No, Thanks

A Brand New You, Effective Tomorrow

Tomorrow you get to become anyone in the world that you wish. Who are you? You can choose to be anyone alive today, or someone gone long ago. If you decide to stay “you” share your rationale.


There is no one, living or dead, that I would want to trade places with.  I have enough to deal with just  being me.  Believe me.

In fact, there is very little about my life I would change if I could.  Even the negatives, like my lower back condition, have their positives.  Learning to live with pain  strengthens the character.  And besides, it helped kick me into high gear with losing weight and getting in better shape. I’ve lost 21 pounds from my highest weight ever, and that feels good.

I’ve also started swimming twice a week.  I love to swim, always have. Don’t know why it took me so long to do this.  Yesterday I swam 22 laps, which is 2/3 of a mile.  I add a lap each time I go, so in about five weeks I should be doing the mile.  Then I’ll start working on speed.


As I push through the water, I think about a lot of things.  Mostly, though, I just try to enjoy the moment, the movement, and the silky feel of the water surrounding me.  Swimming is an isolated exercise, even when you’re sharing a lap lane with another swimmer.  You really can’t have any conversation 🙂  Isolation is good for me.  I’m an introvert—that is, I need to be alone and quiet to recharge my batteries.   Swimming lets me do that.

One thing I really have to do this year is figure out a way to get uninterrupted writing time so I can do more than my blog posts.  I need a block of time, say four hours or so, when no one will bother me.  No phone, no husband.  And there’s the rub.  He just doesn’t get it.   A closed door seems to beckon him to open it.  He has a hard time understanding that even a five-minute interruption can get me completely off track.  Halts the flow.  Stops the inspiration.  Sigh.

Anyway,  I’m taking this opportunity to wish you all a productive, challenging, growth-inspiring new year.  Let’s keep writing.

And maybe Wordy will get inspired, too, and give us some fresh prompts.


Eggs and Fear

Childhood Revisited

What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.


Before my dad gave his life over to God, he was pretty difficult.  One of those snapshot memories I have took place when I was about three. We lived in a trailer house in a southern Minnesota farm town.  Dad worked  in an auto repair shop doing body work on cars.  Mom stayed home with Sandy and me.  My memories of the trailer are sketchy, but again, there are some snapshots in my mind that have stayed sharp and clear.

On the day of this event, it must have been either a Friday or Saturday late afternoon.  Dad was a weekend beer drinker, and would come home drunk and angry.  This would have been 1949 into 1950.  He’d been in a submarine during the war, and he came home wanting nothing to do with God or any form of religion. Some of this I’ve pieced together from hearing Mom talk  about it, but my memory is very clear on this part of the story:

Mom called us in for an early supper, wanting to get us fed and in bed before Dad got home. He had very little patience with small children, apparently, on his weekends.

Mom had fixed us boiled eggs, chopped up with butter and salt and pepper. To this day I love eggs prepared that way.  There was probably bread and butter, and milk to drink.  I don’t remember that.  After we ate, I remember Mom helping us wash hands and faces and hurrying us into our pajamas, tucking us into bed with strict instructions to go right to sleep.

But it wasn’t completely dark outside, and sleep was elusive.  I remember hearing the door open and close, and the sounds of Dad’s heavy tread on the kitchen floor.  I remember him being loud, but I don’t remember words.  He tended to set things down pretty hard, and I remember the sound of his lunch bucket slamming down on the table or a counter top.

I remember his loud voice, then Mom’s quieter one. However, both of them raised their voices a little at a time, and soon they were both shouting.  I wrapped my head in my pillow, because I hated when they yelled at each other.


And that’s all I remember.  Eggs, fear, and falling asleep to their fighting.

Now, I want you to understand that this story had a wonderful ending.  My dad  changed when he yielded his life to the Lord.  He was always an opinionated, outspoken man; however, his life did a 180 when he decided to respond to what he knew was God’s calling on his life.  When I was five, we moved to Minneapolis so he could attend Northwestern Bible College. When I was ten, we moved to Oregon where he attended seminary and became the pastor of his first church.

Sometimes I think about how different my life would have been had God not been patient with my dad, if Dad had just continued on the path he’d chosen when he came home from war.

And I am thankful.

Candlelight Carol


Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week.


There is always music running in the back of my head. Honestly, sometimes it drives me crazy. For instance, the other day someone mentioned “It’s a Small World After All,” and it was with me ALL DAY!

Songs are often triggered by a random phrase, a picture, or something I’m reading.  My high school students, including my own children, used to roll their eyes right out of their little heads at my tendency to come up with a song that matched what one of them had just said.  I suppose it could be annoying, but I didn’t do it with malice.  It’s just in there.  I can remember with great clarity the advertising jingles I heard on TV way back in  1955.

For me to come up with just one song lyric is difficult.  It’s kind of like sorting through my recipe file for that ONE cookie recipe that everyone loved back in 1974.  I get stuck on all the other good ones along the way.

However, it is still the Christmas season, and there is one song that won’t leave me alone.  Here it is:

No Fear?

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?


Sometimes, being completely fearless would just be stupid.  There are things we need to fear.  That’s why God created us with nerve endings that register pain.  They keep us from holding our hands in the flame just to see what happens next.

On the other hand, we need to be fearless in the face of evil that we can and should stand against.  The world wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in today if every individual would simply stand against evil and DO something about it.  If we all did everything we could to resist the tide of evil, it would be a better place.

There are things I fear that I wish I didn’t.  I’m afraid of snakes. Viscerally afraid of them.

I’m afraid of high places that have no barriers between me and the chasm.  Don’t like it at all.

I don’t know if can say I’m truly afraid of tightly enclosed places, but I sure don’t enjoy getting an MRI.  No panic attacks, just a strong desire for it to be over.

I used to be far more fearful of things I no longer dread.  I used to hate it when Terry was away overnight or for several nights.  Doesn’t bother me much these days.  I sleep very well.

Remember Dr. Suess’ story of the pale green pants?  If not, you should go find it.


I think something you learn as you grow older is that it’s counter-productive to waste your time and energy being afraid of every single thing you can’t control.  I have no desire to die in a tsunami, hurricane, tornado, or volcanic eruption, but I’m not afraid of those things. They happen.  If I happen to be nearby, then so be it.

Some of my counseling work is helping people get over living in “What if World.”  We can scare ourselves to death worrying over what might be, while we fail to enjoy what is.

God said, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).


It’s the Main Thing


Tell us about the role that faith plays in your life — or doesn’t.


My faith is central in my life, and in Terry’s.  It’s part of what brought us together; it directed some of our job choices; it defined how we reared our children.

For me, my faith in God, my belief in the atoning and redeeming power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, are the bedrock for everything.  I depend strongly on the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my work as a counselor, for I surely don’t have the kind of wisdom that He imparts.  The Bible is my main counseling manual.

This present season is full of fun, excitement, gifts, and good food.  Beyond that, though, or maybe surrounding all that, is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Whose existence changed the world and continues to do so every time someone else puts his trust in Him for forgiveness and salvation.

I am an unashamed, unapologetic born-again Christian. I am thankful that I have the freedom to say so without fear. You and I may not agree about what we believe, but I will always defend your right to your belief, and your right to speak it and practice it.  That’s what America is all about.

Ebb and Flow

Our blogs morph over time, as interests shift and life happens. Write a post for your blog — but three years in the future.



Tell us about a time when everything seemed to be going wrong — and then, suddenly, you knew it would be alright. 


I dreamed I lived in a perfect world where everyone knows that it’s “all right,”  not “alright.”

Think of it this way.  “All is right.”  Everything is all right, instead of being all wrong.

This ranks right up there with “There’s alot of incorrect spelling out there.”

No.  It’s “a lot.”  I promise.  Every single time.


So there’s my silly, nitpicking beef for the day.  I hope none of you are offended.  I’m not being terribly serious here.  I have to admit, though, that the ubiquitous use of “alright” is starting to make me worry that it will soon be accepted as correct, because language is like that.  It changes.  It’s elastic.  It’s just sad that the changes are usually a step downward from standard, formal English rather than a step  upward.

It has even affected me.  The other day I told someone to chew his mouth empty.  Good grief.  That’s a Pennsylvania Dutchism that I have never used on purpose. Right up there with “outen  the lights,”   “I left my kids go to the store,”   “I’m done my homework,” and “I seen a deer.”

Sorry.  I can’t help it.  It’s the grammar teacher in me.



Are you a sports fan? Tell us about fandom. If you’re not, tell us why not.


Fortunately, this is not Terry and I.  He’s not much of a sports nut either.  Thank goodness!

The sports gene skipped me.  I used to dread New Year’s Day, when the TV was on for the Rose Parade (which I enjoyed) and then hours and hours and HOURS of little men trying to hurt each other while they moved the ball back and forth on the field.  I tried.  Really tried.  I figured if so many other people could turn into yelling, screaming devotees, there must be something I was missing.

Whatever it was, I’m still missing it. I just don’t care.  I have nothing against sports as such, I just don’t want to sit around for hours watching other people play.  It’s boring.

I would eventually wander upstairs to my room and get lost in a good book. At least the action wasn’t interrupted every two seconds while referees blew whistles and players threw helmets and coaches paced like angry bears, while the fans either screamed with joy or booed with displeasure.  It takes four hours to play a two-hour game.  Ugh.

I don’t mind watching a good fast basketball game.  Everything else can go fish.  Baseball?  Yikes.  Fifteen minutes between pitches while the players spit, scratch, and take a nap. Hockey?  Toothless players looking for opportunities to create more dental bills for other players.

I forgot–I do enjoy watching gymnastics.  Amazing what people can do with training and strength.  I used to like to watch ice skating, but it’s taken a turn I don’t enjoy with so much sexuality portrayed in the routines and the costumes.

Golf?  Really?  Ranks right up there with watching the grass grow.

Nope.  Not a sports fan.  Everyone else in my family loved sports, even my mom.  As she got older, she actually did enjoy watching golf. Beats me.

Sure am glad a found a guy who isn’t a sports nut. We managed to produce one child who loves to watch football, probably other things too.  I’m happy for him.  And happy I don’t have to join him 🙂


Safety First

Share the story of a time you felt unsafe.


As newlyweds, we moved into an apartment about 1 1/2 miles from Stillwater State Prison in Minnesota.  It was more out in the country than in a town, but we both liked that better.   However, there had been some escapes from the prison over the years, and I was fearful if I had to be alone at night.

It was more of a duplex than an apartment, really.  Our landlady lived on the other side of the  wall that divided us.  There was a connecting door, which she assured us was locked as she gave us the only key. to that door.

Terry was job hunting as well as being in the Reserves, so he was gone far more often than I liked.  When I was alone overnight, I slept with a butcher knife in one hand and a flashlight in the other, and the bedroom door closed and blocked with a chair.  I know, it sounds silly, but come on.  I was 21, a new bride, and very nervous about being alone so close to a prison.

Very early on one of those lonely overnights, I actually did hear footsteps in the house.  I knew it couldn’t be Terry.  I was in a cold sweat, on full alert, as the steps came closer and closer to the bedroom. It was an old house, and there was plenty of light coming in under the bedroom door.  When the footsteps stopped, I could see exactly where his feet were.  He stood there for what seemed like hours, while my heart sped up and my breath caught like a ball in my throat.  My eyes must have been as big as baseballs, waiting for whatever was going to happen next.

Then he moved, and to my immense relief, it was in the other direction.  I heard the creak of the floor, the scrape of the outside door, and then silence.

I was so terrified I could hardly move, and the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed and go look at the rest of the house.  Eventually nature called, though, and I had to get up.  There was no one in the house, no indication that there had been someone there. But there had been.  No question about it.

Later that day, our toilet backed up and I reached for the plunger that we kept right there.  It was gone.  Huh.  Strange.

When Terry came home, I told him the whole story, including the mystery of the missing plunger.  His face was stony and there was fire shooting out of his eyes as he turned and left the house.  I heard him knock on the landlady’s door; I heard voices, then the opening and closing of our door.

When Terry came back into our side of the house, he had our plunger.  He was steaming.  I don’t know when I’ve ever seen him so angry.

The landlady had a son, somewhere in his 40’s, who stayed with her now and then.  He was a bachelor, and I think he was somewhat slow.  A rather strange guy, in any case.  It was her son who had entered our side through the connecting door that they weren’t supposed to be able to use.  He wanted to “borrow” our plunger–they’d had problems with their plumbing, as well.  The reason he stood so long outside the bedroom door was that he couldn’t remember which door was to the bathroom. He finally figured it out without trying to open the bedroom door.

We didn’t have a lease agreement.  We moved out of there pretty quickly.

No, I didn’t feel safe there. Not at all!