Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Free (Ford Fusion) Car

A true story as told to me by my son, Dan...

            A free 2013 Ford Fusion? Why, yes, I’d be interested in that, thank you.
            It all started with a YouTube video. A thumbnail of one of my favorite stars, Joel McHale, caught my eye, so I clicked it. A National Scavenger Hunt, sponsored by Ford, endorsed by Ryan Seacrest would be held for a total of 47 hours. Forty-seven black boxes were to be placed in forty-seven cities across the nation.
            One of the sites would be my hometown of Orlando, Florida. Two clues of its exact placement would be unlocked on the “Random Acts of Fusion” website at a pre-designated time. With those clues, a ‘word of the day’ posted onsite that must be said to the rep in order to win.
            The first clue: the latitude and longitude of the Ford representative with the box. The second clue being a picture taken from where he stood. Orlando’s clues would be unlocked on October 28, at 11:15am. The problem? Orlando covers a little more than one hundred square miles, and more than 250,000 people here. The chances were slim, but I decided to try.
            October 28. I had rehearsed with my smart phone how to jump back and forth from their website, to my GPS, back to the website. I parked in a location that offered quick access to four of the main thoroughfares branching out into the city. I was set.
            11:15am. The clues unlocked and I fed the coordinates into my map. My strategic placement was perfect. I jumped on I-4 and raced to the Princeton Drive exit. I recognized the somewhat blurred view from the photo. The rep stood on the grounds of the Mennello Museum. I arrived and threw my car in park, frantically trying to decide if view was from the far end behind the building or closer to main road along the river. The museum’s grounds covered a couple of acres. Another car came, a little too quickly, into the parking lot. A decision had to be made. Now.
            On the footbridge about 200 feet away stood two people. Deciding those were the reps, I covered the ground in record time. I glanced back to the other car, smiling inwardly. I had won! But when I reached the people on the bridge, I discovered they were not Ford reps. Arg!
            The occupants of the original car ran the other direction, behind the building. Another car came, and the driver jumped out and ran to follow the first pair. F*ck! I’d made the wrong decision. The rep must be behind the museum.
            Since there was only one winner per locale, I knew I’d lost. I glared down at the water, fifteen feet below, and felt like spitting. I leaned on the handrail and looked up at the Spanish moss hanging off the branches of a nearby oak tree. A breeze moved the moss, allowing a full view of the riverbank. A man stood alone under a pergola at the water’s edge, wearing a Ford t-shirt!
            I ran off the bridge and took the short cut down the side of the steep embankment, rather than the long way around. Flip-flops should not be the shoe of choice when trying to navigate a wet, grassy, steep decline. I lost my footing then slipped, slid and rolled down the entire fifteen feet. When my body came to a stop I jumped up and tried to run. Still making no traction, my feet slipped beneath me. I ran in place for another few seconds. I knew I looked a grass-stained, bloody fool. I didn’t care.
            When I reached the Ford rep, he was doing an admirable job suppressing laughter begging to burst from him. I didn’t care.
            “Damn it! I forgot to get the word of the day!” I blurted as I checked the website on my phone. The man did not utter a sound. I found the word after reaching the spot in front of the Ford rep.
            “Benevolent!” I shouted.
            “Congratulations,” said the grinning man. “You’ve just earned a one in forty-seven chance to win a 2013 Ford Fusion.”
            After filling out the required paperwork (which relinquished my firstborn if I should so much as post a reference to Ford on any social media site prior to the drawing on Tuesday), I received the coveted black box. It contained a water bottle, a travel mug, a tee shirt, a thumb drive and my number for the drawing.
            The coolest part was the number, printed on a holographic sticker inside a plastic display box upon which mounted a model of the 2013 Ford Fusion. Very cool.
            Alas, Tuesday’s drawing is done, and my number did not win. Meh. It was still a blast of fun trying.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Heart-Wrenching Joy

I knew that my son, Al, and his wife, Jen, were trying for their first child. That they lived on the other side of the planet only slightly diminished my joy. This would be my first grandchild.

One afternoon my phone rang. My heart leapt when the caller ID showed it was my son. My heart clenched when I heard his voice.

"Mom," he gasped. I knew he'd been crying.

"What is it, son?"

"Um..." His voice cracked.

My heart broke as I heard him trying to control his breathing. "Just blurt it out, Al. What is it?"

"Jen was pregnant."

Three words. The silence stretched as my head spun. Was. The word that stole his breath had now stolen mine. My poor baby. Oh! Poor Jen. I swallowed hard and whispered, "I'm so sorry."

Another moment of quiet passed. I heard traffic, and knew he was driving. "Is Jen with you now?"

"No, I was at work when she called. I'm driving to get her and take her to the hospital now."

"Son, I cannot think of a thing to say that won't sound like a platitude. But please, know that I will keep you in my prayers."

"Thank you, momma." I recognized his attempt to swallow his tears.

"You'll call me just as soon as you know Jen is OK?"

"Yes, ma'am."

For the next hour and a half I stressed over what might have happened. How Jen must be suffering. I'd never experienced a miscarriage, but I'd held the hand of women who have. Jen's pain could not be understated. My tears finally slowed. My breathing finally evened out. I couldn't wait any longer. I called him.

"Baby, how's Jen?"

"We're just leaving for the hospital. I'll call you when I know something."

That's what I get for being impatient. I took a deep breath, resumed pacing.

Another hour went by. Another hour of pacing, of tears from imagining what Al and Jen must be suffering.

Finally, the call came. My heart raced as I stared at the caller ID. After a deep breath, I answered in as a smooth a voice as I could. "Hi, baby. How's Jen?"

"They found a heartbeat." 

With those four words I almost dropped the phone. I couldn't speak. My heart raced as my head swam.

"Mom? Did you hear me?"

"Oh my God! Baby! Congratu-friggin-lations!" We shared a moment of joy-filled laughter. Then I asked, "So, Jen is OK?"

"Yeah, she's good. Listen, you can't tell anyone until we're sure the baby is fine."




"OK.  I've got other phone calls to make, but I'll call you later, OK?"

And that was the announcement of my first grandchild's arrival. I can only hope that this little devil doesn't make a habit through its lifetime of this kind of introduction.  It'll kill me! 

Florida Writer's Association

I love to write, but I did not know the first thing about being a writer. I joined an online  writers workshop, where I received an education on just how ignorant I truly am. The writers were supportive, insulting, derogatory and uplifting. What a wonderful experience this has been.

One of the writers who have taken me under his wing goes by the name of seabrass. He resides in Minnesota. I live in Florida. Isn't the internet great?

During one of our review/reply exchanges, he spoke of the FWA conference. I did not know what the FWA was. So this nice man from Minnesota explained the Florida Writer's Association. I became a member immediately. I signed up to join the conference right after that. 

The conference is finally here. I have met my mentor, whose pen name is Charles Brass. I have learned so very much. And the one thing I have grown a deeper understanding of...Just how ignorant I truly am.

I love being a writer!

Florida Writer Conference Poets Challenge

I'm at the FWA conference, and learning so much. The wonderful people who participate in teaching their fellow writers have been amazing! I have learned that I have so much to learn!

One of the workshops I planned to attend, "Let's Write Poetry!" sounded fun. If you know my writing, you know I dabble in poetry, but I do not claim to be a poet. The following exercises prove my point (I think)...

The prompt given was a list of "Thesaursus Sentences". More than one used the word 'golden'. That brought to mind the conversation my husband and I had when visiting California recently. They are expereincing a serious drought, and all of the golden waves were dead grass. Here's the result of my poetry through prompt.

California should have golden grains
Not so
California is drought stricken
The golden grass
is dead

Then another prompt was a list of the most bizarre words. We were supposed to come up with a poem using at least one of these words on every line. Here's my attempt.


I'm lost in labyrinth
Life shows no kindness
The day now ends
Frustration meets evening

Shadows grow
twilight beckons
indigo eyes
call me home

In the shelter of his arms
smoldering passions wake
our hearts merge
souls balance in joy

My life is fulfilled.


In my defense, it was held at 7am. I better get back to the conference. I've got a lot to learn!

Friday, October 12, 2012

What is Sin? (One Humble Christian's Definition)

 Original sin is a misnomer. A baby is no more steeped in sin at birth than a boulder is when it falls from the mountain, IMHO. What a ridiculous concept.

What is sin? Sin is a wrong I committed that separated me from God. When the Holy Spirit touches my heart about something I have done, I know it. The sin I committed must be atoned. I will not share the specific things I’ve been spiritually reprimanded for, but how about an example instead?

Let’s say I’ve cheated on my taxes. I took a deduction that I shouldn’t have. It’s a minor thing that everyone does, right? Well, for me, the pressure does not relent. It weighs me down. Not the concern for ‘getting caught’, but the knowledge that I was not honest. I am a born-again, saved Christian. I’ve been told to “go and sin no more” and the Good Lord knows I’m trying. Now this sin has me lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling. That is the result of my own sin.

I am willing to bet that you can relate, on some level, with something you have done that has kept you awake, staring at the ceiling.

And this is the point where people without faith; without the knowledge of the Holy Spirit working in their lives becomes virulent...There is Spiritual forgiveness. There is peace offered. The sin (whatever that sin was) separated you from the Perfect Being. Have your children ever disappointed you? Did you turn away from them (sent them to their room, whatever), even for a moment? So your sin disappointed God, and He has sent you to your room.

We are all His children of course, but He has a Perfect Son. I can turn to the Father, through His Son, and receive forgiveness. My separation, my sin, is taken from me when my heart is truly repentant. I acknowledge the sin, I ask forgiveness, and it is granted. I do not need a Pope, or Imam, or even a Preacher. All of the text in all of the books in all of the Bibles cannot explain this Spiritual reconnecting to those who cannot understand.

Of course, it won’t save me from the IRS, or any other of man’s retribution. That will be mine to suffer. But my heart will be made whole.

The cost of sin is Death. The cost of forgiveness was paid with His Perfect Life, sacrificed.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Take it down a notch

Maybe it’s time for me to grow up and put away my childish things (1 Cor. 13:11). I’m almost fifty-two, for crying out loud!

Birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas; all of these (and more) bring out the child in me. I even decorate my house for our sons birthday's, even though they're grown and gone. It’s a tradition that I get a kick out of.

As an adult, we are supposed to put aside our childish desire for dressing silly (Halloween), blowing out candles (Birthdays), eating (Thanksgiving), and opening presents (Christmas, of course). I haven’t. Maybe I just haven’t tried hard enough to be a grown up.

 I am a "little" high strung (Ha). It really comes out around the holidays. I've been told to "Take it down a notch" or "Simmer down, little teapot" or "Is it time to adjust your meds or mine?" Yeah, I get it. I do seem to be forcing it on others. If they don’t want to celebrate the day, I get bummed. Birthdays especially. I love birthdays, and I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t. Really. What’s the alternative to having a birthday? Having a funeral! So, why not celebrate the fact you’ve made it another year? But, not everyone thinks or feels the same as I do.

Politics, religion, money, these are differences of opinions I understand, but a difference on opinion for celebrating?

I’m at a loss.

Maybe I should try growing up.