Wisdom Begins In Wonder

in Best of Funkidivagirl.com, What About Me

Wisdom begins in Wonder.


Earlier this year I was asked to be in a Super Soul Sunday Original Short by filmmaker Jason Perez.   I was asked to talk about my favorite word.  Many words came to mind – fearless, grace, joy – but the word that stuck with me the most was WONDER.  To me wonder means being open and fully present to the beauty all around us – in nature, in people, in big once-in-a-lifetime experiences and in the everyday.  It’s also an awareness of the intrinsic connection between everything and everyone and just how blessed we all are to live in and experience this incredible world that God has created.  It’s an honor.

Sitting at my laptop writing this, I look out the window and – wow! – the sky is really blue, just so perfect and lovely.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

-Mary Oliver

Take some time today to wonder.

© 2014, Funkidivagirl.com. All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.


Goodbye My Friend

in Deep Stuff

I wish I had something sassy to say this week, something pithy and wild and fun.  But instead I’m grieving the loss of my friend and I quite don’t know what to do with myself.    Without thinking or editing I posted the following tribute on my personal Facebook page.   It was comforting, to remember and to publicly give her love.  It feels right to do it here too.

I met Michele Harris Bennett at age 10. Along with Beverly, we were known as Slick, Smooth and Wiz and ruled the playground at Pottawatomie Hills Elementary School (we were benevolent dictators) and the queens of Four Square. There was a crew of about 5 of us, including Tracie and Lonnae, who rode our bikes to Baskin Robbins, the library and the park. Every weekend was a sleepover. Even when I moved to Minnesota, Michele and I kept in touch – back when phone calls (Long distance! On a landline!), postal mail and plane rides to visit were necessary to sustain a friendship. People didn’t have a gazillon friends back then because it took more effort. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and we were pregnant at the same time. Many moves, kids, work and well, life, didn’t allow us to talk or visit as often as we liked over the last few years, but we always had that bond, you know the one that was formed with a flashlight under the covers when we should have been sleeping, but instead reading the liner notes on the latest Prince album. I knew her so well. I knew the important stuff (like which boy she really liked) and I knew the silly stuff. Her nickname was Mimi. She had hamsters named Mookie and Wilton. Her mom taught us how to leg wrestle. She’s the first kid I knew who drank coffee. She was very funny. She dressed preppy – even before it was a thing. As much as I wanted to wear Izod shirts, they didn’t look as good on me as they did Michele. I could go on and on because when you know someone for that long, there is so much to tell. And I CAN NOT BELIEVE that she is gone. I didn’t even get to say goodbye.  I loved her.

Goodbye my friend.



© 2014, Funkidivagirl.com. All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.


Life. Wow.

in What About Me

So, if you have been following my blog (or not following, as it has been) you will see that I haven’t blogged since Christmas.   Life caught up with me in a big way and I was doing well to just keep breathing.  But with the big kid back in college and the not-so-little-kid back in school (Junior high!  How did that happen?), I’m determined to get back to blogging on a regular basis.  Please extend me a bit of grace while I clear out the cobwebs.

I moved.  Not far, just a block from my own house, but moving is a bitch always.  But then I redecorate, which was sort of, kind of fun (in a creative, yet tortuous way).  I promise to blog about that because I did some pretty cool stuff, even a few DIYs which is so out my comfort zone that I must invite you all over (through my blog) and show off my fabulous projects.

I took my daughter to France, a week after we moved – just because I wanted to push the crazy lever up as far as it could go.  I will blog about that trip because we really had a good time and I will take any excuse to talk or write about France.

I had some personal challenges as well that sucked the life out of me.   I sure that I am personally financing the redecorating of my therapist’s beach house.

I started meditating.  It’s been good for me.   And it’s free.

I had a birthday.   Actually it was a very nice birthday with lots of celebrating with family and friends, but birthdays always get me in a reflective mood.  Anne Lamott is always good for a life-check.  This quote by Mary Oliver especially struck a cord with me: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

What indeed?  What am I going to do with my one wild and precious life?  I thought about it and on the eve of my birthday I wrote this response:

Time is passing swiftly.   I could die tomorrow of course.   But even if I don’t, I am aware of how much I want to live.  I have been on a mission for the last few years to live LOUD and I want to turn it up even more.  This does not mean I want a fast car and no responsibilities.  On the contrary I want to be responsibly aware of all the gifts and blessings in my life.

I want my faith to be LOUD: in constant communication with and worship of God, living to glorify him in all that I do.

I want to be LOUD with people: authentic, helpful and kind.

I want to travel through the world LOUD: being fully present and immersed wherever I am.

I want to take care of my body LOUD: feeding it the best food, giving it both proper rest and exercise, being mindful of how it changes and feels daily and treating it kindly.

I want to notice everything in my path with LOUD awareness from the way that a hawk circling the sky is both scary and awesome to the emerging beauty of my daughter.   Like Alice Walker said in The Color Purple: “I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”  I want to always notice the color purple.

My friend is dying.   She’s my age.   This is not a dress rehearsal.

Life. Wow.


© 2014, Funkidivagirl.com. All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.

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Christmas Countdown

in Christmas

So this is basically how Christmas is going for me this year:


It’s funny, but also true.  I’m not a Strooge – Christmas is my favorite holiday – but after 20 years of being the sole  Magical Elf in my family, I’m just burnt.   But since  I have this little girl at home who wants a Christmas tree and homemade gingerbread cookies, making her happy and giving her the Christmas she wants trumps my desire to get on a jet plane bound for the Caribbean and chuck the whole thing.

So in the spirit of Christmas, I’m answering a couple of Mama Kat’s writing prompts:  1. Write a blog post inspired by the word pajamas. 2. A favorite holiday tradition.

Everyone gets new pajamas in my house to wear on Christmas Eve; it’s a holiday tradition born out of my desire to have good-looking people in my Christmas morning photos.

I usually buy PJ Savage pajamas for myself; this is the pair that I chose this year:


My daughter wanted a “onesie” and we found the perfect one at Gapkids:


My husband decided that he too wanted to wear a onesie.  Dear God, NO!  Although there are plenty of onesies available online for adults (why, God, why?), we are all discouraging this sure to be horrifying look.  So far he hasn’t gotten around to buying one.  Let’s hope he doesn’t.

Another tradition that we continue each year is buying new ornaments for the family; we have amassed quite a collection.   We buy ornaments on every trip that we take and try to buy an ornament for each family member to reflect something that they did that year.   These are ornaments from our travels to Washington DC, New Orleans, Nashville, Hilton Head, Montreal and Québec City.

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If you have ever read my Christmas blog posts before, you know that I change my color scheme for Christmas decorations every year.  Recently I’ve narrowed it done to 4 rotating color schemes because it was too stressful thinking of new colors each year.  This year the color scheme is “colorful.”  I found some beautiful color bulbs at Michael’s (on sale too!), and used colored lights, some colorful spangly sticks and funky Whooville-like present sticks to decorate the Christmas tree.   Most of the tree is covered with our family ornaments.  My daughter says that one day soon we will need two trees to hold them all.  As if I would decorate two trees!

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So that’s how I’m surviving enjoying this Christmas season.  What about you?


Are you one of those Christmas crafty types?  I am not, but my daughter loves crafting; she made this cute snowman cocoa kit for her classroom Secret Santa gift.   She got the idea from Anne or Shine.  If you want to be crafty this Christmas, my daughter highly recommends Ann’s DIY projects.


(I think that she really wants to keep this for herself.)

© 2013, Funkidivagirl.com. All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.


Totally Random Thoughts for December 12th

in Totally Random

I’m back – two weeks in a row!  I’m answering a couple of Mama Kat’s writing prompts this week, 1. Something you love about December 2. A favorite Christmas ornament, and just riffing on other totally random thoughts.

So far I’m not loving December.   While I do have my Christmas shopping done, I’m just not feeling the Christmas spirit.  We finally got our Christmas tree, but this is what it looks like

christmas tree

Undecorated.  And it will remain that way until I decide to decorate it, hopefully by next week.  Notice that I didn’t say “the family will decorate” because that’s not happening.  I decorate and undecorate it alone.  I’m so over having a Christmas tree.

This weekend I will take my daughter to see Atlanta Botanical Gardens Lights Holiday Nights and to the Holiday Tea at St. Regis Hotel, so maybe that will get me into the Christmas spirit.  And I’m sure my family’s annual trip to the Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee Reynold’s Plantation property will help as well – ice skating, decorating a gingerbread house, eating cookies with Mrs. Claus and sitting in the lobby by the huge roaring fire are on the agenda.  There are 16 families going with us this year – 69 people – so we are sure to have a ball.

I do like drinking hot chocolate, something I only do in the month of December.  It’s worth my occasional indulgence of dairy.   It’s made with premium chocolate and whipped cream and mixed with this handy gadget that I bought from Williams-Sonoma.   I even add a bit of  Trader Joe’s Caramel Fleur de Sel Sauce to make it even more decadent.


hot chocolate

My tree may not be decorated, but as I do every year, I bought Christmas ornaments for everyone in my family.  This year’s Favorite Ornament is for my son, to represent his first year in college.


Speaking of my son, when I talked to him recently all he could talk about was Art Basel and what an incredible time he had hanging out at the galleries and concerts.   Yeah well, he had better be hitting the books as well because it’s time for final exams.   Good mom that I am, I made these Toffee Bars from Real Simple and packed them along with healthy snacks in a care package.


I’m done studying now that my French class is over for this session and while I wish I can say that I am more fluent, I would be lying.  In fact I am more confused than ever.  I think it’s easy to know a few phrases to get you around Paris on a week long trip, but it’s quite another thing to study French grammar with all it’s “this is the rule-except when it’s not the rule” idiosyncrasies.  I am in awe of non-native English speakers who have mastered English because learning a new language is hard.   But I will keep studying and hope that one day it will all click and I will be able to carry on a full conversation in French.   I have gotten a few levels past this


I may be struggling in French, but I’ve had a personal revelation while listening to Oprah Radio on Sirius XM.   Oprah was complaining to Stedman about something or another and said, “but I just want to be seen as nice.”  And he replied, “But you are not nice; you are kind, you are generous, but you are not nice.  Gayle is nice.”   And after some thought, she had to agree and it freed her from trying to be someone that she isn’t.   Stedman’s statement was an “ah-ha” moment because it describes me so well.  That may sound awful – who doesn’t want to be thought of as nice? – but if you substitute the word “nice” for “sweet” then I think you can relate.   Not everyone is nice (sweet).  I am fun, supportive, kind, thoughtful, generous and loyal – all great qualities to have in a friend – but I’m not nice.   I think others who know me well would agree.

That’s it for me on a totally random December 12th.  Maybe the next time I blog I will have my Christmas tree decorated and some holiday spirit.   How about you; how are you faring this December?

© 2013, Funkidivagirl.com. All rights reserved. Republished only with permission.

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