Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

26
Aug

Criticism Wanted…

I have asked several people to critique my book. Unfortunately, only one person has accepted that challenge and done so. Most authors/writers would pay someone for this critique, but since I make no income from my writing, I hate to make the hubby pay for yet another one of my writing adventures.

I have pretty much exhausted the free types of services. Then I thought, “Why not allow my blog fans to have a whack at it?”

So, if you’re game, I will put out the introduction to my book in this post and then one brief chapter of the book in another post. What I need most is to know whether or not it makes any sense to you. If not, please be specific about what wasn’t clear, so that I can work on correcting that.

Also, would you even pay a couple of bucks to download such a book on your e-reader? If not, I need to either scrap this writing idea or work really hard to make it worth such an expenditure.

06
Aug

The Grief of Tears…

 

As a stoic Scot, tears are not considered “kosher.” (How’s that for mixed cultural references?!) I tend to abide by that idea. In my defense I have several reasons to do so:

  1. I get migraines from a stuffed-up head. Even though I now have much better meds to prevent and deal with these headaches-on-steroids, my 50+ history of dealing with them has created a habit of not giving into anything that produces a stuffy head.
  2. When I do cry, I’m the ugliest of criers. Probably because I do wait eons to cry, the actual act is much worse–because tears for everything that has ever caused frustration and pain usually converge into 1 enormous crying session. The result? A stuffed-up head–see # 1.
  3. I’m a pastor’s kid. As the daughter of a pastor, I learned to pretend that I had it together. I am now so good at it that I consider this an asset. And, like their pastor parents, we PKs learn to be strong for others and only break down when we have no resources left.
  4. Because of the ugly crier issue, I prefer to cry alone. This means that I often have to wait until I get home to let the crying commence. For a couple of decades even getting home wasn’t a remedy because I had to be wife and mom when I arrived home. After arriving home, I would often forget that a crying session might be in order due to these responsibilities.
  5. I’m an American. We Americans believe in pulling ourselves up “with our bootstraps.” We’re fiercely independent and believe that tears are a sign of weakness. As Tom Hanks said in A League of Their Own, “There’s no crying in baseball.” And apparently the only places were really allowed to cry are in hospitals, funeral homes and at weddings. Even at funerals and in hospitals we Yanks live with the possibility of being called a “sissy” for crying.
  6. I grew up with two older brothers in the early 60s. Frequently, my teenage brothers wanted time to themselves, away from their demanding, whiny sister. I, on the other hand, just wanted to be a part of their “club.” If they denied me this privilege, I usually cried. They often responded with a denigrating tone, “Cry-baby!” This taught me that crying was not okay.

08
Jul

Talk…

public-speaking-1313614

They say talk is cheap.

I couldn’t disagree more.

Talk can move mountains.

Talk can inspire.

Talk can motivate.

Talk can calm.

27
May

Log Rhythms: The Winner!

As of last Wednesday at Solitude

You are invited! On Saturday, June 4th, 2016 we will have a log-raising event at our lakeside lot in eastern Texas. If you are interested in watching the logs go up, please go here to let me know of your interest and I’ll email you details.

In the last Log Rhythms post I wrote about our process to determine who would supply the logs for our lakeside cabin. I named the “finalists” by letters in an effort to “be kind” to suppliers who didn’t meet our requirements and needs.

After visiting all of the mills for these 7 suppliers, we came down to two choices: Supplier E and Supplier F. Here were the basic differences between the two:

Supplier E was significantly cheaper and specialized in square cut logs (which is what we hoped to use.) They build traditionally, meaning that one has to give serious thought to where pipes and wiring needs to go so that the logs are drilled accurately for these necessary items.

06
May

Log Rhythms: Selecting a Log Home Supplier…

Two weeks ago I recounted our educational journey about selecting logs for our log home at the Reserve in Montalba, TX. In case you hadn’t already deduced this, we elected to go with northern white cedar logs for the main construction. Northern white cedar is incredibly stable, is naturally bug resistant and tends not to twist over time. We will use some other woods for particular uses inside, but northern white cedar will be trucked to Montalba in June.

How did we learn all of this about logs? We met with several log home suppliers. From attending a couple of log home events, we learned that it’s important to select a supplier that is financially sound. With the recent recession many suppliers went bankrupt. Also, a supplier should be easy to work with–if people don’t return your calls or emails, obviously, there are going to be problems down the road as construction begins.

15
Apr

Log Rhythms: All I Ever Wanted to Know About Logs…and Then Some

Square-logged cabin

Square-logged cabin

I’ve been asked by several folks to post about how one approaches designing and building a log cabin in the 21st century. Today I will begin to outline the steps my hubby and I took to get to where we are today: ready for construction.

I have a sneaky suspicion he and I were exceptionally particular about this process compared to most and that may be why people are asking us to write about it. They’d either like the information because a log cabin has been a dream for them, too or because it seems so wild that we would embark on this journey at this point in U.S. history and in our lives.

Because it turned into a lengthy process, I’m going to outline the first steps we took and then post in May about the rest of that process. Here are the Lessons Learned from the “early going” and what we’d recommend to others:

01
Apr

Log Rhythms: The Reserve…

Sunset on Serenity

Sunset on Serenity

I was not looking forward to a trip to East Texas in October 2014.

My brother’s best friend wanted to dedicate a park he had created on some property he was developing and he invited my other brother and my family to be at the dedication. I was not looking forward to it for several reasons:

  1. I was just getting to the point where I wasn’t sobbing incessantly about losing my brother.
  2. The event would be attended by people I had never met except for my brother’s best friend, my other brother and my hubby. I’m an introvert in such situations by nature and awkward when I try to fake being an extrovert. Add grief to the equation and I’m doubly awkward.
  3. My allergies often send me to the ER for anaphylaxis. These are costly and threaten my very existence. I wouldn’t be where I already knew the doctors and hospitals if that happened…not bueno for me, since my health adventures defy typical medical scenarios.
  4. The Reserve (the development where the park was being dedicated) was full of lakes and a wide variety of trees, bushes, etc. Translation? It could be my allergy tomb! Mold is often around bodies of water; I’m allergic to all kinds of dust, grasses, weeds, and tree pollens.

04
Mar

Word of the Day: Flashback…

These roses are the same as those sent by the hubby yesterday!

These roses are the same as those sent by the hubby yesterday!

Yesterday was a somewhat monumental day for me…for several reasons.

Compassion Counseling Center had all 4 counseling rooms going at the same time…a first for the Center since it opened on January 15th. This week we are seeing 7 new clients…another first. And two of our three counselors-in-training are pretty much getting the hours we want them to have each week so that they can complete their practicums on time. The other counselor-in-training is closing in on that mark quickly and the large reason for not being there already is simply a matter of scheduling, not a lack of people requesting our assistance! I’ll take these kinds of birthday gifts any year. They are directly sent from Heaven.

But, I realized it was significant for a whole host of other reasons. As Facebook did what Facebook does best–alerting my family and friends that it was a special day for me and that awesome group of people took the time to extend birthday wishes, I couldn’t help but flashback to previous birthdays that involved them.

06
Feb

Word of the Day: Red

open hands

Beginning when I was 39 years old and had a 4 year old, 9 year old and 13 year old, I had two back-to-back heart attacks even though I was perfectly healthy. When this occurred in 1999, WebMD didn’t even list my heart condition as a possibility for such human beings. Fortunately, that has changed.

But, there is still much to be done for Prinzmetal Angina, which affects 139,000 Americans. Prinzmetal (named after the researcher who discovered the phenomenon) has a 50% death rate and when diagnosed (only by the divine intervention of God), I was told I could have a heart attack every 10 to 15 years from that point forward. We still don’t know much about why my coronary arteries like to spasm out of the blue and cause blood clots and their resulting heart attacks.

I seem to like to have my heart attacks in pairs and I hate being late, so a little over 14 years later, I had heart attacks # 3 and # 4.

26
Nov

Things I Hope to Be Thankful For in 2015…

Pumpkins

Pumpkins

I, like many of you, have engaged in expressing my thankfulness for various aspects of my life. While I will probably do the same this Thanksgiving as my family gathers around that all-important turkey, I do find myself wishing I could be thankful for other things in the coming year. Some are simply sarcastic; some are serious. What would you add to this list?

1. That Congress and the White House remind themselves that they are paid, elected servants of the people of this country and will actually work together to accomplish some good things for Americans who want nothing more than to be self-sufficient.

2. That Ebola will be eradicated around the world.

3. That those protesting the unfair treatment of various races and nationalities will remember the concept of peaceful protest constructed by Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

4. That all countries will respect other countries’ borders and only enter and exit them legally.

5. That more and more of us will be prompted to eradicate the hunger and thirst of the thousands of people who die in Africa, every single day, as a result of extreme poverty and a lack of knowledge and supplies to take care of this on their own.

6. That my kids’ stuff will actually leave home with them.

7. That more people emulate Jesus‘ actions. I don’t care if you’re Christian or not; believe in Him or not. The Man set a wonderful example of how we should treat each other.

8. That I will run my first official race this year. If you’re expecting me to do the Ironman Triathlon this year, your expectations are going to be thrown to the ground and stomped on unceremoniously. Can we call the snail pace I run on my treadmill running???

9. That I will stay out of hospitals. It’s not that I’m adverse to visiting them; it’s when I take up residency there that I wish for a trip to Tahiti. I am getting way too familiar with hospital cafeteria menus and when to arrive in hospital parking lots to get the spot closest to the entrance.

10. That hurting people near us will come to Compassion Counseling Center for help.

11. That people/organizations will donate to Compassion Counseling Center so that we can produce simple brochures, business cards and flyers to let people know we are here to help. So far, that has not happened.Better yet, that people and organizations in our communities will spread the word about Compassion without us having to spending a dime for such materials.

12. That 2015 will bring great joy for my family and friends. Many of my friends have children getting married and having babies in 2015. What a wonderful way to continue the world.

13. That MaryAnn will get back to actually writing her book. Note to self: Locate rough draft.

14. That those who are sad, for whatever reason, will know that people care about them.

15. That I have the ability to give myself my own allergy shots and can travel with my hubby.

16. That the Texas Rangers will be injury-free. If this happens, get smelling salts for the DSL, his wife and half of Texas.

17. That the Backpack Buddies program in our community will be fully funded so that we can feed all food-insecure children in our community. A quarter a day keeps the “hungries” away.

18. That celebrities and professional athletes will take responsibility for their irresponsible and dangerous behavior. I’m severely tired of them hiding bad behavior and making excuses for it. Send that memo to politicians, too.

19. That I will learn patience. Yesterday.

20. That the last year of Women of Faith conferences will lead to bigger and better things and that God will select the people who will accompany me to this last conference in October 2015.

21. That our own little community and one even smaller community to the southwest of us will both win state championships in football. Both teams are stellar examples of what teenagers can accomplish when people believe in them. Pride about that successful school team often translates into success in the classroom and in other extracurricular pursuits.

22. That my children will be successful at their pursuits and be happy and healthy. They deserve such success. I am so proud to say that I miraculously got to be their mother or play at least a small role in their lives (Yes, my dear DSL, that includes you.)

23. That my hubby will continue to enjoy success in his career and be healthy. Why? Because he’s supporting all of the crazy causes and interests of his silly wife at the moment.

24. That my Thanksgiving dinners (Yes, plural) will be calorie-free. (A girl can hope.)

25. That chocolate will be calorie-free. (I’m sensing a theme here.)

26. That I will become a better Bible Study leader. (Given the little project described in # 11, this may take a miracle along the lines of the parting of the Red Sea.)

27. That our marriage makes it to anniversary # 33 and that we make it to “double-nickels” this year. Gray hairs, wrinkles, reading glasses, stubborn cellulite and arthritis are a victory dance. Given the arthritis, probably a slow victory dance.

28. That God will bless our church. Our church pretty much accepts people as they are and has a huge heart. They deserve to have a financially struggle-free year.

29. That I read my Bible every day, regardless of my ever-changing health, my sometimes-lousy attitude, and overly-long to do list.

30. That you and yours will also have much to be thankful for this year and the next. Your loyalty to this blog does not go unnoticed or unappreciated at this end. You are my energy, my enthusiasm and my inspiration when I write.

What do you hope to be thankful for in 2015? Comment below!

Friday’s Post: My Favorite Things Returns!

You Might Also Like: Lessons Learned from Starting a Nonprofit Counseling Center and Lessons I Probably Shouldn’t Have Learned at Women of Faith