days of preparation, cover her with your angels, surround her and her family with the love, peace, and grace that only You can provide. For it is in Your name we lift up those who come to learn more about You and Your love be it participant or team member.

Lord of all, I ask you to bring compassion and understanding through the gate and let it rain down over those who are a part of this blessed gathering. May those leading shine Your light so that even the darkest are bright. 

We who are sinful in nature raise our voices to praise You who reign in glory. Christ, our Lord, our God, our Redeemer, our Savior hear us as we sing

…And I hear the voice of many angels sing, 
“Worthy is the Lamb” 
And I hear the cry of every longing heart, 
“Worthy is the Lamb”… (I Will Rise, Chris Tomlin)

And, for you, my sister…keep this in your heart. We who pray steadfastly for your journey offer ourselves for the glory of God the Father in this upcoming weekend. Fix your eyes on Christ and you will not misstep.

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

With all that is in me, I pray to the Lord God for you.

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The Aftermath

Oddly, after things happen…typically good things…I take some time to reflect upon what’s happened in my life for the past year or so.  This time, I didn’t walk as far down memory lane.  Here’s the good:

Coop jammed one song with Winger on stage at the HOB in Myrtle Beach on July 2. Read the story.  Watch the Video.

Here’s the not as good:

What kind of walk down memory lane did I take?  Well…three weeks before that night – so, not even a month prior to the HOB show, Coop called me at around 2:45 PM and said, “I totalled my van. Come get me.”

What ensued was 3 days in the hospital, crazy nutty problems with the care, and continual pain for three weeks (so far).  Really, with the amount of damage to his van and the brick wall…well…you take a look. crash I say he is pretty blessed to have survived that crash. Van meets brick wall at about 45-50 mph while Coop is blacked out.  Total blessing he is still with us.

So, looking back on the past month – we have “made it through” some very trying times…If you wonder WHY I am shamelessly promoting my husband’s one song with Winger on YouTube – it’s not only because I love him – that’s a given. It’s because there are REASONS we are put here on this earth. We have a pre-destined job in life – Jeremiah 29:11-13 says: , “11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Whenever I have a sad moment, a worry, a fear…I revisit that verse and know that God is with us.  There is a plan, and it is good. We must be patient and remind ourselves that God’s time is perfect…ours is not.

Go watch the video again, read the blog post…share.  We want Jim to be an “internet sensation”.

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The Winger Story – July 2, 2014 – Coop and Winger

So…some of you have heard a little bit about this – my blog this week is on rock ‘n roll.

In May, while on vacation in Massachusetts, I got a notification that Winger was going to be playing at the Myrtle Beach House of Blues on July 2. Being the relatively hard core fan I am, it took me around … um … five seconds to decide to buy tickets for Jim & me.

Fast forward to around early June…VIP passes become available for our show. And, again, not being one to marinate on such things for a long time, I clicked the button, paid the price, and VIOLA…wait VOILA (LOL), we are going to be VIP guests. Yay.

Between that time and last night, Jim got in a car wreck that should have killed him…or possibly less dramatically, incapacitated him more than he wound up being. Just a fractured sternum (JUST?) and a bone chip floating around in his elbow causing a great deal of pain.

Fast forward again to last night. Jim decided he wanted to bring his newest friend, the Warwick (German made) bass to have Kip sign at VIP. And here’s where the fun starts.

We decided to eat a little dinner before heading to the show. We stopped at security around 8:40 and asked if they would let him bring the bass in for the meet & greet so Kip could sign it. One of the really cool security guys (yeah, they were the BOMB last night – all were super nice, very polite, and helpful…out of their way awesome…) asked the “higher ups” if it would be okay for Kip to sign the guitar. After a little bit, word comes back that it’s cool. And, we could leave the guitar in the ticket office until time for meet & greet…and then after during the concert too!

Dinner was great – had a terrific waiter named Steve. He got us in and out in less than an hour and we set off to pick up the bass and go to the VIP meet & greet. We got upstairs to the Loge and hung out until it was our time to go “meet” the band. Everyone was SUPER nice – as always, I’ve met them before and they are fun, funny, and really cool. Jim had his Coop vest on, and yet he introduced himself to Kip as Jim and asked Kip to sign the head stock of the bass. Kip was awesome about it and they talked a bit about basses, etc. Jim told Reb how much he respected Reb’s work and what a great musician he was. Four pictures and a handful of autographs later…and off we went to store the bass and watch the end of Firehouse and wait for Winger.

Remember – Jim still has the fractured sternum and elbow…only he and I know that right this minute. He has not been on his feet for 6 hours straight since the accident so…long about Headed for a Heartbreak (around halfway thru the show), he is getting a bit exhausted and starting to hurt since the pain meds only last about 5 hours-ish.

The show was awesome. I mean…they were really great – Kip was totally diggin the crowd and the crowd was really responsive – cheering for old songs AND new songs. They played the songs we expected – Ez Come Ez Go, Hungry, Miles Away, Heartbreak, Can’t Get Enough…and some good newer songs like Stone Cold Killer and Rat Race…Ending, as always on Seventeen.

USUALLY the show ends there. Kip had been extra chatty last night – aside from telling the crowd how they each have been in multiple OTHER bands…and how Winger writes songs…he then, after Seventeen, starts touting local musicians and music. “If you like a local band, go see them live. If you have a friend that’s a local musician, go see him live. Support the local talent.” He asks the crowd, “Anyone here play guitar? Who plays guitar?” and a ton of hands shot up (mine included). THEN he asks, “How about bass. Anyone play bass?” Hands go up in the audience.

Next thing we know, he’s saying something about a local bass player in the audience. He yells, “Coop!  You still here Coop? Where’s Coop?” He (Coop) was talking to the sound guy. Eventually, after bringing the house lights up and everyone looking around, the sound guy helps Kip locate Coop.

“Come up here, Coop!!” he yells. And, Coop starts towards the stage. Talk about the crowd parting like the Red Sea…they let him thru. He gets to the foot of the stage and Kip said, “No man, up HERE” pointing to the stage. The HOB crew, AGAIN was awesome and helped get him around to the side of the stage.

After Coop walked out on stage, Kip says, “Coop’s gonna play a song with us…” and handed him HIS bass (Kip’s bass – not Coop’s) And…off they go into Van Halen’s Ain’t Talkin Bout Love. Coop said Kip asked him if he knew it (of course he did). Kip started to talk him thru the beginning of the song, and Coop said, “Yeah, then C, G, A…etc…” Kip was convinced and then went about the task of singing the song – Really seemed to feel comfortable with Coop keeping up with Reb & John.

Afterwards, Kip introduced him again to the crowd saying, “He’s one of your own, Myrtle Beach!”

NEEDLESS TO SAY (but I’ll say it anyway), I was screaming my bloody head off…and freaking out…and screaming to everyone how THAT’S MY HUSBAND!!!!! Yeah, my rock star husband, for sure!

He told me that Reb said how great he did – that’s when Coop told him his arm was broken. Johnny Roth congratulated him and so did Rod..etc… It was amazing.  Now…here is the Youtube link: Coop With Winger and…the still shot…it was taken before I remembered I could actually RECORD A VIDEO with my phone. Duh, Mary.

The video is tiny, sorry – my phone does not zoom when in video mode that I know of. And, if you’re watching…yes, that’s me screaming in the video…and screaming, “That’s My Husband!”

I have always told Jim that he is a rock star – well, he’s my rock star with or without the performance last night…however…he definitely had the crowd psyched up too. Local boy.

So what did YOU do on July 2nd??


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Marinating on eggplant dishes

Okay, that was kinda a play on words. I am uber excited about the grilled eggplant we made last night for dinner. Was simple, but needs to be cast in stone. So, in the stone that is the world-wide-web….here we go.

Pepperoncini Eggplant

1 medium eggplant, sliced (I did lengthwise, but whatever works)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3 sprigs of basil, torn
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c liquid from pepperoncini

Put all ingredients in a zip tight bag. Turn bag so liquid coats eggplant. Let sit in refrigerator as t least 30 minutes.

Grill to desired done-ness.

Additionally, some other fun grilling tidbits:

Asparagus, Pepper, and Onions on the Grill

1 bunch of thin to medium asparagus
1 red pepper sliced
1 small vidalia onion
1/4 cup Ken’s Northern Italian lite salad dressing

Cut asparagus into manageable pieces. Slice onion to desired thickness. Marinate for 30-45 minutes. Create a foil pouch to hold veggies. Grill for 39 minutes or until heated through.

Veggie Kebobs

1 package of cherry tomatoes
2 zucchini
1 small  Vidalia onion
2 bell peppers, any color
1 8 oz pkg button mushrooms
2-3 ears of sweet corn on the cob
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh basil, chopped

Prepare skewers if using a wood ones. Slice zucchini, onion, corn, and peppers into similar sized chunks. Thread veggies onto skewers. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and basil.

Grill until char marks are visible.

I love grilling. Did I mention that? Oh, and the leftovers? Make FANTASTIC cold sandwiches. Had to stop myself from eating all the leftovers for lunch today!

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Thank you Pioneer Woman…

I totally forgot to blog about the amazing salad I had last week that I’ve been trying to replicate all week long (not spot on, but I didn’t buy two of the ingredients…ooops). And then I read about her kale citrus salad.  Well, here’s mine with variations you might like:leafy_greens

Kale and Strawberry Salad


Fresh strawberries, sliced across the berry the wide way

Red Onion

Sunflower seeds

Dried cranberries

Feta cheese

Vinaigrette dressing (any one you like a lot)

Of course, combine and toss but here are a couple of adjustments I’ve made:

1. Leave out the sunflower seeds and red onion because you forgot to buy them.

2. Sub chopped pecans for sunflower seeds (cuz you forgot to buy ‘em).

3. Add or sub raisins to or for the cranberries. (Any dried fruit would do, I think).

4. Wish you had bought red onions.

5. Swap out feta for bleu or goat cheese.

6. Make a salad wrap – with a pliable flour tortilla.

7. Use chives or scallions instead of red onions.

8. Make your own vinaigrette – and my little “creamy” secret is to add a tbsp of greek yogurt to the vinaigrette to make it a “creamy” vinaigrette.

Kale is good for you – prepare it as you might for any raw recipe. If you’re a kale-massager, or a strip cutter, or would prefer chard or escarole – go for it. Arugula would be awesome too.

Have a fresh, exciting salad or salad wrap.


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Morning Muffins

This is the recipe for the muffins I made.  It is based on several recipes from my “bible” (The New Doubleday Cookbook) but mostly, I devised it myself.

Suggested alterations:

  • seeds instead of nuts
  • dried cherries or blueberries instead of raisins and cranberries
  • figs instead of, or in addition to raisins and cranberries
  • increase the amount of dried fruit
  • molasses instead of honey
  • oil instead of butter

Morning Muffins

¾ cup whole wheat flour

¼ cup oat bran

¼ cup rolled oats

¼ cup wheat germ

¾ cup white flour

3 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup dried cranberries

2 tbsp chopped nuts

1 egg

¼ cup shortening (butter, melted)

1 cup milk

1 tbsp raw honey


Combine dry ingredients. Make a well in the center.

Combine wet ingredients. Add to well in dry ingredients. Mix until just combined

Fill greased muffin cups ¾ full.

Bake at 425 for 25 minutes. Makes 6 large or 12 small muffins.


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Stream of consciousness

That kinda means I haven’t planned this…so…

2014 has been difficult.  I guess I should probably expect this since I am aging…but more people I know and care about are passing away. And, maybe it’s just me but at a younger age.  I could get all political on ya, and start blaming the government for backing a poisoning giant like Monsanto but let’s not obscure the facts here.  I’m not even 51 yet (a few weeks…so, cut me some slack) and I’ve lost a friend who was younger than I am AND a friend’s husband just passed who was 50 (he’s the gentleman in my FB profile picture).

As I get older (yes, I admit it), I struggle with facing up to the fact that I was created for a purpose and I should be living into that purpose.  God created me, put me on this earth, shaped me, formed me, and He did that with a … well, purpose in mind.  It’s been difficult for me to open my heart to him and have him fill me with the desire to follow his direction.

When I was younger, I was headstrong and thought I knew what was best for me. Although I grew up God-fearing, I really didn’t know what that meant and I didn’t know how to reach out to him and HEAR his instructions. (Not to say I’m very good at it now but…I at least acknowledge I am not good at it and am TRYING to hear and LISTEN more effectively. Anyway, I know that I probably missed a lot of “clues” that could have guided me in the right direction.

Here it is, 2014, and I’m just now figuring out that my life should be guided by prayer, and that I can actually live a good, fun, interesting life but still fall to my knees and praise God for the goodness, fun, and interesting stuff in my life. (Actually, I’ve been figuring that out for a couple of years – not just this year)

So, back to the original thought (see, stream of consciousness). In my daily Bible reading OLD Testament, there’s a lot of vengeful death – I’m in 1 Samuel, and Eli and his sons just died.  But then, I move to the New Testament and in John 5, I read:

24“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
25“And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. 26The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. 

which says basically that in death, we will have eternal life – which we know because Jesus died so that we COULD have Eternal Life. It’s almost as if I’m being told that these who have died have NOT died and are buried and gone. They are where they need to be – with Jesus, who turned this dark and somber event of death into a celebration and resurrection.

Jim said to me the other day that lots of people misunderstand that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are two different beings.  They aren’t.  He’s right.  The God of the New Testament redeemed Israel (and us too) by sending His Son to take on the sin of the world since we could never fully repent that sin.  Thus, He (Jesus) died that we may live…and live a life that is abundant and fulfilling – especially if we turn our hearts to him and LISTEN to his direction.

If you’ve read this far, I hope something has resonated with you.  Here’s what resonates with me:

  1. Death is not forever, and for those who believe…it is a resurrection to eternal life – thus, we can look forward to seeing all those who have gone before us in the end-of-days.
  2. Listen as you pray. Open your heart and listen for God’s directions. BTW, Jim also said that God speaks as LOUD AS THUNDER but soft like a whisper to your heart…so listen with your heart too!
  3. Remember that in Christ Jesus we are redeemed.

As always, I like to leave you with a song…This one is Big Daddy Weave “Redeemed”.


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Y’know, I know we are only here on this earth for what amounts to a micro-second compared to eternity. And, I know that “to everything there is a season…” but sometimes I have to furrow my brow, and wrinkle my nose a bit because it seems odd.

I love Facebook.  It has reconnected me with people I thought I would never see or hear from again. It has allowed me to get to know parts of my family I might not have been able to “see” otherwise. It has drawn me close to friends in faith, and has kept me deeply connected with some of the most wonderful people I have the pleasure of calling friends.

And tonight, it caught me completely off guard in telling me that someone I spent TONS of time with in college (Salem State) has passed. Now, I hadn’t seen her in probably 15 years…we had lost touch. But we reconnected after dad died…her mom had just died. We planned to get together on this trip to MA in 3 weeks.

It knocked the wind out of me. How is this so? She was about 6 months younger than I. How can it be that she is gone? That’s too young. Her kids…she has 2…what about them? How unfair. I don’t know….all these odd thoughts going round in my head…

Defying logic, I cling to the promises that we are washed clean in the blood of the lamb. Our Savior overcame death so that we shall not die but be with Him in eternity. Paula, today, hou are there, in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You are at the banquet with him, and all the saints. You are with your mom. Heck, you are with my dad…

Yea, tho I walk throught the valley of darkness
I fear nothing
For you are with me

Peace, dear friend…

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