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I enjoy words that sound like what they mean.  Swish. Slice. Bop. Pop. Rumble. Giggle. It’s a very long list, and our one-word prompt today is a good example.

The opposite of cacophony  is euphony, which simply means good or pleasant sound.

So that tells you what cacophony means. Not so pleasant.  I think right away of the TV program The View, in which the women on the panel spend an hour interrupting and talking over each other. Makes me shudder.  I don’t watch it.  Most unpleasant.  If I don’t watch it, how do I know?

I watched it twice; once, just to see what it was about; the second time to see if my first experience was just on an off day. It wasn’t.

The word comes from two Greek roots:  kakos, meaning bad, and phonos, which means sound.

Think of a flock of crows.  Or geese.  A gang of angry bees. Hurricane winds.  An angry crowd.  The screeching and banging of a car accident. So many sounds to which we automatically react with dislike, fear, or dread.

I love good music.  Lots of different genres, but all euphonious.  I strongly dislike the angry, screaming sounds of some of the “music” that is popular with young people today.  It is not meant to relax, to enjoy; it is meant to pump up, even to enrage. No thanks.

A lot of the political noise out there today is cacophony. It’s been a long time since we’ve experienced any real political harmony in America, or even the sound of civil, courteous debate. Just lots of anger, dissonance, hatred, and outright lying.

Cacophony.  Bad sound.



Great Expectations


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We all have them.  High hopes. dreams of the future,  expectations of the people in our lives; goals for work, for personal achievement and satisfaction. Nothing wrong with that–most of the time.

Often, the people I see in my counseling office are there because they’ve  had hopes crushed, dreams denied. Their expectations have not risen to the level they had established, and now they’re depressed, perhaps angry, and they don’t know how to deal with their crushed expectations.



I don’t think I would agree completely with Shakespeare on this statement, but it is often true that our expectations, when not achieved, bring us great heartache.

Take our children, for instance. Every set of expectant parents tends to have THE PERFECT CHILD  in their minds. Their child will personify every dream they’ve ever had. The child will be brilliant, gifted, talented, handsome or beautiful, renowned for the goodness of character, and so on and on.

And then the baby turns out to be just an ordinary person, with all the positives and negatives that contained therein, and the parents are disappointed. Their expectations did not come to fruition. They have an ordinary kids who does pretty well, but makes not marks on history and even gets into trouble now and then.

Should they be disappointed?  I don’t think so.  I think they had piled a lot of unreasonable pressure on this poor baby, and when he didn’t rise to meet their exaggerated expectations, they were disappointed, even feeling the child was deliberately letting them down.  The fault lay in the parents’ unrealistic expectations, not in the child’s lack of brilliance.

But aren’t there things we should expect of our children?  Yes, of course. But the child will not be born with those things in place.  They need to be taught. They need to be lived out in front of the child. They need to be instilled in the child through consistent training and discipline when needed. Parenting is a lot of work, and expectant parents would do well to understand that they are NOT getting ready to produce the next  Wonder of the World. They need to set their expectations on that which is achievable through giving the child the best atmosphere possible as he grows up; they need to set their own expectations at a reasonable, achievable level so that neither they nor the child will feel like failures for the rest of their lives.

And who knows?  Maybe that child WILL become the next Einstein, or Tchaikovsky, or Monet, or DaVinci.  Or maybe she will grow up to marry a man she loves, rear normal children, and find contentment in the ordinary.  Having high hopes is fine; having unreasonably high expectations/demands of someone who hasn’t even been born yet is not fine. It sets up the playing field for conflict, disappointment, and frustration.  As the child grows and develops, she should definitely be encouraged to follow whatever her talents seem to be.

Encouraged, not forced.


There is a Limit


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Little Timmy had been expressing himself for several hours. Wandering around the house, he had streaked mud on the floor and the walls.  He had used his finger paints on the carpeting. He had smeared the contents of his diaper on his crib and the wall during his  “nap.”

He had dumped his bowl on top of his head at lunch, banging his spoon on the tray and hollering for more. He had flushed his shirt down the toilet. He had used the bathtub for a urinal. He had run one of his Matchbox cars on the table top, leaving a tangle of scratches.

Then he turned his attention to his mommy’s yarn basket, knotting up the  strands so badly that she threw it out in despair. When he took the arm of the stereo and moved it back and forth across the record she’d been playing,  something big snapped in Mommy’s head.

She took his little earlobe between her fingers, pulling him into the kitchen where she found a little wooden spoon. Divesting Timmy of his diaper, she bent him over her knee and whacked his backside.



He screamed, “NOOOoooooo!  Hurts, Mommy!”

“I know.  You’ve been hurting me all day.  Time for me to express myself, young man. Enough is enough!”  And she whacked him again.

While they were making up, him sobbing on her lap while she hugged him, he said, “I sowwy, Mommy.”  And she said, “I love you, Timmy, but there are limits on how you may express yourself. Well, tomorrow is a new day.  But I think we’re going to keep this spoon in plain sight for a while.”



PS.  Some of you may be horrified that this child was admonished in such an old-fashioned way.  I know it’s not politically correct to spank a child these days.  I can only tell you that if more moms and dads had used this quick and impressive reminder on a recalcitrant child, I wouldn’t have so many unhappy, rebellious teens sitting in my counseling office complaining that their parents don’t understand them.  The child in this little story is not Timmy.  He may recognize himself. He’s a happy, contributing, well-adjusted adult with children of his own.



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It has been said that being brave is to go ahead and do what needs doing even when you’re terrified.

I believe that concept applies to a lot of life experiences.

Having babies, for instance. I had four. I wasn’t terrified with the first.  Mildly apprehensive, perhaps, but not really afraid.

The next three times, I was scared to death. Sometimes when you know exactly what you’re facing, the fear intensifies.  Obviously, though, I survived each one.  Most of us do. And there’s nothing I find more  ridiculous than a woman who has gone through multiple childbirths who enjoys telling how she nearly died with each one.  Good grief.

For me, learning to drive was indeed a brave thing. I wanted to do it, but my dad was old-school, and never wanted any female driving HIS car 🙂  I wasn’t allowed to take driver’s ed in high school. Terry taught me to drive before we were married, and in spite of that he married me anyway 🙂

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I’ve never gotten over the fear of driving in heavy city traffic in unfamiliar places.  I won’t do it.  And the older I grow, the less willing I am to drive anywhere but places with which I’m completely familiar.

When we moved from Michigan to Pennsylvania, we’d been married only five years or so. Terry drove the U-Haul across the country, and I followed him with our car and our two little boys.  White-knuckled all the way. Chicago was a horror show. When we finally arrived, it took me a couple of days to decompress.  When I’m afraid, it manifests in anger.  Terry didn’t have the first clue why he was getting cold shoulder and hot tongue for supper.

So, was I brave to make that drive when I was so afraid of it?  I don’t know.  Maybe, but I didn’t feel brave.  I did what had to be done, with a four-year-old and a 18-month old for company, along with a lot of twangy, nasal country music on the radio. All I can say now is that I was so glad when it was over that all I could do was cry.

And then, of course, I had to learn how to deal with Pennsylvania topography, which is a whole different thing than Minnesota or Michigan. Come to think of it, I was nervous every time I had to drive somewhere for the first few months. Not brave. Not at all.

But one does what one must 🙂


Life isn’t Safe!


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There are a lot of people for whom safety is the key to everything they do.  If it doesn’t seem safe, avoid it.  I think that’s kind of sad.

Now, mind you, I’m not a person who goes seeking ways to get hurt.  I observe safe driving rules; I look both ways before I cross the street to get my mail.  I make sure my skirt isn’t tucked up into my waistband before I leave the bathroom. And as I age, I’m more careful about things I never used to think about, like running up and down the basement steps. Not any more. Careful, careful.

Big HOWEVER here:  Life just isn’t a safe space, folks.  I shake my head is wonderment at the Snowflake generation who want to insure that there are safe spaces for them when they don’t get their way.  Who on earth came up with that silliness?  And how did it happen?

I was taught that when things don’t go your way, you pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again. I think there’s a song like that. An oldie, for sure:

Anyway, how DID all this happen?  Ah, I’m so glad you asked.  Here’s what I think, and I understand that it’s not politically correct or safe for me to say it:  We have taught our young people that they should have every single thing they want, every single time. We give them trophies just for showing up, for pity sakes!  We TEACH them to be entitled cry babies  who use their First Amendment rights to deprive me of mine.

We have taught them that “safe sex” means they can have sex all they want, just make sure the government pays for birth control because, after all, it’s your RIGHT to have sex, and the government is supposed to look after your quest for happiness. Doesn’t it strike you as strange that women don’t want the government interfering in their “right” to abortion, but they DO want the government to pay for what keeps them from getting pregnant?  Talk about the ME generation!

Sit in my counseling office with me for a few days, and you’ll see that the whole  attitude toward sex-as-a-pastime isn’t working out very well.  Take a look at the most recent stats, for instance, on STD’s.  It’s enough to make you hair stand on end.

It’s not just about sex. It’s about our sense of entitlement to do whatever we want without having any consequences attached.

Safety is an illusion.

All the people who died on 9/11 thought they were perfectly safe that morning.

All the people who died in the Las Vegas shooting thought they were safe, too.

Every time you sit in your car, you are risking your life.  Even if you never leave your house, every day brings with it the possibility of fire, earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, tornado.  Life did not come with a guarantee of perfect safety.

We need to quit worrying and fussing and wrapping our poor little babies in layers of blankets that make them sweat just because we are so fearful that they’ll be sick if we don’t.

We need to live our lives with gusto, with purpose, with confidence and joy, and quit worrying about all the bad things that could happen. And when bad things do happen–as they will–we need to endure, and then rise up and start all over again.



A Few of my Favorite Things


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I looked up the etymology of this word, and found that it was, in the 15th century, almost exclusively a legal term meaning, in modern terms, “You just lost your case.”  It was to lie under the power of someone else’s arguments, to submit whether you wanted to or not.

Today, I believe we think of it more in terms of finally losing the battle with death.  An obituary may read, “Mr. Smith succumbed to double pneumonia after a long struggle,”  although it’s actually pretty rare for an obit to name the cause of death.


Speaking on a purely personal level, there are other things to which I succumb. Voluntarily.


Chocolate. Good coffee. what-makes-22good-coffee22-good

Aromatic tea. Pot roast. A sappy romantic movie that I haven’t seen before. A book that engages my attention to the point of obsession. Sleep, especially when it’s been elusive for a couple of nights, aided by the My Pillow I recently indulged in. Got it on a special deal, and it’s one of the smartest purchases I’ve ever made.

Newborn babies with their fuzzy little heads cuddled into my neck.intl_mex_monica1_021_wide

My granddaughter’s new puppy when he snuggled his little snout between my arm and my side, warm and trusting.

Good music.  I like lots of genres, and I’ve filled up my Alexa with all sorts of songs.

A really good hamburger, juicy and fully loaded. Likewise, excellent pizza.







Good friends who “get” me, and with whom I can be completely relaxed, completely me. That’s a rare and precious gift.


These are a few of my favorite things, things to which I succumb with pleasure.


Soul Mate


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“Never let a fraud steal your heart,” thought  Julie.

Too late. She’d met him on a well-known and highly-regarded dating website. He had all the right assets. Smart, funny, independent, good job, loved babies and puppies—maybe too good to be true.

So they’d agreed to meet in a public place just for coffee. Each drove separately, so there would be no awkwardness if things didn’t work out.

The electricity between them could have lit up New York. They drowned in each other’s eyes, speaking without words throughout the evening.  When he gently, carefully touched her hand, she was lost.

“What a gentleman,” she thought. He wasn’t pushy, wasn’t brazen and forward. She wanted to see him again.

They made another date, and the relationship progressed like a love story in a fairy tale.  Julie felt she’d met her heart’s desire, the other half of herself, the best guy in the world.

It lasted until she came home from work one day and found her door already open, the lock broken. Her apartment was empty. The police took the list she’d made, but they weren’t hopeful. Her laptop was gone, all her good jewelry, clothing, shoes, anything of any value. He had her computer, so he also had access to her finances.All she had left was what was in her purse and her car.

And the fragments of a shredded heart when she found the note on her bathroom mirror:  “Hi, Julie. You’re looking at a sucker :)”



A Little Member


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First thought:  Lion tamer in a circus. But I don’t know anything about that.

Second:  Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, which is one of my favorites, but I just don’t feel like it today.

Third:  Taming the tongue.  Now, there’s a topic I understand from first-hand experience as well as years of child-rearing, teaching, and counseling.



Hardest thing in the world to tame.  The Bible says, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” (James 3:5)

Can you imagine how much better off we’d be in all our relationships, in government, in world affairs, if everyone would just control his tongue?

Don’t read the comments on news events, because they’re usually full of profanity and personal insults.

Nothing is sacred these days. Sex, all flavors and varieties, is spoken of openly and with great vulgarity. Even personal hygiene is advertised on TV these days, for crying out loud. Honestly?  I don’t want to know that stuff.  There’s a reason for closing the bathroom door when you go in there! 

It seems there are lots of people who don’t know any other adjective but the F-bomb, and they use it as liberally as they use salt on their popcorn.  A simple sentence is bloated by the use of this language, so that, for instance, “We went to the store,” becomes “We blankin’ went to the blankin’ blankin’ store.”  Really?  Are you angry ALL the time, or just when you go to the store? 

Our little tiny tongues have set the world ablaze because we just can’t control them.  To make matters worse, the communication tools of today have made it easy to insult and offend people all around the world in a matter of seconds. 

The American West has been on fire this summer, especially in Montana. Every single one of those fires started with just a spark.  Maybe someone carelessly dropped a still-smoldering cigarette in dry grass. All it takes is a little spark to set thousands of acres to burning. There has been very little rain to damp down the ground, and the sparks find easy tinder when the wind picks up. It’s terrible. People have died, and homes have been destroyed. 

We do the same damage to people’s hearts and minds when we set them on fire with just a few words from an out-of-control tongue. 






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Interesting that this word should be the prompt this morning.  Earlier, while searching for an illustration for my Bible study blog,  I came across this:


Image result for cartoon: child on Santa's lap, "where are you in the Bible?"

Of course, Santa is not in the Bible.  My parents must have done a good job of helping us to understand that Santa was make-believe, like Mickey Mouse or Superman. I honestly do not  remember ever believing that Santa was real, and still I enjoyed that aspect of Christmas, knowing very well that it was just a fairy tale.

There were no presents under our tree from Santa.  He was not the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-present power figure in a red suit that filled the store windows. There were no elves, no Mrs. Claus, no magical toy factory at the North Pole. Still, we sang Rudolph the red-Nosed Reindeer  and Here Comes Santa Claus in the same way we sang other fun songs.

We never sang them, though, with the same attitude of expectation and awe that I remember when we sang Silent Night, Holy Night,  or Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem.  We knew those songs were from a whole different realm, one that was sacred and holy, and not to be reduced to fairy tale status like Santa Claus.

My mom and dad told us the truth right from the beginning. They never had to deal with the trauma of our realizing Santa was a hoax, because we always knew he was just a story.

Seems to me that what they did is a lot better than teaching kids to believe in Santa and then having them realize it was all a lie.