My Kitchen

How did you do on last year’s New Year’s resolutions? Do you anticipate there would be any leftover items to be carried over to next year?


We just did this one!  Come on, folks.

So instead, I want to tell you about my new countertops!  They are being installed right this minute, and they are even prettier than I remembered.  I’ll put up a picture in a minute.   I’ve waited 20 years for this remodel to take place.  We took out the wall between the kitchen and dining room, replaced it with a little breakfast bar. We’re having a new sink with an ultra-modern new faucet installed; new lighting; new cabinets, new floor.  It’s going to be SO pretty when it’s all done.  Terry has done much of it himself, as his physical pain and need for rest has allowed.  He’s amazing, really.  I’m so excited I can hardly sit still.

The guys doing the install are Japanese.  They speak some English, but not a lot.  They seem to be very amused at my jumping up and down as each piece goes into place.  They are very good at their work, obviously experienced and knowledgeable.  They think Terry is pretty amazing, seeing what all he has accomplished.

Where you see the little bar where the men are standing used to be where the wall between the dining room and kitchen was.  It’s amazing how taking that wall out has opened up the space.

I need to give credit where credit is due, to all the men I can remember who have helped Terry:

Our friend Norm, who really got the ball rolling on this project and shared his years of wisdom and experience.

Our son Mike, who helped take down the wall while he was here on a quick visit from Germany.  Hmmmm.  Take down the wall.  Germany.  Any symbolism there?

Our son Dan, who lives about half an hour away and has spent a lot of time helping in a variety of ways.

Our son-in-law Aaron and our grandson Luke who helped pull up flooring, and will be helping again on Thursday.

Our friend Joe, who was so generous with his time and expertise installing cabinets.

Our friend Tim who stopped in and got put to work for a few hours.

If I’ve left anyone out, please forgive me. The help has been wonderful, and  has helped us to value friendships more than ever.

If you’ve waited a long time for a much needed remodel, you understand perfectly how I’m feeling right now.



Love It!

The holiday season: can’t get enough of it, or can’t wait for it all to be over already? Has your attitude toward the end-of-year holidays changed over the years?


I love Christmas. Always have. Right this minute, I’m enjoying having slept in until 8:15 on this my first full day of being on my Christmas break.  What’s not to like?  I don’t go back to work until January 6.  Nineteen days!  I’m an independent contractor, so I can pick and choose when I work and when I don’t. At this stage of my life, that’s a real sweet situation.

But Christmas isn’t just about time off.  I understand, largely because of the work I do, that Christmas is the most difficult time of year for a lot of people.  Some of my clients have dreadful memories of Christmas Past that make them cringe at the appearance of Christmas Present and Future.  If you came from a radically dysfunctional family, then you laugh in derision at the song It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.  

If you are not a person of faith, Christmas may not have deep meaning for you. When that is the case, it becomes just another commercialized holiday, hyped out of reason and way overdone.  Even for those of us who celebrate the true, deep meaning of Christmas, the hullabaloo around gifting and spendingspendingspending can put a damper on the joy.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

I remember many years ago, reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s description of Christmas on the prairie, thinking, “That’s the way it should be.  There should be a sense of holiness, of quietness of spirit, of peace and hope and joy. The emphasis should be not on what I get or give, but on what the world received.”

And that, clearly, is the whole reason we have Christmas. What the world received when the Son of God agreed to be born as a human baby, to live and minister and die to get the victory over sin and death, that is why Christmas is a precious time. Let the rest of the world do as they wish to minimize this wonderful celebration’s true meaning, it has never changed for me. The holiness of the coming of the Christ Child overshadows all the glitz and glitter and get and give.

The gifts that are exchanged in our family are always delightful and fun, but we never let the gifting process become the center of Christmas. We give gifts because the Wise Men brought gifts to Jesus, knowing that He was the King of Kings. Everything we do at Christmas is based on this most wonderful fact, that Jesus was born to die that we might live forever with Him.

When we keep our sites firmly fixed on what Christmas is really about, we can keep the joy and the peace even in the midst of the craziness that can rule the season.  Yay!  the pings are back 🙂

Only Two Goals

What’s your next, most pressing deadline? Are you excited, stressed, or ambivalent about it? What’s the first thing you’d like to do once you’re done with it?


One of the best things about being 67 is that there aren’t very many deadlines unless I set them for myself. I really don’t have a pressing deadline right now.

However.  Big however. Time is passing faster and faster. There are still some things I want/need to try to do before I die. One of them, of course, is to write a book. It may be the only one. I may be just a one-book writer. I have a couple of ideas, both intriguing to me, and I feel a sense of urgency about one in particular.

I also want to get my “stuff” in better order.  I had a client some time ago whose father had died and left her to clean up over 50 years of his hoarding. It was overwhelming to her, causing great stress and anxiety in her marriage and with her children. She was the only child, so the whole responsibility rested on her shoulders. I will never forget her tears as she angrily told me, “I’m just so angry with him for leaving me this horrible mess to clean up!”  She couldn’t just toss everything willy nilly into a dumpster because her parents had tucked money, stock certificates and other important papers haphazardly into all sorts of nooks and crannies including books and record albums. It took her over two years to get the job done.

I WILL not do that to my children. I’ve already started the sifting process. I think they’re going to be surprised.  Now if only I could get DH on board, but that’s a whole different story.

And really, that’s about it.  One of the rewards of being older is that under “normal” circumstances, life really is a little less hectic.  I know that’s not true for everyone, but it is for me.  And I’m thankful.

No Writing Prompt Today

Apparently WordPress isn’t going to put up a new prompt today, at least not at the usual time. So I’ve been thinking about how dependent I’ve become on that little daily nudge to get me writing, and it’s both a good and a bad thing.

If I do the daily prompt, then I’ve done my writing assignment for the day.

If I do the daily prompt, then I don’t have to write anything else until I work on the next post for my Bible study blog.

I’m off the hook. I’ve been creative, maybe witty and funny, maybe serious, maybe just dull.

Word Press has been struggling with the writing prompt pingback for some time now.  Makes me wonder if they’re using the same web design folks that Mr. O is using for his healthcare boondoggle bloggle. I miss it. You meet lots of helpful, encouraging other bloggers who are also wannabe writers, and a few of them actually are published. That helps motivate the rest of us.

One of my co-bloggers has dubbed the daily prompt guy Wordy. I think that’s pretty cute.  Well, Wordy, I sure hope you’re getting things back in order, because I’m hearing rumblings from other bloggers that there may be a vast migration to other blog sites if things don’t get back on track pretty soon.

I don’t want to migrate.  I’m used to it here.  I understand how things work here.  Please don’t force me to learn yet another computer dealy where things all work differently from what I’m used to.  I’m old, and my brain is leaking cells out my ears into the ether, never to be recovered.

Boy, have I ever wandered down some rabbit trails here. I always enjoyed it when Bill Keane, creator of The Family Circus  comic strip, would draw one of Billy’s wanderings.  That’s kind of the way I feel today.

So I wrote something a couple of weeks ago that a fellow blogger liked, and he said he could see it developed into a whole book involving different scenarios from my work.  I’d never thought of doing that before. I’ve written little bits and pieces, but never considered making a novel out of it. I’ve been thinking about it ever since, though, you can be sure.

So that’s all for today. Maybe tomorrow there’ll be another prompt, or maybe they’re close to getting the pingbacks working.

One can hope.

The Quiet Ones

We all have our semi-secret, less-known personal favorites — a great B-side, an early work by an artist that later became famous, an obscure (but delicious) family recipe. Share one of your unsung heroes with us — how did you discover it? Why has it stayed off everyone’s radar?


The world is full of noisy people. I’m afraid I’m one of them.  Not all the time, but now and then.  When I’ve accomplished something, I like to hear a little drumroll, you know?  If no one else will do that for me, I’ll figure out some way to make it happen 🙂

So my unsung heroes are the quiet folks who just go about their lives without needing a lot of applause.  Don’t get me wrong; I believe every single soul needs encouragement. We all need a little pat on the back now and then, a bouquet of words that acknowledge us in some way. I’m thinking, though, of people who truly do prefer to be in the backstage jobs, and for whom the audience never claps and cheers. They are the ones who make it possible for the stars to look wonderful and to perform to the best of their ability.

Moms are often like that. Not all moms.  This is not meant to be a paean of praise to motherhood. Some moms hog the spotlight ALL their lives, never willing to step back so their children can have a turn. I’m thinking of mothers who go about their work faithfully, diligently, and with dedication. They run their households well; they honor their husbands; they rear their children to have a strong sense of respect for those around them and to have faith in God. They are often unsung heroes.

Dads?  Oh, my, yes.  They too are often the quiet support whose years are spent working to provide, protect, and guide. They don’t expect an academy award. That’s not why they do what they do.

Teachers. There are millions of them who never get the Teacher of the Year award, yet they have worked faithfully for many years, influenced the lives of thousands of students, kept the lamps of education burning brightly.

CNAs.  Certified nursing assistants.  Front line workers in the nursing homes that dot our landscapes in America. They are the ones who are hands-on with their patients, cleaning up the unpleasant messes that the human body so efficiently produces. Of course they’re not all perfect, but I’ve met so many who are always cheerful, always willing to go do what needs to be done.  I’ve seen male CNAs who are gentle giants, lifting and cradling frail old bodies to clean them, dress them, feed them. They leave me in awe. They are unsung heroes.

Our police officers.  Boy, are they ever taking one for the team right now. They’re being crucified in the press, in political venues, by those who would stir up hatred and anger at every pretext.  I’ve been deliberately looking for stories of police officers  who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help someone.  There are lots and lots of those stories out there. You won’t typically find them in the mainstream media, because they aren’t sensational enough to make the six o’clock news, where it’s all about ratings.

Our soldiers.  Oh, come on, you may say. We’re always being told about how our military is doing this fabulous job of keeping the world safe for democracy. Yes, to a degree that’s true.  But what happens to them when they come back home?  I read about a South Carolina soldier the other day who is home for  leave, and staying with his family. The landlord told him he had to leave, that he couldn’t stay there as a visitor.  Against the rules. And we all know about the scandal at the Veteran’s Hospitals, the way our soldiers are being backed up from the health care they need. If they’re not overseas somewhere risking their lives, they’ve suddenly lost that hero status.

I could go on. Pastors who truly have pastor’s hearts, who love their people and give of themselves for the well-being of their congregations. They’re not looking for fame or position or their own elevation. Just looking to serve God and others. Unsung heroes.

I like this prompt. It has made me stop to be thankful.

Silent Night

Write down the letters of the ABC. For each one, choose a word that begins with that letter. Now, write a post about anything — using all the words you’ve selected.


“This is such a busy time of year, sighed Katrina.”  Coming to rest  at the top of the Christmas tree, she folded her wings and settled next to Zoe. I’m supposed to give you a break, Zoe.  You’ve been standing here with your wings open for hours, and you need a rest. Why don’t you go invisible and find a shop where you can get yourself a bagel and some nice hot chocolate?  I’ll take your place for a while.  No one will know the difference.  After all, what mortal knows one angel from another?”

Zoe was glad to take Katrina’s offer.  She didn’t mind being the treetop angel for the White House Christmas tree.  There was so much to see! So many people walked by, and they were usually a happy bunch during the month of December Still, it would be relaxing to take that break.  She unfurled her wings and lifted off the tree while Katrina settled in for her shift. “Take care, Dear. There’s really nothing much to do, but you will need to watch out for that pesky cat that keeps trying to climb up to the middle of the tree.  Someone tied a catnip treat there, and the  poor kitty really wants it!”

Katrina settled in, enjoying the radiant lights on the tree and over so much of the city. The White House was beautifully decorated in the traditional style of the season.  As she rested on her perch, Katrina couldn’t help but think about that first nativity in Bethlehem.  There had been angels there, too—crowds of them, singing praises to the Son of God. She shivered as she remembered the echoes of that anthem as they rolled through the heavenly arches. Such joy had soared through the heavens that night! Katrina thought about the elegant presidential home compared to the humble manger in which the Savior of the world had been born in human form.

“My, my,” sighed the faithful angel as she glowed from the top of the dark green tree.  “If only the people down through the centuries since our dear Jesus was born weren’t so ignorant  of the great love and mercy  He showed by leaving the wonders of heaven to come down here and be a man for a while.  If only they truly understood His only objective, He knew He was being born so that He could die, the perfect sacrifice Whose blood would cover all sin. It still fills me with awe to think of the Father’s plan, and the Son’s willingness to fulfill it.”

Katrina suddenly realized that things had gone pretty quiet in the area surrounding the tree.  Peering down through the branches, she watched as two men set up a xylophone, a beautiful instrument that very few people could play these days. Seemed to her it was all guitars and drums and a lot of yelling into microphones!  As she watched, one of the men pulled a case out from under the xylophone. He removed four mallets that seemed to have some kind of wooden, maybe padded, heads on them. Holding them expertly, he played a melodious scale and then segued into the familiar harmonies of the world’s favorite Christmas carol, Silent Night.  The two men blended their voices to sing in perfect harmony as the crowd stilled to listen.

The mellow notes floated up into the crystalline air, seeming to melt into the stars of the heavens. Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born!

Your Dead

As it’s been a while since our last free-write… set a timer for ten minutes. Write without pause (and no edits!) until you’re out of time. Then, publish what you have (it’s your call whether or not to give the post a once-over).


So, it started snowing yesterday in the late afternoon, and looks as if it snowed gently overnight. There may be about two inches on the ground, nothing that will slow down traffic or cause problems unless there is ice underneath.

I haven’t gotten my Christmas shopping well in hand at all.  Which leads me to think of a Grammarly post I saw this week.  Many people are offended by the X in Xmas, feeling it leaves Christ out.  I don’t much like it myself, because it just doesn’t mean much to most people. But in fact, the X, which is Greek for Chi, pronounced ki with a long i, is the first letter in Christ’s name, and it was often used as a symbol of recognition among Christians during the early persecutions followin the return of Christ to heaven. Nothing wrong with it. Just not very meaningful to those of us who didn’t grow up speaking Greek 🙂

Grammarly is one of my favorite sites.  I’m a grammar nazi, and I wear my badge with pride. Don’t worry, I will never correct your grammar here. I don’t do that.  I do notice errors, though, and was appalled yesterday to see one in my own post that I had missed when I proofed it.  I used “your” instead of “you’re,” which is a mistake I just don’t make. Well, obviously I do. But not very often.

I saw a picture the other day of a guy who had tatooed “your” on the knuckles of one hand, and “dead” on the other.  Hmmmm.  Your dead what?  What do you have that is dead?  I hope it’s not smelly, and if it is I hope you don’t have to carry it around with you.  

And here’s another example of grammar nazi humor.  I was using a stall in a rest stop in Colorado.  On the inside of the door, I read this sign:  “Toilet flushes upon leaving stall.”

Bwahahaha!  I had a vivid mental picture of the toilet leaving the stall, flushing, then backing into its spot again.

It doesn’t take much to make me laugh 🙂

I Just Don’t Care!

“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” — Sylvia Plath


“Why am I expected to always put everyone else first, before myself?  Why doesn’t anyone care about how feel?  Why can’t I have the right to feel what I want to feel, to have my own thoughts and actions and reactions?  Why is everyone always angry with me just because I say what I think?  I’m trying to learn to be more assertive, not to let people walk all over me, but all it gets me is hateful reactions.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Like what, Sally?  How am I looking at you?”

“I don’t know, it just feels like you’re attacking me, like you’re being sarcastic.”

“I’m doing all that with a look?  Can you describe my look?”

“Why should I have to describe it?  You know what you’re looking at me like!  Why do you always want me to figure out what’s going on?  You’re the therapist, you’re supposed to help me! You’re supposed to tell me I’m right, and help me feel better about myself! I want you to be on my side, but you always defend everyone else!”

“Tell me what you want, Sally.”

“What do I want?  I want you to do your job!  Therapists are like machines.  I put in a coin, you say all the right things to make me feel better.  You haven’t done your job yet, and I’ve been coming here for weeks now.  All you’ve done is, you know, what you keep saying–trying to help me THINK differently.  I HATE that!  I don’t WANT to think differently!  I want other people to understand me and accept me for who I am, and I don’t want you to tell me I have to change my thinking!”

“Okay.  Tell me what you do want from me. Do you want me to just sit and listen, and not make any comment?  Do you want me to nod my head in agreement with everything you say?  Do you want me to tell you you’re right about everything, and everyone else is wrong?  Tell me exactly what you want.”

“I want you to do your job!  Don’t you know what your job is?  You’re the one with all the degrees and fancy letters after your name. I think you’re just stupid!  I think you don’t know how to deal with someone who’s smarter than you are, so you can’t think of the right things to say to me!”

“What are the right things, Sally?  Seems to me that whatever I say ends up being the wrong—“

“See, there you go again!  You interrupted me when I was still trying to answer you, and you didn’t let me finish!”

“Okay, Tell me what you want.  Tell me when you’ve finished talking, so I know when I can respond.”

“That’s not the way conversation is supposed to go.  You should know when I’m finished.!”

“Well, I thought you were. You had stopped–“

“But that’s the way I TALK!  I have to think, and then I talk more.  EVERYONE does that!  Look, I just want people to let me be myself, and that’s all I’m asking.  Is that too much too ask?  I just want everyone to accept me and approve of me for who I am, and quit trying to change me!  If people can’t do that, then I wish they’d all just leave me alone, including you!  If you can’t take me as I am, if I can’t have the love and approval I need from everyone without changing my thinking, then I just don’t care.  I don’t care at all.  I’ll just go home and live my life without you or anyone else, and I’ll be just fine.”

“Can I talk now, Sally?  Are you finished?”

“YES!  This is the dumbest conversation I’ve ever been in!  It’s just like the one I had with my husband last night!  He won’t just accept me either, and I’m sick of it.  I’m really sick of it.  All I want is love and approval, and if I can’t get it, then I just don’t care.  Is this session over?  You sure didn’t earn your money today.  I don’t think I should have to pay you, but I suppose I can’t get away with that. Anyway, I’ll be back in two days, and if you can’t think of some way to help me get what I want, then I just don’t care.”

“You don’t have to come back, Sally, if you really don’t think I’m doing my job, and if you really don’t care.”

“What?  Of course I’ll be back!  If I can’t talk to you, then I don’t have anyone at all!”


What’s the most important (or interesting, or unexpected) thing about blogging you know today that you didn’t know a month ago?


Without any doubt, the most important and unexpected thing about blogging has been the incredible sense of support and community that is out there.   I never expected other bloggers to be so helpful, supportive and encouraging.  It has been a great experience for a little over two years now, and I’m so glad I dipped my toe in the water. 

Blogging over these last two years or so  has given me the motivation, the encouragement and the determination to continue to write, and to expand into other areas including, I hope, a book someday.

It’s been a great ride.

No Change

When’s the last time you followed your instinct despite not being sure it was the right thing to do? Did it end up being the right call?


I had a client recently who absolutely refused to make any progress.  Week after week, I heard the same litany of complaints, the same blame laid on everyone else, the same excuses offered for why there was no change. 

It is so rare for me to “fire” a client that I had to consider long and hard before I followed my instinct on this one. Finally, I warned the person that if I didn’t see something tangible in the next month, I was going to terminate our sessions.

I guess she didn’t believe me. She was shocked when, a month later, I told her this would be our last session. She demanded to know why. I told her. She cried and carried on and threatened to report me to my licensing board.

Unmoved, I quietly gave her the contact information so she could follow through on her threat. She did complain to my supervisor, and she complained to her pastor. Both of those wise gentlemen agreed with my decision and supported me in it.

I haven’t heard anything from my licensing board.  I doubt that I will. This is a person who doesn’t really want to change; she wants everyone around her to change.

My instincts were right on the mark, and I’m glad I followed my gut.