What 61 years of marriage looks like!

July 30, 2010

This is my oldest sister and her husband.

I got this look when I  suggested I get a picture of them kissing!

After he warmed to the idea that was no peck … that was an honest-to-goodness smooch!

We should all be so blessed to have such a long and happy marriage.

A voice of experience

July 17, 2010

First, let me just say this.  If you are one of my wonderful male readers, I want you to know that I know this isn’t about you.  I just don’t think men who are “middle age crazy” would be comfortable enough with who they are to spend any of their time reading a blog with a title about humor and faith.  My thought is that if you turn into a sleaze bag, you probably then have to work at being that 24/7!

My friend, C, at Stickhorse Cowgirls is a long-time divorce attorney.  She also happens to be a recent divorcee because her husband of over 30 years suddenly experienced this middle-age craziness and left her for a young woman who already had two children by men she was never married to, and they have since had a baby between them (how mind-boggling is that — he’s now 60 years old with a new baby!).

So, when I read C’s post here about Mel Gibson and the fact that his girlfriend recorded some of his rants, and is now being criticized for it, I knew for a fact that she definitely knows what she is talking about.

I wanted to share this excellent post because if there is anyone (woman OR man) reading this who is in an abusive relationship (and as C says, it isn’t just about hitting) or knows someone who is, I hope that C’s post will give you some insights and practical advice.

To me, this is what is the best about the blogging world — sharing of valuable insights and advice like this.  Thank you, C.

Marble Head

May 28, 2010

Yesterday I went for a follow-up visit to the oral surgeon who removed some of my wisdom teeth last week.

He said everything looks great and he has every expectation that my jaw bone will fill in nicely where the teeth were removed.  He remarked that it’s a little unusual in women “my age” to find such solid bones (he can say that because he’s about my age!).  Anyway, he said my jaw bone looks like marble!  I’m sure he meant that to be flattering, but the mental picture that flashed through my mind was of marble columns in very old buildings! Well, I guess that’s better than being told you have a jaw bone that looks like petrified wood!

Genetics are an interesting thing.  On the one hand, I unfortunately inherited, among other things, a predisposition to hearing loss and addictions (in my case, food!) and flat feet.  But on the other hand, I am fortunate to have inherited from my never-broke-a-bone-in-her-90-plus-years Mama, good dense bones.

I am thankful for that inherited trait.  But please don’t get any ideas from what the doctor said.  I’d just as soon not become known as Marble Head.

Just a Dog

May 16, 2010

I received the following in an e-mail yesterday and I was so touched by what Catherine Moore had written that I wanted to share it with you.  At the bottom of the e-mail it said to share it with four of your friends, so I don’t think that she will mind that I share it here.

May this touch your heart as it touched mine:


By Catherine Moore

‘Watch out! You nearly broadsided that car!’ My father yelled at me. ‘Can’t you do anything right?’ Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for another battle.

‘I saw the car, Dad.. Please don’t yell at me when I’m driving.’ My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then, turned away and settled back. At home, I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil.

What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon . He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn’t lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day, I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age or when he couldn’t do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived.

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor’s orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned and then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon, I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session, he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad’s troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day, I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered. In vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, ‘I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.’ I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one, but rejected one after the other for various reasons, too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen, a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world’s aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. ‘Can you tell me about him?’ The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement..

‘He’s a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him; that was two weeks ago and we’ve heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.’ He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in, I turned to the man in horror. ‘You mean you’re going to kill him?’

‘Ma’am,’ he said gently, ‘that’s our policy. We don’t have room for every unclaimed dog.’

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. ‘I’ll take him,’ I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house, I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch.

‘Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!’ I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. ‘If I had wanted a dog, I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don’t want it’ Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples.

‘You’d better get used to him, Dad. He’s staying!’ Dad ignored me.. ‘Did you hear me, Dad?’ I screamed. At those words, Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate.

We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when, suddenly, the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him.. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

Dad’s lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently.. Then, Dad was on his knees, hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne . Together, he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad’s bitterness faded and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then, late one night, I was startled to feel Cheyenne ‘s cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe, and ran into my father’s room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later, my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad’s bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad’s peace of mind.

The morning of Dad’s funeral dawned, overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And, then, the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.’

‘I’ve often thanked God for sending that angel,’ he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article.

Cheyenne’s unexpected appearance at the animal shelter, his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father, and the proximity of their deaths. And, suddenly, I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

Life is too short for drama & petty things, so laugh hard, love truly, and forgive quickly. Live While You Are Alive. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time.

May your Sunday be blessed.  Sandra

In the blink of an eye …

May 15, 2010

Sixty-four years ago today, I was born into a family that already had four half-grown kids!  But, luckily for me, bedrooms, lives and hearts were rearranged to make room for one more.  I know how fortunate I am that I was wanted and loved, even though I was a surprise.

The “big kids” crowd around to get a look at the “new kid on the block”.

I was 4 months old in this picture and Daddy had me standing on the hood of the car!  Maybe that early experience is the reason I’ve never had much fear of standing on a stage to speak?

And then he sat me on the fender of the car.  Makes me look kind of “fast” doesn’t it?  Maybe that’s the root of my life-long “need for speed” when driving?

Seriously, sixty-four years have gone by so fast.  And if I have any regrets they are the times I didn’t slow down and savor important moments that were only going to happen once.  And, conversely, I truly treasure the times I really did “take it all in” and enjoy a special moment.

I know it’s easy for me to say and, especially if you are very young, it may be very hard for you to believe, but in some ways sixty-four years have been like the blink of an eye.

So if you would like to give me a birthday present, my sincere wish is that you remember what I have just said, and truly “stop to smell the roses” on your life’s journey.  I promise you, you will never regret it.  And it would be a wonderful gift for me if I felt I had helped you remember to do that.

God has blessed me in so many ways, and those of you who visit this blog are an important part of those blessings.  Thank you.

A Grandparenting Paradox

March 16, 2010


When grandchildren come to stay for a while, it feels a little like Hubby and I are trying to jump on a moving train!  Life suddenly gets hectic and moves at a much faster pace.  So, we have to “run” to get “up to speed”.

Nikki (16) and Jay (15) are here for their spring break and we are busy.  It brings back memories from when we had teenage children at home — never enough hours in the day.  Things that you just don’t get to do, because there just isn’t enough time

So on the one hand, all this activity makes me feel like there is a plug in my side that holds in my energy reserves and that it has suddenly been removed and all of my energy has drained out!  (We sleep like the dead!) 

But on the other hand, having teenagers in the house brings us a different, fresh energy that is exciting.  “What’s for dinner?”  “Do I have time to get a haircut?”  “We want to work out.  Can we go to the gym?”  “Yeah, I’ve wanted to see that movie!  It’s at Cinema Grille?  All the better!”  . . . cell phones, texting, hair issues, teen fashion, favorite food requests.  Whewww.

We’ll get our old energy back after they leave and we get back to our routine. 

But during this week they are here, we’ll just enjoy living in the aura of young, fun energy that fills every corner of our space right now.

We love you Nikki and Jay!

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Stylish versus Practical!

February 13, 2010


I can remember talking Mama into buying me a pair of shoes when I was in junior high that the store only had in a half size too small for me.  I convinced her that they fit fine.  Actually they hurt terribly every time I wore them — but I thought they were wonderful, so I was willing to put up with hurting feet!  Impractical is buying and then wearing shoes that are too small for you, but style definitely trumped comfort back then.

I remember Mama buying me a beautiful white angora sweater as part of my school clothes for my senior year of high school.  It was the most beautiful thing I had ever owned and I couldn’t wait to wear it.  So the first fall day I got up and it was a little crisp and there was some frost on the grass, I wore it!  Unfortunately, it was so early in the fall that it warmed up quickly and was down right hot by the afternoon.  I absolutely sweltered in that thick, very furry sweater by the time I got home.  But, I wasn’t sorry I had worn it because I was sure I looked good!  Again, I was impractical because I wanted to be stylish  and didn’t care about comfortable! 

When I was little I can remember old women wearing their nylons (of course, nylons were two separate stockings then) rolled down around their ankles.  They would put an elastic garter (which looked like bigger versions of the elastic hair bands that you use now to hold poney tails) in the top of their stockings and then rolled the stockings all the way down around their ankles so that they had a nylon on their foot with a perfect roll of brown around their ankle and bare leg above that!  I have no idea why they didn’t just wear cotton anklets, but I’m guessing they were simply being practical and making do with what they had.  Comfort and practical beat out style. 

When I went to the party at DD’s in Chicago Saturday night, I proved that I have definitely arrived at the “practical beats out style” time in my life now.  

When I was getting ready for the party I realized I had made a slight “packing error” —  I had packed two different black earrings!


There was a time in my life when I would absolutely not have worn those earrings, but I’m much more comfortable with who I am now.  And it was practical just to wear what I had — so I wore them.

I had a terrific time getting to visit with DD’s wonderful friends, and no one seemed to notice my “eclectic” earrings.

     I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I’ve stepped over the line from caring about being stylish to being practical.  How long can it be before I start rolling my nylons down around my ankles!?