So I pondered night after night on how to introduce myself to you. I finally decided I would begin with the present and work my way back. Most people describe me as a creative, energetic, a self-starter, and a highly motivated visionary and entrepreneur who loves the Lord. I am also well known for my gift of hospitality, a field of work I enjoyed for over 25 years. In short, I would say I am called to love, lead, create and serve and I do this in various ways with the various roles and positions.
Having turned 53 last June, I find myself now newly married for the first time, a daughter with 2 siblings, a business owner, corporate coach, health leader, community organizer, workshop facilitator, speaker and friend. This is what I do. And yes, I’m part of the baby boomer generation.
So what do I believe? Most importantly I believe in God; I am a woman of great faith and hope. I believe people are basically good and that we are all born with at least one gift that allows us to be prosperous. I believe in love, a deep passionate love of family, friends, and our life’s work. I believe in support, coaching, teamwork, lifelong learning, mentors, diversity, girlfriends and REST. In fact, I hope to be known as the Queen of REST.
I love God, my husband Chuck aka Dr. Blues, chocolate, spa-ing, brownies, traveling, girl movies, fine hotels and resorts; dining with friends, life changing sermons, dancing to great music, a good spy series , great conversations with fellow visionaries, and last but not least, I love to pray and to relax with my sweet dog, Ella Fitzgerald Robinson Beattie.
I hope to connect with you on many levels. I will be sharing my thoughts on my favorite topics: leadership and faith. I hope to be a carrier of goods news and encouragement. In fact, just call me Elaine, the midwife of hope. This is perhaps a good place to pause until next time. Always remember these words: “I surrender, I win!”
I consider the following to be a public service announcement.
For those of you who know me (Jane, this means you), you know that my household consists of a large number of canines and consequently a lot of that soft-white or brown-tufted stuff known as dog bed stuffing. Most of it comes from the inside’s of Costco dog beds–because I figure, why put the money into it when, as soon as I’m out of the room, deconstruction begins? I usually hang onto the beds for as long as possible, restuffing them, only to have to repeat the process in a few days. I’ve even sewn them up, but that seems to bring out the challenge of “Who can shred that precise area the quickest?”
We were once even lured by a 30-day guarantee to try a better brand and pumped more money into a couple of impressively large beds, but apparently the dogs read the guarantee–since the corners were breached just past the guarantee period. For a long while, I have had three large beds lying like beached whales in my bedroom, awaiting their fate. There is too much good material to throw them away, but in their current state they can’t be used. The dogs don’t seem to care, taking over the couch and pushing their way into the recliners. Recently, we even put a twin mattress slated for the dumpsters on the kitchen floor to give ourselves some reprieve from jousting for a place to sit. At times, there have been 10 dogs in the kitchen. Don’t judge me: they are family.
Enter K9 Ballistics. With a name like that, came hope, and I must say, they have delivered. Their motto: “If the dog eats it, we do.” They will send a replacement cover in the first 90 days after purchase, if the dogs chew it. We got two beds from them, and so far, so good. The material is sturdy, the loft impressive. There is no zipper–just a velcro opening on the bottom of the bed. The price is reasonable, and, at times, one of the largest beds fit three spooning dogs. I have hopes that the dogs are forgetting the joys of shredding, so I am going to buy replacement covers for those sad beds in my bedroom.
I miss Andy Rooney, and, in tribute to him, I am going to air one of my pet peeves. I’ve gotten so I read through the obituaries, partly for that feeling of having won a little lottery when I don’t see anyone’s name I know (so at this point, I still win a lot) and partly to read about strangers’ lives and marvel at the detail in some of them. I have to admit that I also look to see mentions of a beloved pet left behind. I do that with wedding announcements, too, and feel instantly connected when I see a pet in the picture with the happy couple. I guess I should disclose that my dog “Pasha Bird” shared space with me in my college yearbook.
But, back to obituaries! Often I see a picture of a young person staring out at me, and I gasp to myself, thinking, “how sad,” but then, when reading on, I discover the person is actually way past 60. It happened just today in the Chapel Hill News.
Are we trying to say we are now forever young? I don’t get it. There was a flapper not long ago in the Raleigh paper, hair flattened down with tight curls, in a roaring twenties dress. So, of course she was in her nineties. Would any of our current acquaintances recognize us if we put our high school picture in our announcement? Is it the families that do this? Or do we, upon reaching a certain age, pick out our best shot from fifty years ago and designate it as our ‘parting’ shot?
I can see that some people may just not have a more current picture, but in this digital day and age, I would think they would be in the minority.
So, for heaven’s sake, anybody who doesn’t have a recent picture, please ask your grand kids to snap one of you, so we won’t have to move you through all three focal levels in our glasses to figure out even that we knew you!
Now I’m going to look up Andy’s obit to see what his picture was like. Here it is:
My thoughts on learning that I am going to be a Grandmother are as follows:
3. Gasp. Breathe, girl!
5. What will my new name (the name that will stick to me for the rest of my life on earth) be? Please not anything with “aw” on the end.
6. Am I really old enough for this to be happening to me? I knew my husband was getting older, but…
7. She will love IT more than she loves me (pout).
8. How can SHE have a baby? She’s still MY baby!
9. Look at her. Her face is shining. I know that feeling…my face must look like my mother’s face did when I told her for the first time.
10. I will love it instantly. At first because it’s part of her. Then just because I love it.
11. Life has become infinitely more complicated–and interesting–in the last 7 seconds.
Okay, so I had more than 10 thoughts in a row. This doesn’t happen every day. I just had to write them all!
Julia Coward lives in Asheville, NC with her husband, in a house made entirely of dog hair. She has held many varied and interesting jobs in her career as a person, but her favorite has always been raising and caring for people and pets in all different ages and stages of life. Plants have to fend for themselves.