No matter how old I get farting makes me giggle.  Long past my junior high years, a surprise fart from someone near me makes me smile and laugh.  Freedom Baby!
It is just a bodily function if you really want to break it down, much like blinking, walking, sweating, etc.  But for some reason it has gotten a bad rap.  It seems we want to categorize it to the naughty list of things we shouldn't do.  I don't know how that is.  Farting is just a natural anatomical result of the process of nature and digestion that are part of being alive as a human.  You can go as far as to say that farting means our systems are working - we are alive!!! 

Now I am not a scientist, a gastroenterologist, or a gerontologist (the study of aging and old people).  I'm just an observer. 

It appears that as we age gravity's force to pull us to the grave gets stronger.  Since we are not immortal (even though it seems that Joan Rivers is attempting to be), our bodies experience a failing of the warranty of youth.  Our skin loses its elasticity, collagen leaves us, most liquid levels like eye moisture, mouth hydration, and even vaginal lubrication diminish.  What an absolutely pleasant picture:)  Don't let youth fool you into thinking it won't happen to you.  There is no out running it ultimately, just possibly a slight delay.

Aging also brings a wasting or decrease in our muscle tone.  We lose flexibility as our muscles shorten.   If we lose the muscle tone all over the outside of our body, what must happen to the insides of us?  Which leads me to farting once again.

I don't think farting necessarily increases in volume as we age. We do though start to lose some of the muscle dexterity that controls the passage of gas. Simply put, our sphincter muscle also loses its tightness. Our old brown eye begins to droop:)

No doubt my grandma and great grandfather were living proof of my theory as they aged.  If there is both a genetic propensity and an age-related tie then I am in double trouble!!!!!!

That could be why I hear a lot of public farting from the older crowd while waiting at the pharmacy at CVS, in the waiting room at the lab, or while perusing the aisles of the supermarket.  To be honest, it doesn't bother me in the least.  I do not get offended by it.  I'm sure that well dressed older lady really doesn't want to pass gas in public.  Walking just causes them to come out.  The control of that muscle is retreating making something that might have been held in earlier in life sneak out.  Big D refers to it as puttering.  It is her contribution to the bevy of slang terms for farts. 

My grandma said, as she rose from the passenger seat of my car while farting quite loudly, "Whoops!"  It was her acknowledgement of sorts of what was very obvious.  She didn't belabor the sneak out fart exhibition, she merely owned it and scooted toward the door.

Personally I wish we could treat public farting much like we do a sneeze, God Bless You!   Why is one blessed and the other one condemned?

God Bless You, Grandma June:)



If you've ever watched the movie, "A Christmas Story", the one where Ralphie wants a Red Rider BB gun, you know that moment when the father gets his prize, the fish net stockinged leg lamp.  He places the lamp on the table in the front window.  The next scene shows him trying to figure out where in that conglomeration of too many plugs in the outlet to plug in the lamp.  By plugging in yet again something into an overloaded outlet in the 1950's, the power goes off momentarily as sparks fly from the outlet.  Moments later, a few curse words, and through baited breath, the outlet pumps out the needed surge of power and the lamp comes on.

Quite possibly I feel a bit like that overloaded outlet from the 1950's.  It's been a bit of too much at one time.  Yet one more thing that is overloading my already weighted heart and mind.  It's a collision course of many things merging onto the highway of life at the same time.  My outlet is overloaded!  Everyone gets that way from time to time.  It is a normal but unpleasant part of life.

I told my husband tonight that my head doesn't want to be burdened with the things that have seemed to want to occupy every square inch of it in high definition for the past week.  My heart wants to set it down, to not be dominated from every direction by my human reaction to some tough things.  I don't want to carry it with me.  I've asked God to help me process it, analyze it humanly if possible, and then face the fact that sometimes there are people and things that cannot be cataloged properly.  Some things are unresolved maybe forever in the human world.  Letting go of that stuff is way more difficult than things that are more defined and resolved.  There is more of a start and a clear finish to them.

What if I never get the resolution that is needed, that is proper, fitting and right?  Can I place this too in that basket of unresolved, unfigured out things and let them pass through without vindication or ownership of them declared by the guilty participants?  Can I clear my mind and heart of me enough to allow God to bind my hurt and present hate (don't throw your Bibles at me yet as God can handle our emotions) and get on with it?

I wondered this week if I were ever faced with a perpetrator in a court room who faced charges for killing someone I loved, could I forgive?  Could I forgive only if they acknowledged it?  What if that person never owned it, expressed sorrow, or was never found?  What if the unknown was never resolved?  I thought about those that had found in that place of unresolved horrific circumstances a land that flowed richly and abundantly with God's grace.  That is big grace.  Mine seemed small in comparison to those circumstances.

I asked God to make this unresolved and overloaded heart and mind fertile for God's grace.



Little kids are exhibitionists and full fledged adherents to the 1st amendment!  They are without full understanding of societal boundaries.  We garner that like moss as we get older.

I tried to think back to what my earliest childhood memory is - what age I can remember back to.  I think it was 4 years old.  Preschool was a new thing that was just gaining momentum in 1970 when I was 4 - not like they make it today.  The education system now tries to scare parents into believing their kids will not score high enough on their SAT test or get into their college of choice if they don't have a year or TWO of preschool!  Ridiculous!! 

When I was 4  years old I remember being downtown in the little town I grew up outside of.  I was getting out of our green Buick with my mom.  At 4 years old I was stating to her that I wanted to go to preschool and why I wanted to go - that she should and had to let me go.  I had no point of reference to what the hell preschool really was.  I just knew it sounded like something I wanted, no NEEDED to be in.  If I remember correctly, she heard me out but said no.  I didn't at the time have a full concept of the position of a 4 year old within the boundaries of arguing a point. No doubt I took it too far:)

My first cousins lived across the road from me growing up.  When I was 13 years old my Aunt and Uncle had their last child, an oops we thought we were done with kids thing.  One day I got off the bus to see my cousin, then about 2 years old, buck naked standing in the front yard.  She had no concept of nudity, a bus of on-lookers, or the embarrassment of her older sister getting off the bus. 

When my own daughter was 4 we went to the house of one of our parishioners.  This woman was a single mom living on government aid.  Her house was filthy, in need of both cleaning and repair.  But, she invited us for dinner.  I tried to warn my very young daughter that Mabel lived different than us so she would not say things out loud that would be inappropriate.  I tried to tell her that the house would be dirty, possibly there wouldn't be a lot of food or even a great meal.  Even at 4 years old you have some comparative abilities but you don't have enough etiquette.  Hannah did what I feared, "Mom, doesn't Mabel have a sweeper?  Does she use it?"  Oh my!  What to do!!! 

Our own granddaughter, then 4, came to stay with us.  We live on a corner where two streets intersect with a four-way stop.  It was summer and after a day of swimming and playing outside, I gave her a bath.  My mistake was to then let her go back outside clean! In my defense I was years past raising kids and had forgotten that principle. The next thing I saw was her crouching behind the only tree in our overly exposed to the world yard and peeing.  She wasn't embarrassed that cars were driving by.  She didn't care that she hadn't mastered the art of girl peeing in the out-of-doors.  Nor did she care that she peed down her legs and into her socks and shoes.  Uninhibited kids are.

My dad claims that when I was a kid I was his shadow.  I went everywhere with him.  One day he went to the lumber yard to get a part he needed.  En route he stopped to pick up a man walking, a man he knew that was associated with the lumbar yard.  My dad had a pickup and I scooted as far over to my dad as I could when this gentleman got in the truck.  I never took my eyes off him.  He was deaf and mute.  I had never encountered someone like that and I can remember being somewhat fearful and unsure.  This man, to communicate with me smiled and touched my knee.  My dad feared what I would say out loud.  Why, I don't know as the man would not have been able to hear me!  Upon leaving the truck I turned to my dad and asked why God made that man deaf and mute and how did he tell his kids he loved them?

I once had a little child in one of the churches we pastored  years ago ask why I didn't have big boobs like their mom:)  Out of the mouth of babes!



Scathing is a word we don't necessarily use all that often.  It's one of those words that seems to only fit very specific conversations, situations, or responses.  It's also one of those words that clearly and definitively, with marked and jagged borders vocabulary-wise, combines hand on hips, rolling of eyes, shaking of head, with ripping someone up one side and down the other while pointing the index finger firmly in their chest.  That word is a collision of on-course and set expectations with unmercifully unmet and unfairly delivered results gone horrifically awry.

Scathing is teeming with a concoction of anger, disappointment, hurt, angst, bewilderment and the total inability to process the turn of events, the undelivered or broken promise of a stated or known expectation.  We use the word "teeming" in reference to something like, It was teaming with bacteria.  What a great picture of negativity.  Surrounded everywhere is BACTERIA.  Scathing is a bit like that - it is full of swirling emotion, chaos and no way to really process the illogicalness of what caused the emotions to begin with.

If we have lived life for any length of time there have probably been a time or two when you too have been scathing over something.  Something so totally wrong and unjustified you can't settle on just one emotion so the cauldron of them bubble and hiss.  Those emotions, left unchecked, can cause us to react in ways that are not healthy.  To react in ways that are equal to the ones brought on by someone else's actions towards us.  That is never good either. 

I make large pearl homemade tapioca pudding from time to time.  It is a bit time consuming.  You soak the tapioca overnight, bring the milk to just below scalding, add the tapioca, whisk in the egg yolks and cook over low heat until the tapioca pearls are translucent and the milk has thickened.  After that it is removed from the heat and vanilla is added.  At that point I want to rush the cooking line of cooling and add the real whipping cream whipped to peaked goodness.  But, if I add that real whipped whipping cream before the mixture is totally cool, it will get watery.  Or if I put a lid on the pan while it cools, condensation forms inside the lid adding more liquid than I want thus changing the consistency I had achieved by cooking. 
I have ruined a batch or two over the years when I have gotten in a hurry with my taste buds.

I can do the same thing with scathing emotions.   My taste buds though are hangry (yes that is an urban dictionary word) for some scathe.



There are things that I don't a know lot about.  Like for instance, how do you get a job writing greeting cards.  It seems that there aren't a lot of original not already been said things yet to be penned.  What would qualify you to have such a job - a degree in creative writing, a penchant for off color age-humor or sappy sentimental phrasings, the ability to translate general or collective human thoughts and emotions into specific word pictures?

I also don't know alot about the universal produce code numbering system.  Who created such a system as the 4-digit number associated with all fresh fruits and vegetables sold in bulk by number or weight?  Currently in my house I have a bunch of #4011's, one-#4759, 6-#4166's, one #4053 and a few various other numbers.  Who determines what item of produce is assigned what number and why?

I find the Produce Dewey Decimal System intriguing, so I set out to find out more about it.  I was curious as to why most started with a 4.  I know it doesn't change anything dramatically in my life.  I will continue to punch in those produce codes in the self-checkout lanes at the store, but I wanted to know why.  I have lots of why questions about lots of things.  Why, I don't know.

This is what I garnered from my Google search box of who created the numbering system for produce . . .

  1. The numbers help the store clerk distinguish specific types of produce from one another in the system to speed up check-out.  That number is the PLU (Price Look-Up).
  2. It tells how the product is grown or created. IE, conventionally grown produce have a four digit PLU number.  Organically grown produce have a 5 digit PLU number that begins with the number 9.  And, genetically engineered produce have a 5-digit PLU that starts with an 8.
  3. The numeric system was developed by the Produce Electronic Identification Board, an affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association, a trade group for the produce industry.
  4. The adhesive used to adhere the sticker to the produce is food-grade edible, but the sticker itself is not.

If you buy a lot of produce like me, you find that certain produce items make removing that PLU sticker difficult.  Take for instance peppers.  It could be the type of thin skin that a pepper has, but invariably when trying to remove the sticker I usually remove a small portion of the skin of the pepper.  There is no universal standard for how sticky the PLU stickers for each type of produce should or should not be.  That is a controversy presently - the uniformity of materials used to produce the stickers.  It is a life-altering, world-changing sort of policy in the making.

Again, this PLU Produce Dewey Decimal world is a bit unknown to me.  I still didn't really come up with solid information regarding why those certain sets of numbers were connected to fruit and vegetables. 

So my conventionally grown bunch of #4011's would be organically raised if the PLU number read 94011 and genetically modified if the number on the bunch read #84011.  I am glad they mark genetically engineered produce.  Too bad most food items don't indicate that they are chocked full of genetically engineered seed or ingredients.  Next time you see #4011 you will know you are buying conventional bananas.  If you buy 84053 you are purchasing organic lemons for your lemon bars or lemonade.

I'm wondering how you get to be a part of the Produce Electronic Identification Board and how many times a year they meet? I bet those are riveting meetings. So thankful am I that someone put order to the chaotic world of produce.



I saw a poignant picture recently.  It showed President Obama in a room in the white house, dressed in his dark suit and shiny shoes lightly leaning in a quasi- sitting position on the backside of a sofa while being briefed by a staffer about the Newton shootings.  The heaviness of that information was back dropped by this room, this building of enormous history. 

How many times in that room had a president wrestled with information that was shared with him?  If the walls could repeat the secret, tough or tragic words that have been spoken there.  I wondered too what it is like for any president to live under those circumstances.  How to find a balance between the absolute enormity and trust for the lives of others you have been given with a semblance of normalcy?

I once wrote a blog post about why I would never want to be President of the United States - what exempted me from it.  I get that we all have different passions, different things that purr or fuel our motors.  Is shuffled into that mix of passion also a bit of self-serving something or other no matter who we are or what the passion is?  Can our quest for those kinds of positions of power easily get muddied with ego, a not fully normal view of what it is to live life because of the constant privilege around us? 

Stress is an amazing thing.  My medical doctor always says stresses can be both amazingly good things and horrifically tough things as well.  Both can take a toll on us physically.  It seems we usually though view stress as the result of tough things.  Things that are similar to a never ending drum beat. 

Don't get me wrong, I am thankful to those out there with passion, and probably a bit of narcissism sometimes, that choose the path to the Presidency or high elected official posts.  Sometimes I benefit from their decisions, and sometimes I don't.  Either way, I do not envy their positions, their smothering weight of responsibility - their never ending due diligence to do a job with the right motive for the right end result that affects not just them or their family, but a nation. And, in our ever shrinking and connected world, what they do affects the stage of the world as well.  That kind of gravity of responsibility should make them profoundly humble.  Should:)

There are telling pictures taken through both republican and democrat presidencies that clearly show the gravity of the job upon the President.  Its weight and toll upon their hearts and minds I cannot begin to imagine.  Nor, the desire to live and operate in that environment can I wrap my, in comparison, very private and solitary life around.

I have to think that what they give up, in privacy and a normal way of life, they must more than get back in power and prestige, and probably passion.  Something would most definitely have to tip the scale to make me want to give up my typical No Shower Saturday or a run to Lowes in my ball cap. 

So whether I voted for any given sitting President or not, they have my respect for the bigness of the job they do and the life-altering way they have to live to do it.  I trust that if a President's "humanness of pride and power" rise to the occasion at times, they are able to see it and refocus.  They are, of course, human as we are.  We sometimes have to redirect our own wrong motives. Well, at least I do.



I am not prissy.  Never have been.  I don't like ruffles, panty hose, nail polish, concealer, blush, eye shadow.  I hate those scarves women wear, even though I think others look good in them.  I don't like ear rings, multiple  finger rings or toe rings for that matter.  You won't see me carrying excessively big and blingie purses.  I don't wear dresses all that often. Nor do I have a PINTEREST account.  I don't necessarily care for the color pink or mauve (1980's) or will you find it in my decorating tastes. I don't mind though getting dirty or looking askew from a home improvement demolition or re-building project or some sort of outdoor activity.  I can go camping, even though at my age the ground has gotten harder!  And, a pair of shorts and flip-flops are my zen clothes.

Pets are ok, but growing up on a farm pets were always outside.  I don't really do indoor pets.  Nothing against those that do.  I just choose not to.  I really don't do fluffy, prissy dogs with bows and clothing who are named Katie or Dolly.  I want to punch their owners:)

Why is it the thing we hate we sometimes become? 

Years ago when my daughter was in second grade we made a move to new location.  Right before moving a cat was dumped at my parent's house.  It was obviously an indoor cat who was groomed well and had been trained.  Wanting to make the move better for Hannah, I let her have that cat.  Moving day came and BJ (Buster James) literally hopped in the cab of the truck and laid down.  When we arrived at our new house he hopped out of the truck and immediately sauntered up to the porch and sprawled out as if to say get on with it people, I'm home!

I refused to let that cat in the house but he remained our cat for some years.  Whether I acted like it or not, he wormed his way into my heart.  BJ was not really like a cat in behavior.  He operated more like a dog by wanting to be near you constantly.  If I laid on the back patio sunning myself, he would hop up on my stomach and lie there.  He was a smart Garfield-ish sort of cat that also twisted his way into my neighbor's hearts.  They were crazy crazy cat people - if you know what I mean:) 

They were the ones who took him to the vet, drove him around town in their car on errands and eventually found out he had feline leukemia.  My family teased me constantly about how I was the most adamant about not wanting a pet, but the most affected by BJ's death.  Holding him before he was put to sleep, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.  I have a strong independent exterior, but soft as a kitten insides! 

That was it for me.  Never again did I want my heart to get so wrapped up by an animal that I had to go through that ever again.  How can you miss a damn cat!  I don't know but I did for a good long time.  He had a human way about him.  I was more than pathetic.  I was one of those strange overly attached pet people!  Never again would I be.  Never.

My daughter and son-in-law left last week for a year in Guinea, Africa.  They have a three year old Papillon named Fenley.  Both of them are baseball fans so Fenley's name was birthed from the combination of Fenway Park and Wrigley Field - each of their favorite teams.  People in Guinea don't have sissy indoor dogs as pets. That would be a bit outlandish and extravagant. Their lives are neither of those things.  Fenley would probably make a great meal for some indigenous folk there!  Thus, Fenley could not go with them.
I don't do pets.  Remember??  It's amazing what a parent will do for a child, even a grown child!  I have Fenley for a year.  I also have a bit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when it comes to cleanliness.  There is dog hair.  There is licking.  There is standing out in the cold waiting on him to poop.  There is trying to get him adjusted to a house where I don't let him on the furniture or let him sleep in bed with us. 

Despite all my attempts to be utilitarian with Fenley, he has wormed, wagged and wiggled his way right straight to my heart - where BJ was! 

Just like Lucy from Charlie Brown exclaimed, "UGH! I've been kissed by a dog!"



When is it ok to die?  I wondered that today as I read the obituaries.  I wondered about my own train of thought regarding the timeliness of death as I read through the lives and back stories of those that died. 

Reading through the obits I found myself making a mental, and sometimes out loud, commentary on the ages of those listed.  Wow, 102!  94, that's a long life.  88, 89, 90 that's a great life.  45, oh that must have been sudden and unexpected.  33, accident or illness shorted their life - kids aren't even raised yet, without a parent now.  21, tragic.  8, oh the grief those parents must be experiencing - no school dances, graduations, college, marriage - they were just a kid.

Why is it that we believe death to be acceptable if done in chronologics?  That doesn't mean we like it or are glad to see it come to those that chronologically are in the upper stratosphere of life.  Contrare!  Death no matter the age is a sad goodbye, period.  But there seems to be an almost understanding of our finiteness when death comes in our upward years after a long life lived.  The math equation makes sense, adds up correctly.

I commented to someone today, after learning their 94 year old grandmother had died, "So sorry to hear of your grandmother's death.  My sympathies to you and your family."  Their response was, "Thanks.  She lived a long and healthy life."  That struck me.  Death, when cast against the context of a normal lifespan, seems not as unwelcome, not as tragic as when it comes out of chronological sequence.  Death at the end of a natural lifespan is the completion of a checklist of sorts.  Death at 33 or 8 or 40 or 51 or 17 is like an unbalanced spin cycle.  It's abrupt, out of order and disconcerting.  Or, at least we view it that way. 

I wondered as I read the obituaries about what had filled the lives of those who were up in years at the time of their death.  ...What lives they had lived, things they had experienced, what peace they had made in the journey to the end?  I also wondered about those that chronologically died before a normal lifespan could be lived.  What had they left undone, what would happen to all the unfinished things in their lives - raising kids or mourning parents? How do you put closure on something that ended before it was really done?

There seems to be a slightly different feel to death when it occurs at differing points on the line of age and mortality.  In my own life there was a time when I was so chronically ill for such a long period of time that death became inviting.  I was never interested in harming myself.  Not in the least.  I was though ready to leave things in an unfinished state, to exit the chronological lifespan course and be done with living.  Living when you can't really live is not all that appealing.  How many of those obits I read were people who had fought the valiant fight against illness and disease and were glad to exit before chronologically it seemed they should. 

When is death welcome exactly?  Only at 94?  If there is a season to be born then I suppose there is a season to die.  Lifespans are human markers of time.  If God has a time for each person to be born then God must also have a time to die.  His clock runs way different than chronological time.



Have you noticed a trend when checking out at stores?  The clerk says,  "Did you find everything ok?"  I really don't think that is the question most of us want to hear.  Well, at least I don't want to hear it  Do you really, at that particular point in the shopping experience, standing at the check out line ready to pay your bill, care if you found everything ok?  I'm past that point by then.  I've either decided that I don't care to look for anything else, or that they don't have an item on my list that I needed.  Either way, that question is mute.  It's not a question that gives value to me the customer at all.  It's neither a highly personable greeting or a parting statement.

Why not say, "Thank you for spending your hard earned money at our store.  We really appreciate it!"  Acknowledging my financial spending choice in a time when consumables take a great deal of people's money might be a better touch point with customers.  It would validate the costliness of living life because money just doesn't seem to grow on trees!  It would be a sort of partnership between the spendee and the spender.  It would nod to the fact that without the consumer spending, businesses would not be profitable. 

Everything is costly.  Everything.  It's hard to leave the grocery store without spending $50 for little of nothing.  Did I FIND everything ok?  YES, and quite possibly I am spending more than what I had originally intended too!  Soften the blow of consumer loss at the register with a question or statement that reflects genuine gratefulness for me.  Don't blow me fake service placates like, did you find everything ok.  Don't over marketize your get-the consumer-to-think-they-are-getting-more-for-less with your statement of do you have a rewards card and would you like to put that on your store credit card to save 10%.

It seems that I have something that stores want; my loyalty to spending consistently.  They have something I want; the products and services that I need to survive and the things I want just to want.  Please, acknowledge my buying power not my inability to possibly find something!



When I was a kid there was a bird whose call my grandfather said always indicated rain was coming.  I dubbed it the rain bird from that moment on.  I still hear it today and my grandfather was correct, usually rain follows its call the next day.   I heard a bird of sorts today, a reminder of the storminess that divorce wants to bring, even after life tries to go on.

"How is it on that side of divorce?", came the question over the phone today from someone I've known for 30 years.  There was both a hint of unsaid judging and curiosity in his question.  He was a few months past his own divorce, but seemed bound by dogma, law, guilt, bitterness, and the general wandering in the desert that is associated with the end of a marriage. 

I knew he wouldn't care for my response.  It didn't jive with his black car driving very conservative way of having been raised that tended to want to make laws the ruler of grace.  "Well, you won't like my answer", I said deciding that I could be no less than truthful even if it meant walking away with a bit of flesh wounds to my heart.  "Actually, it is far better for me this side than before."  I braced myself for a bit of fundamentalism missing the grace in his comeback.  And, it came.

"How can you have a relationship with Christ doing what you did?" came the next question.  I smiled and sadly shook my head inside as I listened to him.  How do I address the real issue that seems to be the underlying cause of his conflict - grace, understanding more fully God's grace.  I knew that to change someones view of God is virtually impossible solely in a conversation with words on the phone.  Seeing grace is a journey, not an event. 

"Pete, how do you know what I did or that I did anything?  You don't know my situation, my heart or my 25 year marriage", came my response in as gentle of a way as I knew how.  Again I was faced with people's assumptions or almost gripping need to have a wrong party and a right party.  It had to be categorized.  It had to fit into a box of pre-conceived ideas we have about marriage that are sometimes colored by skewed views of God.  Then we dump on those skewed God views that as humans we despise rules but love to be the enforcers of them on others.  We are the rule police at times!

"More than that though, how could you have gotten re-married?", came the next question tagged on the end of the last one.  I took a deep breath, asking God to give me grace, to show Pete what grace felt like though my heart wearied of yet again another encounter of the divorced/grace kind.    

"I don't have all the answers Pete.  I don't know if my circumstance or situation is just like yours.  I do know this - God is far more full of grace than you or I can even imagine.  His goal is not to punish, to withhold, to retribute till the cows come home to drive the lesson in.  His one desire is to love.  To restore.  To heal.  There is nothing that can separate me from that love - nothing.  God doesn't have a set of scenarios that those things are available for and a set that they are not.  He doesn't say I will only forgive and heal if you are a victim, but not if you are a perpetrator of hurt on yourself or others.  He loves PEOPLE.  I don't have to convince you of the journey I had to take and continue to be on to find that out about God.  I don't have to justify to you why I am divorced because to do so reverts things back to the law.  And I cannot, no matter what I tell you, convince you of my standing with God as a divorced and remarried person.  You Pete, have to find that God of grace that your view of law and rules is not allowing you to see. Whether you are at fault in the divorce, partially or not at fault at all doesn't matter.  God's grace is there.  Pain is pain whether you caused it or received it innocently from someone else.  That's where the God of grace dwells."

I urged him to throw away some of what he "knew" about God and start with just the fact that God loves us and has more grace than we can understand.  Grace flies directly in the face of our humanness that's why we have to look for it.  It doesn't come easy.  Nor does it come easy to believe God is full of it for us. 

He shared his hurt of the church abandoning him during the divorce.  That was a fact I had most definitely garnered from my own experience as well.  I tried to encourage him that many a divorced person have told me that same thing.  I wondered if he caught what I was trying to indirectly point out; the thing he hated about the church during his divorce (abandonment/judgement) is just what he dealt to me today. 

I tried to encourage him that time's passage heals part of the intensity of what he was experiencing.  God's grace though covers all the rest.



The differences between men and women are varied and great on a few things.  To concise them down to generalizations isn't necessarily fair or all-encompassing.  But, that is exactly all I can do - make sweeping gender statements.  I don't have the man power, capital or far reaching marketing synopsis to garner a wider range or sampling of my generalized noted differences.

This is not meant to be a men are always this or women are always that sort of pocket guide.  We are all unpredictable at times.  Our personalities mix with our gender and sometimes create a curve to the male or female generalizations.  Forgive me if you do not fit perfectly in the box I am building.  I don't fit it either on certain things as well.

You might wonder where I have garnered my information for these my gender generalizations.  Women talk.  In fact, (another sweeping generalization is coming here) women can sit or stand next to a woman they have never met before, on a train/in a doctor's waiting room/in the grocery store check out line/digging through sale racks at a store, and in the first 5 minutes come to know a significant amount of personal information about them.  We ask questions.  We give up information too.  Men do not. 

Men do not really ask questions, not unless they have to.  And if they do ask a question, it does not lead to another question, and yet another question, followed by a rabbit trail of other questions regarding the answer to one of their previous questions.  They are singular in their thoughts and do not add an S to the word question mostly never ever.  Men are quite content to not have details.  They are fully ok to not know certain things.  Not only are they ok with it, but it isn't even on their radar to think down those lines, to want to know, to need to know.  It is entirely outside their scope of radar altogether.

We differ on our bathroom time as well.  Granted, many women take far longer to get ready in the bathroom than do men.  But, men run toilet time marathons compared to most women's sprints to throne time.  This is one area that continues to have me baffled while showing itself a constant and consistent difference in most joint gender households.

Men are the butt of the joke in the going-to-the-bathroom-time-spent-on-the-toilet difference between men and women.  Men actually pack things to take with them into the bathroom if they are sitting a spell,; iPads, their phones, the newspaper, magazines, even books.  It's like taking a carry-on bag on an airline flight.  Now, I don't know definitely if the carry-on bag of activities and crafts are what keeps them in there for nye on to eternity.  Or, if there is a legitimate difference in time down the track and through the gate between a man's colon and a woman's.  I also don't know if men take their time more, think about it longer because they genuinely enjoy the respite from the outside world.  Women wait till the time is upon them, do their business and are done.  We find greater pleasure in asking questions than we do in sitting on the throne for long periods of time.

My husband defers to his standard question to me before embarking upon his in-flight movie or New York Times Bestseller read while on the throne, "Babe, do you have to go before me?"  We have one bathroom and he knows that I can be in and out before he has even had time to pack his carry on luggage for his toilet excursion.  He says he can't believe how quick I can perform that digestive task.  I can make the bed, start a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, tidy the living room up, reload the dishwasher, make my lunch for the day and possibly pay a few bills while waiting for the bathroom to become available for my use.

That sums it up well: Toilet sitting is an excursion for men.  For women it is a quick recitation of the alphabet, a haiku or one verse of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" - over and done in a flash.



There is an older show on PBS, a BBC situational comedy called, "Waiting For God".  The British have their own spin on humor and I rather like the cheeky, sometimes dry and sarcastic way they fling humor about.  The backdrop of the show is a retirement home, thus the self-explanatory title of the show.  They are in essence waiting for God.  Waiting to die.  It's a place that is the last stop so to speak before they get done waiting for God.  Their deli number is finally called.

So accurate is that title, Waiting For God.  It is in essence what we do between birth and death.  We are passing time until our time is up.  We are waiting.  It might seem that we aren't really waiting because we are living and filling our time with relationships, families, work, pleasure, heartache, pain, illnesses, a quest for this or that.  But, it is stuff to distract and busy us while we wait.   It makes that birth to death thing not seem quite so much like the death sentence it really is.

I giggled inwardly at myself today.  I hate waiting.  I mean I hate it.  When God doled out personalities and traits to each individual, the mix of things He gave me did NOT include great hoards of patience.  Some people naturally have it.  I do not.  Now just because I am not gifted with large portions of it does not mean I shouldn't grow some, foster some, pray for some even.  Not having naturally been gifted with it doesn't mean I am exempt from acquiring some.  I wish it did though.  Patience is hard work, for me at least.

Logically I know that just because you are constantly moving in a maniac-ish sort of way from point A to point B does not necessarily mean you will get there any faster than if you just took the direct route and made all the stops. It's the inactivity of waiting that drives me crazy and thus the reason I must keep moving. Waiting is such a waste of valuable time. It's not going back and yet not really getting to move totally forward.

Before you think I don't know the value of waiting, I do. It still doesn't mean I like it, it comes easy to me, or if I was God that I would use that same waiting system He seems to love. I see the necessity of it. I see the value garnered from it.  I likewise see the value of a colon cleanse from time to time but don't rush to have it done!  

Today I spent the day with my daughter before she leaves for an extended period in Africa.  When you are naturally a quick person everyone around you seems slow; traffic, other drivers, store clerks, mall walkers, situations, reactions of others.  I giggled at myself today for always trying to find a quicker way through traffic or faster route to the next place we were going.  I just didn't want to wait on lights or drivers if I didn't have to.  

My have to thought about patience sums it up.  Waiting in life is very much a have to in all our lives, our culture, our world and the God-system that is at work around us.  Patience is more than a have to.  It appears to be a must most of the time.  Being forced to slow down is painful for me.  Like my right knee presently is causing my running to be slower and shorter.  I'm not sure which is more painful, my right knee while running or having to cut back a bit till it recovers.  Who am I kidding, waiting for it to heal properly is harder than the pain of using it!



Yesterday my husband and I witnessed a car theft. It happened so fast my mind couldn't process what was happening. To my knowledge I've never personally seen a real life auto theft barring TV or the movies. 

Because we have a four foot window above our kitchen sink, we spend a great deal of time it seems looking out it.  Standing there you can see a couple of blocks down the street to the west.  We have front row seats to the comings and goings of anything coming from the west; bikers, runners, people walking dogs, kids walking to school, the high school cross country team out on their practice miles, school buses, the occasional patrolling city police car, and sometimes groups of kids congregating for only God knows what.  Depending on the day, though traffic slim, there is usually activity of some type occurring out that window. 

From the west, if I am on the backward side of run coming from the west, and Doug is in the kitchen, he can see me coming from 2 or more blocks away.  There are times I feel a bit like Mrs. Kravitz from "Bewitched", the nosy neighbor lady who knew everything that went on in the neighborhood.  I know who drives what car and where they live in the area surrounding our house. 

We looked up from messing with our iPhones out that kitchen window to see a car whipping itself crazily and recklessly out of a driveway 2 houses to our west.  Trying to make sense of what we were seeing we watched it barrel toward the stop sign on the corner where we live.  It stopped with a jerk just on the other side of our patio fence.  There are only slivers of places to see through the fence so it sounded like a car door opened and someone hastily got in or the driver opened his door to dispose of something before slamming it shut. 

Running to the front window I saw the Buick Le Sabre bolt through the intersection heading east like he was running from something, rushing someone to the hospital or possibly letting the anger of a domestic dispute color his driving skills. The almost deadly reckless way in which they drove was startling.  It was 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.  Car theft never entered my mind.  It was broad daylight on a street full of houses and people who would have been home. 

Thankful I am that it was not a murder or a domestic violence situation.  No one was harmed, physically anyway.  But it made me angry. Disrupting the flow of the neighborhood, taking something that isn't yours, and bringing crime to where I live makes me angry and sad. Doug walked out to talk to the police officer, giving him the account of events that we witnessed from the kitchen window..

It's unsettling to think that 2 houses away a car was stolen in the middle of Sunday afternoon.  It's disturbing to think that there are those out there who have no respect for the property and lives of others.  It's angering to think that no one seems to be exempt from violence or crime any more. 

It's heavy and burdensome to have to now be consciously aware of our circumstances and environment at all times, even in places that we think are safe - schools, our own driveway, sitting in a movie theatre, getting your hair cut, walking in a mall, or even sitting in a church service.

I felt violated and intruded upon.  I felt disgusted that I now could no longer enjoy the luxury of warming up my car in the cold garage to get my seat warmers good and hot before leaving for work.  I felt sad that tonight when I ran I was overly conscious of everything I saw or where I ran.  I felt bad for the woman who had her vehicle stolen from her driveway, turning her life upside for a season. 

That woman today is without her Buick Le Sabre.  Chances are statistically even if it is found it will be trashed.  She was invaded in a highly personal way in a house she had only lived in for several months.  What a horrific welcome to our neighborhood which no doubt has left her scared, shaken and probably angry as well.

Everything seemed overtly loud in the night hours last night.  I heard even the newspaper carriers steps through the crunchy snow from our house to the neighbor's house.  I will just never understand the mindlessness of crime or the lasting effects it leaves.  It's a basic principle though isn't it. . . 

Love gives all it has at great cost to self. 
Evil takes what it will to get whatever it wants at great cost to others.



Silence can be hard for me.  I don't mean that it's hard for me to be where it is silent or quiet.  I actually like quiet alone time.  I re-charge and garner a new batch of energy for my batteries by being away from people and out in nature.  What I mean, is that silence can be deafening when we are separated from those we love.  That separation from them creates silence.  I don't like that kind of silence. 

Today is gray.  It matches the state of my inward color as well.  Today I hate the long winter stretch that is January.  Once in awhile a gray day is actually restive, rejuvenating, even refreshing.  Being east of the Great Lakes we are privy to more than 200 cloudy/overcast/no sun days a year.  It's like living under an umbrella at times. Some days it can get to you, like today!

I took vitamin D today to combat the lack of it one gets in this part of the Midwest in January.  If I thought I wouldn't overdose on vitamin D, I would have taken the whole bottle in an attempt to brighten the gray outside and inside of me. 

Gray really is more than a color isn't it?  It's a state of blah-ness.  It's a place of neither moving forward or necessarily backtracking.  It's the not clearly defined area of subjective morality and ethics.  It's just not a pleasant place to be.

Sometimes there are definitive reasons for gray skies; a stalled weather front, living in perma-cloud alley, the clash of hot and cold fronts.  Here in the Great Lakes region of the Midwest it is a normal part of our weather and sky.  I should be used to it, but I continue to hate it with a growing passion as each year passes.  It makes me feel bound and cagey and boxed in.  For me it's like having to eat corn meal mush and raisins for 4 months straight.  Torture!

Sometimes there are definitive reasons for grayness on the inside as well; a major disappointment, grief, a changing of seasons in our life, mid-life questioning, health issues that don't relent, frustration in our job, financial stress, parenting burdens, the desire for change that isn't coming or dreading the change that we see on the horizon but are unable to stop. 

I love certain things in my life.  Those things, people and circumstances that I love deeply I am always extremely mournful at the changing of their guard.  I can mentally understand change as part of the natural process of all living things, the natural world we live in, and even as part of God's plan to get us to live and rely on the unseen (Him) and not the seen (what we know and see), but it is very hard heart-wise.

My gray is in part due to the fact that my daughter is leaving for a year in Africa with her husband.  I love their dedication to want to give up a year of their lives to do something for God.  I admire that.  Very proud of them I am.  But I don't like that it changes her proximity and my communication with her dramatically.  I will miss our sarcastic ways with each other played out daily with texting, the fact that she still loves to sit close to me on the couch and that she stills snuggles into me for reassuring hugs and love when we are together.  She speaks my language and lets me love her out loud in my expressive sappy way.   

I've tried desperately hard to not succumb to the gray as the days dwindle to their leaving down to only 5 left.  This isn't about me.  It shouldn't be.  But, unfortunately it's a change on my horizon that I just am not wanting to see come to pass.  Though I want with all my heart our kids to live full and experientially rich lives, I want to be near them on a daily basis. 

I realized today I am old.  My desire to love and support our kids I gladly place above my own aspirations and desires.  They matter far more than my attaining certain life goals I have looming in front of me.  They are the things in our lives that mean the most, matter far longer after we're gone than will anything else, and surpass anything we accomplish ever will.  It's why I realize parents of grown children want to live near their kids and grand kids. 

With pride I say I am blessed to have her as my daughter and her husband as my son-in-law.   With sadness I say I am gray inside and out with the thought that there will be no Hannah for quite some time.  No texts, phone calls, dinners at our house, movies, shopping, laughing or hugging.  Mostly I am gray because she is my sunny sky.

I feel gray and a bit selfish.  Why is it I want the gray sky to clear and it seems to not leave, but though I want Hannah to stay she is going?  Change is usually like that.



The furnace guy showed up at my office because the air conditioning wasn't cooling right.  He emerged from the basement with two filters that were so clogged with dirt it was a wonder air moved at all!   I laughed with him about how all that construction dirt had to go somewhere. "Yes, we will be more vigilant about changing those filters every 30 days:)" I said to him as he left. 

That got me thinking about filters and what they do - catch impurities. Stuff that's bad like dust, dirt, mucky particles or microscopic organisms that might harm us.   Which led me to that group of refreshing people who just say whatever is in their head.  The No Filter Folks as I like to say. I think they disturb some people, but I find them oh so entertaining and real. The unchangeable about them is you always know where you stand with them.  There's a probable chance you might get walloped once in awhile by their wide open spray of verbage.  There is though little to no guessing on what they bring to the table or where they are headed. 

One of my friends' grandmother is a character. She's one of the NFF (no filter folks) who has earned her title not only by personality, but due to age. She has been known to spew forth such things as, "God damn it Betty, I'll smoke if I God damn please. I'm 84 years old and you aren't telling me what to do. Now get the hell out unless you want to breath some smoke!"

I once had an older gentleman man walk up to me after a seminar I was part of, never having met me before and say, "You have nixie in your eyes!" (I most definitely do too). I love that no filter stuff though occasionally brash and off color.  Emily Post would not tolerate or condone their rough edged filter free speech.

The occasional out there statement that is clearly defined and leaves no wiggle room for the listener to misinterpret should be celebrated, taught even. It would be great to have a new holiday sanctioned first of all by Hallmark and then, the federal government (I want another paid holiday off at work anyway). I propose the date for this new holiday be right after St. Patricks Day and most definitely during the Lenten Season. It would be called FILTER FREE DAY. This day would be a nationally recognized and clearly designated day for all mankind to speak unfiltered thoughts out loud with no consequences - NONE! 

The range of things that we all think in a day but don't say would be acceptable, even embraced on that day....

Why is your butt so big - seriously why don't you do something about it? 
Why the hell are you driving 40 in a 55 mph zone? 
You know I am not listening to what you are saying to me right now because you are boring me out of my mind. 
Do you really think you look good in that? 
I hate your gazpacho, it tastes like shit. 
You really can't sing at all. 
Quit the comb over Donald. 
Are those boobs real - can I touch them? 
Lady, with all the coupons you are irritating me and slowing me down - here's the $5 you are saving - now move out of the way!!
Your drumming is bad - step it up a notch or you're out! 
Quit having conversation with me while you are performing my yearly pap smear - just shut up and get it over with please!   
They make nose clippers and can be purchased at any Walgreens - you need some. 

I'm not clear yet on cards available for that holiday. Although I know a few No Filter Folks that I believe could write some pretty good lines for Hallmark. 



Why is it when you are looking for something that is the exact time you cannot find it?  It seems despite the desire, the effort, the deep seated need, the leaving-no-stone-unturned frenetic approach to finding that thing, it cannot be found.  I hate that.

I'm not a time waster.  I don't like simple things made complicated.  Those two things are internal grenades for me.  Not being able to locate the wanted or needed unfound item is like pulling the pin in me.

Why is it too that when you are looking, searching for that thing you are trying to find or acquire, to ascertain, to put the last finishing touch on something you just decorated or constructed that you clearly remember seeing it when you weren't looking for it? That makes no logical sense does it.  That tells me it's not that the thing I am seeking, hunting for isn't made or sold or available, but that it is illusive.  Oh you can run, but you cannot hide:) 

If I have gone to the bother to seek an item out, for me that means I am ready to make the choice of purchase and move on.  Some would tell you there is a thrill in the seek of the hunt.  They would not share my personality bent in the least. 

There are things in the past year I have sought diligently but only found when I finally gave up looking.  There are still a few unfound that I am still searching for.  It's sort of like big game hunting with a scope rifle and coming away empty handed.  Then, when you don't have the rifle with you, or hunting season has passed, you see that big elk.  The hunted always seems to hide from us.

My partial list of things I have obsessively looked for, shopped for in multiple states, quested for, overplayed my patience for shopping in general over, and then began to slowly care less if I found is as follows:

  • Big metal wall leaves to hang on my newly remodelled and painted kitchen. (Eventually found over a year later in Saugatuck, MI when all hope had been lost to finding the image I had in my head that would be perfect for that space.)
  • Large whimsical earth-toned metal flowers for the outside brick patio wall. (The items were found in Suttons Bay, MI after previously looking in some seemingly 4,000 other stores over the course of a year.)
  • The simple white boy-short all cotton underwear I like as the natural lifespan of the current ones were fastly approaching. (Located and purchased in Chicago, IL while wasting time waiting on my husband who was in a meeting.)
  • A pair of black Born shoes like the ones I purchased 12 years ago and literally wore out. (They remain still unfound after a continuing ongoing two year search.  I hate that styles change!  What I like, I like!!)
  • A teapot in just the right color and price with a removable infusor (I finally gave up and lowered my standard because I wanted to use my wonderful yummy Teavana chai oolong tea!)
  • A bottle of Perry Ellis 360 perfume. (Every time I get to the bottom of the current bottle panic ensues. I have basically 8-10 more sprays left and I can't find another bottle in the store.  I've worn that perfume as my signature scent for 15 years.  Life might end as I know it if I stop smelling like me.  I would cease to get random strangers comments and questions such as, "You smell great.  What is that perfume?)
  • A lid to replace the one on my large dutch oven pan that fell apart years ago when the handle came unsoddered. (I continue to use the pan, refuse to give up hope that another lid can be found and use either a tray or a piece of aluminum foil as a lid when needed.  One day I will find one.  No use throwing away a perfectly good pan just for lack of a lid!)
  • Leggings for a sweater dress I have that don't remind me of the cable-knit butty socks (a phrase created by my eldest sister four years my senior when she had to shake me into my tights before church) I wore as a kid, or make my legs look 2 inches thicker than they are. (These though actually might be able to be found but I have a slight aversion to panty-hoseish things and am reticent to leap into that purchase.  It takes me way, way out of my comfort zone.  If the perfect ones could be found, well then yeah!)
  • A new bed comforter that combines the colors I seek with the texture and weight I can handle along with the type of material that doesn't need to be taken to jumbo front loading laundry mat washer every time I want it washed. (I have found one or two but the price and the washing thing has kept me from purchasing. Get on the design ball will you Martha Stewart!)
  • Timothy's brand Winter Carnival flavored coffee (now sold exclusively in Canada and cannot be shipped across the border.  Evidently there is a huge smuggling coffee issue between the overly aggressive Canadian people and ourselves that it necessitates halting the shipment of it to the U.S.  I asked Doug recently if we could take a trip to Toronto recently.  I'm not sure he knew why fully.)
  • Once while speaking before a class I was teaching, while in the middle of a thought- the middle of sentence even, my internal screen went entirely blank.  (There was no hiding the depth of my mental blackout. I had no choice but to just admit to them that the next thought that was there was gone.  It was gone so far into the black hole of my mind that I had no idea where it went, how to retrieve it, or where to move forward without it despite my intensive panicked searching.  My confession brought the house down.  I never remembered it, ever.)

Maybe searching for that item you are trying to find needs to be approached like Kato the oriental butler to the Pink Panther, Inspector Clouseau, approached the inspector to help keep the inspectors lightening fast defensive fighting skills sharp - a surprise attack!
Once, over and move on.  Searching is so time consuming! 



Growing up in the staunch religious background I came from there was always a bit of unspoken but clearly recognizable fear inside me on New Year's Eve.  It was connected to the fact that I was taught Jesus would return in the clouds one day.  I figured since New Year's Eve was the end of something and the start of something new, it would be Jesus' preferenced day for His return.  Mind you, I didn't fully know how God worked as a kid.  I still don't always know but don't fear that lack of knowledge or believe God is to be totally figured out.  If He could be, why would He be God.

My only scope of vision and understanding about everything, including New Year's Eve and Jesus' return, I had comprised from roughly 7-10 years of living life. My young age, perceptions that were not realities but the overworking of a kid mind and my religious upbringing swirled together to create this silent fear I held every New Year's Eve.  I never shared it out loud, but just endured the passage of midnight to 12:01 a.m. with baited breath.  My bit of irrational fear made every New Year's Eve a bit like choking down a plate of liver and onions, or facing an Arctic blast when running west in the winter.  When Dick Clark counted back from 10, I held my breath.  Every year when the ball dropped and the seconds changed years, I sighed a sigh of relief inside.

It wasn't that I didn't want Jesus to come back or go to heaven.  It's just that I was a kid who  hadn't gotten to live all the things that loomed out there in the future.  I still wanted to get done riding the bus, get to keep a necklace from a boy, go to high school, drive a car.  I wanted to experience everything.  I especially wanted to someday get to be an adult because, from my kid vantage point, it seemed like freedom:

Many a New Year's Eve was spent overnight at the lake my grandparents lived on.  My grandmother knew nothing of that bit of fear that wanted to take up residence in me every New Year's Eve.  She did know that me and my sisters loved eating pimento spread sandwiches with the crusts cut off and ice cream cones on a sheet in front of the TV.  Ice cold Pepsi out of the glass bottle and all the Cheese Nips you could ever dream of were a New Year's Eve must have.  If Jesus did chose to come back, at least I had a great last meal!

Evidently my parents were off to their own New Year's Eve party, or were just relishing a quiet night without three kids in the house. They were never present at our overnight party stay at grams and gramps.  My grandfather always fell asleep in the corner in his black leather recliner with snores that rivaled the Times Square crowd that blared across the TV.  Gram spent her night waiting on three girls' every food whim.  She usually at some point said, "You girls stay up as late as you want.  Just turn the TV off when you go to bed."  What a cool grandma! 

I'm not sure when I finally realized that ridiculous fear I held was just that, ridiculous.  But it left me as the years faded to adulthood.

Last night 13 members of my family came over to usher in the New Year with us.   Two of my college aged nieces and my daughter and son-in-law made up part of the mix.  Doug passed out champagne glasses filled with non-alcoholic sparkling cherry spumante to the non-drinking contingency and champagne to the remaining four of us.  We screamed and clinked glasses loudly when the ball dropped.  I had not one ounce of fear.

New Year's Eve is a collision of saying goodbye to things we knew and experienced in the past year and looking forward to things that our hearts desire in the coming year.  Leaving and entering occurs in just a few seconds.  I rather like what that signifies.