What Makes You Tremble

One-word prompt for today:  Tremble


Now, here’s an interesting word!  So many different things can cause a person to tremble. To shiver, shake, have tremors,  even lose control of one’s muscles; sometimes the breathing is affected, the heart races, the palms become cold and clammy.

What makes us tremble?  Fear.  Excitement. A first-ever date. Nerves–performing, speaking, singing  for an audience.  Stress can make us tremble. I’ve seen students who are facing a test they’re worried about whose hands are trembling with nerves.

Trembling in fear is not a pleasant experience.  I don’t have many experiences of actually being so afraid that   I tremble.  I guess I’ve led a pretty protected life.  Some of my fellow counselors have mentioned clients who make them very nervous. I’ve never felt like that. I don’t tend to be afraid of people. It is more likely that I need to curb my irritation and my quick tongue when I have someone in my office who is trying to dominate the situation.

Having nervous trembles when I have to do something in front of people, and I don’t feel capable or prepared–that is something I understand.  Speaking to a crowd is easy for me, and I find it enjoyable and exhilarating. But it took me years to come to a place of singing or playing the piano without a shaky voice and shaky hands. I can do it now, and I remain calm. At some point along my lifeline, I just quit worrying about what anyone else may think.

Snakes can give me the shivers.  So can being up high, with no barrier between me and the long drop to the ground.  I hate that.

I know that evil exists in our world, and that there are people who commit evil acts with no concern for anyone else. I haven’t had to face that kind of evil on a personal level.  I read about it:  Nazi Germany, Aleppo, the killing fields of Cambodia, the political massacres in any number of places across the course of human history. Maybe that kind of evil will come to America.  No reason it shouldn’t.

I fear much more for my children and grandchildren than I do for myself.  The sand in my hourglass is much heavier on the bottom than it is on the top. I do, however, wonder what kind of world my precious grandchildren are going to inherit. Thinking on that too much can make me tremble for their future. The degree of lawlessness in our country is astonishing; it is especially frightening when the police have been told to stand down, to not interfere. I don’t understand that at all.

Isn’t it amazing how one little word can take us from the simple to the complicated?



An Old-Fashioned Word


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This is kind of an old-fashioned word. At least, I don’t hear or read it much any more. It’s a great word, really, and I’m not sure why it seems to have passed off the scene.  Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I really don’t think we use it much.

Lovingly. It conveys a sense of tenderness, of compassion, of strong feelings of love and concern. A mother gazes lovingly at her newborn. A newly-minted husband follows his wife’s every move lovingly.

Puppies are seen lovingly, because they’re so cute. And it’s a good thing they are, because they’re a nuisance for a while with their chewing and lack of good potty manners.

Maybe we don’t use this word much these days because of our national and political climate. I remain dismayed and disheartened at the ugliness that has exploded across our land. I remember other times when there has been strife, but it’s different this time. Friends and family members are vehemently denouncing one another because their political differences are tearing them apart. Vulgar, blasphemous, profane language; name-calling and threats of violence; riots involving vandalism, flag-burning, and physical attacks have become so common that we’re beginning to just shrug them off.

It’s horrifying to me. America is descending into anarchy. Did you know that investigation has now linked George Soros with every protest or demonstration since the Nov. 8 election?  Here is just one link concerning this man:


There are many others. This is not just a rumor. The man has been banned from his own country; other nations are shutting down his businesses. We need to pay attention.

Well, there I go into politics again, and I really hadn’t intended to do that. It just breaks my heart to see all this horror happening in my beloved country.





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I watched a video the other in which the speaker was showing the fallacy of thinking America can stop world poverty through bringing the poorest of the poor into our country. It was pretty impressive.
Fascinated at the pure and simple logic of this man’s presentation, I also thought about how overwhelming the abundance is here in America compared to so many other countries of the world.
We didn’t become this wealthy through socialistic, government-controlled use of our resources.  It was through capitalism, independence, and hard work.
Something to consider.



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I’m going to resist the temptation to go political on this word. So sick of politics.

Honestly, there’s not much in my life that I have to resist right now.  Maybe the biggest struggle I have is just getting out of bed in the morning.  As the day draws closer for my return to work, I find I’m very resistant to that.

Maybe I’m resistant because of this present round of pain.  It’s better than it was on Sunday, but it’s not gone.  I went out to lunch with a friend yesterday, spent about 2 1/2 hours sitting in a chair that was not supportive.  Next time I go there, I’ll take my lumbar pillow with me.  I’m sore this morning.  Again.

That’s about all I have to offer today, folks.  I’m not too inspired by this prompt.



A Map Would Help


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Change always seems to cause upheaval, whether it is a minor change or a major change.

When we remodeled our kitchen, a lot of things changed. We completed the replacement of all the old cabinet with brand new, light-colored ones that make our kitchen look much brighter. We took down a wall between the kitchen and dining room and replaced it with a short bar. The bar has storage space and it’s great for serving, as well as sitting down for a quick snack.

Image result for doing demolition of the kitchen

(This is how a remodel starts!)

We moved the refrigerator to a different wall. We replaced the flooring. We even replaced the window over the sink.

All this replacement has created some confusion, though, because now I can’t remember where I put things. I’m slowly learning, and I do tend to be an organized person. I like to store things in the same area where I will use them.  Seems obvious to me that dishcloths and towels should be next to the sink; that ingredients and equipment for baking should be near my work station. It’s the odds and ends that a driving me crazy.

Add to all that the fact that Terry has been cooking for the last four months, and he tends to put things anywhere he can find an empty spot. That makes for some very interesting scavenger hunts.

Replacement can be an excellent thing. I just should have made a map 🙂



Think Before You Speak


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“She has no filter” has become a widely used way to indicate that someone says exactly what she is thinking, with no concern as to who may be hurt, embarrassed, angry, or horrified by her words.

Please don’t be offended by my use of the feminine pronoun. Men are equally guilty. This is a human foible, not a gender problem.

It takes some time to learn to monitor what comes out of one’s mouth. Small children are capable of bringing their parents to blush furiously by their innocent statements.  I will never forget the time my little brother, then three or four years old, stated loudly in a crowded room, “Mr. Smith, my daddy doesn’t like you!”  My dad was completely embarrassed. The gentleman involved, though, found it amusing and took it with good grace. I don’t remember if there was any further communication between him and my father.

Image result for child's words embarrass parent

Growing up in the parsonage was often difficult. There were certain people in the church, in any church, who are willing and able to pump information from the children of the pastor. My parents warned us about this, admonishing us not to tell people things that weren’t any of their business.

One time a particular woman approached me when I was about 14 and asked me a pointed question about the family finances.  I was taken by surprise, had no idea how to respond, and blurted, “I’m not supposed to answer people who pump me for information!”

Again, my memory fails me. I have no idea what happened after that.

There’s a lot of unfiltered speech floating around in our current political atmosphere.  It’s too bad. Once words are written or spoken, they can’t be undone. If one has been injudicious and spoken or written incorrectly,  apologies can be made; the words remain, however, and will not be forgotten.  I’m thinking of the young woman who commented publicly that Barron Trump will be the first home-schooled shooter.  I believe she lost her job on SNL, which she should have, but the words are there.  Maybe that woman will develop a better filter, and not take shots at children.

I believe that anyone who targets specific children, whether their parents are liberal or conservative, should pay some kind of consequence. I’m completely bipartisan on this issue. Adults should just know better. Period.



“Simple” is Relative


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Emily’s face was a picture of frustration as she pulled books from her locker. Stuffing them into her book bag, she slammed the locker door and stomped toward the exit, making a point to look at no one. She didn’t want to talk.

“It’s simple,” Mr. Leitner had said. “You just have to know the Periodic Table, which we started memorizing months ago. Then you need the basic formulas, and the interactions of one substance with other substances.  It’s not that hard, people. This test covers five chapters, and we’ve gone over them all more than once.”

He seemed a bit irritated, as if he couldn’t understand why anyone was having any trouble in his “simple” chemistry course. It made Emily furious. She was usually an “A” student, getting a “B” only in gym–which she thought was totally unfair. Being graded on your ability to run fast or make a basket from the free-throw line had nothing to do with studying, and everything to do with natural ability! She was delighted that, as a senior, she didn’t have to take gym any more.

But chemistry?  That was another thing entirely. She had to have it to get her science credits in, and it was driving her crazy. Most of the symbols on the periodic table didn’t seem to have any connection to the element itself. Why, for instance, was antimony denoted as “sb”?  She had memorized it all, but to actually understand it didn’t seem to matter.

Emily liked to understand. She hated memorizing just to pass a test.

So she decided to do some research, probably losing valuable “memorize this” time, but she really needed to understand.

Her first search was “why is antimony identified as sb on the periodic table.” She found out that the word was based on two Greek words:

Origin of name: from the Greek words “anti + monos” meaning “not alone” (the origin of the symbol Sb comes from the Latin word “stibium“).

Okay, things were a bit more clear. Stibium, she learned, rarely showed up alone in nature. It was usually found in a compound.  Emily still had questions, but at least the “sb” made some sense.

The next day, Emily approached Mr. Leitner before class. “Mr. Leitner, I have so much trouble remembering the  letters for each element. They don’t always seem to be connected to the word itself.  Last night I did some research, and I discovered that the letters are based on Greek or Latin words.” She went on to tell him what she’d learned about antimony.
Mr. Leitner listened, but there was a quizzical expression on his face. “Emily, if it helps you, then learning all that is great. But it just seems easier to me to memorize the table. Simple.”
Emily sighed. “Mr. Leitner, it’s NOT simple if it makes no sense!  I need to understand what the words mean. Then, yes, it’s simple. I’ll always remember antimony, stibium, and sb.  I just wish you could teach it to us so that the words make sense!
Mr. Leitner paused, looking thoughtful. “Emily, I think you just created a job for yourself!”

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


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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?


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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.





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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 🙂



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.



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.




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!




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.


Horror in the Bathroom

It had been such a normal night. Lynne had dropped into dreamless sleep.  Waking, she paused  to enjoy her doll collection ,  and then stepped through the half-open bathroom doorway.  Flicking on the light, she turn toward the toilet.

She blinked, looked again.   Please, please don’t let this be real! She squeezed her eyes shut, opened them; afraid to look directly into the toilet, she let her gaze drift there slowly.

It was still there, only now its ugly, sinister head was resting on the rim.

Screaming, mindless, she slammed the bathroom door and ran.

“Snake!  Snake! Snake in my toilet!”




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


There is a popular brand of ice cream that touts itself as the best, natural flavors, no artificial ingredients, etc. I don’t like it. The texture is grainy, and I like my ice cream smooth. They did put out a different line recently, though, and I have to admit it’s pretty delicious.  Smooth, rich, and totally satisfying.

I don’t really care much for small pieces of nuts in my ice cream, like in pistachio.  I like the flavor, but the nuts make it gritty.  Grainy.

Isn’t it interesting how textures of food make such a difference in how we perceive them? Lots of people really dislike pulp in their orange juice. I love it.  Makes it seem more like fresh-squeezed.

I don’t get too excited about granola-type cereals, because it’s like chewing a mouthful of seeds.  Not my thing.  Oatmeal, cooked until it’s nearly smooth, is much better. Add some brown sugar and raisins, and you’ve got yourself a great breakfast.

Here’s a grainy photograph. Sometimes the photographer does it on purpose, for a particular effect:

Image result for grainy


Changing direction:  Wood that is of inferior quality is often too grainy, with no real beauty.  We use words like coarse-grained and rough-hewn to describe it.  Sometimes we apply those same words to people who tend to be abrasive, even crude.

Anything that is supposed to be smooth but has particulate in it, like lumpy gravy, is unappealing.  Took me awhile to master the gravy thing, but I’ve got it now. Always smooth, and I don’t even use my Tupperware doo-dad any more to shake the flour and water together. I do it the way my grandmothers did it.

Words are so interesting. One word, like grainy, can have so many different applications. I love words 🙂


Will I or Will I Not


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This interesting term comes from the Old English will I–nill I, meaning whether I want to or don’t want to. 

The meaning has changed with time, as words often do, and now tends to describe a random or haphazard way of doing things.  So, if  Junior is told to make his bed and clean his room, he’s probably going to go about it willy nilly. He doesn’t want to do it, so he will do the least possible in order to satisfy his unreasonably fussy mother.

Three of our grandkids are with us for a couple of days. They set up  a bunch of stuff in the living room yesterday that needs to be cleaned up  this morning, and the youngest is definitely doing it willy nilly.  He feels a bit overwhelmed, I think, at the size of the task. But then his big brother got involved, and now things are going swimmingly.  It’s amazing how a job can seem impossible until someone comes along and lends a hand.

So–in a little while, I’m going to work, whether I want to or not.  Willy nilly.


Vive la Difference!


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I’m not a neat freak.  There is no OCD in my DNA 🙂  I do, however, like things to be orderly and organized so I don’t have to search through messy cabinets, drawers, and files to find what I need.  I know where my stuff is.

My mom thought it was hilarious that I organized my herbs and spices alphabetically.  I don’t understand why everyone else doesn’t do it. My search time for any particular thing is .01 seconds.  My mom, on the other hand, had to do some digging.  She always knew right were she had put it, but things tended to go topsy turvy on her.  I like it the way I do it.  She liked it the way she did it. Vive la difference!

My clothes hang in color groups in my closet.  My drawers are organized –lingerie, socks, sweaters, tees–everything has a place and is usually IN its place.

I live, however, with a man who has ADD (seriously, he really does) and can’t stay organized to save his life. When he (frequently) can’t find something, I’ll think for a few minutes and ask him, for instance, “Did you check in the pocket of the shirt you wore yesterday?”  It’s like playing 20 questions–is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?  I can usually figure it out in a few minutes while he’s ransacking the whole house and finding dust bunnies, but not the item he needs. He always makes me think of the Family Circus cartoons in which Billy covers miles and miles  before he gets from the house to the school bus or whatever.


Terry’s gifts, however, far outweigh his tendency to follow Billy’s meandering paths.  There’s nothing he can’t fix.  If he doesn’t know how, he looks it up on You Tube.  It’s amazing what you can learn on You Tube!  Especially since Terry is not particularly fond of the computer,  it surprises me that he has become quite expert at finding what he needs. And, as is typical of people with ADD, he can focus intently on whatever he’s doing, to the point of my needing a pair of cymbals to clash over his head to bring him back to earth. When he’s on a project, he can go all day without eating and never realize how many hours have gone by. He’s a detail person and a perfectionist when he has a project.  It will be done right, no question about it.

He loves to work. My idea of relaxing involves music, books, tea, and chocolate.  His idea of relaxing involves  taking apart  the blender or whatever isn’t working and fixing it.

The only place I tend to allow to become messy is all that surrounds my chair in the living room.  Books, handwork, remotes, coffee cups, my own projects–yes, it’s often quite a mess.

But I know right where everything is.







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Did either or both of your parents have THE LOOK?  You know there would be no more words if your behavior didn’t improve. You knew the next step would make it uncomfortable for you to sit. If you had any brains at all, you didn’t push that line.  It just wasn’t worth it.


I got that silent glare on more than a few occasions. Not from Mom. She tended to just look sad or disappointed unless she was truly furious, and then her whole face changed. But my dad?  Yeah, the face didn’t change so much; just his eyes–and the set of his jaw.

My husband can do the same things.  With just a look, the offending child would know that he was only seconds away from doom.  And my kids have told me, as has my husband, that my eyes go smoky when I’m angry. Huh.  Smoky eyes?  I’ve never really understood that, and of course I’m not usually angry when I’m looking in a mirror 🙂

I like the photo above. We need more of that–a stern father making it clear to his kid that the nonsense had better stop.  Too often, these days, it seems to me that it’s the kid who is telling the parent how it’s going to be.


I can’t even imagine looking at either of my parents like this little princess, obviously  mouthing off and not looking cute at all. None of my own kids tried that one on me, either. You deal with this kind of attitude before they’re two years old, and you won’t have to deal with it later.

I will acknowledge that parenting can be a real trial, but being persistent, consistent and in charge, tempered with a lot of love, pays off in huge dividends. I’m always startled when a parent says something like, “Well, I don’t know–I’ll have to check with my kids and see if they have a problem with our being away that night.”

What?  REALLY?  You have to ask your kids’ permission to go out without them? Make sure they don’t mind? Yikes.

Someone said, long ago, that  American children have the most obedient parents in the world. I sure hope that’s not true.  I don’t remember who said it, or if they had any authority to say it. Whatever the case, that person clearly saw a shift in power from the parents to the children. Sad.



What is It?


Time:  Prehistory

“Father,  what is this?”

“It is a god-stone, sent to remind us that the gods are watching. Do not touch it. Always respect it”


Time:  the Present

“Hey, Dad!  What’s this?” asked Billy as he climbed all over it.

“It’s probably a meteorite, Son. It’s what’s left of a meteor as it comes through our atmosphere.”

“Cool.  Just a big space rock, then. Really old, I’ll bet!”


Time: Long after the nuclear holocaust that sent people underground. 

“Father, what is this?”

Father was entranced with the sky he’d never seen before. “A skystone. Don’t touch.”



Variety is the Spice of Life!


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I love the wonderful variety of ethnic foods that has become available to us here in America over the last 20 years or so. Spicy is fine with me, as long as my head doesn’t melt. I’ve enjoyed Thai, Indian, true Mexican–not the Americanized version–and Japanese. So much wonderful flavor, aroma, and visual enjoyment.

Terry?  Not so much.  And I’m feeling deprived these days, because he’s doing all the cooking.  He likes plain chicken, plain vegetables, plain potatoes or rice. Plain fish, plain beef.  “I just like the flavor of the food.  I don’t need all that junk you like to put on it!”

Alas!  And how can I complain, when he is so willing to take over for me while my creaky old back is keeping me down and out.

When we were in California in April, we went to a Thai restaurant.  First time ever for us, and I honestly couldn’t get enough of the unique flavors. I had a sandwich, can’t remember the name of it, that tickled my taste buds into delerium.  It looked a lot like this:

And here’s a Vietnamese version:


Vietnamese Viet Banh Mi Steak Sandwich Sandwiches

Then there is a dish from India that my son-in-law, who grew up in Kenya, has introduced to us. Chicken Tikka Masala.  Oh my. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Image result

When my son Dan went to Thailand, he learned to make a non-spicy dish that even Terry likes. Pad Thai can be made with just about any meat, fish, or poultry.  This one features shrimp, and again, my mouth waters with the memory of all the different herbs used in this dish:

Image result

Not that there isn’t a lot of wonderful American food.  Nothing beats our annual Thanksgiving dinner, and who doesn’t love fried chicken, apple pie, or pot roast?  All delightful and flavorful when correctly prepared. But I have to admit, I’ve loved expanding my horizons to enjoy the ethnic cuisines of countries I’ll probably never see.

Image result for pot roast with potatoes and carrots



The Perkasie Carousel


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There is a carousel in a little town near our own little town, in Perkasie, Pennsylvania.

We last visited  the carousel at Christmas time, when unlimited free rides are offered. Also, you can meet Santa, buy some wonderful Pennsylvania foods, and just enjoy the community.  Our grandkids rode several times.  You have to go to the end of the line each time you dismount, but apparently they felt it was worth the wait.

A nearby restaurant, The Perk, offers the Carousel Burger.  I hear it’s pretty tasty.

You can call (215) 257-5460 for information.  There’s also a schedule of times it will be open  right here: 


Walking Around


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To amble is to walk, from the Latin ambulare.  What I didn’t know is that it originally was applied to the gait of a horse. So does that mean that if you’re ambling, you’re walking like a horse?

I hope not 🙂  Today, we tend to think of it more as just leisurely making our way down a sidewalk, a country lane, or a beautiful beach.  We’re enjoying the weather and the scenery, and we’re not in a rush.

What about the word perambulator? It’s not a word that we hear much these days.  It was first widely used  around 1856, and I always think of a proper British nurse or nanny pushing a rather fancy baby carriage.

Widely referred to simply as a pram,  it was a familiar sight in parks or on walking paths.

Per is a prefix meaning around or through, so one can easily see why it was attached to ambulate. 

These carriages were called baby buggies when I was a kid.  Remember trying to say rubber baby buggy bumpers  five times, really fast?


We lived in a neighborhood in Minneapolis in which you could always see a busy mom pushing a buggy from here to there, sometimes with one or two older children hanging on to her pockets or the handle of the buggy.

I had a little pink toy buggy when I was pretty young.  I dressed up my dolls, put them in the buggy, covered them up with whatever blanket I had, and took them for walks when the weather was good.  I talked to them, and of course they smiled and cooed and gurgled back at me.  I had quite a vivid imagination 🙂 Mine was similar to this, but it was pink, and the sun shade was flexible plastic that folded up or down.


Today we call these baby carriages strollers. Forty-eight years ago, they were simple affairs.



Today, the simple stroller has morphed into a multi-purpose piece of furniture:


It does just about everything but teach the baby to talk.

And finally, I’ve seen a picture of my husband in one that was just like this:

He would have been about two years old, so we’re looking  at 72 years ago, maybe 1945.

I hope you enjoyed my perambulation down memory lane 🙂


My Partner


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I think the first clear memory I have of hearing this word a lot was in the cowboy westerns of the 50s and 60s.  “Howdy, Partner!”  says on cowpoke to another, both of them chewing on a stalk of grass or hay or whatever, hitching up their gun belts and shoving their hats up a fraction of an inch with a cocked thumb.

Of course, John Wayne used the word Pilgrim instead, and no one else has ever said it quite the same way.

These days, partner has multiple meanings and is used in many contexts.  I think I’m going to opt for the one I know best–my husband.  My partner, biggest fan, biggest encourager,  best caregiver, hardest-working, godly and prayerful man I know.

We’ve been married for 48 years.  That’s longer than many of you have been alive.  In the early years, we both had a lot of adjusting to  do. It was sometimes difficult for both of us, but we married for keeps. We were committed, no matter what.

As the years slip by, and your body begins to show wear and tear, the significance of the “One flesh” principle becomes more clear.  When he hurts, I hurt.  When I’m in pain, so is he.  We may not feel the actual pain, of course, but whichever one of us is in need, the other steps up to the plate.

It’s been close to five years now since Terry took that fall and  smashed his heel bone. He’s still in pain, although it is helped somewhat by some fascinating technology.  The day I brought him home from the hospital, and as the nerve block wore off after surgery, his pain grew in such intensity that he says, now, that he thought he might die of it. I had to leave him alone to get a stronger pain prescription for him, and it nearly broke my heart.  Had to be done, though, and when I got back, and after maybe an hour on the new medication, he began to get some relief. One flesh?  Oh, you betcha!  My stomach was in knots, and the tears rolled for both of us as he suffered.

Later, when my back started falling apart and up to right this minute, Terry moved into “my” jobs. He won’t let me do anything!  I hurt terribly if I bend over, so I just don’t. He’s been doing all the laundry, shopping, cleaning, cooking. He won’t even let me help him make the bed.  This is very hard for me.  I’m a rather traditional woman, and all those jobs are supposed to be what I do. Surgery coming up on Aug. 22, and I can’t wait.

He hurts when I hurt. I see the pain in his face, and I understand his sense of helplessness that he can’t do anything to stop the pain.

We are indeed partners. The longer we live, the closer-knit we become.  I knew an older man years ago whose wife had died of leukemia.  He was in his 80s when I met him.  I was talking with him one day, and he said this: “I never understood the one-flesh principle as well as I did the day my wife died.  I felt as if half of me had been cut right off.”

So, is it worth experiencing that kind of pain and loss?  Absolutely.  In spite of  the high divorce rate in America, I believe most people marry with forever in mind.

From Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam:27, 1850:

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all