New Blog Name – “In Spite of Us”

ynAWarning … I’ve decided to walk the tightrope without the net. I’ve made some changes to the blog and I want you to know what to expect.
The main change is the name, “IN SPITE OF US,” after the book I am writing – one keyboard click at a time. Other than that, I will continue to post the same random stories but occasionally will share excerpts from the book or reflect on the agony of the writing experience.
“In Spite of Us,” is a book in progress about a completely unremarkable couple, doomed to DEATH by stupid choices. Two people coerced into a blind date, attraction acknowledged along with RED FLAGS waving. Yet, they continue… a stiletto heel and a biker boot… limping along with clashing lifestyles, heading toward a mass grave, overflowing with hopeless relationships. earsB

 

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A double memoir told through the opposing voices of myself and my husband, TESTIFYING TO GOD’S GREAT LOVE. A God who never gave up on us.

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My heart for the blog is to show that although my walk today may outwardly appear to be simple and ordinary, it is in Spirit, truly remarkable with His miracles around every corner. Yes, I still question and unfortunately whine with the best of the Israelites, but hopefully, before the Amen is spoken, Praise His Holy name.

 

prayAMy prayer is that the book and blog give glory to His deeds, lighting a path of hope for others, who may feel undeserving, as I once did and still do, without a huge daily dose of His Grace and Mercy.
I hope you enjoy the changes and keep following as I wrap my toes around that tightrope and reveal my heart. togetherB

SEIZE THE SUN – A Seattle Mantra

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You learn to seize sunshine in Seattle. As a teen in the late 1960’s, if the clouds parted and the temperature peaked 60 degrees, my newly licensed friend and I slipped bikinis over goose bump skin and cruised the lake.

In my mind’s eye, we circled Lake Tapps, in a yellow Corvette Stingray, hair sailing behind us, voluminous breasts overflowing our string bikini cups, every head turning our way. Reality recalls a sluggish Renault Gordini, empty bikini cups and a red headed, freckled little brother in the back seat, beaming a victory smile from the moment Mom said he could tag along.

Four decades later, living on the God blessed eastern side of Washington state, I still practice my Puget Sound training, seizing golden orb moments. Bikini days are gone, but I get a thrill knowing I don’t have to wear socks for several months and my car radio still blasts 60’s tunes.

Other defining summer moments remain, like barbecues, popsicles, hissing sprinklers and welcome evenings with lingering light. I even appreciate the sweaty nights in our two story air condition-less house and the pesky yellow jackets dive bombing my grilled burger.

Besides, summer mostly brings pleasantries. I even have pardon for wearing wide brim straw hats with big silk flowers, claiming, I need to protect my skin. The same skin I abused, days past, hat-less and nearly naked.

I certainly don’t usher in the season solo. The ratio of “howdies” and smiles is ten fold, strolling the streets in the summer, versus a gray drizzly winter day. Soon enough, we’ll be inside, noses pressed to windows summoning subliminal orders for the icicles to “DRIP AND DIE ALREADY!”

So, while it lasts, until my toes turn blue, I’m swearing off socks, parkas with hoods and mittens. I will embrace our Creator’s colorful, aromatic, fresh serving of summer with gratitude.

lake tappsLake Tapps

A DYSLEXIC VIEW OF GOD’S LOVE – A Tribute to our Loving Dog

He packed 110 pounds with broad shoulders, sharp teeth and Herculean strength, yet his ferocity showed only through his ability to love. This week, we said good bye to our big ole yellow lab, Gabriel, like the angel.gabe at work

As I mope around our big old creaky house, missing my shadow, I think how life slips away quickly, especially for our dog friends. Maybe that’s why they love so intensely. Would we love each other better if we knew time were more urgent?

I can even say he reflected all the traits we are called to carry – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and even self-control. Okay, sometimes he had trouble with self-control but only when provoked by pesky cats or chipmunks, or tempted with food.

I strive to love ALL people. Gabe loved freely. No matter who you were. You could stink like sweaty socks or week old garbage … oh wait, he liked that. But, you get the point. He loved everyone, even those who refused to share their food.
He was glad to see you if he was tired and even managed a tail wag when he was in pain. When we would yell and treat each other poorly, he would courageously nuzzle his nose under our hands. His big brown eyes begged for us to stop and forgive each other.

Gabe was somewhat of a local celebrity in Ellensburg, where he worked as the official greeter in our antiques store for more than eight years. He took his job quite seriously, strutting in his tie, like a peacock. He was a great employee and an effective advertisement, as customers returned wanting to see the big yellow dog, who greeted them at the door for a treat and a tummy rub.

I realize it doesn’t sound very Christian-like to say that my dog knew how to love others better than I do, but what can I say? It’s true. I will keep working on it.
To be loved by such a creature is a wonderful gift. God’s love is present in all His creations.

Gabe Aug. 2001 – April 2014

MY TOP 5 BEST EVER APRIL FOOLS JOKES

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Happy Aprils Day

My family hates April Fools Day. Instead of embracing it with glee as I do, they put on armor, suspicious of what the day may bring. Frankly, I think they should quit whining and get over it. For me, it’s a day demonstrating my love, taking extreme measures to make them feel special.

Do they appreciate it? Pffft…. Not a bit. Even my children have no respect for the day. It’s not as if they did not receive training. As toddlers we studied the fine art together pranking neighbors, friends, even the dog. Just when it was time for them to graduate from the basics like “your shoes are untied” to higher levels, the incessant whining and boohooing began. They just couldn’t live by my April Fools mantra – “don’t dish out what you    can’t eat yourself.”

So this year, I am taking the day off. I know they’ll miss my loving acts of impery. I hope you enjoy and use the best jewels from my jester crown.

1. I BAKED A CAKE JUST FOR YOU.
Supplies needed: 1 Car wash sponge
1 can of frosting.
Frost the sponge taking care to make it look the utmost delicious. It helps if you are not the best cook. I had to stop my husband from choking on this because he thought it was just another failed baking experiment and he did not want to hurt my feelings.

2. MY LIPS, MY LIPS, SOMEONE STOLE MY LIPS.
Supplies: 1 tube Orajel Toothache relief.
The victim’s drinking glass, coffee cup, etc. Discreetly squeeze a small amount of Orajel on your finger, swiping it discreetly on the brim of the cup, glass or even an aluminum can. Note: This prank is accredited to my little brother, Danny, who passed away in 2010. He celebrated the spirit of practical jokes daily and always kept a tube of Orajel in his pocket.

3. FREDDY KRUEGER IS AT THE DOOR.
Supplies: A cell phone.
Go to the victim’s house and stay hidden. Call them engaging in light hearted conversation. With cell phone in hand, knock aggressively on the door. Hide. When they go to the door to find no one is there, tell them to be careful. Wait a moment and repeat the knocking and disappear. Tell them you will stay on the phone in case they need you to call for help. Repeat until you sense it is time to appear at the door exclaiming the ever satisfying “April Fool!” I got lucky on this one because my daughter happened to be watching a scary movie.

4. SAVE THE LITTLE OLD LADY

Supplies: No supplies just a vehicle and a willing, naïve, young victim. I chose my 10 year old grandson. Take the victim on a day trip. Choose your destination carefully. Mine was a 35 mile trip. About midway, pump the brake causing as much jerking as possible and pull over to the side of the road. I told my grandson that I was too old to walk the rest of the way and he would have to walk into town and find help. I warned him not to accept rides or talk with strangers. After taking a deep breath, the brave little man began the trek, determined to do what needed done. After they walk a few yards, start the car and drive past them. Honking and yelling April Fool out the window adds the needed drama. I do suggest that you do this on the return trip otherwise the victim can be quite cranky the rest of the day.
5. WHERE DID IT GO?

This works best for a spouse or a teenager with a car. Skill level: Stealth. Wait until the victim has fallen asleep for the night. Choose a safe, close by destination where you can park their car for the night. Caution: This could have been disastrous because I overslept and the police were called before I made it downstairs screaming “April Fool.” IMPORTANT NOTE: The police are even less enthusiastic about the holiday than my family.

Have fun with these. I will enjoy my day off. My family won’t believe me. They’ll spend the day same as always, peeking around corners waiting for me to pop out and declare

Happy April Fools Day!!!!!!!

DÉ•JÀ VU THE SINS OF OUR FATHERS

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I want to write something fun and light. A bandaid for my heart as well as yours. Problem is, when I ignore my heart it beats the crap out of me, pounding until… I GIVE.

So, go ahead heart, blab away.

One day I was watching my Mom iron a fussy, starched white blouse with a bow. Walking away, she says, “Don’t touch the iron, it’s hot.” The pain I felt testing her warning by placing my hand flat on the iron is my earliest childhood memory. OUCH!

After that, albeit not the brightest child, but with potential, I trusted that irons were HOT. Life provides unlimited lessons. I picture God shaking His head, like the good Father He is, cringing as I take an inevitable life-slap, directly after an I-KNEW-BETTER choice.

Truth is, sitting with my Father, discussing my rebellious nature and knack for selective hearing is often bittersweet. A time of intimacy snuggled next to our Heavenly Father, lapping up His mercy and grace like a rain-soaked kitten in front of the fire.

BUT…

When my children place their tiny hand on the hot iron? It seers my heart.

Even worse? When their adult choices go beyond a dollop of Aloe Vera cream and a scolding… it’s unbearable. That sense of dé•jà vu haunts while ghosts from the past point accusing fingers at not only my choices, but those of my ancestors. I smell the aroma from our historical family recipe, peppered with substance abuse, spiced with unresolved anger.

I’ve stared into this murky pool before. It’s behind me… beside me… and now… it’s in front of me, staring back through the eyes of my children. A family portrait in a gilded frame, eyes forward, posing behind smiling masks.

A tired script – been there – done that. A story written, told, shredded and burned. A noxious weed, pulled, and tossed only to sprout again, not in my neighbor’s lawn, but my children’s yard. A nasty bug, swatted, smashed, killed, and yet… it lives.

What can I do? I’m a Mom. Mom’s do… incapable of idleness.

Back on my Heavenly Father’s lap. Only this time we discuss my children’s choices. With no condemnation, He stirs the murky pool of my past mistakes with His finger. He comforts me while I spit pellets of but… but… but…

In the pool I see a brittle, cold, dying heart. It’s my heart. Or, it was mine, before He softened it. As He continues to stir the pool, four letters swirl to the top –

H –O – P – E

DÉ•JÀ VU THE SINS OF OUR FATHERS

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I want to write something fun and light. A bandaid for my heart as well as yours. Problem is, when I ignore my heart it beats the crap out of me, pounding until… I GIVE.

So, go ahead heart, blab away.

One day I was watching my Mom iron a fussy, starched white blouse with a bow. Walking away, she says, “Don’t touch the iron, it’s hot.” The pain I felt testing her warning by placing my hand flat on the iron is my earliest childhood memory. OUCH!

After that, albeit not the brightest child, but with potential, I trusted that irons were HOT. Life provides unlimited lessons. I picture God shaking His head, like the good Father He is, cringing as I take an inevitable life-slap, directly after an I-KNEW-BETTER choice.

Truth is, sitting with my Father, discussing my rebellious nature and knack for selective hearing is often bittersweet. A time of intimacy snuggled next to our Heavenly Father, lapping up His mercy and grace like a rain-soaked kitten in front of the fire.

BUT…

When my children place their tiny hand on the hot iron? It seers my heart.

Even worse? When their adult choices go beyond a dollop of Aloe Vera cream and a scolding… it’s unbearable. That sense of dé•jà vu haunts while ghosts from the past point accusing fingers at not only my choices, but those of my ancestors. I smell the aroma from our historical family recipe, peppered with substance abuse, spiced with unresolved anger.

I’ve stared into this murky pool before. It’s behind me… beside me… and now… it’s in front of me, staring back through the eyes of my children. A family portrait in a gilded frame, eyes forward, posing behind smiling masks.

A tired script – been there – done that. A story written, told, shredded and burned. A noxious weed, pulled, and tossed only to sprout again, not in my neighbor’s lawn, but my children’s yard. A nasty bug, swatted, smashed, killed, and yet… it lives.

What can I do? I’m a Mom. Mom’s do… incapable of idleness.

Back on my Heavenly Father’s lap. Only this time we discuss my children’s choices. With no condemnation, He stirs the murky pool of my past mistakes with His finger. He comforts me while I spit pellets of but… but… but…

In the pool I see a brittle, cold, dying heart. It’s my heart. Or, it was mine, before He softened it. As He continues to stir the pool, four letters swirl to the top –

H –O – P – E

TOP TEN LIST – WHY I LOVE MY HUSBAND

Loved by many ...
Loved by many

As a single mom, divorced, bitter and broken, I made a list of “MUST HAVES,” vowing to flee from any man who couldn’t swear by them all. Thank God, I broke that promise.

Today, after 22 years of marriage, I celebrate Valentines Day, grateful for the Godly characteristics my Father in heaven instilled in my husband – most of which never made my original list of qualifications.

Here is my TOP TEN list today.  My prayer is for all, single or not,  to realize the wondrous plan God has for your life. I know the best is yet to come.

10. I love the way he loves his daughters. He speaks sweetly of them. Respects  who they are. It’s truly beautiful.
9. He brings me a cup of hot tea when I’m sick.
8. He treats other women like sisters, moms, friends. He shows them respect and genuine brotherly love.
7. He reads the Bible, hungry for more of God, eager for righteousness.
6. He prays.
5. He listens, even when I’m whining.
4. He loves my daughter and son and he is the best co-grandparent imaginable.
3. He cries. He weeps. He sobs. He laughs.
2. He loves me.
1. He loves God more than me.  By putting God first, he keeps our life  ship afloat.

The point is – give God a stab at choosing what’s best, you might just find out that He knows you better than you know yourself.

Go here to read the top ten Bible scriptures on love. heartbeat2

http://voices.yahoo.com/10-inspirational-bible-verses-love-3332686.html

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THE BEST CASE SCENARIO?

Mrpotatoehead2The Naked Truth About Mr. Potato Head

No one ever asks me twice – “What’s the worst that could happen?”

     BE PREPARED became my childhood mantra, on a family trip to Yosemite Park in 1960. Showers were number one on the to-do list, after traveling three days in our new Aristrocat trailer. We had a quart size pickle jar filled with change – quarters, nickels, pennies and  … DIMES.

“No use wasting money… C’mon little Debbie,” said Grandma, prying my fingers off the doorjamb. She snags two towels and my new yellow flip flops with one hand, while the other locks onto mine, towing me down a dirt path to a dank building with a plank board sign reading, “SHOWERS 10 CENTS.” Inside, four cement stalls line the walls, each with a coin slot just like the mechanical pony outside of Woolworth’s Drug store back home.

Naked, as ordered, I keep my eyes fixed on Grandma’s crooked toes. The dime clinks into the slot, warm water relaxes my mind, curiosity slips in. Naked is not natural in our family, so nude to me is like the cartoon version of Porky Pig – pink, smooth, no hair. Nothing in my seasoned eight years prepared me for Grandma’s immense, pendulous breasts framing her round, protruding belly above a black furry patch staring back at me like an evil Mr. Potato Head.

Right then, I vowed – ALWAYS CARRY A DIME IN MY POCKET!

Adopting a “dime in my pocket” mind set can save the day. Heck, even the Boy Scouts pitch – BE PREPARED. My question is this – In preparing for the worst, do I also anticipate for the best?

I wonder how different my days would be if I packed my bags for BEST CASE SCENARIOS.  Am I prepared for the best thing that could happen? Do I watch for miracles? … Or just potential disasters.

What if the next time there’s a knock at the door, I fling it open in expectation of His wonder, grace and mercy? What if I remove worry, fretting and anxiety from my daily luggage and replace it with hope and expectations of His wonder?

Are you peeking around the corner ready for the biggest miracle yet?

Mathew 6: 25-34 NIV

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

STAR DUST FROM OUR HEAVENLY FATHER

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Mom

One tear sways a stream, as the perpetual Seattle mist merges into a downpour.  I pull off  Highway 412, just past Greenwater, feeding  a CD to the slot. A doe and her fawn remain close by under an umbrella of pines, even after I open the windows to share Nat King Cole singing my Mom’s favorite song, “Star Dust.”  The hyper-alert doe keeps watch. As the rain sprays through the window, mixing with my tears, I say goodbye to my Mom.

Januarys end with her birthday, and this month more than any, she is on my mind. She left memories all over the place, like a child scattering toys around for the rest of us to trip over. The slightest tickle from any sense – an image, a voice, an aroma. A whiff of southern fried chicken and she’s before me wearing a crinoline apron in high heels, laughing at Dad, impatiently waiting on a drumstick.

That surreal, misty fog of a “say goodbye day,” married two polar feelings – pain and joy. Earlier that day, the doctor flipped the switch from on to off, as my sister and I kept vigil, witnesses to the air-brake hiss of the machines last breath.

The doctor said it might be hours, or even days before she passed. I don’t know how either of us would have remained standing had we not had our belief in a loving God. Even so, we were reduced from grown women to helpless, lost, scared children. Months of prayers, hand holding, tear dabbing. Hours of Bible reading to a silent Mom whose eyes never open. We have faith, but right now, it resembles that nagging mustard seed. Sisters wanting to be strong for each other, we keep our desperate prayer a secret – the one begging God to let us know that our Mommy will be okay.

A cup of  tea might stop the clock, at least for a moment. Shaken, we start down the hall toward the cafeteria when we realize we’ve both forgotten our purses back in the room. We opened the door to find Mom, smiling… eyes, not only open but seeking. Instinctively we turn, looking for what she sees. Our eyes fail to see more than a white wall, but through her eyes… joyous anticipation – promises fulfilled  – kingdom majesty.

Moments later, she stopped breathing and left the room. A lights out feeling… yet, there we stood, my sister and I, smiling, giggling, rejoicing. Oh, what a loving God indeed.

Enjoy listening to Star Dust at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjU6ZjrQulc

STAR DUST LYRICS

And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart
High up in the sky the little stars climb
Always reminding me that were apart

You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely night dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song

Beside a garden wall
When stars are bright
You are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
A paradise where roses bloom
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
My stardust melody
The memory of love’s refrain

WHAT MY DOG TOLD ME ABOUT GOD

My dog worships God, does yours?

Picture this–

Husband, Sandy, is downstream skillfully casting his line, content. Meanwhile, further upstream, I’m fighting to untangle my line, irritated with the bush that grabbed it from behind me – (don’t ask). A mere ten minutes since we arrived at our favorite fishing hole, I dare not ask for help, not yet. Waving and smiling downstream, masquerading as competent and relaxed, I shield the frazzled scene with my back,  tackling the lassoed bush. Victorious, line free,  I check for snakes (a common ritual), and select a log, facing the TARGET fishing hole.

Slipping on rubber gloves, thinking of Sophie’s Choice, I select the unlucky worm, destined for surgery by hook. Scoping my cast target, I notice Gabe, our yellow lab, standing midstream up to his belly, gazing purposely, nose upward. Through his big brown eyes, I see the magnificence of the rock striations, the wonder of the trees, the brilliance of the sun’s light show, and the splendor of the breeze tickling his ears. Even the birds chirp praise while circling above him, nearly a halo, fearlessly aware that this Kingdom moment overshadows his desire to chase.

My eyes wide open, I join in worship, watching Gabe wag his tail for God’s sake… literally. I know the many faces of my dog –  a special face for hungry, lonely, playful and the distinct look of shame when guilty… but this look? Praise to God almighty.

Isaiah 11:6   The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

Story Teller – Author "LOVE AND AN INTERVENTION: A Dual Memoir About Second Chances

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