Thursday, October 25, 2012


Is it just me or does it sometimes seem futile to vote? If you listen to the news – liberal or conservative – the pundits will tell you that Georgia is a solidly Republican state and Florida and Ohio are up for grabs, one of several “battleground states”. Even the candidates come to our state and fundraise, telling us they will use our money to mobilize voters in the “important” states.

It seems to me that these types of predictions and comments cause a lot of folks to think their vote doesn’t matter. No wonder we have such a problem with voter apathy in this country. Unless you happen to live in one of about 5 states, you are told repeatedly that one candidate or the other is for sure going to win. So why bother? I have to admit, it can be discouraging.

To all you folks out there who think your vote doesn’t count or that one vote doesn’t really make any difference, I hope you will get MAD at the way the pundits and candidates are trying to control the election and your right to representation in this country. Every vote makes a difference by telling the candidate that you support them or not. I voted yesterday and there were several unopposed candidates I did not vote for. Sure, they will win anyway, but the number of votes they receive will give them an indication of how much support they have. The same is going to be true in every race on the ballot; the numbers are important and that means every vote is important. I promise you the pundits will be looking at those numbers closely over the next few months and years.

There are also several issue related votes on the ballot. We citizens are being allowed to tell our local and state government how we feel about charter schools, SPLOST and alcohol sales on Sunday. Each vote is important and we should never assume our vote doesn’t count in these elections. Your vote is a direct order to the government to act in a certain way. To all you folks who haven’t registered to vote – your apathy will have a bigger impact on the future of our country than you may realize. By not voting, by not participating in the process, you are allowing the pundits and a limited few citizens to choose your representatives and to decide issues that affect you every day. SPLOST is a perfect example – just because you don’t vote doesn’t mean you won’t pay the extra penny tax (or not) every time you buy something or pay a bill.

We live in the greatest country in the world and one of our greatest freedoms is the ability to be heard through the ballot box. Democracy works when the people participate in the process. We cannot abdicate our responsibility and then complain about the results.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kisses for Kisses

Mrs. Roy came home from work the other day to find Grandson #1 waiting for me.  He had made this jar of kisses for Mrs. Roy at preschool.  Obviously, this is the most beautiful jar Mrs. Roy has ever received!  And then Mrs. Roy and Grandson #1 got to have some fun - sharing the kisses at the cost of a kiss for a kiss.  Life is good!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Grandson's First Birthday

Top Ten Things About Grandson's First Birthday:

1.  Being together with my family - four generations at a time.

2.  Watching a 1-year old eat birthday cake with green icing.

3.  Singing happy birthday.

4.  Spinach dip.

5.  Eating cake and ice cream.

6.  Buying presents for babies is so much fun.

7.  Friends who buy Bibles as gifts.

8.  Continuing family traditions of birthday celebrations.

9.  Sharing the pictures with friends and family far away.

10.  Counting my blessings; our life overflows with blessings of good health and happy lives.  Thank you, Lord.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I read an article recently in Mother Earth News entitled, “Beautiful and Abundant” by Bryan Welch.  He said, “No species has ever consciously recognized the limits of its habitat and adjusted its behavior to live within those limits.  If we are to change our course before some natural calamity forcibly curbs our expansion, that change of course will be plotted in the human imagination.”

                While Mr. Welch was speaking to global environmental issues, it occurred to me that the same could be said for our individual “habitats”, i.e. our homes, our families and social network, our jobs, our physical well-being.  We are the masters of our destinies much of the time but our societal influences can be hard to overcome. 

                We all have a personal economic “habitat.”  Most of us are limited by our income.  The size of our family will change our economic habitat.  Our skills and ability work and generate income influence our economic habitat.

                Many of us live beyond our means or make plans that may be unrealistic.  A good example of that is buying as much car as possible within a “monthly payment” limit.  Or maybe you use your credit card for entertainment purchases.  Both of those things are extremely acceptable in our society but that doesn’t make them good choices.  Just as ostentatious consumption of fossil fuels and a dependence on global markets for cheap goods is harder and harder for our world to support, so it is difficult to sustain our personal lifestyles when we are overextended and living paycheck-to-paycheck.

                Just as air pollution and water pollution and global warming and deforestation impact our global environment, our economic habitat can’t continue to support us if it becomes polluted.  How is your economic habitat looking?  Has it been polluted by overspending and debt?  Or have you been conserving the resources of your economic habitat so that others aren’t burdened by your choices?

                Do you have a savings account?  When the housing market busted a few years ago, it was discovered that Americans had a negative spending rate, meaning most of us spent more than we made and that we weren’t saving anything!  That is a recipe for disaster.  If you have read this blog for any time, you know that Mrs. Roy is a huge saver.  It began simply - $10 taken out of my paycheck and put in a credit union account before I got my paycheck.  (Mrs. Roy loves payroll deductions!)  Over the years, that nest egg has grown and Mrs. Roy has seen the benefit of having something set aside for a rainy day.  Like Dave Ramsey says, it IS going to rain; you might as well be ready.

                When we take care of our global habitat, we know we are helping ourselves and others live better lives and we are providing a better place for future generations.  I believe our personal economic habitats are similarly impacted by our actions.  When we are frugal, conscientious consumers and money managers, we have the ability to help others – perhaps by supporting a local merchant or by being charitable to those in need.  We have the ability to help our family and friends if needed.  And we create a good example for our children and grandchildren, a model of success for them to follow. 

            Just as our global environment is impacted in places I'll never visit because of my lifestyle choices here in the US, all aspects of our personal habitat are effected by our decision.  Here's an example of how everything overlaps. 
           We each have a habitat that is comprised of our home and work environment.  I’ve been a rabid recycler for many years and I know that makes a lot of folks roll their eyes and call me a nut.  But I have grandchildren now and our county commission recently stated that solid waste is one the biggest problems our county faces – both from a revenue perspective as the cost of using the local landfill keeps going up as population and volume of garbage increase and from a political perspective because citizens expect the government to take their garbage.  It has become a serious issue that is not going away any time soon.  It is increasingly obvious to me that my grandchildren are going to be stuck with the results of whatever decisions our present community leaders make but they are also impacted by my personal decisions.  So I recycle – and I recycle some more.  I’ve even started looking at less packaging and buying local and upcycling.            

                These choices impact my home and work habitat but they also impact my economic habitat.  The same principle applies to both situations.  If I’m more conscious about how I spend my money and what I spend it on, then I’m setting a good example for my grandchildren and I’m putting myself in a position to help them if the need arises.  Conversely, if I live in a constant state of near disaster, they are likely to learn bad habits and continue the cycle of poverty.  Do I want to leave them a pile of debt when I die or do I want to leave them an inheritance to help them move forward?  It is important that I “recycle” and “reuse” and “repair” my assets so that I’m not negatively impacting those around me with my poor financial habits.

                We all have a physical habitat, too.  It is not fun to “consciously recognize the limits” of my 50-something body but they still exist.  We can pollute the earth and pretend it is someone else’s problem, but when I pollute my body, I can’t really pretend I’m hurting anyone but myself.  Recognizing my limits means watching my fat intake to keep my cholesterol under control and not trying to keep up with my grandkids when we play.  It means taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking around the block now and then.

                Changing my eating and exercise habits isn’t easy and it isn’t fun.  I love cheeseburgers and fries.  I love a soft drink as much as the next guy.  I’d much rather sit and sew or sit and watch television or read a book than be outside in the heat perspiring.  We even had a family joke when my kids were growing up that they had never seen me run and I told them I didn’t perspire!  I think they nearly believed me!  Mrs. Roy has had to get proactive here and live VERY intentionally.  We are eating better – lots of vegetables and very little meat, watching fat content, and yes, even exercising!  Our bodies are very forgiving but if we abuse them consistently, we could lose the mobility and function God created us with.  Remember, we only get ONE body, just like we only have ONE planet.  We have to take care of it!

                Back to that Mother Earth News article, Mr. Welch makes an important point when he says we need to “change our course before some natural calamity forcibly curbs our expansion, . . . “  Do you really want to keep mismanaging your financial habitat until you are forced to change by bankruptcy or a job loss or a foreclosure or an arrest for bad checks?  Do you really want to keep throwing things in the trash can until they start piling it up in your yard?  Do you really want to keep eating Oreo’s until you have a heart attack? 

We each have a choice each day on how to live our lives.  We wake up each morning and have a whole day of opportunities to live better, to make choices that will benefit us and those around us and future generations.  Whether we are concerned about global energy, overpopulation, saving the whales, or space junk, we must stop and make conscious choices, not just keep going with the flow.

That is much more true on a personal habitat level.  We must, we must, make conscious decisions about our personal lives in order to succeed.  To just float along with whatever comes next is a certain recipe for disaster.  To live intentionally is to honor the gift of life that God has given us.  To live intentionally is to recognize our own limits as well as our dreams.  To live intentionally is to give our children and grandchildren the gift of a life well-lived while being well-loved. 

The choices we make today have consequences, no matter what society tells us.  Break out – live a life of conscious choice.  You’ll be glad you did.

Monday, June 25, 2012


It was one of those art imitating life days around our house Sunday.  Mrs. Roy was sewing together some cloth books for baby gifts when Mrs. Roy realized the name of the book, "Rainy Day Games", fit in perfectly with the day we were having outside.  Tropical Storm Debby is churning away in the Gulf of Mexico and pumping several inches of rain into our area.  Mrs. Roy is grateful for the rain....and grateful for the afternoon to spend crafting gifts for friends.

The cloth books are a long-standing tradition that started back when Mrs. Roy's children were children.  The grandchildren now expect them at birthdays and Christmas and they are an expected gift at church baby showers.  The books above will go to two co-workers and a friend's first grandchild. 

Mrs. Roy was searching through the book stash Sunday afternoon and was reminded that no more cloth book purchases need to be made for a while.  Mrs. Roy has a wonderful supply of books ready to be sewn up and given in blessing to babies, probably for the next couple of years.  Do all crafters have stashes?  All my crafter friends do! 

Do you have a talent you share as gifts for your friends?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Mrs. Roy's brother, sister, sister-in-law and various nephews and niece spent a delightful day at Norris Lake in Tennessee recently.  Speeding through the water was fun, the food was great and the sun was warm on our wet skin.  The mountains and shoreline were beautiful and the water was clean and deep.  And Mrs. Roy just had to remind those of the younger generation that we owe it all to Grandpa Doc and a couple of other guys.

See, back nearly 100 years ago, there wasn't any such thing as Norris Lake.  Then a group of engineers and government types got together and decided to build a series of dams that would cause lakes to fill mountain valleys, covering thousands of acres of farmland in Tennessee and Alabama.  Their dream was called the Tennessee Valley Authority and they were going to bring progress and electricity to rural Appalachia.  The work was done by young men through the WPA, part of the New Deal.

One of the folks who went to work for the WPA during this period of time was our Grandpa Doc.  He was just a young fellow and left a wife back home on the farm with his parents while he went out to work and send home his paycheck.  Grandpa and the others worked and built Norris Dam which still holds back the waters we enjoy today.  It also creates a lot of electricity for the region. 

It was an amazing feeling to splash around in that water and know that our ancestor had a direct part in making it possible.  I'm sure we enjoy lots of things that our forefathers struggled to build but this was such a direct link to something folks now take for granted.  Mrs. Roy hopes the nephews and niece will remember. 

And Mrs. Roy is certain that Grandpa was smiling down from heaven as we skimmed across that beautiful lake.  Being on the water in a boat was one of his favorite things.  The love of being on the water and indeed the water itself are both wonderful gifts he gave us.  Thanks, Grandpa.  What a great day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


This sign is a perfect example of Mrs. Roy's definition of stuff.  We - meaning Mrs. Roy and probably my daughter - came across this sign at a yard sale or a junk store or somewhere similar.  We brought it home and it hung by the front door for about 3 years.  And Mrs. Roy never even liked it that much!  Mrs. Roy is glad it's gone.

Mrs. Roy spent last weekend unpacking the remnants of someone's stuff.  A life of living reduced to a few boxes of semi-broken kitchen utensils, mismatched pots and pans and tons of pictures of grandkids that had been crammed together in several desk drawers among stray socks, spent batteries and owners manuals for blood pressure cuffs and lawnmowers. 

All in all, it was a stark reminder that we all have too much stuff.  Mrs. Roy's been thinking about that a lot since last week and it is time for Mrs. Roy to start getting rid of stuff.  The first chore - the bulletin board above the sewing desk.  Next, Mrs. Roy's jewelry box.  Then the box under the nightstand and then Mrs. Roy's closet and dresser.  After that, Mrs. Roy is going to take a close look at the cabinet in the hall bathroom and then the drawers and cabinets in the dining room.  Stuff defintely lurks in those spots!  Then the top shelf in the entry closet and the cabinets in the garage.  Then it might be time to tackle the attic - that might be even more of a chore than Mrs. Roy can handle!

Mrs. Roy is shedding stuff.  Join me?