Saturday, January 31, 2015

Post-Op Shenanigans

Never leave inflatable gloves
where crazy peoples
can reach them.


Monday, January 26, 2015


The rains came and the dam just outside of town broke. The water came rushing into town and began to rise around the houses.
A man was standing in his living room, water up to his ankles when his neighbor pulled up in the driveway in his SUV. “Come on, get in! I can help you! We’ll drive out of here before the water gets too high!”
The man smiled from his door and waved his friend on, “I’ve been praying! God will take care of me. Thanks, though!”  And his neighbor drove out of the neighborhood.
Soon the waters were so high the man had to go to the second floor of his house. The water was just below the sill of his upstairs window when one of his church friends came by in a fishing boat. “Get in! I can help by getting you out of here before the water gets too high!”
The man smiled from the window and waved his friend on. “No, it’s ok. I’ve been praying! God will take care of me. Thanks, though!” And his friend from church left.
Soon the waters were up to the gutters and the man was on his roof. Overhead came a police helicopter. They dropped a rope and yelled down to the man, “Grab on! We’ll help you! We will haul you up and save you before the waters consume your house!”
The man smiled and waved, refusing to grab hold of the rope. “No, please go. I’ve been praying! God will take care of me. Thanks, though!” And the helicopter flew away.
A short time later the waters consumed his home and the man drowned in the rushing water. At once, he was standing at the gates of heaven. God opened the gate with a look of surprise on his face and said, “What are YOU doing here? You’re not supposed to be here for years!”
And the man says, “Well lord, the dam broke and waters flooded the town. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed for you to save me from my trouble but you never showed up and I drowned.”
And God said, “Man, what about the SUV and the boat and the helicopter I sent?????”

Pray without ceasing,
expect miracles
and don't miss the lifeboats
God sends to your stormy seas.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

And So It Begins

Here is how it starts.
We'll be sitting in the usual spot.
A restaurant.
A coffee shop
Like this one.
A favorite.

It will be a neighborhood sort of place
where people sit with laptops
and study
or biking buddies
and stop for a caffeine buzz
mid-morning ride
or catch up
over breakfast
with old friends.
It will be a
come as you are
kind of place
whether as you are be
yoga pants and sneakers
or college sweatshirt
and backpack.
It will be an Iowa sort of place.
With a hometown feel
and friendly chatter
drifting around the room
on the fragrance of coffee
good and strong.
And then they appear.
The entourage.
They will be polished
and properly dressed
for a Wall Street meeting
with $150 haircuts.
They will be smiling
just a little too big,
talking a little too loud,
eyes scanning the room
to see
who is present
who is watching.
And they will orbit
like little
crisp-shirted planets
around the
Star of the Day:
The Candidate.
And then
In. Walks. The. Candidate.
they will be dressed in
one of two ways:
crisp, white shirt
with proper accents of
flag red or flag blue
in the tie/scarf/jewelry
farm-family casual
with sleeves rolled up just-so
and everyman/everywoman pants and shoes.

(Hog-lot appropriate, just in case.)
There will be baby kissing.

 And burger flipping.

There will be inspection of corn notsogood.

And corn lookingnotgreatbutbetter.
(No political lean intended here
not even a little bit
doesn't this photo just scream
"I spend lots of time in farm fields!"
I think so too.
So anyway.
That's what they'll be wearing.
Today Chris Christie
chose the more formal attire
when he walked into the
local hangout
for breakfast and coffee.
Crisp, white shirt.
No jacket.
Dress pants.
As a politico friend of mine said
when I told him about seeing him here,
"And so it begins."
Today Governor Christie
was the first in what will be a
nonstop parade
of would-be candidates
and candidates
and probably
Bruce Springsteen.
And while it will look like
every person living in Iowa
came out to greet them
in general
no matter where they all go
the reaction will pretty much
be the same:
We'll keep drinking our coffee.
And talking about our kids.
And checking our phones to make sure
we're not late for our grandson's ballgame.
Because we're so used to having these folks around.
We remember not to park on certain streets
because CNN and all of the other satellite trucks
are blocking more than their share of lanes.
We see news anchors sitting at bars.
Press secretaries ordering lunch.
Celebrities ducking into Starbucks.
First ladies caravans
making us late to work.
It's all part of the game.
And every campaign
it starts earlier.

Can you spot the maybe-candidate for President in this picture?
(Hint: it's not the one with hands clasped like a reverent nun.)
(I made it easy, follow the arrow....yep, the one
basking in the glow. Sidenote: it was glowing in that spot
before he arrived.
Just sayin.)
Can you spot the TV camera?
Can you spot the weary reporter?
(Buck up, kid. It's a long road to the election and you might
as well grab a punch card. You're going to be
earning lots of free coffee in this state.)
CAN YOU spot the incognito security guy??
(Hint: He needs to review the Incognito Manual)
And so it begins.
Welcome would-be, won't-be and I-hope-you'll-be candidates.
You pump fistfuls of cash
into our local economy
with your expense accounts.
We're glad you're here
and you can be sure
regardless of political ilk
we'll welcome you like neighbors.

A Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
There is a time for all things;
a time for all of these good and right things
in the unfolding.
It's good.
It's all very very good.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Should I
possibly suggest,
through my frequent choice of
inspirational thoughts,
a life
free of the usual
day to day complexities
and indignities
everyone else suffers,
here's this mornings
down and dirty:
3 AM
Sound asleep.
Awakened abruptly
from a warm and
snuggled-in sleep,
by the sound of this one
horking hairballs
onto my second-favorite pillow
about three inches from
my head.
Sweet face or no,
we were not amused.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I'm Here

I can't erase the past.
But I'll keep pointing at the future
and reminding you
every day is new.
I can't answer every question.
But I'll pray while you seek
the answers.
I'll walk next to you.
And sit with you.
And stand by you.
I will listen.
I will hug.
I will cry.
I will laugh.

I'm not going anywhere.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Embracing the Burden

While there are
plenty of things
I don't like about the amazing
advances in technology
and our increased
ability to communicate,
I take full advantage
of the beauty
of those advances

Every morning
I spend an hour or so
listening and learning
from messages
posted online
by a variety of churches.

One of them is
North Point Church
in Atlanta
where Andy Stanley is pastor.

It took me a while
to find my place
as a student of
Andy's teaching
but I'm there now.

This is a favorite thought
which recently
resonated with me
in a powerful way.

One of these days
when the time is right
and my puzzle pieces are fitted
just a wee bit tighter
corners secure,
I'll tell you about the burden on my heart.
Not today. 

let me tell you how
an Iowa girl
came to listen and learn
with the congregation of
North Point Church
in Atlanta, Georgia.

My dearest, sweet
and much-adored mentor
Judy W
used to say to me
in her slight Southern drawl
if you love Dr. Charles Stanley
you absolutely MUST
listen to his son, Andy."
First thing:
No, my name isn't Meggie.
She called me that
because she thought
(don't choke here, I have no clue why)
I looked like Meg Ryan
the first time we met
when taking a shared class
on the University of Denver campus.

(Sorry Judy. Not even in dim light on a cloudy day.
I blurred sweet Meggie up a bit and hid behind a weed, too.
Nope. No resemblance, gurrrrrrl. None.)
You just muuuuuuuuuust
listen to his sermons.
Oh darling girl,
he is sooooooo much better
than his Daddy and you knowwwwwww
how I love his Daddy!"
Second thing:
Yes, Judy was a cherished friend and mentor.
No, I had no inclination to
follow this particular advice
because her description
sorta made me think of some
young kid
standing up in front of a congregation
hot-dogging on his Daddy's coat tails
and I had no interest
in entertaining
sort of sideshow.
Yeah, that's really what I thought.
Shame on me.
Shame on me for not trusting my Judy
who was to be trusted
in all things
if anyone at all
can ever be trusted.
But on this count,
I just ignored her advice.
I liked Dr. Charles Stanley.
Loved him, actually.
I'd listened to him on the radio
for years.
No reason to
go in search
of his kid.
Fast-forward a few years.
My precious friend
went home to be with the Lord
years ago after a brave
battle with cancer.
I miss her terribly.
Actually I still write her emails now and then.
And no, I don't think she's checking them out
from heaven.
And I honestly don't know
what happens to our email boxes
when we die.
But our friendship lived
mostly on computer screens
and email pages
since she lived in Colorado
and I lived in Iowa.
It just seems natural to
continue chatting with her
by email
now and then.
I miss her
and credit her with
teaching me so many many things
and serving as a treasured
and much-revered mother figure
in my adult life.
This summer
quite unexpectedly
I came face to face
with some heart challenges
which required the
serious stretching of my
faith muscles.
I thought I was pretty good on the
faith treadmill
but a few intense miles
reminded me
my spirit was in need of
deeper conditioning.
Seeking to
deepen my
of God's Word
and his direction in my life
I reflected on
the wisdom shared with me
through the years
by wise friends
as I sought direction
and a stronger faith
to rely on
as I walked
some unexpected paths
of confusion
and challenge.
In the midst of it
I heard Judy's sweet voice
urging me to listen and learn from
her favorite pastor on earth:
Andy Stanley.
Years after her
gentlest of persuasion,
I gave in to the urging
of that dear voice.
I went looking for Andy.
I'm so glad I did.
He's a wonderful speaker
I love his scripture-based messages
which I find
feed my soul
pique my interest to learn more
and help satisfy my longing to grow
deeper in my
walk with Jesus.
I am so very, very thankful for North Point Church
from whose platform he (and others) preach.
I'm thankful
Sunday service messages
from North Point Church services
are available online.
And I'm so thankful to my
dear Judy for hounding me
over and over
and over
to listen. 
Miss you, dear one.
I'm listening.
I'm learning.

Most recently I went through a 2-part series called
Killin' It.

Y'oughta give a listen.
Click below.
And I hope the messages
bless your heart
like they did mine.

North Point Church / Killin' It Series

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Proper Place for Every Thing

I never use a recipe
so the meatloaf is different
every time.
This weekend's version?
It was
pretty darn good
~ especially good, I might even venture ~
if I do say so myself.
I only wish
I'd remembered
to put the leftovers
into the refrigerator
after wrapping them
with a Ziploc
instead of leaving them
on the kitchen counter.
I knew the winter birds
would be just
so excited
when I bought the big bag
of sunflower seeds.
How I wish
I had remembered
to put it up in the cupboard
instead of leaving it
on a lower
kitchen shelf.

As the temperatures drop
the dry air
assaults my skin
in the worst way
leaving my little
crackled-up self
for humidity.
My squatty bit of a
favorite tube of
is the bestest
of forever friends
in the winter.
Just a dab!
It's so concentrated
that's all I need.
My goodness
how I wish
I'd remembered to tuck that tube
into a drawer of my bedside table
instead of leaving it
lying on the bed yesterday morning
after my shower.

???????? WHAT ???????? 

Friday, January 09, 2015

It's All About the Shirt

It's my
good luck shirt.
I walk further
and work harder
when I wear it
to the gym.
I really
think I do.
They're more like
afternoon moves
but they're
good moves
all the same.
And that's what
the ol' girl
was needing.
Thank you, Bob Seger.
Just a few
good moves
to get ready for a
brand new knee
in two weeks. 


Don't mind it.
As long as the furnace is working.
(It wasn't)
As long as the remote start on my car is working
so I can warm it up and get those sweet, heated seats cranked up to
warm-bun cozy before I have to sit on them.
(It isn't)
As long as I don't have to go outside into the cold.
(I do.)

If that be the case
and I must venture out
to test my wits against the elements
of nature
I'm thankful to do so
wrapped in a
clump-lusciously fabulous
hand-knitted scarf
to keep my neck
Thank you, crafty niece!
Mehhhh, it ain't so bad.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015


This year
instead of thinking
and planning
and considering
I'm just
buckling in
rolling down the window
throwing back my head
and enjoying
the ride.

What's the worst thing that could happen?
I'll be swept away by a moment?
Taken completely by surprise?
Rendered speechless
(don't bet on it)
at how fun life is
on a road
without a map?

Patience doesn't mean making a pact with the devil of denial
ignoring our emotions and aspirations
It means being wholeheartedly engaged in the process that's unfolding
rather than ripping open
a budding flower
or demanding a caterpillar
hurry up and get that chrysalis stage
over with.
Sharon Salzburg

The voice I hear
is just a whisper
but the words
are clear.
Oh Debbie
relax and enjoy the ride,
I got all of this.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Glorious Sunrise; Beautiful Day

The day started with a text message
which arrived as my cat was trying to talk me
into getting out of bed.
I was up earlier.
Crawled back in.
Good morning! Look at this glorious sunrise!
Suggest you have a little preparation at home
in case of surprise snow event.

Glorious sunrise, indeed!
Man, I wish I had a view of it in the mornings.
Sunrise is my favorite time of day.
I got up and checked out my sliver of a view.
Glorious, indeed!
Even just my tiny little sliver of it was so lovely 
through the living room window.
I figured it was just a joke.
A few hours later
right after lunch
the snow started to fall
and it just kept snowing and snowing
until I packed up and left work early
wondering about the roads.
I didn't have to wonder long.
The roads sucked.
The snow was coming down so hard
I couldn't keep my windshield clear.
Ice was building up.
I used my washer fluid.
Now the ice was thicker but
a really really pretty
bright blue.
Finally I had to jump out of the car
while stopped at a light
in traffic
and see if I could snap some of the ice
from my wiper blades.
"SNAP" would be the pivotal word here.
Snap, indeed.
I flicked at the ice on the blade and
S N A P.
and certainly inopportune
considering all the cars around me,
the whiteout conditions
and the thick layer of ice on my windshield.....
all of a sudden I was holding
a wiper blade in my hand.
It was an odd feeling.
I liken it to what one might sense
should one reach out to shake someone's hand
and end up pulling their arm off.
Not a good feeling.
Not a good feeling at all.
I looked over at the guy sitting next to me
in traffic and his eyes
were bugged out
staring at me
not wanting to laugh
at me standing there with my wiper blade
in my hand
and praying
I'm pretty sure
I wouldn't yell
"Help me!"
in his direction.
When the snow is falling
and the wind is blowing
and ice is building up
it's every driver for themselves.
Whatever, dude.
I got this.
I know wiper blades snap back on.
No problem.
I got this.
There was too much ice on the blade
to quickly snap it into place.
The lights were changing.
Traffic was starting to move.
There was no way to keep the windshield clear
no where to turn for help
and I'm not much for crying in traffic
so I got back in my car
and squeezed my brave little Saturn nose up
real nice and close to the truck in front of me.
We were cozy. Really cozy.
Cozy enough
I'm pretty sure my license plate number
is now tattooed on his rear bumper.
All the while he had no clue.
He was none the wiser
of our symbiotic relationship...
a truth which burdens me
with a small measure of guilt
I'm pretty sure
it wasn't nearly as fulfilling a relationship
for him
as it was for me.
That aside.
Thank you big truck
with big taillights
for helping me through the intersection.
I followed you for half a mile or so
until I finally slid onto a side street
and you left me.
After all we'd been through.
I watched your taillights disappear
and ok, I will admit it.
I almost
cried in traffic.
But, nope.
No sir.
You can leave me Mister
but you ain't gonna make me cry.
I had a wiper blade to re-attach.
So I ended up nose-first in a massive driveway
leading to a very large house
in a big neighborhood.
Up the road a US Mail truck
was making its way
box by box by roadside box
inching nearer
with every handful of mail
delivered to a nearby address.
I was a postal carrier for many years!
Fate has smiled down upon me.
A handy automotively-inclined mail delivery fellow
will no doubt
pull up here momentarily
and help me!
Wanting to look proficient and able
I leaned over my car,
ankle-deep in snow
and reached across the hood
to re-attach the blade.
And that's when the connection mechanism
broke into about three pieces
in my hand.
This is not good.
NOT good at all.
(Swearing was becoming an attractive option.)
So consumed was I
in the unfortunate circumstance of the
shattering connector
I failed to notice the mail carrier
exit his vehicle
walk up the driveway toward me
and stand by the opposite side of my car.
I looked up.
He smiled.
I smiled,
already grateful for the good training
afforded him by his dear mother.
My good Samaritan had arrived!
He handed me the mail.
Yeah. He handed me the mail.
And this is where the shameful thing happened.
It did.
I'm sorry.
It shouldn't have.
But it did.
I rolled my eyes.
I can eye-roll right up there with the best of them.
Not proud of it.
Not gonna promise I'll never do it again
I'm a work in progress, you know.
Right there in the snow
I looked into his smiling face
and I gave him my very best
eye roll
and I said
(quite possibly in a sarcastic tone of voice)
"Do I LOOK like I live here?"
Shame. Shame. Shame.
Shame, Debbie. Shame.
He's just a guy trying to do his job.
(Tried to hand off first-class personal mail to a total unidentified stranger
so I'm not saying he was doing his job WELL
but a guys gotta earn a living, right.)
He turned and cut a deep path through the long driveway of snow
to the front door of the house.
As he came back down the drive I immediately found it in my heart
to forgive him the rough start to our relationship.
"Well," I laughed, "I MIGHT have to sleep here
tonight if I can't figure out how to fix this wiper blade!"
Smiling at him
with a big
He smiled back.
He got in his truck and drove away.
Another snowstorm relationship bites the dust.
(Note to self, Deb:
You're going through men today
like a hooker goes through red lipstick.
Make note
to up your
damsel-in-distress game.
It's gonna be a long winter.)
Left to my own devices
shattered wiper connection in hand
I got on my phone and started texting
for possible help.
I did get a couple of interesting, helpful responses.
Mike was no where near and suggested I look up a
windshield wiper attachment tutorial on YouTube.
Ryan was miles away too
but wanted me to know he and his wife just found
the "Free Babysitting" coupon I gave them as a shower gift when
their now-toddler was born and by the way, does this thing expire
and had I heard they were having twins?
I knew Bill was no where near
I just needed the moral support
and I asked him to pray.
That's what I was doing.
I was standing in what was actually
a beautiful snowstorm
in a neighborhood of beautiful homes
and magnificent old trees
looking up through the branches
and asking,
"God, what am I gonna do??"
No way to call road service, it'd be hours.
I couldn't see to drive, the ice and snow kept building up
even as I scraped it off with my glove.
Everyone else was stuck in their own snowstorm trouble.
The snow wasn't going to be stopping until hours later.
It was gonna get dark soon.
"What am I gonna do?"
My reaction to this kinda stuff is always
pretty much the same.
I laugh.
I do.
Ridiculous situations
you'd more likely see on a sitcom
always just make me laugh.
You were standing in traffic
in a snowstorm
and your wiper blade busts off in your hand?
That's funny, right there.
We might be frozen to death by morning
in a strangers driveway
but that is funny.
As I laughed,
all I could think was.....
well girl, let's make MacGuyver proud.
I started plowing through the resources in my car:
Seven Starbucks stir sticks
A spatula.
A bottle of Windex.
 A nice selection of CDs in a variety of musical genres.
A dog bone.
Three Bic pens (medium point)
and a big, long stem of dried switchgrass,
a souvenir from a summer Sunday
road cruise.
And my gloves.
And the rubber handle that slipped off
my snowscraper, last storm.
I know it looks like I ran down Mickey Mouse
but that's my glove
stretched over the rubber handle of my ice scraper
and squished onto the little
of my windshield wipers.
I got back in the car
said another prayer,
pushed back into traffic
in the direction of a service center
just a couple of miles down the road.
Somehow my little glove had a mind to be helpful
stepping up to the snowstorm plate,
cutting the tiniest swath of a peep hole
in the windshield ice,
allowing me to see
I barnacled us onto yet another truck in front of us
trusting him to make tracks I could follow
and before too long
I was turning into the service center.
My hands were so frozen
I could barely turn the door handle
but darn if the first thing I saw
when I walked into the little office
was a wiper blade display!
Smiling to greet me was Trent
whom I immediately adopted as one of my sons
promising birthday gifts and invitations
to Christmas dinner until the day I die.
He sold me blades.
And he put them on my car.
(Take THAT, post office mail guy.)

Thank you God, for keeping me safe.
Thanks to my dear ones
for being there when I reached out with text my messages.
And thank you Trent
for welcoming me into a warm little office,
for laughing with me
and helping me find my way safely home.

The New Year

Every year I seek a word
 a thought or a phrase
 to claim as my purpose for the year.
I like having something on which to focus
 as I go about the daily business of living;
 something I can consider and return to over and over
 to make sure I'm growing and learning;
 a reminder to offer love and hope and light to people who cross my path.
This year, I chose a thought, Inspired by Irish poet John O'Donohue.

I love the visual reminder
of a river
always flowing
through channels of
smooth, open water
over stones
past fields
and shaded by forests;
of the narrow channels
with churning water
and whirpools
and jagged rocks
that seem to split
the continuity of something
so mighy
and so strong.
I like the peace
of a river
and its fearless flowing,
regardless of what lies
around the next bend.
It just keeps on flowing.
John O'Donohue wrote:

"I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”
You can find information about Mr. O'Donohue
and his wonderful books by visiting his website

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Sir Charles

Sir Charles EatsALotOfMicrowaves
Guardian of the Premises
Consumer of All Things Left on Counter
Drooling Plate Cleaner Upper
Snoring Pal
Native American Name:  Growls Like Lion
Irish Name: Naughty O'Doggie, Nibbler of Cable Installers
Scot Name: Midnight McBarker
Licker of Coffee Cups
Fan of Bacon
Lover of:
Random Trips Yonder & Therapeutic Gravel Road Cruises
Hanging Head Out of Car Window
Sausage McMuffins
Small, Slow Animals that Smell Like Dinner
Litter Box Tootsie Rolls
and anything
that smells, resembles or is shaped like food.


We had a bath and a bit of a fussin'-over today
at the groomers.
We are feeling
and suhhhhhhh-WEET!
We are all clean and fluffy like a cottonball
and smell real purtee
(in a big, bad-ass doggie kinda way)
It's good to be
Leader of the Pack.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Self Service: Memory Chips