Marilyn Jean, my very fun office suitemate –

Daisy: Can we change the music? I can’t work to the dirge music anymore. It’s depressing.

Marilyn Jean: Dirge, what’s dirge?

Daisy: Funeral music.

Marilyn Jean: Okay, but I can’t take music with words. I can’t concentrate.

Daisy: Okay, I have some light jazz.

Marilyn Jean: No, I can’t do jazz.

Daisy: I can do classical or worship, but something with some spirit.

Marilyn Jean: What was it grunge, girge, girth music?

Daisy: Dirge. You know…like “poor Jud is dead, a candle lights his head”!

I bought her two CD’s with good classical music.

About 2 times a week Marilyn Jean puts on the slowest, draggiest instrumental music and tells me, “We’re listening to grunge, girge, drudge music.”

I’m secretly downloading jazz. I’m going to blast her out of her seat very soon!



An Appalachian colloquialism that was used in early twentieth century America to refer to things whose names were forgotten or unknown. In this usage it was synonymous with thingamajig or whatchamacallit, as in “hand me that hootenanny.” Hootenanny was also an old country word for “party”. Now, most commonly, it refers to a folk-music party.

“Hootenanny” was also used by the leadership of early firefighting battalions to describe a “meeting of the minds” or higher ups of various department heads. The term has trickled down to working companies and is now used, with some frequency, at working incidents and other circumstances that require a focused discussion between key individuals. Most recently it was adopted for use during the annual Fire Department Instructors Conference. Logistics professionals for the conference employ the word to call together the required personnel needed to accomplish the prodigious assignments placed on them.


1. A noisy celebration.

2. A mass gathering or assembly, as of a political party or association.

3. A long mixed program of entertainment.

4. A large assembly often international, especially of Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.

First known use 1864

I’m not sure why, but these two words just tickle me. I’m always up for a hootenanny or a jamboree!  Anyone?

I was on tour last week.  I was at the gate waiting for the group ahead of me to deplane. Busying myself, checking everything that I needed –  I had my tour itinerary to go over while in flight, my sunglasses on my head,  my ear buds & iPod in my pocket, after all, once I’m settled, I may want to sleep, my book in case I couldn’t sleep, Chap stick, snack, water & phone at the top of my bag, boarding pass in my book. Once I was ready, I, I , I, me, me, me, all about me, I looked up….

A gentleman emerging from the plane, his old life on his back, military jacket with patches signifying his military accomplishments and his new life in his hand, a walking stick for the blind; signifying an even greater accomplishment. Sacrifice and survival.

I said thank you to God for this man. I am honored in my small way to share with tour groups the sacrifice of God and man.

God who knows our names, God who knows everything there is to know about us and LOVES us. Men and women who sacrifice for us every day, people they do not know.

Amazing grace.

I threw all my “stuff” in my bag and got out my bible for the plane ride.  That’s all “I” need.

Daisy: I wrote another blog about you.

2 hours later

Daisy: Have you read the blog?

Marilyn Jean: How do I get to your blog?

Daisy: People I don’t even know are following my blog and my own office mate is not following my blog?? I will re-send you the address.

Marilyn Jean: Great now I have to figure out how to get to it again. I’m following God. (She moves her hands like she weighing things in a scale) God, blog, God, blog.

Daisy: Well, you might want to read it, it’s about you. I wrote one about Elise yesterday…but you would know that if you were following my blog.

Marilyn Jean: What about your bloody blog?

Daisy: READ THE BLOG. You don’t have to do it now, read it tonight.

Marilyn Jean: Emails are just flying by, I don’t know where it is.  Do you know how many things I have to do tonight?

Daisy: It’s like Jesus, not even respected in my own office.

Marilyn Jean: Now you saying you’re like Jesus?

Daisy: No, just read the blog.

Marilyn Jean: You’re so funny.

Daisy: I AM? You are, read it!

(See “The Prisoner”)

Every day with Marilyn Jean is an adventure. Here is a recent tale, but you must understand, I’m not exaggerating, an adventure comes up every day with my funny and compassionate friend.

Marilyn Jean has a heart for prison ministry. She has a bulging full life and at this point that ministry consists of writing letters to women who have been incarcerated. One of the gals with whom Marilyn Jean had conducted a steady correspondence had definitely experienced a life change while in prison. When sharing the steps this gal had made in her life, in order to protect her identity, Marilyn Jean called her “the prisoner.”

“The prisoner’s” first few letters to Marilyn Jean were filled with blame. It was not her fault she was in prison, others were to blame. As their correspondence progressed Marilyn Jean could sense a heart change, and “the prisoner’s” letters indicated that she was taking responsibility for the actions that had brought her to this situation. Just as we all have to face, life decisions are up to us.

Recently Marilyn Jean got a phone call; “the prisoner” has just been released and was struggling to get on her feet. “The prisoner” had found a job, but before her first paycheck she needed clothes, groceries and gas.

Marilyn Jean had decided to take “the prisoner” shopping for a few items. Now Marilyn Jean is a smart cookie, she had clearly established her boundaries, done her homework, had a set dollar figure and was taking the wisest steps for this shopping trip. Because we love her, we were just a bit concerned. While we didn’t doubt Marilyn Jean’s assessment of “the prisoner’s” heart change, we wanted to make sure Marilyn Jean was safe.

What if “the prisoner” was finding it too hard to get on her feet? What if the pressure of being on her own was forcing her to feel the only way she could survive was to revert back to bad choices? What if in a rash and desperate moment Marilyn Jean would be the victim of a bad decision?

Elise, Lauren and I still felt Marilyn Jean should be accompanied to meet “the prisoner”. Our current work schedule made me the one available to go with Marilyn Jean the next day.

The morning of the meeting, my sister happened to call me as I was on my way to work. When my sister asked what I had going that day, I said, “Well as a matter of fact….” and I related the whole story. My sister is a cautious person and for those she loves, she is very cautious. She wanted me to take mace, but I had none. I laughed and said, “I do have the pink camo knife I got for Christmas in my glove compartment.” She insisted I take it with me.

My youngest nephew is currently into pocket knives and now I’m the proud owner of a pink camo knife. He was very excited to give it to me and I love it.

When I got to the office I told Marilyn Jean, Elise and Lauren what my sister had said and I showed them the knife I had hiding in my coat pocket.

Marilyn Jean, lifting her staple puller from her desk says, “I have this, a nose pincher!

Daisy: Do you know how long it would take to wrap that around someone’s nose?

Marilyn Jean: I will just tell her to hold still while I get it on there. I’ll just say, “Tell me when this hurts!” And it really hurts! I tried it on my finger!

Always fear Marilyn Jean and her nose pincher!

Elise’s son is a handsome, sweet, servant-hearted, strapping 240-pound bench pressing, hard working, mature-beyond-his-years young man.

I couldn’t stop laughing when I heard her say this morning…

“My son is 17 and I can’t get him to pick up his Legos?!”

Tell me, what is your plan with your one wild & precious life?

Are you remembering to play?


Are you remembering to spark?


Are you remembering to put it ALL at His feet and REVEL like a kid in His presence?

This morning in my journal I was asking myself these questions.

Am I remembering to live life?

This is awesome! I found this on one of my favorite blogs, The Lettered Cottage. I had to share.

1. Make a pact. No one else is going to build the life you want for you. No one else will even be able to completely understand it. The most amazing souls will show up to cheer you on along the way, but this is your game. Make a pact to be in it with yourself for the long haul, as your own supportive friend at every step along the way.

2. Imagine it. What does a knock-the-ball-out-of-the-park life look like for you? What is the career that seems so incredible you think it’s almost criminal to have it?  What is the dream you don’t allow yourself to even consider because it seems too unrealistic, frivolous, or insane? Start envisioning it. That’s the beginning of having it.

3. Gasp. Start doing things that make you gasp and get the adrenalin flowing. Ask yourself, “What’s the gasp-level action here?” Your fears and a tough inner critic will chatter in your head. That’s normal, and just fine. When you hear that repetitive, irrational, mean inner critic, name it for what it is, and remember, it’s just a fearful liar, trying to protect you from any real or seeming risks. Go for the gasps and learn how false your inner critic’s narrative really is, and how conquerable your fears.

4. Get a thick skin. If you take risks, sometimes you’ll get a standing ovation, and sometimes, people will throw tomatoes. Can you think of any leader or innovator whom you admire who doesn’t have enthusiastic fans and harsh critics? Get used to wins and losses, praise and pans, getting a call back and being ignored. Work on letting go of needing to be liked and needing to be universally known as “a nice person.”


You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you. And people can like you exactly as you are. – Mister Rogers

Okay, admit it. Mister Rogers still puts a smile on your face. Before becoming a tour guide, I was worked in a VERY stressful office. Not only was the work demanding, the staff….well, they….let’s just say it was a far cry from the office I’m in now.   Their lives were so sad; they knew no other way to handle it other than to be unkind to one another.  Thankfully, God kept me out of all the battles and gossip.

Having lunch at home, needing a moment of goodness, I would turn on Mister Rogers as I made and ate my lunch.    Seriously, when PBS put his program back by ½ hour, I got my lunch hour changed!!  He would feed my heart for the return in the afternoon. Who can make you feel goodness more than Mr. Rogers?

If you go to this link you see a little video of him singing….go on, you know you wanna!

One of my favorite teachers that brings her students on tour has a great admiration for Thomas Jefferson. So much so, that as we would draw near to anything related to Thomas Jefferson while in Washington, D.C. or Monticllo the students would sing-song, “There’s Mrs. S’s boyfriend!”

The students quickly learned of my admiration for George Washington, so while we visited Mt. Vernon, I would hear the same, with George and I.

They were such a fun group and it’s one of my fondest memories. This one is for you Mrs. S!!

A sweet gal in my office learned of my admiration for G.W. and this is what she gave me for Christmas. What could be a better gift for a George Washington groupie?

Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.  G.W.