Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Letting It Brew

Sometimes I open my mouth and the theme o’the week spills out.

Sometimes I open my mouth and I drink iced coffee.

Oh to have beignets to go with that.

It’s a weird week, but honestly they all are lately.

When last we spoke … the township was getting ready to replace a giant culvert, thereby cutting off half the neighborhood from civilization for most of the day. They even parked a fire truck in the yard, “just in case”.

My day was going, well, frustratingly, independent of the whole deal outside. After some uncharacteristic venting, I cut my losses and indeed hiked out over the creek to my car at the top of the hill. I had help lugging my computer bag. Chivalry is not dead. Well, not in some circles …

A gentleman would take one look at me and offer the table back so I had somewhere to put my drink. Sigh.

I applied iced coffee to the problem and headed into the big city. All good.

I took care of business and puttered and applied some green tea and a good book to the problem and after way too many hours of inadvertently not eating … I called back to the homestead to check on construction progress. “Well, they’re cleaning up and cars are going through, even though the road closed sign is still up, and they seem annoyed by that.”



I suppose Mexican food makes sense.

Mexican food always makes sense.

Squawk! Jenn will have the vegetarian combo.

Particularly when you can surround yourself with eclectic beauty while preventing your blood sugar from crashing further.

And just let the construction thing brew.

There are several things I am just itching to move forward with. Right after I stop ending sentences with prepositions. But I don’t exist in a vacuum. (Thank goodness.) What’s needed is a little strategery and planning, maybe a lot of strategery and planning – which for this compulsive planner you would think would be worthy of a happy dance –  the grace of God, and … and … and … and … I don’t know what and I can’t put my finger on it!

A big dose of je ne sais quoi.

So I’ll just wait … and let it brew … and enjoy the surroundings …

Or a party …

"I'm helping!"

Or a swim …

Sometimes it rains and you have to wait. I know nothing about grownups being in the pool while thunder could be heard …

Or a drive …

Or ducks …

I have watched precious little of the political conventions this time around. Some has been unavoidable, but my mental health requires me to walk away. I am hearing the version portrayed on C-SPAN is vastly different from the version portrayed on (pick a news channel, any channel). Shocking, I know.

I’ve been letting things brew on the political front and hoping something would emerge that doesn’t make me look like I just ate half a lemon after I’ve listened. Or like my eyes are rolled way, way, way up into my head. Permanently.



Et tu, Brute.

I’m going to listen to my new music, drink coffee and tea, and keep letting things brew.

Keep looking up.

For more Brewing thoughts see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

Trading punches with the heart of darkness
Going to blows with your fear incarnate
Never gone until it's stripped away
A part of you has gotta die today

In the morning you gon' need an answer
Ain't nobody gonna change the standard
It's not enough to just feel the flame
You've gotta burn your old self away

Hold on tight a little longer
What don't kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, 'cause it's a hard love
You can't change without a fallout
It's gon' hurt, but don't you slow down
Get back up, 'cause it's a hard love

You know the situation can't be right
And all you ever do is fight
But there's a reason that the road is long
It take some time to make your courage strong

Hold on tight a little longer
What don't kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, 'cause it's a hard love
You can't change without a fallout
It's gon' hurt, but don't you slow down
Get back up, 'cause it's a hard love

When the wolves come and hunt me down
I will face them all and stand my ground
'Cause there's a fire burnin' in me
They will see my strength in this love I found

Hold on tight a little longer
What don't kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, 'cause it's a hard love
You can't change without a fallout
It's gon' hurt, but don't you slow down
Get back up, 'cause it's a hard love

It's a hard love...

Hold on tight a little longer
What don't kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, 'cause it's a hard love
You can't change without a fallout
It's gon' hurt, but don't you slow down
Get back up, 'cause it's a hard love
'Cause it's a hard love


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Just Be

 I try regularly and deliberately to take time to just be. It’s funny – have you ever experienced this – people don’t want to let you! Taking time for rest and reflection is a foreign concept to a surprisingly high percentage of the population.

I closed on the sale of my house, and in less than forty-eight hours multiple people said to me, “So you’re going to ______ now?”

What? Geez Louise. Let me rest. Let me catch my breath.

The questions continued throughout the week.

The plan is, and has been for some time, to rest, reflect, pray, recover, read, rest, and, um, rest. Maybe take a trip, although that vacation might get wrapped into the fall retreat season. Whatever makes sense.

Breathing and doing what feeds my soul are at the top of the agenda.

Also paying more attention to the two jobs I already have.

I sometimes forget how foreign a concept self-employment, entrepreneurship, and not punching a time clock are to most. I’m either never working or always working, depending on your perspective. (Hint, it’s usually closer to the latter.)

A friend who occasionally chimes in with words I swear are straight from the Holy Spirit told me a while back he sensed a period of respite coming up for me. Preach it, brother. Respite is now.

Anyone who would like to put me in a box and tell me otherwise …

Come at me bro.


I don’t want to be mean or obnoxious to anyone. Usually the questions come from well-meaning, wonderful people. Sometimes those questions are based on a past conversation and life has changed since. Sometimes they’re based on the social media version of my life. Sometimes they’re based on assumptions drawn from an edited version of what I really think … either because it wasn’t appropriate to share what I really think … or it was just none of their danged business.


Channeling my inner Audrey Hepburn (Roman Holiday style) … thank you … thank you … thank you …

Mando dude concurs.

It’s not like I’m sitting still 24/7. There are still some must-dos. Getting rid of all of those is impossible.

Case in point, there’s a little construction project going on in my neighborhood tomorrow. And I must figure out my plan.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Pretty sure it's not a train. 

Access in and out of the back half of the subdivision will be cut off for most of the day. The township has done a good job of communicating the info and expected schedule. Well, the ending time is officially, and I quote, “?” … but I’m told they don’t think it will be all day.

I have to leave for an appointment potentially prior to “?” … so most likely I’ll be parking the car at the top of the hill and hiking out over the creek. In what is predicted to be ninety-umpteen degree heat. Hello neighbor with the foot bridge, I’ll be cutting through your yard. Love you all.

I could make sure I’m gone early early before construction starts. That is an alternative.

It will probably all be fine, but having managed many a construction project … never assume you know what hour “?” means.

Never assume.

Rest for me does not necessarily involve sitting still. Exercise. Getting the blood circulating. Just saying no to stagnation. Accomplishing a few things that have been put off too long. Finding joy. That’s rest.

Revenue generating activities (RGAs) are a thing. I’m declaring SFAs a thing as well.

Soul feeding activities.

Too big a serving of must-dos on my plate distracts me from discerning God’s will and following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Just because I can do anything doesn’t mean I should.

Mayhem says go this way! Now!

Between the world’s expectations and the big guy’s expectations, I think you know which one I care about more. 

Gratuitous puppy pic. 
Keep looking up. 

For more thoughts on Just Be-ing see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Live in the Gray

I poo-poo-ed this blog theme when it was first thrown down.

Too much like Mitch McVicker’s album “The Grey (When Black and White Fade)”.

Gray versus grey. Discuss amongst yourselves.

And then I learned the phrase was invoked by someone not especially familiar with Mitch.

A non-groupie.

Not a member of the Ragamuffin tribe.


Godincidence maybe.

The reference had to do with letting go of perfectionism. As a recovering perfectionist and compulsive planner I’m familiar with the need to have everything just so. Everything is either a success or a failure. There is no in between. It’s either black or white.

That’s how I used to think anyway. At times.

There is so much beautiful gray in the middle.

I’ve observed something when counseling weight loss clients the last few years. I’ll ask how things are going or how the week went. And people beat themselves up over where they perceive they erred. Where they weren’t absolutely one hundred percent perfect. People are hard on themselves. Harsh. Really harsh. Wow.

It’s not that bad! It’s not either or. There’s a whole array of perfectly valid ways to be in between.

I tell people to keep getting back on the wagon. Daily. More often than that if they have to. What, are you going to completely give up on trying to be healthy because you had a bad week (day, month, year)? It’s not black and white. It’s not all or nothing.

People carry a lot of shame for not achieving perfection. It’s so unnecessary.

A friend described trying to develop healthy habits as a dance. Very astute. Rarely does one set a goal and land on it immediately. One-two-cha-cha-cha. Three-four-cha-cha-cha.

And yet we expect perfection.

We do.

Stop it.

Sorry, not Earl Grey. Green passion. Pretty sure you have to hold your pinkie out when spelling grey with an e btw.

Excellence doesn’t have to be one hundred percent. Sometimes good enough is phenomenally perfect in its adequacy and efficiency. Sometimes excellence is learning from mistakes and doing better next time.

“So you’re depressed and ready to quit because you had two McD’s sweet teas this week. How many did you used to have? Five or seven? You’re doing good. Make ‘em unsweet next week. Or half sweet half un. Or drink water. Choose one.”

The green passion tea is unsweetened, thank you very much.

Right, wrong, or indifferent … wanted or not … I’ve gotten rather comfortable with the gray of life in recent years. I’m not in control. I don’t have to be. I’m in control of my own choices. And I stand by them.

I have to chuckle, though. Do you ever get the sense that people have been talking about you? In the course of a conversation you suddenly realize they’ve made some assumptions that did not come from you. (Going through past discussions and writings in my mind … did I ever say … no, okay, well.)

Pardon my grayness. Talk away. Just spell my name right, please.

Most people want things to be neat and tidy. Black and white. Easy. Defined. Understandable.

Sorry, babe, life doesn’t really work that way.

A while back I had a brief political discussion with a friend. The tv happened to be on, detailing the latest great travesty against humanity. Well against liberal “rights” at least.


I proudly claim to be part of the vast right wing conspiracy (the non-shrieky contingency), and my friend … well … they proudly display a snapshot of a past Democrat president in their home.

We agree on Jesus, good music, and good food. That’s more than enough. On the controversy of the day … I didn’t think anyone involved was one hundred percent right or one hundred percent wrong. I also didn’t think we had all the info. (What, the media left out some details?!?) There were a couple or three absolutes one could state, but the rest was generously smeared in various levels of grayscale.

I kind of want to finger-paint with black, white, and gray now. Or grey.

A trip to Hobby Lobby may be in order.


Anyone want to join me???

My hairdresser took care of the gray. And the grey.

Neither gray nor grey.

Dark gray.

Has nothing to do with gray. I just like this pic.

Keep looking up.

For more Living in the Gray see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Moving Hades

The text went something like, “I’d volunteer to help if only I weren’t in the midst of moving Hades … which would be a good name for a band … Moving Hades.”

War is hell. So is moving.

But all the cool kids are doing it. ‘Tis a season of transition in these parts. The housing market is decent, for sellers anyway. For those desiring a change … or perhaps downsizing empty nesters (raises hand) … now is the time.

You know going in that it’s going to be an arduous process. That craziness will ensue. That you’ll work hard, violate your doctor’s orders never to lift heavy things, and pretty much sacrifice your body for the greater good.

I sacrificed my fingernails for the greater good.

Agent P will make it all better.

The last week has been full of insanity and peculiarity. In my world the planets aligned such that not only was I moving on a holiday weekend but close friends were as well. Not the best time to recruit help, but we managed to assemble separate teams. And acquire sufficient boxes and packing paper and tape.

God will provide.

The contents of my house moved to three separate locations. Long story. Trust me that it took some input and several days of churning around in the brain to figure out the plan.

Some of my belongings are going into storage for now. I had secured a storage unit about a week ahead of time … or so I thought. The manager, Celia*, was a bit willy-nilly over the phone. She assured me I had the unit. I could bring a check on the first. No need to stop by earlier.

July 1 arrived and I headed over to the storage units with my dad midday. He’d be driving the big truck later, so I thought it would make sense for him to have a visual of which unit was mine.

Apparently I should have called first. The sign in the office window read. “At appointment until 1:15.” Celia’s name and cell number were included. I called and she assured me that after 1:30 or so would be fine. “Okay, great, I’ll call before I head back over.”

Dad and I went to my house and took care of several moving related activities. At the appointed time I called the storage unit manager. All was good. Off we went. Upon arrival, another customer was being helped by Celia’s co-manager. He then looked at us to see why we were there. I said I was going to rent the 10x20 unit I had been talking about with Celia.

“It’s gone. I don’t have it.”

“What? I have a truck rented and I’m moving things in tomorrow.”

“I don’t have it. The owner rented it and didn’t tell us.”

After a couple more questions and a minute or so to accept this reality and form Plan B … the manager gave us the name of another storage facility to try.


From my research, a couple other locations were on my short list. I had law enforcement input on the security of said locations (thumbs up), so maybe I was meant to have my possessions at one of them.

I pulled up a phone number on my smart phone in the car, still sitting outside the office of storage facility #1.

“Yes, the 10x20 is still available.”

“Can I bring you a check right now?”

He was in the middle of something and asked me to call back in an hour or two. Okay. That’s positive. But not a done deal.

I pointed out to Dad that a favorite bakery run by some lovely people we know was nearby .

“Need a cupcake?”

He left it up to me. The bakery would require making a left onto a sometimes busy street. I decided if traffic was reasonably clear when I got to the intersection then it was a sign.

Score! It was clear. Sugar low averted with a pretty blue frosted almond and a German chocolate. The drive home was like déjà vu all over again. How many times have I driven this loop again? Just today?

Again at the appointed time I called storage facility #2. Voice mail.

Really? Really? Really.

Dad suggested we just drive by on the way to pick up the moving truck. Brilliant idea. And it worked. We tracked down one of the owners mowing grass, and I left a few minutes later with a key to my secure, well-lit storage unit.


Onward to the truck rental place. We were within two minutes of on time. What looked like probably my truck was being checked in. The two ladies returning the vehicle were spun up. Spun up! Granted they just finished moving. But they were giving us the impression the truck was a death trap. It whistles. The lights flicker. It needs retired from service. “You do not want this truck. Well if you’re just moving locally it’s probably fine. We’ve been all the way to Coshocton and back.”

Coshocton and back. Now that’s practically halfway across the country.


It was the only truck of that size available in the vicinity. I have no info on whether you could find one in Coshocton.

The employees handled the situation with grace. They offered to have the manager call the ladies the next morning to address their complaints. They offered all kinds of concessions.

I just wanted a working truck in a reasonable timeframe … because people were arriving at my house any minute to start loading the truck.

Given the Storage Unit Wild Goose Chase of 2016 that immediately preceded me being in this place at this point in time … an issue with the truck would be par for the course.

The truck was fine.

It was fine!

Dad drove it to the house. I picked up pizza and headed home.

Did I mention the truck was fine?


A motley but very capable and appreciated crew loaded furniture and carried boxes and loaded furniture and carried boxes.

My packing boxes and running stairs for days beforehand paid off. I had staged items for the different locations in different rooms. Between the truck and a pickup truck and a minivan and a couple SUVs … and the awesome crew … we were so far ahead of schedule we unloaded at locations #1 and #2 Friday night and parked the truck at location #3. A couple more peeps assisted with unloading Saturday morning. I had originally thought we might not unload at all until Saturday.

I have spent the days since taking care of nitpicking remaining items. Snagging help here and there to help carry and transport things. Tomorrow I drag the trash out.

And Friday I am officially free and (in a way) homeless.

For more Moving Things from my friends, see Sue Bowles at and Leisa Herren at

* Name changed to protect the innocent or guilty. Not really sure which.