A Tale of Commitment


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Taking the word apart, com means with; and mit,coming from the Latin mittere, is to pair or send.  So–to pair or send with, as in a marriage commitment, a business agreement, or being part of a committee.

Interesting word, because it can also mean to do, as in commit a crime or some other act. And in my line of work, to be committed  can be an involuntary entrance into a mental health program or facility–which brings me to my story, based on truth but changed quite a bit to protect those involved.

The woman was short, very round.  She had tiny  legs and arms, but her stomach made her appear to be in an advanced state of pregnancy.  She was well over 60, though, so I assumed she was not about to deliver a baby in my office.

She was married to a man who was slowly but surely descending into severe dementia, probably Alzheimer’s.  It’s a terrible disease that robs the victim of his personality and identity. His wife, my client, was his only caregiver at the time.


She had Bipolar Disorder, which is the same thing as being manic-depressive.   She was extremely intelligent, and her disorder was under good control because she was faithful–committed–to her medications.

Their children, however, remembered Mom before she got medical help.  They remembered her manic episodes, during which she spent money outrageously. It had been well over 25 years, but that was their main perception of her.

So they got their heads together one day, and decided they had to protect dad’s money from their mother.  Remember, Dad has dementia.  Without their mother’s knowledge, her children took their dad out one day. While they had him separate from her, they talked him into signing his power of attorney over to the eldest child; that child would be completely in charge of Dad’s substantial retirement and savings. It amounted to multi-millions.  They made sure that the document  specified that their mother would have no access or control over any part of his fortune. The eldest child would disperse funds to his mother as he saw fit.

Adding insult to injury, there was a clause that empowered any one of the children to do an involuntary commitment of their mother if that child felt Mom was getting out of line. So if Mom complained about being robbed of her husband’s money, any one of them had the power to put her in a mental health facility for a time to be determined by the psychiatrist involved.

In my opinion, the attorney who drew up this contract  was completely unethical.  Possibly illegal.

Mom wanted my help.  I told her there was nothing I could do, and suggested she see an attorney. She didn’t have the money for that, and her children wouldn’t give her what she needed. She was completely at their mercy.

I suggested she call her county area agency on aging and inquire about getting some legal help.  I don’t know how she’s doing now.  I hope she’s getting some assistance.

In summary:  The children of this couple formed a committee and committed a terrible act of injustice to both their parents, including the threat to commit her if she offered them any resistance.

I think the children are the ones who need to be committed!


Paper Roses


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It has been said that the music of your teen years stays with you more than any other music.  Must be true, as these one-word prompts so often make my memory go right to a song that was popular when I was a teen growing up in Portland, Oregon.

I loved the voice and the songs of Connie Francis.  Here she is:




Don’t Believe your Feelings must be Truth


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Short and to the point today.

When your thinking has become an endless loop playing in your head hour after hour, you can bet it’s negative.  Or, in cruder terms, stinkin’ thinkin.’


If you don’t stop it, you will end up taking anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety pills and believing that the whole world is against you.

The only real fix is to change your thinking.  Find what is true.  Stinkin’ thinkin’ is almost always a lie.  When we believe that how we feel must be the truth, we’re heading for a fall.  Feelings change. Truth never does.

Hitler felt that Jews were running the world, so he murdered them by the millions.  It was a lie, still is a lie.  If he’d turned off the tape recorder in his head, he might not be remembered as the monster he became.

In the Bible, Cain felt his offering to God was better than Abel’s, even though it went against God’s expressed instructions. So he murdered Abel, believing that God would then accept his offering. Wrong again.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Make sure that whatever it is you are feeling that is pulling you down is actually the truth. Take out the old reel and replace it with the reel of truth.

You are God’s creation.  He sent His Son to pay for your sin.  He loves you with an everlasting love.

That is truth.

Believe the truth, not the lie.


Fear is Grey


The two young girls lying bound in the trunk could hear nothing, see nothing, to help them escape. They were cold and  terrified.

It was supposed to have been fun, going to a party with the two cool older guys who had picked them up. “Come with us, come on!” They never saw the third man behind them holding the syringe.  A prick, then nothing.

They should have listened. They should have stayed with a crowd of friends. Should never have gone with guys they didn’t know.

Too late for remorse. Too late.

Sneaky Invasion


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Growing up as “the preacher’s kid” had its good and its not-so-good sides.  Sometimes, once the not-so-good was over, it was just plain funny.

One of the men in my dad’s little church in southern Minnesota lived with his family just one block behind and kitty-cornered from our house. The position gave him a clear view of our place, and he must have spent a good amount of time watching. He tended to be a person who felt it was his duty to meddle with the preacher’s family, keeping us all on the straight and narrow.

One night I was in the basement doing some ironing.  Remember ironing?

Anyway  I was minding my own business.  My sister was upstairs with our little brother, and all was right with our word–until suddenly the basement lights went out!  Startled, I hollered up the stairs, “Hey! Turn those back on!”

My sister hollered back that she hadn’t turned anything off.  I was deciding whether or not to believe her when I distinctly heard the back door open, the lights went back on, and the door closed.


Of course I told my dad when he and Mom got back from wherever they’d been. He got the strangest look on his face.  He said, “I’ll take care of it. It won’t happen again.”


You knew the preacher was upset when he peeled out of the driveway, scattering gravel. He wasn’t gone long. Shaking his head, he told us that the neighbor had noticed our basement lights were on. Figuring no one was down there, he took it upon himself to unlock the back door, reach in and turn off the lights. He flipped them back on when I hollered.

Two big errors:  One, he unlocked the door.  We hadn’t known he had a key,  He didn’t have it any more after that night.  Two, he opened and closed the door.  He’d have been smarter to just keep walking away.

I’ll never know what my dad said to him, but whatever it was, it worked. There were no more Hector Inspector light-switch events.  It didn’t feel funny at the time, but it wasn’t long before the incident was added to the family repertoire of funny stories about living in the parsonage.


What a Relief!


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I have so many thoughts about this word! Some I won’t mention. There just isn’t time.

I think one of the most memorable moments of feeling relieved was  when labor finally started.  Three of my four babies were two weeks late, and back then they just let you wait it out.  No scheduling for inducement.  Knowing that it was finally happening was an immense relief!

I used to suffer with migraine headaches. The relief when the headache finally began to relent is indescribable. You’d have to experience it to know what I’m talking about.

Image result for migraine headaches

When I was still in high school, my dad was making a 15-mile drive from one small southern Minnesota town to our own town. It was in the middle of a blizzard.  Mom was in the hospital 15 miles away.  I was home alone with my baby brother, knowing Dad was on the road. No way to stay in touch. No cell phones back then. The tension and anxiety grew because what should have taken 15-20 minutes was stretching into hours. I can’t even tell you how relieved I was when he finally made it home.  I’m pretty sure I’ve written that story somewhere.  I’ll have to see if I can find it.  (I found it!  You can read the whole story here.)

Relief is a great feeling, but it can also leave you weak and trembling.  Relief after a painful procedure.  Relief after a dreaded test has been completed.  Relief that everyone made it safe home.  Relief that the results of the medical biopsy were negative.  Relief when your soldier or sailor returns home from a war.

Relief when you can actually think of dozens of ways to write about relief 🙂


Give Me Pearls!


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The original meaning was to bring side by side,  as in improving one thing to match the perfection of another.

Para, then, is to compare or bring alongside. Thus the professions that are helpful to the main figure, such as a paralegal or paramedical professional.

It’s amazing how many words start with para.  Here are just a few:

  • paramilitary.
  • paradigmatic.
  • parasitology.
  • paramagnetic.
  • parameterize.
  • paraesthesia.
  • parasiticide.
  • paralanguage.

My computer put a squiggly red line under paralanguage. I guess my computer is too old to recognize this fairly new term.  It means the nonlexical component of communication by speech, for example intonation, pitch and speed of speaking, hesitation noises, gesture, and facial expression.

paragon is the finest example of anything; it can be a person of utmost moral character; a beautiful woman, a remarkable piece of writing or art.

Something I learned this morning is that it is also the word used to describe the most perfect of pearls. I love pearls. There’s just something about them that speaks to me, and I have more pearl jewelry than any other kind.

Image result for paragon pearls

Maybe someday Terry will find me a paragon of a pearl 🙂


The Dark

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Dark clouds gather above as darker evil took place below. The bodies had been found in the basement of the condo, tied back to back and mutilated beyond recognition. Whoever was responsible had been thorough in his work, leaving no trace of himself behind.

Detectives were combing the grounds, flashlights glowing in the gathering dark.

Upstairs on the fifth floor, a man watched. His mouth twitched in mirth at their stupidity. They’d already interviewed him, giving him the usual cop-speak and learning nothing.

He was much too smart for them.

More would die. They deserved it.

The Flat


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“Oh, NO!”  thought Jeannie as she carefully steered her car to the shoulder of the road. She’d heard an odd sound, and then the whole car shimmied and skidded. Right in the middle of the morning rush hour, of course.

She pocketed her keys and got out to see what she could see. As she circled the car, the rear right tire presented a woeful sight. Clearly, something had punctured it and blown it apart.  It wasn’t just flat.  It was graveyard dead.

Just as she was unlocking the driver-side door to grab her cell, a pickup truck slid in several yards behind her car. The man who jumped from the driver’s seat to the pavement was a sight for sore eyes!  He looked like a guy who knew how to take care of business.

Jeannie stood waiting as he loped up to her, grinned at her as if they were old friends, and asked if he could help.

Image result for lady with a flat tire waiting for help

“My right rear tire is blown. Something punctured it, I guess. I have a spare, but I’m embarrassed to tell you that I really don’t know how to change a tire.  I mean, I’ve seen it done, and my dad tried to teach me, but–”

“Okay, no problem. Can you pop the trunk?”

“Sure.  Thank you so much.”

He got right to work, locating the tools he needed as if he knew her car. Within 15 minutes he’d removed the bad tire, replaced it with the spare, and was cleaning his hands with a red bandanna handkerchief.

“Let me give you something for helping me out,” Jeannie said as she opened her purse. The guy got an offended look on his face and refused firmly. “No, Ma’am!  I figure if a guy can’t stop to help a pretty lady, he’s got something wrong with him.”  He began to turn away when Jeannie stopped him by saying, “Well, at least tell me your name so I can thank you properly!”

He turned, grinning again. “Name’s Morgan, Ma’am. Morgan Craig.  Two first names.”

“He really has a great smile,” thought Jeannie. She put out her hand to shake his and said, “I’m Jeannie Sally.  I have two first names, too.  What a coincidence!”

“Well, Jeannie Sally, I’m kind of wondering–you have a phone number?  Would it be okay if I called you?”

Everything Jeannie knew about safety and common sense whiffed right out of her head. She just had a good feeling about Morgan Craig. “Sure, I guess that would be okay.”  And she took the phone he offered and put her number in it.

“Thanks, Miss Sally. You’ll hear from me. You have a good day, now.”  As he walked away, she admired the set of his shoulders and the obvious comfort he had in his own abilities.

Maybe that flat tire hadn’t been such a bad thing, after all.



Fifty Years


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Ron had thought it was silly, but Elizabeth hadn’t let it bother her.  Keepsakes were important.  They  were reminders of precious moments along the course of life, and some could be passed on to children and grandchildren.

She lifted the box carefully from her closet shelf. It had been opened only one other time since their wedding day, and that had been on their 25th anniversary. The corners of the box were turning yellow, and when she lifted the cover, she was surprised at how brittle and yellow the paper had become.

“Like me,” she thought with a smile. “Skin as thin as this paper, and just as worn out.”

It didn’t matter, though. It really didn’t.


She folded the paper back, and there were the beautiful long white tapers  that had graced the altar at their wedding ceremony fifty years ago. Fifty!  She could hardly believe so much time had passed, yet her hands gave her away.  She noticed, as she lifted the tapers out of the box, how spotted and wrinkled her hands had become. Shaking her head, she dismissed that reality, too.  It just didn’t matter. Those hands had worked hard, loved much, prayed often.

She placed the tapers carefully in their silver stands, stepping back to admire how beautiful they still were. They were burned down a little and were no longer even, but they were still lovely.

Ron stepped up behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders. She turned to look into his beloved face, noting the lines and creases from laughter, tears, and weather. He was still her Ron, and fifty years may have dimmed her vision, but not their love.

“You know that you are the light of my life, don’t you?” Ron asked. “The tapers are nice, and I’m glad you saved them for this shindig the kids want to give us.  But you are the one I’ll be looking at.  Just like always.”