Friday, March 30, 2007


(Supposedly, this was written when Mrs. Bombeck discovered she had terminal cancer.)

I would've gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would've burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would've talked less and listened more.
I would've invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would've eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would've taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would've shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would've sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would've cried & laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."
There would've been more "I love you's", more "I'm sorry's."
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it .. . live it and never give it back.

STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!! Live life so you have few regrets. :o)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Not So Big!

Yesterday, I rode along with Jay as he submitted a resume for a construction job. While we sat in the office waiting, I was able to read an interesting book about new trends in Architecture. One trend that really resounded with me was called 'The Not So Big House'. The premise is that today's main housing trends are "the bigger- the better". People build to impress by sheer size- while skimping on interior details. The 'Not So Big' house designs are modest, but elegant homes with open living spaces. Why waste money and materials on rooms you will rarely- if ever use? Formal Dining Rooms add to the value of the home, but really- how many people in our fast-paced culture even use them enough to make it worth it?? 'Not So Big Houses' make maximum use of minimal space. When you spend less on square footage, you can afford to be artistic & creative in how you design & decorate the dwelling. It's a beautiful thing!!

When Jay & I built our first house years ago- a 1750 sq. ft. home, we had this idea in mind. While other people we know are mortgaged to the hilt and stressed out in order to have as much space as possible, we chose to keep things simple & personable. I don't need a house any bigger than I myself can maintain. For me, anything over 2000 sq ft. is too much space. I remember when there were just 3 of us, I stayed home in a huge 4 bedroom (rented) farmhouse and when my baby was napping, I felt this big, empty house would swallow me up. So we kept it simple, did the work ourselves and our total monthly mortgage payment was $300 a month. Can't beat that! (We'd be there still had we not made the foolish decision to follow a bad job elsewhere.)

Jay needs a dream right now. He needs hope, so I pulled him into a discussion about 'Not So Big Houses' and he went along with it. Before we knew it, we had a wonderful talk about design ideas and he was actually hopeful that someday we will again design and build a home of our own. The whole point of scaling down is to have quality not quantity, and to create an inviting atmosphere.

Perhaps churches are in need of simplifying a bit as well. When the 'mega-church' mentality kicks in, we are after quantity, but are we offering quality encounters with God and with each other?? Success is measured by how many baptisms are gained, how much tithe comes in and how many names are on the roster. Wouldn't it make sense to focus more on member-retention? What good does it do to bring newbies in, if our own members are feeling neglected or malcontent? Instead of going out and winning over scores of converts, perhaps we should focus more on nurturing and enjoying the ones we already have first? Growth happens more naturally & gradually that way. Maybe the church would be smaller, but would this lend to a greater degree of sincerity in congregations?? Don't get me wrong, I'm not against growth, but I am wary of excessiveness.

I hope to build a 'Not So Big House' again someday. It will be a cozy and functional place to raise a family.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Fortune smiles on me today! After two interviews I have been able to get a job doing Customer Service at the YMCA up here. I will work 6 hrs a day. Praise God!! We sure needed the income and this is a tough job market. I start my training on Wednesday. I officially begin earning a paycheck next Monday. It's a real boost to my spirits and the fact that my former employers gave me such awesome references makes me feel good inside.

There is always some kind of bright spot in the darkest times...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Woman's Heart...

A woman's heart is a mystery- sometimes even to herself. We are deep, complex beings capable of giving a cold stare that will stop a man in his tracks or an embrace that will melt the hardest of hearts. A woman's soul is a treasure, one which needs to be dealt with firmly but equally as gentle. Do NOT make the mistake of thinking you ever have completely won her heart. A women is to be pursued and charmed all the days of her life by acts of kindness. She craves romance and little gestures that let her know she is still your heart's desire.
The biggest mistake men make is in believing they no longer have to work at the relationship. To let little opportunities to express some thought and consideration pass by.

When I was a younger lady, I was quite lonely. I went dateless to most events my teen years. I sorta had a sweetheart, but he did not attend my school. My first love was a blonde farm-boy who was never too busy to take some time out to have a little fun on the farm when I was home on weekends. We used to laugh until our sides ached. He really was my best friend. After 2 yrs of official dating, I decided I was going away to college and broke things off. There were many reasons why a union between us for life may not have worked. He was a shy guy, still living at home with low self-esteem and shy- I always had to make the first move for conversation. My Dad didn't spend much time with me growing up- I never felt very important to him, so I viewed myself as unworthy of pursuit. The man I have shared over half of my life with is with me largely because I chased him down. I did a lot of things to show my interest. Letters, poems, creative dating. Much of the effort was unreturned or seemed unappreciated. I was so in love with being in love that I didn't seem to notice that our coversations were mostly one-sided and I was somewhat taken for granted. So, I set the pace in the relationship from the get-go. Then was caught up in the excitement of having children. They are so precious to me! I wish I could've had more, but after loooong labors and failed attempts, well 4 C-sections is more than any woman needs. Besides, you gotta have money to feed them all and 4 is more than enough. Jay was/is a nice guy and a good Dad. We have learned a lot together.

I read a quote from my 'Native American Wisdom' book that said, "The indian does not understand the ways of the white man. It makes no sense to stay with someone if you are no longer happy. Why do white men believe this is the way? If we were to live together unhappy and disagree, we should be as foolish as the whites. " Interesting cultural perspective. The Bible says that "God hates divorce but that He allows it because of the hardness of our hearts". Is a heart so easily moved by the beauty that surrounds me hard?

At this point in life, I'm asking so many questions. Sometimes my heart feels such doubt as to whether I am truly capable of staying in a life-long relationship. What happens when you are completely worn out or bored? Then what?? It's been 3 long yrs of hell for us. God, if You are ever going to come through for us- NOW would be a great time.... We are both tired & drained of joy. I believe my husband is capable of great things, but he is much like his mother was with a hesitant, negative view of life. He does not often pursue love or make it a priority. He says this is because he's just "too overwhelmed by life". Will he ever bust the rut he's in? Will I ever find the magic button by which to unleash his passion? He has told me many times that he is not the man I need. Sometimes I stay awake at night pondering these things. He needs me now more than ever, but deep in my heart, I know the doubts I have. 14 yrs is a long time to be with one person, but I do not consider it a waste. I've learned so much. Is there a point though, where you outgrow a relationship? Can you journey only so far with one person? Do you ignore your own needs for those of your children? Is it birth parents staying together until their dying day that they need to see or a healthy, functional relationship modeled before them??

Dating can be misleading. Fueled by movies & sappy songs, both parties put their best foot forward and the very fact that you are in love places blinders over the eyes. Our very chemistry betrays us. Some uncover reality sooner than others. I thought I was marrying a leader, an athlete and a guy with a great sense of humor. Instead I found that I had promised myself to a guy who was unsure of himself and indecisive most of the time. He hates to sweat and tends to be very serious. He said he felt deceived because he thought I liked to do dishes & housework. Truth is, I do, but not as often or to the extent that he does & not if the effort is criticized or constantly goes unnoticed. Work was his top priority- a fact he says he recognizes and wants to change, but will he? I now view myself as worth pursuing, but there is little-to-no initiative on his part.. He says "romance is for the wealthy", but I'm not asking for flowers or diamonds. Just be a friend, join me in some of the things I love. Talk to me as if you are genuinely interested in who I am. It costs nothing to offer to walk the dog around the block with me and have a conversation, to dream, to laugh. It costs nothing to take an interest in my hobbies. Ride bikes with me, play a game, read to me, or let me share my thoughts. Am I that uninteresting??

In the midst of hardship, I still want/need to laugh, to cuddle, to connect. We may have lost everything, but I am still here and I feel completey invisible. I'm trying to be patient, but it's going to be a while until he finds himself. Sometimes I wish I didn't have a heart...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Over It!

I am SO done with religious debates! I love to write and enjoy doing articles that are relevant to Christians' today, however, I refuse to get sucked into an argument. Sometimes people bait me with strongly-stated e-mails. For one, I used to be a debator. Loved it! I thought I was very sharp with words & reason and could out-maneuver people pretty well. The result though is a peculiar brand of arrogance about it- one which I no longer wish to possess. Heard two men debating an entire flight recently. After the first 30 minutes or so, no new information was exchanged, it simply became one man trying to convince the other by sheer will power and a determination to have the last word.

Three things I've learned about debating: 1) You are not likely to change the other side's mind about the issue at hand. 2) You are feeding ego- yours and theirs. 3) It's a waste of time, energy and vocabulary skills.

Life should be lived intelligently. Standing up for what's right by the way you live your life, not by how well you can wrestle with words for the cause you endorse.

People debate politics, as well as environmental and social issues. Been there, done that. Religious debates are the worst and there's no better way to make an enemy than to argue the spiritual realm with an equally bold opponent! I've seen even the ones with the meekest of holy acts pull out all the stops in the church parking lot and get mean. (Seriously- reminds me of two cats fighting over territory- hissing, spitting and clawing to assert themselves.) What's the dealio?? Christianity should be marked by a humility and grace that allows others to have their own opinions. Debating religionists and proof-texting, in a sense, says, "I'm the only one intelligent enough to figure this out and now I will enlighten you so effectively that you will have NO choice but to embrace my beliefs."

My advice? Enjoy your journey toward God. Be who you are and don't let anyone rob you of your experience. I don't bully or lecture others, and I won't allow strong-willed people to abuse my freedom either.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm Baaaaaack

Had a nice trip to PA. and back! Long flights, but nice companions to sit with both there & back. Must say that I much prefer to sit with men than women at times. The men will talk for a while, then let you sleep, while the women want to engage you the entire flight- often in the deepest of emotional topics. After nearly a week of staying up until all hours, I was sleepy, so appreciated having a more brief conversation and the freedom to take a nap. :o)

I am loving my 30's! Really, I am. Unlike my Mother who cried all day on her 30th, I embraced the big 3-0 with enthusiasm, wondering what great life lessons would unfold in the third decade of my life. Tell ya what, I'm not doing so bad either. My 20's were the diaper decade- legalism, sleepless nights, slow strolls and elastic waistlines. I have started my 30's with a heart full of adventure, love for my children, a more tailored look, a better understanding of who I am and where I want to be in life. I'm brave enough to ask questions and feel more confident. Also, the ugly duckling, plain-Jane that never got asked out on dates, the one who attended everything ALONE is no longer invisible. I was offered dinner by one man and a drink by another in passage. (Of course, I declined, but it feels nice to be noticed once in a while.) It's easy to doubt the sincerity of a spouse at times for they are somewhat obligated to say nice things. But the stranger in the airport who is simply nice to be nice- no strings attached is probably sincere. Both of these single guys were able to hold interesting, but appropriate conversations, knew that I'm married with children and that I had hours of boring lay-over time on my hands. When I told Jay about all this, he said, "I would not have minded a bit if you accepted the dinner invitation. What's going to happen in the middle of an airport anyway? He was just trying to be nice." Well, too late now, but it's probably safer to err on the side of caution.

Saw a lot of familiar faces at the retreat besides my coolies in 'Message of Mercy'. Step-mom was there, also my Dad came to the concert, sister-in-law, father & mother-in-law, and a good friend of mine had flown in from Germany to see me. She & I stayed up late talking and I felt very encouraged by her presence. I very much enjoyed speaking to the groups of women who attended my 'Overcoming Approval Addiction' seminars. Basically, God IS love and He offers unconditional love. When we learn to accept that as fact, then we can learn to love ourselves- even if other people don't approve of us. When we treat ourselves well, we are able to treat others the way they deserve- even when they're cold. That's the basic pattern of how it works. When no longer seeking to please everyone else, you are able to be true to who God made you to be. FREEDOM! There are many dear ladies who literally kill themselves for their families, churches and careers- hoping that they can get a little approval from someone. That was me for many years, bending to the point of breakage in order to please everyone. I often said "yes" when my body & soul were screaming "no", but if it earned me a pat on the back, then it was worth it right?? WRONG!! People who have parents or churches that reject them are most vulnerable to approval addiction. I'm getting over it. :o)

It was nice to be greeted by my family at the airport when I got back last night. In fact, the very gentleman who offered to buy me dinner came up and introduced himself to my husband & kids. (Another reason I doubt he had any wrong intentions. He was nearly twice my age.) I'm glad to be back with the ones I love. It was a great trip!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Everyone has their Specialty!

Below is the link to an article on intelligence. There are 7 areas of intellect, although I do believe there's an 8th and that is spirituality. Some are gifted in that respect, such as prophets and oracles. Children who test strongly in 3 areas are considered "gifted". It is unfair for someone gifted in one area to think they are better than someone gifted in another, etc. When we work together using individual strengths, we compliment each other and can get things done. What is/are your strongest area(s)? Mine strongest points are words & music. Check it out:>1=9145&wa=wsignin1.0

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Death of All Privacy?

Recently read an article about new scanning machines that may be in all airports soon. They are called 'Backscatters'. These electronic eyes can see through your clothes and transmit your naked image to security personnel. This is to ensure better safety on the airlines.

Don't know 'bout you, but I'm a bit disturbed about this new invasion of privacy. The article states that the scan "isn't very detailed", but will show any weapons or contraband that may be strapped to one's body.

I'm not a prude, nor am I a paranoid, government conspiracy ranter, but is this really necessary? Advocates for the Backscatter machines say that this eliminates the need for a 'pat down' and will make security checkpoints move faster. Uhm, I think I'd rather have a pat-down by a female security guard then offer full disclosure of my naked image for some stranger to gawk at. Safety is important, but at what cost? If we say "yes" to this, what's next??

According to the article, these machines are already in use at Washington DC, Dallas/Fort Worth and several other US airports. What do you think about this?

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Joy of Sledding!

Yesterday, I enjoyed seeing my children go sledding for the first time. So much FUN! My husband even got in on the action- it was WONDERFUL to hear him laugh. The air was fresh & clean. We all got a good amount of exercise running up the hill and sliding down the icy shoot. It did my body & soul a world of good!
Free family recreation is harder to find these days! Thanks to a fun-loving elderly man with a sparkle in his eye, families up here can get out on clear days and sled to their hearts' content. Out of the goodness of his heart, he plows his driveway, clears a make-shift parking lot, then gets out sled discs, some shovels and a hose with which he creates the BEST sled hill ever. It looks like a Luge tunnel like they have in the Olympics and is quite long & winding. The man also constructed a lean-to shelter, under which you can enjoy hot chocolate & marshmellows. After several runs down the hill you get a little wet and can warm up by the bonfire. Everything is donated from a generous heart. Every so often, the sole proprietor brings out a trumpet and plays a silvery tune over the hill for all present to enjoy. When the sun goes down, one finds themselves surrounded by Christmas lights strung from tree to tree. It is pure magic...
I lost count of how many trips I made down the long slope. On my last run, I went into a spin and whacked my elbow pretty hard- it's all black-n-blue today. I spent the rest of my time chatting with Yoopers around the bonfire. During a quiet moment, as I watched my kids & their Dad go down the hill, having the time of their lives, I thought, "Now THIS is the best kind of evangelism!". The old man who has faithfully created this sledding paradise for 27 yrs was simply doing something nice for his community- out of the goodness of his heart. Little did he know that a worn and shattered family experienced a bit of healing yesterday because of him. (It was such effective medicine, I plan to take the kids again next weekend.) Nobody would ask why an elderly man like Mr. Steven Crook does what he does, as it's obvious by the way he bounds around the place that he simply enjoys watching people have fun. Now, because of his kindness, I'm very curious about him. Selfless people fascinate me. Perhaps next weekend we can get to know him a little better? Perhaps I will take him a 'thank you' gift.

Love reaches for the sake of reaching. The truest kindness seeks no reward- other than the joy of being good to someone. I am so touched that someone would do such a wonderful thing until he is too old to go on. I thanked him several times over. :o)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Safe Passage!

Well, we finally got everything packed, loaded and have arrived at our destination in Michigan. The snow is beautiful, but the roads were a bit perilous. I white-knuckled it as I followed the moving truck north- not used to poor driving conditions! I have a new pet peeve: when semi-trucks pass you and dump a load of sleet upon your windshield! There were several times when I just gripped the wheel and said a prayer because visibility was already so bad. The Whoosh and for several seconds we were driving blind. Scary!

The first night on the road we stayed over with some old friends from college. Next morning we enjoyed a good breakfast at Cracker Barrel and that night we stayed in a Super 8- which was pet-friendly. WAY cool! Other than that it was pure stress. Very hard to be uprooted, yet again for another cross-country move. I miss my job, co-workers and circle of friends. I miss my "Mom & Dad" in TN. However, I'm glad the trip is over with now. It is good to see our old friends, the Kings.
I enjoyed winter sports on college trips to Colorado. Sledding, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, even shoveling snow- gotta love it! It will be a lovely Spring and mild Summer. I need to get out on my bike. :o)

Here's hoping that Jay will be able to rest and heal from the events of the past 3 years and find a new direction for his life. My job at this point is to be patient and supportive of him.