The Holidays

Dear Readers,

For however big or small my “readership” is, I still was inspired to start off with that greeting.  Why, you ask?  Well, I just finished watching one of my favorite movies, The Note.  Great movie based on a book (with the same title) by Angela Hunt. Anyway, one of the characters is a newspaper columnist and she always started her column with “Dear Readers…” so I wanted to do the same.  Thank you, Peyton Magruder.

On Friday, I returned home to Oklahoma after spending the past week with my family in San Antonio, Texas.  As always, I enjoyed seeing my parents, sisters, niece, nephews and brother-in-law.  I also was able to see a friend of mine and her family who is like my second family.  I hadn’t seen them in a while so our visit was long overdue.  On Thanksgiving Day, my parents and I attended mass, though not at our normal parish.  The homily was so good that I felt like my mind was cleared from all the “chatter” as Ellen would say and I was just focused on the present and being in the moment.  Toward the end of his sermon, the priest said this: “If we’re not careful, Thanksgiving can be a superficial holiday.”   Because I didn’t have any paper or pen with me, I pulled out my Blackberry to type in the quote so I could tuck it away.  As much as we may want to deny it, our society’s attention does seem to be about rushing through the turkey, dressing and pie so we can rest up for Black Friday deals.  Sadly, stores are caving in and opening on Thanksgiving night.  Seriously, where are our priorities?  What happened to spending time together as a family, watching football games, relaxing and saying thanks for the blessings we have?

This holiday season, I will strive to not worry about getting “the perfect gift” for friends and family.  Instead, I will try to savor each and every day, remembering the “little things.” Earlier today, I had my first reminder.  While getting groceries, I passed an older lady who asked that I reach up and get a bottle of Pepsi for her.  I smiled and obliged and went on my way.  I ended up getting in line behind her and saw how she struggled to get out of her motorized wheelchair to pay her bill.  Funny how one simple encounter can change out perspective.  She helped me once again realize how I am sincerely grateful for the people who I have in my life…the friends and family that make my life feel so rich and full.  Spending time with family and friends this past week is the greatest “gift” and the only thing I need.  I hope we are all able to direct our priorities in the appropriate way.  Don’t stress about the shopping and gifts….the stores will always be there, but the people in our lives may not. 

Sincerely,
Grateful in Norman

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Turnovers

The game of basketball is like the game of life.  Sometimes the choices we make are not the right ones or they simply weren’t thought out as carefully as needed.  In life, we call those mistakes, maybe even regrets.  In basketball, these are referred to as the dreaded t-word: turnovers.  Turnovers make coaches cringe.  They signify careless actions, players not being smart.  They are mistakes you can’t take back.  Actions you wish you could’ve done differently.  They are your lost opportunities and gains for the opponent.  How one handles those “turnovers” in their daily life is what says the most about a person.  Coach Sherri Coale frequently references that when her team takes care of the basketball, they win games.    Seems simple but it works.  When you take care of the “little things” in life, you make smarter decisions and are more successful.

I just got home from watching the OU women take on UCLA.  The Sooners lost by only a couple of baskets.  Too many careless possessions caused the game to be out of their reach.  Each time I shook my head tonight when there was another turnover, I thought about the decisions I have made this week.  How many turnovers have I made?  What would or should I have done differently?  If only I had been more careful when the basketball was in my hands….

The fortunate thing for me and the OU women is that tomorrow is another day.  There are plenty of games left to play.  Plenty of time left to make smarter decisions. 

What will you do with your tomorrow? 

Sincerely,
Thinking Carefully in Norman

Cool new find in Oklahoma: The Blue Bean Coffee Company

A few weeks ago a friend and I met for coffee.  He (John) had me choose and I wanted to find some place different, as in not a Starbucks.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against them….just wanted something different.  Moving on, so I went to my trusty friend (aka Google) and searched for coffee places in the area.  One result was The Blue Bean Coffee Company located technically in Oklahoma City, though to me it is in Moore.  I’m splitting hairs.  Anyway, I had read a little about it online and it looked like a place we would like.  As soon as we walked in, I was greeted by a warm, friendly face (whom I later learned was one of the owners).  There was a group of people sitting down at some tables that looked like they were regulars.  My friend and I walked up to the counter to order.  While we were both deciding on what to get, I looked around and smiled when I noticed the various Chicago memorabilia and decor.  I knew I had made the right choice in coffee shops (and I hadn’t even gotten my drink yet).  We got our drinks and picked a table nearby.  On the wall opposite us, I saw various photographs that I assumed were from local artists or friends of the owners.  I mentioned to John that one day I’d like to have my pictures displayed in a shop someday.

Later that same day, I wrote the owner an e-mail and being my mother’s daughter (both my parents are from Chicago), I asked the owner if she was from Chicago after seeing the decor in shop).  She replied that lived there 25 years.  One week later, John and I met at Blue Bean again and this gave the owner and I a chance to visit about where my parents grew up.  I couldn’t help but laugh knowing my Mom would be so proud when I told her about the conversation later.  Like last time, John and I chose a table where we could sit and enjoy our coffee (which is great by the way).   Danae, the owner, was nice enough to offer me the opportunity to hang some of my pictures in the shop. I will be delivering the pictures soon.  I have no idea what kind of price I’ll put on them, if any.  I’ll be flattered if anyone shows any interest.  It is just cool to have this opportunity.  So my point in all of this is to encourage you to come and try out Blue Bean Coffee.  Not only will you get friendly service, good coffee but you’ll get to see my pictures….so you there yet?  Also, go “like” it on Facebook as they give away drinks to those who become fans.

Urban Spoon is also a great place for reviews.

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/46/500119/restaurant/Suburban-Southside/Blue-Bean-Coffee-Oklahoma-City

Sincerely,
Blue Bean Fan (and amateur photographer) in Norman