Saturday, December 20, 2014

Colonoscopies can be revealing...

Gastroenterologists. I haven't had a colonoscopy in over ten years. 

No wonder. Who in the world ‘likes’ to have a colonoscopy? Well, I had one this week and everything 'came out okay.'

Get it? Everything came out okay? Never mind.

I like it when my husband has one because he’s hilarious afterward! Once, we watched “The Sound Of Music” the night before one of his colonoscopies. He woke up singing, “...the hills are alive with the sound of music...” and I learned he also sang it during his procedure. I asked the doctor if he joined Joe in singing the sound track, to which he replied that he didn’t have time to join in because Joe didn’t make it to the second line! Ha!

Another time, Joe was fixated on the doctor’s shoes. They were the latest in athletic footwear and Joe even talked about them while the doctor consulted with us following his procedure. (He was still just a little drunk.)

Once, when I was being fitted with my new eyeglass frames, the optician mentioned that my husband really loved me.

What? How would she know?

She said, “My husband had a colonoscopy the same day as yours and they woke up in rooms right next to one another. He kept telling the nurse that his wife was a ‘wonderful woman! You’ll love her!’ he said.” 

She proceeded to tell me that Joe told anyone who would listen just how much he loved his wife!

Now, friends, I think that’s pretty cool when a hubby is totally soused and talks wonderful about his wife!!!

Just for the record, I think he’s pretty awesome, too!

Remember, if you have a pulse, you have a purpose…so make your life count!

Friday, November 7, 2014


Sleep Apnea. Lots of people have been diagnosed with it. My husband has it. I have it. We both use C-pap machines when we sleep at night because the snoring would cause a mild earthquake in our cul-de-sac.

If someone broke into our house in the middle of the night, and saw us wearing our funny masks, they’d think we were aliens! With the hoses and the face masks, we both look like extras in the bar scene of the first ‘Star Wars’ movie. (And if we got frisky wearing those things, we’d likely electrocute one another!)

I fall asleep in strange places. When I was working in morning radio, I’d easily fall asleep in the evenings. Church? Yes. Company? Yes, sometimes. If we were in a restaurant and it got too quiet, I’d fall asleep. No kidding! Once my husband and some friends left me sitting in a Wendy’s...with my elbow on the table and my chin propped on my hand. He wanted to see how long it would take me to wake up and realize I was alone. Trouble is, I wasn’t alone. The restaurant was full after a Friday night football game! People began snickering as I drowsily looked up to see Joe and friends standing outside the window, staring at me.

It wasn’t funny to me at the time, but I’m older now and have loosened up a little. A little.

Once I had the privilege to listen to Louie Giglio teach at The Cove (The Billy Graham Training Center) in North Carolina. He was very interesting. Really, he was! But we’d all been sitting a while and the seminar was nearing the end. Louie invited us to bow our heads and close our eyes as he prayed.

Either he prayed a really long time, or I was extremely sleepy. All I know is that I put my head down on my arm, which was propped up on the seat in front of me...fell asleep and woke myself up snoring!!!

When the prayer was done, I whispered to the lady who was sitting in the seat next to where I’d been resting my head and apologized for falling asleep. She looked at me gratefully and said, “I’m so glad you’re okay! I thought you were choking and couldn’t breathe! When you gasped, I realized you were okay!”

On a recent trip to Ohio, I’d had too little sleep before hitting the road. When I got to Williamsburg, Kentucky I knew I needed to nap in my car for a bit...and planned to, after using the restroom.

When I travel, I like to use hotel restrooms. They’re cleaner and nicer than filling stations and fast-food places. I started doing that when I was potty-training Hannah when we were traveling. Plus, when I’m on the road alone, I feel a bit safer going into a hotel to use the facilities. In 30 years I’ve only had one hotel manager tell me the restrooms weren’t for public use. I was desperate and offered him money, but STILL had to go to McDonalds!

But I digress...

At this particular stop, I used the restroom at the Williamsburg Inn. There are several stalls, so I slipped into one of them and...well...rested. Seriously. I rested! Unintentionally, I fell asleep sitting on the toilet!!! I must have been asleep for 10 or 15 minutes and woke myself up making the most horrible snoring noises you can imagine!

Who knows how awful it sounded before I woke myself up! And bathrooms are notorious for their acoustics!

Some lady might have come in and heard it, thinking the woman in that stall was really having a tough time of it! Ha!

When telling my daughter about my ‘nap’ later that day, I mentioned that someone might have thought there could be two people in that stall know. (Or you’d know if your mind was in the gutter.)

Hannah told me there was no way one could think that anything was going on in that stall with two people because she’s “...heard me snore and it’s a horrible, unmistakeable sound!”

Well, there you have it. I guess I’m going to have to take my C-pap machine with me EVERYWHERE I go!

Yes. Even there, if I’m tired!

Remember, if you have a pulse, you have a purpose…so make your life count!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

No green thumb on MY hand!

My mother raised beautiful violets. She had 'the gift' when it came to plants. Her youngest daughter, however, did not receive that gift. In fact, her house is where most plants come to die. Who knows how many violets I've been given during hospital stays or as gifts that met the same slow death. It wasn’t that I was TRYING to kill them...

So, thanks to Mother’s instructions, I would carefully water the violets in the proper way and would place them to enjoy their best light. But each ill-fated violet was sort of pitiful when the last bloom would fall off. Just like all the others, the plant would sit there. No growth. No more blooms. Each one was just another fuzzy-leaved green plant that looked like it may have smoked cigarettes when it was younger because it's growth was so very stunted.

My hairdresser, Kirk Hemboldt, visited me at at the hospital (after my knee replacement) while I was 'under the influence' of the morphine in my pain pump. To everyone who came in my room to visit, my daughter tells me I’d hold up the button and instruct everyone to “...say hello to my little friend!” I’d never remember much of any conversation after that.

Now Kirk and I have been friends for a very long time, and we talk about all sorts of things. All sorts! So who knows what I might have said to him in that hospital room. I do remember his gift…a violet filled with blooms in a beautiful little dish. Obviously, in all the things we’d talk about over the years, I’d never told him I was a serial plant murderer. If I had, I’m sure he’d never have given me custody of that innocent, sweet violet! It really was beautiful, and I knew it would eventually meet the same fate as every other violet I’d known.

Well, I think my luck may be changing! This morning as I dutifully watered my houseplants (that always seem to be hanging on for dear life) I noticed a single bloom on my violet! I was so excited that I took a picture of it! This was a FIRST for me! That was this morning. Tonight, I checked it before crawling into bed and it’s still there! Miracles never cease!

One of my favorite comedians is Mitch Hedberg. He once said, “All my silk plants died because I forgot to pretend to water them.”

That sounds like a line I need to borrow for my stand-up comedy Hedberg credit for it, of course.

Remember, if you have a pulse, you have a purpose…so make your life count!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rest in Peace, Robin

Robin Williams.
Iconic. Comedian. Actor. Generous. Beloved by millions…and had all the world could offer. Depressed. And now he’s gone because his sadness overcame him.

Just watching Robin Williams in action, you’d never have imagined he had a problem with depression, would you?

If you know me at all, you might be surprised to know that I began struggling with depression when our little family made a move in 1991. I thought it was just sadness because of leaving what I'd known and loved for 11 years…not being able to find a job in radio there because the one station in town was all sown up with home-town boys…and the nearest place to look was a town that would have cost me more to drive to than I'd have been paid.

I'd also been taking fertility drugs again, trying to give our daughter a sibling. My track record wasn't too good, but I'd succeeded once out of several pregnancies (one a set of twins). All of a sudden, a problem was found that brought that pursuit to a dead stop. I was devastated. I sunk a little lower.

I spent four of the longest years of my life trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I prayed. A lot.

Then we moved again. I thought my problems were over. I loved where we lived…was able to get back into radio…and, most of all, I had this amazing husband who loved me through the worst time in my life. And he still loves me!

But my problems weren't over. Clinical depression had set in, and in my ignorance…figuring it was a spiritual problem…I ignored the signs. When I saw my gynecologist, he and I had a heart-to-heart. After he prescribed an antidepressant, I never had it filled. My thought was that I was a weak Christian and needed to draw closer to God. Seriously!

As a Christian woman, I thought if I was lacking joy in my life, I needed to do whatever it took to get back on the right track. Taking one Bible study…teaching another…participating in prayer time, quiet time, as much as possible. Yet I was still sinking.

I finally did what my doctor lovingly said after my second appointment declaring that my problem was spiritual: “Shut up and take your pills.” He knew me well. He was a Christian, too. And he was a friend. He got pretty blunt with me. Convincing me to try taking the antidepressant for three months, I began feeling like “me” again. We worked with the dosage. Finally, we found what worked for me.

And, spiritually? I’ve had moments in the desert and moments on the mountain-top. Thanks be to God, He’s been faithful to me even when I haven’t to Him. I love Jesus. And He loves me through every moment of my life…no matter what that moment might bring. I’m not a weak Christian because I receive treatment for depression. That used to be my mindset. Now, I’m thankful that God gave knowledge to those who developed the medications I need to keep me on an even keel. This wasn’t a spiritual problem for me. My hubby compared it to the fact that I had low thyroid and needed Synthroid to help it be normal. Just like when I found out I was pregnant with Hannah and needed the HCG hormone in order to keep my body from rejecting what was growing inside my uterus…I needed help. And, thanks be to God, I got it.

There was no reason to be as secretive as I first thought I should be about my depression. You know what happened when I began to talk about my treatment? I found out there were other people in the same boat! I wasn’t alone at all!

Don’t let the enemy of our souls rob you of real joy in your life. And don’t let depression rob you either.

Maybe you’ve read about Robin Williams and all of a sudden, depression is a topic that’s being talked about. Let some good come of this to honor his memory.

Do you know the Signs of Depression? I went to The Mayo Clinic website so I could share them with you…

Although depression may occur only one time during your life, usually people have multiple episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:
• Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
• Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
• Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
• Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
• Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
• Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
• Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
• Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
• Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
• Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
• Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
For some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it's obvious something isn't right. Other people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.
To learn more, go to:

And now (more than ever) let me remind you yet again that if you have a pulse, you have a purpose…so make your life count!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Live and Learn

I had a birthday in July...turned 61. My daughter gave me a new bicycle, complete with a basket and the promise of my very own bell. My husband gave me New Balance walking shoes. These gifts came as a result of my newfound freedom with a knee replacement in March. I didn’t know my leg could ever feel this good again! 

As we age, we learn things...
One thing I have learned is not to put things off. If I’d known how much better I’d feel with a new knee, it would have been replaced when it was first suggested by my surgeon. But, wanting to hold out as long as I could (thinking that was the right thing to do for me) caused me to miss out on a lot of life.

Something else I’ve learned over the years is that doing things the easy way isn’t always the best idea, or even a real time saver. If I can carry four of those plastic shopping bags into the house at one time...then why not eight? Chances are I’ll make it to the kitchen without one of them breaking and dumping my groceries on the front porch. But overloading my arms seems to always mess me up because time is NOT saved when I have to backtrack to pick up the dropped items.

Holding onto your laptop while readjusting the bed pillows can result in dropping said laptop on your face. Yes. I did that. Twice.

Last night, I learned another lesson.
I was in bed. My computer completed it’s charging, so I thought I’d lean over to unplug the charger and plug in my cell phone charger. Seems simple enough. Unless you’re me.

My cell phone charger was tough to get in those little outlet holes, so I leaned farther to assure it was in correctly. That is when my whole body slid off our exceptionally high bed. As my face headed toward the floor, I was unable to catch myself. The space between the bed and my big overstuffed chair isn’t very wide. Not only did I move that chair with my body, but I had this wonderful little decorative wooden box that was there to stop my head. It didn’t. Not exactly.

Try to imagine a really large mammal attempting a dive into a bucket. Do you have that picture in your mind? Not pretty is it? Well, the box was just big enough for my head to cram through the lid...and tall enough that it stopped at the bridge of my nose. Lying on the floor, all I could think of was calling my sweet husband for help. But, alas, he wouldn’t have heard me without his hearing aides. And besides, seeing his wife on the floor with her head in a box would have been hysterical to him! He’d have likely found a way to work the whole scenario into a sermon illustration. (He’s been known to do that sort of thing.) Instead, I managed to get up from that confined space without doing any further damage. My new knee was fine! But that place on the bridge of my nose? I’m convinced that icing it immediately kept it from turning black and blue. And I’m thankful I can hide the puncture wound with my eyeglass frames.

Friends, when you have a job that can be done better without cutting corners...don’t cut them. Learn from my mistake. The easy way isn’t always the smartest.

My mother-in-law used to tell me I’m an “accident looking for a place to happen!” She knew me too well. I’m one of those people who will never be remembered as being graceful. I trip over air...if it’s thick.

Recently, my friend Becky Bird posted a funny thing on facebook that I completely related to! It read, “I would like to think I will die a heroic death. But it’s more likely I’ll trip over my dog and choke on a spoonful of frosting.”

Remember...if you have a pulse, then you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

♫ I Gotta Be Me ♫

I grew up in the home of a minister. Yes, I was one of those preacher’s kids (PK’s) people talk about.

You may have heard it said "the preacher’s kids are the worst ones in town." I have a theory about that. Maybe they’re that way because they play with the members’ kids.

Or not.

I always tried to be good, but there were moments. And I’m not going to tell you about the moments, just in case you’re wondering! If my sister were still alive, she’d be happy to tell you of my moments...because they always made her look even better! But she was pretty much the perfect minister’s daughter anyway and I just helped her improve her already good image!

PK’s are just like other kids. The only difference is mom or dad is a preacher...a spiritual leader in the community...the ‘shepherd of a flock.’

PK’s shouldn’t be expected to behave in a particular way just because of what the parent does for a living. If I were a bank teller when my daughter was growing up, do you think folks would have expected her to be more financially responsible? I was a radio personality while Hannah was growing. A deejay. Should people have expected her to know each week’s ‘American Top 40’ just because I talked and played music on the radio?

That’s a stupid thing to expect of a kid.

I guess preacher’s kids are held to a higher standard because of the ministry of the adults. It isn’t always fair, but it is what it is.

‘Shouldn’t’ became a word I sometimes hated. I heard it a lot. And, bless my parents’ hearts, I heard it from them. Mother and Daddy always expected me to behave well because they said that people were watching us. Like we were examples. (Deep down it made me want to be a little bit rebellious.) A little more was expected, and I tried to I told you earlier. Even one of my Sunday School teachers, Mrs. Basinger would remark now and again, “Beth, you shouldn’t say’re the preacher’s daughter!”

Well, now I’m grown up. And, would you believe I still hear that now and again! But it’s usually my conscience telling me, “you shouldn’t say’re the preacher’s wife!” Or even more difficult now is remembering that sometimes I shouldn’t say something or do something or react in a particular way because I’m a District Superintendent’s wife! But I gotta be me.

As she was growing up, I often told my daughter, “Behave in the right way because you’re a Christian young lady...not for any other reason. You belong to Jesus. Represent Him well.”

Momma needs to take her own advice and life will be a lot easier. I just need to remember to represent my Jesus well in the process.

And, by the way...I tried to be a dignified minister’s wife once. Once. It was the longest ten minutes of my life.

Remember...if you have a pulse, then you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Monday, April 21, 2014

I like to make people laugh...

Have you ever heard an organ recital?

No, not the kind where everyone sits and enjoys the musical presentation of a talented organist. I’m talking about when people talk about their ailments and how things aren’t working the way they used to. My daddy always called those comments “organ recitals” and would get a laugh out of us every time.

Far be it from me to give you a rundown on all the things I’ve had done over the years. But I will. I’ve had quite a few things repaired. In fact, by the time Joe and I have been married 50 years, he’s gonna have a whole new girl! Damaged retinas led to cataracts which led to lens implants. Carpel tunnel surgeries repaired the problems with my hands. Both feet have had bunions and joints removed. And most recently, I had a total knee replacement.

Add to all that, the eight abdominal surgeries I’ve had. For one of those, my sister sent me a card filled with stickers. Each sticker had instructions for the doctors and nurses. They were to be placed on my body...things like “Start Here” and “Stop Here” and “Scratch Here” and others which were funny, so I used a few of them. When I went for surgery, I placed the ‘start’ and ‘stop’ stickers in the appropriate places. From what I heard later, the surgeon got a good laugh out of it in the operating room. The ‘scratch here’ sticker was applied to my bandage before the dressing was changed.

The funny factor of those stickers led to me taping a note on my belly each time I was headed to the operating room.

“Please stand on my other side for this surgery so you can straighten out the crooked incision you made the last time.”

“Could you take out about 60 pounds of fat while you’re in here?”

And one that I copied the Blue Cross/Blue Shield logo onto an official looking letter, complete with a flesh colored 9 inch zipper attached. It read “Please install attached zipper in order to cut insurance costs. You know you’ll be in here again within two years.”

Another one read, “Rental space available for your valuables for a small fee.”

I’d had a tube and ovary removed many years before my hysterectomy, so that was a fun note...
“Since you’re only removing part of the equipment, could I have a discount?”

My surgeon went to talk with my husband and parents after that operation was done, took the note and folded it into a paper airplane. He threw it at Joe and said, “your wife is just not right!” They all had a good laugh.

The doc was right. I’m not right. But I do have a lot of fun!

Wish I could have thought of a funny note to leave before my knee replacement...I didn’t. But I asked the surgeon during a pre-op visit if I could have my kneecap when it was over. He asked, “what in the world for?!?!?”

I told him I had a wobbly table at the house that I could use it under.

(I didn’t get it. He glued it onto my new knee. Party pooper.)

Remember...if you have a pulse, then you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Monday, March 24, 2014


I’m pregnant. With excitement. Yes, I’m expecting...and the due date is March 25th. We’ve already learned it’s a knee and I’ve named him Nehemiah.

About 36 hours from the time I’m writing to you, I’ll be in surgery for knee replacement. I’ve never been excited about surgery before. This is one I’m excited about. I’ve been ready for two years! But that’s not the subject for this blog.

In preparation for some down time, I’ve completed my spring cleaning rituals except for washing the windows inside and out. Allergy season is here and I have to avoid pollen as much as possible, especially right now. Our house looks pretty good. We’ll see how long that lasts with Joe here alone for a number of days. But that’s not the subject for this blog either.

In these few years that my right knee has worsened, I’ve favored it to the point that I resorted to using a cane. And because of that favoring and limping I’ve done up to now, my left hip feels horrible. Getting old is not for sissies. And that, also, is not the subject of this blog.

I decided that I needed to empty the refrigerator before being away for about ten days (hospital, then rehab). Therefore I’ve been eating odd combinations of foods this week to accomplish my goal. You don’t want to know what I ate. Trust me. Let's just say pickled beets should never be an option first thing in the morning.

Joe and I are planning to stay overnight close to the hospital where I’ll report at 5:30, Tuesday morning. I have lots to do between now and then. I’ve packed up a Snack Bag filled with hard candies, some meringue cookies, crackers, and little candy bars. Why? Because every time I’ve ever stayed in a hospital, caring for a loved one...I’ve had a snack drawer to share with visitors. Hospital machines are expensive.

All the Green family knew if they were hungry while staying at the nursing home with Joe’s mother, that Beth had a Snack Drawer filled with all sorts of things. Peanut butter crackers, candy, Spaghettios. (I think I’m the only one who ate the Spaghettios, which props up my theory if one is hungry enough, one will eat anything!)

When my mother was in her last months, I’d drive from Tennessee to Ohio as often as possible to share the caregiving time with my sister by staying right there with Mother 24/7.

Vangie always made sure Mother had a dozen fresh roses in her room. Yes, Vangie took care of roses and I was in charge of keeping my homemade fudge along with other snacks in the top drawer of Mother’s dresser. Our mother loved fudge! And so did our brothers who were there as much as their jobs would allow.

Mother was diabetic, and was good to not eat those sugary treats to which her youngest daughter continues to be addicted. But in those last weeks, with the doctor's permission, our family decided that it would be okay for Mother to enjoy some of her favorites as long as they didn’t put her in danger. She seemed to appreciate that decision. So I’d make Peanut Butter Fudge and Chocolate Fudge for the snack drawer...for Mother, of course...and to share with visitors. The family, as well as the nurses and CNAs knew where to find the treats.

I doubt that I’ll get to make fudge for my hospital stay because I’m running out of time...but, cleaning out the refrigerator gave me the idea to use all the eggs and buttermilk, along with the over-ripe bananas on the counter by making Banana Bread. The wonderful aroma of that bread is in my nostrils at this moment! When it’s cooled, I’ll package up the slices in little snack bags. And, while Joe is waiting for me to come out of surgery on Tuesday morning, he can be the thoughtful host who offers homemade Banana Bread to folks in the surgical waiting room! No one there needs to know that I was cleaning out my fridge when the bread idea came to mind!

Now to review my list…
My house is clean. The clothes are washed. The fridge is cleared of dated items. The Snack Bag is nearly packed...and I’d better remember to pack napkins! Hope I haven’t forgotten anything! Oh yeah, my suitcase! I'll need clothes in rehab!!!

Probably the next time I write for you, I’ll be used to the hardware in my right leg. Joe’s already bought little magnets to leave notes on my new knee. He's cute that way.

Never forget this...
If you have a pulse, then you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Way to go, Belk! (I speak fluent sarcasm.)

The scripture in Psalm 139:14 reads: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (NIV)

Okay. I believe that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, because God’s Word tells me so. I also believe that over the years, I’ve altered God’s creation a great deal. No tattoos. No piercings, except for 1972 when my then-boyfriend pierced my ears at a kitchen table with alcohol, a large needle and a piece of styrofoam. (We didn’t have a potato to use, and when that styrofoam crunched, I nearly passed out!) In 1987, I had second holes pierced in my lobes, so my 2 year-old daughter could see what the ladies were going to do when she had her lobes pierced. (I dressed that kid in pink from head-to-toe, but her barely-there-hair had people mistaking her for a boy...hence the pierced ears.)

In the last several years I have discovered a new avenue in my life. I’ve been doing stand-up comedy in many venues...singing and sharing humor...and my body has become the brunt of many of my jokes. I do routines for mixed company; for women only; for senior adults; and whomever hires me for a laugh. Don’t get me wrong. My body is no laughing matter. But when I can joke about it and make tears run down somebody’s’s a pretty good day!

For instance...
My body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, but I’ve added on a Fellowship Hall. When I was pregnant, it was a Family Life Center. Now that I’m 60, things have begun to shift and I think I’ve become a Multi-Purpose Room!

How about these?
I’m on a 30-day diet. So far I’ve lost 10 days.
Actually, I’m on several diets at once because I couldn’t get enough to eat on just one.
I didn’t make it to the gym today. That makes three years in a row.

But today, I didn’t think it was so funny when I went to the Belk store at West Town Mall, shopping for a specific pant I’d seen advertised. I looked all over the store and finally asked a sales person where the plus-sizes were located. I was informed that all the plus-sized clothing was sold in a different building with mens wear, children’s clothing, appliances and home goods.

Same store. Belk. Different building. I felt kind of odd about that.

It was as if we plus-sized shoppers were relegated to the ‘back room’ where we wouldn’t be seen. It was kind of like, Cinderella being locked in the attic when Prince Charming came by with the other glass she wouldn’t be seen while the step-sisters attempted to squeeze into that tiny shoe.

The plus-sized collection was not nearly as big as I’d imagined since it was placed in a different building. That was disappointing. I found the pant I was looking for, but decided that today I wouldn’t give Belk my business. I’m sure I’ll break down and shop there again someday because I’ve always liked their store. But today, I didn’t like Belk. And I plan to write to management to voice my complaint.

Maybe these feelings are from some deep-seeded problem I don’t know I have. Maybe something happened to me when I was a kid that made me react the way I did today. Or maybe the feelings are because I know I need to lose weight. (Which I am, by the way.) But I felt a bit like a second-class citizen because of the location of what they call “Today’s Woman” clothing. Today’s Woman, my foot.

Tonight, I’m not a happy camper. Can you tell?

Usually I can find something funny in a situation. But not this time. Belk at West Town Mall in Knoxville, are on my list. (Actually I don’t have a list, but if I ever do, you’ll be on it!)

Even though I’m disgruntled tonight...just as I always do, I will still close with this reminder:
If you have a pulse, then you have a purpose. Make your life count!

Monday, February 10, 2014

What's in a name?

“Mary Elizabeth Miller!”

Whenever I heard my full name rolling from Mother’s lips, I knew it meant trouble. For me.

Mother always called me “Mary.” And I wasn’t in trouble as long as it was just my first name. But add the middle name, and it usually meant a discovery of some sort had been made and my name was the first to pop into Mother’s head. And if the last name was added...well, let’s just say that she didn’t bother with the phrase, “Wait till your father gets home!!!”

She was always diplomatic and gave me an opportunity to explain my part in whatever happened. But when I was 5 years old, I no longer dutifully went out to the Weeping Willow tree to get a switch for my punishment to be delivered. I’d finally figured out if I would pull off the switch and lay it on the back stoop, then disappear...I might not suffer the consequences for the error of my ways.

Somehow, though, my mother would find me and I would receive proper punishment. Sometimes it was having my mouth washed out with soap. I learned that Dove Soap tasted terrible whenever I made the mistake of opening my mouth and allowing something to escape that I knew better of. Mother’s hearing was extremely good, much to my dismay. And her eyes could get very big while she’d inflate her nostrils at the same time!!! Yes, Mother had a way...

When Mother would just say, “Mary” it usually came in a sweet, kind voice. She was quite soft-spoken. (I know. It makes you wonder what happened to me!) And she had a precious disposition. That’s how I knew when I was really in trouble. Her face and voice changed immediately! 

As I said, Mother called me “Mary.” Daddy called me “Beth” or “Bess” or “Little Bit.” My oldest brother calls me “Betsy” now and again. My next brother calls me “Mary Beth” as did my cousins, aunts and uncles. My sister called me “Sissy” or “Bess” and when she passed away last year, the second brother began to call me “Sissy” which I love!

When I was a kid, though, Mother even had my daddy invoking the full-name confrontational tone! 
One Sunday night when he was preaching at our little country church, I was sitting on the front row with a friend. An 8-year old girl can usually be depended upon to behave during church...especially when her daddy is standing at the pulpit directly in front of her. But not always.

I had a broken wrist cradled in a splint with an ACE bandage wrapped around it. During that particular Sunday evening, I thought it would be fun to stick things down inside my splint, then pull them out and force my friend to smell them! Pencils and pens worked well. An offering envelope could be folded to just the right width and shoved in between my splint and my skin. My friend would dutifully smell each item I pulled from the magical, smelly splint. Then she’d cringe and make a terrible face, which would cause me to giggle and try to find something else to shove under her nose! It was quite entertaining until my father had enough. 

I had often wished parents had a warning light that would flash rapidly whenever the parent was getting close enough to having ‘enough!‘ 

I was completely oblivious until I heard Daddy’s commanding voice saying, “Mary Elizabeth, I believe it’s time you sat with your mother!”

Did he really just say that?!?

I slinked down in my seat, then stooped low and dutifully went back to sit with my mother. I never raised up during the rest of the service. Just wanting to melt into the pew and not be noticed, I kept my head in her lap. 

When service was over, I still laid low. Mother allowed me to keep my head down in the pew while she stood to greet the church members, just as she usually did. Then it happened.

A lady named Mary Elizabeth Greer was sitting in the pew behind us. She leaned over the pew and said in a loud voice, “Well, Mary Elizabeth...when I heard your daddy say it was time to go sit with your mother, I thought to myself...Pastor, I’m already sitting with my mother!” Mrs. Greer thought that was so funny and even repeated it to others nearby. My head still down in the pew, I wanted to become invisible. She laughed and tried to tease me out of my embarrassment. It didn’t work.

Fast forward from 1961 to 1974. I was a new bride. My husband served churches very near where my father had served when I was a girl. I went with him on hospital visits quite often and during one of those visits, I saw Mrs. Greer. She was easily recognizable. I was a grown, married woman by now...and cordially introduced myself to her at the hospital information desk. All those years had passed, but what do you think she said after she inquired of my parents’ health, etc.? Yes. She remembered that Sunday night so many years before. And her laugh hadn’t changed. She thought it was hilarious then and still did that day.

Here I was, all grown up…yet still the embarrassment crept back into my face as it turned red. I hope I didn’t give myself away, but time had NOT changed what I’d felt that Sunday night. I was just as embarrassed as I was then! I laughed nervously, bid her goodbye, then stepped away from the desk so she, as the Pink Lady, could aid other visitors at the hospital.

Isn’t it silly that I felt that all over again? Yes, I suppose so. But from that day on, I’ve tried to be very careful of what I say to children who are experiencing embarrassment in my presence. Mrs. Greer meant well, but that was so etched in my mind, the old feelings came back. I do not want to be that person for another child. I hope I’ve been able to fulfill the promise I made to myself that day. That was 40 years ago!

But I always seem to find something about myself that I can make joke about. It’s okay if I’m the one doing it! 

And now, I make jokes about all the silly and ridiculous things that happen to me on a regular basis! Performing my Stand-Up Comedy has turned out to be so much fun, I can’t believe I get paid to do it!!! All those stories over the years have been great fodder for my act. 

My motto: If you can’t make something fun...then make it funny! 

And now, just as I always do...I like to close with this reminder:
If you have a pulse, then you have a purpose. Make your life count!