Sunday, November 30, 2008


Years & years ago we had a children's cantata at our church, "Twinkle & The All Star Angel Band.' If you ask me, it was the best Christmas program before or since. It was a silly little musical with funny songs and a bright stage built to look like heaven by my dad and Trish's Tomer. Both of Daboyz were in it, Jay was Joseph. Mac was a very bad angel whom Kellerbell held for the entire two hours just to keep him from ruining Christmas and potentially being beaten by his mother right there in front of the Baby Jesus and everyone. The main line of the chorus was "sparkle, glimmer, glisten, shimmer; sparkle and glow." Quite a mouth full for twenty or so Sunday Schoolers under the age of ten. And yes, the Baby Jesus was a Cabbage Patch doll.

My kids were raised within the loving walls of Woodhaven Worship Center where we went to church from 1990 until 2002. We left when the Lord called us and with gratitude in our hearts for this church family who remain family in our hearts. This was a place where the pastor kissed the tops of daboyz heads and once skipped preaching on a Wednesday night when he heard that Dean & I were fighting and on the verge of splitting. He showed up on our doorstep to hold us together.

It was a place where the Mr. played bass and I taught Sunday School and we had friends who would walk on broken glass for us. Where the pastor's sons loved like their mom and dad and still come up and kiss me on the cheek.

Woodhaven Worship Center was where we were all raising our kids together and sometimes raising each others kids when babysitting or being chased out of the bathroom during altar call was needed. We saw some marriages that were examples of fifty years of devotion and some that didn't make it. And quite of few of us were on the list of those who gave up...almost.

Our boys sat on the front pew when I played piano and their dad played bass and learned to tell by the look in my eye when they were about two seconds from being hauled up on the stage to sit on the piano bench next to me. They also fell asleep in the back pews when the Sunday evenings were long. They were baptized together with some of their friends by that pastor who kissed the tops of their heads.

Whenever Christmas time rolls around I worry that we have lost the wonder of it all. Do churches still give out brown paper bags with a candy bar and an orange? Woodhaven did. Our present church doesn't. Do little kids sit with mom and dad in a sparkling sanctuary wearing their Christmas clothes singing hymns the old-fashioned way? Is the Christmas story read from the Gospel of Luke still enough on Christmas Sunday morning to fill us with enough joy for another year?

This year I looked through the old pictures again searching for Christmas photographs and remembering the times that flew by. They were not all happy moments. But somehow we knew how to push it all into the distance, beyond January second, so that bright lights and Silent Night on the organ and candy in a brown paper bag again had the power to lift us toward hope and peace. And I realized that there is only as much of this magic as I insist upon. Shall I hang Christmas stockings for my grown-up sons? Shall I bake decadent fattening treats? Shall I put up too many decorations that will be a major pain to take down in a few weeks? Yes. Yes, I will do this and more. I will listen to Christmas music and watch sappy movies. I will make too much food and enough appetizers to serve as our meal. I will keep the magic and the wonder in my home and in my heart because now I know that someone all those years ago was creating the magic for me. It is only me that can let it slip away.

In this picture is my son Jay on the left and Katie Ann on the right. Katie Ann was a little older than my boys and had a little brother Johnny who was a little younger. So if you see pictures from Woodhaven Worship Center of dayboyz as kids, you'll likely see Katie in the background. I suspect her mom's pictures have Jay and Mac in the background.

I chased Katie out of the bathroom during altar call and she was in my Sunday School class. Once at an all-nighter for the youth she hurt her toe and Shellie and I told her to walk it off. The next morning she showed up on crutches with a broken toe. Oops.

Katie Ann went to be with Jesus a few years ago after an accident on her four-wheeler. When I run across these old pictures I forget for a moment that she's gone. When I see a crowd of these now grown-up Woodhaven kids together I look for her until I remember. While my heart breaks for her mom and dad, I know this...she had the wonder of Christmas. I know because I was there watching her sit on the back pew, legs swinging too short to touch the ground, in her Christmas dress opening her brown paper bag and eating the orange inside. I was there when she became one of the big kids carrying around the little ones. I was there when she fell in love and graduated high school. I was there at her funeral where she was surrounded with all of us who had shared her and were saying good-bye too soon.

Jesus is the reason for the season. And we are the expression of the miracle of salvation, born as Emanuel. So I will hang on for another season and maybe someday my grandchildren will find the wonder of sparkling lights and old fashioned hymns. And maybe in it all they will find the celebration of life. Because life is this moment, this day, this Christmas. With my grandparents and Katie gone, it is up to me to celebrate enough for us all until we finally meet again to lift our voices to the Son of God.

Until then...sparkle, glimmer, glisten, shimmer; sparkle and glow.
Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

1. Been sick for over a week and spent the last three days just resting.

2. And doing some slow decorating for Christmas.

3. The Mr.'s sick too but doesn't seem to get as worn out, just coughs a lot.

4. If you gotta be on the couch sick, what a great weekend for Christmas movies!

5. I DVR'd 'White Christmas' for this afternoon,

6. 'The Bishop's Wife' is on later this evening.

7. Snow's coming for the Monday morning commute, of course!

8. Made a pot of soup that is warming right now.

9. My C.S. Lewis room is fabulous, now I need a camera that works.

10.Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Now I'm gonna go rest...some more.
Psalm 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have quite a cold and working tomorrow so I wish you all a joyful Thanksgiving this evening! As for me, I am ironing my turkey lurkey scrub shirt, making some goodies for the staff, taking a long hot shower and probably hitting the bed early.

No complaints about working the holiday, I am thankful for my job...

And all of you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yet Another Example of How I Married the Wrong Guy or PICK UP YOUR POP CANS!

A while ago Mrs. Mac did a homemaking survey asking us about our housekeeping habits. I wrote a blog in response and didn't like it when I was done so into the drafts it goes. And so too might this one! But if anyone has nothing better to do I'll share a little bit about my homemaking habits, good and bad.

I work full time outside of our home and unfortunately I am not blessed with a hyper-metabolism. In other words, when I get home I am more or less wrung out. If I make dinner and load the dishwasher I'm having a good day. And so in general my housekeeping duties by default end up on a weekend schedule. I know it would make more sense to do a little each evening and have the weekend free but I am forty one years old and haven't done it yet so I am guessing this is how it's gonna be 'round here for the next forty one years.

I do all of the laundry each Saturday morning. It's usually around seven loads. I get up pretty early even on my days off so I start the first load while everyone else is still asleep. I have a first floor laundry so that helps. Again, it should also enable me to throw loads in all week but I don't do it.

On Friday evenings I do strip our bed and put on clean linens, I throw the sheets into the washer on Friday night so I'm a step ahead in that department. I used to change the sheets on Saturday mornings but the Mr. sleeps in so I was frustrated and having that chore hanging over my head. I wash socks and undies first because it's my least favorite and I want to get it over with, towels last because they are easiest to fold and put away. How's that for useless detail?

I dust and vacuum as well on Saturday, I dust the entire house, then sweep the hardwood rooms, then vacuum last as opposed to a room at a time. I am likely to clean the bathroom on Thursday nights so I guess I kind of lied earlier. The Mr. has practice on that night so I've nothing better to do and it relieves me of this least favorite item on Saturday. The Mr. usually grocery shops on Saturday morning. While he's gone I finish up my housework list so that when he comes home I'm pretty much done and we go out to lunch and enjoy our Saturday afternoon.

I straighten the house each evening because I absolutely hate awakening to an unkempt house. This is my pet peeve, going to bed in an orderly house and waking up to pop cans on the coffee table, cereal bowls in the sink. Although I know there is no intent in it, it still makes me feel disrespected.

And here is where I feel very sorry for myself for a moment or two. My homemaking standards are much higher than the Mr.'s and by that I mean, he has no standards whatsoever. He would be perfectly content and never complain if the laundry was never caught up and he was forced to wash pants, underwear, socks and a shirt each night for the next day. He is not impressed that his sock drawer is always full of neatly rolled and bleached socks. He is not impressed that I weed out the socks with holes when I launder them, he'd wear them with holes. He'd go to K-Mart and buy a new bag of socks if he ran out because they were all dirty and never think twice.

He could care less about clean sheets and a neatly made bed. Dust is invisible to him and floors only need attention if company is coming over, and that just means a quick once over not anything involving a mop or a bucket of water. Similarly, he'd just as soon circle the house on Saturday morning on the way to Kroger putting pop cans into a giant garbage bag after a week's accumulation as opposed to the nightly pick-up. Bathroom cleaning? Huh?

He no longer generates a particularly horrific mess as somewhere around year ten he grew weary of my alternating screaming and crying. To his credit he does make something of an effort not to live like this is a frat house. Anymore.

Probably because I'm used to it and he helps when I ask him to; I don't mind doing the majority of the chores. He does the groceries which I don't like to shop for. He cooks about half the time and loads the dishwasher.

But you will never hear the guy tell you what a nice home I keep because he doesn't notice and doesn't care. And yes, that bothers me. It has taken a long time for it not to bother me tremendously because keeping my home is something I do not only for me but I like to consider it a gift to my family. Unfortunately this particular gift doesn't impress the recipient. I suppose that means I do keep my home for me. I no longer ask him how the house looks begging for a compliment and I have learned to sit back in a neat living room and just enjoy a cup of tea. Knowing how much more difficult it could be, I'm grateful that he isn't actively working against me (anymore!) But still...

Coming soon; I keep a my car clean, his is a pig sty. Wanna guess what happens when he uses my car?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Economic Ignorance Part Two

I understand completely if you'd rather not answer this question, but have you spent money because of low self-esteem? By that I mean, I have spent money I literally didn't have because I felt otherwise I appeared "less than." Keeping up with the Joneses anyone?

I am embarrassed to tell you that when I decide what to wear to work, I will think about what I wore to the last such meeting so I don't wear the same outfit. I guess because I am afraid that someone might think I don't have a lot of clothes. The thoughts started with me when I was searching for paper to make a grocery list. I found a print-out of directions to somewhere from a few weeks ago and flipped that paper over for my list. Somehow that made me think about how much paper I could recycle for this kind of thing that gets pitched. And somehow that made me think of how much money people spend on scratch paper. Why in the world is there an industry for scratch pads? Because someone decided that if you flip over used paper to use again you can't afford more paper? I don't know. It sounds crazy but then again, consider the source.

That impulse spending is just about gone for me now. But boy, did I blow through the money in the old days for the benefit of people who I doubt very much noticed or cared if my home decor was three years behind what HGTV identified as the latest.

Is this about being frugal? I guess so but not entirely. It's also about the impact of other people on us and what we have culturally placed value on. The frugal person has strict limits on their spending period. Although that is admirable it's not really what I'm thinking about. I'm thinking about spending money with careful thought but also based on really knowing what I want and being comfortable with myself even if someone else might notice that I have had the same curtains for twenty years.

Really, although I started out calling this a matter of low self esteem it's also a matter of extreme self-centeredness. This idea that other people have nothing better to do than to measure my worth as I am so very fascinating. As though someone who saw me at a meeting two months ago made a mental note of the sweater I wore and is just waiting to see what I'll have on this time. It a way that satan focuses us in on ourselves. With vanity or self-loathing, we still put God in our peripheral vision while we concentrate on the person in the mirror.

Is this another lesson America needs to learn? Have we nationally done this silly thing, spend money for the sake of an image? Do we need to look prosperous no matter what the cost?

Will we starve inside of our mansions?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Today's Special

The other day I received an e mail warning about purchasing gift cards from businesses that were shutting down or closing locations (thanks Donna.) As usual the length of the list made me worried about our economy, job loss and what it might all mean on a large scale. Then I had another thought. I am largely ignorant about the economy beyond our paychecks vs. our bills. I don't follow the stock market and other than "up" means good and "down" means bad I can't follow a discussion about Wall Street to save my life. The Big Three are begging for a bail out. This is also a bad sign.

Nonetheless my tiny pea brain can't help but wonder if a few of the five Home Depots within a fifteen minute drive my house needs to close down. Ditto for the Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aids that occupy three of the four corners of some intersections.

Wal-Marts? Four locally.

The auto industry? How many lease cars are on the road? I take the blame for two of them. I say blame because every three years I turn in a vehicle I've invested thousands of dollars in for another one to do the same thing. Where do these return leases go? Onto the used car lot. I don't know for sure, but I wonder if the auto industry has been over-producing and with so many people turning over their cars every few years we are now in a vehicle glut? Money shortage yes, shortage of cars? Uh, no.

My theory based on ignorance is that we have over-built this country. One is good, two is better, five is fantastic. So companies built brand new mega centers investing millions of dollars, how many years to make a return on that to stave off bankruptcy? Why couldn't we drive fifteen minutes instead of five to buy a light bulb? Seriously. One store gets all the business vs. five stores (brand new buildings) share that same demographic. Am I missing something?

Target? Three within ten miles.

Krogers? Two ACROSS THE STREET from each other.

Mom & Pop stores; whazat?

I am living in a house formerly occupied by two people with a fifteen year old Oldsmobile in the garage. Enough clothing to fit into one small closet. Two people who passed with a bank account and no mortgage.

These two people went to Aco or Forest City for home repair and improvement. That was it. For years, that was it. K-Mart on Van Born was the discount department store. Hudson's at the mall (nee' Marshall Fields, nee' Macy's) for finer items.

Oh, they lived well. They had second vacation homes, good linens on their beds and leather shoes in their closets. They had quality china in the cupboards and Christmas gifts under their tree. They did not have to decide which Walgreen's to shop at. They bought their prescriptions and shampoo and dish soap at the K-Mart on Van Born. The one that was there when I was a toddler. The one that is still there trying to hold on against the three Targets in whose shadow it sits.

I remember years ago when there was a store in the mall called The Coffee Beanery. This was my first experience with "fancy" coffee. I'd get a Carmel cappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top. Mmmmm, luxury. I wouldn't get one every time I went to the mall. Maybe once every three or four months. Kathy and I would Christmas shop together, go to the Senate Coney Island for dinner (I can't count the number of coneys around here, it's higher than my brain goes.) After some mall shopping when we were ready for a break we'd go to the Coffee Beanery. What a treat! The Beanery is gone.

But there are six Starbuck's between my house and the mall now. And when Starbuck's starts shutting down locations, we'll call it a sign of the Apocalypse. Lift up your head, your redemption draweth nigh!

I don't think a shake-up will hurt us one bit. I think what used to be special, extraordinary,'s now commonplace.

$5 for a cup of coffee every day. Nothing special. Target shopping to spend as much as we want because it's so cheap, nothing special. Walgreen's at 9:00 p.m. because I just decided to change my hair color and another trip at 10:00 p.m. because it was the wrong color. $30 later, nothing special.

I used to sit at those tiny tables at the Coffee Beanery savoring that incredibly delicious cappuccino because it was worth savoring. Now I put my $5 coffee in the cup holder of my new lease vehicle and throw away half of it when it gets cold. Ten minutes is too far to drive for a gallon of paint, I'll hit the store that is seven minutes away. And there's a good chance I'll spend more for that gallon of paint since the competitor was three minutes farther away. Convenience is what it's all about. Nothing special.

I don't know what it all means in the grand formula of world economy. I just know that if you build a tower of blocks too high with too many blocks it will fall.

I think we are hanging at the end of a golden noose. It's the weight against the rope that kills you.

Nothing special.

November 23, 2008

Psalm 50:2 From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


1. Pictures of my little boys.

2. My name said by someone who loves me.

3. My husband's voice.

4. Snow.

5. Donny.

6. Tears meant for God.

7. The Old Testament.

8. Christmas.

9. A freshly made bed.

10. Coffee in a clear cup.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Greetings From The C.S. Lewis Room

Today I wore a gold sweater to work. This is not an actual painting of me but I believe I was the butt model. I bought my gold sweater at Old Navy and I am enjoying it quite alot and so I am planning on picking up another gold sweater in a different color. P.S. I am a brunette now so I'm experimenting with which colors go with my hair. We went out for a steak dinner (just the Mr. & me, Friday is date night.) We almost have our living room put back together. Need new drapes, haven't found any that call my name yet. It turned out really pretty I must say. I am looking forward to a cup of coffee in my new living room tomorrow. By the way, it's actually my C.S. Lewis room. I put both of my Christmas trees back and they look even better in the C.S. Lewis room.
Next, the bathroom!

Meanwhile I'm tired and on call until 8:00 tomorrow morning and the rest of this house has to be put into some kind of non-chaotic order for maximum Saturday morning enjoyment so I'm off to straighten, change sheets and take a shower.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


"Commitment actually is surrender-total, absolute, unconditional, irreversible surrender." BillyGraham

I ran across this quote in the daily devotional calendar I keep on my desk at work and it resonated with me. It reminded me of how God considers me his bride and that the marriage relationship we know on earth was meant to teach us about that relationship we have with God. The same ideas will make both successful. And in the case of this statement I think that this is the best definition of commitment I've ever heard. Apply this approach to whatever you are attempting and I believe you will succeed whether it's school, weight loss or your relationships.

What it really says is that there is no Plan B and no consideration for what to do if this doesn't work out. Whatever I have committed myself to will be the work of my life regardless of it I live to see its fulfillment. Like Moses who never saw the Promised Land but followed God for forty years in pursuit of it. Commitment.

Commitment says I will dig in to this thing with blinders on. Commitment can only happen with the courage of faith to fuel it. "I can't do this anymore" has nothing to do with what Christ can do. In fact, "I can't do this anymore" is usually when the divine finally finds room to show itself. Commitment saying "I can't do this anymore" is immediately following by doing it some more. Getting back a bad test grade, telling yourself you're done as you take notes for today's homework. Commitment.

Looking at your kid and seeing no hope and praying anyway. Tithing 10% the same week your electricity is scheduled for shut-off. Pigging out for lunch but getting it together for dinner.

Commitment is indeed absolute surrender to the thing to which I have dedicated myself. Anything with an exit door is not a commitment. There is nothing about happiness or peace or time limitations in this statement.

It reflects the vow of Christ as my husband; it is absolute. My sin and selfishness cannot reverse it. Although I break my promises, he remains committed. He gives himself no option of "I can't do this anymore." In fact, he takes that which I cannot do and does it for both of us. Loves enough, is good enough, extends enough grace and mercy to count for himself and for me. Jesus is committed to me.

Perhaps if I lived in more total and absolute surrender I would begin to understand his love for me and become a woman with enough love, grace and mercy to count for myself and someone else. Just a thought.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today I will share with you a helpful household hint that I suspect I am the only one who did not know.

You can bake bacon.

I enjoy bacon ever so much but I rarely make it because it is a splattery hot miserable situation. So the other day I read the bacon package and it said I could bake the bacon, which I did. And it was delicious and easy and I sustained no facial grease burns. So for your bacon pleasure, I give you the recipe for baked bacon.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the bacon on a shallow cookie sheet or some such thing.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until it is to your crispiness preference.

Eat bacon.

You're welcome.

Monday, November 17, 2008

American Idols

Several years ago, while visiting my husband's parents in Alabama we took a side trip to the childhood home of Helen Keller. It was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. Despite being the only one of the group even mildly interested in this historic place, I took my time to linger at each door way, to touch the stair rails and to walk back to THE water pump...and then circled back a second and third time. As the Mr. and Daboyz wandered around I put my hand on the old pump handle and cried.

I have this list of dream vacation destinations and not one of them

involves a beach or resort hotel. Helen Keller's home was on that list. As is Rocky

Ridge Farm, the adult home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. If I have to, I'll

wait for Kelly's Madison to grow up and go with me! And I promise you this, I'll cry there too.

Helen Keller and Laura Ingalls Wilder were my two childhood idols. I couldn't read enough about them and my fascination hasn't waned. As an adult, Laura's later writings about her adult life became available and I read them with just as much pleasure as I had in the fourth grade when Mrs. Weinlander introduced me to my heroin by reading the Little House series to our class. Now with the internet, I can actually see pictures of these women that I had never seen before and there is even more to read about them than the sparse stories in children's books.

I didn't want to be Helen Keller for obvious reasons and I didn't want to be Annie Sullivan either. They were both blind, Helen couldn't hear or speak and Annie devoted her entire life to Helen. I wasn't so charitable as I have visions of devoting myself to such selflessness.

I have had moments to this day of wanting to be Laura. I'm sure the hard work that I think I understand is still underestimated by me but she learned and accomplished so much in just living every day in her home with her family and doing it right. Those are accomplishments we don't honor anymore.

What did I see in these little girls who became women written in history? Adventurous spirits, courage, honor. Obstacles that other people forced them to face that became the foundations of extraordinary lives. Laura didn't like sweeping and sewing and being the eyes of her sister Mary. But there was no other option because her parents insisted without promises of rewards that she live by their standards. Her books, published when she was 65 years old, reflect not only the pioneer hardships she endured but the absolute certainty that she was loved.

Helen Keller was a beast when she met Annie Sullivan. Everyone has at least seen the movies of little girl Helen running around the dining room grabbing food from every plate and hitting anyone who got in her way. She didn't want to accomplish the extraordinary either. She too, was forced to live by the standards set before her, standards that seemed cruel to expect of her. Helen Keller was an accomplished college graduate when, in adulthood, she spoke of love poured out into her in equal measure with expectation.

I'm not ready to say that there are no more heroes and heroines growing up in American homes. My fear is that we look around and label the wrong accomplishments as heroic.

My greater fear is that the generation who produced heroes with equal parts love and expectation is growing smaller and weaker.

Heroes must be formed before than can be honored.

Rather than seeking the attention of being a hero; let me learn to demand standards and pour love into the lives around me.

The heroes will arise.

2 Samuel:34-36 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great.

Pics: Above left-Helen Keller & Annie Sullivan. Above right-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sunday, November 16, 2008

November 16, 2008

Job 37: 22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Time To Paint

1. Already getting a late start, the Mr. forced me to sleep in.

2. What a mess this makes in the rest of the house!

3. He always underestimates how long this stuff will take.

4. He was already grouching at me last night.

5. Behr has this cool computer program at Home Depot where you scan in your colors and it shows a room done that way.

6. It may have been ill advised to put up two Christmas trees before we painted.

7. I'm hungry.

8. We may have to tie Donny's tail around one of his back legs.

9. I have a sinus headache.

UPDATE ON ALEXA (MARTY & STACY'S DAUGHTER):She will probably spend one more night in Children's Hospital for observation. Dad says she is doing ok, asks us to keep praying. She had a reaction to strep + the first round of antibiotics that causes what looks like bad bruising in her lower extremities. They are watching for kidney or intestinal problems before they send her home. Pray for mom and dad, I'm sure they are worn out and worried. And on their behalf, thank you for praying!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


John 12:31-33 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

Today I repent and confess in front of you. I confess that I read a blog with a prayer request and thought to myself how sad the person's situation was and then moved on to the next blog. I confess that I have more often than I care to admit, presumed someone else was praying or that God already knew and had it under control.

So I repent, I apologize, I ask to be forgiven and I determine to not be this person. I repent not because I don't want to go to hell or miss the rapture (both of which are true) but because I know my heart grieves God. And this is my greatest regret.

Today I thank God that when I clicked away from that blog he bothered yet again to get in my way and demand my attention. I realized in that moment that I have come to accept things as being an expression of a fallen world and that I shrug too much off. The Holy Spirit revealed to me this morning that if God were lifted up in my life, if he occupied the place I claim that he does, his very position would cause my turning to him with everything. I would have realized before today that this woman who needs a miracle in her body is not that much different from me. I need a miracle in my body to breathe, to pump blood through my arteries, to think and move and type blogs. But I don't consider these things miracles. Like the sadness of the fallen world; the abilities of my body have become givens instead of miracles. Everything is a result of God's hand sweeping over the earth to provide the next breath and to turn us toward the sun. How then, dare I give up on miraculous healings and happenings when my very life is a miracle.

When Jesus talked about being lifted up, I so often think of this as a kind of being exalted in worship. It's like a flashlight's beam pulled away and therefore casting a wider light. But read that verse. He was talking about being lifted up on a cross, bloody and beaten.

He was lifted up by men who forgot they needed his miracles for the strength they were using to torture him. I'm no better, I use the strength of his miracles to ignore him. I use his miracle of my mind to convince myself that someone else is praying or that this fallen world is what it is and prayer can't help. I use his miracles to grieve him.

Jesus said before he died that being lifted up on a cross was what would draw men to him. Through blood and pain we would realize, he loves us. If we don't huddle close to together to hide within the shadow of the cross, we miss yet another miracle...hope.

The world is fallen and that is why people are sick, babies are starving and wars are so numerous we can't keep track of them. God will reach the end of his tolerance and judgement will come. The pain will stop then, for those who remember the miracle of him being lifted up.

Forgive me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ronald Reagan, 10-27-1964

I am going to talk of controversial things. I make no apology for this.
It's time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, "We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self government."
This idea? that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man. This is the issue of this election:Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectualelite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.
You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream-the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits."
The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that,it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.
Public servants say, always with the best of intentions, "What greater service we could render if only we had a little more money and a little more power." But the truth is that outside of its legitimate function,government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector.
Yet any time you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being opposed to their humanitarian goals. It seems impossible to legitimately debate their solutions with the assumption that all of us share the desire to help the less fortunate. They tell us we're always "against," never "for" anything.
We are for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we have accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem. However, we are against those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means that we want to end payments....
We are for aiding our allies by sharing our material blessings with nations which share our fundamental beliefs, but we are against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism,all over the world.
We need true tax reform that will at least make a start toward I restoring for our children the American Dream that wealth is denied to no one, that each individual has the right to fly as high as his strength and ability will take him.... But we can not have such reform while our tax policy is engineered by people who view the tax as a means of achieving changes in our social structure....
Have we the courage and the will to face up to the immorality and discrimination of the progressive tax, and demand a return to traditional proportionate taxation? . . . Today in our country the tax collector's share is 37 cents of -very dollar earned. Freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp.
Are you willing to spend time studying the issues, making yourself aware,and then conveying that information to family and friends? Will you resist the temptation to get a government handout for your community? Realize that the doctor's fight against socialized medicine is your fight. We can't socialize the doctors without socializing the patients. Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he'll eat you last.
If all of this seems like a great deal of trouble, think what's at stake. We are faced with the most evil enemy mankind has known in his long climb from the swamp to the stars. There can be no security any where in the free world if there is no fiscal and economic stability within the United States. Those who ask us to trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state are architects of a policy of accommodation.
They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right. Winston Churchill said that "the destiny of man is not measured by material computation.When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits-not animals." And he said, "There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail,at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Farm Revisited...33 years gone by.

So here it is, The Farm as it looks today with guests living in it (wink.) I haven't seen it since we pulled away in the darkness after saying good bye to our California family who had been living there for the last year. It was in the car on the ride home that I learned that The Farm was being sold. And the last time I saw it.

Since then, nothing has prevented my return to see how The Farm was doing without me but I couldn't. Silly, huh? I wasn't ready...for 33 years apparently! Then this year after checking out of the National House Inn during our anniversary trip, the Mr. said, "let's go find the farm." And I was ready. Only, having not been there in 33 years I didn't know where it was! All I knew was the city of Addison and Devil's Lake. Devil's Lake was where we'd go swimming during the summer. So we entered Addison into the GPS and when we hit the city limits we followed the signs to Devil's Lake (so deep in the middle it went all the way to hell. True story, my grampa told me so.) The once public beach is now occupied by Lakeview Condominiums. Behind the Lakeview sign is the grocery store where my gramma put me in the cart and then ran up and down the aisles, ultimately tipping the cart and dumping us both onto the floor. Gosh, she was just about my age then. We circled the lake as I tried to channel my six year old self and figure out how to get from there to The Farm. With nothing more than instinct, believe it or not, I found it.
And unlike most childhood memories, it looked just like I remembered, albeit with bigger trees and the wrong people living there! I had a hard time not making the Mr. drive up the long drive way and turn right to park at the back door. The picture that shows the corner of the house? The window at the back on the second floor was my bedroom.
We drove home down the familiar road passing many of the same land marks I used to watch for to gauge our closeness to The Farm or back home again. The Prehistoric Forest is for sale. The Stage Coach Stop was closed for the season, and being auctioned for good. This, by the way, is where the Mr. was photographed with Paul Bunyan. I almost had him convinced to climb the fence into the old park but he thought better of it.
The Irish Towers where there was a crocodile hanging in the staircase was vacant and sad looking. Apparently today no one is amazed by tall buildings or scenic views of farm land.
The Dairy Queen we never stopped at is there ("you don't need ice cream!") as was the Mc Donald's we never stopped at ("we're almost there and you can have a sandwich!") The small towns were there. I think some of the fear that had settled into me was that it would all be erased. But it waited, maybe for me to say good bye without tears?
As we sat in the truck on the dirt road in front of The Farm, the sadness never came back from that day so long ago. The dreaded dissolving into the ugly cry didn't happen. This time there were no tears. Just thankfulness, happiness and peacefulness. The bumpy road felt entirely familiar and the farms spread out from ours to the highway seemed like they had been held still for all this time. Somewhere along the line between 1975 and today, The Farm returned to its rightful place in my heart...a place of love and joy.
As we rode from Devil's Lake to The Farm I remembered the deep sleepiness after a day of swimming in the cold lake and laying on the hot sand. There would be hot dogs and potato chips for dinner, eaten still wearing a bathing suit that was now dry and warm against my skin. I told the Mr. I was pretty impressed with myself for finding my way since most of my experience was from the back of an El Camino! I found my way there, but that had never been a problem.
As we pulled away from The Farm, I knew the way back to the highway too. Turn right, turn left, turn right...
In all the ways I needed it to be, it was the same. Even the same peace and happiness and belonging to this place where the residents have no idea I ever visited. But now I know that I was visiting.
I know the way home now too. And the roads that used to carry me in the wrong direction with sadness in my bones carried me home this time.
We pulled into our new old driveway and my joy was the same joy as that long old gravel drive once brought me. We opened the door to home and it felt just as sweet as The Farm.
To everything, a season.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Can't See The Forest

So the other day, Trish asked when we put up our Christmas trees. The Friday after Thanksgiving for me. Except uh, this year. Actually this year we went with Election Day. I am still not sure how this happened. I am a firm believer in not starting the holidays too soon. The Christmas season HAS to start after Thanksgiving!
So..what happened?

Mac and I were doing some yard work and then doing some attic exploration and then doing some garage arranging and then...the tree was up. Actually, two trees. And almost lights in the shrubs but there was no electrical out let (how can that be in the home of an electrician?)

In our defense, in the garage was my grandma's Christmas tree that I claimed for our living room when no one else wanted it because this year we have a living room and a family room so I wanted a tree in each room. So we dragged it in to the living room on a whim. But the lights were wonky so we took them off and put on new ones which looked very pretty. And then, why not put her old ornaments on her tree that we inherited? OK! And then, let's go into the attic and get gramma's tree topper! OK! And then in the attic, there's gramma's little table-top tree still decorated from last year (put up just before she passed.) Well! Let's take that downstairs too! OK!

And let's put it on the table and leave her own topper on her own little tree!


And, and, and...

And now we have two Christmas trees in the living room and it isn't even Thanksgiving. And we still have to bring our own tree here from our old old house for the family room.

And, um, did I mention we're painting the living room? Where we already put two trees up?

So!We put our Christmas tree up whenever Mac & I are left home alone with no one to stop us.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


As you may have noticed, I've updated the lay-out for Thanksgiving. I always say I'm going to do this seasonally so we'll just see about that when it's Christmas time! I'm wondering if my scripture at the top is making it look like I'm not posting? I'm leaving it there anyway 'cause I like it! And check out my new pic, that's right folks, it's me wearing my Dem Donkey Dress courtesy of my grandma. I figure it's a nice nod to the president-elect. Scroll down for our first Thanksgiving. Glory days, yeah they'll pass you by.

We have closed on our new old house and now we turn to decorating. I think I have my plan all settled but money and time will dictate the process. Actually, my new blog colors reflect our first project-the living room. The back ground color is pretty close to the wall color I've chosen. I'll take some pics as we go along, hopefully finishing next weekend. We're starting with this room because it's the least expensive/least amount of work. We might tackle the bathroom next for the same reasons. Most of our plans require little more than some spackle (that's a word, right? spellcheck keeps highlighting it.) and paint. The family room/kitchen will be the biggest undertaking as it is trapped in the past, the distant past. Dark paneling on the walls, dark cabinets, blue carpeting. We're saving to have hard wood floors put in so that's a project for further down the road.

Once we've finished the living room and hopefully the bathroom, it'll be time to swing into Christmas with decorations and going back to the old old house to gather up the tree and ornaments. This will be our first Christmas with a fireplace upon which to hang our stockings so I'm thinking Santa will be particularly pleased with us. I hope he gives us gift certificates to Lowe's and Home Depot!

Meanwhile, here's a pic of the Mr. with Paul Bunyan taken on our anniversary trip. You might remember his photo op with the Holy Family a few years back. He's connected like that.

Numbers 13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

November 9, 2008

Psalm 68:24-26 Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines. Praise God in the great congregation; praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


1. The
2. Mr.,
3. The
4. Guys,
5. And
6. The
7. Girl
8. Singer
9. At
10. Baxters!
3000 Van Horn Rd.; Trenton
7:30 p.m.
Attached to Metrosouth...Valet Conestoga parking available.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

When I Finally Talked To Him

"Have I betrayed you?"
"Have I betrayed you? Is that why you are afraid? Because I have betrayed you?"
Well, no. I mean, I don't know. No. I don't think so. You wouldn't betray me so that must not be it.
"Are you sure I wouldn't betray you?"
I'm sure. I'm sure. Never.
No. Never.
"Then why are you afraid?"
Because I don't love you enough. I don't think of you constantly. I don't talk to you about important things. I don't pursue after you. I don't try to make myself pleasing to you. I deserve to be betrayed.
"Still, have I betrayed you?"
"You deserve to be betrayed. Do I deserve to be called unfaithful?"
"You have taken my name. You say you are mine. You say there is a beautiful passion between us. Do I deserve such an ugly accusation? Betrayer. Unfaithful."
"Stop it. Sit down and be still. And stop it. You are not afraid of the dozen things on that list that keeps you up at night. Every one of those things represents my faithfulness. If I do not betray you, your list cannot harm you."
"Now, have I betrayed you?"
"So why do you believe I will?"
I don't believe it. But I forget to remember. You haven't betrayed me.
"There is no list of many fears. There is only one fear, that I will betray you."
You won't betray me.
"Are you sure?"
"That's my girl. You know what?"
"We have a beautiful passion."

Isaiah 54:5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

Written 10/13/08

Welcome Home, September 14, 2008

It's getting close. The house is almost ours. We've been squatting here for a few months now. We moved in late winter as a kind of win-win thing for my mom and for us. We got to enjoy the large family room and space and she was relieved of care taking and worry. And it was an opportunity to live here before we officially bought it from her, a kind of test run.
But now we are within weeks of actually owning this house. When we first decided we would buy it my gramma was still alive, although we knew her time was short. She always seemed to insist that someone in the family should buy the house when she passed. And in God's good timing, the gift fell to us. We told her that when she was gone, we would live here. Although she was largely confused in those days, I think it made her peaceful.
After her funeral, family was in town and we all ended up here, in the family room. Dark outside the family room in the cold November night our faces reflected in the lights of the windows. The furniture and wall hangings still hers, my grandma's. Her scent still in the air. So very familiar, this being here in the dark evening with warm lamps in the corners. Hot tea for every one, as it has always been. A time to visit before people headed back home, a time for they who do not live here to walk through the rooms and touch the walls. To look at the graduation pictures of the grand children in the hallway. To hear the floors squeak and remember, remember, remember. Everyone knew we were going to buy it and they were happy for us. Happy that the house was not going away from us. Happy that we would enjoy it. Happy that gramma and grampa would be happy. I felt then that I was the keeper of this house. I told them that I would change very little. Robby told me to make it my own. That they were fine, time could move on for them.
That was in November and we intended to move in after the sale was complete. Mac moved in to take care of the place but moved back with us after a few weeks. Lonely. bored. Missed the computer.
In March, we felt it was time for us to visit our new home. We moved a bit at a time. Just enough for tonight and then this week and then a month and then here we were. My mom had the bedrooms painted because they needed some plaster repair anyway and we picked the paint colors. Taupe in the front room. Pistachio green in our room. Step one, that room is definitely no longer gramma's. She'd hate it.
We sat in the L-shaped furniture arrangement and thought about it. And moved it. Step two, the family room furniture was entirely changed. Dean bought a new television. Step three, gramma's family room has a giant plasma television.
I was cleaning one day and dusting around the edges of her wall hangings and thinking for the first time about what I would hang instead. In other words, somewhere along the line I start replacing theirs with ours. Then I reached up and took the picture from the wall. And another. And another. And all the pictures in the kitchen and family room came down. Step four. My mom took the blue plates off of the living room wall, step five.
Last week my sister took my gramma's blue Queen Ann couch from the living room. We moved in our brown sofa and love seat and chair. And today, Sunday September 14, I sat in the living room alone while the Mr. and Daboyz watched football in the family room and read a few pages of a book. Then I fell asleep for about an hour.
Step six. The living room did it. I never spent much time there, it was mostly used for my gramma when she wanted to watch a different show than my grampa. It was formal and elegant, like her. Then it was spartan and disorganized while we used it as a sorting space. Then it became mine. Comfortable to me. Different, nothing to reflect what it had been except the reflections in my heart. Over-sized heavy furniture. Pictures of the family everywhere. A lamp made from a coffee grinder that I found in my Grandma Trent's basement. It doesn't look the same. It doesn't feel the same. A Sunday afternoon nap with a dog on the couch happened in my house.
It was the first change I didn't worry about making and meeting with my mom's or the family's approval. I didn't feel that I'd wiped away their fingerprints. I just moved in heart completely.
Step six. This is my home.
They were always so happy when I walked through the door. I know that they sit at the feet of Jesus now. But today, I think my grampa said, "Welcome home honey."

As of October 29, 2008, we are "officially" home.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

If You Are Reading This From Your Home Computer, You're Not Poor

I recently saw a political blurb that said, "Shouldn't we spread the wealth around?" I'm no dummy, I'd love for somebody to spread some wealth in my direction. Because then I could buy some stuff, and I loves me some stuff. Oh, and I could do a lot of good for people in need. And buy them some stuff as well. Or give them my old stuff after I buy new stuff. What the world needs now is stuff sweet stuff.

It isn't realistic to think that the wealth of the world will ever be spread around. Jesus said that there would always be poverty. And let's be honest, as long as there is a line six people deep in the middle of the day at Starbuck's; we are not living in the second depression. There are people who truly struggle at the cost of their health or even their lives for lack of money. Somehow we have painted the entire country with a broad brush as though that is the standard under which we all live. Bull. I know about the Starbuck's line because I was number seven waiting for a white chocolate mocha.

I dare not call myself one of the poor and very few of us could. What we are is so abundantly blessed that we think living with ugly wall paper in the bathroom because we don't have money for a redo is being poor. Shame on us. And yes, I realize that Starbuck's money would pay for paint. That's my point, we think we are poor if we have to choose between Starbuck's and house goods.

I remember twenty years ago when we were at our lowest financial point. I've told you about the grocery conversation, "What is the least you need...?" And I will tell you this today, I was not poor. I felt poor, that's for sure. But I had parents and grandparents and family and friends who would've fed us and sheltered us if necessary. And if there is help, you're not poor.

Poor is starvation not budgeting.

So we aren't all poor. And we aren't ever going to all be wealthy. Maybe the folks who make a certain salary shouldn't be responsible to pass the money on. Maybe we aren't all going to have the best health insurance. Maybe some people could be striking a balance somewhere between poor and wealthy by their own behavior and choose to sit by waiting for taxes to make up the difference. There aren't that many of us who can't make better decisions. And if we're making the best decisions, maybe it's ok if we have to go to the health department for our kids vaccinations because our insurance doesn't pay for it. You're not poor because you have to go to the department of public health. You're poor when there is no department of public health.

There will always be poor people. We've lost the ability to define poor. We've lost the determination to not be poor. We were born from people who lived and died poor because their work accomplished nothing more than a promise for grandchildren they'd never see to be less poor.

Let's be careful not to so quickly be convinced that the government needs to fix us. The one who saves us owns us. I don't know exactly when we stopped considering America the land of opportunity but I suspect it began somewhere in a room where people started trying to figure out how to "spread the wealth" instead of spreading the opportunity.

Yes, the economy is bleak. I live in no less fear than you. But I am ashamed to become a country that cannibalizes itself in battles about whose responsibility it is to take care of "me."

Some of us will always be poor. Some of us will always be wealthy.

Most of us live in the balance. Instead of waiting for someone to spread the wealth in our direction, maybe it's time to consider our blessings for what they are. The wealth of God that we should be offering to feed those few among us who are truly in need.

And let the one who saves us own us.

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Trip

After our anniversary trip last week we had much to do 'round the new old house so my blogging has been on hold. And in case you hadn't heard, The Mr., The Guys & The Girl Singer will be at Baxter's Saturday....
So we went to Battle Creek (romantic vacation destination of the stars) and to Marshall. The Mr. was feeling like doing a little bit of exploring and although there was nothing spectacular happening in Battle Creek, we had a beautiful hotel room with a jacuzzi and it's a relatively pleasant town so that's where Sunday evening was spent. We ate at Cracker Barrel. No candle light but I think I recall kerosene lanterns on the tables. I had the chicken and dumplings, he had the roast beef. We are simple folk.
Actually, on the way to Battle Creek we stopped in Marshall to have the Shueler's Sunday brunch, which was as always, fabulous.
On Monday we proceeded back to Marshall to our yearly National House Inn B & B stay. It was wonderful just like we knew it would be. We stayed in the same room, the Brooke's Suite, with the fireplace and the claw foot tub. Being a Monday there were only two other rooms booked and we had the entire wing of the second floor to ourselves. We played Chinese Checkers and Yahtzee in the up stairs sitting room and went to a local pub for burgers for dinner. And I indulged in my dirty little secret, I love beer. There, I've said it. Actually, I have never had beer but I love O'Doul's and I had that with my bar burger. We really live on the edge. The Mr. does not like beer or any facsimile thereof so he had a diet. We bummed around downtown Marshall and I'm sad to say that like the rest of the country, our little anniversary town is feeling the economic slump too. The first year we went to Marshall we ate at Georgio's, now out of business. Last year we ate at the Midtown Grill, also now out of business. More than a few of the antique shops are empty and "for lease" signs out number stores on Main Street. We struggled to find a restaurant to have dinner at after Shueler's. In fact, it was the pub attached to Shueler's that we ended up in for bar burgers.
The coffee shop in the back of the funky clothing store is gone.
The gourmet food shop is gone.
Georgio's and the Midtown Grill (where I received my second ring) are gone.
And in a way, so go our touchstones. We peeked in the windows and were sad for the people wmet there, who made our last three anniversaries so extra special.
The Mole Hole, our favorite Marshall stop, is still there I am happy to report. They are a sort of glorified Hallmark store with unusual items and half of the place is dedicated to Christmas. Every year the Mr. buys my mom, my sister and myself a charm to add to our necklaces. They are discs with a word on them like "love", "family", etc. This year we each got one that says "daughter" and I got my special one..."commitment." Daughter seemed appropriate since both of the grandmas have passed in the last year, but my mom is still a daughter.
We always buy a Christmas ornament at the Mole Hole, my favorites being Christopher Radko. I never get tired of them, they seem so wintry magical to me. Don't ask me what that means, it's just true. This year is was an ornament shaped like a bag of coffee beans. Last year was a shiny taco to symbolize our Christmas Eve Mexican tradition.
I also got a plaque for my office, "I have flying monkeys and I'm not afraid to use them."
I bought some Lavender bath salts from another favorite, Serendipity, and took a long soak in the claw foot tub and fell asleep with the fireplace keeping us toasty in the old brass bed.
On Tuesday we enjoyed the complimentary breakfast in the antique-filled dining room. The usual fare; waffles, quiche, home made bread, fruit and strong coffee served on old china and with linen napkins.
All of this probably sounds like a terrific bore but when October rolls around it seems to be just what we need. We never stroll down Main Street making plans for cruises or resorts next year. We always end up talking about Christmas plans and painting the kitchen and the stuff that makes up our boring lives the other 51 weekends a year.
As we were leaving the Inn keeper waved us off saying, "See you next year for number 23!" I hope so. With God's grace, we'll check in to the National House Inn and drop our bags in the Brooke's Suite before heading out to Main Street for a chilly stroll and a bar burger. I pray that in a year the "for lease" signs will be gone and that families will have found a way to once again open businesses and coffee shops. I hope there is a light on inside of Georgios and we can snuggle up at a table for two in the tiny dining room.
I hope that the Mole Hole is still there, although I could purchase an ornament anywhere. I want my 2009 ornament from the same place as the rest of my anniversary collection.
We are equal parts extravagantly blessed and terrifyingly fragile.

Deuteronomy 4:40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

November 2, 2008

Isaiah 58:8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Health Fixes I'm Working On

1. Eat more slowly, chew more thoroughly.
2. Eat 1/2 meals when dining out.
3. Drink 16 ounces of water right after my last cup of morning coffee.
4. Stretch.
5. Read my Bible daily.
6. An apple 10 minutes before lunch.
7. Breakfast.
8. Wearing a hat when it's cold.
9. Breathing properly ie deeply enough.
10. Get a physical.