Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I found it

While looking for some photos to display on Saturday at my brother's funeral lunch, my "book" was found.

I have been looking for it for years and now it has found me!

When I wrote it, I was using a typewriter. Do you remember what a typewriter is? There are a lot of "typos" which will be corrected when I transfer it all to the computer. I had written about 50 pages which is less than one third of what I think the finished product will be. It is based on my Grandfather's life and the story he wrote about growing up in the 1800's in the Plains states.

I am enjoying reading it. I think it might make a good children's book. We'll see.

I think God helped me find it just when I needed it. The idea of my brother's death and burial has not been easy. We fought a lot but I loved him very much. I have very conflicted feelings about him. I have written about that in prior Blogs.

Looking through old photos of us when we were children and finding my "book" has lifted my spirits more than I could have imagined. I now feel I can face Saturday's services.

Even though I often forget it, God is in control. He makes things happen in His time not in ours. Why is that so hard for me to remember?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Let it Snow

We went out to dinner last night in the rain. About 10:00pm, I looked out at the back yard and it was white with snow. What a surprise! Our summer lawn furniture was not looking very summery! It looked kind of forlorn actually.
I am not a big fan of cold weather but there is something about snow that I love.
It is clean and white (for a little while anyway!)
It brings back childhood memories of sledding and snow angels and snowball fights.
It brings images of fires in the fireplace, hot chocolate, crisp, cold air, rosy cheeks and the Holidays.
For some strange reason, snow makes me feel warm inside. Doesn't make much sense but then some things are not meant to make sense, I guess.
I think that humans, like bears, have a hibernation instinct. With the first snow, we are ready to hunker down in our caves, keep cozy and warm and wait for spring. At least, I am!
Happy winter everyone!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

April 5, 1942 - November 3, 2010
Beloved son, father and brother.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another perspective

"He was a great guy." "He was my mentor and role model." "I really like him." My cousin told me a story this weekend of going to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting with my brother who spoke at the meeting. Everyone was enthralled and after the meeting surrounded him like a rock star and asked him all kinds of questions. After the meeting, a bunch went with him to a nearby coffee shop and talked for hours.

I hear other people talk about my brother and it's like they are talking about someone else. Someone I don't know. I am amazed and surprised and warmed and guilt ridden.

Hearing about my brother from someone else's perspective is a real eye opener.

To me he is a needy person who wasted his life on drugs and alcohol. Who was self-centered, who never held a "real"job and who made my parents unhappy. I am often angry with him.

To others he is a person who was caring and smart and funny and led a life of purpose.

It made me think about the way God looks at us. He knows the person on the inside. The person he created. He looks beyond the earthly mistakes and shortcomings and looks into the heart.

I try to look at all people as God's children. It isn't always easy and, it seems, is even harder when it is my brother. But hearing about him from others makes me take a look inside myself and examine my heart. It is often a hard heart and that makes me feel bad.

Don't get me wrong, I love my brother deeply. We have a long and complicated history. But I realize that I really don't know him and that is sad. It is sad because he has been my brother all of my life and because he is dying of hepatitis C and liver failure.

I hope God grants me enough time to really get to know my brother. And I pray that he gives me eyes to see people as he sees them and not through my very limited vision.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My brother

He came from around the bathroom door into the room at the nursing home. This small, frail, old man. I didn't recognize him. His face is thin like a cancer patient, his eyes are sunken and his back is stooped. I must be in the wrong room, I thought.

But he saw me and his eyes lighted up and his mouth formed what I supposed was to be a smile but looked more like he was going to say "Oh."

He shuffled over to give me a hug and I fought back the tears.

I was there to help and to visit and to be encouraging. How was I going to do that, I thought? I prayed and God answered.

Through all the changes in his appearance, I still saw my brother. The way he talked, the way he laughed, the way he can get on my last nerve like no one else.

We visited about what we were going to do with the things in his apartment. He seems to have come to terms with that. We must be out my the end of September. The apartment is already rented to someone else.

We talked about moving him to a nursing home closer to his old stomping grounds and closer to his son so it will be easier to visit him. That's when I lost it and sobbed. I cried because I don't live closer and cannot be of much help. I cried for the man that was and for the old man that is. It didn't last long but I needed that release and then I was OK.

I saw him in the evening everyday. We (his son & I ) worked hard all day to clean and straighten the apartment in preparation for the Estate Liquidators to come in. It was a physically and emotionally draining 2 days.

I came home exhausted but at peace. I don't know if I will see him again but he appreciated my visit. Hospice is taking good care of him but he is obviously very ill. He could live longer than expected or he could be gone tomorrow. Either way, I love him and am glad he is my brother.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Winds of change

The breeze makes the grass's plumes dance. The view is ever changing.
My elementary school Sunday School students talked about the changing of the seasons. How Summer becomes Fall and Fall becomes Winter and how it is all a part of God's plan. We marvelled at the miracle of it all.
But we complain about the heat in the Summer, the cold in the Winter, having to rake leaves in the Fall. It's never quite right.
The changes in the seasons of our lives are just as hard to deal with. We complain about not being able to do the things we used to do. We are concerned about the way we can't remember things with way we used to. We are saddened by the illnesses of our friends. We worry about money.
But I have to remember, that these seasons are also a part of God's plan and to enjoy and revel and marvel at the miracle of life. There is joy in every day if we just look for it. Most of the time we don't have to look too far, either.
May you find joy in your day and all your days to come. Watch the leaves sway in the breeze, notice the changing colors and praise God for it all.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


"I see you." That was a phrase used in the movie "Avatar" that really hit home with me.

How many times do we talk to someone and not really see them? Often, in our busy lives, we don't see people. We don't want to see people. It's messy. It doesn't fit into our schedules. It costs us too much emotionally.

People need to be seen. I have been feeling very invisible lately.

People see me as self-sufficient, efficient, organized and a person who gets things done. They don't see that I am hurting, hungry for friends, unhappy. They see what they want to see.

They see what I can do for them but never ask what they can do for me and really mean it.

It hurts. I am not supposed to need anything, I guess. I am supposed to be always cheerful, always in control. But I am not and no one sees that.

But, as my husband pointed out and a card from a friend pointed out, God sees me. He knows what I need and how I feel.

Without it sounding like blasphemy, sometimes that's not enough. I need a real flesh and blood person to talk to, to hug me, to allow me to cry, to really see me as the human being I am with all my imperfections and love me anyway. I am praying to God to bring me that person.

Do you ever feel like you are not seen? How does it make you feel?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Goal

As I said in my last blog (not the blank one caused by a fingernail!), my nephew is getting married in November and I have a goal.

There is a particular dress that I want to wear to the wedding and I don't fit into it right now. Bummer!

I weighed 115 in High School and I weigh 146 today. It snuck up on me gradually and until I began not being able to get into some of my clothes, I didn't think much about it. I do a good job a camouflaging my middle aged tummy with my choice of clothes.

I cannot diet. As soon as I say the word "diet", I immediately want to eat everything that isn't nailed down. I know it's all in my head but it is soon all on my waist.

So this time, I am just concentrating on portions and stopping eating when I am satisfied not full. To date, if something tastes good, it's hard to no eat it all.

We'll see how this works. Today was my first day and so far so good.

If I get into the dress, I will be sure to post a photo. If I don't get into the dress, I will post a photo of someone else!

Wish me luck.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A New Beginning

My youngest nephew is getting married! I am so excited. He is 32 years old.

He has waited a long time for the right girl. He has had two serious relationships, one of which was an engagement. But they both ended in heart break. He is such a caring person that he always chose women who needed help. They had emotional problems, faith problems, you name it. What he learned was that you can't "fix" another person. Only God can do that.

He had begun to think that God expected him to remain single like Paul. But then, along came Laura. A pretty, smart, christian girl and that all changed. They are such a perfect couple. They both have a heart for youth ministry. They both love the mountains of Colorado. They love to have fun - white water rafting, horseback riding, just goofing around. It is fun to see them together.

They are getting married in Estes Park, Colorado on November 8th. The place they have chosen in spectacular. I hope the weather cooperates so that we can get there from Nebraska.

My nephew wrote to me about how much they are looking forward to their live together. Especially being physically intimate. They have both waited and are so glad. I expect to see great-nephews and nieces very soon.

The whole idea of his happiness and his new life fill me with joy and I am just his Aunt. I can't imagine how his Mom must feel.

God is so good. But it is all in His timing not ours. We are often impatient and try to take things in to our own hands but when we wait on God wonderful things happen.

That is something I need to remind myself often.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer to Fall

Normally, this is one of my favorite times of the year. The days are not as humid, the nights are cool enough to have the windows open and there is a change in the air. It's exciting and invigorating.

But this Fall, I am dealing with a brother who is dying thousands of miles away and I can not help. You see, I am one who likes to be in control. If you are in control, nothing will go wrong. If you are in control, things will happen the way you want them to. Apparently, when you are in control you are also delusional!

God has been trying to teach me in various ways that I am NOT in control, even a little, and that all things will happen the way He wants them to. Boy, is that hard.

When God is in control and I don't try to "help", there is a peace and a feeling of joy that is hard to explain. I am trying to be at peace with my brother's situation. I am dealing with his son who is not doing well with this and that is very stressful. There is a part of me that still tries to "organize" things - I guess that's trying to control, isn't it?

I am trying to sell his furniture from a distance and make final arrangements. Not easy. He moved from Nebraska when he was 12 and he was always drawn back here. I am bringing him back here to put him beside our parents. The hardest part is yet to come.

In my mind's eye, my brother is 18 or 19 and we are all still living at home. It's hard to imagine him as old and ill. One's mind is a mysterious thing.

Well, please continue to pray for me. The next few weeks will be difficult and I do appreciate your love and support.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I wish I could write every day. I don't though.

It just seems like life gets in the way- work cooking, eating, sleeping, laundry, watching TV, dealing with my brother's situation (yesterday's blog) and much more.

I know it's all an excuse. I just do not always have the energy to share. I feel sucked dry right now.

Today I wait for a call from the Hospice nurse after she has done her evaluation of my brother. He is now moved and planted in the Care Home. I pray that that is what it will be - a place that will care for him.

Now we have to clean out his apartment, close his accounts and erase all memories of the life he had for over 20 years in that place. I find it incredibly sad. It is so hard to do from 2000 miles away.

I wish he were a Christian. It would make the whole process so much easier. He would have hope and heaven to look forward to.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

I plan to go visit in the next few weeks. Not sure when.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Am I My Brother's Keeper - yes

My brother, who I have written about before, is not doing well. he is currently in the hospital and will be moved to a nursing home soon.

It is quite apparent that he can no longer take care of himself. The Hepitis C that is destroying his liver is not only effecting him physically but mentally. I am sad.

I talked with him tonight and he sounded like a drunk. He slurred his words and much of the time did not make mush sense. But he understood that I love him and have his best interests at heart.

The doctor says he may have a year to live. If he goes to a place where he will be taken care of, that is a possibility.

It's amazing the things we do to ourselves with no thought of the long term consequences. We drink too much, we smoke, we lie out in the sun to get tan, we drive too fast. In his case, add in drug use and you have the whole cocktail that made his liver fail. I don't know that it would have changed his decisions if he had known he would only live to be 69. Probably not. At 20 years old, that seems like a long way away.

As much as he has driven me crazy at times over the past few years, the thought of not having him around at all is difficult. You kind of expect your siblings to live a long time and keep you company in your old age. This is not going to happen with my brother. I cry.

I pray for him. I pray for me.

This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I saw him as I pulled into the parking space in front of the coffee shop. He sat cross legged in a little patch of shade to protect him from the bright sun. He held a hand-lettered cardboard sign stating the obvious "Homeless, please help." The barrister inside the coffee shop stuck his head out the door and asked "Are you OK out there?" The man replied, "I'm fine."

I got out of the car. Painfully aware that he was watching me open my wallet and put 60 cents in the parking meter. Was it his eyes I felt or my conscience? Having been brought up in New York, I am good at the "make no eye contact" walk. But even without looking, I knew he was there. I entered the coffee shop.

I had come to the coffee shop because I had heard it was closing. I was heartbroken. If I was downtown and wanted coffee, it was my "go to" place. The beautiful courtyard was in danger of being transformed into a beer garden. I was paying my last respects. It was an act of charity really.

I had my coffee and a cookie that was big enough to feel a family of four. After about an hour of reading my latest mystery novel, I was ready to leave and knew I would have to walk past the man outside the door again.

I asked the barrister, "So what's the story of the man outside?"

"Oh, that's Danny, he's just homeless," came the reply. The callousness of the reply hit me like a slap in the face. People aren't "just' homeless. It seems to be a fairly serious situation.

"He's trying to get back on his feet," he continued.

I took a dollar out of my wallet before I opened the door. I walked to the man still seated on the concrete and held it out to him. He saw the bill out of the corner of his eye and flinched a little. As he reached for it, he looked into my eyes.

I was surprised to see a man in his early 40s with a smooth, clean shaven brown face raised to mine and large intelligent brown eyes looking out from that face.

I'm not sure what I expected but not that. I guess I thought he would be dirty and older and have rheumy, blood shot eyes from too much alcohol or drugs. But that was not the case. He said "Thank you" and I said, "You're welcome."

I got into my car and started it. I looked up and he smiled and waved at me. I smiled and waved back.

All the way home, I wondered about this Danny. What was his story, why was he begging on the street? My dollar seemed so small and insignificant but he was grateful enough to wave at me as I backed out of my parking space.

I hope I see him again. I would like to know more about him. In the meantime, I will pray that God will bring people to help him back on his feet. Maybe I helped a little.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inside out

The other day, we had barbecued chicken for dinner. You know how the barbecue sauce sometimes can get a little burned? Well, that's the good stuff.

Anyway, after dinner we went to hear a friend's quartet sing. When we got there, I decided that I needed some lipstick. When I looked in the mirror, there was a big black piece of barbecue sauce stuck right in the front of my teeth. Oh my gosh!

My husband had been talking to me before we got to the concert. Why didn't he say anything? So I picked it out of my teeth as descretely as I could and sat down.

Then it hit me! My husband does not see my outside, he sees me for what I am on the inside and that is the way God sees us. He does not see the speck of food in our teeth, he does not see our fumbling and inadequacy, he sees our heart and soul.

Instead of being upset at my husband for not telling me I had food in my teeth, I was grateful to God for looking past my surface and seeing the inside of me that loves Him and tries to follow Him everyday.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Giving your life to Christ

I have been pondering that phrase for the last week of two and have come to the conclusion that like so many things we are asked to do by God, it is not possible.

Oh, we think we are. We say the proper platitudes and feel good but when it comes right down to it, no one I know truly gives his or her whole life to God. The only ones who come close are my Pastor and his wife. And I envy them for that. I don't think that's very Christian. Oh well.

I have a mother-in-law who has been a Christian forever. She believes, I have no doubt. She can say things about God being in control and in the next breath she is saying something very un-Christian about the President or someone else and it makes me cringe.

I am no better. I have many gods before Him - money, food, clothes (especially shoes), my husband (who should have been first on the list), my job. I try to give my life to Christ. To turn all my troubles over to Him and then I worry all night about something I have no control over. I try to be a good example of Christ's love and then I say words under my breath about someone else's driving.

I don't gossip (much), I love everyone (mostly) and I follow Christ(when it doesn't interfere with other things.) See what I mean?

I am so in awe of God's grace and that he knows how short I fall and loves me anyway.

And, please know this, He loves you, too.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I have been thinking about a young woman in my church. She stands during service and looks, for the most part, distracted and bored out of her mind. Like she would rather be having a root canal than be where she is. Occasionally, she joins in - when the music is more to her liking.

It got me thinking about our worship. Do we just worship when the music and the lighting and the atmosphere is right? Do we need all that stuff to worship? SHOULD we need all that stuff to worship?

What should move us to worship is our love of God- period. We should be able to worship and praise even if the music is unfamiliar or old fashioned, the baby behind us is crying, the air conditioner is not set exactly at a comfortable level. It should not matter - but it does.

Why do we let these things interfere with our reaching out to God? We are human, true. We are imperfect, me especially. We were given free will, we exercise it.

This week, I am going to concentrate on God and worship in all circumstances.

How about you?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Beginnings

I have a new job! The words do not sound real but I know it's real. I start on Friday.

I never thought that anyone would hire someone "my age." I believed what the world had told me that getting a job after 50 was almost impossible. I let the world block out the fact that God can and does work miracles.

I will be an Administrative Assistant in the Southeast Nebraska Cancer Center. I will do payroll and some HR stuff. Don't know exactly yet.

When they called on Monday, I was thrilled. It made me feel young and useful and needed and wonderful. When I hung up the phone, I thanked God and mentally said "Nah, nah, nah" to the world who had me anxious and doubting.

I will be working in a place and for people who make a difference in people's lives and I love that idea.

So now at 61, I am starting a new job with enthusiasm and hope. It's a new beginning of sorts and I am excited.

God is SO good!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Still trying to figure it out

My job situation has changed, as some of you may know, and my hours have been reduced from 40 t0 24. That is quite a change.

I had mused to my husband that maybe God was trying to teach us to be frugal, to prepare us for retirement, to make us depend on Him more.

That all sounded good at the time. Logical, spiritual, calm.

Last night, or rather, this morning, I woke up at 4:30am and had a melt down. Anxiety overwhelmed me. Logical, spiritual and calm flew out the window. I worried and prayed until 5:30 and I finally got up. I worried about paying our bills, would we lose the house, can we afford our prescriptions, all of that. I prayed for God to help my unbelief, to give me strength, to depend on Him and truly believe that He will take care of us. My prayers felt empty and desperate. I wasn't sure God was listening. I could understand if he was not listening. I was not sounding very trusting of Him.

My husband got up later and heard the whole story. It helped to tell him my concerns. Together we talked about what we could do to cut costs without having to give up our home or give up eating (which I am very fond of!) God showed us several things and I felt at peace.

He will take care of us. I know he will. That's not to say I won't have periodic melt-downs and doubts but we will get through it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Amazing Saturday

For weeks a group of women from my church have been working on a Women's Conference based on the book "Sacred Pathways" by Gary Thomas. We had read it and discussed it together and decided that the ideas needed to be shared.

The premise of the book is that we all connect to God in different ways and that each way is acceptable to God. There is the Traditionalist, the Intellectual, the Enthusiast, the Sensate, the Activist, the Caregiver, the Ascetic, the Contemplative and the Naturalist.

Our work came to fruition Saturday morning at 9:00am. We had about 20 women in attendance.
We began with the Traditionalist and ended with the Sensate. My part was the Enthusiast. We connect with God through enthusiastic worship - songs, dance, instruments, prayer and anticipation.

Each woman's section was unique and wonderful and even if it was not the way I connect with God, it gave me an insight into the people who use other pathways. We even went out to a park to find God in nature. Even though the wind was a little chilly, everyone enjoyed it.

We ended the day with the Sensate. The person who finds God through her senses - sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. We had several stations to experience these senses - hand washing (we decided against foot washing!), communion, annointing with oil, candles to light and a place to pray. While we were doing that music played and beautiful pictures of women in the Bible were displayed on the screens. It was inspiring.

When we parted at 4:30 or so, we had all bonded in a special way.

I encourage any of you out there to create a workshop or conference for the women in your church and see what wonderful things God will do with it - far beyond what you could hope for or imagine.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

God is in control

Well, it finally happened. I knew it was coming but now it's finally here.

They cut my hours at work to 24. I will work Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. That is not enough to pay our bills. I will have to find a part time job or a whole new job. I hate the thought of interiews and such. My age is not working in my favor either. Not many companies looking for a 61 year old manager.

At Bible Study on Sunday, I requested prayer for God's guidance in this (knowing that something was going to happen). I am now trusting in him to provide. That is not an easy thing for a "take charge" kind of person like I am.

On one hand, I will have more time to do the things I need to do around the house and I can save money by doing more cooking and less eating out. I might even find my missing manuscript. Who knows!?

On the other hand, I would like to have a job. Actually, I would like to hit the Lottery and I may have as good a shot at that as I do finding another job!!

I'll have to wait and see what the net paycheck will be before I make a decision.

I could use your prayers for God's guidance and provision.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I have a book in me somewhere

Years ago I started a book. It was so long ago that is was typed on a typewriter! Wow!

It is a fictional story based on my grandfather's life in the late 1800's. He was born in 1870. I read the story he wrote about his life when he was in his 80's and thought it was fascinating. It sparked my imagination. Sort of a male version of Little House on the Prairie with 11 siblings.

I had written about 50 pages and now I can't find it. I am sick about that. I know it has to be in the house somewhere. Paper and ink do not sprout legs and walk off but I have looked everywhere. Well, obviously not everywhere or I would have found it.

Maybe it's God's way of saying I should start over or start something new. I don't know.

Pray for me to find my story or to have the will to start a new story.

Have you ever misplaced something and felt that God was trying to direct you through that?

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I love warm weather and the smell of the warm, fresh earth and the flowers and the trees.
Today the temperature was warm and the sun was shining and I went out and tackled my long neglected garden. I filled our trash bin and one paper lawn sack with debris. What fun!
The garden looks wonderful with its new growth and its fresh brown dirt. It lifted my spirits. I am amazed that these tiny green things survived our harsh Nebraska winter and pushed again up through the soil to drink in the sunshine and wave gently in the breeze. I am overcome with joy.
When I look at my garden and all the growing things at this time of year, I imagine what God felt like when he created it all. How happy he must have been to see it all come together. "He saw that it was good." What an understatement! It is more than good, it is awesome!
When I am taking care of my garden, I am taking care of God's creation and I love it.
As the garden matures, I will post some pictures. I am not a master gardener by any means but I am a happy one.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life changes

I wrote awhile ago about my brother and my dilemma with him. Last week, I broke down. I could not take it any more. I called my sister and she agreed to take over the "care and feeding" of our brother. I have been responsible since our mother died in 2002.

I was so relieved and I could not believe the happiness I felt. Then came the guilt.

I love my brother but he was sucking the life out of me. Everytime the phone rang and it was him, my whole demeanor changed and I became a different person who I didn't like very much. Think Cruella Divile or Leona Helmsley. Not a pretty picture and not like my normal personality (or at least I would like to think so!)

He called sometimes 3 or 4 times a day. It was exhausting.

My sister and I agreed that I would not talk to him until I felt stronger and more able to deal with his neediness. That is hard. He called last night while we were out and left a message. Just hearing his voice triggered the guilt again.

It is also hard to hand the responsibility over to my "little" sister. I have always protected her and now she is taking that role for me. Very odd.

When God works a miracle on my soul, I will be able to talk to my brother just as his sister and that will be wonderful.

Pray for me.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Stop the World I want to get off

That was the title of a movie in the 70s. I don't remember what it was about but the title somehow fits my life right now.


I am applying for a home equity loan to pay off some credit card debt. We are trying to be debt free by the time we retire and this will make it happen. The bank needs so much information but I am close to being ready to submit the application this next week.

I am tring to get papers together to take to my accountant to get my taxes done. It used to be so simple. When did it get so complicated?

I am in charge of publicity for a Quilt Show at our church. I don't know how I volunteered for that. Sometimes I speak before I think. anyway, I sent out 13 emails and 7 mailings on Thursday night. I have 26 quilt shops in Nebraska to contact and send brochures to. Then I will hit the fabric stores, hotels and chamber of commerce here in town.

I am part of a Women's Conference in May and wrote the first draft of my talk last night.

I am the Moderator of my church which is like head of the Deacon board. I have an All Church Meeting coming up in 2 weeks and I set up the agenda last night and sent some By Law language to my board to review.

This morning I am going to a brunch with a group of PEOs. This should be fun but it is just another thing to do. I will leave at 8:30 and be back home about noon. Then the lady who is planning the Quilt Show will come over at 1:00pm to help with the publicity.

Oh, I need to run and get in the shower so I am ready when they pick me up.

Did I mention that I also work full time? My job is OK but not something that I wake up and face with excitement. I am counting the days until I can retire. Let me see that would be 3,102 days to be exact.

Oh yes, I almost forgot, I teach Sunday School, sing on the Praise Team almost every week and handle my brother's finances.

In June, I plan to say no to everything and run away.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Teach my your ways, O Lord

I have a daily "Inspiration and Motivation" book that I keep at my desk.

The other morning after a particularly difficult meeting, I was reading that days bit of wisdom.

It made me laugh and it made me think. It said:

"Lord, help me get along with the difficult people in my life...especially those who are probably praying this prayer about me right now!"

It made me realize that, to others, I may be the difficult person in their lives. I don't think that makes a very good witness for Christ. I need to do better about seeing the other person's perspective and thinking before I speak. These are not my gifts.

I can be stubborn, hard headed and opinionated. And back East, where I grew up, that was OK. But in the Midwest, it is not.

I will remember my little prayer above and do better in the days and weeks ahead. How about you?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lenten Sacrifice

My husband and I gave up watching TV for Lent.

It was a hard decision and, because it was so hard, we were convinced that it needed to be done.

We are now at the end of the first week and it has been amazing. The quiet is overwhelming sometimes and we do listen to music either on the radio or a CD.

We have talked more in the last week than we have in the last year. It is wonderful to re-connect with my spouse. This was a benefit I had not expected but am enjoying very much.

Before giving up the TV, we would eat breakfast and dinner with the TV on and hardly say a word to each other. Now we talk about our day and other things that are on our minds. Who knew??

It has also been less stressful to not hear all the news. News programs are mostly negative and filled with doom and gloom. It's nice to not have that forced into our ears. We read the newspaper - with the newspaper you can decide to read an article or not. It's very freeing.

I am also looking forward to evenings where we can do things around the house without being glued to the TV. Most of the time the programs we watched were not worth our time.

I hope when Lent is over, we will be more discerning about our viewing and watch less TV and continue our dialogue about life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

God's Hand

Last night I saw God's hand at work. I had met one of my "blog friends" a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed her. I had met a lady who was visiting our church who was struggling with having just moved to our town. As a stay-at-home mom, she had made no friends.

God said to me "They should meet."

So last night, we all three got together for coffee. It was wonderful. They both are transplants from other parts of the country. One has been here 8 years but still remembers the loneliness and the pain. They talked about that.

They both have 8 year old boys. One little boy is in need of friends. They are planning a play date.

They both have connection to writing. They talked about that.

It was amazing. They exchanged contact information.

I left about 8:00pm and they were still at the table talking. I left with a joy in my heart that I was not expecting.

God works in wonderful ways and I was humbled to be a small part of it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Involuntary musings

When you are posting a comment to someones blog, do you try to pronounce the security word you have type in? I can't help my self. It's often just random letters but I still try to make it a pronounceable word. And then I laugh at myself.

Do you ever read someone else's blog and know that what you just wrote was lame? I write what I feel or see but I do not have the turn of phrase that some have. I enjoy reading blogs sometimes more than I enjoy writing in my own! But I keep writing..hmmmm.

Are you always counting the days yet to pass before ....some event? We count the days until Valentines Day, the days until Easter, the days until Christmas or our birthdays or the weekend. We live in the anticipation of the future and forget about today. I do it all the time. I am trying to appreciate the day and not "look forward" to so many things. God said his name is I AM not I will be. God is in the here and now. I have to remember that.

Are you reading this and wondering when I am going to get to some point? Hate to disappoint you but there is no point to all this. Just random musings.

It does though say a lot about me and how my brain works or doesn't at times. Scary!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Change of Attitude

I looked back at my last couple of posts and thought, "whoa, what a downer this person is. Her profile says she's a glass half full person but you surely couldn't prove by her posts lately."

So I decided to have an attitude adjustment.

I am looking at the sky that is filling with clouds and thinking how beautiful they are. Bright white at the edges and grey in the middle. Layers of fluffy looking structures that will bring us rain or snow or something. I am focusing on the beauty.

I am feeling the cold wind on my face and drawing my coat tighter around my neck and I am thinking about the invigorating feeling the cold air gives. It gives cheeks a rosy glow and makes your breath visible. I am focusing on the beauty.

God's world is an amazing place and the balances in nature are beyond my imagination and He made it all with a purpose. I am humbled and I am focusing on the beauty.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

An odd perspective

Yesterday I attended a graveside service for an elderly lady from my church. She actually died on December 18th but because the weather had been so bad her son decided to wait on the burial and the memorial service.

The day was sunny but very cold (12 degrees with a little wind). I drove about an hour to get there. There was a very small gathering. Maybe 15. And most people there were 75 and older.

The chairs were set up, the green blanket covered the ground and on top on the mound was a plain brown wrapped box about 6 inches high by 12 inches long and 8 inches wide. Here was Marilyn.

I could not take my eyes from this ugly box. I kept thinking how her 80 years were spent and how hard she worked. How she had nothing in the end and all that was left were her ashes in this box. I wanted to cry.

I know she is with God and no longer has to deal with the results of a stroke, or her Parkinson's disease or her existence in a nursing home. And for that I a grateful.

But it just seemed so depressing and cold.

The service lasted about 15 minutes and the Pastor read the usual Bible passages. Then it was off the the Church for the Memorial.

As I left the cemetery, I felt empty and spent my trip back to town contemplating my own mortality and wondering if I will end up in a plain brown box. Well. at least that I know won't happen because I have already paid for a pink cloisonne urn that I hope will remind people who I was in life.

The Memorial Service was better and there were pictures of Marilyn smiling and healthy - like I would like to remember her.

Death can be an unhappy thing but the celebration of the life that just ended should be joyous. I hope mine will be.

I will miss Marilyn.

Friday, January 29, 2010


This has been a particularly difficult week. I work for an accountant and this is the last week of the month to get 2009 year end taxes filed and W2s issued.

I am new to this work and feel like I will never learn. There are so many rules and so many numbers that have to match each other in order for the accounting gods to be happy. They are not very happy with me most of the time.

I am overwhelmed and discouraged and on the verge of tears many evenings. Last night I snapped at my poor unsuspecting husband when he walked in the door a little late.

I have thought about just quitting but I can't do that. We do have bills to pay and I really like not living on the street. I know that God found this job for me when I was unemployed so I will stick it out for Him. I must work " as if for the Lord."

Pray for me that my attitude will improve and that I will begin to understand and get the hang of this soon. In the meantime, stress is something I live with but I would like a divorce or at least a legal separation!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My brother's keeper?

My mother died 7 1/2 years ago. Her estate left each of her children some money.

We put a new roof on our house and built a deck.

My sister finished her basement into the cutest guest retreat that we have used several times.

My brother lives in Berkeley. California and because he is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and has little sense when it come to money, I was given the responsibility of Trustee to his inheritance.

Over the years it has been difficult and I have made mistakes. I was not tough enough on controlling his spending. I didn't want to fight. I was a woos (how ever you spell that!) It has been incredibly stressful.

Now we are nearing the end of the money. It will all run out by the end of the year. The stock market crash this last year did not help our situation.

My brother is on welfare in California and will have an apartment and some food. But he will lose his TV and phone and computer.

My sister and I cannot afford to support his luxuries but we can't see him starve. I am so conflicted in this. My husband and I are nearing retirement and would like to be able to retire. My sister's husband is a lay pastor and doesn't make much money. Am I my brother's keeper? Do I sacrifice all I have worked for because of his bad life choices?

When I think about it, I cry. It affects every other aspect of my life.

God, please help me to know what to do. Please provide what I need and what he needs. I turn this over to you.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Unintentional evangelism

On Tuesday evening, I went to a local coffee shop to hear a blog-friend read. I had no idea what to expect. I read her blog every day, Graceful inspires and feeds me with her words but to read outloud is different.

There is a small writer's group that meets once a month to share their musings. They are mostly "experienced" people but the lady who read on Tuesday is young and. as such, brought a freshness to the group.

She stood at the microphone, unsure of how to begin and what to say. So she launched herself in and took us all along for a wonderful ride. As we journied with her, her voice became stronger and more confident. She actually seemed to be enjoying herself.

She spoke of her childhood as a young Catholic girl who had stolen a coveted necklace and the way it ate at her so much that she could not even bring herself to confess it to the priest. She made us empathize and laugh.

She confessed her unwillingness to move to Nebraska from Massachusetts and how she has come to love it here. She made us empathize and laugh.

She talked about how her faith has grown since she moved here where, to her way of thinking, we in Nebraska discuss our faith and our relationship with God with such ease. I'm not sure that is true but apparently in Massachusetts they don't talk about it at all!

She read to us how she had reprimanded her son for something he had done and in his suffering and worry, realized how much she needed Jesus and how she could not face her own problems without Him. She made us empathize and cry.

And all the while, she was an unintentional Evangelist. She spoke from her heart about her faith and her love of God and her doubts and her journey. It was amazing. She made us believe.

I hope I get to hear her again soon.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve

Normally, we have gone to a party on New Year's eve but this year we stayed home. We watched some college football and had dinner. No wine, no champagne. Just Coke and Pepsi.

We danced cheek to cheek with the lights turned down low to The Platters and jitterbugged with the lights bright to Chuck Berry on the hard wood floor of our kitchen. We laughed and talked and had a wonderful time. We forgot we were in our kitchen. It was transformed into a dance hall for an hour. And we weren't in sweats and socks but dressed to kill.

We had our own party and went to bed at 10:00pm (I know, what old fuddy duddys).

It was one of our most memorable New Year's eve celebrations!!

I hope yours was memorable, too and that 2010 brings you blessings beyond your wildest dreams.