Sunday, September 30, 2012

Have any good news?

“A twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart, and good news makes you feel fit as a fiddle.” 
Proverbs 15:30 The Message 

 Everybody loves to hear good news, whether it’s a healthy report from the doctor or a good grade on a paper or a raise at work. It’s amazing what it can do to your spirits.

What about bad news? It is so easy to let bad news bring us down more than we feel good news raise us up. And if you get good news and bad news on the same day, which is the one you carry with you? I’m guessing it’s the bad news.

Today, take whatever news you get, whether good or bad, and turn it into something positive. No matter what you’re dealing with, turn that frown upside down. With a twinkle in your eye, make the best of what you have.
The pictures are from the Wisconsin Valley Farm this past summer. 
Make every day a blue ribbon day. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dreams - or not

“It’s better sometimes when we don’t get to touch our dreams.”
From Sequel by Harry Chapin

I know. This quote from a song from long ago seems rather depressing. Kind of like the reverse of saying “tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all”.

It is all just sort of worrisome. Maybe it is better to play it safe, don’t love, don’t dream. Don’t get your heart broken.

Here’s a big revelation. When I was in high school and even in college, I never pictured myself getting married or having kids or living in my own house or even having a career. I never dreamed of having any of that stuff. I saw myself living in a one bedroom apartment in the second story of an old house in the city. Maybe I could have a cat for a pet, but I thought maybe a hamster or a fish would be better. I’d work as a clerk at a store and walk to work, not even own a car.

And all alone in my apartment at night, I would type furiously on my typewriter (because who knew that word processing would take off) and write the great American novel.

OK, so one thing out of that big fantasy of mine might come true. If only I’m not afraid to touch that dream.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bunny the Pig

Ok, we have all had pets which have wound their way around our hearts, little furry creatures who made each day a little bit brighter just by being there with their eyes full of devotion. And then there are other pets. Pets like Bunny the Pig.

Remember junior high science class, sitting in the room with the animals in cages in the back? You know the room I’m talking about, the room with the guinea pigs. The science teacher would open the refrigerator for something or other and the little guinea pigs would squeak in delight, sure that they were going to get a lettuce treat. Do you remember? 

That’s when I decided that someday I would get me a guinea pig. Flash forward many years and many pets to a daughter who wanted a guinea pig, had to have a guinea pig. And there was her dad, living 400 miles away in a different state offering to give her the guinea pig which her step-sister and half-sister no longer wanted.

I do tend to take in the strays.

So, Bunny the Pig came home to live in our basement for many years. The poor thing. With cats and dogs already in the house, she couldn’t live upstairs where one bedroom door left open would be her demise (I will share the hamster story another time). So she was sequestered to the office in the basement, where the door was always sure to stay closed. 

After what seemed like a few decades – I truly lost track, but someone thought it was seven years! – Bunny took a road trip back to South Dakota, from whence she came. My daughter’s sisters said that the guinea pig lived on for several more years.

And who would have ever guessed that while on a volunteer trip to Peru I would someday eat guinea pig. And like it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Guess who's back??

“Your God is gracious and kind and won’t snub you—come back and he’ll welcome you with open arms.” 2 Chronicles 30:9 The Message 

 Look who’s back! Yes, it’s our sweet little Brewster. Remember him from earlier in the year? I picked him up yesterday afternoon. He is only staying two nights and then my hubby is taking him down to his mommy who is working for two months in Iowa.
 I can’t say that the other cats welcomed him with open arms, but there have been no fights. Only a few hisses. Basically it’s as if he never left.

Just imagine that day when we are welcomed into heaven. It will be as if we had always been there. We will be met with open arms. And we will be made at home, in a home we will live in at peace for all eternity.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Different "S"

Ok, so I believe that on Thursday nights, I promised I would blog about either a saying, a song or a sign. I was going to add to that "silliness" today, as I was going to blog about something silly, but I got sidetracked when I went to pull the silly pictures off of the camera. So, instead, today, I bring you "Sky".

 I took these pictures last night right outside my house around 6:30 or 7:00 as a storm had just finished blowing through.
 What a fascinating sky. The yellow glow was eerie, almost surreal.
 You can just make out the maple in the back beginning its red autumn show.
 With the amazing digital cameras and cool computer programs, we can make our pictures look like anything we want. All of the pictures above, however, are exactly as they came out of the camera, no retouching of the colors or exposure, just a little bit of cropping. The photo below? I hit the "auto-fix" button on the computer. Hmm? Sometimes Mother Nature does a better job, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romancing the Past

This past Saturday, I visited the castle north of my town. Who knew my little Northwoods city had its own castle. Its name is Kelley Arms and it is a work in progress. Looks pretty good on the outside, but inside - not finished much at all, just one room. The owner lives and works full-time about 45 minutes away, so only has weekends to devote to his dream project, doing all of the work himself. 

There is a moat, so to speak.
 A canon for protection.
Even a dungeon if you have been really bad.
 From the parapets at the very top, there are views to watch for invaders via land.
As well as via sea.
What makes castles so fascinating, so romantic? They are from a time when life was harsh, and smelly. No one took showers! There was no indoor plumbing. No electricity, which meant no refrigeration to keep your food or beverages cold. And have you seen those dresses the women wore? Very beautiful, but do you want to wear all that heavy fabric when it is 85 degrees outside? And you guys? You want to wear tights, right?

In two weeks we are planning a trip to Minnesota's Renaissance Festival. One day of frivolity, jousting, drumsticks and porta-potties. It will be fun; it always is. But I still like my modern house with its modern conveniences. 

But a castle on weekends? That would be cool. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012


"Therefore I tell you whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24

I have had one crummy week. It all seemed to come to a head when Mom called at 11:51 Friday night to tell me she had been having chest pain for an hour. I'm glad they kept Mom in the hospital until today, but I still didn't crawl back in bed until after five Saturday morning. Mom's going to be OK, so that's all that really matters. 

I’ve worked in the medical field for 25 years, so I know what the doctor on-call in the ER goes through on a busy night. When it is three am and he has been at the hospital, on his feet, for 19 hours straight and this sweet little 85-year-old lady tells him about an angina attack she had 40 years before, I can sympathize with him. Not with the little old lady so much.

I wanted to say, “Mom, please let the doctor get back to work, or maybe back to sleep.”

I am so glad that when it is three am and I feel the need to talk to someone, all I have to do is pray. God will listen. He won’t back out of the room or say He has more important things to attend to. His eyes won’t glaze over. He will be there any time of the day or night.

Hmm? I’ve been awake almost every night at three am this past week, I really should take my own advice.  And what splinters have to do with any of this, I am not sure, except that those pieces of wood is kind of how I've felt all week.  

And please, oh please, if anyone knows my mom, do not tell her about this blog. I’m always promising her that I never write about her. (And Mom's doctor didn't back out of the room on her, and I think his eyes were glazed over before he came in the room. For those of you living in my town, you know how busy our ER was this busy weekend.) 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What makes this picture weird?

I woke up at 3:30 this morning with a saying running through my head. That was followed pretty quickly with the entire blog which I would write and post tonight. Of course, then around 4:40 a.m. I finally went back to sleep and dreamed away a good deal of what I was going to write. I thought that I could reconstruct most of it tonight, but just now when I went looking for the picture that I wanted, I couldn’t find it.

I found this one instead. This is a classic, an honest to goodness picture of the five pets we had at one time and none of them had to be photo-shot into the scene, which I would probably have to do with our current five critters.

Here we have Shadow and Pepper, the two cockers, along with Pebbles, Bam-Bam and Keshia. I think I have written about the three cats before, but I will have to look back regarding those two stupid cocker spaniels.  

The date on the back of the picture is stamped “September 13, 2001”. Wow. Weird. That reminds me of the anniversary we have today. I know it’s not the exact date, but still - weird. I think so anyway.   

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What is loyalty?

A friend is always loyal. Proverbs 17:17a New Living Translation

My friend Phyllis was here last weekend. I try to get over to Minnesota to see her once a year, and she manages to come here a couple times a year. We talk on the phone once or twice a month. Whenever we are together, the fact that we really have little in common glares at me. But it doesn’t really matter, she is still my best friend.

Yesterday I hung out with two of my other best friends who I also only see a few times a year. We had such a good time, laughing and teasing each other. Remember Brewster, the cat I babysat for four months? Linda is his mommy and she leaves today for another job, this time in Iowa. Joy and I made plans to go down and see her later this fall.

My closest friends are the people I can turn to when I need someone, they make me laugh and they don’t care what I wear or how I look. They love me just the way I am, and that’s how I feel about them. I don’t need to see them or even talk to them every day. I know that they will be there for me when the chips are down. 
Lord God, thank you for friends. Thank you for their support and guidance. And even more so thank You for being my friend too. Amen. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


This poem was written by Jennie Adams, a nurse and Baptist missionary to the Phillipines.  At the Green Lake Conference Center there is a trail through the woods along which there is a series of such signs with the entire poem she had written. At the end of that path sits Hopevale Cathedral in the Glen, a replica of the chapel where Jennie worshiped as a refuge at Paney in the Phillipines. In December 1943, she and ten other missionaries were martyred by the Japanese.
Wow, I would love to write up this whole story for you here, but please check out this website, for the whole story. Some day, when I have time (like that will happen any time soon), I would like to learn more about this courageous woman and those who were with her that day.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Update from the dog

Hey, world, it's me, Dino the Wonder Dog. I know you haven't heard from me in a long time. Mom has had so many ideas for things to write about. She has been burning up the computer. But I think she needs a break.

She has so many beans to freeze, too. I gave her the puppy look and so she let me write her blog tonight so she could get other stuff done. Then as soon as she is done with her other stuff, she can spend her time on the computer working on her book. She is revising her book about her trip to Africa and really wants to see it get published. By the end of the week she hopes to e-mail it to a publisher who already told her that he would look at it.

Do you think that at the front of the book when she thanks everyone who helped her write the book, that she will thank me?

Oh, and this picture is of me and Alice looking out the patio door. Alice is ok but she is annoying sometimes. I think she thinks she's a dog.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Never Left Behind

“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 New King James Version (NKJV)

When I was five years old, my parents bought a camper for their pickup truck. Every summer after that, my parents and the dog would load into the truck, and my sister and I would pile into the camper and we would travel somewhere across the country. We visited Yellowstone, the Black Hills, Grand Canyon, Texas, Virginia, Niagara Falls and nearly every place in between. Lying on the bed above the cab of the truck, looking out our own picture window as our parents drove down the road, my sister and I witnessed all the beauty which God has given us in the land we live in.

When I was 12 years old we traveled into Canada, following the Lake Superior shoreline as far as Thunder Bay. At one point, we pulled into a small wayside for the usual pitstop. Dad took the dog for a walk, Mom and my sister used the outhouse, and I wandered around aimlessly. After I had explored as much as I could, I decided that I also should use the facilities.

When I came out of the restroom, the camper was no longer parked where I was pretty sure it had been. I scanned the parking lot. There was our truck driving away. My mom and dad were leaving me behind, in a foreign country no less. Ok, maybe it was only Canada, but still.

I started racing for it. I’ve never been athletic and at the time, as an awkward pre-teen, I couldn’t get my legs to move nearly fast enough. I felt as though I was running through knee-deep mud.

I saw my opportunity though, as the truck began to slow down for the stop sign before entering the highway. Just as I was almost there, the back door of the camper flew open.

When my parents were getting ready to leave, they saw my sister climb in the back and figured that I had to be with her, as we were usually inseparable. My sister had thought that for some reason, I had decided to ride in the cab of the truck with our parents. Until she looked through the window into the truck and saw that I wasn’t there. She had pounded on the camper window, but with the truck window in between, they hadn’t heard her. That was when she took action and threw open the door.

As I got to the camper, she reached down, grabbed my hand and pulled me in just as my dad hit the gas and turned into the highway. My parents didn’t realize until hours later when they stopped again that I had almost been left behind.

Luckily, we never have to worry about being left behind. Whenever the trials of life are bombarding us, when we feel like giving up, when we just can’t run fast enough, when we feel like we will be left behind, all we have to do is look up. God will be there with a strong hand reaching down to us, to pull us into His embrace.

As a side note, as soon as we got home from that camping trip, Dad installed an intercom system between the cab of the truck and the camper. With the push of a button, we would be able to communicate with whoever was in the front seat and they could likewise talk to whoever was in back.

We also have a direct intercom system to our heavenly Father. Prayer.

Heavenly Father, thank you for always being there for us, reaching down to take our hand whenever we are in need. You hear our every prayer, you will never leave us or forsake us. Amen

(This is the devotion which I shared at the Green Lake Christian Writers Conference on August 22. And here I am on the big stage sharing this crazy story.)