I find most people fascinating.  Really I do.  People are interesting - what they do, how they dress, why they use the word choices they do, what cars or houses they choose to live in, how they view or filter things in life, how they approach everyday common things.  Driving is one of the things I find interesting about people.  I'm sure if you asked most other drivers, they would say they find my driving interesting, or annoying:)  Today, sitting in the left lane at a red stop light behind the white pedestrian walk line, I waited for the light to turn green.  As I waited, the perpendicular direction had a green left arrow.  I watched as a woman turned left toward me.  She wasn't really accelerating excessively fast as she rounded the left turn.  It was done at a normal turning speed.  But as she did, she nearly clipped the front of my car as she made a sweeping left turn starting to cross the center line and pedestrian white line.  It was a sloppy turn by not staying on her side of the traffic line.  What though, was extremely humorous, is how she turned.  Now mind you, when a car makes a turn (unless a stunt driver) all 4 wheels stay on the pavement.  The vehicle does not tip, but merely rotates directions.  More importantly, it does this all on its own by us making the appropriate turn of the steering wheel.  The car does not need us to lean to the left when making a left hand turn to tip the car that direction.  It does not need us to lean our bodies to the right when making a right hand turn or turning into a passenger side parking spot.  Some people do though.  This woman was one of those lean into it drivers.  I don't know if she found it amusing to drive that way, feeling as if she were part of a real live video game.  I don't know if she did it reflexively without conscious thought.  I don't know if she really thought that somehow the G-forces of turning dictated it.  She not only leaned a little bit left as she swervingly crossed the lane lines, but by her body language one would have thought she was an Indy car driver becoming one with her vehicle.  It was so extreme, her leaning that is, that I laughed out loud all alone in the car.  I think she thought the turn totally depended on her lean:)  Really what her turn needed was better skill at maneuvering the lines!



I do lots of things in a day.  My husband says I go constantly with movement, both physically and especially mentally .  Some days are busier than others.  And, there are stretches where time is at a premium due to projects, extra demands at work, care giving, a temporary increase in obligations.  Write down everything you do in a day, everything you think about, pray about, talk about, everywhere you were, count the people you might have come in contact with.  Write down both tasks-tangibles and intangibles-thinking, feeling, praying.   I have a relatively small world.  My personal world consists of me and my spouse, family, friends, church, work, a house, a couple cars and all things that are connected to them through issues, choices, reactions, responsibilities, joys, sorrows, frustrations, which can involve health, aging, maintenance, relationship building and money.  That is just a broad stroke of my small world.  All these little tentacles go out from me creating a wider circle. Once in awhile if I look down the road too far and don't see a finish, I get overwhelmed.   I wondered today what God did today.  What would be on his list of things He did, worked on, accomplished, orchestrated, felt, said, experienced?  He doesn't have just his own little small world that basically involves himself because His family IS the whole world.  The tentacles that reach out from Him are ginormous.  He lights the world daily with the sun orchestrating the rotation of the earth precisely to create warmth, coolness, light, seasons.  Nightly His creation formula sets the sun and creates the ignition of the night sky life.  Everyday He oversees the created world of animals and plants.  Daily God keeps in motion the laws of the natural world - of oxygen and gravity - sustaining the perfect conditions for life to flourish.  If that isn't enough, He knows the number of hairs on my head, your head, everyone's head.  He hears our thoughts, our hurts, our words even if not spoken out loud.  He lives to love us and all the things that are part of our lives, our minds, our souls, our spirits, our bodies - our small individual worlds.  Multiply that by the almost 7 billion people on the face of the earth.  The Bible says that to God "a day is like a thousand years".  I think that partly means His timetable is not marked like ours - with a direct start and precise stop.  Time just is with Him.  Unmeasured, boundless.  Time matters so much less when you are not about tasks but about relationships.  I think when you create something - time, humans, nature - you know it like the back of your hand.  It is familiar, a part of you.  It's not work then but a fluid extension of yourself.  That's God - and all He did today.



Stopping by the local chain grocery store on my way home from work, I was waiting in the 10 Items Or Less Lane.  I had 4 items; 2 small roma tomatoes, a package of ground round, and a bottle of SIMPLY NAKED unoaked Pinot Grigio wine (Absolutely great wine....different taste without it being aged in oak barrels.  2 enthusiastic thumbs up from me!).  There was a man in front of me around 60 years of age wearing those blue jeans that are a strange sort of color.  The high waisted jeans are a sort of cross between jeans and dress pants worn mainly by older men.  He was one of those pant wearing men.  They were pulled up high, easily bridging half the distance from his natural waist to the bottom of his man breasts.  On top he wore some sort of strange vestage thing.  It wasn't a regular vest, but almost a man shrug if you know what I mean.  I found myself hypnotized by his aura, clothing and demeanor.  He was a bit annoying and I could tell the cashier wasn't amused by him at all.  I was amused though as I love to people watch.  He was a four star experience for me.  The line was building up quickly behind me; a lady who appeared to have had a hard life in just about every way shape and form, a gentleman behind her who probably did some sort of manual labor job, yet another woman and man behind them all holding just 10 items or less:)  I was next up.  I laid my four items, including the bottle of wine down.  Immediately, as is the law in my state (ID REQUIRED FOR ANYONE 40 AND UNDER), she asked for my ID.  I thought about all the jokes I could say to her but refrained as I knew she had probably heard them all.  The lady behind me caught my eye and I smiled at her.  The cashier punched in my ID in her system and handed me back my driver's license.  "I wouldn't have needed to ask for you ID but you look well under 40 years of age."  The lady behind me blurted out, "How old are you?"  By now all those in line are peering around each other to get a clearer glimpse of the interaction and conversation.  "Well," I said, "I'm actually 45."  The lady behind me, showing her hand explained, "Wow, I am 45 too.  I look old.  You don't look 45 at all.  I thought you were in your early 30's!"  I could feel the stares of the line behind me now scrutinizing my actual age to my looks and then comparing my looks to the woman's words.  I smiled both from uncomfortableness and a bit of validation.  Walking away the woman my age behind me in line said, "I can't believe we are the exact same age!"  I used to hate it when I was in my early 20's.  No one took me serious.  I looked like a kid.  Now, I love being thought of younger than my 45 years of age!  Maybe when I'm 70 I will look only 57.  Let's hope!



I am not a proponent of careless living.  Nor do I advocate the philosophy that we can do whatever we want-roll the dice and it'll all work out.  But, I am human.  I know that I haven't always chosen correctly in life.  That I answered the Jeopardy questions wrong.  Sometimes I defiantly and knowingly did wrong or harmful things, mostly to myself. I love the quote, "I am not this way by any other means but fire, and part of it arson."  Other times, the wrong choices or path I chose came from bondage, fear of living outside of dogma or the expectations of others, or just not understanding how to operate fully as myself.  I sometimes look back over the span of my life and smile.  Distance allows a fuller panoramic view doesn't it?  I can more clearly see reasons why I did certain things, why I didn't do other things, marvel at how I did what I did and see this path snaking through all my wrong turns, heartaches, disappointments, grief, longings, periods of waiting.  There is a verse in Romans 8:28 that says....

And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love him...

I have long since stopped trying to figure out God with my human reasoning.  I cannot fathom operating in a role such as Him; Author of all of creation and life, and yet yielding control of our lives to us.  In that mix of Creator of all is the power to control, but He does not.  Instead, He lays down that right even though best suited for it and allows us to learn, to experience, to come to know who we are created to be, to find our way to Him. In the business world that is like planting a seed but allowing ownership of the idea to be someone elses .  That principle normally causes a harmony and forward movement that wouldn't come if TOLD what to do.  God uses our choices, works them together for the purpose He had for us all along - goodness, richness, abundant living, fullness, grace and love.  It's as if God can take all the leftovers of our lives and create this incredible 5 star meal.  That is amazing!  God who created me, knows me from my raw DNA to the thoughts in my head, uses every scrap of my life - good and bad - to show only His goodness, His grace, His love, His redemptive power.  All the more reason I suppose I should trust Him.



I have a beautiful dresser.  It is very dark, a maple of some sort, with a chocolate finish.  Standing majestically on small legs the bottom is open to accommodate dust bunnies which frequently roll across my wood floors.  It has two drawers at the top (width of dresser), a deeper drawer centered beneath them with two cubbies with doors to either side of it, finished up with two drawers at the bottom exactly like those on top.  On the back edge of the top is a large mirror giving me ample opportunity to see my aging 45 year body naked as I fish underwear and various other clothes out of its drawers.  Sitting atop this dresser is my small necklace holder which houses 5-6 necklaces, a bracelet, holding in its base a button off my winter coat from last year (I'm a sewing slacker), and a pair of silver hoop earrings that I do not wear (I have pierced ears and own one pair of earrings which I do not wear).  A lamp sits at the far end of the dresser bookended on the opposite side by an easel and frame that a friend of mine gave me that reads, "A True Love Story Never Ends".  Next to it sits a small vase holding translucent flowers - a tchatchke (look it up!).  I don't have a summer and winter wardrobe.  What I own and wear in every season stays in the closet and in the drawers during their off peak wearing times.  There is though one drawer that I don't use in that dresser.  In fact, just recently I opened it curious to what I put in there.  I was wondering if it felt ignored as it never gets opened.  Here are its contents; 6 pair of black socks, two pair of brown, 5 pair of short running socklets, some pantyhose knee highs (unworn for years and years and years), one pair of full length pantyhose (in case age catches up to me fast and dresses with pantyhose become my way of life - never!), a handful of thin white t-shirts that can be worn to bed with pj shorts or bottoms, two white pj cami tops, two pair of long pj bottoms, one black sexy negligee, two pj sets which are actually quite nice, a pair of heel socks that my mom gave me to wear to bed after I have smeared cream on my rough heels (I have never worn them), and a knife my husband put there in the event an intruder enters the house in the middle of the night.  You might be thinking to yourself right now that you can't quite figure out why in the world I don't use that drawer, the contents within it.  It's simple; 1) I do not wear socks - not to run in, or even in the winter - barring rare occasions, 2) pantyhose are not worn by me now (too constrictive) nor will they ever even when I am 70 and my legs are full of purple veins snacking through my thin, opaque death white skin and, 3) pj's are there and only worn if we have company and I have to wear clothes to bed.  My top left drawer probably needs to be gone through, whittled down to what I use - NOTHING!



Stuff has always sort of been cut and dry to me.  Maybe I'm a simpleton.  Maybe I can easily sort through nonsense to what matters.  I'm not sure.  Either way, I usually don't waste time when I see it clear.   Now there have been things in my life that I had to take the slow train through.  We all have those things.  I don't normally process out loud.  When I speak it, I mean it with just about everything in me I have.  By the time I do speak it, all routes have been contemplated, all avenues and scenarios have been played out, wrestling it to the ground has occurred, prayer has been had and my spirit, mind, body and soul are en route to movement already.  I do realize many in the world operate differently.  There are out loud processors sitting in the gallery as I type.  I'm sure I confuse them.  But for me, they produce chaos in my world.  To listen to their processing confuses me, seems like background noise, spanks of indecision and is of a language from a totally different planet than I live on.  They could, in describing inward processors, say much worse!  Now that is not to say that I don't get things from other's thoughts or experience.  Quite the contrary, that is usually part of my mental, silent, inward wheel of processing.  When I was in kindergarten I saw that I had the best way to play kitchen.  I orchestrated and told the others such:)  When I was in high school and was responsible for playing the piano for show choir and my ride didn't show up (I was 15 at the time and couldn't drive legally yet.), I took my parents car and drove in 5 inches of snow to the school.  But did so only after I had exhausted getting a hold of my parents, grandparents and aunt and uncle who would have taken me (they were all at church and it was before there were cell phones).  Of course on that "decision" my dad later had a talk with me asking if "I was using drugs":)   I can't stand to be on boards or committees or sit through sales meetings.  Literally I think I might crawl right out of my skin.  There are usually a handful (sometimes those in charge or a predominate talker in the group) who want to belabor every damn thing.  They want to examine, micromanage, read volumes word by word out loud, talk to hear the sound of their own voice and puff their own tail feathers up.  I want to, based on the facts and best scenarios, make a decision and MOVE!   If a decision is up for grabs that usually means there needs to be SOMETHING done, something changed, a movement of some sort in some direction.  I once stood up in a sales meeting after 2 blow hards would not shut up about nothingness and said, "I have things I need to do to make money.  If we are not moving forward, I am going to my office to make money."   The meeting ended:)  I once sat on a church Missions Committee.  It was so painful for me that I extricated myself from that obligation eventually.  God didn't need my anger flaring as we "discussed" constantly and did nothing.  The word "movement" in music means a song, a separate sort of piece within a larger score of music.  These "movements" are distinct.  One starts and ends, then the next starts and ends but all within this theme, score, story.  There is something to be said about conclusions and starts.  I do my concluding inwardly and then start - move!



I don't like elephants in the room.  They are not designed for indoors.  And when they are inside, it leaves little space for anything else.  Movement is restricted.  What a great euphemism.  A grand word picture painting the obvious enormity of some issues and the ignoring almost blind approach to them.  I really believe that most things are better served by talking about them, dealing with the issue.  Difficult as it may be to approach some subject matters due to their sensitivity, size, possible volatility or emotional connection, ignoring them only adds to the perplexity of it.  Denial is not a solution.  It just delays the hurt, the confusion, the awkwardness, the pain - continually keeping it close though silent.  Not addressing something doesn't mean it's not there or that it doesn't hold sway.  Just the opposite is true.  Investigating an issue, speaking out loud what is trapped allows processing which can usually lead to some sort of peace with the person, the issue, the emotion. I don't thrive on elephants in the room.  But conversely, I don't want them crowding out the beauty of the room either.  I usually choose to address them.  Most of the time it works.  Most of the time I think the people involved, but who are unable to address it, are thankful - relieved almost to give the situation acknowledgment - that the stinger has been removed.  There are times though, where those in the room with the elephant just will not acknowledge it.  Over the past months I have addressed an elephant in the room with two people.  I cannot emphatically say that it changed the course of the situation.  What it did was allow the issue to be spoken out loud.  It validated that there were relationships that were not operating on a two way street.  I gave them opportunity to talk freely about the issue.   Both really chose to not be honest, to not want to grapple with their feelings or the underlying reason for them.  I felt better though.  I knew that I had done all I could with those two people to restore and re-establish a relationship with truth and honesty.  Remarriage can cause some elephants in the room.  Especially when you have kids with a previous mate and your lives continue to cross from time to time.  I desperately want this half of my life to be markedly different than the first half.  I have been married before and so has my spouse.  Recently moving Doug's daughter and husband meant his ex-spouse and her husband would be helping with the move also.  We had been around them other times for grandkids birthdays and recitals.  It was just uncomfortable - more so for them than myself.  I did not want the day to be rough as it was about Doug's daughter and her husband, not any of us four.   This would one of many interactions over the years where this sort of new definition of a family would be together.  I chose to talk to Doug's ex about that elephant in the room as her and I loaded our vehicles with stuff to be transported in the move.  Trying to validate her uncomfortableness, I expressed how great her and Doug's kids and grandkids were, how I didn't want to make things hard or uncomfortable for her or her husband Scott, that I truly wanted us to find a way to be ok, that I understood what it is like to be married for 25 years and then divorce.  I also told her that I wasn't going anywhere-here for the long haul and would love to find a way to make things better.  She admitted that the uncomfortableness was her.  I hugged her.  Something changed at that moment.  She let her guard down, relaxed and the day went very well.  Addressing the elephant in the room allowed her to be validated in how she might have felt, acknowledged the obvious, and also helped her know I was real.  Elephants are big, step on things and take up way too much of the room.  It's best they find their real habitat, the out of doors!



My husband works for a newspaper.  So, obviously it is delivered to our front steps every day.  There are certain sections I read daily, and others that I never read.  I never, ever read the sports section.  I do though read the front page, peruse page 2 (always to see my husband's name listed on the outside edge of that page), read through the weather charts, classified job ads (I find them interesting markers for the economy), sometimes Ann Landers or Dr. Whoever his name is, business news, my horoscope for entertainment value which normally makes me laugh at its generalness, weddings/anniversaries and always the obituaries.  Recently I've realized that to read the obituaries when you aren't specifically looking for the obit of someone you cared for is well, rather old peopleish.  Probably is.  But I usually read all of them, every word of each of their lives.  I find that page moving.  This morning for instance, I read about a person who was 100 years old when they died.  I read about their life, who they were born to, who they loved, their children, what they had done occupation wise in life, their church affiliation, what took their life.  I looked at their pictures and wondered if they were loved?  Did they love greatly?  Did they leave behind a legacy, their soul mate, children who are now next in line for death?  I wondered how we go from young to old so quickly and what mark these people will leave with their absence?  All of those listed there today had a story, a purpose, a life full of experiences, sorrows, joys, heartaches, moments of delight.  All that we lived to the outside world is summed up in an obit.  I think that is a bit unfair and far too generalized.  We are far more than one column and 60-100 words can hold.   As I read the obituaries I usually ask God to be with those that are left to hold their loved one's now silent and vacant place.  Significance in life doesn't mean an obituary that is two columns long marked by degrees or accomplishments.  Significance is a God thing.  Because everyone on that obit page today was created and loved by God they had significance. 



I have a picture of my daughter and my two nieces when they were stair stepped in ages... Jessica my oldest niece - 4, Hannah my daughter - 3, and Joslynn my next in line niece - 2.  They are sitting on the stairs at my sister Diane's house.  I don't recall the event (that's going back 21 years!), but it must have been a Sunday during winter time based on what they were all wearing.  I love this picture because even at those young ages you can clearly see all three of their distinctive personalities.  Jessica, the eldest of the three, is smiling and singing at the same time.  Her mouth is wide open and her head back in pure moment enjoyment with music.  She went on to be a worship leader and loves life like no other person I have ever met.  My daughter Hannah, dressed in her green dress, white dress socks and shiny black shoes is smiling and laughing at Jessica's song.  She is not sitting "lady like" at 3 years, her white panties clearly seen.  She went on to love laughing and talking and getting into trouble in school for it at times (her entire Kindergarten year).  She loves her close friends fiercely.  She has always expressed herself through what she wears in a very creative way though her panties no longer show!  And lastly, Joslynn my next in line niece, hugging her blanket tightly with messy thin hair looks like she is floppy and mushy from giggling.  She is now, as an adult married person, still floppy (definition is loose posture, could lay down at any given moment, somewhat mushy in body language) and loves to hug.  I wondered about being who we really are.  If who we are is clearly seen by others even at an early age, why do we struggle at times to walk in it, to operate fully in the who-we-are zone.  Why does it usually or at the very least, sometimes, take us awhile to come into our stride?  I'm 45 years old.  I look back at my choices knowing my personality and desires much clearer at 45 than I did at 18 or 20 and wonder why I didn't pursue things I loved either relationally or vocationally?  Why I didn't, with confidence, follow things that my heart wanted?  Then I thought about if I have held others back from them being who they were fully designed to be.  That's tough isn't it.  Do I put expectations on others that are more about who I am and less about who they really are, even if unintentionally?   I run.  Some days running there is a zone you get in.  Your legs work smooth, your breathing is patterned, your body feels sort of effortless.  Other days, things hurt, your legs feel like boat anchors and you just can't find the run zone.  The zone is so much more fun and rewarding.  I am 45.  There is no one stopping me from certain things I want in life, but me.  I can't say that my parents are blocking my choice for a career like when I was young or that a bad marriage is holding me back.  I don't have kids at home.  Sometimes I still struggle with what I think other people will think of the things I really want to say in life.  Partly I think that is why I keep writing this blog, to distract myself from ultimately writing the book I want.  I have been sorting out this past year and half what my heart is saying, what I am passionate about, what I have experienced or lacked that is not necessarily unique to just me but many others as well.   I have witnessed divorce in the church and have not come out unscathed.  I think there are many others out there like me.  I do have a story to tell.  It's not always an easy one, a clean one.  My story makes many uncomfortable but it shows that as the church we are missing the mark with those that go through divorce inside the church.  My story is about getting to Graceland. 



Who says I don't want to eat a vanilla Tootsie Roll in July?  The chocolate ones are good, but since I am not a huge chocoholic, the vanilla are my favorite!  There is a contingency in the world who really do prefer vanilla over chocolate.  I get the fact that the white ones are reserved for Christmas (representing snow) and Easter (the resurrection of Christ ... ok maybe the tootsie roll makers aren't aware of the correlation of the color white to the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.  I suppose to use that in marketing might polarize their consumers!).  Who says that the flavor of coffee, Golden French Toast, can only be sold and therefore consumed between the months of November through February?  Personally I love french toast, the real thing, year around.  Maple and cinnamon are 365 day a year flavors if you ask me.  I get addicted to that coffee flavor for about 3 months a year and then crave it like a cocaine addict the other 9 months!  Why are marshmallow sugar coated shapes - peeps, bunnies, Christmas trees, santas, ghosts, pumpkins - only massed produced 3 times a year?   Ok wait!!  I do though suppose theoretically they have a shelf life of nearly half of infinity and beyond.  And, some persons I know purposely open the clear plastic wrapping to let them get good and stale before eating them.  That could take upwards of 3 months - long enough to get you to the next batch of holiday "peeps" which will be released!  Brach's candy corn is another seasonal tease which lasts for maybe 6-8 weeks and then is whisked away until the end of September the following year when the rationing begins anew.  Although, you can occasionally see a small bag of Brach's candy corn or some horrid off brand hanging in a drugstore candy aisle or Speedway gas station other times of the year.  Beware!  It is old and stale and brick hard.  The good stuff only appears once a year.  I love cranberries - fresh, not jellied so much or canned cranberry sauce. I stock up on packages of fresh cranberries in November to put in the freezer. I love turkey year around and my family loves my cherry cranberry salad. I also love cranberry bread! I realize cranberries are seasonal, but tomatoes are too except for those grown in greenhouses year around!  Why then can't I get a fresh cranberry in June??   Eggnog is yet another holiday temporary item. For some of you that is more than great news:). I grew up with my mom making eggnog in the blender.  She served it up raw eggs and all to us. That was before the "don't consume raw egg" scare of the the last decade!   I love that thick vanilla nutmeggie taste. Who says I don't hanker for it in April??  There is one thing that I am totally thrilled that only makes an appearance once a year.  Cheap, hollow chocolate bunnies and possibly fruitcake.  Since I'm not a big pop or soda drinker, I wish the makers of say Pepsi would only release regular Pepsi in June, July and August to commemorate the celebration (thus the bubbles in pop) of our country's independence.  I mean really who decides to withhold cranberries year round but give the public Pepsi every day of the year!



Memories are sweet.  They are this magical place we can go to in our hearts and minds.  Only falling short of the original in actual proximity.  Memories are not though any less poignant or powerful than the original.  Sometimes I think memories are more powerful than the real thing - more detailed.  It causes us, much like a blind or deaf person, to totally tune into what we felt, heard, saw, thought or experienced without the event or person or thing before us.  Memories triggered by reminders can bring sweet relief to our troubled hearts.  They can though, at times, bring back grief or sorrow or longing.  Last summer I was riding my bike through a park.  Alone on the ride just enjoying nature and thinking.  As I rounded a corner I was slammed with an overwhelming smell of honeysuckle.  So powerful was the memory that I was instantly transported to my great grandmother's front step were I used to smell that flower.  In that smell she resided.  A flood of thoughts and feelings rushed through me.  I felt sweet remembrances of who she was, how I felt when I was a kid in her presence, the beautiful woman she was, the grace she wore.  I didn't want that moment to end.  Turning my bike around I rode back through the triggering honeysuckle stopping to linger a bit.  Out the other morning running in the fall drizzly cold I smelled a fireplace burning wood.  Without conscious thought I was at my grandparents house on the lake at Christmas time.  There was laughter, homemade candy, grandma bustling around waiting on everyone.  I saw gramps carrying in wood to stoke up the fire.  For a moment I was there.  I cannot walk into a hospital without feeling my chest tighten, without feeling trapped-stuck in the desert.  I spent a lot of time in the hospital.  So did my first husband.  Hospitals instantly take me to a very dark part of my life.  I actually feel like a miner when I am visiting someone - very constrained.  A few years back someone told me of a job opening at my local hospital and suggested I go apply.  I could not do it.  The thought of working in a hospital felt like a death sentence for me.  It is a memory I don't want to be reminded of.  The smell of paint takes me to my childhood.  Sick as a child one night, my mom let me stay up and lay on the couch watching "Creature Feature" while she painted the living room.  Now as a grown up, the smell of paint reminds of a feeling of safety and being taken care.  That one is a bit weird!!   Cleaning products instantly wash over my emotions reminding me of my mom - her ritual of cleaning everything top to bottom in the house on Saturdays (I still don't want to clean though!).  I can't drive by a Burger King to this day without instantly feeling love for my daughter.  She spent the better part of her toddlerhood wearing a Burger King crown while she ate at the kitchen table.  It brings a smile to my insides every time I see a Burger King.  Original music written by out of the ordinary musicians and poetry reminds me of a dear friend of mine.  Whenever I read a poem by Emily Dickinson I think of that person and my heart grows a bit larger for that moment.  I smelled rubber cement recently having not smelled it since I was about 7.  I laughed as I asked my boss if he cared if I smelled the jar of rubber cement on his desk:)  Thankfully he went to school with me growing up and together we recounted what that smell reminded us of.  For a moment we went back to kindergarten, Mrs. Hollaway and paper chains.   Winter now reminds me of my husband Doug.  The cold, the white snow contrast the warm treasure I found in him on December 28th.  In starkness - in the midst of the harsh, hurtful things that have happened in my life, God brought love, warmth, and joy to me.  Because of that, winter triggers something new in me. Which reminds sister Diane says all things "cherry flavored" remind her of the liquid medicine our small town doctor used to prescribe to anyone under the age of 12 or to me till I was 20 as I couldn't swallow pills.



This is a two post day.  I have written 300 posts on this Tripped Out On Life's Textures Blog as of today.  If I were a television show that many episodes would garner me the status of "The Red Green Show".  300 episodes-blog posts would put me close to "ER" who closed out at 331 episodes.  It would win me the status of surpassing in volume;  "The Love Boat", "MASH", "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Cheers".  I have been picked up again for another season.  Of course by me only. 


I went to bed with a barrette in my hair.  Not one of those plastic purple butterfly ones either:)  My hair is naturally wavy randomly mixed in with not totally stick straight pieces,  Yesterday I straightened it completely.  So, by day's end, it was hanging in my eyes.  To get it off my face I pulled it back with a barrette.  I don't know if that is acceptable hair etiquette for a 45 year old.  (Great!  Now I have a 75 year old image of myself; very thin white wispy hair that I am refusing to cut short held back on the side by a barrette.  My scalp showing more clear landing spots than the surface of the moon. Remind me to cut my hair long before then, ok?? )  I then, after wearing the barrette all day, proceeded to go to bed with it still in my hair.  Now the problem with a barrette on the back of your head at night is that sometimes if you lay just right, it hurts.  Afterall, it was metal.  The other problem is much greater.  By morning a normal bed head becomes something akin to a Pentecostal teased mess - the after effects of a night with a barrette.  That was me.  As I laid in bed with my husband talking and snuggling, I kept shoving my hair from my face as my Pentecostal (I am not necessarily Pentecostal in religion nor does my normal hairstyle resemble their trademark big teased hair) updoo was more than askew.  As I pushed my hair back once again I told my husband that I had overly bad bed head.  He replied in pure Doug fashion, "Baby, you are beautiful no matter the hair!"   He changed his tune as I crawled out of bed, went to the bathroom and returned to bed.  "Babe, what happened in the bathroom (laughing hard).  Your hair looks like it got sucked up in the exhaust fan!"   My Pentecostal updoo created by a barrette, sleep and snuggling was a hysterical fright!!  As he left for work I explained that I was whopper jawed.  Doug looked at me like I had spoken Croatian, "What?"  "Whopper jawed," I said, "You never heard that phrase?  I'm not sure its real meaning can be found in Websters.  It's probably Midwestern slang.  It means; off kilter, messy, not straight, askew, cock-eyed."  I challenged him to finding a way to use it in a sentence with one of his employees today to see if they would know the meaning as well.  Doug said he thinks he will make a Lynn's Lingo Dictionary which will include whopper jawed as well as the phrase I blurted out over the weekend as I watched the movie "Cujo", "Beat his head like a rotten pumpkin!" (in reference to the mom using a baseball bat to the rabid dog Cujo's head).  Really, I'm not from Kentucky!  A couple states north though:)



A style-ista I am not.  My wardrobe is really fairly small.  And, within its smallness I only wear a repeating few.  Everyone has "favorites" in their wardrobe.  No matter the volume you may possess, we gravitate to those items we feel are us in clothing form, feel good on our skin, our feet or highlight the part of our body that we like best.  I have a handful of those items -  my penny loafers, two Gap three-quarter zip stretchy sport shirts, a pair of Aeropostale to the knee tan shorts, two black thin zip up hooded sweatshirts, and two pair of jeans from the Gap.  My husband, daughter and all who know me well, have commented on my penny loafers.  I know, I know.... they really aren't in style any more.  Well, at least not in the contingent United States:)  I have wore penny loafers for years and years.  Best worn by me sockless and mostly only during the months of October through April.  The story behind this particular pair of penny loafers is an answer to prayer.  During my single stretch, I needed to replace the pair of penny loafers I had because they were completely wore out.  A brand new pair of good, high quality penny loafers runs $70 or so.  I didn't have $70 to frivolously spend on ONE pair of shoes.  One Saturday morning I asked God to let me find a new pair of penny loafers at Goodwill that day - to provide that need.  I walked into the Goodwill store, down the used (ok, some of you are getting violently ill right now at the thought of a used shoe!) shoe aisles.  There they were.  The only pair of penny loafers they had - size 7 1/2.  They were narrows which I need in slip on shoes.  The bottoms were virtually unscuffed showing they had not been worn much.  I smiled, thanked God and wiped a small tear from my eye as I picked them up.  Hannah, my dressing trendy little 100 pound daughter, says penny loafers are not in - that I should branch out and buy something modern.  I can't.  I just can't walk away from a shoe that defines who I am.  Doug, my husband who always wants to do things for me, smiles inside and out when I slip on those Goodwill penny loafers.  He wants to buy me new ones and probably wishes I would wear something else.  I can't.  They are me.  Every time I wear them I feel like Lynn, care-free, and am reminded that God has always taken care of my needs.  Clothes define us all to some degree - playing out our personalities with fabric and leather.  But, they are really just clothes and shoes.  I need them to subsist in the world system we live in since it is not a nudist world.  The older I get the more I understand older people - clothes are secondary to other things in life.  I do though love a great pair of jeans, no socks and a pair of penny loafers!  If they ever come back in style, I will be ahead of the curve!!



My 1950's brick house has stood in need of a few projects since I moved in here a year and half ago.  I love its sturdy plastered lightly textured walls, except for the dining room, kitchen and bathroom.  All three of those rooms had wallpaper in them at one point.  The tell-tale signs of painted over wallpaper adhesive and bits of it behind the outlet plates have been found.   Last Thanksgiving I painted the dining room and the living room walls, ceiling, trim, 3 window frames and five door openings.  It was a marathon painting weekend!  I hated doing it, but it looks great and modern now.  The adult kids of the couple that owned this house before me (previous owners were in their 90's) did a very quick and sloppy update paint job throughout the house, threw ceramic tile over top of linoleum, and tore all the carpet out revealing hardwood floors (they redid the floors-the only thing they did halfway decent!).  My husband and I remodelled the kitchen in the Spring making a 1950's kitchen look like current times.  It is beautiful.  We then proceeded, not more than a month or so after that big project, to tear off the back room of the house to create a beautiful patio with a privacy fence.  At the close of each project we usually say, "Ok, we are whipped!  No more projects till next year, or at least for awhile."  So we have this half finished updated house.  Moving from the garage (painted), to the kitchen, to the dining room and living room ends the asethetic updating leaving 2 bedrooms and the bathroom yet to do.  Both of us took a week of vacation to just stay home - having non-project things we both wanted to do.  We decided foolishly to paint and update our very small bathroom (we only have one) thinking this would be a quick two day project, allowing us plenty of time to get some other non-house related things done.  The bathroom is 4.5 feet by 6 feet.  The adult children had taken off wallpaper, painted the flat walls with flat paint without cleaning the goo off before painting:(  It literally looked like crap!  It had remained in a half started remodel state for months until I finished texturizing the ceiling recently.  One thing always leads to another doesn't it?  There was a large pedestal sink directly in front of the shower.  It was 23" in depth which left little room for you to exit the shower.  Now was the time to put something newer, smaller and more current in.  The medicine cabinet was circa 1950's and needed to go, along with the light which screamed SHINY CHROME!  To paint a room that small it's just easier to take out everything you can.  We had the paint for the bathroom - bought months and months ago.  It was called Damp Pumice (who the hell named that and why would that be attractive - and yet it was!) and was a sand finish paint.  Times had progressed from when I had created my own sand finish paint years ago by mixing literal sand into a gallon of paint.  You could now buy it emulsified together and for double the cost of a regular gallon of paint.  The walls needed their imperfections hidden and this was the best route sort of plastering to do that.  The can read, EASY TWO COAT COVERAGE.  Well, it was neither easy or done in two coats.  A coat of primer and THREE coats of sand finish DAMP PUMICE paint and 4 days later the bathroom was painted.  That paint required a minimum of 4 hours drying time before recoating, and the sand created sort of a paint barrage that flew everywhere when rolling.  Time had made me forget how horrible it was the first time I had used a sand finish paint.  Sort of like at 45 years of age I have sort of forgotten how painful child birth was!  My husband sanded, primed and painted all the cabinet and drawers, installed a new light and graciously went without a shower for a day as the mess was just too great in there!   The toilet tank was back on and we were ready to install the new sink and vanity we had purchased.  The final stretch was here, the last few things to do to finish this project that had now morphed into 4 full days.  Left to do was; set the sink, hang the mirror, finish the last bit of window and cabinet trim painting and then put on new handles.  The moment of truth arrived as we tried the cabinet we had purchased.  NO!!!!!  The vanity, beautiful wood and porcelain sink would not work as its pedestal leg rested on the floor vent.  Old houses have old criteria that sometimes is hard to match new modern sizes with.  We returned the sink/vanity sadly but with confidence that they might make that same one in a 30".  We needed 30" wide by no deeper than 18" due to size constraints.  It was a 5 hour store tour that led to lunch at Chipotles, me being grouchy, and us returning home empty handed.  We still have no sink in the bathroom.  It's a two step process to do anything in the bathroom - showering and then to the basement sink to shave or do your hair, going to the bathroom and then to the kitchen sink to wash your hands.  Frustration mounting in our search around the world for a vanity and sink to fit, I love what my husband said, "You know Jesus might have had the right idea with that whole picture and basin thing!".  



Paradise is on the horizon for the political junkies out there over the next year leading up to the soon to be presidential election.  For others, it's an upcoming year of signs.  I mean quite literally signs, as in the political kind.  There is a fine line between marketing something, including yourself, just short of the annoyance and defeating the purpose line.  Advertisers do it all the time .  Sometimes they cross that effective to over saturated marketing pattern.  Kohls Department store is a great example.  In the demographic market I live in Kohls has A BIGGEST SALE, SUPER SALE, LARGEST SAVINGS OF YEAR SALE every week.  At least 3 times per week they have a flier in the local newspaper.  Their advertising, or bombardment as I like to say, has now crossed the line to somewhat ineffective.  If there is always a sale why would I need to read the flier 3 times a week?  And, if there is always a sale what do I ever have to look forward to?  And if there is always a sale are the goods really that high quality?  It's like making Christmas a daily holiday.  It would lose some of its allure, deep value, meaningfulness - making us all broke, very fat and strung out on sugar!   Over advertising, hawking your goods - or in the political context-yourself, smacks to me a bit of a travelling ball bearing salesman.  A little bit is good.  A lot is presumptious.   Don't say the word "CHANGE" either.  No one can own or campaign on the concept that things need to, will, or even shouldn't change.  Change is a life concept!!   Get in line politicians - change occurs whether you intend it to or not much of the time!  There is a mayoral race in my town this fall, along with various other positions like city council.  Coming back from a run yesterday morning I giggled at the signs adorning my neighborhood.  In fact last week someone from the current mayor's team canvassed my door with some pamphlets informing me about why I should vote for him.  It didn't make me want to put a sign up (they are a pain to move to mow).  My elderly neighbor lady had two political signs in her yard until this evening.  Someone stopped in front of her house, got out and placed another candidate's sign there too.  I wondered if she had ok'd that sign or if that corner, with other signs already there, was just a great place for BEAN FOR COUNCIL to place a sign.  I don't know what you do as a political candidate that isn't seriously overdone.  What methods you must resort to that aren't already on the menu - speaking/campaigning/fundraising/media exposure/call center banks and SIGNS!  I am dreading a year of them to be honest.  My husband did wonder today if he ran for an office what would his catch be.  I don't know, but when he figures it out it will go on a sign.  He's got plenty of time to come up with a catch, a slogan, a remembrance.  Probably forever! 



When I was growing up my mom had quite the spice jar collection.  She made it herself.  Possibly from necessity - lack of money and not finding jars she liked.  Possibly from creativity - she also scrapbooks.  And possibly from one of her loves - recycling.  She is not a chef who might use some obscure herbs and spices, but she is a good cook.  Her spice rack consisted of old baby food jars, labels removed and lids painted a gold color.  The name of the spice could sometimes be found on a label on the jar.  Other times, it was a mystery what herb or spice resided inside that Gerber Squash baby food jar.  She had an old plastic lazy susan inside the cabinet by the stove which housed those jars.  I used to love to spin it around as a child!  I can still see the jar with coriander seeds in it.  That jar never seemed to decrease in amount.  I'm quite sure that those coriander seeds were waaaayyyy past their lifespan (FYI-spices have an expiration date for freshness).  I too have had my share of systems for spices.  None of them have been necessarily uniform or easy.  Until recently.  When I bought the house I am currently living in, I purposely shopped for a spice rack.  I was tired of 25 years of various and sundry spice bottles from different companies.  Some read DOLLAR GENERAL on them - like the cinnamon I tend to use in Biblical proportions!  Quite tacky indeed:)  New house, new kitchen and now there would be a new spice rack.  Why is it when you are purposely looking for a particular something you can't find it?  After trekking through a half dozen stores, I finally found one that I liked.  It was black, three-tiered, housed 27 jars of spices and spun around (that I wanted as a grand childhood memory!).  The jars were already filled with spices and labeled.  I suppose someone at XYZ Company determined which spices were most frequently used by wanna be cooks everywhere.  It came with coriander seeds:)  Their research must be off or they were just looking for a visual difference for aesthetic value.  I wondered really how much coriander the world uses.  Honestly, I don't think I have ever used coriander.  Of the 27 jars that I can spin around, it is the only unopened and unused spice.  I'm thinking spice companies might want to consider a coriander campaign to bring the uses and benefits of this rarely used and obscure spice to the public's attention.  I am googling recipes with coriander in them and forwarding them to my mom also.  If you too have coriander unused in your house and want my recipes, leave me a comment:)



Certain things in life are highly entertaining to me.  Sports are one of those things.  I played some in junior high and high school; track, volleyball, tennis.  But only through my freshman year in high school.  Don't really have a competitive bone in me.  The only competing I do is inside myself against myself.  Others don't motivate me to excel or drive me to win.  I can drive myself to those things without one lick of competition.  I love real life stories of people.  That's why I read biographies, memoirs and autobiographies.  Professional sports have morphed into something through the years that is akin to the Hallmark channel.  Yes men, I said it.  Sports have too many personal stories woven into them.  Seriously, sports are to entertain us, not pull our heart strings or paint some sort of emotional picture in our hearts and heads.  I'm quite sure those player/athlete stories originated to fill time between games, quarters, innings, rain delays, Olympic venue changes, increase the female viewing population, or to give men an outlet to cry at and still be accepted by their male peers.  They will break away from the heat of competition to an athlete human interest story.  It is bracketed by music putting you more in mind of a musical score for the movie "Titanic" than befits a professional football game or Olympic archery competition.  I laugh every time I see one of those pieces.  It seems totally incongruent to me and almost cheesy.  I am a big Bob Costas fan.  The networks have used him in about every sporting venue and in quite a few of those candy-ass athlete human interest pieces.  But, come on Bob!  Really, if I tune into a sporting event, I don't want to hear you commentate on Michael Vic's life that led to dog fighting, jail and back to the NFL.  I want to hear your sweet announcers voice bringing a sport to life.  It's simple.  It's a sport.  Quite making it dramatic.  Make it a well-deserved break from life - a game, some entertainment, some play of sorts, highlighting some great athletic ability and call it a day please!



I am not a cigarette smoker.  Never really have been.  I was a teenager once and tried a couple, but to be honest, it wasn't my bag!  Inhaling something smokey and hot into my mouth and lungs just didn't keep my attention or create a desire for more.  We are all different though.  We all have some pressure points, something(s) that holds our rapt attention, a particular Achilles.  We all have a vice.  Cigarettes is not mine.  I can walk away from them.  Never pick one up.  Be around people who smoke and I have no desire, no pull for the nicotine.  Mine, is real cream.  Half and half.  I confess it as my indulgence, have to have, won't drink my coffee without it.  My friend Big D laughs at me claiming I am a "cream snob".  I have had to time and time again take her through the course, Cream for Coffee 101.  She does not get it yet!!!  I drink my coffee sugarless.  That doesn't mean I put artificial sweeteners in it (morally and physically opposed to them - see a future blog regarding my real view of that!).  Absolutely no sugar in any way shape or form is part of my cup of coffee.  That being said leads me to artificial, fakie, chemically laced man-made creamers.  Note, I said creamers.  Creamers - powdered or liquid that list mostly ingredients that I cannot pronounce but start the ingredient list with sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, powdered milk, dextrose, polydextrose, maltodextrin or any form of mutated and chemically altered sugar and quasi milk products IS NOT CREAM!  As a cream drinker, non-sugar consuming coffee drinker I get disgusted with artificial creamers.  Big D, THEY ARE NOT REAL CREAM.  THEY ARE NOT HALF AND HALF.  I have tried to reduce the amount of real half and half I put in my coffee mainly because milk products and I don't really totally get along, and with age I really need to fight my slowing metabolism by consuming less fat!  I like my coffee light tan, the color of an Asian person's skin:)  That poses a problem - the ingestion of too much cream.  Through the years I have tried to wean myself off cream in my coffee.  My attempts have always been highly unsuccessful.  Short of an intervention (might have to try that!), I can't seem to give it up.  I have tried some creative methods to wean myself off cream; 1) not buying half and half but whole milk, 2) limiting myself to only one cup per day, 3) using vanilla flavored soy milk, 4) infusing coconut milk 2:1 ratio to cream, 5) carefully measuring the cream to only 2 cereal teaspoons for each cup, 6) using goat's milk and, 7) self talk.  The results of those attempts went something like this; 1) whole milk is just not as thick and creamy as half and half, 2) one cup is not quite enough, 3) soy is crap and has a hint of sugar in it, 4) coconut milk is watery, 5) carefully is really a very subjective word and life makes you hurry sometimes, 6) goat's milk is much easier on my stomach, but leaves a strange taste in the coffee-GOAT and,  7) reason never trumps desire for very long.  I went so far to take my container of half and half to my sister's house this week leaving it there when I left for my brother-in-law (He loves cream too!).  Hoping, without it in the house, I could again wean myself off it.  That worked for 2 days till I went to the store to pick up a couple of items I needed.  While there I realized I needed some half and half too.  I don't need butter on my toast.  Can eat a turkey sandwich with no mayo.  Without feeling cheated, I can leave the cheese off most anything.  But, I can't seem to get the monkey off my back - CREAM!



I am not necessarily a bread head, as those who crave and deeply love bread can be referred to. I have a bit of a wheat intolerance.  So bread, if eaten too often or in too large of quantities, does me not well.  My great grandmother made homemade bread when I was a kid.  Ah, I can still smell it coming from the oven in her summer kitchen.  She would slice it warm, spread it with butter and slather it with her seedless raspberry jam.  We would consume it like vultures to a dead critter.  Wait a second, I was salivating down my chin as I could almost taste the buttery, doughy, raspberry goodness!!   I have been giggling lately regarding Dairy Queen's commercials for some sort of meal deal with, as they say, TEXAS TOAST.  Now really I don't want toast with my lunch or dinner.  That is unless I am eating breakfast foods for lunch or dinner like say an omelet, bacon & eggs, or some sort of eggilicious quiche or bacon casserole.  I lived briefly in Texas.  I get the reference to TEXAS.  Everything is bigger there....  especially the sky.  Its expanse is ginormous and seems to leave  little room for the earth below it.  I googled the words "texas toast" and conferred with my source of knowledge for things weird and obscure - WIKIPEDIA:

Texas toast is a type of packaged bread (not sold toasted as the name implies) which is pre-sliced at double the typical thickness of most pre-sliced breads. Popular in Texas and the states surrounding it, Texas toast is generally served toasted as a side with southern-style dishes such as chicken fried steak, fried catfish,[3] or BBQ[4][5]. Texas Toast can also be used when making toasted sandwiches.  The actual toast itself is made by putting butter or margarine on both sides of the bread and broiling it until lightly golden brown.  Texas toast may have been first created in 1941 at the Pig Stand in Beaumont, Texas, after a bakery order for thicker slices of bread resulted in slices too thick for the toaster and a cook who suggested buttering and grilling them as a remedy.[7]

Whether that is true or not I don't know.  If a normal piece of bread brushed on both sides with butter isn't bad enough, we need double the size:).  Texas Toast seems strange on many levels...a state name in front of a food item.  A bit possessive don't you think!  What do you think about Kansas cupcakes?  Or Wyoming waffles?   I ate a piece of wheatless gluten free bread today.   If you think of a state that wants to possess that tasteless drool let me know!



For various reasons, including that we left our second vehicle overnight in the parking lot at my husband's work, I dropped him off at his office this morning on my way to work.  I drove, which is out of the ordinary for us as he drives almost always.  I kind of like that he drives me around to most places we go together.  I am still getting used to this as my previous marriage dynamics were not such.  None-the-less, as I am driving the 7-8 minute drive downtown to his office I see him looking at me.  He is gazing intently.  I know what he is thinking as it is plastered all over his face.  I ask him why he is looking at me.  He just smiles at first - this smile of satiation, of contentment, of joy.  I keep driving.  He keeps looking.  We keep this up for a bit - me letting him have his extreme moment of pleasure and him not ready to let loose of what he is seeing, what he is feeling.  I smile clear to my very soul with a sense of completeness, humbleness, a measure of disbelief, and amazement over what this soul love has done for me.  I let it soak in.  His words that match the look in his eyes and on his face come out brushed with a sort of amazement.  They come out in the way you might feel if you stumbled across a sunset that painted the sky magnificent, or a walk through the woods that secretly opened to a meadow greener than anything you'd ever seen, or when all your children/grandchildren are snuggled in your house.  He speaks words of beauty, affirmation, longing, solidness, joy, awe to me.  They are not only present in that moment, but are framed in a solidness, a depth, a fullness that I have not experienced up to this age of 45.  He continues to look at me with wonder.  Several days ago I shared with him that never before have I found anything with that magical ability like the Bible has.  The Bible has this amazing ability (it would since it is divine in origin) that even though its words can be read and reread and read and reread, it takes on newness every time it is read.  I marvel that a book has that ability to be new and fresh even when you read it time and time again.  I am finding true love has something similar to that - a divineness that creates newness yet brings a completeness as if it has always been.  I take a picture of myself every day and text it to my husband.  My phone is filled with pictures of myself, which would be strange if I am ever in an accident and they retrieve it to identify me:)   Today, after dropping Doug off at work - After he looked and took me in all the way there - After he spoke words of beauty and love to me, I sent him a picture of myself.  It wasn't a glamor shot or a posed picture.  Just me in the car, in my work clothes, driving.  His response was, "I just made this pic my desktop pic.  You are so beautiful and I am the luckiest man on earth."   I know what it is to live in need of those words.  I know now what it is to have them in abundance - for them to be plentiful.  One is like a warm bath, a fireplace on a cold damp day, a well lit room, a glass of iced tea on a scorching day.   The other, like a cold shower, a furnace that is broken, and being caught in a downpour without an umbrella.    



Someone once said I write like Emily Dickinson.  She was amazing. I am not in her league. The comparison was not to fame but to style.  I am somewhat jerky, descriptive with my thoughts and emotions and like a hammer with how I say what I say.  I think she was a realist.  I read her stuff.  She felt deeply.  She felt deeply about many things in life - about nature, God, family, friends, her emotions, wanting love, waiting for love, death, longing, sadness, hope, mystery.  She painted great word pictures.  Some of my favorites of her works follow:

YOU cannot put a fire out;
  A thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a fan
  Upon the slowest night.

You cannot fold a flood         5
  And put it in a drawer,—
Because the winds would find it out,
  And tell your cedar floor.

HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;         5
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I ’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;         10
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

I MEASURE every grief I meet
  With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
  Or has an easier size.

I wonder if they bore it long,         5
  Or did it just begin?
I could not tell the date of mine,
  It feels so old a pain.

I wonder if it hurts to live,
  And if they have to try,         10
And whether, could they choose between,
  They would not rather die.

I wonder if when years have piled—
  Some thousands—on the cause
Of early hurt, if such a lapse         15
  Could give them any pause;

Or would they go on aching still
  Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
  By contrast with the love.         20

The grieved are many, I am told;
  The reason deeper lies,—
Death is but one and comes but once,
  And only nails the eyes.

There ’s grief of want, and grief of cold,—         25
  A sort they call “despair”;
There ’s banishment from native eyes,
  In sight of native air.

And though I may not guess the kind
  Correctly, yet to me         30
A piercing comfort it affords
  In passing Calvary,

To note the fashions of the cross,
  Of those that stand alone,
Still fascinated to presume         35
  That some are like my own.

I love the imagery those words paint.  She seemed to accurately write what I feel but am unable to always order clearly from my heart to my head  - those things I cannot fully know how to define until I read what she writes.  She finishes the sentence, the thought clearly for me.  That is a gift.  I think any writer, poetic, or lyricist hopes what they say speaks corporately though it stems from an personal place within, a desire, an angst, a thought, a story that has to come out.  That their words strike an emotion, a connection, a validation in the hearer's heart, mind and spirit.  Emily nails it time and time again.  I have to think would she have been born somewhere in the mid 20th century she may have been a songwriter (1830-1886).  Leave out some goests and shalls and she could have written some mad lyrics.    My daughter and I had a texting conversation today regarding emotional intelligence and how that is displayed.  How in touch we are with our own emotions and the emotions of others determines how we have relationships to everyone.  I am thankful for anyone who is free enough to express what they think, what they feel though not in a hurtful way.  People who have emotional intelligence to face and share their emotional thoughts and passions rank high to me.  It connects me to them, creates a familiarity of experiences that actually supports and encourages my own humanity.  I am grateful to Emily, and others, for sharing their journeys, thoughts, emotions, struggles, pain and joy with the rest of us.  Their gift has encouraged me and spoken to me time and time again.



I had just turned 5 a few weeks before heading off to Kindergarten in 1971.   The youngest of three girls, I was a tomboy of sorts, a bit of a messy.  Adorning my head was hair that usually looked not perfectly coiffed, but as though I had rolled out of bed, been chased by my mother to get it combed and won the race:)  I wore mostly hand-me-down clothes from my two older sisters who beat me in age by about 18 months in each stair step up.  Kindergarten was great!  There was a big sand box table built so it stood off the floor at about waist level, that is to anyone 6 and under.  One corner housed a small library and two squishy chairs that were low to the ground -  you could sink almost to China in them.  In the back of the room was the play kitchen.  It had all the great amenities of a kitchen complete with cupboards, dishes, a stove, refrigerator and a sink.   I loved the library and the kitchen.  It still holds true all these years later; I love books & words and enjoy cooking.  We took naps in kindergarten in 1971 on a trifold mat that was a required purchase for each kindergartner.  Mine was blue.  It reminded you of those gymnastic tumbling mats except designed for the smallness of a 5 or 6 year old body.  We actually had to lay still on the mat with our eyes closed for 15 minutes or so every day.  It was a killer for me!!  Then there was snack time.  The kids took turns bringing in snacks for the whole class, but milk was provided by the school for a nominal fee of five cents.  You had your choice of whole milk (people didn't have skim milk in 1971!), strawberry or chocolate.  In the farthest back corner of the room was a single occupancy bathroom with a big heavy door. I felt like Alice In Wonderland whenever I went through that big, heavy door.  Windows lined the whole west side of the classroom which distracted my tomboyishness terribly in the fall and spring of the year.  James was in my class.  He was sort of portly with ill fitting sort of too tight clothes which only accentuated his touch of doughiness.  How we know what we know as kids, I'm not sure.  What I knew about James was that he was being raised by his grandparents on a junkie little farm just north of town.  I don't know why his grandparents were raising he and his sister, so I made up some horrific story in my 5 year old head.  He lacked many things; manners, proper fitting clothes, restraint from eating ALL the snacks ALL the time, smarts and just all around kindergarten maturity - the likes of which I had in abundance:)  I'm not sure how much direction or help he got at home.  Even at 5 years old I could tell no one helped him or maybe even loved him like my parents loved me.  He followed me through most of the grades in elementary school.  In kindergarten he contrabanded a full-size candy bar and tried stuffing most of it in his mouth as the teacher caught him hunkered down in the china chair in the library.  In grades K-2nd, James had some bathroom issues which no doubt stemmed from his family situation.  There was numerous times when he would have an accident at school.  The kindergarten teacher typically kept a couple of pair of underwear and sweat pants on hand for such an occasion.  In 2nd grade James was in my class yet again.  I wondered as I saw him sitting at his desk the first day of school if he had mastered the bathroom thing yet.  No worries.  He hadn't.  Just a few days later James not only pooped his pants but then split them completely up the back.  With no spare clothes, and a call to his grandparents to come and get him, our second grade teacher gave James her long coat to wear.  I loved her even more than I already did for letting a poopy kid wear her coat.  He was so embarrassed he would not come out of the closet but stood with Mrs. Cripes' long beautiful coat on.  The smell of poop permeated the room.  We dubbed him James "lump lump" ______________ (last name withheld to give him some measure of dignity).  I saw him several years ago after having been gone from my hometown for 25 years.  I was pumping gas and looked up to see someone looking at me.  There he was  - James "lump lump" ___________________.  Neither of us said a word but just nodded our heads and smiled.  I had changed in 25 years and had to hope he had too:) 



I couldn't sleep Saturday morning.  I wanted to.  It was the weekend, but for whatever reason my body and spirit wanted up.  I woke up at 5 a.m. willing it to get light fast.  Having a bad dream that I couldn't clearly remember, I woke with what must have been portions of it in my head.  I needed it to get light soon!  When I could lay there no longer in mental torture thinking about something I had no desire to park my bus on, I got up.  The clock read 6:20 a.m.  After checking the temperature outside (40 degrees!) and realizing there was still fall gale force winds outside, I put on my running clothes, donning myself with a hat and a pair of gloves.  While stretching in the living room I thought about leaving my warm house when it was still dark to go into the windy, dark cold.  Was I crazy!  There are days, despite the weather conditions, that the pull to the outdoors is so great I think I will go insane if I don't go out in it - run in it, feel it on my face, breath it in my lungs, let it penetrate my spirit and make me right again.  There is a wonder in darkness, in the quietness that an early morning weekend run can gift me.  As I ran, I tugged on my hat bringing it down over my ears a bit further.  This 40 degrees with the wind was probably more like 30!  It was the first cold run since early spring for me.  I forgot how almost invigorating it was.  As I ran by people's houses I saw some lights on.  I wondered if they were like me, just unable to sleep in even on a Saturday.  Did they have kids in school and were readying for all day volleyball tournament?   Turning back on the last 2 miles of the 4 mile run, light started softly in the east.  The world was being woken up.  I saw no one out:)  I laughed at who other than me would get up at 6:20 a.m. on a Saturday to go outside in frigid cold to run.  Probably not many.  If they did, I hadn't seen them.  I felt almost guilty that I had the earth as my playground alone for those miles.  God had given me a gift that was just perfect for who I was.  I felt cold, tired, but remarkably energized by the alone time in nature.  No cars.  No people.  Quietly and silently I ran only hearing my breath and my own thoughts.  That moment was akin to eating a piece of pecan pie with a cup of good coffee - completely satisfying.  A comforting thing to me.  I thanked God for that gift I had gotten to have that morning.  As I crawled back in bed with my husband to get warm when I returned, I smiled as he grimaced from the frost still on my skin:)  No matter, he let me snuggle in taking some of my cold and replacing it with his warmth.  A run and a snuggle.  What a great Saturday morning!!



I am a coffee drinker.  Have been since I was 15 years old and was introduced to it in Puerto Rico on a trip with my parents.  Coffee Batistas weren't really a thing back in 1981. There wasn't a Starbucks on every corner or inside supermarkets.  It was an immediate affinity for coffee from the first taste of that strong Puerto Rican coffee mixed in equal portions with real scaled whole milk.  Without the benefit of coffee menus or knowledge, it was a Cafe Breve' in its infancy.  And, I loved it from the first swallow.  I did not have to re-taste it, be talked into it or even think through my opinion of it.  It was instaneous.  I loved it.  Now through the years I have developed a love/hate relationship with coffee.  Both from a connoisseur stand point, and that my system has a bit of an intolerance for it if I consume more than a cup or two a day.  Over this lifetime of loving coffee I have had moratorium periods.  Times where I gave it up for a season, a few months and once, even a year.  But I always come back.  I have been in line at the grocery store with a bag of coffee and the checkout person will comment that they love the smell of coffee but don't like the taste.  I've heard coffee drinkers tell non-coffee drinkers, "When are you going to learn to drink coffee?  You'll drink it when you finally grow up."  Taste is subjective but mostly immediate:)  My immediate love of coffee did not transfer to beer.  I hate beer.  There has yet to be a beer that after a sip I say, "Wow, that is great!  Give me more!!"  The opposite occurs constantly.  If in a situation where my husband is having a beer at a restaurant or with friends I will voluntarily try it.  Deep down I am hoping that particular brand will be the one that wins me over.  I have tried to deduce my dislike of the taste of beer to just not quite yet finding the one that suits my fancy.  Yesterday at some friends' house I once again tried a sip of my husband's beer - some sort of Octoberfest something or other.  With a room full of friends I blurted out, "Yuck!  That is terrible.  How can anyone say they like that?  Really come on.  If I had to drink that for pleasure I would have no pleasure in my life!!"  It tasted like I imagine shit might taste.  They all roared in laughter as one of them replied, "You have to acquire a taste for beer!"   If I have to acquire a taste for beer that is a tall order that I will never be able to fill.  If I have to acquire a taste for something when there are other things I love immediately something is out of kilter with beer drinking.  Acquire a taste.  For beer?  I hold to the either you like or not school.  Beer no!  Coffee yes!!