Monday, July 17, 2017

Very First Customer

This was my first Rohonda paying customer who also happens to be my best friend, Lori. When the Rohonda dresses arrived at my house she was the first one over to take a look and try on and bring the enthusiasm.  Lori always brings the enthusiasm.  She brings the enthusiasm, the encouragement, the box of candy to your house when you're in a rough spot, the wisdom and the continual fun.  Her amount of support is immeasurable and never ending.  I told her to take which ever dress or dresses that she wanted but she wanted to be a customer.  When she was on a family trip out of state, she ordered online her Rohonda.  I think she may have at least used a coupon! The purchase of this dress was not however about the dress.  It was about friendship of over 30 years.  It was about being there in all kinds of life moments whether they are great, good or down right bad.  It's about her patience for me because sometimes I must really drive her crazy.
Today happens to be her birthday and even though she is a bit younger than I am, (a little) it's from her that so many of my important life skills have been learned.  Her priority of her faith, her family, her friends, her generosity has never wavered and I've observed her through a lot. From the top of her head with the cute blonde/purple hair to the toe of her cool leopard print shoes, I just haven't found the flaw. 
At Lori's house, outside on her patio is where I would guess is one of her most favorite places to be.  Her son built a large, beautiful table where there's room enough for everyone.  The whole family, Scott and Lori, their kids, kids in law, grand kids can all be in one spot laughing and eating and sharing.  She has traveled many places in this world but I know that when she sits at this table and looks around and breathes it all in, that she wouldn't choose to be any place else.  It's while seated there on the patio she would tell you she has the most loveliest view.
I've got the best seat in the house
I've got the most beautiful view
You can't imagine how it feels
Just sitting here looking at you
That's what I love to do
I've got the best seat in the house

Happy birthday Lori, I can't imagine my life without you!  Love you tons.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Story Time.....Are you a sentence a chapter or the whole darn book?

When we hear a story of a person's life we are often affected in some sort of way.  The story of triumph through tragedy is inspiring, uplifting and we just can't get enough of those stories. While we are moved and encouraged by other's amazing experiences we are often reluctant to become a part of their stories. Why? Because we're not quite sure of how much of our time and emotional energy it might require.  If we ask how someone is doing it automatically puts us in a position to listen, help, be a part and to care.  We often feel that we must be that other person's answer to the woes they are sharing. So we can become reluctant to connect, ask, or to involve ourselves.

If we could look at it a different way.  The interesting thing about human connection is that not one of us is the complete answer for another.  However, we can be helpful and needed and influential for just one step of the process. One chapter, one paragraph, one sentence of their story.

A person, any person's story is written with involvement from many, many people and experiences. We can do what our abilities and personality allow and then with faith expect that someone of life experience and knowledge that we don't have will take up where we've left off.  Sort of like a relay race.  There's always someone there to take the next lap.

One day while driving through my neighborhood I saw a young lady (probably early 20's) walking. She was walking quickly and seemed not ok.  I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a young man not too far behind her.  As I passed them and continued to watch through my mirror it was clear she was getting away from him and he wasn't too happy. I pulled over. "Do you need help, can I give you a ride?" I asked.  At first she said no but with him approaching, she said sure and hopped in my car. At that moment I knew that I had a few minutes with this young lady who I had never met and probably never will again.  I began to talk, asked her name, asked where I could take her where she would be safe.  Offered as much help as I could and that she would accept. She asked me to take her to work that she would be safe there and could arrange for a family member to pick her up later. I talked, I encouraged, told her that she was deserving of love and that this isn't what love looks like. We parked in front of where she worked and before she went in I took her hand and prayed for her. She got out of the car and I haven't seen her since.  The place where she worked is no longer there. I hope and pray that someone else was there to take the next lap, to drop into her life and take her further.  I pray someone else had a moment of influence and relationship with her that would lead her life to Christ.

What story is seated next to you?  What stories do you enter each day just by doing your everyday things?  What story have you not yet stepped into but feel you must?

We don't always have the privilege of years of relationship with people. Life is a  winding tale that involves love, encouragement, wisdom and influence by many. Sometimes that influence may be just a moment, a word, a gesture.

So hopefully we can involve ourselves in other's lives without thought of what it might take from us but rather what it ultimately adds to us.  To continually ask ourselves, what story is sitting next to me and how can I be a part?

#influence #story #relationship #whatsyourstory

Monday, January 19, 2015


Peddling around my neighborhood one day, I realized that I had been singing over and over to myself (and only to myself…wouldn't want to offend any passers-by) this one particular line from a song. The line was, “When the hurt and the Healer collide.”
I love word pictures, as a friend calls it, and found myself smack dab in the middle of one. Lining each street I was cruising were huge, tall trees of several varieties. I describe them merely as several varieties because I really don't know types of trees, except Evergreens, which I really refer to as Christmas trees, no matter the time of year.  
The limbs from trees on each side met in the middle. These trees were extremely tall, very old, with very twisty limbs and strong huge trunks. They are the kinds of trees you see in story books. The ones that all of a sudden come to life and start talking. These trees didn't start talking, but they did deliver a message to me this day.
The trees are so old and tall they bend toward each other and meet in the middle, forming a tree canopy all the way down many streets. This became a beautiful “word picture” for the lyrics, “When the hurt and the Healer collide.” Trees over many decades growing on opposite sides of the street found each other, connected, and made a lovely covering and shelter.
I love it when God gives me illustrations for feelings I haven't been able to explain.  It’s really pretty simplistic.  I'm a tree on one side of the street, and God is the tree on the other side. The trees have collided, intertwined, and almost have become one. Size and type of the hurt does change as throughout life there are varying degrees our hearts may hurt. The hurt hasn't stopped the tree from growing or even looking beautiful, and it’s still doing all its “tree duties,” even while it may be hurting. Hurt and contentment can coexist. All can be right with my soul, even if things aren't all right in my world. My heart and soul desire “collision” with God every day. It's a collision that brings strength, not weakness.  A collision that brings wellness, not injury.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

That time I had breast cancer

I haven't written about that time I had breast cancer.  Perhaps I haven't told my story because I felt it lacked importance; I didn't die. Okay, I don't really believe that my story isn't important, but watching other women become so very ill and some not living  makes it hard to understand.  I cannot truly understand why I wasn't chosen to die at that time.  Is it possible to have just a touch of cancer?  That's kind of the way I have often felt.   But even with a touch of cancer, there's much involved.  The "why me?" questions,- yes they do come up.  Not so much why I got cancer but why others have it worse.  I ask this not with a heart of guilt but one of overwhelming gratitude.

The letter came on a Friday - the letter I received after my follow-up mammogram because something looked suspicious on the first one.  I took the letter into the bathroom, locked the door to read it.  I wasn't ready to share.  The letter gave me instructions to follow-up and that my dr.'s office would call.  That call came a few days later while I was in Old Navy.  I stepped outside to talk to the nurse, and she confirmed that I did need a biopsy.  I chatted with her for a few moments and asked that if this was indeed cancer, was it not in a very early stage.  I asked this because I had done research online (which, by the way, can be of comfort or scare you death).  She gave me positive assurance.  Don't remember if I went back into Old Navy and continued my shopping.  Don't think I did.   It really happens - your mind does a major shift.  Things that seemed of importance just a couple of minutes before really aren't.

Because the cancer appeared to be at a very early place I didn't schedule the biopsy right away. I put it off for about a month and a half because this happened right before all of the holidays.  The last thing I wanted was for this to be the underlying topic of Christmas.  Even if it were to be the worst possible news, I wouldn't have wanted this to be celebrated as my "last" Christmas.  I didn't bring it up, to anyone.  During this time I was directing a Christmas production that included a rather large cast.  Two cast members just kept arguing over things of non-importance  (or things that now were non-important in my mind).  I wanted so badly to get up in their faces and scream, "I might have cancer!  I cannot be bothered with your stupid issues!"  So, that's when that started happening.  The thing you always hear people talk about when some unplanned huge thing pops up in life.  Worry, fretting, having anger over such mundane things.  And  how many times I had been and am guilty of the same.  Do I stop and think more about that now?  I hope so.  I do try.

The diagnosis came on a Friday.  No matter where you are or are not with your beliefs or faith, at that moment when the cancer word enters the conversation, it's not the first thing that enters your mind. My thoughts were not, well, God, this must be Your plan.  It was more like, oh crap, this isn't good. My mental image shifted quickly to baldness and dying.  I wasn't able to tell our kids, my husband did it for me.  There was nothing in this entire process he could have done any better.  Okay, except that one time in the plastic surgeons office when he and the doctor got the giggles. I pointed at my husband and said,  "You, leave the room. "

As always happens at these times in life, you quickly become educated on a whole new topic.  I thought through treatment choices that were given and made my decision.  After my mastectomy I think I almost wore out that button on my morphine pump.  Discovered a few hours later that morphine makes me really sick, so I gave up the pump. Then there's the glamour of a mastectomy; there are drains involved.  Fluids leaving your body in ways you didn't really expect.  My husband, without being asked, just took charge and changed the lovely drains.  He just took it as his role to take care of things, gross things.  A deeper act of romance I have never known.

If God were a mere concept to me instead of Someone I actually talk to, I don't know how I would have fared.  Many people, most of all my kids, on my behalf talked to Him and asked for great things. Peace, healing, comfort, less worry. I felt the strength from those prayers when at times I was happy but I should have been sad and peaceful when I should have been racked with fear.   I was gracefully given life this time. I am humbled, thankful, and no more deserving of that gift than anyone else.

The things I have learned and continued to learn sound so cliche but don't feel cliche.

I'm humbled that my cancer was discovered so extremely early,
Amazed at the strength of my husband and kids,
Grateful for those that love me,
Learned to overlook things that need to be overlooked,
Collect people and try to have an effect on as many lives as possible.
I can't change the world, but I can have an influence on my little corner of it.

Now each time there is a dr. appointment for just routine things, my mind does go to thoughts of, what if the cancer comes back in some kind of way?  I remind myself that I've already had that diagnosis and I'm still here to talk about it.  The people who love me still would and the prayers would again be prayed. After my mastectomy in my post-surgery fogginess, the first image I remember seeing standing at the foot of my hospital bed was my daughter-in-laws wonderfully round pregnant tummy.  She and our son were expecting their first child, our first grandchild.  Since that time seven additional grandchildren have come into existence. There are many moments when I with great humbleness think, I could have missed all of this, and am overwhelmed with thankfulness that I didn't.

Monday, September 29, 2014


I would like to title a disorder, Clump disorder.   The disorder isn't new, just giving a name to something that has been a way of life for our family. When our kids were small we most often seemed to be in a clump. Whether it was sitting on the couch, watching TV in our bedroom, at a restaurant we usually chose to be in a clump.  A clump is when you crowd into a space that really isn't quite large enough for all of you, but you don't mind. Or even when you have an empty couch, you choose as a group to sit at just one end of it.  A people pile. I got a fair amount of teasing as I was always the first one to crawl away from the clump because I got all smothery feeling. Even though I declumped long before any other family member I would still highly recommend this practice. This clump thing continues to this day even though our kids are grown but now their kids prefer, the clump way of life.  It seems this clump thing is hereditary.  What we shared with our kids we now get to share with their kids.  At a restaurant much to other patrons dismay we pile into that booth that's kind of curved and we squish together.  There's usually one child that is climbing up on my husbands shoulders and stays perched as long as their parents allow.  There's noise, mostly laughter and silly games and sharing of food.    During this clump time while the one child is on the shoulders, one is making a detailed list on the back of the paper place mat for their upcoming birthday.  A list of 10 things starting with least expensive and going up.  Another one is making plans of what we are doing after we eat, so to keep the clump thing going.  Even though the meal is about finished one announces that they are still hungry.  There's a broadway performance going on with one, but with her there's always a performance going on.  The quirky one with questions like, "do prison tattoos hurt"? She was around three when she asked this and no her parents are not incarcerated.  What are we doing? Why? always asks another.  I get to hear all about the latest level of Minecraft, everything is made of candy.  And of course the cute "little" one with the binky that no matter how old she gets the cousins will probably always call her Baby Olive.  It's a loud clump, crazy clump, messy and one clump member usually ends up spraying my iphone screen with a huge sneeze.  You get the idea of the clump.  It's my own personal heaven.   I prefer it this way because as the years move along I've learned to truly embrace the simplistic yet important way of life. I called this a disorder but perhaps it's the opposite of that.  Perhaps it's the Clump mentality that actually is "in order."

In a recent conversation with a young family I realized that this lifestyle of the clump does appeal deeply to the heart.  This young mom and dad were discussing the only reason they watch a certain television show.  It's not their favorite show but there is always in each episode a scene with the entire family gathered around the dining room table eating together.  That's why they watch the show. So the clump whether it's  around the dining room table, on the couch or in the car is a much desired way of life.  I know at times I think too simply but couldn't this cure so many ills?  Can't really fight or argue when you're in a clump, you just have to get along. Maybe we could start a movement, we need a motto, a mascot, a theme song. Or, just clump.  Invite others who don't have this in their life to join yours. You'll only have to invite once.

This clump thing certainly isn't new or unexplored.  I believe the clump is what author Robert Fulgram was referring to when he wrote, "When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together."  Maybe this order be it a "dis" or an "in" could become more the norm if we could just realize the simplicity of a pile of people and yet the importance of....what more is there?

Monday, October 14, 2013

34 and One Half

After having experienced some interesting emotional things as well as a few anxiety things, heart palpitations and so on....I decided that I must be experiencing menopause symptoms. So I Googled menopause symptoms. A web site or actually many web sites popped up that listed 35 symptoms of menopause. Wow, as I read down the list I realized that so many of these things were happening to me. So I was somewhat comforted knowing that perhaps I wasn't going crazy and somewhat scared in a way to realize how powerful these hormones are. Could it really be possible that in that very afternoon when I searched this list of 35 symptoms that I was experiencing 34 and 1/2 of them within a time span of about 2 hours on that given afternoon? It was possible. Or at least that is what I am choosing to believe in my somewhat foggy mind (symptom #12).  Is the foggy thinking from not sleeping well (symptom #5) or is there not enough blood pumping to my brain due to the palpitations (symptom #2) of my menopausal heart?  So I self diagnosed myself as just one of countless women passing this era of life and telling myself that I could get through this as millions of women have and carried on about the day.

I had read that exercise can help ease these lovely symptoms, so I took up cycling. Yes I ride a road bike wearing those goofy bike shorts and all. The bike shorts aren't so bad except on those days when you get a sudden bout of bloat (symptom #21).  Spandex and bloat don't always make a pretty picture.  Spandex with many things does not a pretty picture make.  Back to biking, it's pretty fun except that another symptom is episodes of loss of balance (symptom #27), not so good on a bike. Although it was a soft fall into some kind of unprickly bush. My questions is did my achy, sore joints (symptom #16)  the next day come as a result of my loss of balance or just another symptom? So anyway back to my tumble.  I got myself back on my bike and continued to ride and rode for miles and miles and miles. Not so much because I wanted extra exercise but I had a disturbing memory lapse (symptom #13) and couldn't remember my way home. Oh well, the extra miles wont hurt with the recent weight gain and all (symptom #25). During this "very special season" of a woman's life this weight gain is sometimes referred to as the disappearing waist. I discovered that it doesn't so much disappear but just kind of slides down somewhere between your knee caps and ankles. Gravity is not our friend ladies, not another symptom just fact.

I can get through this hopefully without major depression (symptom #22) as that could lead to thoughts of tossing myself off a bridge somewhere and who knows what ugly outfit my husband might choose for my eternal rest. Don't get me started on the hair.  As I wrap up these oh yeah menopause, let me be of encouragement to those of you in this wondrous time of life to read the list of 35 symptoms. You might recognize many of them from your own life and  remind yourself you're not crazy. Well not permanently crazy anyway. Is it me or is it really hot in here (symptom #1)?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Frosty Stand and a Gate

Being human as I am and being a child, as I once was I remember wanting a couple of things that just never came to be. Let me state for the record however that this is not a rant on how horrible my childhood was. In fact quite the opposite, I had a great childhood.  But human nature being what it is, thinking of things we don't have,  there were a couple of things I can remember wanting and just never getting.  I laugh now as I recall just what it was that I so wanted.  Remember I was a child.  I wanted a gate.  We had a lovely home in a lovely neighborhood and our large backyard was fenced except there wasn't a gate.  There was an opening so all could freely come and go.  My brother and I and many, many kids on the block and Gomer our dog spent endless hours running through that opening and all over the yard playing various games.  Kick the Can was a favorite.  But we didn't have a gate and I wanted one.  The other thing I really, really wanted was a frosty stand between my house and my school so that on my way home I could get a frosty. The lot my parents built our  house on was chosen because it was close and convenient to our school.  No room for a frosty stand.  Only two houses separated  me and the school grounds.  Only two houses between my house and the bike racks if you lived far enough away to ride your bike.  My purple banana seat bike did not get ridden to school or by a frosty stand.   It  took me longer to get it out of the garage and park it in the bike racks than to just walk.  So I in my child mind thought that this was somehow unfair that I should live so close to the school and be deprived of getting a frosty on the way home and unlatching my gate.

Oh that humanness.  Having so much and still just wanting a little bit more, not able to see until much later on the riches that were all mine.  A childhood in a time when you didn't lock up your yard or your bike and no one bothered them. How I would love it if my own children and grandchildren knew that world.

How often have I said, everything I want is exactly what I have. I don't need more because what I have is more than I need.  Not often enough.  So now as a grown up I have a beautiful fenced yard with not one gate but two.  I live within a block of two places in which I can walk to or drive through and get a frosty. Guess you could say, I have everything I ever wanted.