My Life Making Excuses

A few words about the women I’ve met while making excuses:

October 19, 2013: Battle Ground, WA. What will happen when a group of neighbors — who’ve known each other for decades — get together for a day of play? What happens in Battle Ground, stays in Battle Ground (except for what doesn’t). Thanks to Julie Young, who bid on the 40 Excuses Day of Play package during the Facebook Auction to benefit Portland Community College’s Linda Huddle Student Success Scholarship Auction.

March 26, 2013: 40 Excuses has GONE HOLLYWOOD! Three months of neighbor get-togethers — in the Hollywood District in Portland, OR. In all the groups I’ve taken through the 40 Excuses program, I’ve never had a group of women complete so few activities. But I’ve never had a group so happy to just get together every few weeks for socializing, either. Bad twins, maybe. Good friends, definitely.

November 5, 2012: Beta Sigma Phi Conclave, Tukwila, WA: I grew up hearing laughter coming from the living room. So many Wednesday evenings, I lay awake listening to my mother and her Beta Sigma Phi sorority sisters laughing down the hall. They met when they were young mothers. They’ve been friends ever since. My mother was in Beta Sigma Phi for over 60 years. Her sorority sisters were like aunts to me, but mostly they were friends to my mother. In fact, watching them get together every month of my childhood — and hearing about their antics, running around retired, empty nesters, active senior citizens — that’s what inspired me to write my book, 40 Excuses to Get Together with the Girls. My mother never needed an excuse to get together with the girls! This morning I trained more than 200 women how to take my book back to their chapters and use it for easy and fun monthly programs. That’s the nuts and bolts of it. Really I spent an hour with women who embody the spirit of my mom, Norma, who passed away in 2011. Every time they laughed or shared a story or sang a song during the presentation, it was like having my mom with me again. They knew her better than I did — but we all loved her.

May 18, 2012: Camp Adams, Estacada, Oregon. So we bartered over Sexy Cards (Excuse #18) next to the make-shift altar during the First Congregational United Church of Christ Eve’s Circle women’s organization retreat. The women of First Congregational also laughed, they sang, they told stories about family and loved ones, they shared intimate moments and completely appropriate stories for women who are building bonds that will take them through ups and downs. Our menu for the weekend was packed full of woman-friendly foods such as sweet potatoes and blueberries; our welcome packs were creative and spiritual; and our worship centered on Mary’s point of view and other women of the cloth. The fun and activities, though, were purely 40 Excuses — with a boisterous, eager, and amazing group of women whose ages spanned 50 years!

May 15, 2012: Garmisch, Germany. I am amazed. 200+ women (and a couple of men) from US military bases throughout Europe! I’ve met so many wonderful people here at the Americans Working Around the Globe (AWAG) 56th Conference. I trained around 140 women in two sessions — how to use 40 Excuses to Get Together With the Girls back at their home bases. Wives of young soldiers. Seasoned officers’ wives: These are women who must form a community and are eager to find new ways to do that. If their energy during the conference is any indication — they’d be a wonderful group of women to know. I salute you all.