Coffeegirl63's Blog

I Love To Laugh August 15, 2015

Laughter thrills me. And it fascinates me. How many laughs do you know? I’m going to hazard a guess that most of you have seen the movie Mary Poppins. Do you remember the song, I Love to Laugh? The laughs that were heartfelt, sincere, and based in freedom were clearly the favorites. This is true for me as well. My favorite memory of a laugh is my kids’ tickle laugh when they were little… especially my now-24-year-old son’s because he liked to be tickled more than the others. My favorite laugh to elicit from anyone is the laugh that comes from an unexpected turn in the conversation.

I don’t remember how much I laughed as a child, but my parents have told me I was a very happy child. If my mother reads this, she will (hopefully) comment a response. I went for several years not laughing much at all… because I thought that was the way I was supposed to be–sober and grown-up. In the self-discovery stages I’ve gone through in the last several years, I’ve realized that I truly do love to laugh. I started by just smiling more, then quietly chuckling… now I just laugh right out loud if something tickles me.

There are some things that can make me laugh every time till the tears flow and my tummy hurts. Almost every episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? is laugh-out-loud funny. Clean, clever improv is one of my favorite forms of entertainment. I like stand-up comedy, too, but improv fascinates me with its cleverness, quick-thinking creativeness, and intelligence. It’s exciting that it can go any direction at the slightest twist.

By sister and best friend Jeannie can always make me laugh. She and I can have entire conversations without uttering a word, or with only talking in movie lines. She gets me like no one else, and I’m grateful for how she’s held the pain and laughter of my soul in her hands for 52 years. Our conversations are not complete until there has been real laughter. My favorite is when she makes me laugh so hard my face gets all dorky looking.

My favorite friendships are the ones in which we are fully comfortable with laughter and tears—sometimes tears from the laughter, sometimes laughter from the tears!

I pray your days may be filled with heartfelt, healing laughter. Choose it, make it happen, and embrace it!

And now, I leave you with some beautiful thoughts about laughter:

“When the first baby laughed for the very first time, the laugh broke up into a thousand pieces of light, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. So now every time a new baby is born, its first laugh becomes a fairy.” – Sir James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan

“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” – Mark Twain

“A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.” – Madeleine L’Engle

“A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.” – Carolyn Birmingham

“I never would have made it if I could not have laughed. It lifted me momentarily out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it livable.” – Viktor Frankl (Holocaust survivor)

“Laughter is the corrective force which prevents us from becoming cranks.” – Henri Bergson

“We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.” – Agnes Repplier

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” –Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol


The Times, They Are A Changin’ November 20, 2011

There is a saying: The more things change, the more they stay the same. I can see the truth in that. But I’d like to talk about the drastic changes one person can see in his or her lifetime.

Tomorrow I will attend the memorial service of my Great-Aunt Theresa, my maternal grandmother’s oldest sister. Theresa was born in 1907… she would have been 104 next month. One hundred four years old. That boggles my mind! The things that she has seen in her lifetime must have boggled her mind at times… a mind, by the way, that was sharp until shortly before she passed. I did not know my Great-Aunt well, but the times we spent together were always good. I was always in awe of her… not in a frightened way, but in a fascinated way.

The year Aunt Theresa was born, UPS was founded in Seattle, WA, it cost 2 cents to mail a letter, and Hershey’s Kisses were invented. She was born before WWI, and was probably old enough to have memories of the news of it.

I was talking to a 20-something girl the other day, and she was sounding all kinds of impressive that she could remember when we didn’t have texting. I told her I could remember when cell phones were the size of bricks, when we didn’t have cell phones, and even when we didn’t have cordless phones–so to take a phone call, we actually had to stand right next to the phone. As young mothers, my friends and I were grateful when we could get really long cords so we could talk on the phone and still check on our kids and do the dishes and other chores. That girl I was telling all this to was amazed! lol. But Aunt Theresa saw the progression from most homes not having a phone to most people keeping a phone in their pocket.

She saw the progression from computers not even being a glimmer in any scientist’s eye to computers in the home to computers in most homes to many people have a computer on that phone in their pocket. When she was a child, it took several days for a letter to cross the country. Now, when someone writes a letter, it arrives in a couple days. Most of us, however, do our written communication by email, which can be instant when both parties are at their computer. My daughter talks to her friends on Skype.

In the early 1900’s women stayed home to take care of their husbands and children. Couples didn’t question whether they would choose to have a child. No mother would choose to feed her baby from a bottle. There was no instant way to “throw something together” for dinner. Meals were made purposefully, and meal gatherings were an expression of love. Bread was made by hand. Many homes had a garden–families ate fresh food in the summer, and they put up food for the winter months.

I don’t know if my great grandparents had a radio in their home when Great-Aunt Theresa was a girl, but I’m listening to streaming radio on my computer as I write this. When I go for a run, I’ll listen to music on my iPod.

A couple weeks ago, I was explaining to my daughter that it’s only been recently that we would just drive up to the curb to pick someone up or drop someone off at the airport. When I was a girl, and even through my teen years, airport drop-off and pick-ups were a family affair… a real event. The entire family would go. We would park in parking lot, we would all walk into the airport together, and then we would all wait at the gate… whether it was to see our loved one to the plane and wait until the plane would pull away, or it was to wait with joyful anticipation for the plane to land and our loved one to walk through that doorway. And no one would wear jeans on a plane; it was a dress-up affair. Also, plane tickets cost more when I was in high school than they do now. She thought it was pretty strange. However, we can hop on a plane whenever we choose. Just 4 years before Aunt Theresa was born, Orville and Wilbur Wright made their historic flight.

In many ways, the world was a much safer place. When I was a kid, we’d go outside to play and not come in till it was dark and mothers were flashing to porch lights to call us in. I’m sure it was the same when Aunt Theresa was a girl. Kids always walked wherever they needed to go, and no one worried about whether they would make it safely to school, the neighbors’ house, the store, or wherever they were heading.

When Great-Aunt Theresa was a girl, there were some very scary diseases that killed many. No one under the age of 60 has seen a case of smallpox, most people under the age of 40 don’t have the smallpox vaccination scar on their upper arm, and a case has not been seen on the planet since at least 1980. Helen Keller was left blind and deaf as a result of scarlet fever. Started in the 1940’s, the Centers for Disease Control have worked to cure and prevent many diseases.

As I sit and write this on my computer, I can easily go back and correct mistakes. I will (hopefully) not post this until I have caught and corrected any mistakes… and everything I write is saved on “the cloud” forever, as far as we know. If Great-Aunt Theresa kept a journal, is was with a pencil or pen in a bound book.

What about you? What have you seen in your lifetime that fascinates you? What was common in your childhood that is unknown or amazing to children today? Is there someone in your life who has lived a long, blessed life? I encourage you to spend time with that person, record some of their stories, enjoy the richness that comes from a life well lived.

Thank you for joining me today. I appreciate the gift of your time.


What Stirs Your Heart? October 17, 2011

Filed under: Busyness,Introspection,My kids,Relationships,Times with My Family — coffeegirl63 @ 9:40 pm

I apologize for the long absence. Shortly after I wrote last, I went on 4 trips over the course of a few weeks. And then I got busy at work–partly catching up from being away, and partly because this is about when work gets busy for me anyway.

This evening, I had an experience that stirred my heart so deeply that it started me thinking about the phenomenon of how a heart is stirred. My first thought, when I have introspective moments, is to process through writing.

Recently, I have been trying some new things. I was in Keystone, CO, for a Human Resources conference the last few days of September. Before I went, I had decided that I wanted to go on a hike when I was there. This may seem rather commonplace for many of you, and I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t been hiking before. However… I had never hiked by myself before! Weird, right? Here I am, 48 years old, and I’d never gone on a hike by myself. There have been very few things that I have done alone. But I’ve been changing that. Granted, I didn’t want to just head out on my own and find myself so deeply in the mountains that I’d be wandering there still. I got suggestions from the conference center in Keystone, and I texted someone from the trailhead to let him know where I would be. The beauty of nature stirs my heart. There are times, when I’m getting ready for work in the morning and I see the sunrise out my East-facing windows, that I’ll say something like, “Oh, that’s good one! Thank you!!” The first time I said that, I wondered if it was disrespectful… too familiar, or something. But I wasn’t being disrespectful or flippant. To see something as amazing as the sunrise with all its colors and textures elicited an instant response of awe in the only One Who could create something so beautiful, and then graciously give me the privilege of getting to see it. Here are a couple examples:   and here are a couple pictures from my hike:         I know there are a lot of pictures there, but I couldn’t decide. I have heard people say they don’t believe in God because they can’t prove God exists. When I see things like this, I can’t doubt His existence. The beauty of nature stirs my heart.

Some music stirs my heart. Les Miserable (but only the Royal Albert Music Hall, 10th Anniversary version–here’s a sample) never fails to move me. I’m not sure what my neighbors think when I’m cleaning house and belting out the songs along with the soundtrack on my stereo (I am kind enough to make sure that the stereo drowns out any belting I might be doing!), but I just can’t help it. The story of grace, choices, and redemption moves me deeply every time I hear it… and I’ve been listening to it regularly for almost 20 years (and, yes, my children pretty much have it memorized). The power of music stirs my heart.

Time with friends thrills me. I have friendships on a variety of levels, and they are each precious to me. I wrote about some of my relationships recently–you can read it here: Relationships–so I won’t repeat the stories, but suffice it to say the joys of friendship stir my heart.

A few minutes ago, I heard a song that I haven’t heard for years. It’s called Letters From War, and it’s by Mark Schultz. You can hear it here–Letters From War–but be warned… it had me crying like a little girl. Most of you reading this know me, and you know that my son, Johnny, is in the army. Here we are at his graduation from Basic Training:  and here he is on his way from Ft. Lee (Phase 1 of AIT–Advanced Individual Training) to Eglin AFB (Phase 2):  Now, I’m pretty sure that a logical person would not listen to a song called “Letters from War” when her son is in school for EOD training–Explosive Ordnance Disposal–but who ever said that mothering was a profession for the highly logical? Besides, it’s not like I sought the song out… It just popped up on my playlist. I love my kids, and I would protect them with my life if I needed to, but I never want them to compromise their passion so they can live a life of safety. Seeing my kids live their lives purposefully and with passion stirs my heart! Sometimes my emotions overwhelm me–joy, fear of not being strong enough when they need me, love, pride, astonishment that I got to have the four best kids in the history of the world, and the absolute hilarity that we experience when we’re all together. The prevailing emotion over all, however, is absolute love. The depth of my feelings for my four children stirs my heart.

So there you have my thoughts… all elicited by one song that surprised me with emotions I didn’t know were so close to the surface. Thank you for letting me share with you. And now, before my day ends, I must go finish making the dinner I was working on when I was so struck with the need to process…


By the way, in case you’re interested, I’ve started a couple professional blogs, as well. I would love for you to check them out. Visit for my thoughts on the payroll world and for my thoughts on the world of human resources.


Relationships August 28, 2011

Filed under: Friends,Relationships,Times with My Family — coffeegirl63 @ 9:37 pm
Lately, I’ve been thinking about relationships. There are so many levels of relationships, and sometimes the lines between them seem more wavy than straight.Some relationships are decided for us. My sister (2nd in birth order) and I have been best friends so long that I don’t really remember it happening. It seems we always have been. My mother always said, “friends come and go, but family is family forever.” Maybe she just wanted us kids to play nice with each other, but it’s always stuck with me. My older sister (1st born, with all the stereotypical personality traits) and I were not close growing up. I’m sure she must have at some point, but I don’t remember her ever playing with us. However, we became close after we became adults (she was pretty much born an adult, while I still sometimes struggle with the rule that says I have to grow up). In the last several years, we’ve become very close. Sister 2 and I have each gone through some very difficult times, but we always know we can count on each other. Something withers a bit in each of us when we go too long without talking or seeing each other.
Other relationships begin as one thing and end up looking completely different. My good friend Kevin ( and I met in late 2007/early 2008 when he came in to sell me on a payroll/human resource company for Coleson Foods. His role was just to introduce me to the company, which I ended up choosing for Coleson Foods, but typically was not to continue beyond that stage. However, we hit it off and kept in touch. We’d meet from time to time just to visit. I was honored that he trusted me enough to introduce his wife to me. The three of us have become friends, a friendship that has nothing to do with human resources or payroll. His friendship has played a major role in my professional success, as well as my professional and personal self-confidence.
Some relationships start because two people are sort of thrown into a situation together. My good friend Julie ( and I met when our husbands were working for the same ministry. Jim and I were working for a ministry that bought property where Julie and her husband had been working, at a different ministry. I met her husband first at the ministry site. His first impression of me was: a rather free spirit in (what he thought was) a mini skirt (it was shorts) hopping on the back of a dirt bike for a tour of the property. He told his wife that she HAD to meet me. Julie’s first impression (before we met in person) was a bit different: homeschooling mother (moving from Tulsa, OK, to Tyler, TX) who made Julie and her family some homemade whole wheat bread, homemade peanut butter, and homemade watermelon jelly to celebrate the birth of their youngest child. Her mental image: denim jumper, no makeup, and long hair in a bun. Reality was somewhere in the middle. However, under Julie’s gentle (ha) tutelage, I am much more a free spirit–although, I don’t know that I’ve EVER owned a denim jumper, and I’m pretty sure I never looked like a typical northeast TX homeschooling mother. Julie and I “talk” almost every day (no fewer than 5 days a week, sometimes more) on IM. She encourages me every time we talk. She’s helped me nutritionally (I’m so much healthier than I knew how to be on my own, but she still let’s me eat chocolate). The biggest thing is that I can tell her anything. She’ll jerk the slack out of me if I’m being foolish, but with so much love that I feel the joy of making the right choice. She doesn’t judge me for anything I do, say, or think. She’s held my hand (virtually) through my failed romances… watching me go through the stages of grief in such quick succession (and repeatedly) that she must be dizzy. But then we talk through how nothing that happens in life is wasted. She helps me work through what I do and do not want in any relationship (romantic or not) in the future, and that it’s ok to make those decisions/choices for myself.
I have another friend, Helen. Whenever we get together, we laugh ourselves silly! We met when she started working at Coleson Foods years ago. She is young enough to be my daughter… in fact, I think she’s right about Jimmy’s age. We got to know each other slowly, until the day she got to open the door to my most embarrassing moment, the one in which I unwittingly completely disparaged the means by which she came into this world. She’s owned me ever since. However, one more than one occasion, she has reminded me that I emotionally scar her like no one else can. And she laughs at all my funny children-stories. We talk about the deep issues of life, and we see the hilarious side of almost everything. We don’t get to see each other as often as we like, and we mostly exchange Facebook statuses. But when we see each other, we walk away with cheeks and tummies sore from laughing. Helen has been instrumental in my learning that I’m valuable enough that I have a right to, and should, set boundaries that can make me free.
There are people in my life that I love, but we don’t socialize as friends. They’re a cross between a friend and an acquaintance, I suppose. However, within those situations, I can pour my heart out and listen as they pour out theirs to me.
I have people in my life whom I’ve never met, mostly work contacts, but our phone conversations have led to a level of relationship that I think we’d get along well if we ever did meet.
Some of my friends are as social as I am. Some of my friends are terrified at walking into a room of strangers and beginning conversations just for the sake of getting to know people. Others are neither terrified nor fascinated by people, they’re just not interested in having any more friends than they already have. As you know, I am in the group fascinated by people; I’m always interested in making more friends, on a variety of levels. Sometimes a connection is made, but life situations don’t necessarily allow that we’ll ever see each other again. Sometimes a connection is made, and we’ll see each other from time to time… always happy to catch up on each other’s lives. Sometimes a connection is made, and a relationship develops that is so deep it becomes a life-long friendship. I love all those relationships. They all shape us and help us become better people, if we’re willing to give and receive love from each other as God has made us to do.
I’ve learned a lot this year about what I have to give to and receive from others. It’s been a wonderful adventure that I hope continues for the rest of my life!