Friday, November 29, 2013

He Died Like He Lived

When animals come to live at the Dublin house.

It's for life.

And with that said.

We've seen several in our family......of pets.

Come to the end of their life.

Jasper found me in 1999.

He was in the engine of a van at work.

When the driver cranked up that winter morning almost 15 years ago.

A six week old grey tabby kitten ran for his life.

To the safety of some nearby shrubbery.

Right outside my office.

I think it was a divine appointment.

At work.

Everybody calls on me.

When it comes to the stray.

The injured.

 Or the orphaned.

That's how many of our animals have come to join our family.

I scooped the little grey tabby up that morning.

And quickly took him home.

It was.

The luckiest day of his short life.

In 1999.

Taylor was just 6.

And Kate was only 13.

And it was.

The beginning of a long and sweet relationship in our family.

Cats all have very different personalities.


Was good to the bone.



and kind.

He was a giant.

He stood tall.


Strong in his prime.

Taken by some to be more like a bobcat.


In size.

Unless you knew him, of course.

Scott & I have known for weeks.

That his time was drawing to a close.

We spent more time with him these last few days.

Holding him.

And reminding him how much we loved him.

And this morning.

As the vet gently and tenderly put him down.

He purred.

Even as he took his final breath.

He was purring.

Sweet Jasper.

He died just like he lived.


Full of love.

Always remembered here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Healthy Order

Have you ever had one of those of nights?

When the sheets on your bed come untucked at the bottom?

And you covers on the top won't quite come up high enough?

When you flip and flop in fitful sleep.....

If you can even call it sleep.

It's more like......complete unrest.

That was me a few nights ago.


Caused by a lack of.....order.

In my covers.

It dawned on me this morning.

How many times that word applies to other areas of my life.

I go through occasional times of unrest.

How about you?

The kind of unrest I get in my spirit sometime.

And eventually.

It spills over into the other areas of my life.

And when I stop.

And look around.

At what doesn't quite seem in place.

Like I did this morning.

It was clear.

What I really need is some order in my life.

Not to be confused with extreme organizing.

Or extremes in any sense of the word.

Or even control.

But sometimes.


I just need some healthy order in my life.

For me.

If my house is a wreck.

The laundry is piled high.

My dishwasher hasn't been unloaded in days.

And the dust on my furniture is wayyyy thicker than it should be.

I have some degree of unrest in my spirit.

Don't judge me.

Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about.

If my diet consists of cereal for supper or I'm making terrible food choices.

I need some order.

A quick fix can be as simple as sitting down to plan out some menus.

Heaven forbid if I should ever do that!

Something that might actually gain me a different result!

Or make time to go to the grocery store.

That  dreaded chore I avoid at ALL costs.

If I've not been feeling good physically.

If I'm sluggish and low on energy.

I definitely need to establish some discipline and order.

By getting on the treadmill when I come in from work.

Instead of sitting down to look at pinterest.


I need to get off my tush.

And walk.


And bring some healthy order into my life.

At our house.

We use debit cards to pay for everything.

And if we're not diligent.

We can turn around.

And have an unbelievable pile of debit receipts to log in our checkbook.

(see?!...... the stack over there?.....on my kitchen counter!)

It needs order.

Another simple fix.

Sit down, woman!

And log the receipts!

And bring a little order to your family's finances!


There can also be a huge spiritual angle to this as well.

When I feel a bit overwhelmed.

Or worried.

Or fearful.

Or if God has been silent in my life when I feel He should be answering a prayer.

Or I haven't turned to Him about a disappointment.

Or even if I haven't been honest with Him about something.

I need Him to bring order to my relationship with Him.

I need Him to bring order to my life.

Healthy order is huge for me.

And many times.

I just keep trudging along.

And I don't take the often simple steps.

To establish a little healthy order in my life.

Or more importantly.

I don't turn to Him to put things in order.


Taking the simple steps.

For a different result.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Making Progress

Thought I would share a progress report on the work we're doing on the house in
Due West.

Here's some "very before" and "where we are now" pictures as we keep moving
forward on renovating the 98 year old Bonner Street house.

Since September, there's been a white cloud of plaster dust rising from the house
every weekend as walls & ceilings come down.

We've already filled three dumpsters with plaster, lathe,
some walls & materials coming down in the reno.

Work by our contractor, Greg Graber, started in the back of the first floor.
This is the original back porch.

and this is what it looks like today -- walls replace screen & a mudroom is being created.

The kitchen when we bought the house in September.

The area looking into the kitchen; closed in by a wall & narrow door.

The kitchen now -- the old flooring was taken up to reveal original maple hardwood floors &
the opening is widened to allow for more flow between the diningroom & kitchen.

the original diningroom,

the diningroom today.

Just inside the front door originally.

wall down & more open front entrance way.

Downstairs master bedroom before.  (see the door to the left which goes out to the porch.)

the master bedroom today; door to the porch now framed up to allow for a closet to the left of the fireplace.

master bathroom before.

master bathroom today; total gutting & adding about 4 feet into a narrow hallway.

original study.

study today.


We're making progress.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Light Bulb Moments

One of the best things about being my age?

Learning just a few thing.


Through plain ole experience.

Also translated.

Light bulb moments.

Truths so simple and true and relevant.

I was literally struck.   Hit between the eyes.

Here's a few.

All stress is rooted in the desire to control.

I heard my favorite Bible teacher make that declaration a few years back.
Beth Moore.
I believe it's true.
Try it on yourself.
Next time you start to get bent out of shape.
Worked up.
Ask yourself.
What am I trying to control?
A loved one?
(Good luck with that.)
Your circumstances?
An outcome?
Your future?
A relationship?

Trust me on this one.
I learned the hard way.
We don't control.
So when you feel the stress building.
Take a breath.
Step back.
Ask yourself.
What am I trying to control?
And give yourself a pass.
Release it.
Let it go.
Oh, we try.
We can't control.

I'm not responsible for changing the people in my life.

What a revelation this one was to me.
And, no, I'm not talking about young children.
I'm talking about adult friends.
Family members.
The people in my life.
The ones that struggle.
Have problems.
Lack direction.
Make mistakes.
Need motivation.
I'm not the one appointed.
To straighten them out.
Let me say that again.
I'm not responsible.
For convincing them to do differently.
I get to retire from that job.
I can still care.
I can still be involved in their life.
But I'm not responsible for changing them.
I can point them to the one I know can.
(that would be Jesus.)
But, clearly.
It ain't me.

What a relief.
I felt pounds lighter.
When this finally go through to me. what they want to.

It's true.
When it's all said and done.
People may make excuses.
Come up with reasons to explain.
But in the end.
People do what they want to.
I do.
You do.
We do.
Let's just be honest.
And cut the excuses.

This life is gone in a flash.

I look in the mirror sometimes.
And I have no idea how I got to be 54.
Life moves quickly.
It's very sobering to face our mortality.
I know many people that never do.
I don't get that.
We're all here a very short time.
Think about what's important.
What do you want to do while you're here?
What's important for you to accomplish?
And once you know.
Get on with it.
For goodness sake.
Just get on with it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The love of this man...

The odds were completely against us.

Dating at 16.

Still married at 54.

Who does that anymore?

We've been inseparable for......years.

High School.


Married since 1982.

The very best of friends.

Still together.



I have no idea why it worked for us.

Why he still gets that stupid smile on his face when he looks at me across the room.

And leaves me notes by the coffee maker.

Why he still puts up with my cats.

And invests his energy & resources into an old house.

Because it captured my heart.

We talk a little now.

About what it will be like.

When one of us is no longer here.

We laugh.

Because we want to go out like the two old uncles.

In "Second Hand Lions."


Scott says he wants to go first.

Just five minutes before me.

That sounds like a pretty good plan.

Lots of life together.

Hopefully lots more to come.

I am.

Most certainly.


By the love of this sweet man.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Words


I've become keenly aware of the weight of words.

My words.

And the words that people say to me.

And it's true.

Words have power.

They can build.

building words offer encouragement.





words can also tear down.

through criticism.




And I have a choice.

Will I speak to build?

Or to tear down?

When I heard it described that way,

I started thinking more about what comes out of my mouth.

What I say.

And I've paid more attention to what is said around me.

My girls taught me a valuable lesson about my words.

When they were little.

 If I failed to do exactly what I said I would do.

They called me out on it.




So I became more careful.

Don't say I'm going to do something.

..........words that promise.

Unless I follow through and do it.

That was a good lesson, I've held onto.

Be a woman of your word.

Make your word count for something.

So others can depend on it.

Depend on my words.

In scripture.

Words have an even greater meaning.

"....for whatever is in your heart determines what you say."   Matthew 12: 34

"...what you say flows from what is in your heart."  Luke 6:45.

My words.

My heart.

Not sure I've thought about it that way so much.

Will I build?

Or will I tear down.

Which do I choose?

What am I known for?

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I love hands.

When I was a little girl, I remember the hands of my grandma Lila.

I would sit with her in church.

And study her hands.

They were very old from my perspective.


Almost transparent skin.

Distinct blue veins.

Memorable to me.

And mine?

My fingers curve off to the side.

Scott laughs, because when I point at something.

My finger goes off in another direction

even when i'm trying to point to what's directly in front of me.

My niece, Megan...

She has the mirror image of my hands.

Strangely the same.

The photograph above was taken of Dr. Catherine Hamlin's hands.

She's an 89 year old obstetrician/ gynecologist I first learned about years ago.

For nearly 60 years, she's lived and worked in Ethiopia,

Running a free clinic that provides obstetric fistula repair surgery.

 To poor women who suffer childbirth injuries.

I'd say her hands have been well used in her life.

I'm not a surgeon.

But, I still want to put my hands to good use while I'm here.

This is such a short life.

We are gone in a breath.

And our hands?

How will they be used?

To show love?

And tenderness.

Or to show harm?

To show comfort.

And help.

Or to tear down and destroy?

To serve

And to work.

Or to sit back and withhold?

I've used my hands in many ways over the last weeks.

You have too.

How much was done just to benefit me?

And how much was done just for the benefit of someone else?

Our hands.

Our time.

Soon passed.

Don't waste.