Monthly Archives: January 2013

Housework and the Thoughts It Sparks


On more than one occasion I have had my hands elbow-deep in the dishwater – only to have to quickly drag them out and towel them off (semi-dry) to go write down something that traipsed across my mind.

See, when you get somewhere {past} 40 years old, your brain decides to leave you guessing as to “What was I just saying/thinking/doing?” Also, famous is the “What was I in here for?”

You forget stuff…quickly and easily. Except for a few things that are utter nonsense – and those get stuck permanently.  (Just ask anyone in Tucson about the Bill Ellis Datsun song that’s probably still stuck in their head – complete with the ball bouncing above the repetitive words)

So, since this rapid memory loss happens quite frequently, I look forward to some of the more mundane chores of the day and keep something handy nearby to write down those fleeting thoughts.

Today it happened…with the new washer. (If you need a refresher on my recent washer flood – click here:

Laundry duty today seemed incomplete.  Fun, but strange.  It’s the new washer – it’s cool, but maybe too simple?

Gone are the days of starting the water, pouring the soap, letting it mix a little, piling the clothes around the agitator, choosing the water level …

Now, it’s {One click} {One pour} {One heap} {One button}

Kind of un-ceremonial.  No drama, just a little instruction reading and the next thing you know, you’re 2 weeks into using a {fabulous} machine.

Today it reminds me of saying “Good-bye” to some complicated things. Every new gadget that I’ve purchased lately seems to be getting simpler to use. But I know too well that just before Christmas I was saying good-bye to another complicated part of my life as a Mom.  I said good-bye to the school parties. (especially the unexpected occasions that get thrown your way without much warning)

In the blink of an eye, I just said good-bye to the years of birthing, breast-feeding, milestones, walking, talking, Girl Scouts, school clubs and the marching of 3 girls through the K-12 grades. Soon will arrive the graduation of the baby, and the end of a very complex, strenuous, time-consuming, life-in-the-minivan period of our family history. Toss in the military lifestyle and the occasional single parenting and you have the {blink of and eye} – {hindsight is 20/20} timeframe that only occasionally slowed down enough for me to see the beauty that was their childhood.

Fast and furious was what it felt like… which is not unlike my personality. I guess I thrived on it, but I am ready to move forward.  I think.

Yes, today it was something as silly as a washing machine, that has become so simple to use, that sparked some reflection on the pasts and the futures of our three girls.  This stretch of the road we journey as parents might turn out to be the simpler part of parenthood.  It seems like everything is slowing down, but each new thing seems bigger.  Their education and career choices – all in different stages – bring fascination…especially as they leave the nest.  Sort of… they’re welcome to stay as long as we can still afford to feed them…

So, they grow, they change and they blossom.  Right under our noses, and before we know it, they are adults… moving up and beyond the nest we call home.  I know many will tell me “they’ll be back some day,” but I know, it will never be the same.  This chapter of their lives rapidly draws to a close … and I’m just basking in the time we have left.


Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Life, in general


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Five Minute Friday – Again


It’s Five Minute Friday!  It’s a chance to write for five minutes flat – Unscripted.  Unedited.  Real.  Just five minutes of focused writing with our “Flashmob of Writers” and it happens here:


I love the smell and feel of her little kitchen.  The girlie curtains, the little table with a view, and all her diet “talk.”  She treats me with special attention every time I’m over.  Especially when I’m there alone with her and not outside or in the basement playing with her boys.

She’s like my own mother, and sometimes I feel better here than two doors down in my own house.  There’s always a treat for me and a special pat on the head or back.  Her supply of hugs is endless.  She sews for me and when I’m sick I come to her couch.  I’ve never been to anyone else’s house when I was sick and this only happened once.

Again and again – without explanation – this little girl goes to Mrs. Rice’s house and I guess she could be my “sitter” but I feel like just another one of her kids.

I remember well the night she had her little girl and the horrible night little Monica stopped breathing.  But everything turned out well even though we were all scared.

Later in life, I know why those those visits to her house were so precious.  My parents actually had spared me some of their problems at home by sending me two doors down.

How precious it is, to revisit those memories, again.


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A Chronicle of the Day


I did it… I actually left the house.  It wasn’t just a quick trip to the mailbox or to greet my fence contractors.  It was a trip to the Wal-Mart.  I know, no big deal, right?

Now, I know I was supposed to be at Yoga class, or even a choir practice today.  But, I grabbed my list and with all the determination I could muster I went out and started the truck.  I ran back in to wait in the warm house, but I never wavered… I was going out no matter how yucky I felt or how bad my head was hurting or how totally comfortable my bed looked!

There are times when all you accomplish is one good or necessary thing in a string of tiresome days.  But I’m going to tell you a secret… it all averages out…. because some days are phenomenally more productive than others.

Some days, you are the Mom, and/or the wife and your duties (sometimes all in one day) include:

Laundry, ironing, cooking, dishes, and mowing the lawn.  The banking, the bills, the taxes, and the dreaded federal forms for the college students.  You organize and manage the household, get the oil changed in the cars and have the tires rotated.  You’re probably the one who calls the {insert professional service name here} when the {random, expensive, broken item} needs said repair and/or replacement.

Then, there are days like today, when getting dressed and getting to Wal-Mart is a major accomplishment.  I even went the extra miles (literally) to the pet store for the exclusive Aspen shavings and food for the pigs.  {Guinea pigs, not my kids}.

So, why do these titles of “Wife” and “Mom” seem so small?  Maybe because they don’t come with a big paycheck, or a special title on the desk, or a specific diploma on the wall.  They have their own rewards, make no mistake, but they are etched on our hearts and are worn like brown porch paint on the favorite sweat pants you meant to change before you left the house.  These rewards are personal and intimate and come along when something goes right.

We can’t judge our value and worth by tangible items in these professions.   We also shouldn’t put ourselves down for a day that seems small or insignificant – especially if you work outside the house {God Bless those women}.  Because, there are still many hours left in your 24 hour day, so you’re bound to make up for it with a fabulous dinner (frozen pizza?) or to be the weary set of ears that listens to the play-by-play of lunchroom giggles from your high schooler. 

So, now that I feel full of worth and value and have patted and/or consoled myself for the day… I look up and notice the item that needed to be returned to Wal-Mart – still sitting on the desk.  That was the whole reason I was going in the first place!  Oh, the joke’s on me!  I think it’s time for some hot tea and a movie with the family to regain my courage for tomorrow.  It’s grocery shopping day!  Woo Hoo!

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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Life, in general


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Five Minute Friday – Cherished


It’s Five Minute Friday!  It’s a chance to write for five minutes flat – Unscripted.  Unedited.  Real.  Just five minutes of focused writing with our “Flashmob of Writers” and it happens here:

The other day someone told me – actually the whispered in my ear – “You look beautiful.”

No, it wasn’t my husband, and I wasn’t in a fancy dress at a party or grand occasion with friends.  I was in my exercise clothes, in a yoga pose, and striving – really striving – to accomplish many things at that moment, to include having a leg and an arm in the air simultaneously.

I was trying to concentrate, balance, hold in my core muscles, fight through the chronic pain that I walked in the front door with, and a myriad of other stuff to include the freezing rain and sleet that was falling outside.

I truly cherished her comment.  And with a host of other chance meetings over blogs and scripture memorization team comments, I cherished the fact that my God was looking out for me and giving me encouragement in the most unexpected places.

Yeah, even in a Yoga class and with internet acquaintances I can see His handiwork all over it and I feel encouraged by the one who created me, listens to me, and continues to guide me.

The One and Only who cherishes even me.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14


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Sharp Edges and Scripture Memorization


I’m finding a hard, sharp edge on my person today.  Whether it started with pain, or busyness and worked its way into my attitude and helped create my current stress level I’m not sure.  I am unclear of its origin or how to purge it.  It’s a rough edge that I think is my responsibility to correct.

The inside cover of my scripture memorization spiral lists my name and an instructional prayer for my year of scripture memorization.  It goes like this…

{Pray that God will bless you through this endeavor to memorize His Word!!!}

It’s an endeavor, but what is my motivation to do this?  I’m questioning myself, and God, as I pray. 

Is it just something new to do?  Is it based on a desire to interact with others?  Does it help me and guide me in my Christian walk?  Am I deprived of something that I’m hoping this act will fill?  Will it serve as an offensive weapon like the Bible says?  Will my act lead and guide others?

My sharp edge and attitude feel like unworthiness and fear.  These scriptures we choose are to be personally for us, and no one else.  I feel like I’m under God’s microscope or in his sights – like He is centering himself over me as I learn.  These will be my personal lessons, and not instruction for others and truthfully, that makes me a little nervous.  Am I ready to be pruned, again?  Or is this the answer to my prayers for this stage of my life that has been so difficult?

Today I will enter into the memory work on my second scripture verse.  So far, the theme has been about the Word of God…. I go willing forward, accepting the outcome, because God’s divine plan is written in these words that I take to memory and to heart and I will welcome the change… Maybe the next one should focus on fear?

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

This year-long scripture memorization is happening here –>


Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Life, in general


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Five Minute Friday – Dive


It’s Five Minute Friday!  It’s a chance to write for five minutes flat – Unscripted.  Unedited.  Real.  Just five minutes of focused writing with our “Flashmob of Writers” and it happens here:

I run quickly through the ocean’s edge to make a good dive past the breakers.  It’s about timing, and not getting tossed and tumbled.

I spent quite a bit of time strolling the foamy edge watching the waves ebb and flow in an infinite dance.  I just couldn’t decide what to do – stay on the shore and soak up the sun?  Or let go and dive in?

I choose to dive… it’s in my nature.  Head first so I can be where the waves gently swell and I can wade and float and feel the pull of the ocean.  Something so much larger and more powerful than me that I let go and let it move me.  No control, just enjoyment felt fully down to my soul.

It’s hard to find that balance in life, to live it to the fullest.  I talk, but I want to sing and sign… I walk with pain daily, but I long to dance.  I long to dive into life and get past the mess where I know I’ll find love and joy and freedom and life abundant.

John 10:10  I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full


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Washers and Fleas

maytag washer

I lost it this morning.  My sanity to be exact.  I almost lost it last night when I had to get into the bed knowing my cats had been on the comforter.

After arriving home from book club I found a piece of tape on my counter that my husband pointed out to me.  REALLY?????  You HAD to CATCH a FLEA to SHOW me????  What was I supposed to do about that?  At 9 o’clock at night?

Apparently, if I were a good parent, I would have danced my way into my daughter’s room and properly praised my 21-year-old-with-a-magnifying-glass-in-her-hand who saved us all from the FLEA!  But, NO… I got a case of the heebie-jeebies and resolved myself to feeling guilty for not having my own vet check the new kitten for the little bugs!  Bad Pet Parent…

Now, I know this sounds ridiculous but this is a true story.  And in any story where I lose my sanity, it has to involve water – especially in THIS particular house.

I awoke WAY before the alarm ever hinted at playing music and with steady resolve, I headed towards the kitchen for my coffee and my washing machine.

Truly, in my book, nothing cures or fixes a problem like the first cup of Folgers and my somewhat weak and cheap washing machine.  I had barely downed all the coffee before I was throwing all the fleece blankets and afghans in the washer for the first load.  I was looking up the Vet’s number to cry for help… and I was kissing my sweet high schooler as she headed off to the bus.

All was well, and I was ready to do battle with fleas!

Yeah, um, “Why is the washer making that noise?”

Um, shouldn’t I lift the lid and “see it moving?”

Yes, it should be moving, and you shouldn’t look down and see water on the floor.

There was no retreating.  I made arrangements to remove the 4 legged beasts and their vermin to the Vet’s office where they would take some magic pills and be kept for a few days.  Then I hauled all my bedding and blankets to the laundromat and paid $29.50 to wash and dry everything.   Then we went and bought a new machine.

Oh, back up… I lost my sanity and called my husband.  “Water on the Floor” is pretty much all he heard and he headed home to hold my hand and listen to my attitude and have a few arguments with me, because that ALWAYS works…

Now, I have finished the day.  And wrote it all down.

But, who’s going to bring my sanity back?  Well, I think this steaming mug of hot chocolate will do just fine!

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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Life, in general


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Five Minute Friday – Opportunity


It’s Five Minute Friday again!  Yeah, we’re back on, regardless of technical difficulties!  It’s our chance to write for five minutes flat – Unscripted.  Unedited.  Real.  Just five minutes of focused writing.

We call it our “Flashmob of Writers” and it happens here:


I don’t normally have to leave the house to clear my mind, but today it was necessary.  Desperately necessary.

It was dark as I drove down my country road thinking I might stop and park at the library to write.

All day I’ve {NEEDED} an opportunity to have some peace and quiet.  Time to be alone, with no one underfoot or the laundry begging to be finished – or even a computer screen staring me in the face.

Wow, I was hardly able to keep my eyes on the road – I was so distracted by the sky.  It was amazingly clear and the stars were as bright as diamonds overhead.

Opportunity is sometimes completely unexpected.  I ran to the grocery store, then parked at the library and got out and leaned against the car to look at the sky.  I would have pulled out the pen and notebook right there and then, but it was my opportunity to just BE there, looking up… loving what I could see with the naked eye.

Orion’s belt was in the Eastern sky – clear and precise regardless of the streetlights.  I’m in AWE.  And I’m a little saddened that this nature-lover hasn’t been bundled up and spending a little more time outside looking at the stars.  It was like it was created just for me, and I had been ignoring it.

Sometimes opportunity is unexpected, but this sky full of beautiful, untouched stars is available almost every night.  An opportunity I shouldn’t be passing up.


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Abandoned, for a reason?


I’m not sure this is how a writer should look, but I’m in the jammies and a robe, propped up with the pillows and my infamous wool socks… Oh, and please, let’s not forget the bifocals – at least the glasses fit the part!  Well, this is the way it is tonight because I just finished a movie that left me feeling a little desperate.  Desperate to dump on a page an unsettling piece of my childhood – all over again.  It’s better this time, though, as I see the words forming and the ideas taking shape…

All the way through this movie I felt the grumbling and churning of words and emotions that were begging to be spilled out on paper.  A confession of sorts, a purging of the angst over the childhood that didn’t go right.  It came to one word.


Like a vapor, I was gone.  I was on the leading edge of being a teenager – just 13 – and my tender, young life was full of boys, dances, braces, and blue jeans.  That’s when it hit – the big change of address.  A move like none I’d ever heard of before that day – except in fiction.  A move out West.  This tiny, scrappy girl from a small town in Pennsylvania was moving to a place I had only heard of in books.  I really don’t know if I even knew where Arizona was, to be honest!  Somebody, give me a map!

Cowboy hats and pearl-buttoned shirts.  Houses made from stucco with clay-tile roofs.  Cactus and various poisonous wildlife.  I was excited and thought that it was really cool!  I know I was hoping that all my friends would be envious.  And what teenage girl doesn’t want to be envied?  Well, noticed at least?  Okay … maybe talked about?

Slam.  It was like someone closed a giant safe door on my childhood and home town and locked it away forever.  A place for me to remember, but never to really touch again.  Some wise person said “You can never go home again” and yes, it’s true.  Sometimes, unbearably true.

Stares came from all the kids at my new school because I was the new kid and you {Always. Stand. Out.}  So much for being envied…because if I was being talked about back home, how was I supposed to know?

You can make a career out of reinventing yourself at this new place to impress the “natives.”  It must be a defense mechanism.  But, eventually, the right people pick you out and gently allow you to enter their world.  For me, it was Carol, Muffy, Michelle and a few others with long-forgotten names.  Their faces will be forever etched in my mind though…

restored cross jr high

Somewhere in our adulthood, we unearth it – our childhood. Everyone knows about this, right?  Not everyone sees their past as unfortunate…Some only remember glorious times and great parents.  Others can be overcome with regret and others even terror.  I remember feeling abandoned, alone, set apart, set adrift and somewhat forced to find my own way through the adolescent mess PLUS moving clear across the country.  I no longer had my 4 siblings, my long list of childhood friends, my Grandmothers, or my neighborhood full of sidewalks that took you everywhere you needed to go.  How else can I describe it other than {Night. And. Day}

Four years later, we made yet another move right after my high school graduation.  Another effortless transition?  No, but I won’t digress into some diatribe that makes you feel sorry for the kid who gets moved without any real support system.  Instead, here’s the redemptive part…

I soon married, really soon, like that Fall.  He was my high school sweetheart and newly inducted into the US Army.  In case you don’t know anyone in the military, let me just tell you… you move a lot.  Actually, his first duty station was in Korea and so we spent that first year apart except for 2 weeks of leave time.

Over the next 20 years we moved a few times, had 3 kids, bought a couple of houses…and you know what?  We did it well.  We were highly capable and knew how to prepare the boxes, the kids, and the mountains of paperwork.  No one could have adequately prepared me for this except for … Yes, my childhood.

God’s plan isn’t always clear.  It’s an adventure.  It’s a worthwhile (and continuous) lesson in patience.  Take a shy kid, from a small town, put her in a city, pour all sorts of adjustments onto her and then see what happens.  I’m not saying I didn’t spend a {TON} of energy on regret and anger over it all, but in the end, I can say with all certainty that every bit of it had {HUGE} value.  It’s still my life lesson… to learn my lessons from my life.  Or, if I’m feeling really confused, I pick out a few woeful souls from the scriptures and I can see redemption all over again.

I felt abandoned, for a reason.  And God never meant to leave me there.  Even today He means for someone to hear and understand those things about their childhood and how to have peace with it all.

I love my friends.  I have more than I can count and they live in a million different places.  And most days I’m connected to them, because they never forgot me.  It amazes me still, after 33 years, I can meet someone I haven’t seen since age 13 and with an almost audible WOOSH, that safe door opens and we all get a little thrill from looking back – together – at those 3 decades and we smile.  It’s a little slice of {HOME}.

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Life, in general


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