Friday, November 26, 2010


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends. Our families live out of state so most years we get together for Thanksgiving and Easter with a group of about 15 good friends and make our own new traditions! I love it!

Yesterday we had 16 around the tables and the main words spoken as we shoveled the food in were, "Barb, these yams are amazing! Crystal, this turkey is the best yet! Dena your cranberry relish is so yummy!" 

Then we roll ourselves into another room to talk and laugh and remind each other of crazy stuff we've done together in the past and excitedly make plans for more crazy stuff in the new year to come. Eventually the men head out to the front deck to smoke their pipes and us women get giggly while we sip our wine and port. 

Late in the evening we pull out the desserts and talk some more while enjoying the sweets. At this point most of us women are avoiding direct eye contact with our husbands because we know that their visiting attention span is shorter than ours. The men slowly begin making the subtle moves toward leaving..........moving coats around so they are handy, mentioning the busy days to come, yawning (so discreet!), telling the hostess what a great day it was, walking in front of the TV if it is on, and staring at their wives to force them to look at them!

So now it is the day after Thanksgiving, which everyone knows is the FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF CHRISTMAS season! To honor this happy day I have posted my favorite family Christmas photo. 

One of my mother's holiday traditions is to cut herself accidentally as she prepares the food or puts up her millions of decorations. That would explain my face of terror in the picture above. Why in the world SOMEBODY gave her a really big knife for Christmas, I do not know! As you can see, my sister's hand reveals her justified fear also! 

What are some of your holiday traditions?

FRIDAY FOLLOW! (over 40)
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Brilliant Idea!

Last night while I should have been sleeping I had this brilliant idea. I was so excited about it I wondered if I should get up and write it down so I wouldn’t forget it. But it was too cold outside my covers so instead I thought about it over and over again in that strange sleep cycle thing where you are both asleep and awake. It is somewhere between the two probably.

Then I must have fallen asleep because I woke up! I knew there was something I wanted to remember. I started to think it might have seemed like a grand idea while I was sleepy but not so great once the sun shines on it. You know those amazing blog ideas in the middle of the night that make absolutely no sense in the morning?

BUT, it survived the sunlight and turned out to be a pretty good idea. Wow, all this build up was probably not smart! I will just spit it out already so you will no longer be holding your breath in happy anticipation……….

I am going to create my own writing challenge or meme as the blogosphere calls them. Still have no idea what the word “meme” signifies though. This meme will be for myself as a way to jump-start some writing prompts for fun.

I have filled dozens of personal journals over the years. I kept diaries when I was in school and continued all through college, single life, and early marriage. Then when I was pregnant with my first child I bought a pretty blank book and really began to record my thoughts, prayers, complaints, inner conversations and questions.

I still have all those diaries, spiral notebooks and journals full of my scribbles. These are me. My stories of parenting, pastoring and finding out who I am. As a new mom I knew that the special moments were just that. Just moments. So I wrote word pictures of our life together. I described the dirty soap left behind in my boy’s bathroom, the leggos in the fridge and the stress of carpooling 5 junior high boys.

My great idea? Every once in a while I am going to randomly pick up a journal and open it without looking and then write about whatever is on that page.

It does not actually sound that great as I type this, but it will be. My journals span about forty years of my life so you never know what season I will be writing about. I am looking forward to the challenge.

So, whenever you see the above picture of my journals, you will know it is my Random Journal Day. And, yes, I need a better name than that don’t I?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blog Decorating Question....

This morning in our church we practiced the idea of giving and receiving in a very different way from "normal" church. People were told to bring something from their home that they wished to give away. Sort of a "Holy Swap Meet" Ha!

People lined up in front and described what they brought into the microphone and whoever wanted it could come up and get it. It went way smoother than I would have imagined it! It got to be so fun and rowdy as we cheered for each item going with it's new owner. Really fun! There were purses, candles, dining room sets, dryers, a skill saw, baby crib, one hour massage...on and on it went. Wonderful!


After the service one of my favorite former students came to me to chat and I suddenly knew why our paths had crossed that morning. 

I have been wanting a new header for my blog. A few days ago I started wondering if there was anyone I knew who could do the art work for me. I had a picture in my mind but I do not have the skills to put it on paper. You don't believe me? The drawing above is my evidence!

Years ago when I had a small epiphany about freedom in my life, it came with a visual in my head. (See epiphany under the TAB marked "Why Walking Butterfly" at top of page.) This crude drawing is the best I could do to represent what I saw. It's not a horrible drawing but not as cute and colorful as the one in my head.

So this morning the darling student who approached me just to say "Hi" and share a hug also happens to be an amazing artist! She has already done the illustrations for more than one book. The timing just hit me as we talked and I told her of my need for an artist and she jumped at it! She is in art school and was hoping people would be calling her to do work. 

I described the "walking butterfly" that I "saw" in my head. She was walking down a sidewalk all prim in her matching shoes and purse oblivious to the fact that she had a pair of huge, colorful and gorgeous wings being dragged behind her that could take her much higher and faster than she could imagine! 

My friend is thrilled to do it and happy to use her talent this way. The question I have for those of you who know how to design your blog headers is this: What dimensions do I give her? She will draw it and then scan it and send it to me most likely. Do I ask for a 5 inch tall drawing or what? Or does it even matter since it will be scanned and re-sized that way? 

Thanks for your help!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Messy vs Lived In

I really enjoyed your comments on my last post. Most of you said that the picture I gave you regarding my "messy" room (see below) was not really messy at all, just normal life.

That surprised me. I guess my perception comes from a childhood of "the living room" being almost off limits and kept in a perfect state "in case of company coming.". As mentioned in my post, this is my living room. We also have a family/TV room. But actually we don't ever leave stuff lying around there either. (Keep in mind that we are Empty Nesters!) 

Hubs is a bit of a minimalist in decor. To him the pic above is already too busy and full of stuff. The pic below would really freak him out! ha! If I left the house with all the books, coffee etc spread out like this, he would question my sanity.

And that, my friends is why I have moved all my writing stuff into our guest room. I will now be able to walk away and leave my journals, magazines, random pieces of paper covered with writing ideas, spread out in any way I want.

Now we will see how long it takes for him to quietly and oh-so-casually close the guest room door! Ha!

Did you grow up with a Living Room that was kept perfect? 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Writing Room?

Turns out I seem to be
a messy writer!

This is our living room
this morning.

May have to think about
using the guest room as a writing room.

PS I just realized while looking at this that it may not appear very messy. But you cannot see the pile of things on the small table. I tend to save newspapers, magazines, etc that contain inspiration for future blogs. For example that pile contains an airline magazine that cracked me up....Sky mall stuff is craaaaazy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Old and New

My first item on the Christmas List!
It's not a joke! This company sells these.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why'd She Say Yes???

I love to watch The Amazing Race on Sunday nights!

I hate to hear a man berate and ridicule a woman.

I really, really hate hearing her say 
when he proposes to her!!

Why Stephanie, why?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

6 Words

Embarrassed by "kid's" FB status, again!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Inter-active Post.....

Okay Friends, today's post will be interactive.

But first I want to thank you for all the truly helpful and insightful comments I received on my last post. I value what you have said and have come a long way in working out the direction I will take in my writing project. Yay you, thanx!

Here is the part where you get to work on this blog post yourself.......

 Look at the first photo. That is Hubs many years ago with our adorable niece while they both take a little nap. (She is now 18 years old btw!)

Now look at the second photo. This is Hubs today.
Now in your mind, place the Hubs of today in the same position as the first photo and replace the niece with a laptop!
That is what I am looking at right now across from me here in our living room. He also has earphones on because he is "watching" a movie. The laptop is going up and down as he snores. 
But I will not disgrace him by snapping a quick pic of him. I will allow you to conjure up that shot on your own!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Needing Some Writing Advice...........

I have a book in my head. The idea of writing a book is a new one for me. I have written short non-fiction pieces for years. But this last summer a book appeared in my head and in my heart. My journal revealed a whole outline to my surprise!

What is my dilemma?

Choosing the target audience. 

I began this book journey with a narrow group of people that I wished to help through my words in a small uplifting book. But Hubs is telling me that my message is meant for a broader audience and that I should not be so specific in the introduction and title. He believes that my book is meant for more people than the group in my heart. 

That is all lovely and complimentary, but it messes with my ability to be focused. Is it smart to try to open up the number of people who may want to buy or read the book?  Or will the act of broadening the audience actually dilute it's impact? 

Will my passion come through if I try talking to "everyone" rather than the main ones I am picturing? 

These are important questions for me to answer before I actually begin because writing a book is a huge and scary new idea for me. I need all the full support that I can muster up, including Hubs. He may be suggesting exactly what I need to do, but I have been so concentrated on the narrow target that I am not sure I can write a book for everyone. I do not want to be just another lame little testimony book. I want to change lives.

Have no idea what I am blathering about? Sorry, here it is in a nutshell: As a woman in vocational ministry I have finally come to a place of accepting God's love totally apart from what I DO for Him. My heart is broken as I read the blogs of pastors wives who are lost, confused and unable to be themselves. So I wanted to write a book for them. I wanted to show them how to see themselves through God's eyes. To see that they are worthy of His love even if they never ever go to another church committee meeting or lead another women's Bible study.


The message of God's unconditional love is for everyone. I know that. Everyone has issues of striving to earn His love even though they already have it. We all need help stepping into our true identity. My story is all about becoming the real me. It is about getting out from under the "church lady" syndrome. No longer structuring my life to fit the "rules" of what a Christian woman should look, act and feel like. 

I may be answering my own question here. 

Could I write a message to everyone who is hungry to be real? People who are in vocational ministry suffer the same questions and doubts as those in other lines of work. They may not show it as easily because of the need to appear strong in front of their churches, but it is there. 

I believe this is actually the whole point of Hubs advice to me. There should not be a different or elevated view of people who make their living by serving God as compared to those who are out there in "normal" jobs while they serve God.  

Both realms struggle with the idea that pleasing God is hard to do. The pre-school teacher next door may be thinking that God will be more proud of her if she agrees to teach a Sunday school class for her church rather than say no when asked to volunteer. We all tend to forget how much God loved us even before we came to Him! Were we "working" for Him then? No. Were we singing in the choir, organizing church bake sales or volunteering to be a kid's camp counselor? No. But He loved us already. 

Okay my friends, this long session of thinking aloud with you has been helpful. I believe that I can write a book that will help many people in all walks of life see that The Father is totally delighted with them. Today, not just in a future when they "get it all together". I may be able to word it in a way that speaks to pastor's wives, missionaries, store clerks, doctors and mommies at home. 

That is the whole point anyway! God loves us. God loves you. Completely, totally and without reserve. Regardless of how you make your living or volunteer your time. It is about who you are, NOT what you do!

Thoughts? Yes, I still am very open to your opinions on this new adventure of mine. Thanx!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kissin' Cousins

 Sunday morning The Original 55'er Club finally had our reunion. It was all started by my use of Facebook to get us all reconnected many months ago! Five cousins born in 1955 were all turning 55 this year and it just seemed too cool to ignore!

You may notice that the photo on the cake shows six cousins. The one in red is actually one year younger and we generously made her an Honorary 55'er. Then less than one year after that pic was taken, the next to last girl in the cake pic died in an awful accident. Over the last two months we have been emailing and facebooking like crazy to find a date we could all meet, but it was crazy with all our busy schedules! At last we landed on November 7. After we set the date one of our aunts told us that Nov. 7th is the date that our deceased cousin would have turned 55!! So we had her with us as we celebrated her birthday! (Actually her snapshot is in cousin Loris hand but it did not show up in this shot as well as some others.)

 We met at a wonderful restaurant & Pub that I knew about in our area. I drove an hour, the others drove about 2 hours and one lived close by. I brought my 55'er dress that you have seen me wearing in earlier posts. Someone brought the ladybug toy that we all were given that same day about 50 years ago to celibrate our entering kindergarten.

 Every year at the family reunion, weddings & funerals we always had to line up in birth order for our special photo, so we did it properly this time too. Yep, I am the oldest, born in February of 1955. And I am the only one with NO grandkid pics to pass around!!

 It was great fun to pass around the old photo albums and remind each other of our thoughts and feelings back then. Our only boy 55'er brought his lovely wife and she was a riot! We have not been together like this in 15 years! We did get our 40th pic taken together.

We had a blast, lots of laughter, some tears, many hugs and promises
to do it again next year!

I am including this shot which was just sent to me tonight because it is the  only evidence
I have  of ever feeling good about my body! ha! Yep, I'm in a little red & white two piece suit!
 Happy as could be!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The 55'ers Are Reuniting!

 Earlier this year I went on and on about the fact that I was born in 1955 and this is my 55th year! I thought that was pretty cool, but even more more cool is that I am part of an exclusive club called The Fifty-Fiver Club!

As explained back here, I had four other cousins all born the same year and our delighted families celebrated us each year with a family camp-out reunion.

The big news today is that we are finally having a small reunion this Sunday at a restaurant a couple hours away!

I have not been in much contact with them for years and years. This last summer I got us all reconnected through Facebook though and it has been really fun to share pictures and memories. (Even got the story published in MORE Magazine Online!)

So I will take lots of pics of us old people now that will not be nearly as cute as these pics from long ago!

Should be interesting! Nervous? yes. Happy? yes!

Got together for our fortieth year.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

He's a Hottie!

I am showing you Rocker Son's recent "After" photo first because.....
well, because it is amazing! 

He texted me a picture of himself on Sunday morning
moments after cutting his own hair off.
I was shocked to see his long hair gone.
Honestly I was sad at first because he has great, thick hair that
really looked good long and it suited him.

I thought!

I knew that under all that hair was a good looking face
and my heart is thrilled that he did this.

His Sunday morning text also had this surprise for me......
He wanted to meet us for lunch so we could meet his new girlfriend!
Coincidences? I think not!

We never got to meet his last girlfriend and
never knew if it was embarrassment about 
us or about her.
That was not fun!

But this is very fun! She is darling and sweet.
(As they always are when meeting the parents, I know!)
I credited her for the new clean look,
but she said he did it while she was in the bathroom.
She too was surprised by it!

His homemade cut had to be repaired by a professional
later that day as pictured above.

Something in me feels so good about this change.
The lunch with them and the fact that he set it up just
felt so refreshing.
Maybe because it was such a normal grown up thing to do.

Glimmers of hope.
Little tastes that Rocker Son
is maturing and caring about those around him.

The next day his girlfriend
sent me a Friend Request on Facebook!
Don't know how much more goodness I can take!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Old Butterfly....

I have now had my butterfly tattoo a little over a year. I spent many hours looking for the perfect butterfly for my body art. The colors had to be just right. I had a picture and a feeling in my mind for how it would be positioned. I was determined that it be visible to me easily. Not hidden away on my back or my leg. I needed to have it before me as a reminder of all it symbolized.

I realize that it is unusual for a grown woman of my age to get something inked into her skin. Especially me. I am not a rocker, a former hippy or an edgy trendsetter. I am just me. But I am MORE me than I have ever been and this beautiful, colorful tattoo is all about me being free.

The varied reactions from people in my life who were introduced to it are on my mind today. Most responses were joyful and congratulatory. Some people touched it because they were sure it was a sticker. (In my opinion, someone of my age wearing a colorful sticker is stranger than a tattoo! Ha!)

It was pretty fun to see the look of shock that appeared on a few faces. I have never wanted to shock people before. I have been more of an under the radar kind of lady. But this was great because it was real and honest and I did not do it for anyone else.

Today I was thinking about one of the semi-negative remarks that it brought me. The person’s first remark after my joyful presentation was that it sure will look bad when I am old and wrinkled. They asked if I was worried about that.

It is now one year later and even if I wrinkle the skin up around it, I know I will always smile when I see it. When I am in my 80’s or 90’s my butterfly tattoo will clearly not look like it does now. But it will be like an old friend that reminds me of our special secret past.

I once had a wonderful fluffy hotel-style white bathrobe that I adored. I loved it for so many years that I did not see that it was wearing out. It had ripped sleeves and random holes from so many bleach washings to keep it white. When I looked at my bathrobe I only saw it’s wonderful, cozy comfort. When I grabbed it in the early mornings of winter I only saw it’s beauty. My eyes told me it was as gorgeous as the Christmas it was given to me by my Husband.

Suddenly one morning I had to admit that it was done with it’s job and it became rags for the ragbag. (My good friend Joyce lovingly replaced it not long after because she heard me grieving for it. Ha!)

I do not think I will ever see this butterfly as old and ugly. But, like a loving couple that has been married for a lifetime, I will always see the beauty first. I will not see the wrinkles or age spots. In my eyes it will always bring me back to a wonderful season of learning how to fly.