Sunday Morning Coffee: Update

Well, here I am on my  fourth day of pain pills and muscle relaxers.  Apparently they’re working at night.  I’m sleeping well. But the daytime presents a host of challenges. Walking huts, sitting hurts, and lets not even talk about bending over.

However, my daughter’s birthday gift this year was to take me to Reading to hear Jeanne Robertson.

This shouldn’t be a problem, right?  A friend went with us, and If I couldn’t drive to Deb’s then she could. But the driving was no problem. And Deb drove to Reading. We parked in a parking garage, and that’s where the trouble started. We had to walk from there to the venue.

I have an excellent cane, and both my daughter and our friend know my situation. We walked very slowly, and got there wit no trouble.  When it was over, my friend  Deb went back for the car and picked me up. An usher was even kind enough to bring me a chair while I waited.

I took my meds and crawled into bed. It wasn’t until somewhere around 3:3 a.m. that I knew I was in a lot of trouble. And I’ve been in trouble ever since. No let-up until or unless I go to bed, and I wake up right on time for my next dose.

So, you might ask, was it worth it?  Was it worth risking all this pain just to hear some commediene you can watch on You Tube?”

Oh, you betcha🙂  Its the same as the difference between watching a sports even on TV or having tickets to see it live.


God Knew


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt


The Bible says that there is not test or trial we have to endure that is not common, normal, to mankind; and that He has provided a way to escape, so that we are able to bear it  (l Corinthians 10:13).

Image result for l Corinthians 10:13

In my trial of the moment, I’m thankful for the medication that makes the pain bearable; I’m thankful that I could take the day off work yesterday and that I’m not scheduled back until Tuesday.  I had to cancel my responsibility to speak at a women’s meeting at our church, and that was hard, but God gave me instant peace once my decision was made to cancel. I’m thankful that He provides that kind of peace.

I’m thankful that I’m fairly comfortable in bed. And I’m thankful for a husband who takes care of me when I’m down.

The way to escape?  Does that mean I could get out of this if I pray hard enough?  The He’ll just take away the pain?

When the Apostle Paul wrote those words, he’d already been through some severe trials and he would face more.Three times in the course of his ministry he was tied to a whipping post and beaten within an inch of his life. I’m pretty sure that when he was conscious, he was asking God for a way to escape. God’s answer was not to miraculously remove him from the ordeal, but to give him the grace to endure.

So, what’s this all about?  If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that I have a bunch of things wrong in my lower back. Herniations, stenosis, and degenerative disc disease. All week I’ve been pretty uncomfortable, and Wednesday evening something went bonkers back there, just about putting me on the floor. It was that “takes your breath away” kind of pain, and it came out of the blue. I wasn’t bending or twisting or trying to carry something heavy.  I was walking from one room to another. BAM!

I had my pain meds and my muscle relaxer refilled about a week ago, and I’m so thankful they were readily available.  I didn’t have to call the doctor, wait for the scripts to be refilled. I didn’t waste any time getting my first dose, and the meds have been helping a great deal. I have an appointment with my chiropractor this morning.

Tonight, my daughter is taking a mutual friend and me to hear commedienne Jeannie Robertson.  I’ve been looking forward to this, a belated birthday gift, for three months. I’m not going to miss it. So I’m thankful my back went kablooey on Wednesday instead of yesterday, because if it had been yesterday I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Partly because of the meds, I’ve had a good night’s sleep.  I’ll be moving kind of slow, but I’ll be able to do it.

See?  Even in this really kind of nasty pain, God timed everything just right.

He always makes a way, and He always goes ahead of me.  I’m not thankful for the pain, but I surely am thankful for God’s presence and help in my time of trouble.



What Should I Do Today?


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


Answering KJV Onlyism | hipandthigh:

This little guy has been all over Facebook in a variety of memes, and I love his face.  It’s so easy to wonder what his dilemma might be.  Let’s see, should he. . . .play with his toes? Throw a tantrum just for the fun of it? Spit his cereal back at his longsuffering mommy?  Fill his diaper that she JUST finished changing?  Hmmmm.  Life has so many interesting options.

I suspect that the parents of this child are in for quite a ride.





Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


Hoo boy.  No fiction this morning. If we were playing a word association game, and you said nerve, my immediate response?  PAIN.  

I have a couple of herniated lumbar discs.  I had pain treatment not quite a year ago that  relieved the pain almost completely.  A little achiness now and then, but nothing an over-the-counter medication couldn’t deal with.

Three weeks ago, is started kicking up again.

I also have stenosis and degenerative disc disease.  That’s quite a cocktail of misery.

Stenosis comes from a Greek word meaning to choke.  There are little holes in the bones for the nerves to pass through.  When the bone around those holes begins to crumble, the nerves are pinched.  And they react.  They don’t like being pinched, so they pinch right back.

Yesterday I was going to go to work, but as I was getting into the car, my hip/leg/lower back all said, “No, you’re not!”  So appropriate calls were made to cancel my clients, get an appointment with the pain doctor, get a script for the medications to get me through until I can get the shots that will relieve the pain long-term.

Getting old does have its downside.

So when I saw this morning’s prompt, Nerve, this post pretty much wrote itself.  I’m well aware of my nerves right now!




Sink or Swim

Tell us about a time when you were left on your own, to fend for yourself in an overwhelming situation — on the job, at home, at school. What was the outcome?


It was 1973, late August.  We were moving from northern Michigan (Terry is a Yooper)  to southeastern Pennsylvania.  We had two little boys, aged 4 and 2.

Terry was driving the big U-Haul, and he led the way.  I was in the car, a fairly new and inexperienced driver, with the little boys in the back seat. This was years before our nanny government made us strap little ones into seats that kept them immobile.  I can’t imagine how they would have survived the trip back then.  We had build up the back seat with suitcases and put a mattress over that, covered with blankets and pillows.  They slept, played, and kept themselves pretty well occupied.

In the front seat, I white-knuckled it all the way. I was terrified.  I’d never driven in heavy traffic, or used cloverleaf interchanges.  I’d certainly never been tasked with keeping the vehicle in front of me in plain view while I coped with all the other things I had to deal with.  One child was still in diapers.  The older one was fully  potty-trained, but needed to stop every now and then.  We didn’t have cell phones back then, so communicating was pretty tricky.  I’d do my best to get in front of Terry, letting him know we needed to pull over.  Sometimes there was a handy rest stop.  Other times it was just make do with whatever shelter we could find.

I’d never had to do anything like that before, and I still don’t like to drive in heavy city traffic.  By the time we finally arrived, I was a wreck.  My nerves were shot, and I was barely holding on to my temper.  When I’m stressed, I don’t cry and whimper.  I get mad.  Poor Terry.  He didn’t have a clue how terrified I’d been.



Just Shut Up!

Break the Silence

When was the last time you really wanted (or needed) to say something, but kept quiet? Write a post about what you should’ve said.


It would be easier to write a post about the things I’m glad I didn’t say. As a person who finds it fairly easy to have foot-in-mouth disease, I’ve had to learn to just shut up.It’s an ongoing process. And it doesn’t come easy.  I have pretty good radar, and I usually can spot a phony, or just a plain old-fashioned creep, pretty quickly.  That’s when it’s a good idea for me to button the lip.

When I was in college, way back in the Dark Ages, there was an individual of the male species who felt that because he had testosterone, he was automatically entitled to the respect and awe of anyone from the female species. 

This person was bloviating, in a psych class, about the superiority of the male race. I was unimpressed. I finally couldn’t stand it any more, and I raised my hand, got the professor’s nod, and said, “Does he get to have the floor for the entire class period?”

Mr. Bloviator got all up on his dignity and informed me that the Bible says that women are to respect men, and I’d better watch my step.

Yikes. Complete perversion of what the Bible says. Complete misapplication. I really couldn’t stand this dude, and I said, “You show me a real man, and I’ll respect him. In the meantime, you need to sit down and listen to the Professor. We’re not in this class to be ‘educated’ by you!”

There was utter silence, during which I’m sure my face flamed bright red, but then someone started clapping, and soon the whole room was applauding. That was really embarrassing, too.

Mr. Bloviator sat down. Needless to say, he never deigned to notice my existence after that, which I’m sure you know absolutely broke my heart.

Am I sorry I spouted off?  No, not really, but I could have found a less offensive way to say what Blovy needed to hear. And that’s what I’ve worked on over the years.

Sometimes it’s better to say nothing. That’s hard for me, ’cause I always have something to say🙂


Featured greatest generation

So Different!

Long Exposure

Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?


Dad was born in 1923. A product of his era and environment,  he was a tough, get-it-done, suck-it-up kind of a guy.  When the market crashed in 1929, his dad lost just about everything. He moved them from California to the Arizona Strip, a place in the Utah desert where he built them a dugout to live in. Life was hard. The Great Depression was settling down over the country. People’s lives were changed, often overnight, from relative security to no security at all.

As is often the case with young kids, Dad really didn’t pay much attention to how poor they were. He loved the desert, and he loved the freedom he had to roam wherever the itch took him. He had a dog, a gun, and it seems I remember him talking about a pony, too. His mom made the dugout into a home, but he spent as much time as he could outdoors.

My grandfather was old-school German. He taught my dad to be racist, really, and it was a strongly ingrained belief in my dad’s mind and heart that there were flaws in every other race, but not in his own.  He wasn’t hateful about it, that I remember.  It was more just a matter of fact. He knew, and used, all the epithets that can be applied to those of a race not his own. It wasn’t unusual in his day.

He also grew up under the autocratic dominance of his father, whose word was law, and often enforced on his two oldest sons with what we would look at today as physical abuse.  My aunts don’t remember that. They and my youngest uncle were treated differently. It’s always fascinating to me how children reared in the same family often seem to have been reared by totally different parents.

In any case, Dad was indeed a man of his time, of his environment, of his background. And it wasn’t all bad. He was part of the Great Generation, the ones who endured and survived the Great Depression because of their strength of character, their determination, and often their faith in God.  They were the ones who went off to war and died by the hundreds and thousands for their love of country, family, home, and the American way of life.  I have infinite respect for them. Without their strength, we would have lost our freedoms sooner than we are now. I don’t think the Great Generation would have stood silently by while government exploded into what it has become today, although the seeds were sown back during the Depression and even before that.

Fast forward now. Dad had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior when he was a boy of 12 or 14, but he never grew in his faith. At age 19, only a month after he married my mom, he went off to do his part in World War II, having joined the Navy and been assigned as a torpedoman in a submarine.  He came home from the war filled with hatred for the Axis enemies. And then God began to work, and my dad’s world tilted to a different angle.

Fast forwarding again, Dad went to Bible college and became a pastor. It would never have been his prediction for his life, or even his choice. His real dream was to teach history on the college level, and he would have been good at it. He was a great teacher. But he knew that God was leading, and he couldn’t resist that call. And it changed him.

Keep up now. We’re moving ahead many, many years. Dad got a call from a little church in the South, where he pastored for about 25 years. Living in the South was a revelation for him, and yet another change was taking place. He was learning that people of color, whatever the shade, were no different than he was.

The last ten years of his life, his heart changed him physically. His first heart event was when he was only 60, and for the next ten years he was in and out of hospitals, in and out of surgeries that saved his life but weakened him physically.And with his physical debility came a dependence on the care and kindness of the Black doctors and nurses who took care of him time and time again. It changed his already altered belief in the inferiority of other races. DAD

I’ve read that people who undergo open-heart surgery are often emotionally affected by it. Dad was. He grew softer and gentler as he progressed through his illnesses.  I was especially touched by his tenderness toward my niece and nephew, my brother’s kids, who loved their Papa as much as he loved them.  They were the only grandkids who lived nearby, and he saw them nearly every day.

One day, to my great amazement, as I was talking with my dad on the phone he became clearly emotional, and ended the conversation with “I love you, Linda.”

Could have knocked me over with a feather. He just didn’t say things like that. I knew he loved me, although there was more than one time when I was almost sure he didn’t, but I can’t remember ever hearing him say it before. The closest I can remember being keenly aware of his strictly hidden emotion was the day he walked me down the aisle, and then switched places with a pastor friend who helped with the wedding. As he turned to face Terry and me, I saw the twitch of his eyebrow and the tightening of his lips and jaw that was a dead giveaway of his effort to control his emotions.

God knew that the work He gave my dad to do was going to be hard, and that it would take a strong man to do it. He also knew that Dad’s heart needed to be softened and changed. And it was. People still talk about how Preacher said or did this or that; how something he taught them changed their lives. The changes he experienced made him better. The little boy who loved being alone in the desert became a man who was loved by the people he pastored.  He was loved by his family.  He’s been gone 21 years now, and I still miss him.


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Fearless Fantasies

Fearless Fantasies
How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear? Would your life be better or worse than it is now?


I googled “fearless,” looking for a good illustration, and I came up with dozens of shots of Taylor Swift with her hair blowing all over her head. I guess she sings a song by the name of Fearless. Shows you how out-of-the-loop I am when it comes to pop culture.  The only reason I even know who she is?  She’s a native of a city near where I live. That’s it.

Anyway.  I saw this prompt two hours ago. Had an appointment, needed to do a couple of other things, so I’ve had some time to think it over, and I’m still not sure what I want to say. So pardon me for thinking out loud. This could be a bit of a ramble.

I would love to be fearless about a lot of things.  I’m terrified of snakes. It would be nice not to have such a visceral reaction if one of the scaly creatures shows up in a TV program or photograph. I would love to be fearless about hiking through a snaky place like the Appalachian trail, or maybe the desert where diamondbacks and sidewinders sun themselves.

I have a fear of high places that drop straight down from where I’m standing, with no guardrails to stop my fall.  When we were in Sioux Falls with my son and his family, we went to a theater like an IMax. We entered at the very top level. I got a feeling of vertigo, and it’s terrifying.  I had to grab rails and turn my back, facing the chairs until I could sit down. It’s horrible.  I’d love for that to go away.

There’s really not much else that gives me such a  ghastly sense of fear and helplessness. Wait!  Aha moment!  Helplessness!  Yes!  Okay, enough exclamation points already, but I do think I’ve stumbled onto something.  It’s the helplessness, isn’t it?  I mean, I don’t like centipedes, but I’m not helpless with them. I can smack’em. Gone. Same with spiders. I hate the way the skitter, but I can always catch them and send them to spiderly heaven. Gross.  But snakes and steep drops?  Helpless.  I’d be a great subject for one of those big dudes that hypnotize their prey.  Here I am, just look into my eyes and hiss, and I’m done for. Kaput.

Well, I’m generally of a pretty practical frame of mind, so I’ve been thinking about  how fear can be, and often is, a very helpful thing.  The fear of sudden and painful death keeps me from playing in the traffic. The fear of extremely painful death keeps me from tasting bleach or inhaling a combination of ammonia and bleach. The fear of losing a limb keeps this granny off the ski slopes. That doesn’t seem like a negative thing to me; it’s just good sense. If I weren’t afraid of ending up in prison, there may be a trail of seriously maimed or comatose people in my backtrail. It is often fear of consequences that keeps of from doing something foolish, harmful to ourselves or others.

Other side of the coin?  I love the way the kid in the picture is just standing there calmly facing down the wolf that’s about to make lunch out of him. That kind of fearlessness I admire. Standing up to bullies, standing up to difficult things we can’t avoid, standing up to fear itself.

I have a client I’ve been working with for over a year. She was having serious PTSD symptoms due to an accident she had witnessed. I can’t go into detail, obviously, but this poor woman hadn’t slept well in three years, and is still struggling with some fears that have changed her life.  One of her problems is the inability to speak up in her own defense. I’ve helped her find her voice, and grow a backbone. She was afraid she didn’t have the right to speak up. Now she knows she does. Not only is it a right, it’s an obligation to stand up to the bullies, to back them down, to let them know you are NOT afraid.

I love my work.

And I’m not afraid to do it.




Can’t Stand Me
What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?


I watched the video in absolute disbelief.  See, over the years I’ve trained my eyes to see me as I wish I were, not as I am.  The video playing so heartlessly before me was bringing all my years of denial crashing around my feet.

No denying what is on the screen. No denying what is on the scale. No denying the size tags on the clothes in my closet.  Well, on the clothes I can presently wear, at least.  I have several wardrobes that I’m going to get back into. Someday.

I hate seeing pictures of myself.  I’m always twice as wide as I should be, and cameras add ten pound. So they say, whoever “they” is.

Making jokes about my size is one of the ways I deal with it, but don’t ever believe  that old “fat and happy” nonsense. No one is happy about being fat.  I’m happy about a lot of things in my life, but fat is not one of them.

The good news is, I’m making just a little progress right now.  I’ve learned, over the years, not to talk about it if I’m making a serious effort to lose weight.  Seems as if I no sooner say it, than it comes to a screeching halt. So I’m really taking a chance here today, folks.

The thing is, my numbers were ALL too high on my last doctor visit a couple of months ago, including my A1C, which got me started on taking Metformin, Diabetes is a really nasty way to die. I don’t want to go there, and I don’t want to take pills, so I HAVE to get back on track with eating and exercise, and I am. For now.



Featured northernlights

Frame of Mind

(If you could paint your current mood onto a canvas, what would that painting look like? What would it depict?)


Mansion Over the Hilltop

(Reviving Bricks
You just inherited a dilapidated, crumbling-down grand mansion in the countryside. Assuming money is no issue, what do you do with it?)


I’ve always loved that old house, and I can’t believe it’s mine! I’m old enough to remember how it looked 50 years ago, but not too old to enjoy restoring it. My aunt knew I loved it, and no one else in the family would want to be saddled with it. They would just sell it off to the highest bidder.

Not me. Aunt Roberta was eccentric, but she wasn’t dumb. She took good care of her fortune, and I’m shocked at how much money there is. This is like the dream of a lifetime for me, and I’m going to enjoy every minute. I don’t have to work now. I can spend all day, every day, re-dreaming my childhood pleasures.


First, I need an architect. It has to be someone who loves old houses the way I do, because  I won’t have the place torn apart and changed. I want it restored to the same floor plan, the same materials, as much as possible.  Of course, we’ll modernize the kitchen and the bathrooms and whatever else can be brought up to date without losing the enchantment of the old place.

I used to imagine I was Rapunzel, way up high in the turret, letting down my long, long hair so my handsome prince could climb and to visit me.

Or I’d dream that I was Sleeping Beauty, dozing my life away because of the spell of the wicked witch. One day I’d be Cinderella, banished to the top of the house where the mice and birds watched over me; the next I’d be Snow White,  looking for a way to escape from my Wicked Stepmother.

Hours and hours I’d spend roaming the house, poking into the attics, going through trunks of fabulous old clothes. Boxes of books, pictures, toys, keepsakes were all my playthings. Aunt Roberta didn’t forbid me anything, and I was like a shopaholic on Black Friday. No child ever had a more interesting place to play than I did. Sometimes I would take my treasures down to show Aunt Roberta, and she would spin stories of the past that circled around me like the warm arms of a lover.

I’m going to recreate all that, except of course for Aunt Roberta. But I have nieces, nephews, and grandchildren of my own now who are full of questions.  I can’t wait to turn them loose to discover all the things that are still preserved in that old house.

Work first, though. Everything has to be moved out, cleaned up, and stored while the renovations are done.  It’s going to be a labor of love. I can’t wait!



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Laugh Until You Cry

Roaring Laughter
What was the last thing that gave you a real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh? Why was it so funny?)

My dad was a very serious man. He enjoyed a good laugh, but he was not funny, and he could never figure out the art of telling a good joke.  When I think back at some of the things he did that made us all laugh, it was never because he did it on purpose, poor man.

There was the time we were having our family devotions, reading a passage from the Bible together. He suddenly roared out a sneeze, and his upper plate went flying out of his mouth and skidded all the way across the livingroom floor.  Very funny.achoo!

Then there was the rocking chair. We had an easy chair that he loved. It was a swivel rocker, very popular in the 1950’s. He could turn it to look out the window, or to watch TV, or however he wanted it.  He had a habit of leaning back in his chair. He was a big man. Yup. Over it went one day, and all we could see was the bottom of the chair with Dad’s feet waving at us over the edge of the seat. Roared with laughter. Took us a few minutes to get ourselves together to help him up.tipping chair

My favorite, though, is one I didn’t get to see.  Dad was having some back problems, and finally agreed to see a chiropractor. The good doctor needed an x-ray, and directed Dad to stand against the wall with his back to the screen. “Now, Preacher, take a good deep breath,” the doctor said.  Dad took a good deep breath, and his pants came tumbling down.  Right down around his ankles.  My mom nearly fainted, she laughed so hard.pants-downWish I had been there, glad I wasn’t. 

Why is it so funny when a serious person has these hilarious things happen?  I don’t know. I’m just glad they do.


Ugly Bug


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


There are a few things I find totally disgusting and horrible. One of them is the centipede.

Image result for centipede

My longsuffering husband just doesn’t get it. “Linda, it’s just a tiny little bug.  It’s a lot more afraid of you than you are of it.”

Yeah.  Blahblahblah.  I don’t care how tiny and insignificant it is, it needs to be killed.  By him.  Without my participation.

For several years now, he’s been spraying all around the outside of the house with some chemical or the other that keeps spiders and centipedes out of the house.  I love that chemical. It works quite well.  However, it needs to be done about every three months.

What I would like to know is why I am the one who sees the first centipede that dares to sneak into my house  on his ugly little legs.  Terry never sees them.  Just doesn’t see them. There’s nothing more upsetting than to make a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night, switch on the light, and see a centipede go racing across the floor—or just sitting somewhere, being icky.

I always kindly notify Terry that it’s time to spray again because I SAW A CENTIPEDE!

I rarely (never) use multiple exclamation points, but I was just very tempted to do so. A centipede deserves multiple exclamation points just for ugly.  Yuck. I hate them. The bug, not the punctuation.

They’re hideous. Tiny in size, I suppose, but huge in ugly.


Intern Opportunity


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


“So, now that you’ve heard the story, is anyone willing to volunteer for the job?  Understand that you will not be paid, but you can use it as your internship.  You will be working 16 hours per week, and it counts toward your degree.  Anyone?”

Sabre was immobile. She wanted to raise her hand, but so many things kept her arm down. First, her parents would be appalled. She would be overseas all summer, and she wouldn’t be  making any money at all. She would be remote, with infrequent access to wifi or even her cell phone. She had no training for the work. She would need a completely different wardrobe. Her boyfriend would definitely not like it.

But her heart was stirred.  It could be the opportunity of a lifetime. She had read about Mother Theresa, and had wondered what it would be like to live as she had; to give her whole life over to serving those in poverty, outcasts, orphaned, sick with diseases she’d never heard of.

“Anyone?  You’re very quiet, people.  I need a response on this today. We need to move on in our agenda here, so I’m going to ask you to talk with me after class. Please open your books to page 157, and let’s get started on this next chapter.”

Sabre didn’t hear a thing in the following half hour. Her mind was sorting out all the pros and cons of accepting this challenge. She knew her parents would be upset, but she also knew they’d get past that and support her.  Money would not be a problem. All the rest of it was practical and possible, and she found more and more that she wanted to do it.The one she’d really have to persuade was Brandon. They’d already talked about several things they wanted to do over the summer.  He wouldn’t understand this at all.

After class, Sabre made her way to the front. Professor Whitney was clearing his desk, getting ready for his next class.

“Professor Whitney?  Can we talk?  I have a couple of questions.” As they spoke, Sabre became more confident about her decision, and more excited that she was actually going to do it.  No one else in her class had volunteered.  It seemed the way was wide open.

Brandon was waiting outside the door of her classroom.  They were both quiet as they walked outside and found a place to sit. The campus was green and blooming. May was such a beautiful month, with all the flowering trees and bushes.  Did she really want to miss it this year to go live in a huge city and work in the least appealing districts of that city?

They sat on the ground under “their” tree, the one where he’d first asked her out; the one where he’d said he loved her; the one where he proposed and put her engagement ring on her finger. At they same time, they both said, “We need to talk. . . .”

All of Sabre’s fears evaporated as Brandon shared with her that there was this amazing opportunity in India with the Missionaries of Charity.


The Millionaire


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt


Does anyone remember watching this program?  I remember thinking about what it would be like to be a millionaire and be able to buy anything I wanted.

Today, a million dollars wouldn’t  last too long. Unless the recipient chose to invest a good chunk of it, the money would soon be used up on the mortgage, a new car, a better TV, a trip somewhere, a new wardrobe. . .. it would be gone very soon.

And one thing for sure:  Money would not bring anyone true happiness. It’s fleeting,  and requires a great deal of effort if it is to be used well. Sure, it would be great to have a million bucks all of a sudden, but all I really want is to have enough. To have money leftover at the end of the month.


A Woman to Respect


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt


I’m sure many of you had the same first thought that I did:  The underground resistance during WWII. Hundreds of amazing stories have come from the experiences of those who fought in secret. One of my favorites is the story of Irena Sendler, a social worker in Poland who worked in the Jewish ghetto.

Others have told her story already, so I’m going to take a break today and give you a link to follow instead of writing it myself:



What Are You Waiting For?


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“We’re always waiting for someone or something, aren’t we? ” Miss Grady looked at her students’ faces,  which showed her a variety of reaction.  Dread, nerves,  a little fear, expectation, hope, acceptance.  They knew there was going to be a writing assignment. Most of them would do a half-hearted job.  They disliked writing, except to text their friends. There were a few, though, who always turned in papers that were original, thoughtful, funny, serious–depending on the assignment.

“So here’s what I want you to do.  On a blank sheet of paper, no name, please,  write the words I am waiting for  and then leave the page blank. Send your papers to the front, where I will collect them and redistribute them randomly around the room. You will not know whose paper you have.

“There are some things that are forbidden. Once you have a paper in front of you,  write a short sentence that explains something you are waiting for.  The things that are disallowed are Christmas, your birthday, Thanksgiving, and the last day of school.  Also, you may not write anything that has already been written, and you may not write the same thing over and over on all ten papers.  Stretch your mind. Be creative.

“When you have written your sentence, exchange  your paper with someone else who has finished. Number your own response so that it is easy to tell when you get to ten.  When you have reached ten, raise your hand and I will collect the papers.


“Remember, you are to write only one sentence. The second person  to get each paper does the same, until each of you has completed  10 papers. Lucky for you, this is a small class! When you are all finished, we’re going to compile all your answers and see how many of you wrote the same things. Does everyone understand?  Okay, then let’s get started. “

Miss Grady watched as the students began to write,  She could almost hear some of them thinking, “Finally, a short assignment we can finish in a hurry.”

As the papers traveled,  Miss Grady saw smiles, raised eyebrows,  surprise, puzzlement. She was looking forward to seeing these papers herself, wondering if any of them would reflect her own “waiting for.”   At the end of this exercise, each student would have written ten complete sentences.  As the papers filled up, it was going to become harder to think up something new.


Horrible-izing the Normal


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URGENT button

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,  we point a client to a list of common cognitive errors. The list includes things like 100% thinking, absolute thinking where there is no chance of any other outcome but the one we fear; it includes mind-reading and thinking with our emotions, among several other thinking errors.

One of those errors is to make a small thing a huge, gigantic thing. I call it “horrible-izing,” because  horrible is a word I hear often in my work. There are other words:  Awful, terrible, horrendous,  worst.

And urgent, urgency. A hangnail is urgent.  It must be dealt with right NOW, or horrible things will happen.

A little kid spikes a fever of 101° and we put in an URGENTcall to the pediatrician, telling the nurse or receptionist that the child has a horrible fever, and he MUST be seen NOW.

We would do better to put in an urgent call to Grandma, who has been through all the childhood fevers and bumps and cuts and scrapes. She will tell you to give the child a baby aspirin, give him a lukewarm bath, and put him to bed. Simple, no emergency, just common sense.

If we use up all our superlatives on small things, then we’re left with nothing to describe  a true emergency.  If we rush our child to the Emergency Room because he’s sniffling and has a sore throat, we’re taking up the time of the doctors and nurses who are trying to deal with the big stuff, like severe injuries from a house fire or car accident.

We really need to get some common sense.

Susie has the chicken pox, and she can’t come out to play for a few days until she’s not contagious.  Johnny has a little fever and a runny nose, so he needs to stay inside for a day or two just in case it gets worse.  Wouldn’t want  him giving his bug to the whole neighborhood.

There’s no fuss and feathers about it.  Simple, ordinary, a part of daily life.

Not urgent.


Labels can Hurt


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Of all the hurtful, demeaning names we –far too often—cast at our children, this seems to me to be one of the most hurtful, and one that follows a child into adulthood. If a child hears this often enough, he will believe it always.  No matter how gifted he may be in other areas of life, he’s just a klutz. Bull in a china shop. Can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.


What we believe must be the truth about ourselves becomes a deeply-rooted image.  We do our children a great disservice when we say , “Oh, she’s the funny one, and she’s the quiet serious one.”  Or “He’s artistic.  She can’t draw a straight line.” Or, Well, her gift is (fill in the blank)  but we haven’t figured out her brother’s gift yet.”

We really need to be careful how we label our kids, even if we think it’s positive. Comparing them to each other is just not profitable. Each one is different from the other. Each one comes packaged with a unique personality. A first child has the advantage here, because all the rest of the children will inevitably be seen in terms of what “Oldest Child” has been, said, or done at the same age.  I don’t buy 100% into the “oldest–middle–youngest–child” theories. It’s impossible to have a set model that never alters from one child to the next.  However, there are times, with my clients, when I have asked, “So where do you come in birth order?”  Inevitably they will tell me what I was already thinking.

The thing to take with you from this little ramble is this: Please be careful about the labels you sew into your children’s  perception of themselves. Those perceptions can last a lifetime. They can keep a child from trying something just because he’s always been clumsy.


Nothing New


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“I want you to write a one-page original story on any topic you wish.  You know what the rules are as far as content. Don’t use bad language, and so forth.  If you have a question, you may come to my desk.”

Tired, Miss  Trumbull sat down at her desk, knowing there would be students who would come, knowing who they would be, knowing what their questions would be. The same routine took place  every time she gave a writing assignment. They were only into the third week of the school year, though, and some of them just took a bit longer than others to know what she expected.


Sure enough, here came  Missy. “Mrs. Trumbull, is that handwritten or typed? Because-“

“Typed, Missy.  Just like last week and the week before. Every assignment I give you will be in terms of typed, not handwritten.  If you must write by hand, then make it two pages.”

“Well, because, see—–“

“Missy.  Asked and answered. Go sit down and do the assignment. “

Bryan was next. He at least had something interesting, most of the time. He was a sharp kid, intelligent and well-mannered but definitely full of beans. “Mrs. Trumbull, I have a question.”

She waited, holding his gaze with her own.

“Well, the thing is, in the Bible  it says that there’s nothing new under the sun, right?”

The kid would be a great lawyer someday.  He always set the trap before he went in for the kill. “So, like, it’s impossible for us to write anything original then, right?”

“Okay, Bryan.  If want to take a biblical direction, how about this?  Take one of your favorite Bible stories and  give it a new setting, a new conflict, different characters, and a different ending.  And no, you’re not going to be guilty of changing the words in the Bible, because you’re not presenting it as if it were true.  If you’re not comfortable with that, take a different direction. Rewrite the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, for example.”

She counted in her head, knowing he wasn’t done. He never would be. When she reached five seconds and he hadn’t said anything yet, she smiled and told him to go sit down and get started. “But—-“

“Don’t ‘but’ me, Bryan. You know better.  This is non-negotiable.” They had another stare-down, and finally he turned and walked back to his desk.

“One thing for sure,” she thought. “The nature of kids will never change. It’s going to be fun when Bryan hits his junior or senior year.  He won’t be so easy to deflect.”  And she smiled as Jared approached her desk.


Annoying Bob


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Apparently, someone had told Bob that flattery would go a long way in impressing a girl.  He was annoying. Every female in the office dreaded running into him, because he would be sure to say something like, “Good morning!  Wow! That shade of blue really makes your beautiful eyes stand out!”

Then, the poor woman would have to acknowledge the compliment, which was sure to bring on another. He could keep a person standing there all day saying, “Thank you, Bob.”

Since no one wanted to do that, they all tried to ignore him. Elaine was no exception. She’d been in the office only a couple of weeks when she realized was going to be in trouble  if she didn’t do something to stem the flood of flattery. She didn’t want to be unkind, but Bob’s presence had already started to feel more like stalking than compliments.

Elaine tried to avoided Bob as she left the building one night by managing to be in the middle of a crowd of other people. She was pretty sure he was working himself up to asking her out, and she dreaded having to turn him down. So she kept her head down, looking only at the floor.

But it didn’t work. “Elaine!  ELAINE!  WAIT!”

Her heart sank. She wasn’t going to escape. Well, it had to happen sooner or later.  Might as well get it over with right now.  Thinking  about how she was going to turn him away as kindly as possible, she  lifted her head and looked for him. And there he was, right beside her.

“Elaine, I wanted to talk to you earlier but you were never free.”

Elaine decided to go right to the point. “What do you want, Bob?”

“Actually, I wanted to introduce you to the newest partner on our team. You two will be working together on the next project. So. Elaine, this is Bryce.  Bryce, this is the girl I’ve been telling you about. Elaine.  Look, I have to run, see you guys in the morning.”

Elaine was rarely at a loss for words, but she was so surprised  that she couldn’t think of a thing to say. Bryce seemed equally at a loss.  They both realized they were blocking the exit, and they moved away in the same direction. Bryce broke the silence. “Bob has been singing your praises to me all day, Elaine. I didn’t believe anyone could be all that he claimed you are. This is really awkward. He’s obviously trying to set us up, and I was dreading meeting you.”


Bryce looked down, looked away, cleared his throat, blushed, and stammered, “Listen, do have anywhere  you need to be, or do you have time to go get something to eat?  We may as well get to know each other.”

Elaine said, “Um, no.  I mean, no I don’t have to be anywhere. Yes. Yes, I have time to eat with you. Are you new in town?  I know a couple of places you might enjoy.”

And they walked away together, each blessing Bob for his flattery.