The Strong Life Test for Women

I like reading leadership, marketing and business strategy books and the like.  This test is in promotion of a book that is on my list.  I’ve read the ‘regular’ version just not the pink version.  I took the test.  I had to use my imagination as many of the scenarios don’t apply to single women but so what else is new.  Evidently, I’m first an advisor and secondly an equalizer.  It could be true.  I need to read more.  Thought some of you might find this interesting and possibly helpful as we all navigate the never ending question “what am I supposed to do with my life . . . now?”  How did yours turn out?

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Warning Opinionated Rant: Banks and Bonuses

Personally held core political belief #1: the idea of government intervening in the pay structure of any industry makes me nauseous.

Personally held core belief #2: You take money from anyone, you throw open the door for that person to have a say in your business.

Personally held core political belief #3: I file most Politicians and big bankers under the category “how do you sleep at night”.

To the big banks I say . . .go ahead and pay your best and brightest to continue being the best and brightest. In theory, “the market” is supposed to give you a rude awakening  if you’ve systematically made choices that embrace too much risk in the pursuit of satisfying your insatiable greed and unmatched arrogance.

But the government ‘of the people’ stepped in and decided that your disgustingly corrupt system was too important to fail and rescued you from the horrible consequences you deserved. In my opinion, something along the lines of public humiliation and complete and utter financial ruin paired with a happy future up selling Apple Pies at McDonald’s would have been warranted for many of your best and brightest.

So, the continued practice of government overstepping withstanding, I could NOT care less about the government limiting your ill gotten gains to simply obscene rather than outrageously irresponsible. I don’t think there is a person on this planet who deserves to make what many of you seem to think you’re entitled to but that’s just me.

To the government I say… shame on you for handing out billions of our dollars to bad little boys and girls without meting out consequences and setting some new rules for the playground.  I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to discipline bad behaving children within a reasonable time frame of the bad behavior in order for them to understand what they did wrong. You can’t wait until they have gotten past the shame of getting caught and the fear of consequences and they are on the fast track to record profits to slap their wrists and say ‘don’t do that again’.  All this posturing is just meant to give you a response to your constituents on the campaign trail when they ask  how you had their back in this crisis.  Good luck finding people who will buy what you’re selling.

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On Being an Old New Homeowner

So, I’m late to the homeowner game.  Most people my age are on their 3rd or 4th house I imagine but that just hasn’t been my journey.  There are many reasons I avoided buying a house and I won’t go into them here but they all come down to timing and fear.  Sitting a month into this journey, I can see clearly that I was right to trust my instincts.  This choice and at any other time in my past would’ve been a disaster!  You’ll just have to trust me on that.

A month in and I still have boxes.  To my super organized friends who are trying hard not to judge me, I can onlyapologize but I doubt anyone is surprised.  A month in and not a single room is done.  While that should be completely frustrating and exhausting, I am so excited I can’t stand it!

There’s a plan, don’t worry or at least the beginnings of one.  But I’m as excited about the process of getting there as I am to see the final results!  Now I just have to figure out how to pace myself and stay focused so I don’t plunge feet first into mountains of debt so I have it all NOW!

I’ve got lists of things to buy and projects to do: bigger, smaller, sooner, later but the basics of the plan begins with me  finishing unpacking and making the house functional with what I have now even with some empty or unpainted rooms or furniture serving an improvised purpose for the time being.  But once everything has found a home, even temporary the fun stuff will begin!  Then I will just move one room at a time starting with my bedroom and then LR/DR.

So, finally, here are the before pics of the new house interior.

The Living Room/Dining Room seen from just inside the front door.

View of Living Room side.  I should mention this is no longer blue but instead LOFT Gray.

Kitchen:   I have lots of ideas but this room will probably get tackled last since it’s fine for now.  New appliances.  Pretty new countertop.  Newish tile floor.  (first up for this room . . . light fixture over the sink has got to go!)

The enclosed garage will be a home office with my trundle daybed for guests.

And this is… you guess it.  I like the light aqua paint with the white & black tile for now.  I have some idea though  …

Bedroom #2 is above and will be the guest room. Yes, lighting is on the list of things to buy for this room!

This is the #3 bedroom but I’m going to use it as a TV room/den.  Obviously, there is much to do here so it’s higher up on the list!  I’ll probably tackle it after the LR/DR.   I’ll definitely be hiring someone to paint all the trim the glossy white trim to match the rest of the house and the walls will be most likely a fresh cream color.  That ought to give a nice blank canvas to start from.

Lastly, here is my bedroom . . .

It’s a small room but it is a 1950s house.  I love the  2 old windows.  My dresser doesn’t fit in here so I think it will find a home serving storage needs in the LR.  I’ll be buying  a new or new to me dresser.  I’ve already painted the walls Ralph Lauren’s Vermeer which is actually darker than my monitor shows.

I’ve started lots of clip files of decorating ideas including this digital one on houzz.com. It’ll give you an idea of where I’m headed, at least for the moment.  As you can see there is a lot of work to get from here to there!  And that doesn’t even start to cover the outside of the house!

Let the games begin.   I’ll post ‘after’ and ‘in process’ shots as things progress but I keep reminding myself it doesn’t have to be all done this time next year.  Does it?  If you have brilliant ideas I must see, send them my way!

What home improvement or design projects are on your 2019 To Do list?

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My favorite You Tube clip to date

I hope you’ve seen this before and are just stumbling upon it for another view.  It makes me smile everytime I see it, scratch that, it makes me grin from ear to ear until my cheeks hurt so I thought it was worth sharing again in case you’ve missed it.

I think it’s amazing that someone can organize 200 strangers to do something like this!  If anyone does a West Side Story flash dance mob, please invite me!

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Public messups. Public apologies. Public forgiveness? Does anybody really care?

I’m sure we are all relieved to find out that Kanye has officially apologized to Taylor and she accepted.  Won’t you sleep better tonight?   What do you think are the chances that this will be the end of the story?

No wonder Soap Opera’s like Guiding Light are going off the air.  People no longer need to lose themselves in the daily turmoil of fictional leading ladies and their suitor’s.  We can get lost in the screwed up lives of politicians, celebrities A, B and C and even nobody’s elevated to celebrity thanks to reality TV.

I get the need to get ‘all up in people’s bizness’ but I don’t really get the professional public apology bit.  It seems like we require the drama to give them the attention, why do we get so outraged when they deliver on the deal?

Besides, who exactly do we think deserves an apology?   Let’s look at 3 high visibility screw ups from this week’s current events.  When is a personal apology required?  A public one?  When is that enough?  What is the point?

Serena Williams, in the course of doing her job, lost her temper.  Plain and simply, she acted inappropriately both in terms of her character and within the rules of her sport.  Professionally, it cost her not just any point but match point and it cost her a $10,000 fine.  Cause and Effect.  Action and Consequence.

So who realistically does she have to apologize to?  The line judge who she berated for doing her job, even if she had made a bad call, certainly deserves an apology whether or not she decides to accept it.  The tournament officials, professional association, business associates including sponsors and family members probably deserve a personal apology but that’s up to her I guess.  Do we deserve one as ‘the public’?  Is she obligated to put on a 3 Act play of contrition for us to cheer for her again?  I don’t think so.

I wish the apology she issued showed a clear understanding that she screwed up just for her own sake. But she didn’t hurt me personally.   Does she really have to go on morning shows to tell us why she did it and how she felt? It’s her life, not ours.  It certainly provides us more entertainment about entertainers but again, it’s not our real life. Luckily she has a book to sell so the timing worked out but really, do we deserve an apology?  Maybe those who were fans, I guess.  But ultimately, she just lost her temper and used inappropriate language while playing a sport.  I mean, really.  Let’s move on. There’s nothing more to see here.

Kanye basically acted within the bounds of behavior that he has built his “brand” around so his fans probably weren’t shocked by his stunt at the VMAs neither were the MTV execs or show producers, assuming they didn’t stage it given their history for antics.  Kanye basically just parlayed 3 minutes of bad behavior into 3 days of free press, including one highly viewed and then re-aired segment on Jay Leno.  Bad boy’s gotta sell some albums and some concert tickets.   He didn’t do anything to us. So he has nothing to apologize to us for.  Now, he may want to rethink his brand strategy long term even if he doesn’t want to deal with what appear to be several character development challenges. 🙂

Sure, we as the public, had a right to feel bad for Taylor.  Poor thing.  She looked shocked.  Assuming the whole thing wasn’t an MTV stunt, she was probably mortified.  Thanks to Beyonce, she ended up having an even bigger moment and spotlight.  Still, she deserved an apology from him.  She got it.  Is this story over?  I doubt it.  It’s too loaded a story.

Now onto real news about real life stuff that matters. . . oh wait, no, let’s talk about Congress.  Today the House voted to “admonish” Joe Wilson because he yelled “You lie!” to President Obama during his health care speech last week.  Really?  I’d love to know how much time was devoted to this critical issue ‘in these troubling economic times’ and what dollar value is attached to that use of resources. What’s their hourly rate anyway?

Sure, Rep. Joe broke protocol and heckled the President. It was rude, in bad taste, probably politically stupid and possibly even incorrect.  He admitted he was out of line.   He apologized to the President.   I even think he apologized to his constituents whom he represents, most of whom were probably cheering him on.  But seriously, a vote on the floor of congress???

Are we so overly sensitive that our politicians get penalized for speaking out loud what they think?  Or are  Nancy Pelosi and Co. so arrogant that they can’t get back to work after someone says something off script?  After seeing what political “dialogues” in other countries look like, this is nothing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the image of civility that we are accustomed to but I’d almost be willing to trade it for politicians and a Congress that actually accomplish things while speaking the truth even if it is occasionally offensive. That’s a novel idea: vigorous debate with the intent of finding solutions not merely for political jockeying and photo ops for the benefit of the party base.

I for one am more offended by politicians who boldly lie to make the story sound better, who promise things they never intend to fulfill, and betray their constituents by giving more time and attention on a daily basis to special interest groups.  If congress is going start publicly admonishing politicians, I have a few names of the truly offensive that I’d like to submit for the procedure.

Lastly, to whom it may concern, if you really are sorry . . .words are cheap.  “I’m sorry” is easy to say especially when the camera is rolling.  Real repentance is lived out over time and trust is won back as a result of action not sound bites.

What do you think?  Have we lost perspective?  Become too sensitive?  Do you think Kanye and Serena owe the public apologies?  Or is it enough to apologize to the party who was wronged and then move on?  Was “You Lie” worthy of a vote on the floor of Congress?  I want to hear your thoughts!

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Hello. My name is Anne and I am a decorating addict.

Photographer: Pieter Estersohn  from ELLE DECOR magazine

Photographer: Pieter Estersohn from ELLE DECOR magazine

I have a problem that I am powerless to control.  I came to the realization today when I checked my mail to find my new copy of Elle Decor.  No woman my age should get so excited about a magazine.  I used to be thrilled to find my copy of Rolling Stones but now it’s House Beautiful or the occasional copy of Dwell or Southern Living.   And it doesn’t stop with magazines or even the endless stream of furniture catalogs.

Blogs like decor8, Bossy Color blog, Young House Love and absolutely beautiful things to name just a few of my faves are constant sources of inspiration or discontent depending on the week. Even the anti-design mogg blog is a weekly must visit site.

Don’t even get me started on HGTV and their decorating shows available 24/7 – thank God I don’t like all of the shows.

I am in the process of thinking about buying a house and I can already tell you the names of the paint colors I’d want to put in each room of the yet to be chosen home. Yes, the names of the Benjamin Moore brand paint not just  a muted gray or a greyish aqua but ‘gray cashmere’ and either ‘seacliff heights’ or ‘bali.’

I do have a problem.  I am a frustrated amateur decorator with no house to decorate since I’ve done all I’m gonna do to this apartment.    There is furniture out there that needs me.  Yes, this must be the year of the house.  I either need a house or an intervention.  Maybe I need both.

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Why I hate singles ministries

I love my church AND I love THE church. But I hate singles ministry. Maybe hate is too strong a word since  I admit that in my many years of being labeled a ‘single adult’, I have spent very few years involved in a singles ministry.   So I’m no expert but it’s my blog and I can vent if I want to!

I’ve intentionally avoided singles ministries for years because after some attempts to connect with groups in both small and large churches, I found very little difference between them and bars or clubs or any other place where people hope to find someone.  Obviously the music, fashion and language were different but at it’s core it felt like the purpose was the same.  I’m here to meet someone.

There’s no great mystery why it’s that way.  The vast majority of singles are  trying to become permanently or temporarily un-single.  We want to say about one special person . . . ‘we are together’ whether that person is Mr/Ms Right or turns out to be Mr/Ms In-the-Meantime. It’s just a natural by-product of a significant number of unattached people spending time in the same place.  It is not necessarily a wrong or bad thing in and of itself.

One of my biggest issues with most singles ministries is that for many people, you are inadvertently separated from the rest of the church population.  Maybe it is not an intentional quarantine as if we could spread our illness but still segregated from the rest of church in many ways.

The vast number of singles do eventually become permanently part of a couple and they get promoted to big people church . . .  Couples Sunday School classes!  But for those of us ‘left behind’ as a perennial single (the ultimate Christian version of not being picked for a team), there is this sense that we are viewed as not yet adults and not quite a part of the bigger community of adult believers and consequently many singles live down to the expectation and don’t spiritually mature because that logical next step  of marriage is still in the future.

Historically, the church thought being single was a temporary transitional season (that’s what I thought,too)  so the church approached it that way. It was to help you grow from being a kid to being a full fledged responsible member of the church or it was a recovery ministry for those who have gone through the painful season of divorce. In many churches, I imagine that feels a bit like being demoted back to remedial adult Christian classes but that is a rant for someone else’s blog.  At any rate, that approach to ministering to singles might have made sense 25 years ago but it just feels a bit irrelevant to me now.

Today there seems to be a significantly larger number (at least in my anecdotal observation) of never married and divorced Christians than in previous generations.  Consequently, one of the unfortunate byproducts of that kind of segregated ministry is that some singles learn to think of church as a social club and nothing more.  It becomes too much about what the church does to entertain me.  They don’t benefit from a connectedness to the church beyond those other people labeled ‘single’.  They don’t sit alongside healthy and happy families or older men and women who have so much wisdom to offer, etc.  And sadly, the church doesn’t benefit from knowing many people who are very gifted, talented and have things to give to the broader church but just happen to also be single!

My biggest problem however is that a church ministry for singles should be about something more significant than just fixing the singleness problem!  It should be about making people more fully developed followers of Jesus – regardless of their family situation! The Bible Study, missions projects and service projects shouldn’t just be additional social activities where people could potentially meet someone.   If they are strategies intended to bring about a result, it should be the result of knowing God and making Him known.

Lastly, maybe I’m alone in this but I doubt it, I don’t just think of myself as a single person. Or better said, I don’t only think of myself as a single person.  There’s a lot more than the lack of family that makes up who I am and my needs and interests.  It’s not how I label myself and it kinda offends me that the church would reduce me to a label.  It’s ridiculous (and sometimes patronizing) to think that single people only have anything in common with other single people.

Thankfully, I have always been interested in music and working with students so in serving in those areas of church, I found a great way of meeting and connecting with people beyond my singleness.   I have been beyond blessed to be surrounded by an eclectic group of people: married, single, older, younger, all kinds! My life is better for having known them and I fear I may have missed out on knowing them had I only been looking for a church to increase my chances of getting married.

I realize many of you are thinking, you’re still single, maybe this whole avoiding singles ministry didn’t work out so well for you.  And for that, I have no response.  Maybe I’m wrong on this and am dooming myself to eternal aloneness but I doubt it.  I suspect God is bigger even than that.   So, until there’s a better model for singles ministry, I’ll stick to the plan of doing church without a label.

What are your thoughts on singles ministry?  Is there a model of singles ministry that isn’t quite so seperated?  Have you been in a transformational ministry for singles yourself?  Thoughts on age or family status defined church ministries?  I imagine there are lots of others who are strongly in favor and I’m open to hearing about it!

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