Monday, December 31, 2007

Still Meme

Still Loving: my job, my car and my laptop
Still Not: eating healthy consistantly
Still Glad: I work at Curves (and work out there, too!)
Still Enjoying: Having my grandson live su
Still Doing: my workouts on a regular basis (3 to 4 times a week)
Still Proud: of my daughters, they are amazing women and good mothers
Still Amazed: by how much my husband loves me
Still Hoping: to create more opportunities to speak and teach
Still Grateful: that God brought us to Ashland
Still Wanting: get training for grantwriting
Still Trying: to be consistant in my devotions
Still Failing: reading the Bible through in a year
Still Passionate About: helping people develop there potential
Still Taking up new things: like new counties to work in (helping to create our program in to new counties this year)
Still Dating: myself everytime I open my mouth
Still Have Not: ever had a manicure
Still Working: too much
Still Reading: about writing
Still Thinking: about writing
Still Wondering: what God has for me
Still Dressing: comfortably, but the quality has improved greatly
Still To Do: so much (I guess I have my own “bucket list”
Still Cherishing: my family, husband, and grandsweeties
Still Trying to Never: give up or give in
Still Will Aways: trust in God
Still, Still: I read that and I am reminded of my need to be still, and remember Who’s in charge here!

To Do List

Another journal friend shared that she was going to make a list of 40 things she was going to do in her 40th year of life. I wish I had thought of this last year and done 50 things for my 50th year of life. Since I didn't I'm doing it for my 51st year...

51 Things to do in 2008
Lose 20 pounds and keep it off so that I go into the next year lighter and healthier.
Write three pieces and send them to be considered for publishing.
Come up with an outline and/or chapters for three different books.
Attend a training on MBTI.
Clean out the dining room so that it can be a useful space.
Reclaim the office. Cull books. File items. Take stuff to work.
Learn to make three or four new recipes that my family will want me to make more than once (that means I’m going to have to cook more and try several recipes that probably would be enjoyed by others—very far away).
Plant flowers.
Ride my bike at least one time a week.
Visit my mom in Arizona.
Buy a house.
Shop at a few auctions to furnish the new house with choice antique pieces.
Take a one day spiritual retreat each quarter of the year (making 4 for the year).
Take a class on Microsoft Excell.
Organize and put my files away at work.
Go on a weekend away with Annie.
Attend Women of Faith.
Bake cookies for Chairos prison ministry.
Hook up my surround sound speakers.
Practice my calligraphy and make some Christmas gifts with it.
Get a family photo done.
Read 4 novels.
Read a book on philosophy.
Read 4 biographies. I’m very interested in DaVinci so I think that’s one I’ll read for sure.
Write a successful grant to get money for Transformation Network to get the roof replaced and possibly the parking lot re-surfaced.
Attend a workshop on how to write successful grants.
Create a workbook with my lessons in it.
Arrange a hot air balloon ride for Nelson’s 50th birthday.
Write in my journal everyday.
Go to Shipshawana.
Have a play day with Beth.
Take the grandkids to the fair (or fairs).
Complete my Gramma’s Memory Book.
Help Nelson complete the Grampa’s Memory Book.

Okay, that’s 35. I’m going to keep thinking about these and come up with 15 more before tomorrow.

2007 Quick Review

Okay. Let’s see what I remember from this year…a strained memory review of 2007:

January: we packed up and moved to the current house. Having more room seemed like heaven. Nelson was doing great at his job. Asher celebrated his 1st birthday.

February: Nelson surprised me with a weekend trip to Brown County Indiana for our wedding anniversary. It was a wonderful weekend.

March: Not good…I can’t remember anything.

April: I turned 50 (not going to forget that…perhaps that’s why I can’t remember March…lol). We also had our first Breaking the Barriers seminar for Transformation Network.

May: Ann moved home. Ron moved in. Nelson turned 49.

June: We moved the packaging plant without missing any work. It was insane. I went to visit Mom in Arizona. It was wonderful. We played 87 games of Scrabble!

July: We hired a new supervisor for the packaging program and I poured everything I knew into him.

August: The contract was renewed for one of our outlying counties and I had to play catch up. Mom had to have surgery and couldn’t come to visit like she planned. Ron moved out.

September: We had our second Breaking the Barrier seminar. This time we took it on the road to Coshocton County.

October: Ann turned 25. She and Nelson were on the outs. My job responsibilities began to change and be redefined—all for the good!

November: Beth turned 24. Things got really bad for Nelson where he was working. Nelson took me on an amazing surprise trip to Kansas City over Thanksgiving weekend. Caden turned 2. Ann and Travis' divorce was finalized.

December: Nelson started a new job. Nelson bought me a new-er car (2002 Jeep Liberty). I call her Smurfette: she’s blue and knows to handle herself in tough situations. She’s smart and sassy. Penelope turned 4. I received the life altering news from the attorney general about my legal status and it was a temporarily crushing blow.

So now I look back and see what I may have missed (checked out diary entries):
January: started my job at Curves. I work for t-shirts.
March: wow! There really wasn’t much going on then. Lol
August: Sheesh! How could I forget I had surgergy. Those must have been some good drugs!September: Bus trip to Ashville and Tennessee.

That will do for a mini-review…next comes what I want to do next year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Emmanuel: God With Us
God…creator, sustainer, Holiness, worthy of worship and praise.
God…all knowing, always present, sovereign.
God…grace, love, glorious and amazing.
God…father, mother, friend, forgiver, redeemer, restorer.

God WITH us.
God…the one who is beyond time, who knows all, squeezed into NOW. He climbed into time.
He is with us: knowing hurt of loss of father; disrespect and discrediting of family (remember, his brothers thought he was crazy). He knew hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. He knew pain; dying the most painful and humiliating of deaths. He knew the loss of a friend. He knew what it was like to be lied on. He knew what it was like to be misunderstood. He knew anger and disappointment.

He had diaper rash, zits, hangnails, smashed thumbs.

He knew how to party and how to pray.

He knew the glory of heaven, but drew near and crawled into our existence.

God with US.
You, with all the stuff that frustrates, irritates, and separates me from you.

Me, well I guess the same could be said about me from your perspective.

So he chose us, individually and corporately. Which was more important to him? I’m not sure. His coming was for young and old, educated and farm hands, men and women. His coming was announced to those who were looking and dropped as bombshell on some guys hanging out in the fields.

Maybe I would do better to not ask the question. Or to ask a different one. Maybe if I could get a grip on the fact that his name is God with us and not God with me, I would realize in a whole new way how much he loves you, what incredible value you hold to him. And beyond just looking at you differently, perhaps I could look at “us” differently. Perhaps I wouldn’t be so quick to draw lines of differentiation and separation. If I could wrap my brain around how loved and treasured we all are by God and I really began to live that way, then…then maybe there would be less bombs, less hate, less ugliness.

That’s why these words, why this name is so special to me. In Christmas like no other time I celebrate hope—hope that came in the form of a baby. Hope that holds within the form of one so small a hugeness that defies everything I see and touch, and feel and calls me to look at it fresh and new…and with you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Merriest of Merriest Christmases, one and all!

I've been up since a little after 4AM. I wish it was because of giftage anticipation. It was because of coughing. Coughing so hard I saw stars. I sat up in bed for a while hoping the drainage would cease and I could fall back to sleep. I dozed a little when I came downstairs. I have taken some musinexDM--hopefully that will help. The irony of it all is that I don't mind the cough near as much as I am irritated by the peeing. Getting old sucks.

I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Don't fret, Paula Dean and Cat Cora are perfectly safe. I popped open my Pillsbury can and grabbed some extra icing--coz they never put enough in those little containers. They were simple but yummy and let's face it it's not about the eats but all the treats.

It was an Elmolicious Christmas at my house. Asher was quite thoughtful about opening his presents--much to everyone's dismay and desire to seem him be delighted with everything. Just about every gift makes noise.

We made our way to Nelson’s parents’ home for Christmas dinner. They live in Toledo, about 2 hours away. It was a surprisingly pleasant time. Ann was there with Pnel and Caden. Beth, Ron, and Asher were there. Nelson’s grandmother was with us from the nursing home. She was slow of movement today, but her wit was sharp. She scolded Nelson, using his family name: Skip! Nelson’s mom fixed a delicious meal. We never turned the TV on! We took several generational pictures. And as I recall there were several wonderful gifts given and received.

And now we’re home. I called my mom before I got on here to type this up. I had written her a letter explaining the changing legal waters I’m wading in. She of course wanted to write a letter to the judge on my behalf--this is not the woman who raised me, but I like her so much better and love her to pieces! I wrote because I didn’t want to try and explain everything over the phone. It was a good idea. I also sent her the pictures of “the house.” She loved it, too! She told me she would help that dream become a reality. When she dies, I may not have a penny of inheritance (I doubt that will be the case) when she passes, but she gets such joy from helping us now (if she gives to one, she gives something to all). That’s her philosophy. She wants to enjoy giving, why wait until she’s gone to do that? No joy there.

Tomorrow it’s back to work. I think I’d rather play with Elmo and Asher. I like the way they laugh. Hope there’s a big gift of laughter in your day!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

MBTI 101

E or I
This is about how you get energy.
E gets energy from being with others: extraversion.
I gets energy being alone: introversion.

S or N
This is about how you gather information.
S gathers facts, sees what present, relies on senses: sensing.
N sees possibilities and trusts intuition: iNtuitive.

T or F
This is about how you make decisions.
T makes decisions based on facts and justice: thinking.
F makes decisions based on social and personal values: feeling.

J or P
This is how you organize life.
J is very organized, think day timer, think planned: judging
P is spontaneous and free-floating: percieving.

Here's someplace you can go on line to take a simplified and scored test and get your results:

It would be fun to know what results you come up with.


I woke up coughing and had to pee. Now I'm awake and coughing. The wind is wild out there this morning.

A couple of funny things from yesterday:
You all can imagine that getting through a green light is a prayed for occurance (Stay green, stay green, please at least stay yellow till I get through. Thank you God!) Well, at one of the heaviest trafficked lights we were behind a little car with teenagers in it. The light was red and he leans over to her (she's driving) and starts with the tonsil hockey. Light changes. Traffic ahead takes off. I start to laugh. Nelson starts to laugh. I laid on the horn. No quick toot is sufficient here. He told me I should have sped up beside them when I got a chance so he could put his window down and hollar, "Get a room!" It's a good thing we never did anything like that when we were young and in love...

At another point he said something and I quipped, "You're such an ISTJ (which he is and I'm an ENFP--totally exact opposites in MBTI).
He: I always have been.
Me: I know.
He: Is that bad?
Me: No, it's just that over the years it's become more pronounced.
He: And?
Me: (Now fumbling for the right words that will not sound judgmental) It's just that...You sometimes...Your J-ness (in comparifon with my complete P-ness) is well....challenging to get along with.
He: I am NOT inflexible.
Me: How in the world did you know the word I was trying to avoid? (He's not a psychology major...I guess perhaps he has been listening to me all these years)
He: I have worked on my Kreske impersonation (I think he meant Carnac, like on Johnny Carson, but I wasn't about to correct him since I knew what he meant...our relationship goes that way a lot: he corrects everything and I don't...saves on at least half the arguments).
He: Besides, (he continues) we're connected, we're more than soul-mates.

He's right.

He gave our poor server heart failure.
She: How's everything tasting (typical server question, asked on the fly-by hoping that nothing is wrong)?
He: There's a serious problem here (said absolutely seriously)
She: Oh no. What is it?
He: My steak is cooked perfectly and that just doesn't happen.
She: (Once she starts breathing again) Oh...I'll let the cook know (translated: I could just throw this plate at you mister)
Later, when Nelson is signing the credit slip:
He: So, what should I leave you as a tip?
She: (obviously uncomfortable with the question) Whatever?
He: You might want to do better than that.
She: Well, if you want to match my best, it was $100.
He: (Oh my gosh, no comment--you go girl! I'm thinking, but saying NOTHING!)
He left almost $15 to round our bill to an even number. He's just like that. It was about a 30% tip. He's so generous. For one brief second it actually seemed like he was going to drop the $100 on her. I wouldn't have even blinked. It would just be him and his way to bless someone. We don't have a lot but he feels compelled to share. Adopting the family from church was his idea completely.

Beth wanted a comforter set for Christmas. One of those bed in a bag sets. She gave us three options. The prettiest was also the most expensive--fortunately it was also on sale. If we just wrapped it, she would know we got it for her. So, tricky Nelson decides while she's out that we would take the shredder (a present he bought for himself) out of it's box (which has been sitting at the foot of the stairs for the past two weeks--I have the bruise on my leg to prove it)and put the comforter set in it and give Beth the "shredder" for Christmas. It's doubly funny because we shred everything at Curves and she was commenting to me on how "hooked" she was becoming on that machine. Now she'll have one of her own (wink).

Well, Nelson is going to take me to McDonalds for breakfast, so I should probably get my shower and get ready for church. Have you ever been to McDonalds for early morning breakfast? It's packed with the AARP crowd. Guess I better fill out my card...grins: I'm feeling old, guess I just didn't know how old.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


We are almost all done. We got everything for the adopted family. It was fun to shop for little girl clothes, but I am far removed from the world of Barbie. The only things left are a Pizza Hut coupon for Nelson’s parents (we bought them a couple DVD’s: pizza and a movie) and something from Grandpa’s Cheesebarn for George (a munchie gift box of some sort). And then we’re done, done, done.

Shopping was not bad at all. Mansfield was busy but not unbearable and people were actually civil!! We hit Krogers first and not only knocked out our grocery shopping, but they also had over a 100 different gift cards to different places. Yay! After Krogers we went to Target. We got some good deals there. More Yay! Then we headed over to the CasualXL Men’s Shop where Nelson had a 20% off coupon so I bought him socks, ooooh, for Christmas.

And then it was time for late, late lunch. Oh my. Nelson’s steak was cooked perfectly: a fete that seems as difficult as a snowball’s survival in the tropics. I got ribs….which means I have more than enough in a white box in the fridge for later. Yum!

Nelson and I had a lot of fun today. We were finishing each others’ thoughts and sentences. At one point Nelson explained it by saying we’re really connected at a deeper than soul level. I couldn’t argue that one. I went out later to pick up a couple of more things (personal feminine products) and I was looking at the Christmas cards. There just wasn’t one that fit. I should probably just write my own. Nobody knows me better or loves me more. He’s not my friend he’s way, way more than that. He’s been playing chase with Asher for the past 20 minutes--running around the downstairs circle. They’re laughing full-tilt. I’m not sure how we’ll be able to contain all this blessed-ness.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I not only survived…I thrived.

Saturday Shopping Silliness

Ah, the Saturday before Christmas. Every year I think to myself that I’m going to spend the day cozily resting in my home imagining the insane running around that everyone else is doing. But then reality crashes in on my dream and I realize I’m one of the ninnies hunting for any parking space available or waiting in the terminally wrong check out line. Sigh.

Last night Nelson announced that we were going shopping today after he gets home from work. I cringed deep within but agreed to his plan. Bigger sigh. I used to love shopping, but that’s when I did it all. Now he does so much on line, typically from eBay, that I’ve gotten out of the habit. I’m not sure if it’s laziness or if I’ve lost my will to shop.

So today we have to get groceries in Mansfield and then make our way to Target, ToysRUs, Best Buy, and Old Navy. In addition to the last few items we need to get for family (a couple things for Ann and Beth) we adopted a family from church to buy for. It’s a single mom with four kids (7, 9, 12, and14; two younger girls and two older boys). The things Mom told us about the girls are easy: Barbies and little girl things. The boys are an enigma to me. Their favorite color is black and they’re into video games and hard rock music. Hopefully that explains the need to run to Best Buy and Old Navy (besides they’re in the same plaza--easier and only one parking spot to secure).

Now while I was sitting here thinking through my plan of attack I decided if I was going to brave that much insanity I’m going to get a good meal out of it. It only seems right and fair. I just have to decide where. Here’s my list of appropriate possibilities (this is way more than a fast food fix): Ruby Tuesday, Red Lobster, Outback, or Chipotle. We like Ruby’s. We love Lobster, but tend to save it for special occasions. We have always liked Chipotle, but have ended up getting free meals when we’ve gone in the past. I’m not sure if it would taste as good if we had to pay. (giggles) I’m really leaning toward Outback because we’ve never been there together. Time for something new. My luck though, he’ll decide he wants to Golden Corral. Sigh.

My throat is better. It’s not as sore. My cough however has increased. I couldn’t even finish a book I was trying to read to Asher. It may be time to break out the Musinex. I opted not to practice my duet yesterday…hopefully I’ll have my voice back.

I will say it has been a wonderful morning. I slept in until 7! That’s a great big wow and thank you to my bladder. And I’ve just been playing with Asher. Beth went and worked out this morning and brought me home an iced coffee from McDonald’s. If I’m not careful, I might actually find myself imagining ways to enjoy shopping with Nelson.

Hope there’s warmth, smiles, and meaning-full connections in your day. Blessings of the season to you!

Friday, December 21, 2007


I think my tonsils have taken up a new hobby: ping pong. I did some scouring of webmd and feel confident that I don’t have strep throat. Strep is not typically accompanied by a cough. My cough is deep and bronchial. This leads me to believe that I am at the beginning stages of a good old fashioned case of bronchitis or based on the alternating tonsil pain just plain old tonsillitis. Both are probably viral, and we all know that the cure for viral infections is time, rest, and fluids. Yehaw.

Last night my throat became so ouchie that I actually gave in to taking one of those melt on your tongue Chloraseptic papery things. Ugh!!! I have NEVER been a fan of Chloraseptic—especially since that was the medicine of choice when I was in college. We used to tease that the nurse would give you Chloraseptic if you broke your leg. Nasty stuff to me. I slept fine when I finally fell asleep. I drank two cups of tea and honey before bed seeking relief. What I got was a caffeine buzz that revved me up when I wanted drift off to z-land.

This morning my throat is less sore, but I’m also seeming to about to lose my voice. This is not a good development. I have to teach class at the jail for two hours this morning. Our choir presentation is Sunday night. The choir also sings at 2 of the three services on Christmas Eve. And I’m singing a duet (O Holy Night) with the choir director then, too. Maybe I need some of that duct tape for my mouth after class is done. Hmmmmm?

Yesterday I taught class here in our building. Last week I was so frustrated I was ready to buy coloring books and crayons because I felt like all I was doing was babysitting. Yesterday was so completely different. I decided at the last minute to teach about personality again, this time using the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). I get so charged about this stuff.

For those of you unfamiliar with the MBTI there are temperaments and types all based on 8 personality traits (E-extroversion or I-introversion; S-sensing or N-iNtuitive; T-thinking or F-feeling; and J-judging or P-perceiving). I especially am drawn to this instrument because it focuses on the normal and positive rather than basing its findings on abnormal or negative. I come out as an ENFP when I take the inventory.

So I’m working my way through the descriptions of things and relating this to behaviors and work. I’m using myself as an example. I had been referring to my E-ness, my N-ness, my F-ness and yes, finally my P-ness. They lost it. I said it without even thinking. We had to take a break. I’m sure I turned at least 15 shades of red. But an amazing thing happened. I had their attention and in the end—they got it! I may forever have a p-ness, but they will learned some stuff that may help them to function more productively, too.

Well, it’s time to head for the jail. TTFN

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Self-ish Insight

The other day, after I finished my entry on “Of Shepherds and Wise Men” I sent it as an attachment to the director of volunteer ministry at my Church. We used to be able to post articles on our Church’s website. I wasn’t sure how to do that since the format had changed so I just told Wende to use it if she could.

Last night was choir rehearsal. As we were moving from the choir practice room to the sanctuary to finish practice Pastor A stopped me and told me he really liked the piece I sent Wende.

Now let me stop here and insert some confession. After I sent the piece to Wende I started having serious doubts about what I wrote. Some of the doubts just come naturally, but these were mostly based on the lack of feedback that I received. I’m not looking for any right now so don’t hear that. It’s just when I write something I feel strongly about (and I did that piece) it usually meets up with positive review. So either in the past you’ve just been overly nice or this piece wasn’t hitting you like it did me, or it was as stinky as the shepherds. So, I was wishing that I hadn’t sent it to Wende.

Then Pastor A walks up to me and tells me he really liked it---and he wants me to read it in one of the Christmas Eve services (7:30 or 10:00, I don’t remember which). Shocked. Surprised. Ready to ask, Are you kidding? I could tell he was not. So I went home and read it to Beth. She thought it was cute. While I read it I found a couple of rough spots and corrected those. Then I went to my bedroom, where Nelson had already headed to bed but wasn’t asleep and I read it to him. I found a few more things to smooth over.

So, boys and girls, what did we learn today? Audience and need. Lack of response in one arena doesn’t diminish value, it just means that the right market hasn’t been found. This is a writing for life principle that I need to let sink in to my brain.

In the past I’ve devalued my writing because I put it out wrong. Does that make any sense? I mean is it understandable? And I guess that the reason I need to get a grip on this is that in my heart I know I’ve got a book screaming to get out. I just need to stifle the voice in my head that keeps telling me I can’t or I don’t have anything anybody would ever want to read. Do they make duct tape for voices that go off in your head?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Of Shepherds and Wise Men

What if instead of imagining Jesus entering into our world, we would imagine walking into the first Christmas with Him. Where would we be? Who would we be?

As you enter, no really picture yourself walking there, would have already been watching? Would you be an ally of Simeon? Or would it have happened without your life changing at all?

We put so much emphasis on what really was probably missed by most. Life was pretty much happening the way it always had. It was harsh by our standards. It was mundane.

Who did get the word? Mary and Joseph had been told, warned if you will. Imagine for a moment what you would do with that knowledge. Who could you tell? Everyone thinks their baby is special, but isn’t just going a little far to call Him the Son of God?

Who else heard? Some shepherds out in the field taking care of their sheep. They were working. Whoever heard of God showing up at work? (Pardon me while I pull my tongue out of my cheek.) Stinky, not very well-thought of third shift workers got the news flash from an army choir of angels. God did not come on the scene with a: pssst, can I have your attention, please? Ah, no. He came with a blindingly bright (there’s no way to exaggerate this enough) light and a hugely huge choir.

Now, they must not have anticipated their fright level because the first words were, Don’t be afraid. Right. Who are you kidding? Most of those boys needed new pants and right now! To say the least, God had their attention. They knew what they should have been looking for. They just probably didn’t even imagine that God would bring the good news to them first. But they believed it and they ran—all the way to the stable to find their Messiah.

I wonder how perplexed they were to see the young couple with a baby. Sure, they had heard, well sort of, what the angel said, but maybe there was a glitch in the transmission. God knew what they needed. They needed a savior now. They needed God’s promise now. And what they found was a baby. Were any of them disappointed? Confused? Or had their minds and hearts been so touched by God coming to them, stinky shepherds, that they found a new level of trust and belief in the continuingly unfolded plan and promise of God. I believe there was some change, because I don’t read that they went away discouraged.

The only one who seems discouraged in the story is Herod. He got the news after the fact. Seemingly, way after the event, Scripture says that some time later the sages went to the house. And, I’m not sure he was as much discouraged as insulted and enraged and many innocent lives were lost as a result of his jealous anger.

Now after reading this, I bet you can’t wait to hear my take on “Emmanuel” and God being with us as an us (corporate) and us as a bunch of individuals together. But you’ll just have to.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Peace-filled Saturday

What a wonderfully lazy sort of afternoon.

I worked this morning at Curves. I worked by myself last night, too. The gal I was supposed to work with last night and then train on Saturday duties today called in yesterday MORNING to say she was sick and wouldn’t be in at 4:00 to work. She doubted she would be well enough to come in this morning either. I went to work last night even though I felt like crap. I could barely swallow—comes from talking too much with a cold. I just wanted to go to bed. But I worked. Alone. Honestly, I prefer it. I get the work done much quicker than anyone else and I’m typically out of there in half the time.

Today we weren’t too terribly busy. I think a lot of people stayed home or did their grocery or Christmas shopping earlier than normal to avoid getting caught in the weather. Typically the last club member is out of there by 11:40. I chatted a bit with our last member and she didn’t leave until around 11:50. When I walked with her to the door there was no weather happening. Ten minutes later there was an inch of snow and it was coming down fast and furious.

I kept one eye on the door and finished my cleaning. On a regular Saturday getting out of our lot can be tricky and result in a long wait and the generosity of someone kind enough to let you in. Today the snarl was compounded by an accident that happened right out in front. What a mess!

I needed to get something from my office so I crawled with traffic over there, picked up what I needed and headed towards home. What a difference five minutes can make! Our side street was slick, but I made it out to the more traveled road. Cruising along came to an abrupt halt at a light where I needed to turn right. My lane had had no treatment whatsoever. The road is a small hill—going down. At the bottom of the hill, at the light, sat a HUGE, old conversion van. And he was going nowhere. I needed him to move or we were going to have a meeting of the bumpers. I applied my brakes ever so carefully and proceeded to slide and spin down the hill. The guy behind me had the audacity to honk because I wasn’t moving fast enough. Fortunately, right as I was almost completely out of room the van advanced and proceeded to move ahead at sloth speed. The guy behind me honked again. I will confess that I was thinking about not so nice places to place his horn.

I made it home and my car is parked and will remain in the garage until I learn how to engage and use the four wheel drive.

It has snowed all afternoon. It was a wonderful afternoon for hot chocolate. And Asher was so excited to have Mema, Pepa, and Mommio home that he didn’t want to take his nap. He was obviously needing one so I grabbed a bottle and rocked him to sleep. He’s snoring softly on the couch across the room from me. The TV is off and I’m just soaking in the serene sounds around me.

I think that my peace-filled feeling is due in large part to burden or concern being lifted. Annie called last night. She was so excited, I swear she could just about jumped through the phone! She got a job. She had been working part time as a server for the country club in her town. She was very concerned about finances and the fact that the company was going to have a two week shut down in January.

A friend put her on to bookkeeping job for a medical supply company that works with people who are diabetic and IV users. When she called about the job, the owner told her that she hired someone else for the bookkeeping job because she wanted to train Annie to replace her. She told her that she had too much personality and people skills to sit in a back office doing billing. Annie was thrilled. One of the biggest pluses to the job is full insurance coverage starting immediately. Did I mention she’s absolutely ecstatic? Oh, and the job doesn’t start until right after the new year: thus enabling her to give a two week notice and not lose any pay on shut down!

Both my girls are employed and happy in their jobs. It makes this mom smile. And it was just such a peace filling, mind resting, heart buoying feeling. And to top it off, Nelson loves his job, too. It’s all good!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good Meeting

Bottom line: what the federal government is asking the state of Ohio to do is ignore their own constitution. Not a good thing.

Step one: present a petition to the court. We presented Mr. Good with the previous court's judgment and with the psychological that was done at the request of the court. He will familiarize himself with those and I will get a statement from my therapist, my former PO who requested early release from ccommunity control, and other letters of character reference.

The request will be to not require a change in status based on the previous court's ruling.

Step two: appeal based on the unconstitutionality of the law.

The attorney general of our fair state is very aggressive. Mr. Good feels that there are already a considerable amount of appeals in the pipe with regard to the new law and it's seemingly arbitrary changes in status for individuals already adjudicated.

He will hold off on the petition until the alotted 60 days are almost up with the hope that there will be no need to go to court based on the petitions and appeals already in the pipe.

When the meeting was over I asked Nelson what he thought and he said I had to answer first. Mr. Good is very different from Mr. Fisher. At my trial I needed a Mr. Fisher. He is older and his stability drew out a trust in me that was very important at the time. Mr. Good is more aggressive. He took a lot of time to explain things to us. He exudes a confidence that I need right now. Both men appear to be right for the time at hand!

Afterwards Nelson and I went out to eat. Friendly's. It was good. We talked for quite a while. That was good, too.

And your prayers were the best of all!


Our appointment with the attorney is today at 5:00PM. If you have mind and heart to pray, please do. This is our initial interview. Telling the details of my story is a shame-filled experience--especially telling them to someone new and someone I need to have on my side 100%.

Thank you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Just a cold

I feel some better. I had to work last night at Curves. Even though they cut back on some people's hours, I went in extra to cover the circuit because Beth had three tours back to back to back. They would all laugh when she hollared out: Mooooommmm. I just smiled.

Since I was feeling so yucky I left when one of the other fitness techs arrived early for staff meeting. I went home and hung out with Asher so Nelson could go to bed. He still loves his job and his mood is so much better that I love his job too!

I went to bed at 10. I took two Aleve and slept really good. Last night I ached all over, but especially in my hips. This morning the aching seems to be gone and I'm just congested--so I think I'll live.

It was quite cool to have a radio while I traveled yesterday. Part of the time I listened to the radio and part of the time I listened to a Christmas CD. I am in love with my steering wheel controls. I can change things and not take my eyes off the road. It's wonderful!!!

Asher had a follow up appointment yesterday. Beth said it took all of 15 minutes (she knows because of the time stamp on the parking garage ticket. The doc flashed a light in his eyes and said he was improving come back in 3 months. Beth found out that the doc travels once a month to our town so she's going to set the appointment up for here rather than driving over an hour in horrendous traffic. Makes sense to me.

When Asher and I were hanging out, he began taking all the stuff out of his diaper bag. He looked up at me and in his way told me he had been at the eye doctor. I took my finger and held it up to his eye and said, "And she used a light to look at your eyes." He took my hand, ever so gently, and held it to his eye and repeated "eye doctor" several times, then he laid his head in my lap and smiled. It was the sweetest thing. So many kids are afraid of doctors, but he seemed to have such a peacefull reaction. It was just cool.

Well, I'm off to Stown today. I get to see participants, deliver paychecks (always makes me popular), and drop off boxes of Christmas candy to referring agencies. It's chocolates from our local "best chocolates ever" place. I'm sure that will make me everybody's favorite today, too!

May there be sweet moments and good chocolate in your day as well!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sore Throat

Can’t swallow.
Last evening I took a friend out to dinner and then to shop at Goodwill. Towards the end I was really starting to feel punky. She asked if I would come in and I felt bad begging off, but I could barely hold my head up.

When I got home I tended to Asher until Beth got home. I couldn’t find his glasses. When she got home neither could she. She got a bit testy about it and I was in no state to deal with that. Ron found the glasses when he got home. Asher had taken them off and put them in a cowboy hat in the less than traveled space in the dining room. Go figure. The reason it was so crucial to find them is that his follow up appointment with the pediatric ophthalmologist is this morning.

I would gladly stay home and try to sleep, but since I took last Tuesday off that is not even the remotest possibility as long as I can move. I can breathe okay, which is could. My eyes are gunky and burn when I leave them open for a few minutes. Swallowing is the real problem. I have no cough to speak of. I’m a little achy.

The challenge for me on a day like this is that my job requires talking--lots of it. I present the program in an orientation format. I follow up with participants, talking with them about what they’re doing to find work. I should also call on several employers to discuss meantime jobs (part-time positions to tide folks over until they can secure full-time placements).

I’m thinking I need to locate my bag of Hall’s soothers and dig out a mug I can keep tea in all day. Oh, and I’m supposed to work at Curves tonight to cover for a young gal who has a college final. Yehaw!

At least my new car has music….to bad I won’t be able to sing along. “)

Monday, December 10, 2007

God Winks

So I’m sitting at my desk researching different topics related to my work to put together worksheets to use with my lectures and activities when I come across a quote:

Coincidence—God Winks—are little messages to you on your journey through life, nudging you along the grand path that has been designed especially for you.
--Squire Rushnell, When God Winks

Well, I couldn’t stop there so I did a on the guy. I pulled up his official web site ( and started reading. There’s a really cool story about God-wink that his wife got. And it ends with this quote:
“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”John Wooden, coach

So no I’m sitting at my desk and I can’t research because I have tears in my eyes because I think I just got a great big wink.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I love my new car. Wow. It's so smooth and cute. Nelson showed me all the gizmos and gadgets he discovered while driving. Then while I drove it around this morning I noticed little buttons on the backside of the steering wheel at 9 and 3--it was controls for the radio!!!! No more fiddling around leaning down and taking my eyes off the road. Now I adust the stations/tracks with the left hand and the volume with the right. It's so cool.

And it's blue. Now, to some this may sound silly, but I've wanted a blue car for so long. I like red or burgandy and have had several of them.

And it has a sunroof/moonroof--I guess that depends on when you open it. I used to have a car (Renult LeCar) that had the capability to open the roof top. I loved that. I think I'll love this too, especially since it opens and closes with a touch of a button while the former required stopping the car and manhandling the stubborn thing.

I just feel quite blessed.

Church was a heartwarming experience this morning. Our Sunday School class is being taught by one of my favorite professors again. The book we're using for study is "Reversed Thunder" by Eugene Peterson. Good stuff...that's all I'll say on that for now, but know this: there will be more!

Then in worship there were a couple of very sweet God hugs. One came from a woman who slid up beside me while we were waiting for the service to start. She put her arm around my shoulder and gave me a great big hug. All she said was that she knew things would work out ok. I teared up.

Then during the music portion of the service we sang the Christmas hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel. One stanza was a clear hug:
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

In that stanza I was assured that I was not being overlooked or forgotten, that my prayers were right on target, and that there is great reason to be celebrating the season.

I know I'm blessed.

May you feel blessed today, too.

Ho Ho Ho

It’s been a full day. I got up and went to work out early. I hung out with Asher all morning. Around 1:00 Nelson and I left for the airport after a stop at Aldi’s to pick up a few toys for the sweeties. I dropped him off at the curb since I couldn’t really wait with him and then went to Easton to meet up with my sister. She had an emotional crisis earlier in the week and it was good to get together.

We had a blast shopping and eating together. When we got to Cheesecake Factory (about 3:30) there was an hour wait. Fortunately, the buzzer-notifier thingy worked at the two stores on either side of the restaurant (Barnes and Nobel and Crate and Barrell)so we shopped while we waited. Dinner was quite yummy! We ate appetizers for our meals and then split a piece of carrot cake cheesecake. Yum.

The real fun came when we walked around looking at clothes. She worked retail many, many years ago and she was being Cathy Critiquer of all the displays. It was a hoot. We ooooohed and ahhhhhhed our way through Coldwater Creek, Talbots, and Macy’s. I wanted to go to the perfume counter and smell all the expensive yummy perfumes. I was hoping to find a particular fragrance. I just love it when someone walks by wearing that scent. Next time I’m going to ask what they’re wearing because I didn’t find it tonight.

We looked at a scazillion sweaters at Macy‘s. We each bought one. We also dug through the purses. Sis bought a Fossil bag. It was so cute and really cheap. We bought some really well-discounted (70% off) leather shoes. And at Barnes and Noble I got the most recent edition of the Official Scrabble Dictionary and a Manheim Steamroller Christmas CD--since my new car has a CD player!!!

Nelson called while we were shopping at Macy’s. His flight (Skybus) was good to Greensborough and he had a nice tour of the Maryberry sites before he left for home. When he called he got really serious and said that he thought he should save me from the new car. In order to protect me he would make the ultimate sacrifice and drive that car. I read right through that ploy! It drives like a dream and he can’t wait for me to get it. He’s already more than half-way home. Hopefully he’ll make it home before the rain turns to sleet/ice.

Sweetest of dreams.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Always Find the Humor

Thank you for your prayers. Here's a brief update to encourage you all to keep praying!

I was praying that God would help me find the right and best attorney for this case and situation. I smiled when B recommended an attorney whose last name is Good. Not wanting to rush into anything, I watied for Mr. R's recommendation. The attorney he contacted was too busy at this time but connected us directly with Mr. Good. I kid you not--that's his last name.

I guess Mr. Right is Mr. Good. Keep praying!")

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Still Breathing

Since I plan to use this computer quite a bit I convinced our president to allow me to download the business’ copy of Microsoft Office. It includes spreadsheet and power point. I’m excited to have a real typing program.

I have been trying to figure out how to download stuff from Youtube. I would love to be able to use some things when I teach. I found a really great piece on forgiveness (by the Forgiveness Project called the hardest word) that I would loved to used with my lesson tomorrow in the jail. There was a song that was really cool too, but alas it’s just not working.

Nelson talked with Mr. R again today and he had connected with a prominent attorney in town who is currently too busy to take the case but he made a referral and Nelson was able to talk with him briefly today. He wants to meet with us later next week. This guy is also one of the ones that the jury lady recommended, too.

Tonight was our Christmas dinner for work. It was okay. Tomorrow is the Christmas dinner for our Sunday School. I just don’t have the heart for partying, but I’ll do it because it’s expected of me.

That’s all for tonight. Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

In The Light of Day

I'm still breathing. I'm not much. I stayed home today with Asher. He was good medicine to my heart. We played and watch videos and read a lot. Beth picked up their latest pictures from Sears. The proofs had been good, but the finished product was wonderful. I'll see if I can get her to help me put one one for you to see.

I got several calls about work. I only took two. Voicemail is a good thing. I'm going to work tomorrow. My heart isn't in it, but I'm just too blasted responsible to turn into a turtle. After spending the day with Asher I decided I could get quite used to the role of full-time mema. But since Nelson just bought me a car I probably ought to stay employed...sigh.

The attorney who represented me originally called today. He's such a precious man. He has several clients who he's representing in situations very similar to mine and he is arguing against the constitutionality of this law. He recommended that I seek local counsel because it would just be far too expensive to have him travel across the state to represent me.

I have sought the recommendations of trusted people here in town. I contacted one of the women in my Sunday school class. Her county position is that of filling all the juries (I can't remember what the official title is). She gave some good advice on who consider and who to avoid. I also asked Dan and Bob (higher ups of Transformation Network). Finally, I had Nelson ask Mr. R at work. I really respect his opinion--besides he has personal connections in the State Attorney General's Office.

I got up early this morning and went to the office before any one got there to make sure my files were in order and important paperwork was locatable. Have I mentioned my over-functioning sense of responsibility? When I left work on Monday I had intended to put things back together before I set out from town this morning. Once more I'm reminded of the lesson my mother tried to drill into me in my youth: don't put off til tomorrow what you can do today.

Later in the morning when my head was a little clearer I pulled out the letter and read the whole thing a few times. My classification has changed. It is the worst one. I am now mandated to report every 90 days for the rest of my life. It will also be required to notify all my neighbors of my presence.

I do have to opportunity to appeal. That's why I need to secure legal representation. I have 60 days from the receipt of the letter to appeal the change of classification and notification. I just don't have any idea how that will go.

I need a miracle. I need favor in the courts. These will be my daily prayers for the next 60 days. If you need more than that to pray about: pray that I will connect with the best attorney for my situation; pray that I will conduct myself appropriately; and pray away the spirit of despair.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Hell Located

Okay. You are going to read pure fear, anxiety, frustration, and utter dispair. Not your typical fair from daisymarie, but quite honestly, I've had very few days lower than this one.
I wrote recently about the new Megan Law that will be taking effect on January 1, 2008. Today I received a certified letter from the state of Ohio. I figured it was just my notification. I opened the letter and literally felt as if someone punched me in the stomach. My head felt as if it was going to explode. I couldn't believe what I was reading. This has to be someone else's nightmare.

The letter said that instead of being in the lowest classification that has to register once a year for the balance of my time plus 5 years, I was now classified as the most dangerous of all preditors and would have to register every 90 days for the rest of my life.

I immediately handed the letter to Nelson who looked as ill as I felt. The next thing he did was call my lawyer. He wasn't in so Nelson left a message for him to call. I picked at dinner and then decided to go workout. I thought it would help. It might have, but I still feel sick.

I made two phone calls on my way to Curves. The first was to my friend Karen back where we used to live. In my message that I had to leave bacause she didn't answer I said, "Every time life kicks me in the gut I turn to you for sanity. Life has kicked hard please call me back." Then I called my supervisor and told him to call me back because I wasn't sure I would be able to work the next couple days.

Here's where my head is: I don't want to commit suicide, but I wish I was dead. I can't imagine worse news. If the lawyer can't straighten this out I have found hell.

It Was A Dark and Blustery Night

Wide awake, I am. The kind of awake that just getting up and peeing does not fix. There was also an interesting mix of heart burn and heart yearn. I recall dreaming as I was waking that that I was writing a book about looking at houses. The book was about some wealthy person (the house had "servant quarters" that could be accessed by the exterior door for the personal assistant). It was weird.

I came down and turned on the laptop. I fiddled around with my Fantasy Football teams for the next week. I really enjoy that. It looks like I'll be in the play-offs against Nelson. He'll win. He has the better team. And that's okay. I can lose to him and feel okay about second place. It was fun to have Ron in our league, too. We talked about it last night. Ron said he enjoyed it enough to do it again next year. Yea! Another convert. ")

When I was done with that I started reading blogs and diaries. HeyJules had a wonderful entry about a volunteering experience at her church. It left me sitting here in tears and helped me see what my heart yearn was about (the burn was easy: Burger King for dinner). Her church provided a free family event that especially touched one woman who expressed her amazement and grattitude. Her genuine appreciation reminded me of the story of the lepers who were healed by Jesus. One actually came back and said thanks. I don't think it was that the others weren't grateful, they were just caught up in their new-found wholeness. The woman's response was incredulous as she was surprised that the "church" would do such a great thing for "people like her."

In my last post I mentioned how tired I am. I feel old. I feel used up. I feel like I have very little to offer. No, really. And my exhaustion was starting to build its own little "who really cares about what you do, anyway" nest. Not a good thing. Truth is, I hadn't had any recent visitations by healed lepers, or life-improved ex-felons, and I was starting to wonder if it was really worth it. I have been passionate about my work. I work hard. I teach hard.

Sitting here right now, I'm reminded of a sermon illustration. Funny where your mind can go at this early hour. Anyway, the story is about an old farmer. A flock of birds lands on his property in the middle of a horrendous storm. He tries to provide for them but they don't listen to his verbal invitation to find cover and food in his barn. They don't respond until he goes out and shows them the way. (I never was very good at using other people's illustrations...just like I can't tell someone else's joke.) I'm a lot like the farmer. I can't just tell people about changing life. I put a ton of energy into really coming along side and understanding them. It feels good when they get it. And so many more head away and I don't know if they ever do. It's like the story of the Rag Man (that will date me a bit; Ragman by Walter Wangerin. I just looked it up and found it online). I just keep giving myself away.

I think that's why I blew up at my supervisor on Friday afternoon. I had a job that I needed to find a worker for. I wish I could adequately describe how seriously I take that responsibility. The position was temporary, with just the faintest possibility of becoming full-time permanent. I called four people before I finally got one who called me back--but they all want jobs. The guy's wife was ecstatic. He was very appreciative. I felt good about the connection. Not twenty minutes after I sealed the deal, my supervisor called and told me that the company had contacted him and informed him that there would be no work on Monday so please don't have the new guy show up until Tuesday.

As the message was delivered, I became heated. I lost my professional tone. This was the second time in two weeks that this company had gotten word to me after the fact. That part in itself was frustrating, but it was the next words that pushed me right over the edge. I was basically asked what the big deal was, it was just a day. Just a day? This supervisor talks about knowing poverty and desperation on a personal level, but in that moment he really lost me. Yes, it was a day. Only $80 in the grand scheme of life. But the potential was, in the Mastercard venacular, priceless. What that one day could do for this discouraged man, for this overburdened marriage, for their hope deprived children couldn't be tallied in nickles and dimes.
On one hand, I want to go to work. I look forward to talking to the county area service providers at lunch and telling them what we do, how we specialize in not just getting jobs, but helping people make the life-style and heart changes to excell in life and be productive. But on the other hand, I am not looking forward to probably being reprimanded for my inappropriately unprofessional response to my supervisor. I know I was insubordinate. I deserve to be corrected. I will try to respond more appropriately in the future. But I also know that I will continue to be passionate and sometimes that is not always easily channeled and controlled. If it was would it still be passion?

So I'm sitting here wondering what Jesus would do? He was certainly passionate. Just ask the money changers in the temple about his passion. Ask Mary and Martha about his deep love when their brother died. What were the tender words that Jesus said to the widow who's son had died? But the tables only went over once. I need to keep that in mind.

Now I wonder if I can get a little nap in before the alarm goes off? Probably not. I'll just use the time to pray. May your day be blessed. Mine is already.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Better Than Control

Home again. What a trip. It was raining hard all the way home. My body is all in knots from being tense the whole way home. When I got home, I found that the elves had been busy here! Nelson, Ron and Beth put lights up on the house, decorated the yard, and put up our new pre-lit tree. There's still work to be done but it is feeling quite a bit more festive here.

It was good to be with Annie and the kids these last couple days. I took them shopping to pick some groceries and a few other things they needed (like shoes, socks, and cleaning supplies). I took them out for Chinese buffet for lunch today after church. Afterwards, Annie told the kids to thank me because I paid and Pnel said, "Thanks Mema because she paid." Her gratitude quickly became a song that she sang the rest of the way home.

Asher greeted me at the door when I got home. He's getting around just fine. We've decided to decorate the tree that's at Asher height with things that he can't break. The other thing I'm going to suggest is having a tree just for him. I have a little two foot tree that I have a string of Winnie the Pooh character lights on that could be just for him. We'll see.

I'm tired. Very tired. I wasn't thinking straight or looking at successive calendars when I scheduled class again next week. Tomorrow I'm making a presentation to the county service agencies at their monthly lunch. I was hoping to use our powerpoint presentation, but I still don't know how to run the machine. And then there's two parties this week: Thursday and Friday. Sigh.

Nelson starts his new job tomorrow. He says he's nervous--I couldn't tell. He's decided to enroll in the nearby state university to improve his knowledge and skills on the CNC machines. One of the big changes will be he'll be working with graphite. I was hoping that the new company would have a web site so I could direct you there...maybe soon. All I really know is that it's much dirtier work. I guess we'll see.

Hmmmmm, life is in we'll see mode right now. That really used to be something that would bug me. I needed to have things planned out. I needed to know how things were going to go. I was always looking to have control or feel like I had it. Maybe being tired isn't so bad a thing. I don't have the energy to try and orchestrate life. In a way like I don't ever remember, I'm really okay with letting God be God. And that's a very good thing.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Asher Update

After several x-rays it was determined that little man has a severe strain. They just had a ball with him. Even with his pain he was quite the charmer. He came home with two or three new toys and some candy--things we really need...giggles. Only thing for healing is time and baby tylenol for the pain.

I made it okay to Annie's. And just in time because after we did a little necessity shopping it decided to "white" outside...better get that all done before tomorrow!

Sweet dreams everyone!

Saturday Morning

I'm going out of town this weekend again. After supper last night (yummy pizza from a local joint), Nelson asked what my plans were. I told him that I was thinking about visiting Annie and he sort of laughed and told me he had been thinking that's what I should do. So I'll be heading that way sometime this morning.

When Nelson turned in his notice on Tuesday, he was told Friday would be his last day and that there wouldn't be any overtime for him. He worked over a couple hours on Thursday, and 12 hours yesterday. He's going to get in at least 8 today and may get to work tomorrow, too. They're going to miss him so.

I woke up this morning with Nelson and haven't been able to go back to sleep. I thought if I piddled around on the computer a bit I'd get sleepy and toddle back off to bed. The only place I keep toddling is to the potty...sigh.

I had to take a break from typing this because Asher woke up. Last night when I got home he was limping around. He was favoring his left foot. Ron said that he and Beth thought he may have an ingrown toenail--it was a little red. As the evening progressed he became clingyer and wanted to be on the foot less and less. This morning when he woke up he was unwilling to put any weight on it at all. It doesn't appear to be his toe. After I went to bed Beth and Ron tried to work with him and found out he fussed the most when his ankle was touched. They thought back over the day and all they could remember was that early in the day he was climbing off the bed and came down hard on a toy that threw him off balance. He might have hurt it then.

Anyway...Beth is taking her shower now and is going to take him to the ER as soon as Ron comes over. In the meantime, I'm getting some quality cuddle time in.

Beth and Ron are gone now and I have the house all to myself. I should be getting ready to leave but I'm just enjoying sitting here in the quiet. Ah........I'll write more later.