Stuff It!

This week I’ve been composing a list of “do not mention” topics for my husband as prep for the Thanksgiving dinner. The list grows longer each year and is now lengthier than Santa’s naughty and nice list. It’s amazing that despite my censorship, he still finds plenty to talk about. In regards to the Thanksgiving dinner conversation, neutrality is always the….

Stuck in the Middle With You

At this point in life, I find myself sandwiched between budding adult children beginning their life’s journey and aging parents finishing theirs – both standing on the abyss of the unknown. Don’t you wish life came with a version of What to Expect When Your Expectingfor every phase of life? As a young mom, I relied on child gurus, Louise Bates Ames and Francis Ilg, who authored a series of books addressing each of the “age” stages in childhood from one through fourteen. As a rookie, I found them extremely helpful. Now, I’m waiting for someone…..

Love is a Weapon

The alarming thing about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting is the fact that the shock value no longer exists. No one can deny the horror of last weekend’s events. However, the frequency of these types of violent acts has led us to expect them. It’s no longer a question of if it will happen again but where and to whom. Therein lies the true terror…..

We Will Go

We Will Go

While listening to a children’s choir from Uganda this week, the term “out of the mouths of babes” sprang to mind. We can learn so much from children, which is precisely why Jesus commanded in the gospel of Matthew, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Who knew that the idiom, out of the mouths of babes, is derived…..

Shaking It Up

Shaking It Up

My Pilates instructor decided to ‘shake things up’ this week by introducing a new routine that involved jumping on a reformer. Not known for my coordination, it was challenging. My aging body is still screaming in rebellion. One of the moves involved jumping in reverse, which was particularly tricky as you couldn’t see…..

Call of Duty

Call of Duty

Last Sunday our church had a commissioning ceremony for one of our pastors (David) who is in the National Guard. He’s been called up to serve in the Middle East for the next ten months. As he stood at the front of the church in his army fatigues, I thought his uniform more appropriate than the …..

Victor or Victim?

Everyone struggles with something. It’s a sad fact of life. Some of our challenges are self-induced. Others are simply the product of living in a broken world where all kinds of trials await us. That’s not to say the popular mantra Life is Good is a fallacy. Paradoxically, joy and suffering are the parallel paths of life. Rarely is life all of one or the other. They coexist in every moment, which brings to mind…..

Silence is Golden

Silence is Golden

How does one go from mechanical bull riding in Nashville to a silent retreat the following weekend? “By accident.” Though quiet was a welcome respite from the rowdiness of Nashville, I had no idea I’d signed up for a ‘silent’ retreat. My previous women’s retreats involved their own sort of raucousness, as we frequently stayed up late into the night sharing experiences, laughter and suffering of all sorts. I remember one retreat where late-night Karaoke helped lighten the atmosphere. Assuming this retreat would be similar…..

Who's on the Throne?

Who's on the Throne?

Before I left for the summer, I went out for ice cream with some friends - including my little buddies, Grace and Sam. We discussed our goals for the summer. Grace was determined to learn to swim. Sam’s was to organize the Lego table. His grandfather set his sights on getting a particular person to church. Others had dietary goals. Thinking I should choose something meaningful, I decided on….

Brows Redux

In response to the numerous horrified emails expressing sympathy and legal advice after last week’s post, “Those were not my real brows in the photo!”While the first couple of weeks did loosely resemble that picture, I’m happy to report that the final result was all I hoped it would be. Not that anyone else would notice, but it’s still a shock when I look in the mirror because I haven’t quite adjusted to my brow-enhanced reflection. Whatever personal changes we choose to make, regardless of how small…..

No Sharps!

This summer I broke my own beauty mandate, “No Sharps!”The premise of that decree is that I would take advantage of any beauty/age defying enhancements as long as they didn’t involve sharp objects. I’ll leave any carving of my body to the surgeon whose kept me alive thus far. I used to think that the extensions he provided…..

Semper Fi

Last week I neglected to mention an integral component of any battle – a strong platoon to support you. It doesn’t have to be large, just enough hands and hearts to:

  1. Drag you out of the fray when you’re wounded.

  2. Nurse your injuries with empathy and compassion.

  3. Send you back out when you’re ready.

  4. Battle for you when you’re too weak.

  5. Correct your path and strategy when you’ve lost your bearings.

  6. Hold you accountable when your actions belie your beliefs…..

INCOMING!!!

This week an enemy army attempted to invade the happy place I recently wrote about. I felt like I landed on Normandy Beach, only the bullets aimed at me were emotionally-laden words. They were familiar opponents I’ve battled before and came from a place of self-pity, bitterness, anger, resentment and discontent. These formidable foes require a strong defense. Often ,they attack from within, but this wasn’t one of those times. Even so, the lessons…..

My Happy Place

Everyone has a place (or state of mind) where they feel closest to God - a place of peace and contentment. Some arrive there through prayer and meditation, others employ more tangible modes of transportation. In the summer I drive - certainly a more direct route than my feeble efforts at prayer and meditation recently. That's not to say that the four-hour…..

Older and Wiser

Older and Wiser

Thursday night I had the privilege of attending a Taylor Swift concert and was treated to VIP privileges by my host. As I will probably not have the pleasure of enjoying VIP status again until I reach Heaven where we will all be given the royal treatment, I reveled in the proximity to the stage (as well as the free food and drinks.) Witnessing Ms. Swift perform up close, her joy in her craft oozed out of every pore and saturated everyone around her. Yes, joy is contagious. It was obvious that…..

Deadwalkers

Deadwalkers

The day I met my new friend, Max, was a banner day because just a few hours later I had another God incident. As a reminder, Max is the Good Samaritan I wrote about recently who helped me move a load of heavy items into my son’s apartment. Later that afternoon I was waiting for a mattress delivery. Surprisingly, the delivery truck arrived right on time - BUT without the bedframe. Unable to return the same day with the required item, I….

Like New

Not that this is newsworthy, but the makeshift ‘Band-Aids’ on my car have been replaced with a shiny new front end – just like new. One weekend and $1500 later, you’d never know I was in a fender bender. It’s such a great example of how my husband and I approach car maintenance. I would have driven the car as it was, held together by string and bungees, for the rest of the summer without issue or at least until I…..

God Incidents

One of the biggest problems in this digital age is that people are so riveted to their devices that they miss the thrill of what Ken Nerburn refers to as a ‘blue moment’ in his book, Simple Graces, The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life. I’ve had these experiences all my life but never knew there was a name for them. I always considered them ‘God incidents’ and still do. They are the occasions that you share….