Do you ever catch a glimpse of your faith–that wee mustard seed, dwarfed in the palm of God’s hand? Recently, a peek at my faith meter, raised a question: Do I truly believe God longs to give me the desires of my heart? Continue reading What are the Desires of your Heart? Need a Motive Check?
CharacterShe smelled of juicy fruit gum and carnations. The gum, she offered freely to grandchildren and strangers alike. The Blue Carnation toilet water, spritzed on a lace trimmed handkerchief, awaited up her sleeve to be waved at the first hint of a tear or runny nose.
CharacterElsie, or Nana to family, would have been 116 years old in June. Sounds silly right? Yet, I know, when I’m tottering around in my elder years, I will stop, each June to do the math. You see, Nana, left a legacy that matters.
Character “A cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even one drop of bitter water… no matter how suddenly jarred.” Amy Carmichael
Character Sweet Peas climbing the pickets, smiling orange and purple pansies in the stone pots, aside the painted stepping stones, leading to her one-bedroom cottage castle.
Red painted nails with matching lipstick, rhinestone, button style, clip on earrings and finger waved hair; all of which she claimed to be “naked” without.
A 1930’s rose mohair sofa with doilies on the arms. A picture perfect cake, iced white with dyed pink coconut, on a pedestal plate. The molasses cookies, cedar paneled walls and the oil stove hogging a third of the 9 x 12 living room.
Nana left mantras and sayings both wise and silly for us to ponder.
“A stitch in time saves nine.”
“Bless your pea picking heart.”
“Red and yellow catch a fellow.”
“Thirteen is my lucky number.”
With perfect timing she’d sling the apropos saying. Like the moment you stubbed a toe she’d chime in with:
“Just think how much better it will feel when it quits hurting.”
And right after you snarled a response to the above quip, she’d retort with:
Even more powerful than the scents and images or words of wisdom, are the lessons of character she lived and gifted to those around her.
Another Nana witticism is: Always keep an ace in the hole.
This served her well. With a humble retirement income, she was the family tycoon. The only person with money in the bank to loan when trouble threatened any one of us. And, without ever asking for it back, she managed to make you feel good about taking care of the debt. These were the days of penny licorice ropes, five cent gum packs and $5 bags of groceries given as prizes for radio bingo that supplied her weeks’ worth of needs. Yet, footing a loan for $200 or $300 was of no concern to her.
She oozed of character, most of which was taken for granted. I remember her letters in the late 1960s, hand written to me, a know it all teenager with her own apartment. My friends and I read them aloud after smoking a joint, laughing at the sweetness.
Dearest Debbie, Bless your heart. How are you doing? I hope you like the new apron I made for you. I used scraps from your favorite circle skirt. Remember the one you wore when you did the Mexican hat dance in kindergarten?
The thought of wearing my frilly handmade apron, while slaving over a box of macaroni and cheese, always cracked us up. I admit, after the laughs we shared an admiration for her pure heart of gold, followed by a quiet sadness and longing to believe life to be as good as she did.
She was known to read the Bible and give to the televangelists begging for money from her black and white console television. I remember a few times she was shushed for mentioning Jesus.
One thing I know now, that I was clueless to then, she prayed. One prayer in particular on my behalf. I know this because….
I pray for my grandchildren. I pray for a variety of God’s blessings but my most urgent prayer is that they will have an intimate relationship with Jesus. That’s what my nana prayed for me. I know this because…
He answered the prayer. He pursued me down each road… waited patiently when I took a wrong turn… showered me with love when I deserved scorn… and so on and so forth.
When I was given the gift of grand-motherhood, I chose to be called Nana. My bucket list for this life, is filled with pleas to be remembered by joyful things and my faith and love for Christ. That’s the legacy I seek.
Everyone knew her. That woman, older than dirt, bent like the crook of a cane to half her height. Back then, in the 60s, an old lady in trousers is today’s equivalent to a tube top and Daisy Dukes. Thus, all elderly women wore floral jersey dresses. But this lady, had it going on, donning the expected uniform dress, and thick, sagging, support stockings with her signature Converse All Stars high top tennis shoes. Praying Hands Legacy
The fashion statement earned the nickname, Granny Tennis Shoes, and a story, told as a warning, locally and beyond. The tale not only explains the physical ailment but also solves the fashion mystery.
It went something like this…Praying Hands Legacy
One day a poor penniless widow found a pair of Converse All Stars in a dumpster. While lacing them up, the plan emerged, catapulting the old woman from rocking chair to entrepreneur, soon branded as Granny Tennis Shoes. During peak traffic times, taking a two-point stance at the street corner, she’d wait for the light to flash green, pouncing onto the crosswalk, (hence the tennis shoes) in front of a car, (hence the crippled body). Afterward, Granny drug her tired, tread riddled bones to court, suing the traumatized driver, for all they had.
And the saddest part of the story?
We all believed it.
It was not until I told the story as an adult that I realized how unlikely it would be that she would survive more than one attempt. Poor old Granny Tennis Shoes, clueless as to why… fingers pointed… cars swerved at the sight of her… wide-eyed children gawked or ran away. Praying Hands Legacy
Have you ever wondered what stories are told about you? I cringe at the thought. Labeled a feisty redhead with a nasty temper, my brother nicknamed me Sword Tongue saying,“Watch out, if you make her mad, she’ll slice you to pieces!” Praying Hands Legacy
That’s not a good legacy. I pray today my words be sweet, that the blade of my tongue is guarded, never wagging amok, or used as a weapon. I confess and repent of times my nearest and dearest have witnessed my tongue unsheathed. It’s true, I ’m not the person I could be, but it’s also true, I’m not the person I once was. The one who took pride in verbal slaughters. Glory to God for the changes and praise for His continued work. Praying Hands Legacy
I remember the first time I knew there’d been a paradigm shift in the way people define me. It was my birthday, the one when my now 18-year-old grandson was just four years old. With no help or suggestions from others, he selected my present. By the look of anticipation on his beaming face, I knew whatever it was, he believed it to be a grand and perfect gift. I expected a mug, or socks, maybe even a “NaNa is the best” placard. I did not, nor could not, have imagined the treasure concealed inside the box, wrapped slipshod in the funny papers. After peeling the last layer of comic, I opened the lid, lifting the mysterious cube from the box. Dazed, I stared at the gift, mirroring what my grandson sees when he looks at me. A battery operated crystal cube that lights up, revealing a silhouette of praying hands. The loveliest gift ever. Praying Hands Legacy
A drop to my knees, state of mind, moment. Hyper aware of the miraculous transformation, present in me, a task only God could pull off. How flattering… what an honor… to know my grandson pictures me as a woman of prayer who loves God. I’ve never felt more gratitude for God pulling me up out of the muck and mire, hosing me off, presenting me as lovely, in my grandson’s eyes. Praying Hands Legacy
Had I kept going the way of my past, my grandchildren might see me as someone chasing the wind, or worse, they might not know me at all. Because of our powerful awesome God, my five grandsons know what’s important to me. God, their Grandpa, and family.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
That birthday was a defining moment for me. A day when I received a priceless jewel. Proof that God is working miracles every day, in every way, even if you are just a “me,” like me. Undeniable evidence that I am not the godless woman I once was. For me, the wondrous change is no less a marvel than if I’d sawn off my leg and God grew it back.
Grateful! Grateful! Grateful!
Thank You God that who I see reflected in the eyes of my loved ones, is good.
Hmm… maybe Granny Tennis Shoes’ grandchildren and those who actually knew her, saw her as a loving grandma, who happened to wear cool high top tennis shoes. I hope so.
See below to read a sample chapter of our book in progress.
I’d love to say I’m like Paul. But I’m not. Or, Peter, or Deborah, or Ruth. Truth said, when asked which Bible character I am most like… I think of that sheep, you know the one that wandered off from the others?
Yep, that’s me, the rogue sheep.
My 99 friends, grabbing cell phones to call and advise me against bad mouthing myself, don’t bother. I’m good with being that sheep.
Think about it. Who did the shepherd go after?
You see, I face that sheep every morning, post prayer, pre-shower. That’s my time to write on our book, working title being, “In Spite of Us… Stalked by a Loving God.” Clicking the keyboard, shaking my head in dismay, I record the rebellious acts, stupid choices and messy consequences of a redheaded vagrant sheep. Said sheep may share my name and DNA, but beyond hair follicles and spit, today, nothing much else matches. Thank God.
Thus my patience wans, writing scenes doomed for sorrow and discontent. Even knowing that the Hero (Jesus) is coming to save the day, it’s tough to keep writing. I want to say “Don’t open that door. Really? Again? Stop! Look!.. Look up dummy!”
I wish I could skip to the stage of our story where a spiritual metamorphosis is apparent. If I did fast forward, leaving out all the muck and mire, the glory deserved by the Hero of the saga would be significantly diluted. It’d be like saying, “well, we were handling things okay on our own, without God, but he deserves credit for improving on our situation.”
What a joke!
The second half of the “we” in the story is my husband, Sandy, another fugitive sheep. In his defense, at least he showed up with a map, but staying on the straight and narrow path? Too much of a challenge. Therefore, the sheep duet, wandered around the jagged cliffs, blind and deaf to the Shepherd’s persistent calls. We were dying, drowning in a pit of self-inflicted, excruciating pain… hopeless, with no sign of relief. Picture two sheep at the bottom of a ravine, on their backs like turtles struggling to get up, bleating, “Baaaaaa!” The Shepherd should have said, “serves you right” or at least jabbed us with an “I told you so.” Instead, He kept at us, gently coaxing for us to stand up, climb back up the cliff, and follow the directions on the map.
You can laugh, I have. Still, I’m honored to be that vagabond sheep. Grateful beyond explanation. I turned my tail to the other 99 sheep, booing their blatherings. Worse, I felt no need of a Shepherd. I had it handled. That is until I was floundering at the bottom of the gorge. At last, willing to call for help.
And the Shepherd answered.
An accurate description of his response is written perfectly in the 23rd Psalm.
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’ sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.
Yeah, I’m “THAT” sheep. The one the shepherd pursued, foraged for. That makes me special, of worth, loved. Grace given, undeserved. If you’ve ever been forgiven by someone you’ve turned your back on, you know what I’m saying. It’s humbling.
If you have not experienced this Grace, let’s talk. I know a Good Shepherd, I can introduce you to.
At first we were confused. After all, we had not changed, yet, whenever we held hands or smooched a little cheek peck, the world stopped, fingers pointed and exclamations of delight proclaimed our adorability. This is especially true of young couples. We can only imagine what might happen if they caught us partaking in an innocent love pat on the behind? Oh my!
What changed? How did we jump from being the rude couple, known for PDA (public display of affection), to the Cutie Patooties belonging in the Guinness World Record book with the caption: Old Farts in Love. When the “Awwwws,” first began, we’d back away, fearing our groupies might pinch our cheeks, or worse, snap a photo to share on Facebook. Over time, we’ve gotten over our fear of death by koochie-koochie-koo. When it happens today, we share a secret nod of wisdom and a wink of…
“If they only knew.”
Truth is, I’m more in love with my husband today, than ever. And, yes, I mean IN LOVE. Mad, lust worthy, hot, married you rock my socks, kind of LOVE.
Hello? Hello? Is anyone still reading?
If so, I’ll share what I’ve learned about love. My prayer is that someone might be spared the wild seek and conquer dating escapades I suffered. Sadly, I know I am not alone in this, having many single friends looking under the same rocks as I did.
My quest for love, is best described as a manic episode of Where’s Waldo? Desperate, I sprang between victims, begging for alms of love, to fill my black hole of a heart. He must be charming, like Cary Grant, funny like Mr. Bean and strong and protective, like Grizzly Adams. And, most importantly, he must speak my personal dialect of love language, willing to be like the guy in My Fair Lady who sings, “On the Street Where You Live.” That guy felt happy just standing outside, knowing his love was in the vicinity.
Love me, love me, love me. Who will love me? Who can fill my bottomless pit of a heart?
My sad, wild safari in search of love guaranteed three perpetual moods:
I remember a day, when I believed I could not take another breath, unless tossed a crumb of relief to the gaping hole in my heart. With no other options, I sent a weak prayer out, begging an ignored God for help.
When I met Sandy, my husband to be, he had the Grant schmooz, the big protective brute air, and, he was well endowed with Mr. Beanisms. Sadly, though, he did not speak my love language, nor show any desire to stand outside on the street swooning with love. He had better things to do. Yet, there was something about him that kept me hanging around. He was patient, loving, and kind. He spoke of God and faith.
And then, we lived happily ever after… right?
We dug, dredged and sucked every ounce of love from each other. But, it was not enough. He could not feed my hunger, nor I his. What then? None of the equations add up. X + Y = Z … if X is me and Y is you then Z should be love… Okay, math is not my subject.
And, fought some more.
Something was missing from the equation. It took years for us to figure it out. I should add, we are still working on the math, but we found the missing component, the foundation, the cornerstone. God. When we invited God into our relationship, our sparse baskets of fish and bread, became more than enough to feed ourselves and each other, with abundance to share.
Without God, marriage is like the wood, hay and straw, spoken of in the Bible; when the test of fire comes, it disintegrates. The tests will come, in many forms. Losses, disappointments, struggles, temptations. And no one will escape the trials of time; gravity, erosion and decay. Just as the Beatles song ponders, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?”
It’s flattering to be admired for outer beauty, but to be revered for inner beauty is the biggest rush of all. I grumble at the woman in the mirror, wondering where she hid my youth. Yet, the most beautiful I have ever been, is in the eyes of my husband, where glows a lasting beauty, beaming from the inside out. I marvel at the image, coming from the eyes that have seen me at my worst. I’m not talking about the mother of all insults, “I love you even though.” That’s a tainted love, that pats the giver on the back. No, I want none of that.
To best understand, the love I refer to, it takes a child. A child whose well loved toy is showing wear. No longer new, shaggy, tousled, tired looking. Maybe it’s even missing a few parts. But what happens when you offer this child a shiny new toy in exchange for the old one? You can’t pry it from their clutches, not even to toss it in the laundry. They love it just the way it is. After all, it’s the toy that’s been there, through everything. The ear hanging by a thread, the bald spot, the dangling button, are like precious gems, badges, reminders of trials, victories, parades marched side by side.
I’m no longer dependent on love. Instead, my love is dependent on God. Without God in our marriage, our love is weak, no better than a silly love song. With God, we are like two children under an umbrella of His love. Holding hands, peering into each other’s eyes, marveling at who God created us to be.
And… I guess we’re pretty cute.
A note to my husband: Happy 24th Anniversary. I thank God for answering my prayer.
1 Corinthians 12
If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Check out our book in progress … read a sample chapter…. http://debpalmerauthor.com/2014/11/13/christian-author-preview-chapter-in-spite-of-us-stalked-by-a-loving-god/
Another birthday… yawn. No biggie, collecting biological years is easy. How old you ask? Let’s just say I’m past a “certain age.” The worry is not the non-nonchalant inevitability of aging… no, it’s the preferred option over death. My concern is deeper, one that my husband and I discuss when alone and free of distractions.
I usually start…
“When do you think it happens?” I’ll ask.
“You know, the pants thing?”
“Yeah, tall pants.”
You know what we’re talking about. C’mon, we’ve all noticed, but dare not speak about it. It’s merciless, striking ALL the elderly, no exception, whether man or woman, short or tall, ex-pole dancer or plumber, we all end up with trousers hiked up to our armpits. What about the kids wearing triple sized jeans, gregariously sashed at the thigh? The ones walking around looking like toddlers packing a load? Yep… someday they’ll look like the circus tall guy walking around on stilts, belted at the chest.
Is anyone safe? For years we’ve kept hope that our side buckle, hip hugger, generation, would claim victory over this tricky trouser hitch. Sadly, as we’ve crept into the “certain age” arena, we’ve witnessed the rise in waist lines all around us. We don’t exactly know how, why or when it happens. With each birthday the question nags away.
Is it sudden? One day, walking down the street, you catch your reflection in a store window, finding your trousers cinched snugly around your chest.
Or is it more of a paradigm shift in thought, a cartoon light bulb appearing in a bubble over your head? Standing in the mirror you make a sound decision, yanking jeans up over the gut, proudly parading around for all to see… but why?
Is it a dormant virus we carry like chicken pox, lying in wait for its moment of attack? If so, why has no one developed a vaccine?
Could it be a consequence of a seemingly innocent toddler fashion faux pas such as the footed sleeper or too tight Onesie? What about tall diapers?
It might be that we are victims to a secret force of prankster angels, trained in wedgies, who sneak up on those of a “certain age,” tugging toward the heavens.
No one is safe. Last month, my husband called me, visibly shaken after an encounter too close to home.
“My brother… it’s happening. I saw it with my own eyes.”
“What’s happening?, I asked.
“Mark is showing premature signs of… tall pants.”
Scared for his own future, Sandy asked his brother the tough question.
“So, what’s with the tall pants?”
In Mark’s case, his wife tossed his size 34 jeans out, replacing them with size 36, leaving him with pants falling to his ankles unless he succumbed to the under arm belt mode. But not everyone’s wife is the culprit. We all know a bachelorette, of a “certain age,” who tucks her boobs into her belt, and a horde of white haired bachelors whose suspenders end under the shoulders.
Seems I should say something profound here… like it doesn’t matter… worse things could happen… Hmmm… let me think….
No… not happening… it does matter!
You can’t stop it. I think we all know that. But, here’s a few tips to prolong this involuntary event.
Use the buddy system. Don’t go it alone. My husband and I keep check on each other. You’ll need a tape measure and a vengeance for honesty.
Watch for early signs. Premature cases of creeping waist lines appear to be spreading rapidly. Face the mirror, ask the defining question: “Have I gotten taller? No? I thought not.
Women only: If your bra and belt serve a dual purpose? You have been infected!
Men Only: One question… does it hurt? You have been infected!
Be aware. Safeguard against sneak attacks by scheduling periodic pant tugging times throughout your day.
Alternative care. Try sewing drapery weights into the hem of your trousers. We’ve yet to test this, but it should slow the creeping up process.
Denial is not your friend. Don’t stay in the closet. If you’re wearing a huge T-shirt disguising the tall pants underneath, tell someone and get help.
We encourage you to join a support group. As of this date, I only know of one—ours. Send us a photo, will give you a free, zero obligation evaluation of the pants situation.
Remember, admitting the problem is the first step toward recovery.
A recent study found that those speaking the truth are 75% less likely to suffer from heart disease than those who tell a lie. Sounds like a government study… right? Relax, no lying rats were harmed in this study, I made that part up (oops, that’s what I’m talking about…).
Years ago, I took a job as a professional liar. That’s not what they called it, but truly, I was a liar for hire. The official job title was “shopper,” specifically banks. It began innocently with fibs, innuendos, lies of omission. Corruption begged company, so I enlisted my husband, bringing him along for the heists.
Like Bonnie and Clyde, we hit the banks on the list pretending to be ordinary customers, cashing checks, making deposits, asking questions. Unsuspecting tellers would later be evaluated as to his or her customer service skills. Victims chewing gum or forgetting to say thank you, landed on the hit man’s list back at headquarters. Those were carefree days, racing away in our get-a-way Subaru, conscience slightly smudged.
We excelled at our job, leading to increased hits spreading throughout the Northwest. Soon our escalating lying skills led to the big time… hustling loan officers, a position requiring top notch lies of the sort they named the club after.
We were given an attache full of new identities, including names, jobs, financial histories, to which we added personal details for flavor. It was challenging racing between the ever growing list of jobs. We grew weary, making small mistakes like taking the wrong exit or misplacing notes. The lies grew like weeds twisting around truth, making it difficult to distinguish fact from fantasy.
My last bank job, the one that scared me honest was in Portland. It was the final job of the day. I was late, rattled, weary from building lies. The loan officer offered her hand, inviting me to sit. The cool, collected Bonnie and Clydeness abandoned me. Taking her extended hand, I opened my mouth, trusting that whatever name came out would be correct.
“My name is Ida Thurman,” I said.
“What? Oh… no… really? That’s my name too. I’ve never met anyone named Ida Thurman. Both first and last names? That’s crazy!”
The moment I heard it, I knew I had unconsciously spoke the name on the brass nameplate displayed on her desk. Too late for a clever lie as to how I confused my own name with hers, we began a lengthy, clumsy conversation about the Minnesota Thurmans, none of which I could recall except possibly Sue Ann sounded “familiar.”
No matter if the lie is white, barefaced or polite, a fib, a whopper, or my favorite – The Butler’s lie (coined for lies intended to save face), lying is stressful. Maybe you’ve never lied; never experienced that flushed face sweaty palm moment; never needed a shovel of reinforcement lies to dig yourself out from the grave of deception. If so, I commend you, albeit with much skepticism.
I know my family culture promoted the art of lying, selectively of course, with good intentions and purposes; such as lies to friends or family, protecting feelings; lies to neighbors and busybodies, restricting gossip, lies to the police, limiting jail visits; lies regarding taxes, saving money. This is just a small sampling of the acceptable practices in the art of moral lying. If you research styles of lies, you’ll be amazed… Wikipedia lists 35. As a former not so nice chick looking for trouble, I believe I’ve practiced all on the list and more. I’m not alone. Just look at the songs written about it- to name a few: Rolling Stones – Lie; The Castaways – Liar liar; Eagles – Lyin’ Eyes; Queen – Liar; Fleetwood Mac – Sweet Little Lies.
Personally, I had a hard time taming my lies, sometimes still do. For me, lying was a natural gift for survival. It was easy and harmless creating a tall tale to fit the occasion. Even as I write this I’m holding back an urge to boast of instances when one of my lies helped someone. Alas, the command to not lie made God’s top ten list, thus the need to change. One thing I’ve learned, if God commanded it, then you better listen up because He only wants to protect you from the dire consequences.
Today I can honestly say I’m no longer a gifted liar. It’s like making gravy, it takes practice keeping the lumps out. I don’t miss the thrills or even the sense of self-awe after creating a doozy (not on the Wikipedia list). I do enjoy knowing my word means something today. Turns out telling the truth relieves stress better than the typical recommendations of rest, meditation, exercise and it’s even better than a strong dose of Vodka or a bottle of wine. That old saying “it’s always best to tell the truth? Turns out it’s not some hokey line parents made up to find out what their children have been up to. It’s true.
4 simple ways telling the truth can relieve stress
You only have to keep track of one version of the details.
People learn to trust what you say, even respect who you are.
You don’t think everyone else is a liar, leading to trust and respect for others.
That feeling of “soon the bodies will float to the top of the lake,” disappears. You’re confident of your innocence.
Keep in mind, this is based on my own experience with the relationship between lies and stress. We might need a spendy government study to prove it, being a sound source of truth telling. As obvious as it may seem to stop telling lies, I believe we all need a little reminder since it is a prevalent, even expected practice, in the world we live in.
I conclude this post with a confession: Stress or not, if you ask me, “does my butt look big in these pants?”… I’m going to lie.
I was hungry… my mind tricked me into reading “Lobster” in place of “Liebster.” I didn’t care if we’d been nominated for a fishy award, I was happy to reel it in. The point is, someone (not a relative or coerced friend) likes the blog. A closer look into the award revealed that the German word Liebster means “dearest or beloved.” Cool, huh? Much better than a crustacean award.
Blogging takes time, patience, a steady flow of affirmations from readers, and for me, a willing husband who never tires of saying, “no, it doesn’t suck.” So, yes, yes, yes, I accept the nomination and without further adieu extend a huge thank you to Erin @ http://onehundredtwentythreedays.com/ for the recognition. Check out her blog, I found it to be fresh, intriguing and I gleefully accept her challenge to live a better life.
The idea behind the Liebster Award is to discover and give a nod to new bloggers. Accepting, means you win (yay! I won). There’s no trophy, paid vacation or a truck load of cash (dang), but you do get the honor of displaying the cool Liebster Award logo while taking a stroll down the cyber red carpet.
In lieu of an acceptance speech, winners are asked to follow a few instructions.
Answer the following 11 questions provided by the nominator.
Share 11 random facts about themselves.
Post the Liebster Award rules
Nominate 11 others for the award.
Q&A From My Nominator (nominees, please answer these same 11 questions)
1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 29, and find line 4. What is the book and what does it say?
“Notre Dame,” by Victor Hugo… “Oh yes; I remember it!” exclaimed Gisquette: “God on the cross, and the two thieves on each side of Him.”
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I’m weird about this. It’s much more about who I live near than where. I would choose a place with few if any snakes, close to my family and friends.
3. If you could change one thing about the world, what would you do?
I would replace all hate with love.
4. Is the glass half empty or half full?
A trick question for a sober person… what’s the liquid?
5. When is the last time you ate a homegrown tomato?
Two years ago from my own little garden. Confession: It did not taste like the ones I remember as a child; dripping down my arm with the first bite.
6. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be Mark Twain… of course!
7. What is your favorite time of the day?
First light… sitting with hubby in the quiet as we slowly enter the day.
8. What inspires you?
Faith… without which I am done for.
9. What is your favorite childhood memory?
Sitting with my mother, flipping through the Sears Roebuck Catalog, selecting everything we would buy if money was no concern.
10. What three things in nature do you find most beautiful?
Tigers, flowers, and the way light plays on the trees.
11. Who are your Nominees?
- Awkward for Jesus – https://projectawkward.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/tumble-dry-low/
- Roses In Green Gables –http://rosesingreengables.com/2015/02/03/our-calling-part-one/
- Thoughts of Dodge – https://thoughtsofdodge.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/the-little-old-church-lady/
- My Father is a King – https://collegegirlsguideto.wordpress.com/category/pcos/
- A Spirit-Kissed Soul – https://aspiritkissedsoul.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/trade-your-ashes-for-his-crown/
- Erin J. Bernard – http://erinjbernard.net/2015/02/03/spotted-around-manhattan-cheeky-vanity-license-plates-of-banking-industry-execs/
- Mastersquill’s Blog – https://mastersquill.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/do-all-roads-lead-to-god/
- Judgement Observer – http://judgmentalobserver.com/2015/01/08/in-defense-of-academic-writing/
- Kellie Wallace Books – https://kelliewallacebooks.wordpress.com/
- Robin LK: It’s All About the Process – http://robinlk.com/
- Anointed Women with Purpose – https://anointedwomenwithpurpose.wordpress.com/
Here are 11 random facts about myself.
- At the time of this writing, I was the ONLY person in Washington State who wasn’t watching the Seahawks at the Super Bowl.
- Sometimes I just can’t help exaggerating (see #1 above).
- I wonder about cows. According to my hubby, too much. Stuff like… why are they all standing up? Why is that cow being snubbed by the others? Did she do something anti-social? Is there a hierarchy among cows in the field? Is the cow on the mound pretending to be king of the hill? You know, that stuff… I assume everyone ponders.
- I write to music, sometimes evoking a moment of dance followed by a get back to work slap upside the head.
- I wear my husband’s T-shirt to bed, the one he’s been wearing for the day. No other will do. It gives me the same comfort my thumb sucking blanket gave me when I was a toddler (this should count as two random facts).
- If my toenails are not painted, I feel like they are naked.
- I HATE wearing socks.
- I play a game by Battlenet called Hearthstone more than I should.
- I’ve worked a variety of jobs in my life including driving a bulldozer and a forklift. Side note: Crashing a forklift through a plate glass window gets a lot of attention.
- I can be won over by any dog. A couple of wags, a sloppy wet kiss… game over.
- I think Godly men like my husband are super sexy. Watching him pray has an even stronger effect on me than number 10.
Looking forward to all my nominee’s answers.
The following is an excerpt from our book, “In Spite of Us – Stalked by a Loving God.” The story is about an unremarkable couple pursued by God at every turn. It’s written in two points of view – his and hers – bi-chapterly. Here’s a few things you need to know to set the stage: New Author Chapter Preview
It takes place several months after their shaky blind date in that nearly comfortable stage. They’re forty-somethings who’ve just graduated college, about to start lives meant for twenty somethings. They stand on the relationship hearth, laden with old baggage.
She is not interested in God… any God. To her, sobriety has no benefits. It’s rather like slaughtering a Led Zeppelin tune to make it playable in elevators. She’s been hurt, and if some guy thinks it’s going to happen again… well, he better be ready because this time guns are loaded. The question is this: Is she attracted to the soft-hearted, God-loving recovering alcoholic bent on becoming a better man, or the selfish, egotistical, biker bad-boy he used to be? New Author Chapter Preview
He is three years sober and not going back to the party. He loves God… a God of his own design, picking what he likes and dislikes like a child forking through a salad. He sees the red flags she slaps him upside the head with, but hey, she’s not a convict, an improvement over past relationships. The question is this: Is he attracted to the kind, loving, woman underneath her facade, or the mouthy, arrogant bad-girl he sees as a challenge? New Author Chapter Preview
The big question is this: New Author Chapter Preview
Have they exasperated all patience or can God clean up their messy lives?
Oh… did I mention my husband and I are the couple, and this is our true story of God’s perpetual grace?
The sample chapter below is written in Sandy’s (my husband) point of view. It’s one of the more light-hearted chapters, when he meets my colorful parents. It begins amid the current family drama, the murder of my mother’s cousin, Virginia.
Read the warning and take the risk if you dare. We hope the taste of our story leaves you wanting more.
Bet he’s never seen anything like it.
After tedious hours of prep and quizzing by professor Deb, I’m ready to meet the parents. The door opens, I’m drawn into the land of the McFarland’s, a place I believed existed mostly in Deb’s exaggerated imagination. Dema greets us at the door with a hearty, genuine hug. I’m confused because she’s dressed like we’re going to a black tie event and my only instructions were to wear a real shirt with no funny saying on it. She’s all sparkly, with sequins and jewels, the infamous auburn hair and makeup done to perfection. I feel better seeing Mac stretched out on his recliner, dressed like a 1950’s cowpoke.
The 12 by 12 foot living room is furnished for a room three times its size, so you have to cross the room walking sideways. Greetings barely obliged, Dema presses start on a VHS tape she’s had paused and ready for us since we left Yakima. The 60-inch projection television can only be seen from the two recliners placed directly in front, where Mac and Dema sit, both armed with a stack of remotes. Deb and I sit on the orange velvet love seat, our knees sideways so we don’t knock over the glass table in front.
For the next hour we watch news clips recorded from all three major television networks. Deb warned me this might happen, to which my reply was, “No, they wouldn’t do that.” After this, I will not question Deb’s facts. The newscasts escalate from a missing person to murder, while Mac and Dema insert background information, sometimes pausing to make sure we are keeping up.
Hindered by the sideways view and the interruptions, this is my best translation of the drama: Virginia is Dema’s cousin. No one agrees whether she was on husband six, seven or eight. She has a son named Lynn, a sailor who visited once and made homemade pizza from a box. Virginia had lots of money because of her husbands, that she spent on diamonds and high heels. Dema says Virginia was spoiled as a child. She should know since they took baths together. Virginia was missing four days, with her car mysteriously parked in the driveway. Husband number six, seven or eight, claimed she vanished. Lynn, the pizza making son, flew to Spokane, hoping to help find his mother. Suspicions grew. The police brought search dogs, finding poor Virginia buried in the garden along with the carrots and potatoes. The last news clip shows the husband in handcuffs being carted off in a police car. An autopsy revealed she had been shot. Everyone is relieved that Aunt Myrt, Virginia’s mom, is not around to see this.
I’m exhausted and we’ve just begun. Again, Deb was right, insisting my intro to the McFarland’s be brief, without Haley and Jay, who might blab something we don’t want known.
“I don’t want them to know we’re living together,” said Deb. “If we stay overnight we have two choices – separate rooms, pretending what we all know not to be true – or same room knowing the rest of the family is pow-wowing outside the door, chanting tsk – tsk – tsk.”
Considering our options, a short day trip seemed best. When murder and mayhem conversation dies off we move to the next dramatic scene.
“Have you shown Sandy the bar?” Mac asks, knowing we’ve not left the front room. “Bet he’s never seen anything like it.”
“You haven’t… come on,” Deb says, motioning for me to follow. She side-winds through her childhood habitat, like a snake crossing the desert, while I, new to the obstacle course, bump knees and elbows, unskilled at walking sideways. Mac and Dema follow. She carries a 16-ounce tumbler of scotch and water, room to room, like a portable oxygen tank. The story from Deb is that her mom confesses to the doctor a two drink habit, omitting the constant refreshing and topping off.
I’ve spent time in bars, all types… redneck, biker, highbrow… dives to swanky black tie joints… home bars, makeshift bars, tailgate specials. Yet none prepared me for the, “McFarland’s Bar.”
Deb’s eyes are begging me for words, but I don’t know what to say. When words fail me, she involuntarily covers for me, chattering nervously, cooing and fidgeting like a cross between a dove and a quail.
“We had the bar built. It’s regulation. So are the dozen stools,” Mac says.
There’s a mirrored back bar with shelves stocked and ready to fill any drink order. And… Elvis is in the room… rows of gold and silver Elvis bottles peering down from shelves installed around the ceiling. There’s a black light, 20 beer signs, a booth style table and a life size poster of Mac dressed as a woman… an extremely ugly toothless woman with a huge nose… just imagine if Popeye had a sister. What comment am I to make? Deb is trying to cover for my silence.
“Did you see the disco ball? Cool, huh? Did you know the poster is Dad? The ceiling is painted black for the strobe lights. You should really see what it looks like at night…”
Any moment Deb’s going to shove me on her lap, cram her arm up my butt and move my jaw up and down, like Edgar Bergan and his Charlie McCarthy doll. I open my own mouth to comment, but not fast enough to delay what’s coming next.
Deb’s classy, attractive, soft spoken mom calls me over to the bar. She’s lined up a collection of ceramic figurines. I obey her call, nearing the harmless looking monks and frogs. Then she hands me a monk.
“Turn it around,” she says. “Isn’t that awful?”
As I turn the monk around, he transforms into a ceramic penis. Why is this happening? Dema keeps saying how awful it is… I want to agree. Then she hands me a frog, asking me to turn it over. Do I have to? Deb gives me a “just do it” look.
“Isn’t that awful?” Dema asks again.
I manage a laugh at the anatomically enhanced frog. It’s not that I can’t handle the joke. I feel like I’ve been captured and thrown into someone’s really bad X-rated home movie. Finally, I speak.
“Deb, where’s the bathroom?”
The conversation turns from ceramic phallic symbols to towels as I follow Deb’s finger pointing down the hall.
“I copied your idea to roll towels on the shelves. I really like it.” I hear Dema say to Deb.
I try to open the door to the bathroom, but something is behind it. I slide through sideways, finding a huge hook on the back of the door holding a stack of robes. The door’s heavy and hard to close on the carpet, but I manage. Standing at the toilet staring at a tall shelf above it, I count 56 hand towels, 49 bath towels and 62 wash cloths, neatly rolled and stacked like cord wood stored for the winter. If a bus load of people needing a bath arrive at the McFarland’s, they’re covered for towels.
“There are 56 hand towels,” I say to Deb as I squeeze back through the door. She shushes me while peeking in.
“Oh, that looks great Mom. Rolling the towels saves a lot of space.”
Dinner, however late, is worth it. I’d been told to expect greatness and my hopes were not denied. The table was set with U.S. Navy flatware and individual platters, not plates, crowded with heaping plates of southern fried chicken, mash potatoes, country gravy, biscuits and corn. Seated in unspoken assigned seats, with Mac at the head of the table, I remember one of Deb’s warnings – “Whatever you do, don’t pass the food in the wrong direction, it drives Dad crazy.”
He passes the procession of steaming bowls ceremoniously clockwise. I try, but curiosity wins, forcing my hand to pass the corn upstream, against the current. Dema accepts the bowl with a nervous grin… Deb and Mac place their forks on the table, staring me down as if I’m the one who buried Virginia under the carrots. Not wanting to delay indulging in this feast any longer, I retrieve the corn, sending it clockwise. I know what we’ll be discussing on the ride home to Yakima.
“Imprisoned in every fat man a thin one is wildly signalling to be let out.”
We’ve all heard versions of this quote by old English writer Cyril Connolly. Days past, when thin, I met the sister who’s louder, more persistent and nasty. Thus the adjusted quote: “Inside every thin woman is a fat broad insisting to be let out.”
Truth be told, both voices duel bipolar style, in a constant battle to be heard, duking it out in the arena of my mind.
In this corner in the black trunks with tummy control panel, weighing in at pounds we have defending heavyweight champion… Fat Broad Deb. In the white trunks, the contender, weighing in at pounds, former lightweight champion… Skinny Broad Deb.
They argue nonstop…
Skinny voice: Tomorrow I will do 50 crunches, jog, eat all green foods. I will be healthy, fit and full of energy.
Fat voice: I’m starving and will surely die soon if I don’t have something decent to eat. I need satisfaction… like fries, chocolate, cheese-cake. Without such pleasures, why get out of bed?
I promise, I do have a secret weapon that’s worked in the past and promises to work every time. I’ll get to that, really. But for now, back to the Whine Fest along with a short rant.
Now, can I honestly stare you in the computer screen and say “I don’t care what I look like?” No. But I can say, “healthy is the new hot, ” at least at my age. Lucky for me my hubby’s a dear, saying “ you’re just fat between the ears.” Funny thing, ears are not what’s popping over my belt.
Speaking of acute belly abundance, every time I suck and stuff I think about the people who pay to have their fat removed via liposuction. Why? Have you ever thought about it? Duh! It’s a fuel source. People should be vying for my fat. It could provide heat through several winters, or, better yet, transform into a usable source of biofuel. We could take a road trip with a map tracking miles driven on our own fat. I can see the headlines now – WOMAN’S FLAB FUELS CROSS COUNTRY TRIP. Instead, we pay tons of cash to doctors who remove it with a beefed up Hoover vacuum. We don’t even get to take it home in a baggie. Just what do you think happens to those hefty bags of fat? Just saying. Rant over!
Jesting aside, both voices are liars and both speak some truth. It’s easy to find a healthy diet and exercise routine – they’re out there… pick one already. The problem is actually doing it. I talk a great diet and can chat about jogging while in the Yoga Lotus Pose. But the only times I have ever been successful at losing a significant amount of weight… God helps me. And, when I falter and the weight returns? He helps me again. No matter how many times I gain and lose like an accordion, He responds to my call for help.
That’s right. The secret is prayer. It works. I’ve tried to lose weight on my own for years, then I finally bring God on board and He transforms my thinking. I just can’t seem to go it alone. I still have to do the work, but He gives me the strength.
If you were hoping for an easy fix, you just got it. Rest in Him. Pray. Trust. Have faith. He will encourage you even when there’s a sneaky inner voice whispering defeat in your ear while placing a heavy foot on the scale.
Praying through weight loss is certainly not a new concept. To help get you started I’ve posted a couple of great articles in agreement. I encourage you to check them out. Just remember, this is between you and God. He knows your relationship with food, what needs to change, where you are weak. Who better to have as a personal trainer?
Here is a good prayer to start.
A Prayer to Lose Weight (author unknown)
Guide me lord, as I strive to lose weight You are my light and my anchor, and with you I know all things are possible.
Help me this day to make healthy choices and give me the strength to fight against destructive cravings that negatively affect my health.
You said, “The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. As I bow before you today, raise me up help me towards my goals.
I have been taught that anything that replaces God is an idol. Help me to reject any unhealthy habit in which I seek false comfort. For you are my one true comfort and salvation.
In your name I pray, Amen.