Archive for June, 2014


Word of the Week: preterit

dictionary picture

Book Club Readers: Are you ready to read Songs in the Key of Solomon tomorrow? You do NOT want to miss this one–trust me. Click here for the MIP Suggested Reading Plan.

Happy Monday, WOW Lovers! Last week’s Word of the Week (WOW) was offal and two long-time MIP readers chimed in with two correct definitions! And without knowing it, they submitted their guesses as father and son! I’m going to have to declare the son the winner, though, because he gave the first definition listed in Merriam-Webster, while “Dad” submitted the 2nd most common definition. So, congrats to Bruce for the winning guess and congrats to John on an honorable mention definition guess. I have a sneaky suspicion that there’s going to be some father and son razzing about this in the weeks to come. Here are those correct guesses, along, with a 3rd one as defined by Merriam-Webster Online:

offal: 1. the organs (such as the liver or kidney) of an animal that are used for food 2. the waste or by-product of a process: as trimmings of a hide, the by-products of milling used especially for stock feeds, or the viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal removed in dressing 3. rubbish

No matter how you define it, if you ask me, offal sounds awful.

Today’s WOW is preterit. Here are my definition guesses for preterit:

preterit: (pre-tə-rət1. the preparations one makes to tear it up, whatever “it” is. 2. achieving before it’s necessary to achieve it 3. an idiot who can’t spell prefer correctly

What’s your definition guess for preterit? Click here to submit it. Maybe you can outdo Bruce and John this week! 🙂

Wednesday’s Post: The Odd Days of July

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: offal; Word of the Week: shinplaster; Word of the Week: perdure; Word of the Week: eidetic; and Word of the Week: mien


The Tyrant…

Saddam Hussein

Book Club Folks: Do you have Songs in the Key of Solomon yet? If not, click here to order it from If you already have the book, click here for the suggested reading plan for July. I’m already reading it and I think I’m in love with this book!

Warning: You might want to get 2 of your favorite beverages first. 

With age comes wisdom. Or so it is said. Often, I don’t feel as if that is all that evident in my life, but I do think some of my thinking has evolved over the years. Perhaps it is wisdom. Perhaps it is not. But, all I know is that when I let the evolved part of my brain loose, I am happier. Because of that, I am trying to let that part of my brain free on a more regular basis. It isn’t always easy. But, let’s examine one area where I think it has evolved.

Relatively early in my life folks often said that I was an “encourager.”  People have also said they can let their “guard” down with me and thus, when people do, I am so honored to have that privilege. When given that privilege and since I hate to see good people hurting, I do my best to try to find the “silver lining” in each person’s situation. I truly believe we can learn from any circumstance in our lives–good, bad or indifferent. Let’s be honest–sometimes we learn more from the bad stuff than the good.

Two things often result for me when I have such a focus: 1) The fear about the impending doom seems less capable of hurting me; and 2) I suddenly have a wealth of ideas on how to conquer that situation. Learning something new is a very powerful thing for me–it keeps life from being boring and it makes me feel more alive. How about you?

Why would an awful situation suddenly produce “happy thoughts” just because I think can learn from it? I thought differently. When we choose to change our thinking about a negative situation, suddenly new possibilities for solving the issue just “show up.”  Soon after that, the situation is usually resolved one way or another.

Not true? Wrong! Think about when you are ready to buy a new car. Let’s say you decide you want a blue Ford Explorer. Suddenly, wherever you drive, there are blue Ford Explorers everywhere! (Dang it–you hate it when I’m right, hunh?!) In all reality there were just as many blue Ford Explorers on the roads near you as there were yesterday. But, because you are now “attending” to that little desire to buy a blue Ford Explorer, your eye notices a lot of blue SUVs and pays even more attention to those that are Explorers!

If the above is true, then imagine what we can achieve if we merely make a decision to go out and achieve it. Here’s another example of what I mean: If you make the decision that you want to make the world a little kinder place, you start focusing on what you can do with the resources around you that would help the world become a kinder place. One of the easiest ways to do that is to “pay it forward” literally at your local drive-thru. We’ve all seen in the media how 1 person paying for the order of the car behind him started a “chain of kindness” of people paying for everyone else’s order for an entire weekend at a Starbucks! In fact when it rolled around to a Monday morning at one location, the person who originated the “chain of kindness” also received a free order because that person was back in line at the same location that following Monday morning! That means they just created a kinder world for themselves, too!

All because one person changed their thinking and made a decision.

The same is true about other areas of your life. If you decide that you are finally, once and for all, going to lose that weight and keep it off, sooner or later you will find what works for you and take it off. You won’t let temporary failure get in the way–you’ll simply regard it as discovering what did not work for you. And you’ll amaze yourself at how much you really know about successfully taking off weight if you sit down and write it out on a legal pad or computer screen, without even having to consult Google!

If that is true, then so is having a lot of discretionary cash at your disposal after you quit spending your hard-earned cash on cigarettes. So is learning a new language or being a better parent or being a better son or daughter.

Today is my youngest’s 20th birthday. Yes! No more teens at my house! (That’s been a long time comin’ around this humble abode.) The youngest has had obstacles at every turn–bad allergies, two over-achieving older siblings, learning disabilities that aren’t recognized by most special education programs at public schools, bullying and constant teasing at school throughout his academic career, and two perfectionistic parents. But, despite all of that, he is slowly learning how to deal with those overbearing parents of his, has ignored the bullies and teasers, worked around the learning disabilities (and even excelled at three subjects in high school), put up with the two siblings and takes allergy meds for those crazy allergies. He just chose to think differently about things so that he could still find joy in a world that doesn’t understand his unique brain. He could have chosen so many other paths that were much more destructive. But he hasn’t.

Is he perfect? Nope. Do I still wonder how he will turn out? Yep. Could he still decide to go down destructive paths? Yep. But, I bet that even if he struggles and makes some bad decisions this coming year, we’ll still be celebrating his 21st birthday with him next year. Why? Because he’s made the decision to not let the world get the best of him.

Are you going to let yourself be defeated?

Point to Ponder 1: If you could choose one area of your life to “remodel,” what area would that be? Your marriage? The way you treat your friends? Are you a little pudgy in some places? Is it alcohol or nicotine?? Whatever it is, walk somewhere away from everyone else (because this is going to get you labeled a mental patient!) and yell to that area: ” (Insert your biggest nemesis here!), YOU are not going to have ANY power over me anymore!”

Point to Ponder 2: Now that you know who or what “the enemy” is, spend a little time thinking about why this “nasty boy” is ruling your life like a tyrant. When are you the most vulnerable to an attack from this tyrant? At certain times of the day or night? What’s going on inside your head during those times? Because I guarantee you that whatever you are not acknowledging as a thought is what’s causing that tyrant to get the upper hand in your life. Write this all down somewhere so you can read it several times throughout the day. (My suggestion? Tuck it in your wallet or put it in your desk drawer where you keep the office supplies.)

Point to Ponder 3: It’s time to go on offense! You’ve identified the enemy and its tactics. What thoughts can counter those tactics? I realized that’s it’s pretty hard to stuff my face if my hands are busy (and now you know why I blog!). Can you distract yourself ? Replace bad thoughts with good ones? Now, post those on a sheet of paper on your bathroom mirror. If you think of more, add them. Read them each day to remind yourself that YOU are worthy of a positive change in your life and in the lives of others. YOU were put on the planet to make it a better place. And there’s no better place to start than with yourself.

Point to Ponder 4: Tyrants don’t give up easily and they WILL identify one of your weak spots or an area you still haven’t acknowledged. So, make “Plan B.” When that tyrant gets the upper hand again, what are you going to do to keep that tyrant from “winning the war”? Plan B should be about your “emergency thoughts and actions” that will take back that area from that tyrant. It may mean re-thinking one part of your original plan and adjusting it to meet the new challenge from an old foe. But, whatever it is, this time Plan B will thwart your enemy! Just because you lose one “battle” doesn’t mean you have to lose the war.

Go forth and conquer! 🙂

Monday’s Post: Two people knew the Word of the Week. Are you number 3???

You Might Also Like: The Honest Truth and Yes, That’s Redundant; The New AnniversariesThe Real Memorial Day; Eulogy for a Brother; and We’re Still Losing This War


54 Things You Have to Say Goodbye to When You’re 54…

reading glasses

MIP Book Clubbers: Please don’t take this as permission to club a book. Go here to see the July MIP Book Club Selection and my suggested reading plan!

Warning: War and Peace was shorter.

Last week a hilarious post by Kristen Lee splashed across my FB feed about the things one must say goodbye to once you’re 27. Since my eldest and his compadres are all 27, it just seemed so true of the single gals from his graduating class. Click here to see what I mean. But, after picking myself off the floor from laughing so hard, I realized that Kristen may be even more irritated once she knows what a woman gives up by the time she’s twice that age…which I am. So, Kristen? Here’s my list of what you can look forward to when you’re twice your current age:

1. The original color of your hair. By 54 you’re going to have at least 1 gray hair. Thus, that beautiful ebony, auburn, or bleach blonde hair of your youth is not the same set of hair. Even if you elect to return to the hair of your youth via your hairdresser or the hair color aisle at Wally World, it won’t be the same hair color…trust me.

2. The texture of your hair. What used  to be silky and strong is now replaced by stubborn, weak and dull hair. Yes, Virginia you can use products to slow down this process, if you’re Oprah.

3. Any disposable cash now freed up from your kids being out of the nest. The products in # 1 and # 2 cost big bucks. So, does your kids’ college education, even if their brain surgeons in training, gifted athletes or musical child prodigies. And don’t forget he extra storage building you need for storing all of your kids’ stuff which keeps returning home…often with them.

4. Perky chests. This is one of those things that happens when you give birth. No one tells you that and for good reason. It’s downright depressing. There’s a reason why I moved to the south…to be with my chest again.

5. Bras without underwire. See # 4. I swear a man developed these torture chambers and then put the extra padding in the ones that require a small home equity loan to purchase.

6. Your waistline. Gone forever are the days when you can consume an entire family-sized bag of chips and not have it add inches to your middle region. Which, brings me to # 7.

7. Comfortable underwear. Those cutesy bikini and thong numbers don’t look so hot next to cellulite and stretch marks. And I don’t care how many sit-ups, crunches, or weights you endure during the day, there’s still going to be some lurking around somewhere. Thus, you procure Spanx to stuff all of the above back where it used to be and pray for three things: That the event requiring such attire will move along quickly, that you don’t get hungry, and that the temperature at said event is sub-arctic. This leads me to # 8.

8. Chronically being chilly or comfortable. Thanks to homicidal hormone fluctuations, you get to experience hot flashes and night sweats. Hot flashes would be more accurately described as internal explosions requiring either a team of firefighters or a firing squad. Night sweats are more aptly described as wet jammy alarm clocks.

9. Sleeping soundly. This usually ends around the time the first child arrives, who is hungry and wet nearly non-stop for the first 4 months of his or her life. Once the little dickens finally learns how to sleep through the night, you then lay awake thinking something is drastically wrong because Junior isn’t waking you up every 15 minutes. Then, as you adjust to that little novelty, they introduce you to the nighttime onslaught of all childhood illnesses and infections that generally include projectile vomiting. After they finally get some immunity to some of these horrendous things, they start driving at night and dating. Since you can recall what you did while driving at night and dating yourself, you never sleep again until you get to the homicidal hormone fluctuations. See # 8 for why you don’t sleep after that.

10. Only worrying about yourself. I don’t care if you never marry or never have kids. By this stage in your life you start having to take care of your aging relatives and as a result, you worry about their health, their finances, their sanity, etc., etc., etc.

11. Having a brain. At the precise time in your life when you need to worry about the entire planet (because you’re in the “sandwich phase” of your life) and its well-being, your brain will decide to take a permanent vacation without you. Mine must have gone to Bonga-Bonga-land. All I know is that there’s no decent cell reception in Bonga-Bonga-land.

12. Not having to take any pills. Currently, my rather large plastic basket is overflowing with pill bottles. Why? Because your body starts falling apart after the babies arrive. And if you want to save money on pills, you buy them in the large economy-sized bottles that eventually require an even bigger organizer. I sense a vicious circle here.

13. Being able to fit all of your daily meds into a small pill organizer when you travel. See # 12. This also happens because of # 11. You have to either put all of the bottles in your luggage and pray that TSA doesn’t think you’re transporting drugs to Cartagena or you have to have a “Morning/Noon/PM/Bedtime” organizer that looks like Elfa shelving on steroids.

14. Reading anything without the use of glasses. Hillary Clinton was wrong. The vast right winged conspiracy is that when you hit 40, everything is suddenly written in microscopic, blurry print.

15. Having elastic skin. One day you see Sexy Sandy in the mirror and the next day, Saggy Sue ensues. And it’s hard to find Spanx for my toes, thumbs and face. At least ones I can afford.

16. Being carded. No one under the age of 50 is going to think you’re under 21. If you pull out your ID to buy liquor, they’ll just openly guffaw that you’re still breathing.

17. Going to Disney movies by yourself. If you do, people start checking their pedophile locator apps on their phones while periodically glancing back at you with a very concerned look.

18. Knowing how to operate your TV. About every 5 minutes someone invents an even more complex set of black and gray boxes that need to be tuned, set and programmed with about 5 different remotes with microscopic print on the keypads. See # 14.

19. Knowing how to operate anything involving a battery or charger cord. Again, see # 14 and # 11. Since my generation wasn’t born with a cell phone in our hands, even in the wealthiest of homes, our fast-dying, hormonal brain cells are not helpful here at all.

20. Hearing anything the first time it’s said. Why? We got our music the old-fashioned way by blaring it on our car stereos and by hearing it at rock concerts. Of course, it could have been the fact that I could only afford tickets in the nosebleed section and thus, got a little extra bang for my ticket buck. I got all the peripheral “haze” in the upper atmosphere at my favorite arenas. Those who have been to concerts in the 70s know exactly what I mean. Maybe that is why I no longer have any brain cells? But I didn’t inhale!

21. Joints that work properly. Either because of a sports injury from our youth or just because we picked up those toddlers one too many times, suddenly every joint in your body complains loudly at being still for more than 15 minutes at a time. And if you do move those joints more often than that, they complain about that, too.

22. Snickering about the Depends ads on TV. You are the Depends ad.

23. Being fashionable. What I think is cute my daughter thinks is “grandma-looking.” Don’t know when I lost my fashion sense, but maybe it went with the brain cells to Bonga-Bonga-land.

24. Being cool. Once Aerosmith shows up on the “Classics” station, that “ship” has done sailed.

25. Having a day where all of your body cooperates. The days of going 9 hours between car trip pit stops are gone. So is going without the pain reliever du jour.

26. Having money to spend on yourself. All my money goes for wedding presents and baby presents, too. Why? Because the children of my friends are all getting married and having babies. So, just like Sting, my money isn’t going to my kids, either. It’s going to their friends.

27.  People thinking you’re useful. Around the time you finally learn to do a pile of stuff well, no one cares. Well, maybe the dog. But no one is listening to her, either.

28.  Having only 1 doctor. When the body decays, the health problems multiply. When they multiply, they require specialists. When they require specialists, your insurance won’t cover it entirely.  Which leads me to # 29.

29. Fun telephone conversations. You’re usually on the phone with a doctor, his or her receptionist, an insurance company, a funeral home or a telemarketer.

30. Fun cars. I tried putting a car seat in a Pontiac Trans Am. Once. I tried chauffeuring the entire team to the away soccer game in my sedan. Once. I tried putting my eldest’s entire room in my minivan. Once. Now I just settle for fun SUVs with a trailer hitch and a luggage rack.

31. Evaluating new car purchases on engine size, acceleration speed, and nifty hubcaps. Now I evaluate them on air conditioned and heated seats, wider wheels and better suspensions.

32. Saturdays being fun. Instead you are usually repairing some part of your house that’s broken, remodeling some part of your house that’s broken, getting your oil changed or arguing with one more person on the phone about your lack of insurance.

33. All of your important papers fitting into 1 box. You can thank the U.S. government for that.

34. Being irresponsible. The day they put a baby in your arms at the hospital and tell you to take it home is the day you start thinking about life insurance and wills. You also stop speeding in your new practical car and start eating better. Eventually, you even start exercising. That is probably when I stopped being cool, hunh?

35. Not sounding like your mother. See # 34.

36. Criticizing other people’s lack of parenting skills. About the time your little darling puts your Jimmy Choos in the toilet, you realize maybe you didn’t know what you were talking about anyway when you saw brats in the next booth over at your favorite restaurant.

37. Believing in self-help books. Unfortunately, self-help books are usually written by people who think that all of us are carbon copies of each other. This applies to all parenting books, too. The day I threw out the parenting books is the day I finally became a little better parent.

38. Not screaming at people. Because of your bad hearing and because Junior put the Jimmy Choos in the toilet, eventually you lose whatever composure used to be your style.

39. Not wearing slippers at night. One midnight step on a Lego or Barbie shoe and that’ll end that. Now I wear army boots when I walk into the “combat zone.”

40. Sexy swim suits. Unless made by Spanx, I’m not going anywhere beachy in anything less than a tankini…covered by a really large pair of shorts.

41. Cut-offs. They just look stupid with cellulite. And now you can afford an actual pair of shorts.

42. Spicy food. Sweetie, you don’t want to know. Trust me on this one.  I never knew my 2 mortal enemies were going to be onions and jalapenos in my 50s.

43. Short trips to the bathroom after a dinner of spicy food. I now take a new novel with me every time. It’s amazing how short those things are these days.

44. Living for months on end without having to unclog your toilet. See # 42.

45. Being amoral. See # 34. I actually rejoiced the day the youngest left for college because I could, again, use the s word if I stubbed my toe. Unfortunately, when I did eventually stub my toe, I couldn’t remember the s word. See # 11.

46. Eating dinner at a fashionable hour. See # 42.

47. Pulling all nighters to learn new material. There’s two reasons for this: a) You’ve already learned it. b) You’ve already forgotten it by 8 am the next morning.

48. Having empty closets, drawers, and cabinets. The entire world stores their stuff at my house…rent-free. Actually, it’s worse. I inherited it and foolishly thought my kids would appreciate “collectibles and antiques.”  Note to Self: Call Hoarders Anonymous next Saturday.

49. Laughing at the Life Alert commercials. Now, I’m taking notes and paying attention to when those suckers are on sale.

50. Listening to the TV at a normal volume. See # 20.

51. Thinking that you have to have the perfect spouse. I’ll just settle for being dependable, being brilliant in a crisis and having great health insurance.

52. Thinking you will retire before you die. Have you met our U.S. government?

53. Not caring about who is running our country. See # 52.

54. A good day being getting a raise. A good day now is any day I’m not in the hospital or not spending a Saturday talking to an insurance company.

Friday’s Post: More Points to Ponder

You Might Also Like: Even Web Sites Get Spam; The Effect of “Other Women”The Odd Days of June; Lessons Learned from a Family Vacation and The Odd Days of May


Word of the Week: offal

dictionary picture

Last week’s Word of the Week (WOW) was shinplaster. The hubby said, in response to reading last week’s WOW, “Shinplaster? Really?” I replied with a simple, “Yep.” Since this reaction came from the man who killed me in Scrabble using the word rapeseed (In my defense, the boy has very creative spelling talents when it comes to the English language, so I figured he was bluffing and challenged rapeseed. Let’s just say that was a big mistake.), I figure I need to remember shinplaster for our next game of Scrabble…just to be a pain in his side for all the times he recounts this little episode to family and friends.

Merriam-Webster says that shinplaster means a piece of privately issued paper currency; especially one poorly secured and depreciated in value. If so, then I think the peso is a synonym for shinplaster. What do you think?

This week’s word is offal. Here are my definition guesses for offal:

offal: (ˈ-fəl) 1. How the hubby spells awful in Scrabble (Couldn’t resist! Sorry, honey.) 2. When Al is off 3. How the French react when they eat American food

What’s your guess for offal? Submit them below or email me by clicking here.

Wednesday’s Post: 54 Things You Have to Give Up When You’re 54…

You might also like: Word of the Week: shinplaster; Word of the Week: perdure; Word of the Week: eidetic; and Word of the Week: mien


Slow Reader Friday: Jesus, The One and Only

hammer and nails

Note: Click here to see the July 2014 MIP Book Club Selection!

Warning: You might want to get 2 of your favorite beverages.

I first “encountered” Beth Moore on a video screen. She was doing a Bible Study on Daniel. I had heard rave reviews about her and was preparing to be my usual hyper-critical self simply because I’m a PK (Preacher’s Kids) and have been doing Bible Studies all my life and have often been less than impressed with more than a few.

The opposite was true. I learned unbelievable amounts of stuff that I never understood before. Maybe Beth Moore isn’t a seminary graduate, but the woman does a pretty good job of learning as much as she can for the Bible book she decides to tackle. And it was actually fun to learn from her, because Beth is from Houston, TX and she is a quinessential Texas woman, with a passion for fashion, a definite Texan drawl, and the almost-required accompanying sense of humor. One of the first things she asked us (as her students) to do with the Book of Daniel was to remember that “not everything is about you!” My daughter and I did this study together and we still giggle to this day when we encounter something where we want to be self-centered and remind ourselves of Beth’s words.

As much as I hate to admit it, Beth’s study was about me. Beth has a way of reaching into your very soul, as if she knows you like her best friend, finding your most vulnerable place and then miraculously healing that place by simply teaching you about the Bible. And so, about Week 5, I found myself fighting back tears as she taught. Only one other speaker has done that to me and I have heard him twice (and yes, he reduced me to tears twice) and that is William Paul Young, author of The Shack and Crossroads. If you ever have an opportunity to hear either one of them speak, move Heaven and Earth to do it. You won’t be disappointed.

Enter Jesus, the One and Only. As I looked at the table of contents, I reminded myself that Beth never takes the easy route through a topic. 53 chapters? Are you kidding me? But, thankfully, the chapters were short. So, I started diving into her step-by-step teaching of Jesus’ life from start to finish.

I have to admit I was disappointed at first. It may be because I had just finished reading 2 really great books and one of them had delved into all the circumstances of Jesus’ life very factually and historically. That book, Killing Jesus, was a “can’t put it down” kind of experience of the Gospels, because Martin Dugard and Bill O’Reilly write like unbiased reporters. No wonder Hollywood wants to make movies of all of their books.

Beth Moore, on the other hand, chooses to use the Greek origins of words, Bible commentaries, etc. to help the reader put themselves into the times of Jesus. And she readily admits that sometimes she is just relying upon her impressions of how things might have gone in particular situations and conversations involving Jesus. I felt like she often missed the very point that I thought was obvious and kept wishing she had used Killing Jesus as a resource for her own book. The reality is that they were probably both written around the same time, so it would have been impossible for her to do so.)

And Beth, because she is passionate about her faith, tends to spend a pile of time rejoicing over the various elements of Jesus’ story and asking the reader to do the same. I guess I’m more of a factual kind of gal and preferred the way that Dugard and O’Reilly tried to leave their own belief systems out of Jesus’ story and let the reader decide whether Jesus is the Messiah or not.

But, just about the time I was ready to curse myself for selecting this LOONNGG book for the June Selection, Beth Moore worked her magic and I got the point of what she was trying to say. At least the point I needed to hear. I found myself crying again (There goes my reputation as a stoic Scot again!).

I think I still prefer to watch her on video (It’s just so much fun to see Beth’s facial expression and non-verbals as she teaches!), but I will be forever grateful I took the time to read the book. Plain and simple? It did a real healing in a chronically vulnerable place of mine.

Here are a few quotes from the book that resonated with me or inspired me or at least made me smile:

1. “Sometimes in the contrast of the night, we can best see the glory of God.”

2. “Jesus probably did not walk until He was ten or twelve months old and He certainly didn’t walk on His bathwater.”

3. “When we set apart our lives unto Him, He will do wonders with us the likes of which we cannot imagine.”

4. “I don’t practice ‘Lord forgive me for all of my sins.’ I don’t see true biblical repentance in that. Repentance assumes we are naming the sin to acknowledge it. Then I like to discuss with God why it doesn’t agree with His Word.”

5. “Every hour you do your job as working for the Lord gets punched on a time clock in heaven. You get paid by God Himself for the hours you work as unto the Lord. I’m not being cheesy. Our future inheritance is real, and it far exceeds minimum wage. As you partner with Christ at your job, you will be more efficient.”

6. “He spoke to my heart and said: ‘Beth, My child, you have an authority problem. You think you can do your part, which is repent. You just don’t think I can do MY part, which is forgive.”

Point to Ponder 1: Did you read this book this month? Did you want to read this book this month? If you wanted to read it and didn’t, what happened to prevent it? Were you too focused on the “urgent” to give way to what’s truly important (your relationship with Christ)? Were you a little lazy this month? Are you a guy and think Beth Moore books are for women only? Did I not give you enough reminders to read it this month in my other posts (Guilty as charged!)? I’ll make you a deal: I’ll try to give you more reminders, if you’ll try to read the next book I select. Deal?

Point to Ponder 2: Where is your chronically vulnerable place? Do you have an authority problem and can’t seem to have the faith to allow God to heal that place forever? If so, ask God to help your lack of belief in His power. Then, have confidence that the maker of the universe can do whatever He wants and He most definitely wants to heal YOU! For Pete’s sake (or in this case, Peter’s sake), He let His only Son get killed just so He could be with YOU. That makes you worth a major healing. 🙂

Point to Ponder 3: Are you sometimes so critical of people/things/situations that you fail to notice what God wants to say to you through that person/thing/situation? I’ll give you an example from my own life: I can be sweet to one stranger at a store, but if that same person gets behind the wheel of a car and is in front of me and driving slowly, I immediately start criticizing their “slowpokedness.” Perhaps what I need to remember in that situation is that there is a wreck that’s about to happen ahead of me and God has sent that person to drive slowly to prevent me from being injured in that wreck (or worse–injuring someone else!). Perhaps I need to learn a little patience! Perhaps I need to say a prayer of blessing for that person and some protection from drivers like me who like to get there pronto and sometimes take unnecessary risks on the road! How about you?

Point to Ponder 4: Is this your first Beth Moore book to read? How did it strike you? If you have read other books of hers, what’s your favorite and why? (Yes, –comment away!)

Monday’s Post: It’s WOW time!

You might also like: Slow Reader Friday: Killing Jesus; Slow Reader Friday: And Then There Were Nuns; and Slow Reader Friday: Undaunted


Even Web Sites Get Spam….


Warning: Get 2 of your beverages first.

Thanks to the DSL, you never see all the spam I get here at MIP on a daily basis. Today, so far, I have received 58. And that’s every day of every week of every month. Thankfully, my handsome DSL has rigged up a system that allows me to click just one button and delete them all, but I still have to do that every day of every week of every month.

One of the banes of my existence is that I’m excessively curious, so of course, I can’t just click on the handy, dandy button. No, I actually go and look at this massive file and chuckle at what people/organizations/evil empires think will get past the spam filter to actually make it on my blog as a comment or email to me. They are making some really interesting assumptions about my blog and who I am.  My only fear in posting these themes and assumptions is that my site will now get flagged as spam itself by people who don’t take the time to read my blog posts. As far as I’m concerned, they belong to the evil empires, too.

1. Jewelry stores in Edmonton and Toronto. Ummm…I live in Texas and when I want to buy jewelry, I like to try it on and look at it in person. Call me crazy, but it might be difficult to do that easily in another country thousands of miles from my home.

2. Car dealers in St. Louis and Des Moines. Like # 1, these folks need some geography lessons.

3. Cooking systems. Here’s my cooking system: Make a reservation.

4. Chinese banks. Since the Chinese already have enough U.S. currency, I think I’ll keep my money elsewhere. Besides, I don’t know how to type those funny alphabet symbols into my browser bar.

5. Fashion designers. Yes, I do have a subscription to In Style. How I got it I have no idea. I tend to think it’s due to an April Fool’s Day prank, because what I don on most days comes from the fashion web site called Le Walmarte. What do I do with the In Style magazine? Toss it in my designer waste basket from Le Walmarte Home Couture Boutique.

6. Addiction recovery sites. This one I do understand a little bit. I do make reference to being trained as a counselor. When I worked on my master’s in this area, my classmates and I were continually encouraged to determine who we felt we could best counsel. I concluded, very quickly, that addicts were not my group to counsel. God still has a sick sense of humor.

7. Pirates. Arr, me hearties. Apparently, they know how often I watch Six Days, Seven Nights and Captain Phillips. Excuse me, I need to go feed my parrot. He’s bothering my partridge again.

8. Plaster Companies. Next time I break my leg or my ceiling starts “shedding,” I will…go to the ER or call my local contractor. I’m not sure you can ship contractors and doctors via UPS.

9. Gambling sites. Now, I do confess to occasionally (and I do mean occasionally!) visiting gambling establishments while on vacations, but trust me, I like my money too much. My idea of a big bet is 50 cents. And if my allotted “gambling money” disappears, I go look for getting ripped off in other ways, like paying my taxes and paying off hospital bills.

10. Law sites. While I’m privileged to know good attorneys, I don’t spend my Sundays perusing the legal beagle sites. Sorry. I find getting a root canal done more interesting and less painful.

11. Expensive shades. While I adore having lots of shades (because my future’s so bright), again, I shop at the Le Walmarte Ocular Boutique.

12. Comments telling me how wonderful MIP is using bad grammar. Just because I use it doesn’t mean I like it. Apparently, these folks haven’t met my kids, who would all call Mom the Grammar Police.

13. Free snow. Umm…the snow I like is already free, so why would I need to pay shipping and handling to get something for free. Ohhhhhh….so you’re selling drugs? May I refer you to the addiction sites and the legal sites? Perhaps they can educate you on why you’re part of an evil empire.

14. Oktoberfest sites. Umm…I hate beer and haven’t really followed polka bands lately. Now, if you’re giving away free strudel, maybe we can talk. I’ll get back to you around…November.

15. Tennis shoes. Okay. So I wear a lot of sneakers. But the brand that keeps coming my way is one I cannot stand! Maybe that’s why they need to spam my blog? To sell their awful tennies? How about designing better shoes and selling them at Le Walmarte Foot Couture Boutique?

16. Comments about plugging your site. I have to confess that I understand this idea–it’s a way to get people to notice your stuff and I’ve been tempted to do that myself. It just seems wrong to me, though. I figure if I write good stuff, people will find me. I didn’t say I was smart.

17. Rice depots. I’ve never felt the need to go to a train depot to get rice. Okay. So, my secret is out.

18. Dredging engineering. I don’t even know what dredging is. I just dated engineers. And then married a farmer. I don’t have to look up farmer in the dictionary.

19. Fudge repairing. My fudge has never needed any repairs. Why? Because I buy perfection. Now the weight it adds to my waistline? That needs fixing.

20. DJ sound stuff. Ummm…I have difficulty downloading songs from iTunes.

21. FIFA. I prefer “under 6” soccer games. I think that if you don’t have to yell, “Sweetie, you can’t take a nap in the middle of the field during the game!” or don’t have to make a celebratory parent tunnel at the end of the game for the losing team, it’s just not really soccer.

22. “It” sites. These sites’ comments are blessedly brief, unlike the Chinese sites. But, I think I already have “it.” What I’d like to find are sites willing to take away my “its.”

23. Sites wanting to help me set up my blog. Timing is everything, dear ones. And these sites obviously don’t have an alarm clock. Maybe they can get it at the “it” site.

Friday’s Post: Slow Reader Friday Book Club Time!

You might also like: If You Visit Your Cardiologist, You’ll Wind Up in Kansas, MaryAnn’s Hospital Survey, and Lessons Learned from Counting Quarters



Word of the Week: shinplaster

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Howdy, Word Lovers! It’s time for a new Word of the Week (WOW). Last week’s WOW was perdure and Merriam-Webster Online says that perdure means to continue to exist. Sounds very much like endure, hunh? But, I suppose endure carries with it the connotation that one continues to exist through pain or adversity and perdure does not. Thus, we could say that blue jeans perdure while my bottom endures their tight, low-waisted, non-flattering fit most days. 

This week’s WOW is shinplaster. This was just too fun a word to ignore, so here are my guesses for shinplaster: shinplaster:

(ˈshin-ˌplas-tər) 1. a permanent state of anyone who plasters for a living 2. how an arthritic shin feels on any given Monday 3. the shaky nature of a drunkard’s legs after a party weekend So, what is your guess for shinplaster? Be sure to let me know!

Wednesday’s Post: Spam Themes That MIP Seems to Attract

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: perdure; Word of the Week: eidetic; Word of the Week: mien; Word of the Week: risible; and Word of the Week: pettifogger


The Honest Truth and Yes, That’s Redundant…


Warning: War and Peace was shorter.

Today I had every intention of discussing that God seems to have me on a bent of reading books about death, even though I don’t actively chose such books! But, I feel God pulling me in another direction, so I hope you will indulge me (I’m sure I will get around to the intended topic eventually!). What might prompt me to get off-topic? (Generally, not a whole lot is needed–just ask my family and friends!) Honesty. Yes, honesty.

Enter a book called Chasing CharlieI found this book in late December and considered making it the MIP Book Club selection for February. But Chasing Charlie is rather long and probably not a good selection for the Book Club as a result. However, I do feel you need to know about this surprising book and how it relates to honesty.

At first I thought Chasing Charlie was going to be about 2 FBI agents not unlike the ones depicted on the popular TV series, Criminal Minds. And at the point when Chasing Charlie came into my life I needed such a diversion reading-wise! In fact 2 of the agents fall in love with each other. Even better for a much-needed distraction, if you ask me!

But perhaps the most refreshing quality of the book that I had not anticipated was that, unlike so many espionage action thriller novels these days, several of the main characters, one-by-one, decide that they need the Lord. They each had resisted going to church for the typical reasons in our society and had formed several bad habits in the process. But, the book never gets “preachy” and the characters never push religion on each other. This would make it far different from a lot of Christian novels I’ve been reading! In other words, they approach this slow, gradual re-adoption of faith like most “former Christians” might do that. There are no overnight epiphanies and no people practically cajoling them into faith. Just little by little, they realize they need a relationship with the Lord for particular things they are facing in their lives. And like most of us, the bad habits don’t instantaneously go away. Some days they are really good at not pursuing those bad habits; some days they cave completely, despite their new-found faith. Even better, they admit defeat when it’s obvious they can’t hide the truth from others anymore.

Several have said that what they appreciate about my writing is that I’m blatantly honest about the stupidity that is my life on most days. Believe it or not, there are things I don’t share here (not many, mind you, but there are!). But, I have never understood why we don’t openly and honestly discuss our human frailties. It says in the Good Book, “For all have sinned…” In other words all of us goof up somewhere. So, why would we not just admit that we struggle in some areas and get on with dealing with these things? Because, our social media world often condemns us when we do. I am well aware that there are many who think I’m a fool because I am so honest about being lazy, caffeine-addicted, selfish, loud, verbose and often prone to eating too much food. (Trust me, I could go on!) It used to worry me, but now not so much.

The longer I’m on the planet the more I realize that “For all have sinned…” really is true. Even if someone always looks like the perfect little person, there is something about their lives that plagues them–sometimes it’s that they don’t realize that there is something that plagues them. But, eventually the truth comes out and often in a very embarrassing, public way. And then the public considers them fools or calls them fools.

But, have no fear–we’re in good company. Jesus’ own people from his own village considered him a fool. Heck, one of his own disciples so thought Him a fool that He deliberately conspired against Him.  Many who followed Him from village to village thought Him a fool enough to eventually quit following Him. The scholars and ministers of His day even thought He was weird and criminal. And all Jesus was doing was being honest.

So, obviously we fear we will lose the respect of our fellow man and fellow citizens if we admit to imperfection. But, I think we also think that Christians are supposed to be good role models, so when we’re imperfect, we’re providing a really bad “testimony” of what a Christian life looks like. But, notice that God actually likes us being honest. Remember the publican and the poor person in the Temple? The publican made a real pretense about pretending to be perfect, but the poor person was so honest about his sinful nature that it drew unwanted attention and a lot of nasty judgment from other onlookers. But Jesus said that the poor person’s honest display was the one that would garner help and attention from God–not the person who seemingly had it all “together.” Both had faith, but God rewarded the one with a more honest relationship with God.

Unfortunately, being honest today could lead to criminal or civil action against us. Thus, we live in a society where few ever take responsibilities for their actions, particularly at work. I know many fine Christian lawyers and even a few good legislators, but honestly, both vocations often create a society where everyone fears taking responsibility for their actions in case they are sued or sent to jail. It’s a legitimate fear and one to be seriously considered.

Even Jesus acted cautiously if He knew it wasn’t “His time” to be somewhere where His honesty could land Him in jail and keep Him from telling how people can have eternal life and a better life here on Earth. Eventually, despite knowing it was going to be painful, He takes the ridicule and punishment of an unjust society. Perhaps that’s what we should remember: when society punishes us for our honesty, it’s because they are already corrupt themselves (For all have sinned!) and thus, them being judgmental about our behavior is more about them and less about us. That doesn’t mean we should go out and deliberately break the law! It means we can relax when the law doesn’t square with being a reflection of God’s mercy. And thus, we should rely upon God to handle their wrath for us and go on bravely admitting the truth and sharing God’s great gift for being willing to do that once we trust in Him.

What, MaryAnn? You’re saying I need to be honest even if it leads to my ruin, my family’s ruin and lands me in jail or worse, sentences me to an early death? Ummm….gulp…yeah. I didn’t say it was easy. 🙂 And I didn’t say I don’t struggle with that.

But, when I’m not being honest, when I’m not subjecting myself to the punishment of a corrupt world because of fear, aren’t I also saying that I’m not totally trusting my God to see me through whatever is in store for me as a result of my honesty? And it’s probably better, even from a corrupt world perspective, to “come clean” than to hide things, and then have that corrupt world dig up the truth from the deep recesses of our lives.

Finally, I think we hide the truth from each other because we know, all too well, what pathetic beings we really are. As a result, we try to create facades of greatness for ourselves so that we feel a little better about our pathetic-ness. At least I know it’s true of me! And the more I try to make myself seem wonderful to others, the more I fail at it! It becomes a vicious circle and I wind up becoming even more pathetic! And being pathetic is no fun to face in the morning mirror. We hide from ourselves as well as the rest of the world.

I’m trying really hard to learn not to think of myself as pathetic and in need of self-promotion, but as a typical human servant of God. Some days I do well at being a servant; other days I fail miserably. Some days I get to share the part of myself that reflects the gifts and talents He has sent my way and other days my worst faults are the only part of me that prevail for all the world to see. But God actually delights in that because it gives Him a reason to exist in our lives. We wouldn’t need a Jesus if we were perfect and our lives would be so boring without a Jesus!

I would like to suggest that if we all admitted our failings, most people would probably ultimately respect us for that honesty and would forgive us. In fact it might be refreshing for them and give them the impetus to do the same. We might even convince a few government leaders to do the same. And if we do that, we might change the world for the better.

So, my dear reader, will you be my “honesty partner” and help establish a new “world order”? 🙂

Point to Ponder 1: What about yourself is weighing you down internally? Is it so embarrassing that you can’t even admit it fully to yourself? Been there, done that! Start an “honesty journal” and just jot down what’s bugging you…honestly! Keep writing every day until you “release” all the things that bug you onto paper. When you feel that you have exhausted all the things that you feel guilty or shame about onto those journal pages, remind yourself that God sent Jesus to this world to permanently erase all that stupidity, once and for all! So, go burn that journal as a symbol of your freedom that comes from a loving God! (Be safe about doing this, please! Don’t do it where there are burn bans, you Texans!)

Point to Ponder 2:  Confess to God anything that is still bugging you in the guilt and shame department. Remind yourself that God isn’t upset about it–YOU are. God forgave it a long time ago. When it still bugs you, that means it’s a faith problem, not an honesty problem! (If only I could remember this on a regular basis!) Ask God to remind you that He can still use you, imperfect as you are to help others and make the world a better place. That’s why He chose you! That’s why He died for you! You are worth that to Him! Ask Him to remind you of these things when you let shame and guilt about your imperfections gain the upper hand.

Point to Ponder 3: If something is still weighing you down, consider discussing it with a trusted person. Can you tell your spouse? Can you tell your parent? Can you tell a good friend? Can you tell your pastor? Can you tell a counselor? (The latter two are bound by confidentiality!) Sometimes the only way to release the power of shame and guilt in our lives is to freely admit it to someone else that will still consider us a decent human being afterwards. You’re just too cool if you can manage this! Pat yourself on the back for being so brave!

Monday’s Post: Word of the Week Time!

You Might Also Like: Eulogy for a Brother and Best Quotes from the Dallas Women of Faith Conference





The New Anniversaries…


Warning: Get a beverage first.

Most anniversaries are happy events. I felt this way for many, many years. But as I age, I am learning, all too painfully, that there will be more and more anniversaries that will be sad and yes, painful. As I write this, a year, to the day, has passed since the onset of heart attack # 3 for me. This day marked the beginning of what turned into a painful year. Here’s why:

June 10th – My valiant attempts to ward off another heart attack are in vain and I find myself, in the middle of the night, on an emergency helicopter flight to a Fort Worth hospital.

June 17th – After being home only a few days from my Fort Worth hospital stay, heart attack # 4 rears its ugly head and I, once again, can’t stave it off with aspirin and nitroglycerin. Another helicopter flight and another stay in the hospital. This heart attack was different in a multitude of ways and the first one where I really thought I wouldn’t survive.

June 27th – My youngest son’s last birthday as a teenager. While a joyous time, it was difficult because even a brief time outside in the Texas heat worked on my heart in a negative way.

July 2nd – My brother’s birthday and the anniversary of my mother’s death. Since the latter occurred on my brother’s birthday, we, as a family, have always sought to make it less somber by going to watch the Rangers play baseball. I still wasn’t sure if I could handle the heat, but with the help of my family, I made it. It’s my brother’s last birthday celebration.

August 2013 – The youngest leaves for college; the middle child starts her last year of grad school; the oldest is promoted and moves to a new home; the latter’s dog comes to visit for an extended period of time and I find out, quite surprisingly, that I will be giving myself stomach shots twice a day every day and that I have a blood clot in my heart, putting me at risk for a stroke. I have to eat a very strange diet during this time.

September 2013 – Partially to keep myself from going insane and partially because I believe in keeping my promises to God, I arranged for 10 of my friends and I to attend Women of Faith. It was a tearful event, basically because I couldn’t believe I was still alive.

October 2013 – Two of my friends are diagnosed with breast cancer and unfortunately, neither one of them were diagnosed as Stage 1. But the best news is that they seem to be doing fine and hanging in there just as I knew they would.

November 2013 – My last Thanksgiving with my brothers together in my home. We knew my brother was having to really slow down while eating, but he had been checked out earlier and the fall and the doctor had pronounced him healthy.

December 2013 – My brother was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Christmas was poignant to say the least and my research told me he was fighting an uphill battle at best. He arrived at my house with his head shaved and hat on, feeling it would be easier to take baldness if he had some control over it in the beginning. Again, without knowing it, it was my last Christmas with him.

January 2014 – My brother is in and out of the hospital repeatedly with complications, despite trying to be meticulous in following his doctors’ instructions.

February 2014 – My brother makes the decision to “pull the plug.” He moves to hospice care.

February 27th – My other brother and I tell my brother it’s okay for him to go. His breathing grows farther and farther apart. It’s my last time to see him.

February 28th – My brother dies.

March 8th – My brother’s memorial service. It’s a time of laughter and fond remembrance, but it is still difficult for all those who attended.

March 9th – May 5th – My other brother and I clean out my brother’s home and say goodbye to “the House of Tears” as my other brother calls it.

May 9th, 10th and 11th – My daughter graduates with her master’s degree and those festivities are quickly followed by Mother’s Day. While I am so, so grateful to see her graduate with all of her friends, the brother who always celebrated those graduations with us and often celebrated Mother’s Day with us, is painfully absent.

While I’m grateful to still be walking and talking, I am squelching tears as I write this. I know, all too well, from having grieved other family and friends who have already gone on to Heaven, that this coming year will be difficult for me simply because I have a few more “anniversaries” to get through. And I also know that more and more things of this nature will probably continue to take place. At my age the passing of friends and family is simply inevitable. It will happen with more and more frequency and more and more depth of pain.

With this reality ever present now, I do my best to remind myself that I am one blessed woman. Grief and tears are actually a blessing. They are an indication that we love a lot and have been loved. It’s an acknowledgement that my joy will never be complete until it’s my turn to journey to Heaven. And I am blessed to be an American, live in a nice home, in a nice town, with plenty of comfort. I’m blessed to still be surrounded by a wonderful husband, wonderful children and a wonderful extended family and great friends.

Even so, if I don’t smile as much this year, if I don’t crack jokes as much on MIP this year, if I seem a little preoccupied this year, you’ll have to forgive me–I don’t do grief well.

I know I have much to learn in this phase of my life and probably the most significant thing to learn is to still smile, to still celebrate, and to still cherish those whose presence I’m still privileged to enjoy. Thank you all for giving me a reason to smile, to celebrate and to cherish.

Friday’s Post: God’s Sick Reading List…

You Might Also Like: So, Where Are My Posts?; Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4; and Lessons Learned from Being a Pansy and No, I Don’t Mean the Flower




Word of the Week: perdure

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Happy Monday, Word Lovers! (Okay, so fake it ’til you make it, if happy Mondays are not your thing. And yes, I fake it a lot.)

Last week’s WOW (Word of the Week) was eidetic. This word sounded so familiar to me and I just can’t place it, so this one is just bugging me and I don’t like that! Here’s the Merriam-Webster Online definition so I can put myself out of my misery: marked by or involving extraordinarily accurate and vivid recall especially of visual images. If this is so, I think we can assume Sherlock Holmes had an eidetic memory and I’m pretty sure so does the darling daughter. When she was growing up, she was always my “go-to” girl for knowing where I left my car keys.

Today’s word is perdure. Submit your guess below or play the “MIP WOW Definition Guess Contest” by submitting the guess in an email to little old me!  Here are my guesses:

perdure: (pər-ˈdr, –ˈdyr) 1. what a person does when eating Perdue chicken 2. the misspelling of my alma mater 3. how one spells perjure on a message board if they can’t find the letter j.

See–I know your guesses will be better than mine!

Wednesday’s Post:  New Anniversaries…

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: eidetic; Word of the Week: mien; Word of the Week: risible; Word of the Week: pettifoggerand Word of the Week: hoise