Murph Notes

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Connie Sue Carter

Life has a way of shifting below our feet pretty quickly at times. I love traditions and can be very conservative at time but I also thrive on change. Every Christmas we have to have a live tree because that is what I had growing up. Then there is how I love those moments just before you can see over the next hill or around the next bend. How’s that for contradiction in personality? Why are we wired up the way we are? I know I can trace a lot of my characteristics to my childhood and those who had the most influence on me in my childhood. I have been thinking a lot about two childhood memories recently and how they shaped who I am

The first one goes way back to when I was in elementary school. I grew up in a “Leave It To Beaver” tree-lined neighborhood before every one built privacy fences back to back along all their property lines. I had a pack of guys that I ran with the whole time I was growing up. We built forts, had apple wars, played football, and ruled the neighborhood. They were care free days. Every night there was a ritual. Our moms would call us to come home from whatever adventure we were on. They didn’t call us on our cell phones; no such thing back then. My mom would open the back screen door and yell my name across the neighborhood, often at the same time other moms were yelling my friends’ names. We all knew our mom’s voices. We all could tell from the tone, pitch and volume of the yell how much longer we could play before we would need to head home and accordingly, how many more times mom would yell. This call my mom gave was significant because it gave me a sense of security. No matter what pirate ship I was on or what Super Bowl I was playing in my mom’s voice would ring through and I knew home was near, home was safe, and mom would be there.

The second memory comes from my teen years. I was elevation challenged and always in the lower percentiles of what I was supposed to weigh. I played soccer and was on the swim team in High School but I was not outstanding. Where did I shine? Music and acting came natural to me. From seventh grade on I was in all the musical groups and theatre productions possible. I loved being in front of people. I loved the challenge of creatively communicating ideas to people. I loved emotionally taking people where the song or scene was written for. I absorbed applause and praise. Every performance brought a moment where the house lights would come on, the audience would stand and applaud and I would search the audience for my mom. She would always be there smiling, often crying, or graciously accepting compliments from other parents about what a talented son she had. Were all my performances great? No. I have some of them on video tape and they were horrible; I was horrible. It didn’t matter though. Mom was seeing me and my effort not my excellence, or lack there of. Her applause, smiles and tears were significant because they fueled my confidence that I could do anything. Her pride allowed me to lunge for the next rung and not be afraid of failure because succeed or fail she would be there standing, smiling and clapping.

Security and pride are two treasures my mother gave me by the truck loads growing up. So now when the world turns upside down or I face a big decision in life I still take a mid-game pause to listen for my mom’s voice and look through the lights and crowd for her face and know, I know, it will be a great adventure with the turn of the next page.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Women Are Not... Men

Have you ever noticed this phenomenon - A woman, stranger or friend, will compliment another woman on something she is wearing? How does the woman being complimented respond? She will respond by informing the other where and/or when she got it.

Example: Marcia - "My, that is a wonderful skirt. I love the colors."

Lady at Starbucks - "Oh, this ole' thing? I got it 50% off at Talbots at the end of the season last year. I found it in my closet this morning and just threw it on."

Why do you think this happens so often (perhaps 9 out of 10 times)? Could it be a deflection technique genetically passed on via the Y? Or is it in that book, that once read, transforms lovely little girls into woman? I don't think it is insecurity; not with that high of a hit rate. Maybe it is false modesty. Not sure what it is but it is interesting to observe.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Price Tag

I recently finished reading a book and here is an exchange from it.

Dad: What I’m saying is that you should be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.

Son: What?

Dad: You should use discretion because what you do will get around and will have consequences.

Son: I thought it was more important to follow Jesus than the opinion of man.

Dad: You should always follow Jesus rather than man. But it is a dangerous thing to follow Jesus if you hold anything else in your life dear. If you choose that road, nothing could give me more joy. But you had better know the cost. Because it will cost you. It will cost you everything.

I have evaluated the past 6-8 months in light of this and can say that the Dad character nailed it because you end up weighing whatever else in your life you hold dear when you have to make the hard decisions. The weighing can be excruciating and the consequences, either way, can be... real.