Saturday, February 20, 2010


Actually, I'm not off to see any wizard, but I am off to see a bunch of author friends, about 15 or so of them. So excited! I'll be at a retreat center in the Houston area for the entire week--located in a sort of secluded, wooded spot with lots of trails, front porches and rocking chairs, a quiet, blissful environment conducive for writing, and wonderful cuisine! Chocolate, I'm sure. We have all agreed to wear cushy socks and comfy jammie pants. Each of us has our own room, so we can write to our heart's content, nap accordingly, come out of hermit-dom as we feel led and then retreat again. Here's the best part (I think....) there will be no internet access. There is internet in the main office, but none in our rooms, so this truly is a retreat!

One thing I know, I need this sacred time away, not only to reflect upon my recent losses (my beloved dog and then my sweet, precious mommy), but also to reflect upon God's AMAZING, ABUNDANT love for me. It will be a time of talking, brainstorming, learning, and growing in the presence of other authors, and perhaps a time to pray, cry, and laugh together. If nothing else, I'm certain I'll come back refreshed and rejuvenated.

I would appreciate your prayers, special friends. I want to make the most of this retreat, discover just what God has in store for me, and allow Him to speak into my spirit in ways He can't always do because my ears are usually so caught up in listening to the crazy, loud, hubbub of life.

I shall be thinking about all of you and missing your socks right off!

I love you ALL!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


As many of you know, I have a new pup. Well, okay, he's 5-months old, not much of a pup anymore, and he weighs 41#, so he's already half grown, but he's NEW to me! And precious as can be. Cecil even referred to him as precious, and I don't recall the last time Cecil referred to anything as precious. Well, maybe he's called me that--but a dog? Never.

After undergoing two recent significant losses in my life, Cecil decided it was time for me to get a new dog, so I started my search and found Peyton online on Super Bowl Sunday. Thus, the name Peyton after Peyton Manning, of course, the Colt's quarterback and our family's fave. Since Cecil was on business in Florida, and that's where Peyton was living at the time, Cecil picked him up on his way back to Michigan last Friday. Yep, they made the 1200-mile trek together, and Peyton was PERFECT AS GOLD all the way home!

Thought you'd like to see my beloved puppy--whom I've come to love. He is already an old soul, so laid back, gentle, smart, obedient, and mild-mannered. Can't believe I found him, but then what am I saying? GOD FOUND HIM FOR ME. HE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED. Isn't it so cool to think about the zillions of creative ways God finds to bring pleasure into our lives even when we don't deserve it? What an amazing, loving, compassionate God we serve!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010



Okay, in case you didn't know this, I had to make the HORRID decision to put my beloved 11-year-old collie down five weeks ago this morning. It was a sorrowful time that tore my heart into shreds. I mean I cried my everloving lungs out. THEN three weeks later I was in the same vet's office buying some cat food when I rec'd a phone call that my 96-year-old mom had just died. (I was planning to go visit her right after picking up the cat food.) Oh my--there are just no words to express the deep, heartrending, gut-wrenching mix of pain and emotion that follows news like that. My entire body ached from the shock of it, even though my mind told me I'd been preparing for it ever since Mom's Alzheimer's diagnosis in 2001. I discovered that day no amount of mental preparedness is sufficient.

The next few days were a whirlwind of planning, making arrangements, buying a casket, deciding what to have Mom wear, meeting with my precious family, i.e. brothers, sis-in-law, kids, nieces, nephews, etc., gathering pictures, going through mementos, losing lots of sleep, writing tributes, deciding what to say at the funeral--and on and on! Talk about an emotional five-day ride!

We were supposed to go to Florida the day my mom died, so, of course, plans changed, but then 2 days after the funeral Cecil went on without me so he could keep several appointments he'd made with clients, and it was fine with me that he went. I have actually enjoyed my solitude and quiet time to reflect. I love, love, love people, but I also enjoy the peace and rest that come from a stone-quiet house.

Well, yesterday I received in the mail a valentine from my husband. He put it in the mail a week ago
BEFORE he even knew I was about to go into puppy-shopping mode. Enclosed in the BEAUTIFUL valentine was a letter to me and a blank check, telling me that when I felt ready I was to purchase the puppy of my choice. Let me tell you, I could not believe his precious generosity because he is NOT a dog person. We have had a dog all our married life (almost 35 years) because of ME. And now he was endorsing my getting another dog. Because he loves me!

Well, as some of you know--if you read the blog before this one--I picked out my puppy and showed you some pictures of him. (Go back and check them out!) The pup's in Florida, exactly where Cecil is right now on business. So, he is going to swing by and pick him up on his way north early this Saturday and drive the 1200 miles home with him. Can you imagine a non-dog-loving person doing that? It's because he LOVES me!!!

My pup's name is Peyton (after Peyton Manning, our favorite Colts quarterback) because I found him online on Super Bowl Sunday.

I LOVE MY WONDERFUL, GENEROUS, HONORABLE, SACRIFICIAL, ADORING HUSBAND!!!! And let me just say this, he "gets" me when it comes to my love of dogs, and especially collies.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


Oh, my word, oh, my word! I can't believe it--I am getting a new puppy, and he will be here THIS WEEKEND! Petco, here I come!

Okay, so I told you that I was going to go look at some 4-week-old puppies this weekend, but something "in" me just didn't feel quite right. I mean I really had sort of wanted an older puppy, one that had some bladder control, partial training, and was already accustomed to the crate, etc. (Like closer to 4-5 months in age.) Since I'm partial to WHITE-factored collies, that's what I've been looking for. I looked online--AGAIN--and suddenly came upon this precious little "boy". He's almost 5-months old, and here are his attributes: mild-mannered, non barker, loves children, crate trained, housebroken, all shots, leash trained, smart, and obedient. I mean--does this not sound like the perfect boy to you? The slight hitch is that I live in Michigan--and he's in Florida--but as God would have it (yes, my loving, creative, generous God), Cecil is in Florida this very week--so he can bring him home. (PRAY FOR CECIL!!!! haha).

I am all giddy and heart-thumpingly excited right now. (You can't tell, can you?)

And here is the best part. I found him on Super Bowl Sunday, so I'm naming him Peyton, after our family's favorite Colt's quarterback, Peyton Manning.

Thank you, Lord, for all things great and small. Here're some pics of my new boy, Peyton. As you can see he is mostly white. The pic of the bigger dog is his champion daddy.


Saturday, February 06, 2010


Okay, so my brain is switching to "puppy shopping" mode, even though we just put Dakota down four weeks ago and I swore I would never get another dog. I am 61-years-old, which is MUCH too old for another baby, but, alas, if i don't have to birth it it doesn't sound half bad. Am I NUTS, I ask? There's pee and poop to consider, and vet bills, and training, and EXERCISE! Hello--what am I thinking? I'm thinking I need to feel the love of a puppy, that's what I'm thinking.

Dogs are amazing creatures--to people who love dogs. If you're not a dog lover (like my adoring husband), then you don't quite "get" it. I am just blessed enough to have a man who says, "Honey, if a puppy would help to heal you, I think you should get one." Isn't that the sweetest thing you ever heard? From one who would NEVER have owned a single dog in his life were it not for me?

I thought I would die myself when we put Dakota down, and I felt the weight of his 20# head fall into my arms when he breathed his last. My cries went through the ceiling in that little 12X12' room at the vet's office--and Cecil had to hold me up as we left him lying there on his favorite blanket and walked out to the car. I went home that day and knelt on his big pillowy bed and cried and prayed and cried, thanking God for the 10+ years I'd had with Dakota.

And then three weeks later to the day, and almost the exact hour, I found myself back in the vet's office buying a bag of cat food when my phone rang. Fishing it out of my purse, I quickly answered it on the fourth ring.

"This is Connie from Hospice. I'm with your mom."

"Oh, goodie," I said. "I'm so happy you're there. I'm on my way to see Mom right now." I love Connie. She is a modern-day hippie. You should see the garb she wears. And she has an amazingly big heart.

"I'm sorry to tell you this, but your mom just died."

What? Huh? Is this a dream? My mind could not wrap itself around her words. I paid for the cat food, muttered my thanks, and stumbled out into the frigid air, fumbling for my keys, staring at the road, repeating, "Jesus, help me. Jesus, help me."

And so for the next four days--as we made funeral arrangements, called friends and relatives--bought a casket--I thought I would die myself. Again. Losing a beloved pet is heartbreaking; losing a mother is heart-ripping, mind-numbing, soul-stinging. I cannot tell you.

But here I am going about my days, mostly not dealing with the pain as I probably should because I am alone in my house for two weeks. It's okay, though. I TOLD Cecil to go on his business trip because I would be fine, and I am fine. I lean on Jesus, and I am totally and completely fine.

But I am also a little bit lost. I know there will be days ahead in which I'll weep and wail and ache with my whole body.

So, that is why I am thinking "puppy" again. I have decided that my heart is willing to risk the pain of another loss in order to rediscover the joys of puppy breath and warm, fuzzy fur. Dogs (for me, anyway) have an uncanny ability to fill up the darkest, loneliest corners of the heart.

I found this litter of four-week-old collies that Krissi and I are going to go look at next Friday. If I find a little boy I can't live without I will dole out the down-payment.

I think I am about to fall in love all over again.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010



This is NOT a pushover test. There are 20 questions. Average score is 12. It will help if you are over 60! This one will be difficult for the younger set. Have fun, but no peeking at the answers below!

1. What builds strong bodies 12 ways?
A. Flintstones vitamins
B. The Buttmaster
C. Spaghetti
D. Wonder Bread
E. Orange Juice
F. Milk
G. Cod Liver Oil

2. Before he was Muhammed Ali, he was...
A. Sugar Ray Robinson
B. Roy Orbison
C. Gene Autry
D. Rudolph Valentino
E. Fabian
F. Mickey Mantle
G. Cassius Clay

3. Pogo, the comic strip character said, 'We have met the enemy and...
A. It's you
B. He is us
C. It's the Grinch
D. He wasn't home
E. He's really me an
F. We quit
G.. He surrendered

4. Good night, David.
A. Good night Chet
B. Sleep well
C. Good night, Irene
D. Good night, Gracie
E. See you later alligator
F. Until tomorrow
G. Good night, Steve

5. You'll wonder where the yellow went...
A. When you use Tide
B. When you lose your crayons
C. When you clean your tub
D. If you paint the room blue
E.. If you buy a soft water tank
F. When you use Lady Clairol
G. When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent

6. Before he was the Skipper's Little Buddy, Bob Denver was Dobie's friend...
A. Stuart Whitman
B. Randolph Scott
C. Steve Reeves
D. Maynard G. Krebbs
E. Corky B. Dork
F. Dave the Whale
G. Zippy Zoo

7. Liar, liar...
A. You're a liar
B. Your nose is growing
C. Pants on fire
D. Join the choir
E. Jump up higher
F. On the wire
G. I'm telling Mom

8. Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, Superman fights a never ending battle for truth, justice and...
A. Wheaties
B. Lois Lane
C. TV ratings
D. World peace
E. Red tights
F. The American way
G. News headlines

9. Hey kids! What time is it?
A. It's time for Yogi Bear
B. It's time to do your homework
C. It's Howdy Doody Time
D. It's Time for Romper Room
E. It's bedtime
F. The Mighty Mouse Hour
G. Scoopy Doo Time

10. Lions and tigers and bears...
A. Yikes
B. Oh no
C. Gee whiz
D. I'm scared
E. Oh my
F. Help! Help!
G. Let's run

11. Bob Dylan advised us never to trust anyone...
A. Over 40
B. Wearing a uniform
C. Carrying a briefcase
D. Over 30
E. You don't know
F. Who says, 'Trust me'
G. Who eats tofu

12. NFL quarterback who appeared in a television commercial wearing women's stockings...
A. Troy Aikman
B.. Kenny Stabler
C. Joe Namath
D. Roger Stauback
E. Joe Montana
F. Steve Young
G. John Elway

13. Brylcream...
A. Smear it on
B. You'll smell great
C. Tame that cowlick
D.. Grease ball heaven
E. It's a dream
F. We're your team
G. A little dab'll do ya

14. I found my thrill...
A. In Blueberry muffins
B. With my man, Bill
C. Down at the mill
D. Over the windowsill
E. With thyme and dill
F. Too late to enjoy
G. On Blueberry Hill

15. Before Robin Williams, Peter Pan was played by...
A. Clark Gable
B. Mary Martin
C. Doris Day
D. Errol Flynn
E. Sally Fields
F. Jim Carey
G. Jay Leno

16. Name the Beatles...
A. John, Steve, George, Ringo
B. John, Paul, George, Roscoe
C. John, Paul, Stacey, Ringo
D. Jay, Paul, George, Ringo
E. Lewis, Peter, George, Ringo
F. Jason, Betty, Skipper, Hazel
G. John, Paul, George, Ringo

17. I wonder, wonder, who...
A. Who ate the leftovers?
B. Who did the laundry?
C. Was it you?
D. Who wrote the book of love?
E. Who I am?
F. Passed the test?
G. Knocked on the door?

18. I'm strong to the finish...
A. Cause I eats my broccoli
B. Cause I eats me spinach
C. Cause I lift weights
D. Cause I'm the hero
E. And don't you forget it
F. Cause Olive Oyl loves me
G. To outlast Bruto

19. When it's least expected, you're elected, you're the star today...
A. Smile, you're on Candid Camera
B. Smile, you're on Star Search
C. Smile, you won the lottery
D. Smile, we're watching you
E. Smile, the world sees you
F. Smile, you're a hit
G. Smile, you're on TV

20. What do M & M's do?
A. Make your tummy happy
B. Melt in your mouth, not in your pocket
C. Make you fat
D.. Melt your heart
E. Make you popular
F. Melt in your mouth, not in your hand
G. Come in colors





Below are the right answers:
1. D - Wonder Bread
2. G - Cassius Clay
3. B - He Is Us
4.. A - Good night, Chet
5. G - When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent
6. D - Maynard G. Krebbs
7. C - Pants On Fire
8. F - The American Way
9. C - It's Howdy Doody Time
10. E - Oh My
11. D - Over 30
12. C - Joe Namath
13. G - A little dab'll do ya
14. G - On Blueberry Hill
15. B - Mary Martin
16. G - John, Paul, George, Ringo
17. D - Who wrote the book of Love
18. B - Cause I eats me spinach
19. A - Smile, you're on Candid Camera
20. F - Melt In Your Mouth Not In Your Hand