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Friday, December 30, 2005

Reflection: Noteworthy Accomplishments of 2005

There's so much I want to accomplish in this life that my schedule is always overbooked, which at times results in feeling overwhelmed, a sense of frustration, a bit of self castigation and most of the time--self doubt.

One of my goals for this past year was to trust God more and live in the present. Looking at my improved sense of self-worth and mental stability, I believe I accomplished that goal.

So with nary a "shoulda, coulda, woulda" thought (in no particular order) I pridefully yet humbly present my noteworthy accomplishments for 2005!
  • A new mini bio:

    D.S. White Her motto: I am who I am by the grace of God A strong black woman, Dee has realized forgiveness is essential to achieve the peace she has sought all her life. She has come to terms with the angst of her birth and realizes even her name has purpose in God's eyes. She's real enough to admit that some of her limitations in life were self-induced. She's not ashamed to admit she's not perfect, and at times may need to be lovingly reminded that "it's not about you!" But she prays she will always surround herself with people who will hold her accountable to the need to have and show compassion.
  • Participation in NaNoWriMo in November 2005. Although I did not win (complete 50,000 words), I got almost halfway there with a total of 23,000 words which is approximately 77 pages! This from a woman who in November of 2004 could not conceive of participating.
  • Blogging - More of a discovery than an accomplishment, but listed here because it facilitated my confidence to participate in NaNoWriMo. It also served as a tool to make new friends all over the world. With it I was able to reconnect with friends here in the US of A and my family in Trinidad. Its semi-anonymous feel, aided my quest to be a voice in bringing a few key issues to the forefront and last but not least an open platform to share my testimony.
  • At the request of a homie I met on BP (see, it does have redemptive qualities…LOL). I realized another gift I didn’t even know I had--songwriting! In an awesome marriage of two of my gifts, (writing and singing), I penned my very first lyrics “Believe in Me”. Now those of you, who know my story, will realize that these lyrics are directed at myself as much as to anyone else who has ever doubted the validity of God’s Love or their worth as a person.

    Curious? *Click here to listen to a rough version (and I mean rough, because it was recorded at the tail end of an all-nighter in the studio).
  • Publication of one of my short stories/articles, “Choices: To Do or Not to Do…The Ex” in the relationship section on SisterDivas Magazine Website.
  • Obtaining an awesome Christian Editor, who resides in Canada, but with the aid of the internet and USPS we make it work! Don’t you just love technology!
  • Official start of planned monthly mother/daughter activities for my daughter and I. To think, at twenty, she still wants to hang out with her moms! I must have done something right!
  • Creation and successful maintenance of six individual blogs and one compilation of all my blogs.

P.S. I’ll probably add more as I think of them, but these are those that have come to mind, thus far.

*NOTE: For safety purposes, this preview link will be removed shortly, so get your listen on ASAP.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Endings and New Beginnings

I attended two funerals this year, (one of which you can read about here) and was privy to three others, but not close enough to attend. Although logically I know it's a path of life, to begin and then to end. My emotional side says that it was five funerals too many.

Funerals signal an end to one phase of our lives and the beginning of another, much like the approaching yearend. As you assess the past year and plan your goals for the New Year, it’s a good time to examine the choices or decisions, if you will, that have held sway in your life. Ask yourself:

  • Did I make good decisions?
  • What motivated those decisions?
  • When held up against God's standards, do those decisions still apply now?
  • If they do, how am I going to improve on them or move to the next level?
  • If not, have I the courage to admit that they’re passé or the will to choose differently?
In my case, my carefully hoarded litany of hurts which fueled my unforgiving spirit (when it comes to men) took a big hit earlier this year. God’s sense of humor reared its head once again when I was called to do a sermon on…you guessed it! Forgiveness!

After a full scale “but-I-don’t-wanna!” tantrum, I finally settled down to do the assignment as given by my Pastor. (All the while mumbling to myself, why God always gotta give me assignments I’m not ready for? First it was “Father into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit” and I got nothing good to say about fathers. What frame of reference did I have? Now it’s forgiveness? Open a vein, why don’t You? Bible School is not all it’s cracked up to be! What with stuff like obedience, humility and compassion? What’s a drama-filled sister to do? When--light bulb! Why, I could use those very same tools to bring the Word to life…that’s what!)

After successfully working through my reluctance and being still (and repentant) before God, the Message, “A God Who Forgives” emerged. I was blessed, freed (if I chose to be) and was the conduit of freedom for a few women in the congregation. That being said, I’ll share an excerpt of that sermon with you:

“…Unforgiveness hinders our communication with God? It most surely does. To remain unforgiving, you have to nurse the hurt, recall it quite frequently, harden your heart. In essence you slowly poison yourself with bitterness. The bitterness acts as a wall between you and God.

Why do we need to forgive?

Two reasons:

  1. Matthew 6:14: which states “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;”


  2. Romans 6:23 states that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Which means that no matter how big or small the disobedience, the punishment is death.

    Right about here, we get comfortable, because we’re confident in the fact that we love God, haven’t murdered, raped, committed adultery, blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, robbed a bank, embezzled funds or run over anyone with our car. Which is all good, but don’t get too comfortable just yet.

    If you’ve never told a lie, been envious, run a red light, stolen a quarter from your parents, jaywalked, listened to gossip, failed to return a library book, cheated, or disobeyed God in any way; if you’ve done everything you were ever supposed to do every single time…then you have no need to forgive. But for the rest of us, the following are some practical steps towards the process of forgiveness:

  • Choice -- Decide you are going to forgive - it’s the best gift you can give yourself.

  • Love –Allow love to continue flowing – don’t shut down or close yourself off.

  • Faith -- Realize that we forgive by faith, not by feeling: Utilizing faith allows us to act as if a thing is so, in order that it may become so. In other words…you may start out faking it, but your genuine desire to act on your faith will connect you to God’s store of faith for you.

  • Obedience--We must forgive others if we don’t want to disobey God and break our fellowship with Him. As Christ forgave us without being asked we may need to forgive others who have not nor will ever ask our forgiveness. The forgiveness may be undeserved, but the reward of healing and reconciliation makes it worthwhile.

  • Forget --You must be willing to forget past hurts. Forget about it. Stop willfully calling it to mind. Or if it does come to mind consciously replace it with a good memory or find something positive you learned out of the bad memory. You may even want to print out some scriptures dealing with forgiveness like Matt. 6:14 or Romans 6:23 on an index card and carry it around with you, to whip out when needed.

  • Prayer – Pray for the offender, a biggie, I know.

  • Turnover -- Give the hurt to God. Resolve to let it go.

I think the hardest thing for me to get about forgiveness is that it isn’t about me, it’s about obedience to God and in my obedience I reap the reward of being released from the yoke of my hurt. I had to realize that accepting grace means I have to be responsible enough to show grace myself. I had to remind myself of how I felt when I discovered that no matter what I had done previously, God still loves me. Or if you can’t relate, I reminded myself that no matter what a screw-up I was or still am at times, my family loves me.

Forgiveness is about passing on that kind of revelation, to others who have no concept of it themselves."

            Just a few thoughts to ponder as you approach 2006.

            Peace, love and prosperity in the New Year!

            Dee.

            Wednesday, December 28, 2005

            Rentals in Review

            Join me in welcoming this week's tenant Dawn of Reflections in the Mirror! whose rental will roll over into the New Year, so she will have the distinction of being my first tenant of 2006.

            When BlogExplosion instituted its Rent My Blog advertising program I wasn't quite sure how it was going to work out. I mean, would anyone want to rent my blogs or would anyone rent me a space on their blog?

            New to the idea of blogging it all was precious, startlingly new and maybe even a little scary for me. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

            I've since relaxed and take things less seriously, but I do want to acknowledge my renters past and present in order of appearance:

            Mike of Ramblings and Rhetoric started me off with a bang. He was followed two days later by Jeremy Shipp of Haunted House Dressing, then by sizlintune who in his own words is a husband - DJ - computer geek. A repeat rental by Jeremy Shipp's Haunted House Dressing and I was in the hizzouse!

            LittleDarkRaven's Sin's Fate, rubydiamond80's Ho Hum What?, chatteress' Meeting people online, Vicki9170's A Little of This, A Little of That,republico's the republico journal, oheresy's Ripper Hollow, Nameless' Free to Ramble and most recently websavvy of WeddingsInABox - Visual planning blog!

            So there you have it...my renters of 2005. Please take a moment to visit them and don't forget to tell them that Dee sent you!

            Tuesday, December 27, 2005

            Carnival Day Is Here Again

            A West Indian by birth, the word Carnival brings to mind three days of non-stop calypso music, steel pan competitions, bright skimpy costumes, gyrating bodies and sleepless nights.

            However, in this instance, although you will encounter colorful thoughts, rhymthic prose and lyrical descriptions, the urge to shout, "Get a room already!" Will be markedly absent.

            Why?

            Because this carnival displays the beauty of excellence in writing as told by women of beauty--Christian women.

            • Women who have a testimony.
            • Women who have overcome some trials and tribulations and as such their work is imbued with power and authority.

            I believe of all the pieces I've written in the year 2005, Compassion: God's Introduction exemplifies most highly the beauty of excellence in writing.

            Not because it's pretty, not because there's a happy ending, not because it's mine...lol, but because there's a certain beauty to be found in the naked truth.

            Ugly as it may be, it cuts through all pretension to get to the heart of the matter--LOVE. Without it, we might as well pack up our things and leave now because everything we do, is a waste of time.

            Please visit the carnival to read works excellent in their beauty by fellow bloggers.

            Peace,
            Dee

            Sunday, December 25, 2005

            It's All About Love

            This picture is from the office Christmas party eight years ago. I was on the climb up the corporate ladder, my prepubescent daughter was crossing all her t's and dotting all her i's at school. My mother's health was stable and she had a home attendant to assist her with household duties, I was the Youth Choir Director at church and sang on the Adult choir, in a long term relationship, I was twenty-five pounds lighter and I was a miserable mess.

            Why?

            Because my priorities were skewed. Instead of God, myself and my family, my priorities were work, my fiance, myself, my family, my church, God.

            See anything wrong with that? Yes...God is at the bottom of the pile and whenever you deprioritize God, it's a recipe for heartache. In my attempts to "have" somebody, I lost touch with my family, my spiritual walk, myself and my sanity. We still lived in the same house, but I was mentally and emotionally absent.

            Seeking, craving, desiring something...just out of my reach.

            At the back of my mind, the rational part, or maybe the God-breathed part...whispered warnings

            But they went unheeded, because I knew if I just held on a little longer...
            It was just a temporary absence...
            I was doing it for them (my mom and daughter), wasn't I? They'd understand...
            Worked a few hours longer...

            It wasn't until I tried to join the Army reserves just to get away from it all...that I got a clue that I'd created a disaster.

            I had placed my ex-fiance firmly in God's spot as the ultimate provider, comforter, confident and support. A position that no man or woman can handle, the pressure is just too great!

            Why am I telling you this on Christmas day?
            What could this possibly have to do with Jesus' birth?

            Nothing...really...unless you fast forward eight years:

            I'm at the bottom of the corporate ladder, my daughter is in her Junior year at an Ivy League college, my mother's health is shaky and the home attendant she has, the funds come out of my pocket, my siblings pocket and Area Agency for the Aging's budget. I am the music director of a choir of three, my longterm relationship has ended for the most part (but that's another story), I'm in Bible School and oh yeah, twenty-five pounds heavier...but despite all of that...I'm more at peace than I have been all my life.

            Why? Because one day I finally got it! I was in my thinking room (bathroom) when God showed me a glimpse of my mother's pain as a battered spouse, something I couldn't understand until I was down and out and all my abilities couldn't locate a job, my gifts couldn't maintain or sustain me. I was helpless and hopeless...a state I'm sure my mother understood well.

            Although every door that promised "success" seemed closed to me, I was open in a way I'd never been before. Scales began dropping from my eyes and I began to think clearer than I had in years. God's voice was more distinct.

            He had sent me the comforter a/k/a the Holys Spirit, which enabled me to wrap my brain around God's love as the ultimate parent. He sent us His son, Emmanuel, which literally means, with us is God...a message that early Christians didn't seem to get. But I now get. I get, that He loves me.

            I get that as a parent, the heartache He bore of sacrificing one child Emmanuel (With us is God) , Jesus to save another Diane (Divine). And that because of me, He allowed His child to take on human flesh, knowing that child would be mocked, beaten, chased, denied, lonely, tempted and finally killed in the most humiliating and painful way devised at that time period.

            But had He not allowed the birth...I would not be here rejoicing, celebrating, glorifying in the fact that a Savior is born today!

            A savior who by His very name let's me know that even though it may look bleak, even though my priorities may be skewed, eventhough I'm not worthy...correction...I perceive myself as unworthy, before the foundation of the earth, He knew me and loved me and at the appointed time, He made Himself known to me...

            And because of that...no matter how far out I went...He was with me, guarding me, protecting me, always loving me

            That's what Christmas is about...the Love.

            So love someone today. And I dare you to do it...without money

            Spend some time with the ones you love. The gifts will fade away, but the time spent...is an investment for life!

            Saturday, December 24, 2005

            My Way of Saying Thanks!

            Springboarding off of Guppyman’s idea to give a Christmas sale for the rental of space on his blog, I've come up with my own way of saying thanks to my all my renters of 2005 and especially my TOP six renters!

            Thanks to BE’s wonderful stats. I can tell who's rented my blog and how often. I'm going to tally up the stats of the six blogs I have listed at BE and the top six renters will be featured in my sidebar as "Blog of the Month" right above the "Blog of the Week" spot from BE for the month of January, 2006.

            I will post and notify the owners of the top six blogs. I will also rank my blogs in order of performance from most traffic/unique hits/clicks to least traffic/unique hits/clicks so that the top ranking blog will go to the top renter and the second ranking blog to the second frequent renter and so forth.

            And to all other renters you will each be mentioned in my recap of the year post due out by 12/31/05.

            Thanks again, it was wonderful having you all as tenants!

            My Blogs

            Here are my blogs in alphabetical order:

            Dear Abbyliqua
            Advice blog: A former novice, presents:- Dear Abbyliqua: My version of "Dear Abby" for the novice online dater. Answers, tips, articles, dating site reviews, and success stories. To subscribe to Dear Abbyliqua, click here.





            Dee411
            Musings, issues, ideas and resources, including but not limited to: abstinence, abuse, mental health, child support, elder care, family, ministry, music, relationships, singing, single parenthood, teens, writing and worship. To subscribe to Dee411, click here.



            Divine Perspective
            Church Newsletter and informational resource that deals frankly with issues like: abstinence, abuse, elder care, mental health and family structure. To subscribe to Divine Perspective, click here.




            Age is Just a Number: Adventures in Online Dating!
            Coming of Age--Again: After fourteen years I'm single and trying to mingle. "Dating while Christian"--If you will. It was so ridiculous at times, it spawned a serial memoir and I've became an online dating guru of sorts. (See Dear Abbyliqua above). To subscribe to Age is Just a Number: Adventures in Online Dating! Click here.


            Passion
            Handling my passion, or, the Trials, tribulations and triumphs of a minister in training (MIT). To subscribe to Passion, click here.





            Read Zone
            Thoughts about the books I love and sale of left over inventory from previously owned online bookstore as well as books from my personal collection. Items categorized as new, used or in-between (brand new, but seen some shelving wear and tear). To subscribe to Read Zone, click here.

            Wednesday, December 21, 2005

            Carnival of Beauty

            Great News!

            My post "There's No Sexy in Christmas!" has been accepted as part of the Carnival of Beauty hosted by Sallie of Two Talent Living.

            The theme for this week is "The Beauty of Tradition".

            In Sallie's own words:

            For the first few weeks, I will host the Carnival. That will give me time to work out the bugs and it will not put a burden on other ladies during the holidays. It is my hope that after the first of the year other ladies will also want to host the Carnival. More on volunteering to host will be announced in the next few weeks.

            What is the purpose of the Carnival of Beauty?
            The two main purposes of the Carnival of Beauty are:
            1. Encourage women by reflecting the beauty of Christ in our writing.
            2. Meet women online who cherish the beauty of Christ that we might not have met otherwise.


            For more on the rules and participation information, hop on over to twotalentliving.com. And while you're there, take a moment to read some or all of the inspiring and heartwarming contributions by my fellow Christian women bloggers.

            I promise you, you'll be blessed if you do.

            Merry Christmas!
            Dee.

            Monday, December 19, 2005

            There's No Sexy in Christmas!

            I like to think of myself as a bit avant garde, not as a stodgy forty-year-old. As for traditional, I’ve run far and fast from that word ever since I realized that it has become an excuse for some Christians to operate under law instead of grace.

            As part of our music ministry, our motto has been. "God is doing a new thing!" We therefore encourage our youth to create or learn raps or contemporary Christian songs that uplift the Savior. I take pride in the fact that I am able to hang with teens without embarrassing myself or them--so I was caught a bit off guard at what I discovered about myself yesterday.

            I spent the day at home yesterday--a strange occurrence for me on a Sunday, I’ll admit. I'd received a massage courtesy of one of my bosses--a gift she provides for the HR Department every year. I'd partaken last year and walked on air for days afterward.

            Primed by my previous experience, I tripped happily into my seat and after figuring out the logistics of placement for the bountiful gifts of God I carry before me daily, we were off!

            The masseuse had instrumental Christmas songs playing to which I hummed happily. She was even impressed that I knew the lyrics to "When A Child is Born."


            As she rubbed and kneaded, I all but purred until she got to a certain spot in my back, to which my yelp, required verification of "Did that hurt?" and my response,

            "Uhhh...yeah!"

            "Well we don't want to put too much pressure on it, but we need to work it out. (We who?) Do you have back problems?" she asked.

            "No, not really,” I replied, then I corrected myself by adding, "Only once a month, but not there...there." I said as I reached back to pinpoint my waist area.

            "Hmmm...okay." She said and proceeded to do her thing.

            ***

            "Alrighty, all done!” she said as her voice jarred me out of my dazed euphoria. “Don't be surprised if you feel a twinge or two, because a proper massage achieves the effect of exercise."

            "Oh...okay, " I said blithely and floated back to my desk, a bit disgruntled that I couldn't curl up and take a nap, but had to continue work. (By then it's 2:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon).

            By 5:00 p.m. as I climb into my co-worker's car for the short ride to the mall where I catch the bus home, I began to notice the beginning of the “few twinges”.

            Let me tell you…

            On Saturday morning a sister spent the day running from the computer, to the bathroom, to the kitchen to the bed. I was dopey, sleepy and sneezy dwarfs all rolled into one.

            I knew I'd had a rough week, pulling two late nights at work and just generally tense from the workload...but this was ridiculous!

            I went to bed on Saturday thinking; well this should ease up tomorrow. NOT!

            I woke up Sunday and bounded out of bed as I usually do, only to stop short, make an about face and carefully replace myself in my bed. The aches and pains had spread to every part of my body. Yes--even my feet and she hadn't even touched those!

            Half an hour later, I carefully hobbled to the computer to do the church bulletins, after having advised my pastor that I wasn't making the long ride to New York from Pennsylvania for church that day.

            Tired of the quiet in my room, I logged onto my computer and began playing Pop Launch via Yahoo.

            How shall I put this gently? I can't! I have never heard such terrible renditions of Christmas songs or hymns in my life!

            Song after song: Breathy, out of tune, uninspiring, and just trying so hard to be different, they made a mess of them.

            As I listened further, I began to see a trend forming

            Were they? Nah...
            Could they be? Impossible!
            I think they are--trying to infuse Christmas songs with sex!
            I mean, I understand that sex sells everything from cars to toothpaste, but Christmas songs!?!?

            I was dismayed. The closest example I could liken it to would be Tom Hanks’ coach character in “A League of Their Own” when he vociferously declared:

            "There's no crying in baseball!"

            To which I say,

            "There's no sexy in Christmas!"

            Christ Child--yes.
            Holy---yes.
            Reverence--yes.
            Inspiration--yes.
            Salvation--yes.
            Three Wise Men--yes.
            Messiah--yes.
            Awesome--yes.
            Shepherds--yes.

            ...but NO sexy!

            I guess, I must be a bit more traditional than I thought...and in light of the context, that's not such a bad thing.

            Friday, December 16, 2005

            Full House!

            A little happy, happy, joy, joy moment.

            I have six blogs on BlogExplosion and all six of them are rented out!
            I feel so special and I have even had repeat rentals!

            No I’m not greedy…my rental rates are quite reasonable.

            (Ok...well...six blogs…maybe a little). It's just that I have become a blog-create-a-holic.

            It started out as a test the different platforms to see which best suited my creative bent. So far...all of them have...LOL.

            I can be found all over the blogosphere, and as such, I'll begin a section on my blogging finds for newbies, in-betweenies and proies on this or one of my other blogs.

            Another thing of note is that I have moved to hosting my blogs as subdomains on my own marketing website atwc1.com it has been a scary and exciting prospect, but I had my buddy Eph2810 to hold my hand as we tried it together.

            Please change your favorites accordingly:

            Dear Abbyliqua
            Dee411
            Divine Perspective
            I'm not getting older, I'm getting better...honest!
            Passion

            Read Zone

            I've also joined the fray of Christmas vs. Holiday which you can read as follows:

            Holiday or Christmas?
            What is in a Name?


            And last but not least, please don't forget to greet my tenant for this week. Show her how we do here at Dee411.

            Peace,
            Dee


            Wednesday, December 14, 2005

            So Much To Share

            There’s Just So Much Going On!

            My Editor, Rachel Thomson. Yes, some of these posts are edited, I want to make the best impression, I can with you, so that instead of critiquing my grammar or punctuation, you can focus on the content, which you’ve assured me is quite good.

            Anyway, I digress. Like I was saying, my Editor (I just like repeating that), just released her first book, Lord Teach Us To Pray, through her brand new publishing company Little Dozen Press. It is entitled, and available for sale, on her blog, at lulu or through me.

            I’m purchasing a copy tonight. Having read her work, I know it will be good, because she is a gifted child of God. I chuckle to myself now when I see the word child, because, when we first sized each other up to work together as author and editor, respectively, I thought to myself, what’s a twenty-two year-old going to do for me?

            Alas, the ageism of my youth, still remains with me at times. But unlike the older generation from my land of birth (Trinidad), I was open enough to give the relationship a try. And I can say with authority, that we’ve both grown from the relationship.

            So if you’d like to experience a slice of God’s wonder through prose, purchase your copy today.

            Peace,
            Dee

            Monday, December 12, 2005

            Farewell to Richard : 1940 - 2005

            Funny man Richard Pryor died of a heart attack on Saturday past. He died shortly before 8 a.m. after being taken from his home to a nearby hospital. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system, he found a way to bring it to the forefront in his comedic routines.

            While not always comfortable with his profanity, Richard Pryor holds a special place in my heart for his roles in “Stir Crazy” and “See No Evil, Hear No Evil”. My opinion, notwithstanding, his place in history as a pioneer in combining the art of comedy and politics is guaranteed. He was edgy, at times scandalous, honest and unashamed to get personal onstage about his battles with drug and alcohol addiction.

            He is credited with being the role model for Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Chris Rock and David Letterman. He was also the first black performer to have enough of a following in order to make his own deals in Hollywood, which earned him a spot as one of the highest paid stars in the 70’s and 80’s.

            Richard Pryor, one of a kind and a hard act to follow. My sympathy goes out to his family.

            Sunday, December 04, 2005

            Change is a Coming

            Good Morning Folks,

            Hope this post finds you well. Just a quick announcement to advise that I’ve changed subscription service from Bloglet to Feedblitz.

            Why, you ask? A few reasons:

            Not only does Feedblitz poll more than once a day, (which gets your updates to you on a more timely fashion), but it also retains most of the formatting so that your feed doesn’t appear as one huge paragraph, (which I personally find off-putting).

            It also doesn’t pull my drafts and send them out before I’ve completed my thoughts and edited my post (as it did to me on Friday past…arghhh).

            Another difference is that Feedblitz’s email arrives with an attachment. (Not necessarily a good thing for the attachment-deletion-happy-crew) but in order to avoid that, here's a sample of what your email headline would like like:

            From: Subject Line:

            [FeedBlitz] (paper clip image here): There are 2 new posts in "Dee411"

            If you have any problems receiving your updates, please do advise and have a blessed day!

            Peace,
            Dee

            Friday, December 02, 2005

            Guess What?

            Would you believe it! I’m a reviewer! And it’s all your fault! Yes, you…your fault. It all began when you made your first comment, then the next. Then I made a response. I wasn’t sure if that was appropriate or where to make it, but I tried it anyway and to make sure you would find it, I put it on both our blogs...

            Then you replied again, and I did too.

            Next day, I checked out your blog, and you checked out mine as well. Then I checked out your blogroll, and it seemed you checked out mine as well, and before you know it. We were communicating!

            You understood and responded when I was sad or glad
            And you told me it was alright to be mad
            Now I’m sure it’s not a fad,
            And I realize the power to be had
            By speaking from the heart
            Whether I feel sad, mad, or glad

            You read about my dad
            Who was a total cad
            You read about my ex
            you pitied the lad
            and told me not to be sad
            record my thoughts
            with pen and pad
            An look now I am rad
            An exclusive reviewer
            That’s not too bad!

            Is it?

            Pardon my impromptu rhyme, but it came upon a dime and unfortunately it takes time, to eradicated from my mind.

            However, notwithstanding same, I’ll introduce Blog for Books by Mind and Media. The program is geared to mesh those who love to read with those who need to be read and garners publicity for the authors, as well as FREE books for the reviewers (as long as the review is done in a timely fashion). For more information on how to become a reviewer click here:

            Thanks for your encouragement, I couldn’t have done it without you!

            Monday, November 28, 2005

            The Entrepreneurial Spirit Revisited

            Hello Folks,

            As you may or may not know, I'm a former bookstore owner who didn't have a backup plan for 9/11. Between leftover inventory and my personal collection…I've got waaaay too many books lying around my apartment and storage room, just gathering dust. Looking at my bank statement and looking at the shelves of books, I decided that it made no sense to hold onto them. So welcome to my clearance sale!

            Just to get the ball a-rolling, I've listed a mixture of old, new and in-between items at Amazon.com with prices ranging from $0.20 to $39.50. These items will also be listed on a new blog I'm in the process of creating.

            Why a blog and Amazon.com you ask? Well, I utilized Amazon for its quick uploading and wide customer base. Unfortunately, said ease of loading and wide customer base comes with a cost: $0.99 per item sold, as well as a 15% commission on the sale price.


            The way I see it, although the blog will take longer to upload the items, when all the work is said and done, it will be a better proposition from your point of view, because the prices of the items will be 15% lower.

            Take a look around, if you see anything you like, email me or post a comment. Let’s see if we can help each other out.

            Btw...did I mention that subscribers will receive an additional 10% discount? Yes, you will!

            In addition, to offset my angst at the inconsistencies with which we celebrate the season (imho), on top of my customary tithe, I'll be donating an additional 10% to my church's Mission Fund.

            If you see something you like, be sure to share the good news with a friend...

            Peace,
            Dee

            Friday, November 25, 2005

            Thanks For My Memories

            You might have noticed that there was no "Happy Thanksgiving" post from me.

            As I sat in my chair early yesterday morning attempting to compose a cheerful, upbeat, gosh-darned-glad-to-be-alive post. It just wouldn't come. Whilst I am glad to be alive and not unduly saddened, this year I seem to be undergoing a "what now" phase.

            I didn't want to run down the usual list (life, health, strength, family, job), yet I didn't want to appear as though I wasn't thankful, which I am. I then recalled a recent revelation I had while writing a portion of my book-in-progress, which for the purpose of this post I'll title, "Thanks for My Memories" :



            Saturday, November 12, 2005
            6:46 a.m.

            Are You there, God? It’s me, Diane…

            This was a particularly harrowing week. It was open enrollment at work and I caught a stomach bug of some kind on Wednesday and couldn’t call in sick because the rest of the folks in my department were out on benefit fairs or meetings about benefits for the year 2006.

            As the only African American in my location, great pains were taken to ensure that I was given an opportunity to attend any of the fairs I wanted, to represent the department. At this stage in my work, I really don’t want to meet and greet, all I can think about is the mounds of work awaiting my return.

            Either they’re different from all the other companies with which I’ve worked or just really clever.

            On Monday past, my supervisor got me a Temp, three days a week, hours 9-3. Thank You God. She doesn’t need much hand holding. We get along like a house on fire and she’s even born in August as well. I knew someone was coming because I saw, what they probably thought were discreet, arrangements being made.
            (Computer set up, phone set up etc.)

            I just wondered if it would be my replacement or some help. Now that she’s here, I still wonder whether she’s my assistance or replacement, but I’m not too worried, because I know you wrote somewhere that no weapon formed against me will prosper.

            I also think my co-worker is jealous or upset or whatever. She hasn’t come out and given me any attitude, but I sense that at the back of her mind is the thought. "How come she gets a Temp?" Could you, would you do something about that please? Send her a message--something. Let her know that it’s not about her, but about the work getting done? Unless she’d like to stop doing what she’s doing, to come assist me? Thanks.

            Oh and one more thing? It’s November 12th. I know You know what day it is because You created the time structure and all. But, taking an example from You, You know how You always repeat things of importance? Well, it’s November 12th and the holidays are coming up. Except for a few bad days throughout the year, holidays are really hard for me. What with depression, assessments of my status quo (which is always a disappointment) and the absence of a man. There I said it…absence of a man.

            Maybe it’s all the happy coupled people in the commercials, maybe it’s watching my sister and her husband, or my co-workers, bustle around busily. It seems as though the more they bubble and bustle, the emptier I become inside.

            I’m not jealous, really I’m not…I got over that some years ago. But at these times, I’m more aware of how different my life is from theirs. I seem to have been fighting being different all my life, which I’ve learned, is a good thing in Your eyes, but sometimes, it’s just so hard.

            The overweight thing, I’ve gotten used to and realize that griping about it won’t solve it, unless I get off my butt and start walking again and cut back on my intake. The shortage of funds, that doesn’t even bother me so much anymore, because it seems that with the little I make now, I tithe, pay the bills, repay my family,
            provide for my daughter and still, I have left over. I know that’s all you God, because I wouldn’t even have this job, if you hadn’t decided it was the job for me. I’ve seen the resumes of the other candidates who applied for the job and eighty percent of them blew me out of the water.

            Btw…did I say thanks for the miracle you performed with the TransitCheks situation last month? If not…Thank You God!

            It’s like I become this outsider, watching the world go by. I know Christmas is coming, I know without the birth of Your Son Jesus, I would be in even more of a pickle than I am now. But it seems that everything has become so routine, that at times I just don’t want to do it anymore. Nooo…I don’t mean, not celebrate Jesus’ birthday, I mean the way we do it.

            Sing this carol here, shop for this present there, exchange presents there, and act like we care about the poor and the needy. (Like if they go away for the other 364 days of the year). Not that I mind doing any of the above, it’s just that I want the special feeling to return.

            You know–when I couldn’t wait for Christmas to come, largely for the presents, but also for the gathering of family members from East, West, North and South. We’d sit around and tell stories and rehash memories…

            Memories! That’s it isn’t it? Every time I start to feel empty, I should start thinking of all the progress I’ve made, all the people who love me, all the people who need love and what I can do the help others, instead of thinking about me right?

            It’s like when we used to do the food pantry at church. The feeling of bliss that used to fill me up when the day was all over, despite the fights, arguments and accusations of the very same people we were trying to help.

            Thank you God! As always, talking with you makes me feel better. Oh wait, I’m supposed to say through Jesus Christ our Lord, right about here…right? Amen.

            Wednesday, November 23, 2005

            Look What I Found Now!

            No...not another NaNoWriMo gadget. A blog award just for women! I read about it in Eph2810's feed. So actually, it would probably be more accurate to state, Look What Found Me!

            My thoughts ran the gamut of, why we gotta have our own contest, we quitting? I'm not a wuss, I can and have competed with guys all my life! Which was quickly followed by...yup, and that's probably why you're up at 5:14 a.m. writing a post for your blog!

            For the many excellent blogs there are out there written by men and women--there just aren't enough awards to go around. Rewards, in the form of a life saved, a captive freed, hope renewed, maybe...but how can the reward occur if no one knows they are there? (The Blogs, that is).

            So while the latent, competetive, tomboy in me thinks, we don’t need no stinking separate award! The spirit of Malcolm X whose motto was "By any means necessary" reminds me that in the process of voting for the blogs, they must be read which is the reason they're written after all. Therefore the award becomes another avenue through which I can spread the message of Love.

            So, without further ado I present:


            The 2005 Blogs of Beauty Awards


            Created by Sallie of TwoTalentLiving.com in an attempt to equalize the playing field for Women Bloggers with content of quality who might otherwise be overlooked in the 2005 Weblog Awards. (Nominations close November 26, 2005)

            The nominations for the 2005 Blogs of Beauty Awards will close on Tuesday, November 29, 2005, at 8:00 p.m. EST. If you'd like to nominate a blog as reader or author, for detailed instructions click here.

            I [nominate Dee] could [nominate Dee] never be [nominate Dee] crass enough [nominate Dee] to suggest, [nominate Dee] nay beg [nominate Dee] that you [nominate Dee] nominate me [nominate Dee], but I'm [nominate Dee] not averse [nominate Dee] to subliminal [nominate Dee] messages. LOL.

            Seriously though, do use this opportunity to put in a plug for your favorite blog.

            Saturday, November 19, 2005

            How Ya Like Meh Now?

            Okay people, I now have two volunteers, I just need one more. *looking around...let's see...who will it be?*

            As you can see by the nifty little progress meter below...I'm rolling right along, 50,000 by 11/30 or overeat trying!

            Conversations With God


            Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
            12,550 / 50,000
            (25.1%)

            NaNoWriMo Update & Request

            Hey Folks,

            I have managed to write myself into a headache...I have been in such a writing frenzy since I got the latest epiphany. Book number one has been tabled to be finished at a later date and Book number two Conversations with God is all systems go.

            At the time of this post, 4:09 p.m., I'm up to 7,865 words which is amazing, considering how long it took me to get to that point with Love Quest. This doesn't necessarily mean that Conversations with God is all gold so that's where you come in. I'd appreciate it if you'd read an excerpt and let me know your thoughts? (I've included a tiny excerpt below)

            Those interested email me and I'll send you the secret "link".

            I've already gotten one volunteer and could use two more.

            That was the request, now for the excerpt which includes an update I'm sure you've all been waiting for with baited breath:

            Thanks Lord, talking it out with you, I feel better already. Oh and did I mention, that I did go apologize to her after looking in the mirror? Yes I did. “I said to her that it was all me, I was cranky and she did nothing wrong.”

            I didn’t believe it at the time I said it…but this conversation has showed me that while things are not ideal, talking it over with you as soon as it happens, makes me feel better about things.

            Oh and God? I know that you wrote that if I desire anything at all, it should be wisdom, but when fulfilling that request, would you please send me an extra helping patience and understanding?

            Thanks again. Talk to you later.


            5:05 p.m.

            Are you there God? It’s me again Divine…

            Today was another crazed day at work. There wasn’t much time for web surfing or email checking, but I did manage to squeeze in some blog explosion surf time. I surf while I do other stuff, I just have to check back periodically for the word go.

            I actually got some writing done last night, just not Nano stuff. I think I’m avoiding dealing with the issues I raised in Love Quest. Either that or I’m lazy. What do you think?

            Anyway, guess who I saw again today?

            I left the office a little later than yesterday because after the debacle of last month I absolutely had to get those TransitCheks out to the New York employees via Fed Ex.

            I hustled on up the block, shuffling in some spots and flat out running in others, which was enough to make me begin to wheeze. (That’s another thing…wheezing? I lived in New York for 21 years, slight allergies and nothing else…I move to Pennsylvania, of the open air, green trees and oneness with nature and in under two years I’m carrying around an inhaler…you surely do have a sense of humor).

            As I got to the corner near the bus stop I spotted the red jacket that signaled my silent buddy of yesterday was there ahead of me again. Call me wicked or mischievous, if you will, but I began searching my mind for today’s aria.

            Just the thought of it gave me a second wind and I practically skipped across the street in glee.

            To my disappointment, when I said a cheerful and quite audible hello, he actually looked at me and lip synched, hello, before turning back to contemplate what I'm sure was a quite fascinating wall of the pizzeria across the street.

            So I just pulled out my trusty composition book and penned this update because I’m sure you wouldn’t have wanted to miss today’s episode.

            Much more of this and we’ll soon be bosom buddies!

            Thursday, November 17, 2005

            Then There Were Two!

            Okay, maybe it's the lack of sleep, or my fractured thought patterns...but I couldn't stand it anymore and now there are two, count 'em--two books in progress, each with their own nifty little meters.

            Book No. 1 - Already in Progress - Working Title: Love Quest

            Heyyy, no snickering, it's a novel!

            Book No. 2 - Begun Today - Working Title: Conversations With God

            Building on the slew of thoughts spurred by my re-reading of Are You There God? It's Me Margaret of last Friday.

            Love Quest

            Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

            8,965 / 50,000 (17.9%)

            Conversations With God
            Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
            3,065 / 50,000
            (6.1%)

            Wednesday, November 16, 2005

            Look What I Found!

            A word count meter! If you'd like one of your very own click here:

            Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
            7,682 / 50,000
            (15.4%)


            My word count is below the projected bar, but after attending a NaNoWriMo (you knew the word was gonna come up sooner or later) get together last night. I am rejuvenated! I went home last night and scrapped some parts and wrote 1,o78 words before bed.

            Yes, I scrapped some, but I figure that was better than starting over.

            How are you doing today?

            Tuesday, November 15, 2005

            Whatcha Reading?

            I just read a post in one of my crit groups about a survey showing that the pressure of the literary world being such as it is, “more than one in three consumers in London and the south-east admit having bought a book “solely to look intelligent”, the YouGov survey says it finds one in every eight young people confessing to choosing a book ‘simply to be seen with the latest shortlisted title’ This herd instinct dwindles to affect only one in twenty over-50 year-olds.”

            This article brought to mind my bus ride home on Friday night:

            Sitting in my front row corner seat, I pored avidly my book as I analyzed just how the author conveyed a certain emotion, how she got her point across without breaking the “show don’t tell” rule. Basically re-reading the book to see why above all books I’d ever read, (except for the Bible) this one book, stood out in my mind, even though I’d read it eons ago.

            You know how, you realize that someone is watching you and even though you try to ignore it and are totally focused, you just have to look up to see who it is?

            So I’m reading and I can’t take it anymore, I look up, just in time to catch the eyes of a little girl, of about twelve years of age.

            She looks at me, looks at the book I’m reading then looks at me again.

            Finally, I get it. She’s wondering why an adult is reading a book, clearly marked for a 5th grader. What? Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret is a classic!

            Had I not been using the book for research, I would have donated it to her as I left the bus, but…I had a few more chapters to complete.

            What I realized is that my writing tone, closely mirrors that of Judy Blume. No I don’t have her skill…yet, but we are both open, and not afraid to push the envelope. Funny how things influence us without our realizing, which is a good argument for monitoring what our children are exposed to.

            Btw…re-reading Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, spurred a post the next day, which I don’t really want to expose to all and sundry, but if one of my regulars would like to read, email me and I’ll send you the link to the post.

            Peace,
            Dee

            Monday, November 14, 2005

            NaNoWriMo Update & New Look

            Hello Folks,

            As you can see, I got colorful for the holidays. This is my Thanksgiving rendition. In the meantime, I'll be scoring the web for a Christmas look. So if you see anything that looks like me, don't be shy--forward it to me!

            As to NanoWriMo:

            I am so stuck, it's not even funny. First I was busy at work (still am), then I was sick, Wednesday through Friday. Got healed on Saturday (it was a miracle!)

            I hope to jumpstart again tomorrow when I attend a local NaNoWriMo get together. Either that's a great support group thingy, or we all need to get a life...lol.

            Now for my new "I Did It!" moment or as I coin it my "Non-Confrontational Solution of the Day"--

            As I hustled to the bus stop, I took in great gusts of air, thankful that my workday was over. Arriving at the bus stop I said hi to the guy on the bench reading the newspaper. No response. I seated myself and said hello, a little louder. Again, no response, it then dawned on me that this guy couldn’t “hear” me.

            No worries, I love a good warble anyways. I began singing a Mariah Carey song, as I whipped out my trusty composition book, no not to continue my Nano count, but to write up this rough draft.

            I sang without cessation for the entire ten minute wait for the bus. While I sang, the thought occurred, what if he really is hearing impaired and you’re just tripping?

            To test my theory, I hit a particularly bad note, and then smirked to myself as out of the corner of my eye, I saw him wince. Hehehe…whaddaya know? No hearing problems.

            When the bus arrived, you should have seen him hightail it to the very back of the bus.

            My mama always said that there is more than one way to skin a cat or a pig.

            Wednesday, November 09, 2005

            Un-Churched Black Men, Part II, or, Where the Men at in the Churches? Part II

            Nation of Islam and Christianity

            Well, I tried to stay away from this particular topic for a minute, but hey, it’s another Saturday night, and I ain’t got nobody (I think she's out with her Hula Hoop again)…LOLOLOLOL!

            Once again, just a thought provoking post. I am NOT the chief representative for “Black Men of BSC”, or black men period. If you find a “Sauktoid” that is false, or not true, please feel free to correct it. I’m not perfect. . .. matter of fact, I tried to walk across a puddle of rainwater yesterday. . .and got my socks wet!

            This post is done in "love". . .not meant to hurt anyone. . . so if you have a problem with it, let's sit down and discuss it.

            Over ten years ago, as an Ordained Itinerant Deacon in the AME church, I had the privilege of working in a “Sho Nuff Urban Community Church”, in North East Atlanta. The church owned property in the inner city. However, due to the lackadaisical attitudes of the prior Church Officers, they ran their property into the ground. You could tell at one time, the boarded up homes, were well kept and pristine. Not anymore. On a hot summer day, you could smell the stench of drugs, “human waste”, and filth, right in the church parking lot.

            At night, even during evening services, you could see cars pulling up to the homes, folks walking in and out, loud music playing, gun shots, pit bulls, etc., etc. Well, us young “Church” folks just gunna do something about it, and stand up for the community. The Atlanta Police Department’s notorious Anti-Everything Officers known as “The Red Dog Unit”, helped us to shut down the crooks, hoodlums, rapscallions, “dregs of the earth”, villains, and hoodrats! We swept the “broken pipes”, copper mesh filters, used needles. . .hosed the buildings down (inside and outside).

            Finally, we were able to re-vitalize the houses, and use them for three low income family. Happy ending right?!?!? WRONG!!!! As I’ve grown older, I thought to myself one day. Self, and he responded in a ghetto Arnold Schwarzenegger kinda voice “Huh?” I said, we cleaned up the homes, but what about the people? Surely, unless they got some kinda help, either they perished, or they are still addicted!

            What about the woman, who would sell her baby for a hit?
            What about the man, who takes his entire paycheck to “Diamond Dog” for his hit?
            What about the girl, who is pregnant for the 3rd time, 19 yrs old, and has a Crack Dealer as her baby daddy?
            What about the boy, who is the crack dealer, who believes the only way to survive, is to become the “beast of the streets”?

            In steps. . . the topic for discussion. . .. the Nation of Islam and the “Church”.

            To Be Continued. . .

            ~Saukrates

            You may read Part I here...

            Saturday, November 05, 2005

            NaNoWriMo Update

            Yep, you might actually grow to dislike seeing that word, I'll be writing about it for another twenty-five days. Let's see, so far I've managed to find a writing community that caters to Nanoers -- nano.darkescapes.net. You receive FREE access to a blog and a book creating software on the net.

            Now you know a sistah has trust issues, so I nicely asked the head honcho "mother" why?

            ME: This is soooo cool and I can't keep a secret to save my life! Am I allowed to mention this on my outside blog for other NaNoWriMo bloggers? I know quite a few.

            Please advise.

            Peace,
            Dee

            MOTHER: Definitely, you can mention it anywhere.

            ME: btw...what gave you the idea for this? And does it cost a lot to maintain?

            MOTHER: I've done nano a few times and I know that not everyone can have a blog or webspace of their own so it's a nice way of giving back to the net community for me. My husband and I both do web development so I have server space to use ;)

            So there you have it folks. If any of you reading this are blogging your way to NaNo heaven? Give this is a try, the learning curve is not steep at all and mother is a hostess who deserves the mostest. Mostest thanks, mostest kudos and mosetest mention.

            Peace,
            Dee.

            What? Oh you mean why am I not typing the great novel? 'Cause y'all didn't sign up to comment and keep me on the straight and narrow...that's why...lol.

            Oh, you mean stop stalling and give you a word count? *sigh* Alright, I'm at ****
            hehehehe.

            Tuesday, November 01, 2005

            Call Me Crazy...

            "They say that crazy is defined as someone who repeatedly performs the same actions, expecting a different outcome. So I guess I must be crazy.

            I keep on trusting, hoping, reaching out, expecting to find love. I deserve it, don’t I?"

            Okay, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I've signed up for NaNoWriMo month (National Novel Writing Month). And I've pledged to complete 175 pages which equals 50,000 words (1666.66 words per *gasp* day) by November 30.

            The only problem with that is, I'm not a novel writer. I'm a straight up non-fiction person. So...I have really done it this time. Set myself up to fail...or have I?

            Might I not be expanding my horizons, as I did with writing my song? Discovering the hidden talent within?

            Anyway...I could use your help. Above is one of the possible openings of the story. I'll be creating a new blog just for the book, and I will send the link via newsletter to y'all (my subscribers). I'm counting on y'all to keep me focussed and tell me gently (y'all know I'm sensitive) what stinks or what needs fleshing out.

            I would say wish me luck, but since I'm a Christian, I'll say...pray for me.

            Peace,
            Dee

            Friday, October 28, 2005

            Do Overs, or, I Did It!


            I did it!

            Yes I did.

            What did I do,

            you ask?



            Picture it:

            7:55 a.m. Friday, October 28, 2005

            I ran/walked down the hallway of my apartment building, my nose scrunched as I held my breath to avoid inhaling the stale fish smell of the paint primer, which had been bothering my breathing all week.

            As I arrived in the foyer, I saw the glorious yellow that signals, “Cab Company” of the car idling there and I smiled and said, Yes, to myself as I pictured my triumphant arrival at 8:20 a.m. instead of 9:05 a.m. had I waited for the bus. I’m supposed to be at work by 8:00.

            A minute later, as I clambered into the back seat of the cab, I actually saw the identity of the driver and my jubilation evaporated and I silently screamed, “Nooooooooooooo!”
            That scream was followed by the broken pieces of the picture in my mind’s eye, falling like shards of glass from a broken mirror.

            This driver was the same driver who had brought my mom and I home from the grocery on Saturday. She’d driven way too slow, stopped at yellow, green and red lights and smoked the nastiest smelling cigar or cheroot with the windows closed.

            You may ask, what’s the big deal? Why didn't I just tell the female cow to step on the gas, ask her to put out the cigarette and/or open the windows and threaten to withhold a tip as the last resort?

            Well…if you know me at all, that’s not my style. I will run 20 kilos to avoid an argument or confrontation of any kind. As for speaking up for myself in uncomfortable situations? Naaahhh. Suffer in silence has always been my motto; I can’t stand being cussed out. So I normally am defeated by the situation and waaay after the moment is past and probably long forgetten by the perpetrator, I come up with comebacks or witticisms that would have suited the situation perfectly…ohh for a “Do Over” button.

            But, this morning, you would have been soooo proud!

            We were driving along, talking. (Well, I was talking and she was nodding and grunting. I had decided to let bygones be bygones from Saturday and was my usual ebullient self.)

            “How are you today?” I asked,

            “Looks like it’s going to be a cold winter…” I said, when I saw her hand disappear from sight and reappear—with—the cigarette.

            All conversation paused, and in what seemed like an hour, but was probably a minute, I watched as she lit it and placed it to her lips. She took a puff, exhaled and I watched as the white cloud of smoke came towards me. I don’t know if I could distinguish, which hit me first, the smell or the fumes.

            I just knew it wasn’t happening this morning.

            So I quietly asked, “Would you please not smoke? It affects my breathing.” There was no response, and ordinarily, like the former shy person that I was, I would have let it go and console myself with the thought that at least, I did try.

            But I knew she heard me. Maybe it was the slight tilt of her head, or the straightening of her spine…but I knew, she’d heard me. So I again said quietly, “Excuse me…EX-cuse meee?” She had to acknowledge me that time, “I asked, would you please not smoke? It affects my breathing.”

            She tried the old window opening, trick, but I was ready for her. I slid my hands into my bag and pulled out my inhaler. I shook it with more vigor than was warranted so it made a nice healthy rattle. In an Academy Award winning performance, I then uncorked it and with more audible sound effects, took two puffs and returned the inhaler to my bag.

            When I saw her pitch the still lit cigarette out of the window, I took that as a sign of defeat on her part, so I then graciously pointed out that she’d forgotten to turn on the meter.

            Did I feel guilty about not mentioning her oversight? About as guilty as she felt running up the tab on Saturday and overcharging me. She tried to run the meter up by driving slowly, but it was a no go. As I arrived at my office, she tried to get twenty-five dollars out of me. I gave her twenty-three dollars, wished her a wonderful day and stepped out of her cab doing a mental praise dance.

            It’s rare, that I have the opportunity for a “Do Over.” I thought I handled it pretty well…don’t you?