What’s the best idea you’ve ever had? Regale us with every detail of the idea — the idea itself, where it came to you, and the problem it solved.


It may not be the best, but it’s the first one that popped into my head.  And I’ve written about it before, so I’ll try to take a different perspective this time.

My husband fell into a deep and debilitating depression when he was about 50, and I was 46.  We had no idea what we were dealing with for several weeks. Finally, one of the doctors we were seeing recognized what was going on, and we got the right help. 

I’d always been interested in the field of psychology, but good little Christian girls were not encouraged in that direction back in the ’60’s.  I do not regret becoming a teacher.  Loved it.  But it was time for a change, for several reasons.

We didn’t know if Terry would ever be able to work again, so I had to face the possibility of becoming the major breadwinner.  You can’t do that if you teach in a small Christian school.

Also, I was beginning to feel that itch again to get into the field of counseling. I was ready.  My kids were all adults; I had never lost my interest; my enthusiasm had been renewed by sitting in on Terry’s sessions with our counselor.

So I took a deep breath and jumped in.  Started my master’s degree at age 50, and started working in the same office where we’d gone for help at age 53.

Now, for the last part of the question in the prompt:  What problem did it solve?

Terry was indeed able to go back to work, slowly at first, but finally full time. He worked almost 20 more years before his physical problems forced him to retire. So I never had to shoulder the whole burden of financial leadership, and I’m very thankful. That was a problem I didn’t have to solve.

What it did, though when I made the decision to change careers, was to open a whole new world for me.  It gave me the ability to be on my own financially, if that ever became necessary, but beyond that it opened my eyes and my heart to a world I’d never had to inhabit. I’ve had a very safe, very happy life.  Not dull, believe me, but my parents never divorced, I never lost anyone close to me until my grandfather died when I was 14; even with that, we saw him so seldom that not much really changed. I never suffered any of the horrors that some of my clients deal with, I’ve been in a good marriage for 46+ years; my four children are all doing well; my nine grandchildren are the nine wonders of the world 🙂

To do counseling, I’ve had to step into a realm I’ve happily avoided all my life, and it’s been good for me.  It’s given me a broader, deeper understanding of people.  It’s helped me understand the deep, deep love of God in a whole new way. It’s given me more—-I hate to use the word, because of its cultural and political implications—–tolerance for people who are different than I am. That doesn’t mean I’ve lowered my standards or left my faith, not for one minute.  It does mean that I’ve come to learn from a different perspective that people need what only God can offer:  Peace, hope, and solid answers to their problems. Not ritually spouted Bible verses that you can’t even process when you’re in so much pain, but solid, patient compassion and understanding that life hurts, and that sometimes trite responses do more harm than good. Sometimes, we just need someone to listen without “fixing” us, and I do a lot of that.  Once my clients have unloaded their story, their pain, their despair, THEN I can go in with help that is tried and true.  Patience has never been my strong suit, but I’m learning.

I’m also learning that I don’t need to come back with a quick answer. Sometimes, I just need to be quiet and wait, because more is coming.

So, what problem has been solved?  I don’t know how, exactly, to say it except that I think the one who has benefitted most has been ME.  My clients have helped me grow, become more sensitive and compassionate, be quiet, listen, and wait. And to pay better attention to the promptings of the Holy Spirit when I do respond.

I think that’s pretty cool.


Do you Believe in Magic?

You have been transformed into a mystical being who has the ability to do magic. Describe your new abilities in detail. How will you use your new skills?


Please follow me into the Land of Make-Believe, where I have the power to fulfill your every wish.  Of course, I’m a selfish magician, so I’m going to fulfill my own wishes first.  After that, if there’s anything I haven’t covered that appeals to you, you can put in a request.  If I’m not worn out, I’ll see what I can do.

First?   Every adult under five feet tall magically gets three to four inches added to his height. Her height.

Second:  I’m magically going to elminate all the politically correct silliness that requires us to use “his or her” when everyone knows that the masculine pronoun represents both sexes.  Please.  It’s just such a pain.

Third: Everyone is going to automagically understand pronouns and antecedents, so that my first magical miracle, as stated, will be clear. That is, “every” is a singular pronoun, requiring a singular pronoun to replace it. Thus, “his.”  Not “their.”

One of the funniest ads I ever heard on TV years ago was an ad for some type of facial tissue.  The voiceover said, “Everyone needs to blow their nose.”  I got this picture of thousand of people all sharing the same nose, and taking turns blowing it.  See, “everyone” is a singular pronoun. Needs a singular pronoun to replace it. To make the sentence correct, it should have been, “We all need to blow our noses,” or even “Everyone needs to blow his nose.”

How on earth did this devolve into a grammar lesson?

Ok. Fourth. Anyone who wants to weigh less will be able to pick the size wanted, and it will magically happen.  

Fifth.  New wardrobes for all thinner people magically appear.

Sixth.  All skin conditions that plague us will be instantly cured. No more acne.  No more greasy oily skin. No more painfully dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, scaly patches or any other unpleasant skin problems. Gone. Poof.

Seventh.  Carbohydrates will never need to be counted again.  All excess sugar will magically be cleansed from the body.

Eighth.  Herniated discs will be magically cured, along with stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and all other related spinal woes.

Ninth. Exercise will become the highlight of the day.

Tenth. A cooking/shopping/cleaning robot will be magically provided for everyone who wants one.  (Who wouldn’t?)

There’s my top ten.

Ta-ta from the Land of Make-Believe 🙂

Patron Saint of Nothing!

A True Saint

In 300 years, if you were to be named the patron saint of X, what would you like X to be? Places, activities, objects — all are fair game.


Oh my.  I hope you don’t expect me to be serious about this one!  The thoughts that immediately tumbled into my brain were things like Patron Saint of Chocolate, or Sleep, or Carbohydrate Indulgence, or the Saint of Perpetual Dieting.

How about the Saint of Procrastination?  Or the Saint of Non-Housecleaning?  Saint of Really Good Coffee?

How about Patron Saint of the Teapots?  Or teacups? Or fancy dolls?

Wait, I know!  Patron Saint of Life, Love, Laughter and Grandchildren!  There’s one I could live with 🙂

Listen, if the world had to depend on me to be the patron saint of anything, we’d be in even worse shape than we are now 🙂

It’s Not the School

The New School

You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?


As a former teacher, I have some really big opinions about this prompt.  I think it’s a fairy tale.


Because it’s really not about the school at all.  Children have been learning since time began, with or without a school building, a school board, a federal Department of Education, or “experts” who come up with the ultimate learning environment.

The very most important thing in a child’s education is————-drum roll—————his parents!  In fact, it is his parents plus his family culture, plus his community, plus his own inquisitive nature.  If a church is part of his family and community, that’s all the better.

Now, you can have all those ingredients and still have a child who doesn’t perform well in school.  So you need to understand that the parents are the ones who set the mood for education.  They are the ones who are initially responsible to light the child’s flame for learning. If the parents are negligent, then the child won’t learn, no matter how new and innovative the school is.  Without parental excitement, interest and support, the school just can’t function as well as it should.

So what does parental involvement look like?

Talk to the child. Ask him about his school day. Get him to show you his papers. Be interested in what he’s telling you.  Keep up with whether or not he’s turning in his homework. Don’t DO his homework!  Just make sure he gets it done. Stay in touch with his teacher(s) and don’t blame them if your child gets into some kind of trouble at school.  Most teachers really do not sit around thinking up ways to make your kid miserable.

Never take your child’s word for it when he says the teacher “yelled” at him for no reason at all.  Always contact the teacher, preferably with the child present, to find out what actually happened.  Your child WILL play both ends against the middle if he can get away with it. That’s why it’s helpful to have him there when you talk with his teacher.  He can’t tell you a lie about what the teacher said if the teacher is standing right there with you.

“Oh, but my child would never lie to me.”

Please.  Of course he would. He’s a normal kid, not a saint. We all lie. If you remove the opportunity for him to tell two different stories, you will help him to tell the truth.

Make sure your child knows how much value you place on education. Stay informed, stay involved.  Turn off the TV.  Limit computer time. Insist on outdoor exercise.  Make sure he gets enough sleep, and leaves with a decent breakfast in his stomach. This is your job, unless you’re homeschooling, which is a whole other topic.

It’s also important to acknowledge and accept the kind of learner your child is. Some kids are just natural students, churning out  A’s with ease.  Others have to work really hard to get a C. And that’s ok.  The grade isn’t as important as the effort. If you know your child has made a huge effort, then congratulate him on the C and encourage him to keep trying. Make sure he knows you approve of him and love him whether he’s an honor roll student or not.

 Parents, you are the most important factor in your child’s education. Government would love to change that, making parents nothing more than peripherals in the education process.  Don’t let it happen.  You matter more than anything or anyone else in your child’s life, including his education.

Freshman Speech

Saved by the Bell

Tell us about a time when you managed to extract yourself from a sticky situation at the very last minute


Sara was a nervous wreck.  Her freshman speech class in college was getting under way, and she wasn’t ready.  She’d had to work a couple of extra shifts at the grocery store.  She’d spent too much time with Jim, who was a lot more fun than memorizing an oration. She simply wasn’t prepared, had not memorized her piece, and she could almost feel the cloud of doom that was about to drop on her head.

You just didn’t walk into Mr. B’s speech class unprepared. Not ever.

She  was thankful to be sitting behind a great big football player. She wanted nothing more than to be invisible. She slumped down in her seat, making herself as small as she could, and kept her head down. Her curtain of dark brown hair hid her face. Her heart raced, her stomach churned.

See, Sara was really very good at this kind of thing.  She’d been in plays in high school, and had always gotten rave reviews.  She enjoyed performing, rarely suffered from stage fright.  But that was because she’d always been ready.

Today, she wasn’t.

“So,” said Mr. B, “Who’s going to volunteer to get us started this morning?  Mr. Jensen?  Good!  Go ahead.”

Steve Jensen walked with confidence to the podium, and delivered his beautifully memorized oration without stumbling. Grinning like a chesire cat, he took his seat to a big round of applause.

The assignment had been to choose among several well-known orations; some were from Shakespeare, others from political characters or famous historical events. Sara had chosen  The Charge of the Light Brigade, loving the opportunity for drama. She knew she could do it justice, if only she’d spent more time memorizing it.

Several more students rose to perform, and the clock kept ticking.  Only ten more minutes before the bell, and still several had not done their recitations.

“Okay, class, we’re running out of time here.  I see there are five of you who have done your best to be invisible this morning.  You’ll be up first tomorrow, Julie. And Sara, you’ll be second. All right, class dismissed.”

As the bell rang, Sara felt as limp as an old rose. She was so relieved she was trembling.  Mr. B. caught her eye as she left the classroom, his blank face letting her know that he was on to her.

“I’ll know it cold by tomorrow,” she promised herself. “No extra work shifts today, no Jim time.  Nothing at all until I get this thing memorized!”

She’d been saved by the bell.


Express Yourself!

Do you love to dance, sing, write, sculpt, paint, or debate? What’s your favorite way to express yourself, creatively?


Depends on where I am and who I’m with.

When I’m at home, I love to play my piano or organ; I love to knit, crochet, quilt, embroider—any needlecraft.  I read voraciously, and I’m taking a stab at writing.

With friends?  Conversation.  If debate can be done without rancor, I love a good discussion.  I love to laugh.

Publicly?  I love speaking to women’s groups.  Conferences, seminars, small groups–it doesn’t matter.  I will always love teaching, and I look forward to opportunities to share my love of God’s Word with other women.

Creativity is what you make it.  Sewing, baking, cooking, decorating, even cleaning, can all be creative tasks.  Not that there’s much creativity to scrubbing a toilet or throwing a load of clothes in the washer, but homemaking certainly offers a huge arena for creativity.  I love flowers, but I don’t have a green thumb.  I’d love to be more creative in the garden.  Just not my gift.

 There are many other things that I can do well, though, and all of life is creative, from the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg and a new person is conceived.

God is creative, and we are made in His likeness.  Creativity is in our souls.

The Fishin’ Hole

Can’t Drive 55

Take the third line of the last song you heard, make it your post title, and write for a maximum of 15 minutes. GO!


The last song I heard was the them from the Andy Griffith Show.  Usually, it has no lyrics, but I know that there are some, so I just googled it.  The third line is We might not get a bite all day. 

Stankding on its own, that line could apply to lots of things.

Go for a walk in your neighborhood.  If there a leash laws that people actually observe, you might not get a bite all day.

If the chief cook and bottle washer in your house goes on strike, you might not get a bite all day.

If mosquito season is over, as it is here in my corner of PA, you can be outdoors and you might not get a bite all day.  Love this time of year here.  The humidity is gone, the mosquitos are gone, and the sky is the prettiest blue because the haze from humidity is gone. Love it.

If you are a telephone sales person, you can call people like me all day and you won’t get a bite.  You may get the phone slammed down in your ear, but you’ll never hear me speak.

The other week, my son-in-law got a call from one of those people who say they’re calling from Microsoft and they want you to give them access to your computer so they can fix multiple problems you don’t even know you have.  My SIL is  a computer security genius.  He decided to play along, sounding as dumb as a bag of celery. He asked lots of questions,  and finally the guy on the other end got a clue.  He seemed quite put out when he asked, “Are you playing with me?”

Can you imagine?  Here’s a scammer getting upset because he was caught in his own game. Now, that’s funny!

Rachel keeps calling me.  For years, she’s been calling me to try to get me to do something or the other with my credit card.  Poor Rachel. She’ll never get a bit from me.  I figure the only reason they keep trying with this stuff is that there must be enough naive people out there who respond, that it makes it worth while for them to keep trying.  You’d think they’d block out my number from their lists, though.

One time, a “charitable organization” did get a bite from me. They claimed to be a veteran’s organization, and I have a lot of compassion for our veterans, so I bit. Big mistake.  They hounded me from Minnesota to Pennsylvania, calling multiple times each week. At first I told them I would not give them any more money, please don’t call me again. Then I would just hang up.  Finally, I got the police involved and they traced this group to somewhere in Colorado and found that they were legitimate but just barely. Threatened them with legal proceedings if they didn’t leave me alone.  It’s been years since they called me.

Once, just after we moved to Brainerd, MN, I got a call from a woman who said she was from the State Department.


I told her I’d wait until the State Department came knocking at my door. She was really mad, said some bad words, and slammed her receiver down.I wonder if she got a bite that day.

But the song, after all, is about Andy and Opie going fishing, and that line tells you a lot about what fishing is, really.  It’s not about catching fish.  It’s about having a day of relaxation in the sun, being together, enjoying one another’s company and enjoying the great outdoors.

Here’s the song:

The View

Connect the Dots

Scour the news for an entirely uninteresting story. Consider how it connects to your life. Write about that.


Almost anything to do with The View  is entirely uninteresting to me.  Bunch of snarky women sitting there interrupting each other.  No appeal.  At all.

However, the other day I saw an item on a sidebar of something else I was reading about an interview they did with Ben Carson.  First of all, I’m amazed they actually had him on.  Second, I’m surprised they didn’t tar and feather him on his way out. Third, he handled them all beautifully in his quiet, unassuming way as they did everything they could to make him look bad. It was a fascinating video clip to watch.

How it applies to me? Well, I’m certainly not going to be voting for anyone the women on that program approve of.  I watched a short clip of an interview they did with Michelle, and they way they fawned on her and bowed and scraped made me nauseous.  I also remember seeing a short clip of their interview with Mrs. Mitt Romney.  The air was full of ice. She, too, handled their unfriendliness with grace.

These people are always screaming tolerance at us, yet they are palpably intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them.  I do not watch their program. I will look at a clip now and then, mostly to see how much more liberal they’ve become and how their conservative victims handle the nasty treatment they get on the show.

A five-minute video clip is all I can handle.