Hula Hooping


Image via Wikipedia

I am about to confess something. Something very profound. I cannot believe I’m actually letting you in on this. I’m determined to “hoop” even though I really stink at it. Maybe I should say that I stink at it right now. My plan is to become a hula hoop aficionado. Don’t laugh. I said it was the plan people. This might take some serious practice…and dare I say work….but, I’m not one to turn down a challenge. Okay. So, maybe I am, but that is totally beside the point.

Several years ago I was a gym rat. I did circuit training at a women’s gym and then power-walked 4 miles a day on most days. Yes. I did. I was in shape. Well, at least the shape that I happen to have, was fit. Since getting remarried and thus having a rather hectic and busy life, my gym routine… should I say this?……has seen it’s better days.  Okay, so its pretty much become null and void. There. Now are you happy? Today obviously is confession day.

So anyway, I read this article recently in one of my myriad number of magazines. It was about how hula hooping has become so popular. It works one’s core..yada…yada…yada. I decided to pull out my hula hoop that I bought several years ago, from the gym I previously was a devout member of. This is a hard core hula hoop. None of that mamby pamby toy store stuff for me. This torture device weighs in at 5 lbs. and is sturdy to say the least. This hoop causes some serious bruising when it is first used. And that is when one uses it correctly. I hate to think about the damage that would be done if used improperly. I know all this because the gym owner (from aforementioned gym) had to mention this to people who dared to hoop. Probably some sort of liability thing. Go figure. I guess if you constantly slam a 5 lb. weight into your waist/hips it could possibly leave some bruising. Hey, no pain. No gain. Don’t feel badly about it. The body gets used to it and you eventually don’t look like your hips went a round in the ring.

I’m actually in a house now, that has space so I can fling the hoop around my middle without knocking down everything in the near vicinity. Just sayin’. My goal is to, “Wittle down the middle”. Sort of catchy, isn’t it?  So, if you happen to hear my family saying anything about my latest endeavor, ignore them. They are just jealous. After all if I want to hula hoop in the kitchen while fixing dinner…that is my business.

Just On This Side Of Crazy…

An American bathroom of a freshly renovated ho...

Image via Wikipedia

I KNOW WHY CERTAIN SPECIES EAT THEIR YOUNG. I totally get it. It is so much easier that way.

I am the mother of three teenagers. Yes, three. Two boys. One girl.


I am the mother of kids who can totally mess up the hall bathroom is no time flat. DOES NO ONE ELSE SEE THE NASTY, WHATEVER-IT-IS, GROWING IN THE SINK?  What is with that? What IS that? The other two bathrooms don’t look that way. Only theirs. It’s scary. Really scary. What if it is some sort of mutant bacteria that will overtake the house one night while we sleep? The teens would be immuned to it….but, it would get my husband and me. While we slept.

Or what is the deal with food? If they stand at the refrigerator and leave the door open while they peer inside….what will they find? Hmmm……who wants jalepeno slices straight out of the jar?  (YUCK) Or who drinks enough tea or milk to float for a year? I have learned that if I want any tea in this house I better make it and then get the first glass—otherwise I won’t see it again…until it is time to make the next pitcher. Why can’t we keep snacks in this house? Stuff disappears quickly around here. I think they have super metabolisms….. And I want to know WHY that is the case with only young people??? I WANT a super metabolism. It’s only fair.

Having teens is not all about fighting for tea, slimy things that go bump in the night or selective hearing… is also fun. They do make me laugh—because essentially they are at that age when they understand life more, but are still young enough to laugh about it. Yes, there is frustration, but there is also a lot of love and goofiness. I’ll miss them when they are gone. It will be so quiet….and clean…. food in the frig….all the tea I can drink…..Oh, I digress. I was saying I’d miss them. Really, I will. I will.

In the meantime…..I think I need a Haz-mat suit for the bathroom clean up.

Embracing The Daily Grind

Drudgery is the touchstone of character. There are times when there is no illumination and no thrill, but just the daily round, the common task. Routine is God‘s way of saving us between our times of inspiration.”  (from Oswald Chamber’s MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST.)

Don’t we all have those routine kind of times in our lives? The daily grind. The things we do every day. Some of it is so routine that we go through the motions not even giving them a second thought. Making the coffee. Driving to work. Grocery shopping, or getting gas because our tank is almost on E. Running kids to their activities. Fixing dinner.Checking email. The list could go on and on.

There are days when I wonder if my “daily grind” is really making a difference? Are the things that I do important? How is my being here at this time and in this place, making a difference? These are common questions that I am sure a lot of us ponder at one point or another. Everyone wants to feel important… That the work that they do is valuable… That the routine is for a greater purpose.

It occurred to me that the routine things of life are what make for security and comfortableness. If life were always a roller coaster ride—always searching for the next thrill—that would get exhausting, wouldn’t it? Even “thrilling” would get tiring after a while. It is my opinion that life really is about the small, daily things. Even if those things sometime seem mundane.

God in His infinite wisdom, in His time, chooses when to give us our moments “of inspiration”. A glimpse into His plan. A brief peek at the reason we are here, doing what it is we are doing. The verse from Esther rings in my mind. Esther, a young Jewish woman, had become queen to king Xerxes of Persia. Her fellow Jews were in danger of being killed when her cousin, Mordecai, reminds her that even though she, herself,  might be in danger she needed to step up to save her people.  He tells her, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”  (Esther 4:14)

For such a time as this“——– Who of us knows what God has planned for us? How He will choose to use our lives to touch others? To be a small part of His greater plan?  God chose each of us to be here. At this very moment in time. For His purpose. So, on those days when we all feel a little (or a lot) worn down, tired, and maybe just a little hopeless….remember Mr. Oswald’s quote, “Routine is God’s way of saving us between our times of inspiration.”

Journaling About Life

Journal Delamétherie

Image via Wikipedia

On Wednesday, June 1, 2005 I wrote this in my journal:

(I am sure I copied this from something but, I’m not sure where I got it from.)

It is much easier to do something than to trust in God; we mistake panic for inspiration.

God’s Spirit continually reveals what human nature is like apart from His grace.

I am a “keeper of the journal”. I always have been. I’m a writer in my heart. I’ve written my thoughts—and when inspired—the thoughts of others in my journals. I think the earliest journals I have are of the secrets of an 11 year old. I smile when I look back at the Dawn of yesteryear. In my adult years my journals have been a great source of peace for me. Many of my journal entries have turned into prayers. They have become my conversations with God. As I look back I realize that God, Himself ,has chosen to talk with me through my journals too. And yes, God does talk through the written Word. He has given us His own journal, of sorts. He tells us about Himself, His character and actions. He tells us how He interacted in this world, and what is to come.  His journal is called the Bible.

Many times in my journal entries I will write down scripture references that pertain to where I am at in my life at that time. I will copy snippets of pastor’s sermons, or something I’ve read in an inspirational book. As I look back through my journals I am acutely aware of how God has chosen to work in my life. It is laid out before me like a map of words.  Even though I will probably never be famous, and my name will never be in lights… I’ll most likely never travel to exotic ports, or invent  the newest electronic gadget, I still have had a good life. Not always an easy life…but a good one.

When reading my “life map” I realize that God was with me when, as a fresh faced, just out of college, young adult, I was searching for a job. Through a course of events, over miles, and across state lines He brought me to a tiny town in the Appalachian mountains to teach. I would have never found this place on my own. God’s hand print was all over it. I wrote in my journal…..” God, You know I want to teach. I believe You want me to teach. Doors to job opportunities, here in my home state, are closing. I’m giving my job situation over to You. I’ll go where ever you want me.”

When I found out that I was pregnant. What joy! I started journaling about it right away. Before my son even took his first breath, before he was fully formed, I took the opportunity to journal to him about how much he was loved. I thanked God and recognized that He knew my son even before I did. ” I knit you together in your mother’s womb….I know all your days before one of them even comes to be.”

Or when at the age of 32 I was forced to walk “through the valley of the shadow of death”. My late husband died just three weeks after his 34th birthday. In my journal I poured out my heart. There were days that all I could do was cry to Him. He replied with, ” I am a Father to the fatherless and a defender of widows.”  If God is my defender….well, that is saying a lot. God gave me opportunities even in widowhood. No, I have to be honest, this wasn’t the road that I had planned for myself. Still, whatever road I found myself on God was already there.  There was peace in that.

I journaled/prayed my way into my new marriage. As I wrote I asked God to please not allow any man to be in my path that was not part of His plan. I didn’t want anything to do with any man that would cause me heartache or pain.   There were nights when I was lonely. There were nights when I wanted to give in. God heard me. I wrote prayers, pouring out my heart to Him. He chose to have me in widowhood for five years before bringing Scott into my life.

Scott and I have been through a lot in our 4 years of marriage. Selling houses, building a new house, home schooling, moving out of state, making new friends, finding a new church, raising three children in a blended family, plus adult children. At times it is stressful. And frustrating.And happy. And crazy.  Sometimes I feel like I spend most of my time running around trying to get things done—-and wondering if I am making any real difference. I recently wrote in my journal: “So many times I feel like Martha. Distracted by all she had to get done. (Luke 10:38-42) Things having to get done because no one else will do it!  Lord, You told Martha that Mary chose what was better–to be with You.   Help me Lord, to get proper perspective.”

I have had people tell me that they could never journal or blog like I do. They’d be scared to “put it out there” for others to read. I know that God has given me a love of words. Sounds weird to think of that as a gift or talent, huh? I hope my journals are read by my children and grandchildren and their children one day. I hope that recording my personal walk will help them to not only understand me better, but more importantly to understand and know the Lord that I have a relationship with. I have many people that read my blog, from countries around the world. I have no idea whose life I am touching with my words…..but, if just one thing I write makes a difference than it is worth it.

I Love You

Kleenex logo

Image via Wikipedia


Three powerful words.

Words that, if spoken with a sincere heart, can make a  huge difference for both the one speaking the words and the one receiving them.

What does it really mean to say “I love you” ?

Is it flowers and candy and jewelery? Is it hearts and cards? Is it a romantic dinner for two? Sure, don’t get me wrong, those things are all great. I enjoy beautiful roses, anything coated in chocolate and sparkling rings. I’m a total romantic when it comes to mushy cards and “chick flick” movies. Please pass the Kleenex. I really do love happy endings. They make me smile.

Sure, like I said, those things are great once in a while…..but real love is so much more.

Love is….my husband‘s smile at me in the morning….even when I have bed head and haven’t brushed my teeth yet.

Love is….me getting up early to fix coffee for my husband because I know he likes it.

Love is….hugging my kids and getting hugged in return…..having teens that still love to love their parents.

Love is….my husband shoveling snow, or warming up the van for me before I go to work.

Love is….me doing laundry and cooking meals and cleaning the house for my family. Making home comfortable and warm.

Love is….knowing my husband values me. My opinion counts. He enjoys hanging out with me.

Love is….telling my husband that I think he is the best problem solver around.

Love is….believing my children are awesome and knowing that they will each leave their own special imprint on this world. Letting them know that my world is a better place because they are in it:)

Love is….a card from my mom filled with words of encouragement.

Love is….family members that know my faults and still think I am worthy of their love.

Love is all these things….AND MORE.

Love is also commitment—even when you want to give up. It is holding your tongue when you really believe your opinion is the RIGHT ONE. Love is friendship. Love is choosing to overlook the imperfections and instead, learning to concentrate on the positives. Love is empathy. It is kindness and then treating others how you’d like to be treated. True love has a lot to do with forgiveness and starting over. Love is about second chances and “do-overs”.  Love is holding a hand—and sometimes delicately holding a heart. Love is trustworthy and strong. Sometimes love has to be down right tough. Love can even hurt on occasion.

Above all love is a choice.

The greatest love is that of God for each of us. In John 3:16, we are told that “God  SO LOVED the world that HE GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Jesus chose to take our place because He loves us. Now that, my friend, is what REAL love is all about. We can love others because He chose to first love us.

Day 6 of Confinement

Abandoned Mailbox

Image by cindy47452 via Flickr

Now we have some serious wind to add to the snow that we have piled up around here.  When I say “serious” wind, I mean it! The wind in Logan County is vicious. Of course, the fact that our house is setting in the middle of a field with no windbreaks (at all) does not help matters. The  wind makes it feel a lot colder and also makes it impossible to keep any sort of respectable hairstyle. I have given up on that front. A hair clip is now my friend. Either that or have my tresses resemble something a rat made a nest in. (Don’t you love that visual?) The snowing and blowing going on around here makes my front yard look like a snow globe that has been shook one too many times.

I’m sitting at the kitchen counter. I see the forlorn mailbox at the end of our driveway. The mailbox door limply hanging open. Our mailbox filled full of snow. What a sad looking mailbox. There is some comfort in the fact that our neighbor’s mailbox looks worse than ours does. It is resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I’m sure the mail lady just loves winter mailboxes. Who knew all the weird angles and bent doors that one mailbox could display?

This afternoon I will be baking some brownies. Cold, snowy days are made for baking. With the weather here lately, I will weigh 900 lbs. before we see the spring thaw. Hey, and I have plenty of milk to go with those brownies. I’m just sayin’.

Continuation of Yesterday

It has been snowing since 8:30am.  Ohio is pretty much getting dumped on. This makes us day 5 of being inside. Together. All of us. Amen.

Besides the fact that I have all but lost any trace of sanity, I am doing okay on this nature imposed hibernation. Well, husband and I did get out for a very brief time yesterday afternoon. I told him that another big snow was on the way and we NEEDED MILK!!!!  While at our local grocery store we picked up a few other essentials……I mean after all a family needs some ice cream in the middle of a snowstorm. I told you I have a thing about dairy. Hey, I’ll get my dairy how I want, you get it how you want…..

Our mailbox is toast. Remember in yesterday’s blog I mentioned the snow plow dilemma? Our mailbox now is leaning to one side. It is bent AND the door will not close. I know this because when getting the mail yesterday I attempted to beat it back into shape. It didn’t work…and if the neighbors saw me they probably think I am nuts. Doesn’t everyone go out and attack their mailbox? Am I really all that weird?  Stop laughing. I was TRYING to fix it.  I guess we’ve officially joined the local chapter of the WINTER MAILBOXES OF RURAL AMERICA CLUB.

That my friends is how my day is going, how about yours?

Living In La La Land

The dog ate all the cats’ food. Furry thief. He is currently in the cat bed. He has his own place, but seems to like the cat bed better. Whatever. Maybe he is confused. He fits right in around here.

We only have 3/4 of a gallon of milk left and it is supposed to snow again tonight and tomorrow and Wednesday. We need milk. It’s a thing with me. If we have milk all will be okay. We can be snowbound. If we don’t have milk, well, we might not make it. Just sayin’. I can see the newspaper story now. FAMILY OF FIVE FOUND AFTER SPRING THAW. LACK OF DAIRY WAS TO BLAME FOR THEIR UNTIMELY DEMISE. LAST WORDS FROM MOTHER SCRAWLED ON A NAPKIN….” I KNEW WE SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN MORE MILK. PREFERABLY 2%.”

This morning the sun is streaming in through the kitchen windows. The snow piled up outside looks as if it has a million diamonds in it. On that subject let me just say that black granite counter tops are gorgeous UNTIL the sun shines in across them and one sees every speck of dust known to mankind. Black appliances and counters, one would think, would HIDE dust and dirt. Um… Trust me on this one.  Unfortunately for me, ,I am just obsessive compulsive enough that I feel the need to wipe everything down. Just because. Not that it won’t look exactly the same by this time tomorrow morning–alas, this is how dust works. UGH.

Since we home school, the kids are still “in class” today. Even though they don’t think it’s fair that the public school is out due to massive amounts of snow and they aren’t.  Oh, well. Don’t feel sorry for them. They have plenty of perks that go along with home schooling, they just want something to gripe about. It’s a teenager thing…. and they do it well. I FIND MYSELF WANTING TO SAY, “WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL…….” GOOD GRIEF. I SOUND OLD. GREAT. WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?

I am in my own mood this morning. I am not my usual perky, morning self. (in a house full of NOT perky morning people) Do you ever have days where everything is getting on your last nerve? Well….it is one of those days. WARNING. WARNING. EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY.

I just heard scraping out on the road. It’s the snow plow. Probably plowing our driveway shut. Again. Oh no. This time the snow avalanche hit our mailbox and popped the door of the mailbox open. Great. So now snow can get in and make our mail nice and wet. Lovely. At least our mailbox is still in one piece. Living out here in rural America one sees a lot of mailboxes that have seen the bad end of a snow plow. My friend, who grew up here, informed me that winter mailboxes are attached to the post with a myriad number of things. Duct tape, bungee cords, an old belt….whatever one can find to hold the mailbox together. After all, who wants to spend money on a new mailbox if the plow is just going to destroy it again? Makes sense to me. Our mailbox used to have a fancy piece on top, that had our family name on it. It lasted all of 2 seconds. We found it laying in the ditch last winter. A victim of the plow.

I guess my readers can already “see” what kind of day this is going to be at my house. Thanks for listening as I vented. I feel a little bit better.

I suppose I should go feed the cats…….

You Are Being Watched

Diagram of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Image via Wikipedia

The title of my blog today is not to scare anyone. Don’t worry. I am not a stalker….but, I am a people  watcher and a keen observer of human nature. I have been for most of my life. Not professionally mind you, but just because I’m drawn to people and their motives behind the behavior.  I am the one that is always asking, “Why would he do that?” or “What is she thinking?”

Yesterday I had some interesting experiences pertaining to being a people watcher. Many of you know that I have been in a 6 week long term subbing gig at the local middle school. The regular teacher is out on maternity leave and I am filling in while she is gone. Now, I could write an entire book on the motives and actions of middle schoolers. Some of the chapters could get fairly dicey so I will just suffice to say that they are a mess. The middle school years are difficult, with a lot of changes going on, none of which the children themselves understand. Thus, I am left with a confused bunch of 11,12 and 13 year olds.

My first class of the day is an unruly bunch of eighth graders. I will admit that they have tried my patience more than once. Yesterday in class we played a Jeopardy-style game using questions from the story we had just read. The game was being used as a study tool, in preparation for an upcoming test. The class was divided into teams. Many of the students laughed at the first group, calling the members of that team “stupid”. “You’ll  never win.” (the cruelty of this age group is a whole different issue—one that I struggle with. Why they feel the need to hurt their fellow classmates is difficult to comprehend. We have had MANY conversations in the classroom about this subject….) Anyway, the kids loved the game and I was pleased that they knew so much of the material.  Even better was the fact that the group that was called “stupid”, were the ones to win. Not only that, they won by a landslide. That was great, I was cheering for them….but, that is not the human nature side of this story. After class two of the boys on that team asked if they could talk with me. I said, “sure”. After everyone left they told me that they really do listen in class and that they did a good job, right? They are not stupid. “When they called us stupid, it made me want to win! I wanted to show them! We kicked their tail, didn’t we Mrs. G.? ” I told them, “You sure did. You should be proud of yourselves. I’m proud of you. I’m very impressed with how much you knew. Great job!” They left the classroom feeling like they could take on the world.

Wow. I felt a lot of things after talking with those students. My heart broke because I don’t like any child to think that they are stupid, or somehow feel like they are less because things don’t come as easily to them as they do to others.On the other hand, I felt happy for them because they had a renewed confidence in their abilities. They had proven themselves. Sure, it was just a game in an eighth grade classroom…but at that moment it might as well have been the Olympics. The human spirit prevailed against the odds.

The next event occurred later that evening, at McDonalds.  Now, you might not think of this particular restaurant as being a human behavior lab, but you would be wrong. This place is a human petri dish for observing human behavior. I could write an entire thesis on how people interact at Mickey D’s. Last evening my husband, oldest son, and I were enjoying (?) dinner at this establishment. We were half way through our burgers and fries, when an elderly lady (whom I had been casually observing eating alone near a window seat) slowly walked over to our table. She was smiling at us as she moved toward us. My initial thought was that she was needing our assistance for something, and we would have gladly obliged to help her. I was wrong. She wanted to tell us some jokes. No we had never seen her before……and she appeared to be fine mentally. She had seen us sitting there and wanted to share with us. She informed us before telling us that all her jokes are funny and not dirty, because she does not tell THOSE type of jokes. (“What did the plow say to the tractor?” Pull me closer, John Deere (dear).  Cute, huh? ) She told us three jokes and gave my son and I a hug, we thanked her for picking us to share with…..and then she was gone. Just like that. I watched her leave, as she struggled to walk out to her car, and then drove away. I wondered where she was headed? Home? Walmart? Does she talk to strangers often? Maybe her only intent was to spread some cheer to others, in the hope of brightening their day. I don’t know.  I wish I would have gotten her name. I could have kicked myself for not finding out more about her. If I ever see her at McDonald’s again, I’m going to tell her that she made me smile and I appreciated it. It wasn’t a huge event, it only was a few minutes, but she made a difference. What causes a person to want to reach out to others? To touch someones life?

Human behavior is an interesting study….whether one does that as a profession or just as a hobby. I am always amazed at the situations I find myself in while observing. Sometimes I am on the outside looking in and at other times I find myself on the inside looking out. A person’s motivation is not always discernible to me.

Even though I do not always know, or for that matter, always understand human  motivations…….I know someone who does. He knows us each intimately. He knows every hair on your head (or lack thereof), He sees each tear that falls—and never forgets. He celebrates our joys. He knows the second we were born as well as the second we will take our last breath. He knows our heart better than we do. In Hebrews, chapter 4, verses 12-13 tell us, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Our Creator knows us. He has known us from the very beginning. Psalms 139 tells us, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know them full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place …..your eyes saw my unformed body, all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. ………”

Thank you Lord for being the ultimate people watcher. For knowing and understanding your creations. For loving us.