Monthly Archives: June 2008

"The Greatest Man I Never Knew"

Props to Reba (and Kelly) for my blog title tonight. I feel entitled to use it because on October 7, 1998, I was minding my own business driving home down Highway 63 and she literally whopped me up the side of the head with a two by four when I heard this song for the first time. My dad Chuckie died on October 11, 1997, so if you listen to the words to this, you’ll know why it was a major Godwink for me…it “had been almost a year…”

There are three times a year when I get that dis-ease inside that feels like I put sadness, joy, peace, fear, regret, and gratitude in my blender of a belly, push the “ON” button, and leave it running until the motor dies. Spent. Exhausted. BURNT. OUT. Those three times are Memorial Day,Father’s Day, and October 11.

So here on the eve of Father’s Day, the “pulse” button is starting and I’m really missing him a bunch. Even after all of these years, there are things I find myself wanting to ask him, pick his ordered, logical, accountant brain (ok, “anal” would describe it better), and hear more stories about what his world was like. I want to surprise him again with a visit up at the river and take that spontaneous boat ride (sans wing dam surprise). After reconnecting with my Father listening to Quiet Night (again!), I will listen to this song over and over on my iPod tonight as I beg for some REM sleep, and know that when I wake up, my eyes will be puffy and crusty with dried tears and it will be yet another Father’s Day he’s been gone. But I’m one Father’s Day closer to being with him again.

I hope he’s ready – I have a list of questions for him. And I’m sure he’ll point out the moon he mistakenly thought I hung. He knows now it wasn’t me, doggone it. I love and miss you, Dad. I’m pretty sure there is no sand in the boats in heaven. And if there is, it doesn’t bother you any more, does it?

Dad, were you rolling in that grave tonight after we sang those Baptist hymns jazzed up with a band and drums in church tonight? Nah, you loved it. It was just another tribute to you and your Baptist upbringing. PTL.

Tea tonight: Adagio pi lo chun


Life is ever

Since man was born,

Licking honey

From a thorn.
– Louis Ginsberg
Tea today: Dragonwell long jing

pRaYeRs for a rAiNy sUnDaY

There’s something to be said for a day that God has literally made me a prisoner in my own home. I guess prisoner is rather strong – “blessed me with chosen captivity?” The rain has not stopped for nearly 24 hours, to the point that gutters are overflowing, the pond is at it’s brink and dribbling over the edge, and the grass (aka hayfield) that was mowed yesterday will be another inch taller tomorrow. I don’t think R’s blisters from the last mower marathon have healed yet. So with tornado warnings, torrential rain, and streets filled with rushing water, I’m not budging, though the only place I’d intended to go was the gym. And maybe for a few groceries. Pasta will do us for yet another night. Pair that with random left-overs and we won’t starve. I have eggs and free asparagus, so an asparagus popover may be in order. One serving of lettuce which can be easily stretched for two. One sweet potato which would serve two, but Mr. Picky won’t eat that. So I’ve spent the day between doing a work project (sounds so much more important than a “mandatory annual assignment”) and cleaning bathrooms, putting up the rest of the screens (irony – can’t even open the windows!), and the ever-present dusting, vacuuming, and laundry. But had this been a sunny day I would have taken a very long bike ride and gotten nothing else done. I would have ridden for hours into God’s country. I woke up with the “I need to get away from it all” mindset. God had different plans – His persistent “wherever you go, there you are” control that He frequently reminds me about. So despite invites from two different friends for different entertainment options, I stayed here, moped a bit, prayed for some answers to a few questions weighing on my mind, one of which was “How could I lose the key to the $49,000 car that was entrusted to me this weekend and where is it?” Only One knows the answers.

And for sure, my back goes out more than I do.
Tea tonight: Green with pink grapefruit – “Sip for the Cure”

Lookin’ for that free car. Holla.

I hate car$. I’m looking for one to le$$en the burden at the pump. My current FSP doesn’t work into my plan.

But I love to listen to Dave Ramsey. He would like my cupboards full of samples and the recent financial restraint that I could never have imagined a year ago, though if I ever went to see him in person, I may have to cave and buy myself something new to wear. I only wish I would have found Dave and his principles 30 years ago…here’s why:

Had I started the free car program 4-5 years ago, this process would be well in place. My question to you is, knowing full well the next 4 years will pass (just like the last 4 years did), where will you be sitting with your car? And where will I decide to go? I want to be a good steward of the resources God has given me, and I’m heaven-bent on doing better this time. I pray and struggle and pray some more that my choice will be wise and right. And as I do, I know the ol’ Honda Wag-O-Van is probably still running somewhere – and paid for.
Tea today: Genmaicha

Rising from Destruction, Part 2

My friend Beth stopped by to see me at work today with her two beautiful daughters. Laughing, giggling, Beth looking tanned and rested, her blue eyes as huge and awesome as ever, one would never know she and her family had lost everything in the tornado last week. Well, everything except each other. Her calm was astounding to me – It is what it is” she shrugged, as she told me of the love and outpouring that they have received from friends, family, and community. “We never found Jenna’s dresser…” “The neighbor’s car was blown right through our house…” She was so matter-of-fact, it just stunned me. I asked about her wedding rings she had lost; she had left them on her dresser when they left for the weekend. FOUND! After sifting through piles of insulation and debris with gloves, one handful at a time, she found them. I got goosebumps. As she told me of the kindnesses extended by her priest and friends, I was the one crying (?). Truly she has turned this whole thing over to God. She is noticibly humbled and grateful and at peace. It shows. But with her family intact, I guess she has reason to be. God bless you, friend. I’m so glad you’re safe. I miss seeing you often and we never got around to discussing it, but yes, I still pick the blood vessels out of my meat and I think about Country Fried Steak every payday Thursday.
Oh no, You never let go….how true.
Tea tonight: Sweet Sakura

11:1 – over. and over.

It’s been a dry spell on the treadmill, bike trail, and even the streets. If it’s not pouring down rain and 35 mph winds, the treadmills are full when I get to the gym and I don’t get my fix. Let me clarify “fix.”

On the trails, it’s my “new favs” playlist on my iPod. On the street, it’s a sermon on my iPod – Pastor Mike, Justin, Pastor John – they all make me feel safe out there in the dark.

But in the gym, my fix is 11:11, 1.11, 111….you get the picture. No matter what I’m listening to on the mill or EFX, no matter how focused I may be on “According to Jim” or my iPod, or even the 6:oo news (that would be channel 11 on cable – honest!), my eyes always glance down and every single time, no less than two, and sometimes 4 LED displays will give me those elevens throughout my workout. Minutes. Calories. Distance. METs. It’s uncanny.

I used to ask what it meant, but now I know. It’s just the Holy Spirit talking to me, telling me “All Will be Well.” Sometimes I purposely cover up the display, and will see elevens on the clock, or even on the machine next to me. Those Godwinks don’t surprise me any more – they just bring peace. They remind me to keep the faith, live in service, and that God’s grace is mine. And tonight, at 111.1 calories, I took a drink. Boy, did I. From the Cup. So as I’m writing this, I get this picture in an email from KT. Not an accident, this was an

::on purpose::

from above. (If you can’t read it, it’s Hebrews 11:1). Go figure. God is so good.How about you – have you been paying attention to your subtle visits from God?

Tea tonight: Green with dried strawberries

On Being Prepared: She Runs! She Shines!

My baby girl ran her first 20K on Saturday. She was trained, as prepared as she could have been, and all prayed for. “Run the race, finish the course…” More about life than a 20K, but it worked. She was all nervous and excited and really didn’t know what to expect but whoa, she did me proud! After getting lost all around Des Moines (in the exact area we had driven the night before) I finally found a “No Parking on Saturday” sign so knew I was in the right place to get a video shot. The water stop volunteers told me they thought it was about the 8 mile mark, but they really didn’t know. It was really the place I’d hoped to be, and how I ended up there was nothing short of an act of God. The compass on my car and the map in my hand did me no good whatsoever. But the only person who needed to know where to go was KT – and that was simply one foot in front of the other and on the heels of the person ahead of her…with her eyes on the Prize. She finished in fine form, still sweating (hooray!) and with a satisfied look like she’d just won the whole thing. I miss that smile. I don’t get to see it very often any more. She even finished ahead of one of her “Three’s Company” roommates, who had over-carbed and super-fueled so much that his liver was working harder than a 12-shot night. Kudos to KT for reaching a goal and setting another – all in the same 24 hour period. With the best Coach she could have. Next stop, Sturgis Falls, then on to Chicago, glycogen storage and synthesis permitting.
It’s all about the liver function and the mitochondria. Hope she feeds them both well. O 2 B 29. again….and to know what I know now.
Tea tonight: Harney and Sons green with citrus