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this i believe… by lea marshall

my son is has a slight hearing impairment and so i learned sign language.

one of my favorite signs is the sign for the word “believe”.

it actually is made like this...

it combines two signs. the sign “think” and the sign “to marry”.

and the sign is very philosophically accurate… “to believe” is “to marry our thoughts”.

it is one thing just to hang out with our thoughts, to date our thoughts, to be friends with our thoughts. but it is something entirely different to marry our thoughts. to make a living commitment to those thoughts 24/7. Read all »

Lea & Liz: Muffins. The Finale.


a tisket, a tasket, so much love and goodwill in a basket.

here i am handing over the muffins to two lovely gals at the UBER busy democratic headquarters. that place was PACKED with people, maps, signs, and now muffins….

these gals were so lovely and gracious and took time out to step outside to take a photo in front of one of their 354 signs outside.

they are the nicest fascists that i ever met (ha ha ha).

Liz’s note: Don’t miss Lea’s blog on yesterday’s muffin civility runs.

Lea & Liz: More on muffins


Me, an Obama-voting Democrat, giving muffins to Vivian, a McCain-voting Republican, at McCain/Palin Tallahassee HQ. As we tried to hogtie a poor McCain staffer for the picture, someone casually suggested Vivian, because “everything about her just screamed Republican.”

So, I lived to tell about my visit to the campaign and learned that apparently even on election eve, at least one Republican has a sense of humor.

Here’s to Vivian, a good sport. And here’s to Lea, who really walks the walk in her life, and who I deeply admire (even if I sometimes have to wonder about the way she votes).

And here’s to all the other people working hard today and tomorrow to hold up their end of democracy, no matter which end it is.

Lea & Liz: Muffins. A Start.


Lea (the conservative) usually takes muffins to the young staffers at the Republican campaign office in election years. That’s pre-Village-Square.

Post-Village-Square… Lea called me (Liz, the liberal) and suggested that the better thing to do would be to take muffins to both the McCain and the Obama campaign offices. So, this morning we loaded up 2 baskets with an assortment of homemade muffins and Village Square bumper stickers and buttons, then made two of the more unusual visits the campaigns have likely received.

On the beautiful card Lea made:

The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion.
— John F. Kennedy

Lea & Liz: Abandon all hope, ye who ring my front doorbell…">Lea & Liz: Abandon all hope, ye who ring my front doorbell…

The nicest young man rang my doorbell in hopes of obtaining a
signature from me on a petition to make congress look at alternate
forms of energy (wind, solar, tidal) to reduce of dependance on fossil
fuels. He got so much more than he bargained for once I opened the door.

I stood in the doorway and gave him my best synopsis of all our energy
dinners (who knew i was listening so well?). I went over the facts I
had gleaned about nuclear energy being very clean energy. We discussed
the storage and transfer of energy and how solar, wind, and tidal
energy is strictly good for local use and doesn’t store or move over
long distances well. I also pointed out the LARGE land needed for wind
energy and how renewables don’t produce nearly enough power. And i
touched a bit on the fact that the his point was that we used too many
fossil fuels and foreign oil and that would not be helped by tidal,
wind, or solar power (unless a solar car is invented).

Really, I was a font of energy knowledge. I even amazed myself. Seems
that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

The young man was very polite and listened very well. I don’t think I
changed his mind and i didn’t sign his petition. But it was one small
step for civility… all politics is local, all politics involves
beginning at our front doorstep and having a lively and civil

He even wrote down the web address for tothevillagesquare.org. Perhaps
he is reading this blog entry today…

Lea & Liz: Waiting…">Lea & Liz: Waiting…

Lea, in a nervy act that did – in fact – confirm for me that she is a Republican, was a special guest last weekend of President George W. Bush for his Furman graduation speech.

News reports don’t seem to be specifically mentioning Lea, although I’m still researching. Surely they didn’t miss that story.

Lea warned me that she may not associate with us mere mortals after the whole shebang, although I’m putting my money on the theory that she hasn’t reported back because she finally saw the error of her ways???

Waiting for her Village Square correspondent first person report and any pithy post-partisan perceptions (and I would like to know if she can say that 10 times fast) …

“You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.”

A great quote from Doug Floyd via The Village Square’s very own purveyor of great quotes, Lea.

That’s all.

Lea & Liz: Today the conversation continues">Lea & Liz: Today the conversation continues

Last presidential election, I volunteered some time for the Kerry campaign – on election day, I was tasked with standing outside a precinct with election hotline information in case there were problems like there were in 2000. There wasn’t a single problem so I pretty much just stood there for 2 or 3 hours.

Regardless of your party affiliation, anyone who has ever spent any time at a polling place has had the wonderful experience of standing at the pulse of democracy for a time.

One great sight that day was a mom who came in to vote with her 5 kids, all different ages. I smiled at her and made a comment about what a wonderful opportunity she was giving her kids to participate. She gave me something like a “you need to die, now” look, which I took to mean she was voting for Bush? After she voted, I thought a friendly “have a nice day” might be safe, but her answer to that was a brusk “I support George W. Bush.”

Last week on the day of the Florida primary, my friend Lea honored us by sharing the deep family roots voting has for her. Lea voted in the Republican primary that day, I voted in the Democratic primary. It’s pretty unlikely we’ll be voting for the same candidate come November, but we will both show up as a part of the American family, exercising what is both our duty and our privilege. By doing so, we become a part of the conversation the Founding Fathers knew we’d have to keep having.

The mom with 5 kids, I think, had fallen victim to the hate-peddlers who are making it impossible to have that conversation (even, apparently, to make small talk with “the enemy”).

If you’re in a state that votes today, I say it matters far less which candidate wins than it does that the hate-peddlers lose. I want you to pause for a moment and look around at the others voting nearby. They are Lea who left her sick mother’s bedside to vote, as she knew her mother would want her to. They are citizens who have accepted the Founders high bar to show up for the conversation.

We’d be nothing without them, even if they didn’t vote our way.


Lea & Liz: Heading out to vote">Lea & Liz: Heading out to vote


i am going to vote after i finish typing this. i am going to vote with
a heavy heart.

my mother is in ICU after a stroke on thursday. she most likely will
not live to see the results of today’s election in florida. yet, i am
making time to leave her side and vote. because it matters. to me and
to her. she would want all of her family to be at her bedside with
those little stickers “i voted”. i remember going with her to vote
when i was still a child and being so excited to be a part of the
process with her.

as of yesterday, i really didn’t know who i was voting for, i had
looked at each angle, evaluated each person the best way that i could,
but there wasn’t one that stuck out to me as “THIS IS IT” until today
(despite the THOUSANDS of phone calls in the past three days, really
people STOP CALLING ME, i am not listening to your recorded phone

i am voting for the man most like my father. the man who i think would
stand by his wife’s side and hold her hand while she lay in that
hospital bed. a man who wouldn’t want to cry in front of his children,
but does sometimes. a man who has worked every day of his life to make
this world better for his children and others around him. a business
man who never put making a living ahead of making a life. i hope the
man i vote for is half the man that my father is. this country would
be better off if he was and if he wins the election.

my mother is an excellent american, she is a strong southern gal with
half my size and twice my spirit. she leaves this country of great
freedom for a place that is better. she leaves us for the One Who
truly made her Free. voting to me today is a matter of life and
death… today i tend to the dying and i care for the living. and i
vote because that is part of caring for the living.


Lea & Liz: political and delicious">Lea & Liz: political and delicious

OK, so Liz has been ALL over us starting to blog about the election and I have been quite the procrastinator since it has seemed SO far away. Then last night I had my parents over for the MOST delicious meal (this pot roast and these mashed potatoes). Now you may take all my political rambling with a grain of salt (albeit seasoned salt) but you will have to admit that the me sharing recipe to that pot roast makes you like me much better because listen up if I made THAT pot roast and served it at every poll, well then the spoils would be going to the victor and you would be in such a food coma that you would vote for ME for president (and we would all be in grave trouble or should that be GRAVY trouble?)

Anyway, pot roast and potatoes on the side, during the meal my dad was talking about how my uncle had already sent his vote in for the Florida primary. I had totally forgotten that we had moved up the primary (“we” being the Florida Legislature and really that isn’t me at all) and it is now breathing down my neck, not to mention salivating over the leftover pot roast in the fridge. So I guess it is time to start thinking and blogging about the election.

I have to be really politically honest here (since I have been gastronomically honest already and established such a nice pattern)… I have NO idea who I will be voting for in the Republican primary. Moreover, the reasons I have to discredit certain people are not valid at all (example, I don’t like Fred Thompson because his wife seems too young. Is that really a valid reason to not support “Fred ’08”? Oh, and that whole “Fred ’08” thing seems like a bad political slogan and looks dumb on bumper stickers, but again, not a good reason to not vote for someone.)

I need to pay attention and do some REAL research. Which is not as much fun as just watching the candidates on Jay Leno and deciding based on who is the funniest. I have to figure out how to get to the truth behind the hype. Hopefully having to write about it will help me to be more diligent. Of course the fact that I am well fortified with pot roast and potatoes is a really good start.

Lea & Liz: Ornament Exchange Throwdown">Lea & Liz: Ornament Exchange Throwdown

1. img_2782.jpg 2. img_2788.jpg

‘Tis the season for Fran’s ornament exchange party and it should come as no surprise to our loyal readers (the people who have married us, thus taking a vow to read our blog entries) that a certain amount of thought (or competitiveness, with a wee bit of fang-bearing animalism thrown-in) went into bringing JUST the right ornament.

So here, a gift to you from us for your bipartisan enjoyment is your holiday puzzler:

    1. Which ornament(s) was Lea’s purchase. . . the conservative choice?
    2. Which ornament(s) was Liz’s. . . the liberal’s best shot at the “W” (which I must clarify does NOT refer to the president, else I might get a holiday visit from the secret service for taking shots at “W”)?
    3. Which ornament(s) got stolen 3 times, thus being retired and was therefore clearly highly desirable by nearly everyone in the room, probably on the planet, ensuring that this person became the Ornament Queen, a title that (while not at this writing accompanied by a crown) Princess Di would have far preferred as there is (at this writing) no paparazzi involved.
    4. Which ornament(s) didn’t get stolen even once causing its purchaser to come down with a case of the Christmas blues, until the one person in the room who had the choice of ALL the ornaments in the room, retired or not, stole it, thus saving Christmas for this person, for the Whos down in Whoville and probably for all of mankind?

Since this puzzler will require study, contemplation and straight-out high IQ points, click on the ornament picture to get the full size image. Take your time, the stakes are high.

There will be prizes people. Really.**

**Those in attendance and those related by blood or by marriage to those in attendance to Fran’s ornament exchange are disqualified from participation. Chances of winning the prize are something like 1:1 since there’s a good chance if you answer you’ll win. We’re not telling what you win because we want you to think it might be a house or a car or a zillion dollars so that you’ll get all excited and tell your friends. Results won’t be supervised by Price Waterhouse or anybody really.

Lea & Liz: Scrapbook slack">Lea & Liz: Scrapbook slack


I, like Lea, love scrapbooking. Unlike Lea, however, it never actually gets in a scrapbook. (Is too still scrapbooking.)

Pop quiz: Do you remember which one of us is a Democrat and which a Republican. Hint: Study pictures.

I want to be Lea, really I do. I’m just not.

Quickly changing the subject from my maternal incompetence, we have suspected something all along, but we’ve now got proof positive that Newsweek is reading the Village Square blog, no less than a stolen story idea, and we’ve caught them red-handed.

If scrapbooking conjures up images of kindly suburban women passing pictures around the kitchen table, then you don’t know the modern hobby. . . it is a cutthroat business.

(New York Times, Washington Post, we’re watching you. . . )

If we really want to put our finger on the pulse of what’s fueling our current lack of civility, there’s got to be some insight in this scrapbook story somewhere. I think a good hefty majority of us would agree that this isn’t exactly America putting our best foot forward. How can we lead the free world when we can’t scrapbook without plunging zig-zig scissors into suburban eyeballs or knocking teeth out with butterfly-shaped paper punches?

At least the end of civilization will be decorative.

(whose negligence in scrapbooking was actually prophetic moral superiority**)

**Footnote on moral superiority: As the administrator of this blog, I have the power (muah ha ha) to change the dates on posts, which I have done without a second thought on this post to cover for my negligence in not actually answering Lea’s post for a full week and a half. Because of my high moral standards, I confessed to Lea that in doing so I would have to lie to you, our readership (pish, not you Newsweek). Lea advised me that this wasn’t lying, it was blying, being on a blog as it is. And my mother never once told me not to blie.

Lea & Liz: Scrapbook smack">Lea & Liz: Scrapbook smack


I can hardly find time to write, I am so busy following the latest scandal… questions left unanswered, ethical lines crossed, people pointing fingers, researching into the past, did she really do that? did he not know the rules? It is all too much dirt to even climb out of the sludge without needing a shower and some Bath and Body works products….

No, I am not referring to any political event or candidate; this is about something MUCH MORE IMPORTANT…. the latest debacle in the scrapbooking world.

Yes, I know I brought in the “s” word…. I am a scrapbooker (by the way, my computer spell checker does not ever think scrapbooker is a word, how wrong is that?). My personal mantra is “no memory left behind”. A girl needs a mantra.

Scrapbookers should be the nicest people in the world (have you met me?), the hobby should be scandal free, and it is only paper, glue and family photos, right?

Oh my, you are so wrong, as wrong as rubber cement is on the back of a photo, that kind of wrong. Several events have ROCKED the scrapbooking community recently (or should that be “cut and pasted” the scrapbooking community?).

First there is the Hall of Fame controversy. Yes, there is a scrapbooking Hall of Fame and no, I am not in it (and yes, I should be in it). Creating Keepsakes (the premiere scrapbooking magazine) runs a Hall of Fame contest. Scrapbookers enter pages that they have done and they are judged on the photos, the page itself, AND the journaling (all three are very important to a scrapbook page, a complete platform one might say). Then a Hall of Fame group of scrapbookers are announced and they publish a book of the HOF pages and you get the picture (hee hee, that was a pun and I didn’t even mean to do that one).

Well, the HOF rules CLEARLY stated that you had to use pictures that you took yourself and the HOF people signed an affidavit that it was all their own work and then lo and behold several of the HOFers had photos in the book that clearly were not their own photographic work (like who can take a photo of their own group white water rafting that looks EXACTLY like the photo taken by the rafting company and on the rafting company’s website, I mean I am a good phototgrapher, but I am not that good. And WHO had the time to find the rafting
company’s website and found the photo from that day and published it to bring down the gal who used that photo?).

One gal stepped down when allegations started flying and admitted (“yes, I did use someone else’s photo”) and others were not so forthcoming with confessions and kind of danced around the question (“ummm, really, I set up a tripod and a timer and got that white water rafting photo exactly like the one of the company’s website”) and then quit and never admitted any wrongdoing. And there are still others remaining under suspicion and a low lying black cloud of shame is covering the entire scene (can you tell that I am good at
scrapbook journaling with metaphors like that one?).

Then in the same week, a major scrapbooking message board is hacked (yes, there are scrapbooking message boards and more amazing, there are people who hack them) only to find a secret message area and the “celebrities” of the scrapbooking board are talking about other scrapbookers’ work and demeaning their personalities behind their back. Ouch, it is those little paper cuts that hurt the worst, isn’t it?

All this to say… no wonder we can’t all get along! When scrapbookers are dishonest, evasive, catty, and downright dirty and mean, how can we hope for our political arena to be any better? Is the knitting industry any better; is there an inner quilting circle that holds the rest of the quilters in contempt; is there a calm and polite port in any storm?

And am I a part of the problem? Is my interest in this shameful scrapbooking secret world, my kind of thrill in seeing someone go down (even though they didn’t follow the rules), is that fanning the flames of this fire storm that exists everywhere today… in the world of celebrities, the arena of politics, and even in our own PTO organizations where we talk about others as a daily sport?

No wonder my middle school daughter comes home with the daily drama report… she has learned the drama from her mama. Maybe if I clean up my own habits (go cold turkey on the People magazine and the scrapbook smack sites, watch what I say about others, and avoid the drama that is only for the sake of drama), “be the change I want to see in the world” (thanks for the quote Ghandi), and clean up one little area of the world, then maybe I can scrapbook (and vote) with a cleaner conscience. I may not ever make a Hall of Fame, but I think for me, it is more important to avoid the halls of shame…