Wednesday, March 30, 2011

P For Procrastination

Today is my WRITING WEDNESDAY and I have a ton of writing ideas for both blogs and both of my paid venues. But what have I been doing since arising at 8:47am?? 

I told myself that I would only peruse Facebook while at the kitchen table eating my yogurt and drinking my first coffee of the morning. Of course there were some pretty funny videos on there....have you seen the one where twin babies seem to be talking to each other? So cute!.....And I had to respond to a few FB messages..... Rocker Son needs to know if he ever had chicken pox as a kid.....

I finally made myself click away from FB and then checked my email accounts, then got up to put on some good writing music. That took a few different tries. Have settled for silence as the best way to go.

What have I been doing now for the past 20 minutes? You are not going to believe this but I have sunken to the lowest bar of procrastination. I have been googling my name to see what came up. This is not a good way to begin my weekly day that is dedicated to writing.

All is not lost. This little blog post has limbered up me fingers and I am ready to get serious. Sheesh what a messed up morning! It is now 10:24!! Yikes!

Bye- bye my blog friends,
I am now signing off,
yes, now I am going to sign off the internet,
any minute now,
yep here I go,
Okay this time for reals.....
Oops, need a picture for this post.........
There you go, nice pic of my table, no reason other than
had to pick something and get off of here!!
Really must go now, bye.

UPDATE: it is now 4:30 pm and I have submitted one $10 article and two GoodBlog posts at $20 each! I know that writing is not about the money but I have written for free for many years and getting paid is much more fun! :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sorting Through A Life

My family is in an interesting surreal kind of time. Four of us traveled 600 miles to say our last good-byes to my gracious mother-in-law last week. She is quickly failing now and we wait for the call to tell us that she is back in her husband's arms after 15 years apart.

For a few hours on our trip we were instructed to go to Grandma's abandoned apartment (She is now very comfortable in a wonderful hospice home) and accomplish two things. Grandma had very particular ideas about what items in her place were to go to which family member. So we were to collect our items and fit them into our small car already full of four people.

The second job was to help Hub's big sister get rid of as much stuff as possible. None of us wanted personal things to go to the goodwill so we needed to go through every drawer, closet, cupboard and closet to sort the junk from the special things that held memories.

I know that many of you have been through this odd chore before. It was a first for me and very sobering and silly at the same time. We would open a hidden box of photos and giggle at the sight of Hubs in grade school before he grew into his ears. I pulled open Grandma's linen drawer and pulled out two yellowed dish towels that my boys had painted while we were on vacation one year. (Never used of course!) I had totally forgotten about doing that. Another drawer held every single card and letter she had ever received I think. She is the one person I still write paper letters to, because I know she loves them.

Stories were told and memories were shared. I was thankful to have the newest member of our family there. Sassy Bride and Writer Son had made the trip with us. She was able to meet and chat with Writer Son's Grandma and hear countless family stories and share her own. Sassy Bride was so sweet and gracious in what could have been a really uncomfortable and awkward position for a new bride. I am so happy to be her mother-in-law!

Now that I am home, I am looking at my drawers and closets a bit differently. Would I want my kids to dig through all this stuff? I believe that I will begin to sort and throw out things before it gets beyond me. But it is interesting to see what some will save and treasure. It reveals so much and at the same time brings up questions that can never be answered.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Doing It!

The other day I was reading a questionnaire that I had filled out for someone a long time ago. Under the question, Do you have any regrets?,  I had answered that career-wise I wish that I had tried to be a freelance writer of some kind. I remember writing a short weekly column in our local paper for the church page, nothing big or paid but even that had to be put aside as family and work took up more of my time and creativity. 

Well I am happy to say now that I am a freelance writer! I have found several websites that will pay for blog posts and articles. It takes a ton of searching online but I am collecting a nice little folder of reputable places that have built my empty paypal account up to a three-figure number!! 

Today I found a place that will pay me $25 for a 500 word essay or I could enter their contest for a 1,000 word essay and win $500! I can do this and I am doing this. I am a freelancer.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Laughter and Tears

I carefully leaned across my mother-in-law's sick bed to hug her. I told her that all my friends are jealous of the great and loving MIL I have. She slowly breathes out these words, "Easy,.... six hundred miles away."

If I ever wondered where Hubs got his sarcastic and cynical humor, the answer is right in front of me! My deathbed MIL is spunky and alert. Her main concern is going gracefully. That and making sure that every single little trinket she has in her tiny apartment goes to the right family member. She keeps making us write down who gets what. We got to the point of just writing it down and nodding yes, even if we had no intention of bringing all those teacups back to California with us!

When Hubs teased her about Rocker Son having a tattoo artist girlfriend she shook her head with dismay. So Hubs reminded her that he was married to a lady with a tattoo and her response was, "Of course, look at your ear ring and long hair!"

Today we have said our good-byes and are now back home, 600 miles away. I can hear the gentle tick-tock of the 1921 Regulator pendulum clock she insisted we have. We feel honored to have it and it's lovely chimes in our home. Now our hearts are fragile and alert as we listen for the phone call that will tell us that Mom is really home.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


This is from 2 years ago. No new pics because this is how I want to remember her.
We are with my amazing mother-in-law these last few days because these are her last few days. She is coherent but knows that this "good-bye" will be our last good-bye here on earth. How do we do this today?
God be with us.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Own Personal Aunt Bee

This weekend Hubs and I are hoping that the predicted snowstorm will not make us turn back from driving up to see his mother. She has been my mother-in-law for thirty-three years and she totally defies all the MIL jokes. There have been moments when Hubs felt that she loved me even more than she loved him! Before we were married she used to encourage him to talk to my sister and me. (I think that at that point either one of us would do!)

We have seldom lived in the same state as my in-laws so as my sons were growing up, the yearly summer vacations were spent traveling to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a week. These were fun and relaxing days of eating her amazing cooking and sitting around sharing funny stories from Hubs childhood.

I have two main memories from my very first visit to the in-laws as a new Bride. As we approached the front door all I could hear was ferocious barking from the small but sturdy schnauzer they called Radar. We could hardly hear the greetings of welcome as we were hugged and urged to come on in. Radar was beside himself with excitement and was barking and jumping all over the place, and that is when IT happened!

The dog got out! Off he went in a frenzy of freedom covering several blocks in minutes. I stood there amazed as Hubs, his dad and sister all tore off after the dog, calling out his name. That is when Hub’s mother looked at me and said, “Well, go after him!”

The last thing I wanted to do was run around a strange neighborhood calling for a strange dog. It felt so weird to be given this instruction as part of my first time in their home! The second strange direction I was given on this visit was a precise lesson on how to squeegee the shower stall after each use.

But today as I am reminiscing about these moments that seemed so odd to me at the time, I am realizing that these were actually the ultimate in welcoming me in as one of the family. I was no longer a visitor in this home; I was the newest family member! These were expected responsibilities of a family living together. That makes me smile.

I think my mother-in-law has a famous twin, Aunt Bee from the popular Mayberry RFD TV show. She looks like her, talks like her and nurtures everyone around her just like Aunt Bee. (If you are reading this Mom, please know that Aunt Bee is my favorite character on the show and this is not meant to offend in any way.) She always loves unconditionally and loved to feed everyone who came to her door. I am thankful for our own personal Aunt Bee.

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Secret Life As A Zombie

I recently came across this picture from 1966, yes I am old-ish, at least according to some of you,  but then there are a very few who would consider me young. (That group is shrinking by the day!) 

Anyway.....This is my little sis and me at a cousin-sleep-over. We are the two brunettes in the middle, I am on the left. 

Have you looked at our eyes? We totally look like zombies don't we? You'd think we just got back from a wild night of chasing people and ripping them apart or whatever it is that zombies do. I am refraining from Googling 'zombies' to see what they do. 

But actually my sis looks way more zombie-ish (sorry, I like "ish") than I do. She looks like she wants to eat the photographer for a midnight snack.

Another observation that I made just now as I sit here sipping my hairstyle has pretty much morphed it's way right back to this one. That cannot be good! 

At this time in my life I was ten years old and had a sprinkling of brown freckles across my nose. I would call it adorable now, but I really hated them then. I used to rub lemon juice on my nose to fade them. My mom said they were kisses from angels or the sun.  Wasn't too happy about any kisses taken without my permission.

Not only do I have my ten year old hair-do again, but I am constantly using more and more concealer to cover up my face spots which are most definitely NOT angel kisses!

PS Wow, I just now enlarged the pic and I must apologize to my sis, I look even more like a zombie than she does!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


My Sweet Mac!
For nine months I have spent every spare moment and some stolen moments trolling the Internet for freelance writing jobs that pay. I have learned a lot on that journey and still have oodles more to learn. (For instance, "never use the word 'oodles' in your writing"!) But it has not been wasted time because it has been clarifying what kind of writer I want to be. I still do not have it all figured out but I am getting there bit by bit.

The loss of my job and Hubs job at the same time kicked-started my desire to find a way to gain money from something that comes easily to me....words. I knew and still realize that in May when this temporary low paying job is done, we will both need to get "regular" jobs. (And that freaks us both out a LOT!) Cannot imagine what two ministers are gonna do "out there" without any skills beyond loving God and helping people to see that God loves them back. (You may see us on the news holding cardboard plea's for $$.)

BUT, and it is a BIG but, I am in love with the brand new blog-site called Goodblogs! They just started up in late February and the blurb that I read about them sounded too good to be true. Anyone can submit an original blog post in one of their six categories and if it gets VOTED to the Goodblog Home Page, you make $20.00. Just like that! 

I have submitted three posts since March 7, 2011 and earned $60.00 into my paypal account! So as much as I can put into it, that's how much I will get out of it. To stir things up and bring votes in, I did ask everyone on my two blog-sites and my Facebook page to vote for me, and they/you did. I am hoping that as the other bloggers on the site get to know me and recognize me, they will vote for me as I have been voting for them. 

I only vote for good writing though. My vote is not an easy giveaway and I hope that the votes I get are based on my writing more than friendship or loyalty. I want to thank you all for helping me and encouraging me in this venture. 

It feels like I am getting paid to play because I adore sitting here tapping away on my Mac. (In fairness, I also loved writing on my old non-Apple devices.) Can I really be bringing in a few dollars just by expressing my thoughts to strangers? Yes! And it would be delicious if it eventually led to higher paying jobs in the blog world or any world for that matter. 

In the meantime I am loving what I get to do on the side. Those three posts that brought me $$ were done in spare moments after dinner, between classes or before work. They did not even interfere with my Writing Wednesdays! Who knows how many I could get out there if I really gave it a huge chunk of time? 

So this is my second time to have a job that pays me to do something I love. Not many people can say that can they? I loved teaching in a college bible school for ten years and I love getting paid to let my happy fingers fly over my keyboard.
I am blessed!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Seinfeld and Sighs

Wedding Parents
I am sitting here on my big brown couch in front of an old Seinfeld re-run laughing at jokes that I have seen a hundred times over the years. It's been a very quiet rainy day at my house. Hubs and I are patting ourselves on the back for a successful family gathering here yesterday.

We had ten people here, a few of them meeting new family members for the first time. It was sweet and full of laughter as family stories were told like  familiar TV reruns. You know what the punchline is but you still crack up just as hard every time.

I am so thankful that my sons new in-laws are people that Hubs and I would have been friends with even if we met them in a different circumstance. How lucky can you get? Last night was the longest stretch of time we've spent with Sassy Bride's parents so far. They live in another state and our only contact has been Facebook and a few quick hugs at the wedding last October.

Last night they sat in my home and had good food, watch wedding pictures on the TV screen and shared funny recollections about their family and little miss Sassy Bride in particular.

Another new addition my parents were meeting for the first time was Rocker Son's girlfriend whom I will call Tattoo Girl for reasons that are obvious. (I adore her and will talk more about her at another time!) She was very entertaining and her chattiness seemed to draw more words and memories out of Rocker Son than we have heard in years! (Let me tell you that the heart begins to pound when you hear your grown kids utter the words, "I remember Mom telling me ......... " You just never know what will come next!)

I love my sons and I am so proud of their choices this last year. It's a wonderful thing to watch your boys turn into men. If I were The Chairman as in the movie, The Adjustment Bureau , I would set it up so that Writer Son found a more serious and better paying job, and Rocker Son would have married Tattoo Girl before moving in with her, but I trust that they will figure the big stuff out as they grow and mature. I trust the men that they are and the amazing men they are becoming.

Time to close down my Mac, the TV and Hub's snoring are becoming too distracting.......until next time,
Parental Blessing
Writer Son & Sassy Bride
Rocker Son & Tattoo Girl

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not A Kitchen Lady....

Today is going to be a great day, full of loved ones and food! My parents are here from out of state. My new daughter-in-law's parents are here from out of state also and they have never met my parents. So tonight both my sons and there lady-loves will be here along with my folks and Sassy Bride's folks! Big crowd for me.

We will get to see the wedding pics finally, maybe play some board games and eat a yummy dinner.

As some of you know, I HATE TO COOK, so why will the dinner be yummy and why am I so sure of that?

We are getting TAKE-OUT from Tahoe Joe's!! Yeehaw!

PS......And thank you thank you for voting for me at GoodBlogs, I truly appreciate it!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Letter To My Younger Self...

Hey Gang,
could you come vote for me again?
I'd appreciate it so much!
It puts a little
$$ in my pocket.
Thank you!

You did it again!!
Thank you!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Give A Damn Or Two

I am going to cheat a bit this morning and post the same thing on both of my blogs. Enjoy!

Give A Damn Or Two

The people of this world are so rude,
So arrogant and selfish,
Greed philosophy infects their brains,
All they can think about is themselves.

They take and take and take,
Never giving a damn about anyone else.
But I have been raised better than that,
So I will give a damn to all who want one.

I have lots of damns to give,
My closet is full of them at home.
I try to always pile some extra damns in my trunk
‘cause I never know when I might need to give one.

Saw an old woman broken down,
Her car burnt out on the freeway.
I stopped and gave a damn to her and her seven year old grandchild,
Then I waved and drove away.

Saw a homeless man with a sign,
It said, “Please give a damn”,
I checked my pockets for any spare damns,
Turns out I had 4 damns and gave them all to him.

I’m nothing special or heroic.
I’ve just been blessed with a lot of damns.
I give them away at restaurants,
I leave a tip and then I damn it.

I just love to give a damn away
Ever since God gave a damn for me.
People have given a damn to me before,
But there’s nothing like a Goddamn.

So if you think no one gives a damn,
Come and find me.
I am damn lucky
And will gladly give a damn to you.

By Writer Son in whom I am well pleased!
(He wrote this about 6 yrs ago.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

He Did What?

Today I am going to continue on my theme of being real, but don't worry, it's not in a "What am I doing here anyway?" kind of  thing. I guess if I had to find a category for today's post it would fall under, "Dumb Stuff Hubs Does". 

I know, you thought he was perfect didn't you? Many of my posts may have inadvertently led you to that picture in your mind. This , this and especially this could definitely have created a picture of a husband so perfect that you wondered if we could set up a trade of some sort.

Well, my dear blog-friends, in the spirit of all honesty and forth-rightness (great word huh?) I am giving you a peek behind the curtain so to speak, and I am even including pictorial proof to go along with full disclosure.

Whenever someone writes or speaks about the little pet peeves that wives have about their husbands they always mention the two main items of frustration.

1 - Leaving sox on the floor.
2 - Leaving the toilet lid/ring up.

Often a close 3rd bug-a-boo is installing the toilet paper going the wrong way.

Hubs has taken this a few steps further, leading me into many grumbly moments in the bathroom which ought to be a place of rest and tranquility, right?

He hates replacing the toilet paper on the TP dispenser. So I used to find the new roll placed on top of the hanger as shown here....

That drove me crazy but not nearly as crazy as the newest version of "I'm not gonna do it..."! You are not going to believe this little trick........He has been reaching into the storage drawer and getting paper from the next roll and then putting the roll right back in the cupboard. All the while leaving the half finished roll on the hanger!!!

How sneaky can you get? I was amazed and tried to give him the benefit of the doubt by not confronting him about it at first. But he told on himself a few weeks ago. 

Believe it or not he felt bad about just placing the roll on top of the dispenser when it was mentioned in a joking way at church one Sunday morning. The speaker was talking about annoying habits that married people have to work through. So Hubs sheepishly apologized to me for it. My response?.....I said,
"Well, at least that was less creepy
and lazy than using a new roll out of the drawer
and replacing it back in the drawer!"

Talk about looking embarrassed! He really felt dumb then. And that is the goal of every wife isn't it? Sunday sermons are known for making people feel guilty, ours is usually not like that at all, but this one time, I was totally happy to see some TRANSFORMATION in my marriage! Ha!

Now, Hubs comes out of the bathroom and wants applause for replacing the toilet paper on the dispenser. OY!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Dog Talked To Me About God.....

FIRST... I want to say thank you very much for going to GoodBlogs and voting my blog post onto their Homepage and thereby earning me an easy $20!! What a fun new site, you should check it out and make some fun bucks for yourself!

SECOND... Recently I spilled my guts to you about the tough time Hubs and I are going through regarding our job situation and the great big empty space we see as the next step. We still have no clue what is next or how we will earn a living. BUT...

My heart is no longer feeling so bruised and alone. Sometimes for a person of faith, it really takes a  very small event to remind them that they are not alone. My "small event" came in the shape of a dog named Sadie.

Sadie is a Blog-Friend of mine who somehow got her paws onto her owner's (But I actually believe that SADIE owns him rather than the other way around!) computer and sent me an encouraging email that was very sweet. THEN a little later Sadie wrote me again saying that as she was going to bed she suddenly had a Celtic prayer come to mind and thought it may help in my situation.

Here is where the "small event" became a big event in my week. I immediately recognized the prayer as Psalm 27:4 even though it was not marked that way in the email, because Psalm 27:4 has been my chosen life verse since 1997! Hello! 

Psalm 27:4

One thing I have asked of the Lord,
this is what I seek;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life;
to behold the beauty of the Lord
and to seek Him in His temple.

The prayer included this verse and it was a strong reminder of the ONE THING that is important in my life, in this situation and how I will walk through it. My focus has been re calibrated, re-aligned so that I am refusing to allow the negatives around me to determine who I am or what atmosphere I carry around with me. (Is that churchy-talk? Sorry.) Not sure how else to say it other than that I am choosing to look at God and how much He loves me rather than the ugly stuff around me. It does not make the ugly stuff go away, but it truly is amazing how much it shrinks it! Ha! 

"Beholding the beauty of the Lord" means refusing to dwell on the negative and instead reminding myself of all the good things in my life and all the good things I have seen God do for my family in the past. It sounds so silly and simple doesn't it? But it is not easy, it is an intentional fight in my mind, to pull the worry thoughts back into line. 

To top it off I skyped my sister for the first time today and she asked what was going on with us. I didn't tell her much because I wanted the call to be fun and enjoyable not complaining. So she says...

"Well, I felt like I was supposed to
pray for you this week
and all I heard God say to pray about was
your work."

Haha! How do you like that? 

So my friends, you have had a small glimpse into my life and pretty much the way things happen for Hubs and I. I usually reserve my more "God-stuff" posts for my other blog and try to keep this kind of neutral so that anyone can feel comfortable here, but since I blubbered all over you with my doubts, I figured you also deserved to hear the result. Thanks for reading and thanks for all the kind words. 

I love this blog-world a lot!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Vote For Me!!

GoodBlogs is a great new site to go to for reading and posting blogs! I have just posted a new blog there and you all can do me a big lovely-bloggy-love kind of favor and go there to VOTE for me! You should get  in on the fun and do some posting too!
All you do is follow the link, read my blog post titled "Cell Phones Have Ruined Phone Chatting!" and if you like it, vote for me by clicking on the little vote box to the left of the post. When I get enough votes to move me to the front page they will put $20 in my paypal account. Cool huh?

Thanx Friends,

A Dog?

God has sent me
a sweet message through
a dog.

I was asking God
to help me understand
what my next "assignment" is.
He was being terribly silent
and that was making me
grumpy and confused.

More on that later.......

The dog that God blessed me through
is not a blond like the one pictured here,
but that is all I'll say
until I have full permission
from her to
tell you more!

Bet that will bring you back here!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Hey Blog Friends, thank you for all you kind words in response to my last post. Trying to be real is harder than expected and part of me keeps wanting to delete that post. But I really appreciate your understanding and encouragement.

Yesterday Hubs and I escaped for a short bike ride and according to the things my camera captured, it was a TREE kind of day..........

Friday, March 4, 2011

As Real As I Know How to Be.....

Anyway, welcome to my observations on life.
 Somewhat witty, heartwarming 
 always as real as I know how to be.

The words you see above are from my sidebar, making you a promise that I intend to keep. You really are an anonymous unknown collection of people who I will most likely never see in "real life". That is not to say that I don't care about you and your lives, I do. I know some of your back stories and have even been known to stop and chat with God about your troubles and problems. But the majority of you are strangers so I should be able to be "as real as I know how to be" here on this blogspace of mine.

Even so, I hesitate to tell you about my recent struggles and I am asking myself why I hold that back from you. As a Christian I think there are still some ugly pieces of my old "cocoon" hanging on and causing me to hide my questions and doubts from you. There is an old mind set that I must PROTECT GOD'S REPUTATION. Ha! That's hilarious really! As if He needs me to help Him with His PR (Public Relations)!

I am going through a tough time. Normally I would wait until I came through the tough time to tell you about how I came out the other side and all is well with my soul, so to speak. We people of faith tend to shy away from admitting that we still have questions, worries and doubts. 

I know about and practice (and even teach) the gift of choosing our thoughts and keeping them positive. It is one of my main teachings in fact! It isn't just a christian "glad game". I believe that we are the masters of our minds and we can choose to wallow in the muck or get up and keep walking. But that does not mean I am willing to pretend to be happy when I am struggling. 

Ironically, the very reason I feel free to share my wonderings with you today is that I know that I know that I know, that my God is good. I do not doubt Him. I am not worried that tomorrow I will lose my salvation and decide to become a hooker to make some money for us. (Ha! Too many funny one liners popping up right now, must refocus! )  

But I am wondering why He is being so very quiet right now. Hubs and I shared a  ministry job for ten years and it ended unexpectedly about 11 months ago. We are now living on 1/3 of that salary. There are many complicated friendship intricacies involved, too much to go into here, but mainly we are in a place of "what now?" and IT IS NOT FUN!

God and I have been more than friends for over 40 years so I have no doubt that there will be an end to this yucky season and I will be able to look back and see what it was about. I can say that because we have a history together and I simply know it will be alright.

But dang it, I am not used to it taking this long!! I am asking Him if I am missing some important clue, is there a step that I missed or a turn I did not take? 

For the first time in my life, the idea of going away and living the life of a hermit sounds really good and comfy cosy. Today on our bike Hubs slowed down enough to say, "Hey how about we sell all we have and just travel for a couple years then come back and let the kids take care of us?"  I told him that I never thought I would agree to such a plan, but it sounds perfect right now! 

We are using up our savings and even the small income we do have will be ending in June. C'mon God, any time now would be great! I know You well enough to trust You, so the panic has not taken over, but it would be oh so lovely to hear a little something to hang on to right about now.......

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Is a writer who doesn't write, a writer?

Just a little hint into how productive my WRITING WEDNESDAY has been.
Feeling like a shlump.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Queen Me

Every woman wants
to be a 
for at least a few minutes
every once
in a while!