Infertility (And Other Words We Don’t Say in Public)

Girl sleepeng in her bed

There’s an empty bed in the room next to mine. I have no idea if it and all its child accouterment should be left in place. The bed’s always been empty. It wasn’t meant to be, at least not by me.

We’re in the middle of our third attempt to fill that bed. So, I guess there’s a chance it’s still meant to be filled by the Filler. I keep looking directly at Him, my eyes and ears poised to get information (picture Dumbo with laser beam eyes trying to slice open the Master Plan for a peek). Time will tell. But time has let me down, so I keep my eyes squarely off of her, refusing her attempts to discourage.

Attempt 1: We tried to get pregnant for twelve years. Because of my extensive gynecological issues (that I’ll spare you the joy of reading about in detail, you’re welcome), my body said, “No thanks. I can’t help you, kid” (no pun intended). Mourn the loss. Let it go.

Attempt 2: Seven years into infertility, on April 12, 2010, we sent our dossier (and a few months’ salary) overseas to China to adopt a girl (or twins)–a culmination of nine months of paperwork stacked nine inches tall. It appeared at that time to be a two or three year wait. From what we see now, based on the speed China is(n’t) fulfilling adoption requests, it’ll be about another decade before we even begin to start maybe getting close to slowly approaching the middle of the list. Not likely to be much good to a small daughter or two after we’re deceased, we figure this one is a non-starter. Mourn the loss. Let it go.

Attempt 3: We completed months of foster-to-adopt paperwork and training in January of this year. Just recently, my world appeared to crumble from the foundation in a way I probably should’ve seen coming but didn’t (and that I’m not prepared to talk about today). We haven’t yet gotten a call from the foster system about a child who needs a home. However, even if we get the call, I may or may not get to say yes at this moment. I hope a moment very soon would grant permission–the very right moment that provides the very right child very much what he or she needs. But the moment I’m living in right now may not allow it.

It seems like a waste most days, the empty bed. Granted, my life isn’t the calmest. My body isn’t always the easiest. I’m not the most talented parent of all time. I’ve got no monopoly on the ability to love or know if I’m giving the one (precious, beautiful, amazing) child we’ve been able to adopt the best of the best for his growth, character, development and happiness. But an empty bed resting next to my open heart still feels like a waste–waste of time while a child suffers, waste of love that’s best given away, waste of willingness to try to make a child’s wrong situation right again.

I imagine–or more than that, read about in real reality–kids who are starved, beaten, locked in closets, neglected as mom and dad seek their next high, trafficked (I can’t even), etc, etc and endless, heartbreaking etc. I make absolutely no moral judgment, truly: although I want them to get help and keep their children for the children’s sake if possible, I’m giving these adults very little thought. Simply, if and when adults won’t change for a child, I want that child to change hands. Period. And I’ve got hands.

I can’t take all the hurting little ones. (I wish I was complaining about twenty empty beds and had it in me to fill them all.) But could my heart and home’s capacity easily stretch just one person bigger for an innocent who needs their life’s madness stopped, needs human decency, food and a safe place to lay down their valuable, darling head with kisses in warmth each night? Yes. It has to be yes, doesn’t it? I daily look at one lifeless, cold bed and really am not so much complaining as mourning. And I’m not sure if I’m mourning for the child or for me or both.

I’m not unusually special, but I’d lay down a lot to make a suffering little one feel that they are. I stand ready inside. At least I think I know what ready means. And I pray intensely that any of my external circumstances that challenge or outright refuse readiness are redeemable so that I can stand fully prepared to stop one child’s world from completely collapsing by holding out a safety net.

Is this empty bed my fault? Could I have tried or pushed harder, earlier? Could I have played the game smarter, more cleverly? Or am I on the exact track at the exact right time to the exact youngster with the exact need that I, even in my limited human capacity, have the exact right makeup and resources to meet? Or is the empty bed meant to stay empty, and am I meant to live with a full heart anyway? I can see either future with almost perfect clarity.

So, time will have her say at least a little longer, deferring and taunting, like she so often expertly does while we only see a partial picture as life unfolds. I don’t know yet what’s coming (join the club, I know, right?), and the reigns of control aren’t willing to be grabbed on this one. Sometimes I think I know the answer in that deep-seated place that knows what will come but can’t confirm it until it happens. And other times I feel absolutely and thoroughly clueless.

But no matter what the outcome, what I’ve learned from the trial and error of trying to fill that bed is that there are plenty of purposes and callings in life. Motherhood isn’t the be-all and end-all of fulfillment, however tremendously important the job. There are many important jobs to do and endless things to enjoy. And some of the most meaningful engagements seem to come by surprise rather than forethought and creation. So, I’m certain that life will be full, one way or another–bed full or bed empty.

But if I was a bettin’ girl (and I almost am right here, right now about this), I’d bet the ranch that the Filler has written the name of one strong, resilient little survivor on one bed sitting in one extra room in my house and placed a calling on one stubborn mommy to risk one more heartbreaking hunt.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,


Presented by Writers Block Prose, LLC

Prepare to Nosedive (How to Predict Failure with 100% Accuracy)


Pride. People who have it in spades probably won’t think they need to read about it. People who don’t have as much will likely test themselves endlessly to see if they do. Pride is sneaky and blinding–an elusive and insidious foe in full camo gear, somehow deceiving its owner into thinking its parasitic existence doesn’t even, well, exist.

But it reliably kills, steals and destroys relationships, dreams, growth. Pride is the very perversion that caused the fall of the primary nemesis of God himself. That’s big. So it’s an issue best grappled with and understood but admittedly very difficult to find and face. Again, it instinctively lies to and hides from its host for sheer self-preservation–like a tick in between the shoulder blades of a dog.

If we so often can look directly for pride and still not see it, then, we best learn the telltale signs that pride is present and (obnoxiously) active so we can blow its cover wide open. We can learn to recognize the effects of its blood-sucking mean streak and hold an immediate eviction of the unsightly tenant before it destroys our property or health.

Namely, pride prevents an individual from learning and changing, period. I’ve seen no exceptions. So, overcoming it is no small matter unless your goal is to stay exactly how and where you are eternally and forever in every way, amen. Look for an inability to change, grow, adjust, submit and learn (physiological challenges excluded obviously). Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes? Hello pride.

It’s true that pride is often a false front or overcompensation for massive insecurity and pain, so compassion and patience are usually warranted as well. But nonetheless, there pride sits in the middle of many a stagnant situation, crushing the life out of a person’s potential like an elephant sitting on a caterpillar. Dreams die and damage ensues, because pride hurts everybody in its vicinity simply by its dead-halt power over progress. And if we’re not getting better, we’re getting worse. Pride can’t do anything other than encourage its owner to remain exactly the same; its defining characteristic is, after all, I’m fabulous and perfect precisely and exactly the way I am, and don’t you dare imply otherwise.

I’ve obviously had reason to contemplate pride and its antagonist (humility) lately, or I wouldn’t dive into such a fun topic (on par with tax time, adios and good riddance, April 18, 2017). But I’ve needed to brave it, white-glove testing myself and some circumstances for pride’s residue–that gooey coating on a situation that seems to stick it thoroughly stuck at a point of large-scale stuck-ness, preventing it from rolling in the right direction (or any direction at all).

And while I was mulling on all this (and by mulling, I mean agonizing), I recalled a blog on humility I wrote years back. We could talk more about pride right now, but I find it more productive to focus on our targeted behavior more than on our natural human vice. I present the piece here, if only for my own reminding. For what it’s worth to anyone else befuddled by a battle that just won’t budge:

Humility says, I’m not better than another person. But it also says, I’m not worse. So, humility is the great equalizer of people. And since humility views all people as its equal, it avoids the terribly hard work of leveling (pulling others down to feel even) or putting on appearances (presenting what you suppose you ought to be instead of what you truly are).

If you picture a humble person as a wall-flowery, insecure type, picture again. Only false humility devalues a person that way. In reality, insecurity prevents humble actions and interactions, because an insecure person will often try to position herself above another person or disappear into invisibility altogether. Quite to the contrary, a humble person carries herself with a disarming and inviting ease–nothing to prove and nothing to lose.

On a worldview scale humility believes that something greater and bigger than me exists, but that doesn’t make me less valuable. Feeling the comparative smallness only takes the pressure off; it simply means I don’t always have to control everything or everyone in order to be alright. Phew. There’s Somebody smarter and more loving in charge. Humility, therefore, allows for a life of ebb and flow, flexibility, submission, deference, serving, letting go.

Beyond just allowing for these things, humility can turn words like submission and serving–which can carry negative connotations–into perfectly positive experiences. When you know who you are, both independent of and in relationship to others, self-worth is never lost or compromised when yielding to another’s wishes or ways. And proper humility always knows when it’s under no obligation to yield–to bullying, abuse, subservience or being improperly used. 

Humility helps us relate to one another evenly and smoothly, with stability, without chaos. The interpersonal scales (on which we all inevitably try to weigh ourselves) balance easily when everyone simultaneously defers to and elevates one another out of genuine humility.

Here’s to growing in humility and, as a result, growing up.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,


Presented by Writers Block Prose, LLC

Give Me Celery, Or Give Me Death (How to Say It and Actually Mean It)

cake versus salad

I was viciously against having to eat healthy yesterday. If you’d spoken the word willpower to me, I’d have envisioned long walks on short piers for you (while I absconded with your clothes). Seriously, I didn’t want to hear it–not one more admonition from myself or anyone else about eating right. I had major do-right fatigue.

Then, one intervening minute later, I was nearly hostile for celery. I mean, I’d have sparred you for the last stalk. And I genuinely wanted it, not out of obligation or guilt. Feelings are so fickle.

Clearly we can’t follow our feelings if we’re going to eat well. Feelings are exactly what most threaten us in the battle against abundant junk food–a modern Goliath. So, rely on feelings we can’t, but get our feelings to cooperate when at all humanly possible? I’m for that, oh yes, please. So when my feelings start at, “Pass the gallon of ice cream, and go away,” then end at, “Give me celery, or I’ll die, right here,” I greatly value what happens in between. It’s worth sharing, because it totally works.

Here’s a confession first: I love ice cream and chocolate and cake. (I realize that’s like saying, “Puppies are cute” or “Vacations are nice.”) I know you can hear me smiling even as I speak the word: sugar. My fellow addicts and I get high just reading the word. Sugar. Sugar. Sugar. Pass the insulin. But who cares right now? Sugar!

Two tiny choices, however, switched me over to wanting the celery more than the junk–without faking or forcing it. That was it. Two.

Tiny Choice One: Read anything about nutrition

It sounds vague? Let me rethink. Yup, that’s exactly what I meant. Read anything.

You think I kid. But this has to be doable in my moment of temptation, and stat, or it’s ice cream, here I come. So, when I’m struggling to respect my body, I read anything at all about the power of food, for good or for evil–preferably a food I have on hand so I can eat it (good) or trash it (evil) immediately.

This time, I googled “nutritional properties of celery,” because my husband is downing it like candy, so it’s around (like stalks and stalks and stalks in coolers of ice water, around). I skimmed only the first few celery links that popped up. The heavens opened, angels sang and celery descended on a unicorn galloping down a rainbow. Well, no, but the shift in my motivational atmosphere felt that dramatic.

I can hear someone resisting now (there’s always one in every crowd). Therefore, I will grant you this concession, Resistor: You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. And if I didn’t have a pretty deep foundation of study to build on, maybe I wouldn’t start by randomly opening the internet and pointing to a sentence, hoping it would enlighten and inspire me nutritionally. But, then again, I probably would.

Most of us aren’t looking to take the Hippocratic Oath; we’re not aiming for the title of dietitian or physician. We won’t be advising each other. The vast majority of us are looking to simply inspire ourselves to do the thing we already know to do–eat better. Reading for even a minute about what nature-made food can do for the body (or what lab-created foods steal from it) has almost never failed to motivate me.

The power of food as medicine is fascinating, wonderful, stunning. I’ve lived it long and hard (as one who turned to it for help when modern medicine couldn’t assist me), so I can testify. Good food might not be as fast acting as a magic (bullet) pill, but it’s certainly a deeper, more genuine healing with only positive side-effects.

Taking a quick dose of education in a weak moment focuses my mind on the positive thing I truly want to do deep (DEEP) down and stops me from obsessing over the harmful thing I’m about to do (did someone say cake?). It also puts right in front of my face the very tangible reward(s) for choosing well. And choosing well overall is composed of each one of these tiny choose-well moments.

As for celery, then, I was instantly swayed by learning that celery has a compound shown in studies to relax the lining of the arteries, thereby helping to lower blood pressure. Who doesn’t want to preserve their one and only heart?

For the skeptics, let’s just say this celery factoid turned out to be hooey-balooey. What’s the worst that could happen? I’ll eat celery and, ooh, I might lose too much water weight (it’s a diuretic). Scary. Better be careful of that internet trickery. But, if it makes you feel better, check a cred or two on a website (or whether they’re trying to sell you something expensive, but that doesn’t necessary discredit them). Maybe verify information against several sources, but don’t get so hung up that you won’t even start. It’s better to grab handy information than none at all, which I clearly wouldn’t say on every topic. However, I hypothesize that there aren’t a lot of malicious or deceptive attempts flying around out there to hustle you into eating more celery (just guessing). It doesn’t seem there’d be much stake in it.

Anyway, in the end, you may or may not remember exactly how celery does what and why for your body. No worries. You’ll totally remember that celery does powerful things, and in your moment of need, it just may have tamed your tempter.

If you want to go deeper, Jillian Michaels has a remarkable genius for balanced nutrition. I can also recommend the book F-Factor Diet by Tanya Zuckerbrot if you want to know how the body uses carbohydrates. She and I disagree a wee bit on whether some foods are healthy, but by the end you’ll have a user-friendly understanding of how and why your body stores fat. This book is especially stellar if you’re trying to break free from the carbs-are-bad mental cage. Because, really, if anyone suggests to you that an apple is a poor food choice (anywhere outside the Garden of Eden), you might suggest to them that they’re from la la land. Come on.

Tiny Choice Two: Remember the difference between dopamine (being controlled) and serotonin (being in control)

Doctors, experts and know-it-all’s, don’t slay me here (and please plug your ears if you take your technical terms overly seriously). I’m going to use my pedestrian language to attempt inspiration, not thorough education, regarding two brain chemicals.

Here ‘tis. Dopamine is the roller coaster high after a quick hit of intense pleasure (not always a bad thing, mind you, so long as you realize coasters always have to come down, too). Serotonin is the sustainable, calm joy of floating on relaxing and steady waters.

At its oversimplified, simplest simplification, the addicted body craves dopamine. Think smartphone dings or Facebook “likes,” for example. The more (dopamine) dings we get, the more (dopamine) dings we want in order to stay happy (think picking up your phone to check it even when it hasn’t dinged yet). But what a chore and disappointment it is in the end, addicts of any kind know, to be controlled by any kind of external (ding) crutch. Giving up power to indulge a substance or experience is a never-ending chase. Sugar is one such substance that seduces you into the dopamine game, with it as captain.

Controlling oneself by choosing wise and healthy things, however, with a nod to delayed gratification and less external stimulation is like swimming in a serene sea of (serotonin) peace. It’s well-being isn’t fleeting like dopamine’s. It’s a companion you may have to work a little harder to get to the party, but once there, it sticks around and supports your life dreams like no other. It’s a source of good sleep, emotional stability, supreme presence in the moment, looking good, heightened memory, increased productivity and other tangible rewards. It’s the feel good without the feel bad interspersed. It’s a happiness that’s more enduring and less interrupted by the escalating need for a quick fix to function.

I want serotonin. I don’t want to live in a prison of my own shortsighted, momentarily gratified making. I don’t want to stare out at life through metal bars held apparently immovable by a controlling substance when the door isn’t even actually locked. It’s my choice, and I want to live free. To do so, it takes fighting the good fight against food that controls the brain, replacing it with food that feeds and refines the brain.

Therefore, sugar, I hereby declare my manifesto: I’ll have you when I have you, but you won’t have me. I’m the boss here. I refuse to let my will and self-determination be crowded out by a cupcake. With God as my witness and help, I am stronger than you, beautiful, lying cupcake. And I choose to pick up this banner again as many times as I drop it (because it’s not how many times you fall, but…).

I expertly illustrated my own point recently by not showing an ice cream cake who’s boss, eating a piece approximately the size of my face, give or take. I crashed hard to the point of hardly functioning. We’ll lose a battle here and there, because we’re human. But we can win the war, because it doesn’t take perfection to allow serotonin to dominate if we step up the majority of the time.

If you’re like me, you crave what you shouldn’t when life treats you like you wish it wouldn’t. In those moments, I need an instant lifeline that convinces me to care about myself over a false high. Read (anything). Remember (prison).

God speed, and good luck. If I know sugar at all, I know we’ll need it.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,

Presented by Writers Block Prose, LLC

This entry was posted on March 25, 2017. 1 Comment

The Suicide Disease (Hey, THAT’s What I’ve Got!)

Dog head bandaged

Part of me doesn’t want to tell my sob stories. Stories of tragedy are a dime a dozen via electronics in the Information Age, so much so that our empathy engines seem to overheat and stall sometimes for pretty good reason. We just can’t digest anymore sad-bad stuff. But there’s still something to telling a true story, I hope, to being known and attempting to know, to being human and sharing it. I’ll put my drop in that bucket today.

For me, this sob story–Trigeminal Neuralgia or TN–ties for third out of my eight most challenging ailments during adult life. TN, for those unfamiliar (most people, I assume, since this pain affects only .000125% of the population), is nicknamed The Suicide Disease. So for me, the suicide temptress ranks third or so. Suicide alert. Third-ish. (Don’t cue the violins. This point is just crucial to my next one.)

When this is your story (recap: suicide watch is only third worst), even the Cliff Notes version tends to send people running for the hills. So, even those I know and love best will probably be surprised today, because I’ve rarely told the full story. I’ve found there’s a threshold to every relationship’s ability to conversate about pain without imploding. “Hey, you wanna have lunch and talk about that suicide disease thingy again for the fiftieth time, since I’ve been in pain every single second since I’ve known you? And then we’ll move on to challenges ranking #1 and #2, since they’ve been happening simultaneously, like, since I’ve known you? You do? Great! Be there with bells on!” These are sentences spoken by no one ever.

If I sound self-pitying, hold the horses. I only mean to acknowledge the validity of everyone’s varying abilities to focus on what hurts. Debby Downer challenges us all for good reason. Nobody wants negativity all the time. And we do sometimes have trouble distinguishing between when the negative thing coming at us is a God’s honest, unfortunate circumstance over which someone has no choice (deserves real compassion) versus a pessimistic attitude chosen perpetually over manufactured crises (which idiot compassion enables). At any rate, I understand limits in capacity to hear about pain.

So, what do you do when you want to respect others’ pain tolerance but your own threshold is constantly surpassed to the point of bursting? What if speaking of it for ten minutes each day feels like chronically droning on to someone near you, but you’re expressing only a tiny fraction of your experience? What then? You try to be the best darn person you can be despite, not lay all of your burden on everyone around you and respect any inability of anyone to listen or respond. Even the encouragement champs (and I’ve met a few empathy heroes) have to endure their own stuff as well. So, you remember your pain is ultimately yours to carry. Help is great, but the buck stops with you. You try to strike a balance in communication that favors the other person’s well-being. In essence, you make peace with being partially known, by everyone but your Maker.

Anyway, I won’t even tell you what caused my (TN) damaged nerve to start screaming “I hate you!” at my face, because you won’t want to go to the dentist ever again. And more often than not, I’m pro dental hygiene.

So, let’s just go straight to the technicalities: “The trigeminal nerve is a mixed cranial nerve responsible for sensory data such as tactition (pressure), thermoception (temperature), and nociception (pain) originating from the face above the jawline ….” (Source: Wikipedia. I know, I know, but it’s good enough for our purposes today.) Basically, it’s a multi-pronged nerve that runs through the side of the face from the brain.

They say “typical” attacks of TN pain are intense and shorter and “atypical” attacks are less intense and constant. Overachiever that I am, I went ahead and combined the two into constant, intense pain. For several years, I rarely found a solitary hour without increasingly murderous pain on the left side of my face. To attempt (and fail) to describe the sensation, it’s stabbing, burning, crushing, shooting, like Mike Tyson giving you endless right hooks. It’s mostly that last thing.

Imagine, for example, someone puts a vice grip around both your cheeks and squeezes, hard. Then someone puts a vice grip on your eyeball and squeezes, hardest (gross, sorry). Then someone puts an electrically conductive vice grip on your chin and top of your head, squeezes only hard-ish but then plugs you in. It’s hard to see (partly because having your eye open is excruciating). Chewing hurts (the baby food month of the journey was particularly interesting). Talking hurts. Hair touching the cheek hurts. The wind can hurt. Sitting and staring dumbly at the wall can hurt. You get it. Enough of that.

To be fair, because I’ve taken a solemn vow to never exaggerate woes on my blog, once in a while steroids did take the edge off for short reprieves. (But, then I started bruising endlessly and having allergic reactions to them and had to stop them suddenly without weaning, going into withdrawal and a sort of shock, under which circumstances I flew to a destination wedding and got married, visibly shaking. But that’s a whole ‘nother day’s tale.) OK, fair disclaimer to thwart exaggeration rendered.

I saw fifteen dental professionals who tried to solve the problem the way it was caused, i.e. by doing nine more oral surgeries on or around two “bad teeth.” These were to my TN detriment, because they never diagnosed me correctly and were treating the wrong thing, doing woeful damage to my jaw and neck vertebrae all the while also (which caused aforementioned problem #2 and years of virtual muteness. But again, that’s a story for a different day.)

So, of course, I did the appalling thing and diagnosed myself using the internet and then scheduled an appointment with a neurologist, who confirmed it. I have on good authority this was appalling, because my last oral surgeon said, “It’s appalling to diagnose yourself using the internet. The diagnosis can’t be right, because you smile too much and people with this illness have guns to their heads.” (Great word picture, doc. But maybe next time go with, “My, you’re handling this challenge awfully well. Good job.”)

The most effective treatment is occasionally-semi-successful, chalk-full-of-side-effects anti-seizure drugs for life. There’s also surgery. I’ve heard nothing good about splicing and dicing nerves to the brain. Maybe that will change. Maybe it’ll be perfected. But for those who know me, you can see my answer to ’em coming: “Um, no, bye, thanks, no thanks, bye bye. I won’t let the door hit me ….” I was also trying to get pregnant. Anti-seizure meds almost offer a written guarantee for birth defects. So I defected saying, we’re doing this another way (I could fairly refer to us in the plural at that point, my trigeminal nerve and I, since it had declared full independence from cooperating with my face). Another way it is.

What way? Nobody has a way. All these professionals can’t find a way. Please professionals, find a better way. I’m just me. I have an accounting degree. Blood makes me pass out. I’m not a brain surgeon. Is it too late to become a brain surgeon? I’m only 27. Wait. Brain guts would make me pass out. What is going on here? There’s no other way.

So, here, fourteen years later, is where maybe I get to make an important point in keeping with what I promised this blog would be. To see the promise, go to my post “Spoiler Alert (An Introduction to My Blog).” Here’s where I get to redeem this particular pain.

There’s always another way. There’s never no way. Choose the way that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve just received a soul-crushing death sentence along with all your dreams. Go that direction.

My chiropractor listens to The Healer–to whom I’d been praying incessantly–and was bold enough to suggest I go against all the previous advice. The little-h healers couldn’t compete. This doctor who cracks my neck cracked the code to stopping the maddening downward spiral. (Thank you, Dr. Chris Turnpaugh.) But the damage was done, and it would take another year or so to calm the nerve down to only occasional pain.

And there it stays to this day. When it’s bad, it’s bad. (Shall we review the vice grips and electrical outlets?) But it sometimes responds to ibuprofin now, and when it’s gone–the majority of the time–it’s gone, except for a constant sense of vague numbness that I can usually ignore. It does distort my eye and half my face just enough, especially when I smile. I can almost forget it most days until I see a picture of myself or put on make-up, then the micro (to others) differences jump out at me. They’re subtle reminders of pain and pain conquered, mostly. (I still mourn my now less symmetrical face sometimes. Women.)

Do I know exactly why The Suicide Disease doesn’t torment me anymore quite like so many others? I don’t exactly, but sort of. Though telling you exactly how to lick it isn’t my most important point, I can tell you that nature-made, unadulterated food heals. Music and meditation heal. Cranio-sacral therapy heals (when Ms. Beth Shover does it, anyway). Acupuncture and qigong heal. Chiropractic neurology, reflexology and massage therapy heal. Nutrition supplements heal (not all, buyer beware). Love heals. The Healer heals.

Ask The Healer, and then follow directions and do the work, whether you have this problem (chances are slim) or another one. You’ll likely have to spend money you’re not sure you have. You’ll have to show up to many appointments. You’ll have to be open-minded. You’ll have to get over thinking someone owes you the succinct answer on a silver platter and that insurance will pay for it. You’ll have to accept that there are good doctors and poor doctors, meaning you have to engage your mind and intuition and practice the word no when you’d rather stick your head in the sand and submit (because the lie that it’s easier to just go along to get along is insidious).

And then you’ll have life again. One way or another, here or in the hereafter, there’s always a way. Don’t throw in the towel easily (use it to Epsom salt soak your poor face instead). With a disease known for taking its victims prematurely, I’m feeling pretty lucky to have been bullheaded enough to pursue another way right here. Your chance at stubbornness is right here, too.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,


Presented by Writers Block Prose, LLC

Blackout Driving


The other day I was driving to an auction, following behind my husband. Follow-driving is nice. As long as his tail and two boundary lines stayed in my sight, the autopilot part of my brain did the trick. I was alert but not working, focused but not thinking. A few times, I woke up (figure of speech, don’t fret) realizing I hadn’t seen most everything for miles and couldn’t remember getting there. You know the feeling of blacking out on the road, I’m sure (not talking controlled substances here, folks, about which I’d have very different words).

This got me thinking about other times in life that I shut off my brain, allowing myself to check out and coast, for which I actually paid a high price. For instance, upon someone’s request, I once attended a church that made me unbelievably queasy. In the end (and it was snappy), the church leaders called me demon possessed and tried to pray it out of me. (No thank you. Be well, and bye-bye now.)

And once, for a long period of time, I surrendered to a wrong voice simply because it was louder and stronger than mine. As a result, I enabled a lot of unnecessary pain. Ouch, I’m really (really, really) sorry.

I also recently hopped onto an extremely low-carb, Paleo diet train against my better judgment (truly temporary insanity for me, because I’ve poo-pooed it for years). That eating style (a.k.a. torture) took me straight to the feel-crappy, look-crappy, act-crappy, gain-weight station, just like I would’ve, could’ve, should’ve expected. What? Why did I? Oh well. Reset.

I call no harm, no foul on my relatively mindless highway drafting behind the leader the other day; it was a safe way to ease a small burden. And I’d performed due diligence instinctively. I knew where we were going and could hop back on route if my husband led us astray, but I knew he had absolutely no ulterior motive to, say, kidnap me. I also know he has a mega-better sense of direction than me (universal), and the price was small if we were late or lost. There were no red flags or alarms. Blackout approved and appreciated.

Obviously (with a capital O), my alleged demon possession wasn’t so harmless (although recovery is swift from short-lived things that turn funny fast in the retelling). I’m also not proud of the pain I helped cause by disengaging my will around a dominant personality, and I regret the decrease in vitality I caused by disagreeing with myself about what to eat.

Trouble pursued me in these cases because of many mistakes. I didn’t listen to my intuition–such a small voice that’s so hard to trust sometimes, especially when more confident ones sound like they’re spoken through a megaphone into a microphone. I didn’t follow my peace or do all my homework. I gave authority to the wrong person (even when it was an actual authority). I just assumed others knew better and had more expertise. I wrongly assigned good motives. I tried to play nice when tough love would’ve been smarter. I followed trends and the herd. Oops. Live and learn.

The results only served to remind me: buyer beware. Always beware of what leaders (especially ones who anoint, I mean appoint, themselves) want to sell you, where they want to take you or how they’d like to get you there.

I don’t say this out of cynicism, because I’m all for following. We can’t reinvent each wheel by blazing every trail anew. We all have to choose our experts and believe somebody. And I absolutely don’t feel qualified to run my own life solo to its best potential, so I always want to turn to The Expert.

But (and it’s a substantial but), I’ve forgotten at times that I am an authority and expert in my own life, too. I don’t want to abdicate the driver’s seat to any other person–to blackout on my life–when it counts. Life’s road is a straight, quick shot, and we drive it precisely once. There aren’t turnabouts or take backs. There aren’t limos with chauffeurs, i.e. substitutes for our focused attention and intentional decision making as we travel. We are our own designated drivers at all times.

Practical applications? Don’t blindly follow your spouse (we women like to try to be in charge, sorry). Moms, don’t let your kids steer the family ship, but don’t helicopter over their own little driving lessons either. Employees, don’t unthinkingly do everything a boss asks of you. Bosses, don’t drive your employees too hard because you find the back seat cozy. Citizens, don’t assume the government is always right. Viewers, don’t always believe your newscasters. Patients, doctors are human. Doctors, patients live in their bodies and know them, too. Students, teachers can be wrong.

Everyone, everywhere has a perspective and motives that might be pure and good for you, or they might not. The force with which people insist you fall in line is usually the same force you need to use in asking, should I? This is harder to do for some of us personality types than others.

Mind you, I’m not suggesting anarchy, constant rebellion, lawlessness or an inability to submit (that’s the opposite personality bent, and we’ll pick on them another day). I’m simply suggesting that our analytical and critical thinking, instinct and intuition are ours to wield; our lives desperately rely on us to employ them. (Did I mention desperately?) Otherwise, it’s like playing a game of darts blindfolded. We all have blind spots, but choosing to be blindfolded is a different and dangerous game. We won’t hit our targets that way, because no one else’s trajectory is meant to be like ours verbatim. We can’t piggyback our way to our destinies.

The problem with blackout driving, then, is only in its over- or misuse, when its laziness comes with a large price tag or causes a re-route that we don’t want. Even my husband (who, sorry to out you babe, drives like his grandfather) had a highly unusual speeding stint that day and might have cost me a ticket if I hadn’t come to and hit the brakes. It can certainly feel easier to follow a zoned-out path of least resistance until you see how twisty, costly or surging it is. Hop off that sucker before you get sea sick. Find land legs and walk the efficient, direct line to where you choose to go.

Of course, there’s always balance. I know some people who white-knuckle the wheel so hard that they won’t drive much at all. They avoid leading and following. They’re paralyzed. Hyper-vigilance won’t get you where you want to go either.

So, I suggest, choose leaders (one of which should be you when you’re most qualified). Follow with confidence (but not perfect confidence). Submit to authority (but know when not to–mere disagreement or disinterest not being grounds enough, sorry). Heed advice (but reject some). Give trust to people who are responsible with it (but not perfect trust). Go ahead, blackout-follow when it’s a smart or effective use of your energy.

Just do it all (blackout included) with objectivity, forethought, intuition, questioning and common sense. Keep your eyes, mind, heart and gut wide awake for the vast majority of the trip with your hands firmly on your ten and two, not to be a control freak but to take responsibility for the life given to only you. Lose the blindfold.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,


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Immigration Without Borders (No, Thanks)


Come, talk politics with me. Deep end, prepare yourself. Caution, I toss you to the wind. Kindly bear witness as I expertly chase off half my audience before this blog even starts. Hey, at least we’ll all know where we stand, so there’s that. This isn’t a political blog in general (although there’s no topic I’ll avoid), and I do hereby solemnly swear that every post from hereafter will be lighter (and shorter) to the very best of my ability (so that’s a maybe). But if you do read through today, you’re a kindred spirit or hold a high regard for differing viewpoints. Either way, I like you already.

However, by virtue of putting this particular perspective in writing, I’m aware that I’m inviting dislike on myself. When some people disagree in today’s political culture, I mean they DISAGREE (with a capital “you’re an idiot lacking brains or heart”). Respectfully agreeing to disagree (without being character assassinated) hasn’t really come to the party of late when I’ve expressed my political opinion. If that’s the case, and my logic or opinion on this prevents someone from seeing me as smart, loving or giving, so be it. We each get one voice.

Listen, don’t we know we need to discuss politics? (We do keep rampantly trying on Facebook.) Any civilized society has to think things over and through; foregoing contemplative conversation isn’t a luxury a republic can afford. If we take easy offense or ourselves too seriously for civil debate, strife will (is) eat(ing) us alive. I imagine our founding granddads (they seem too old to be fathers at this point) would sternly lecture the lot of us for the bedridden depression or skip work, self-indulgent nonsense happening when we face disagreements or disappointments (then they’d give us a lollipop and send us off with a do-better-next-time pat on the head like all doting grandparents).

I want to at least try to maintain a country where we can differ with appropriate deference, so I will talk about how I disagree that “borders are bad, bridges are good.” I’ll verbalize that I don’t think America’s moral compass has run entirely afoul based on current immigration limits, but I respect your right to disagree with me and oppose the authority with your vote. I hold out this post as an olive branch. Let’s still be friends whether we agree or not. Let’s keep talking. Let’s be the United States of America where disagree with one another doesn’t mean destroy one another. So, let’s put on our big boy/girl undies and talk U.S. borders and immigration. Breathe in, breathe out … and now:

I was born empathetic to a fault with a big old bleeding heart and considerable sense of responsibility which led directly to a tendency toward boundary-less-ness. I was also highly involved through age 25 in a Christian denomination (that I truly respect and I’m still firmly Christian) that I’m pretty sure would disagree with me on this topic (I speculate since it wasn’t really discussed in Sunday School aside from “fences bring freedom”). I can safely say that I’ve greatly contemplated the political position–and supporting motives–against which I’m about to argue. If your perspective on today’s immigration policy is one of moral or general outrage or grief, I do feel you on some level. And yet, I can’t bring myself to a “walls are bad” or “Christianity/compassion has failed” response to the new President’s attempts to tighten immigration vetting or enforce border laws put into place by previous governing bodies (and believe me, there’s a lot put into place by governing bodies that I’d like to lock and load in a missile launcher and catapult to wherever the sun never shines).

This issue of who do we let in and on whom should we have “compassion” is such a macro issue, because this is such a macro world. It’s a BIG topic (HYUGE with a silent ‘h’) even without getting into the technical definitions of compassion (but do google “idiot compassion” if you’re unfamiliar). When a thing feels this macro-immense, it seems we forget to apply simple-micro logic to it. We don’t boil it down to fundamentals that we already apply to our everyday, walking around lives. Everyone implements some version of micro-border control in their lives (e.g., not picking up hitchhikers or taking the random homeless guy in) without accusing themselves of being hateful but then ironically starts screaming (crying, maligning, assaulting) “haters” at those who would apply macro-borders to the U.S.’ interaction with the world. Um?

On the issue of borders, common micro-sense includes things like, 1) you can’t help everybody, 2) not everybody wants help, 3) don’t go down with the ship, 4) no one is entitled to your personal space, 5) your concentric layers of responsibility begin with your immediate circle and move outward, 6) taking something from one person so another person can have it (traditionally called theft) isn’t charity (so the government isn’t a charity, because that’s all it can do), 7) the government’s job is to protect its citizens (so citizens can do charitable work if they freely choose, altruism being a personal choice we can’t force on one another) and 8) you generally can do the most good on earth when you’re alive, so martyrdom, literal or figurative, isn’t often called for (leaving debates about what “taking up your cross” means for another day, Christians, because I too believe in doing so), and under no circumstances are you entitled to choose martyrdom for your neighbor.

Let’s illustrate simply. Take ten people who ask you personally for financial help, and you’re glad (the opportunity to give is an honor, no argument). They claim emergency status–no food or roof over kids’ heads at sundown. So, without asking question numero uno, you bring all ten home and hand over your MAC card with directions to the closest ATM (please, oh mercy, please tell me that already gave you pause). Let’s say nine of the ten have no intent to take advantage. Oops. Game over anyway. The following day the one malicious sort empties your bank account, runs off with your valuables after messily feasting from your fridge on your La-Z-Boy while watching your DVR’s (and then deleting, how depraved) while you’re at work. Your own family and nine other needy souls now have nada while the bad guy took your everything.

Next, let’s say none of the ten have plans to rob you blind, but five out of ten actually have another source of help (including their own efforts) unbeknownst to you but are choosing you as their preferred method (maybe for obvious reasons based on your gullibility in the previous example, food for thought). Not everybody’s story can be taken at face value nor can you believe you’re able to take in everyone who asks unless you’re the most naive or unrealistic of types. If you assist all ten again without hesitation, you’ve just doomed your ability to help anybody at all if you didn’t first evaluate your resources (not only financial). Maybe not as quickly as in the first illustration, but without fail your resources will run dry with the same result that your family and no one gets any sustainable benefit. Nobody can rely on you. And you missed helping the ones who truly had no other option. Ship sunk again. There are natural limits to how much everybody–every body, including government–can give.

Obvious alternatives? Ask wise questions, investigate the truth of stories, reject anyone who is a privilege abuser or disrespects your stated boundaries of help. Turn down the folks who’ll steal your capacity to help others and turn down others just because filling up further will threaten home base stability. Then require reciprocity, when appropriate, instead of demeaning others by assuming they have no work capacity or anything to prove while accepting your generosity. Narrow it down and help the five in true, desperate need without sacrificing anybody else’s well-being to the cause and do so reliably until they no longer need help. Don’t make promises to all ten that guarantee some of them or your own family lose (keeping promises was as valuable a character trait as compassion, last I knew).

Congrats. You’ve realistically estimated your situation and set appropriate borders while meeting your primary responsibility to yourself, family and community. Kudos on successful compassion. The common sense math always adds up the same: Helping five is greater than helping zero and hurting many every, single time.

Back to immigration, specifically, then. The federal government has a duty to its citizens first, and it isn’t a charitable organization with unlimited resources. There are no money trees, and printing presses come with dire consequences, say like, hyper-inflation and soup lines, for us and the immigrants relying on us. Even a charitable organization with unlimited resources (which doesn’t exist, because there’s no such thing) rightfully chooses extremely carefully who to assist. (You know, there’s the whole give-a-fish or teach-to-fish argument and the more modern if-they’re-gonna-steal-the-fish-or-attach-a-bomb-to-it one). Besides, the federal government is the absolutely most (laughably) inefficient organization at handling our money (talk about too macro), and there’s no immediate accountability as they spend it. There are other superbly better, more reliable ways to get money to the refugee cause if it breaks your heart (and it does mine).

My point is, if anybody chooses to be without borders of some kind, micro or macro, they will fail to help anyone. Instability will abound. Big bummer. It’s a compassion bust, despite stellar intentions. Plus, trying to bring a statistically significant number (in the grand world scheme) of refugees or country-dissatisfied here via immigration is impossible–a futile, failing numbers game. We can’t make a noticeable dent in the problem of world abuses and poverty that way (nor should we be delusional enough to think it’s all on our shoulders).

However, the amazing, fantastic, brave, admirable, stunningly bright and bold people already out there helping the displaced and oppressed every day can change the world, or come much closer than the efforts that open immigration or lawless borders advocates would have our government choose. I wonder what would be accomplished if everyone that’s now picketing and protesting (yelling) would go home and partner (quietly) with these private organizations. Why are we waiting for the government? I’m not. There’s plenty to do and plenty of groups to do it with in much more socially appropriate, efficient and effective ways. A ten-second google search (“how do I help refugees”) will bring up scores of options, because they’re out there.

And on that point, my skeptical side offers a perspective (if you have no cynical side, back away from the screen now slowly and no one gets hurt). Does the personal giving and sacrifice of those screaming the loudest for the government to give and sacrifice match the decibel of their voices? Does accusing, “The government should be more compassionate!” assuage a feeling of compassion without any actual, compassionate action taking place? (Stats I’ve come across seem to support this, unfortunately, so maybe it’s not cynical after all.) It’s pretty human nature to tell other people to do what we don’t want to. I have found that if somebody wants to help suffering people, they will help suffering people. And the most generous people I know do it privately, humbly and proactively. Then they lie down to sleep at night knowing they actually helped someone that day instead of demanding that someone else help someone that day.

Clearly, then, I can’t support the implication that walls, limits, analysis of resources, tough questions and healthy skepticism at our borders means we lack compassion. Quite the opposite; I think they define smart and balanced compassion and that borders are a key to retaining the ongoing ability to help those in true need. For goodness sake, even the touted Good Samaritan gave from a safe distance in order to go about his regular business, putting a trustee in charge of the hands-on humanitarian aid. Where did we think he was going to get the money to put the injured guy up in a hotel and pay all his expenses anyway?

If you’re a Christian, you know that even the pinnacle gift of compassion (salvation by the surrogate death of Jesus Christ) came with one caveat, a single condition: You can’t mock, reject or abuse it if you wish to receive it. If a decision to be adversarial is enough for my Boss to disallow entrance into His presence, it’s good enough for me in evaluating potential U.S. residents. To be sure, God will pursue you and love you from whatever distance you insist upon by your choices, but ultimately the gift receiver determines the outcome and proximity of the relationship.

But the problem remains, God intimately knows hearts and minds. We are in the next-to-impossible position of having to discern intentions of potential immigrants, but try we must, in a way that’s not too cynical and not too naive. And we can’t ignore actions blatantly hostile to our laws and land as we do our screening. (It doesn’t seem like that would need to be said out loud, but as I listen around today, it seems it does–ahem–Sharia law.)

To my mind, then, those who argue I should give generously of my resources or risk some safety and comfort for immigrants are correct, and those who say I should pre-qualify, screen and limit the number of immigrants are also correct. These aren’t mutually exclusive actions; they’re balanced ones. Look, isn’t this standard stuff? Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting another when the plane’s going down. Our country hasn’t kept its oxygen mask on–kept itself in a state of readiness, strength and stability–to offer inordinate emergency help, ironically because of not enforcing borders and boundaries in a plethora of ways. Nor have we put on our wisdom hat every time we say, “Yes, stay!” no matter whether the lock on the door was picked to get in.

In addition, times have changed ferociously. Insidious, vicious, underhanded (to say the least) games to infiltrate and kill by any means necessary are afoot. Someone who is capable of murdering is also more than capable of lying, cheating and stealing to get into a position to do it. There are no observed war rules of engagement for terrorists, just a deluded vision that they’re valiantly honoring Allah by blowing us up and that the ends justify any means, as spelled out by Islam’s leader, Muhammad. (“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” by Nabeel Qureshi is a must-read on this if you doubt me.) It’s real, and it deserves to be considered as we protect our house (country) while helping those we can wisely bring into it. But let’s tiptoe along out of that landmine (pun intended, groan)….

I’m calling for compassion with borders. Should we abhor the horrendous circumstances causing people to flee their countries? Can we feel heartbroken compassion? Yes! Please, yes, Humanity! If we lose a hurting heart for those abused and threatened, we’ve failed. I, however, don’t see a temporary suspension on some immigration in order to evaluate or strengthen vetting procedures (or for whatever other security reason a Commander in Chief may not be able to publicly broadcast) as that failure. I don’t see enforcing respect for border laws as failure but as immigration sustainability via U.S. stability, sovereignty and self-respect. I don’t see anything wrong with temporarily refusing admittance to the hospital for the day because the beds are full or coffers dry as anything but real life and limited resources. I don’t see singling out countries harboring religious fanatics as discrimination against an entire religion (we haven’t temporarily suspended all Muslim countries) but as a strategy for requiring change. I don’t see a problem with acknowledging that all non-domestic terrorists today are Muslim, although by far not all Muslims are terrorists, of course.

We all want justice to prevail if we’re directly affected by a lawbreaker. Let’s not only offer empathetic compassion to potential immigrants but also to our fellow countrymen abused by terror or lawlessness. Let’s not support immigration entitlement by taking away the rights of our immediate neighbors. Let’s not ignore the money we pay to finance illegality just because it’s a relatively hidden noose. This isn’t rocket science, it’s justice for all, and it can’t be played as if it’s a zero sum game if anyone at all is going to win.

Having said all that (and I realize it was a lot, but we’re making our fore-granddads proud so time is of no consequence), again I repeat that this isn’t a political blog. But this is the issue of the day. For those who stuck with me but disagree, I believe I understand you enough to know that you’re supremely kindhearted. And I claim no monopoly on intelligence; intelligent people disagree, and it helps the world go ’round. I simply offer up this viewpoint from my one particular seat on our spinning sphere.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,

P.S. After writing this I found a kindred spirit. If you’d like to read more on immigration (that I wish I’d have written myself), let me suggest (a purely political blog): “Dear Daughter: Here’s Why Daddy Didn’t Skip Work Yesterday” and “Yes, Christians Can Support President Trumps Immigration Order.”


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Anomaly (An Introduction to Me)

Rose on Fire.jpg

It wouldn’t take a genius in my 41-year old shoes to look around and notice something … different … about my life (life being a generous term some days). Not surprisingly, this different life created mindsets, habits, even an appearance that are … different. This happened primarily because life most generously carved out for me adequate (to threaten sanity) amounts of thinking time (in a solitary confinement sort of way). I seemed to be traveling a dirt road in a covered wagon parallel to expressways full of Teslas, like I was born with the wrong mode of transportation in the wrong era.

As I mulled over starting this blog (something I never thought I’d do but was sort of talked into) the things worth putting fingertips to keyboard for were these … differences … I’ve rarely found words (or guts) to speak. So I, like any self-respecting writer, started searching high and low for colorful adjectives for it all (other than the 4-letter variety) to craft a cunning introduction. Epic fail. Accurate descriptors in a quick summary? No way, no how, no can do. So I surrendered to simplicity. The only cause I have to sound my voice here is because, for me, things have been … different … hard-resisted then hard-appreciated … different. Good enough.

My anomalous journey of (four) natural disasters and resurrections, health debacles and mendings (then debacle, followed by debacle proceeded by debacle followed by mending, repeat debacle), business paths and partnerships (in sickness and in health, for worse or better, they’re truly like marriages), relational connections and crashes, family planning nightmares and triumphs all combined with a rare personality type to create off-mainstream beliefs, bizarre stories, profound sympathy and controversial perspectives. I’m going to offer it all up in an attempt to exploit whatever diamond might materialize from under all the black, ugly pressure per chance it might benefit or move you. But I also write because I need to. I suppose that’s called passion, and I try to follow it whenever possible, believing a life lived alive is best for me and everybody. The results will take care of themselves.

If anything I write seems simple, forgive me, but maybe don’t give up on me too quickly. I’ve concluded from my adventures (again, a forgiving word) that we Homo sapiens major in complication. I can over-think with the pros, choosing the hardest route when the easy one would do just fine. But having observed the rat race mostly from the sidelines (my body firmly refuses to run it, stubborn mule to which I’m grateful), I know that in this United States of America we’re swimming in a turbulent, unnecessary sea of complication. We seem to crave erudition, sophistication, profundity, speed, control or appearances that might forge a name or legacy at the expense of common sense, ratcheting simple things up to an unnecessary boil that ends up burning us all.

I’m not interested in any of that. I’m here to see how much simple truth I can put on paper with some lighthearted sense of perspective. So let’s leave all the intricacy and self-promotion stuff at the door and discuss what actually works to make life better, not what sounds good on paper (I get the irony).

At any rate, I won’t hesitate to write about topics from politics and religion (*gasp*choke*) to alternative medicine and food (viva carbohydrates) to lifestyle and money (ugh, sorry) to relationships and isolation (I was forcibly mute for 3+ years, hello) IF I have reasonable belief that I’ve been taught something of value by the … crushing and saving events of my life (same events, all). Well, there you go. I already found my better adjectives. There’s hope for me yet. Sometimes the honest descriptions are the hardest to give, but we’ll have no real relationship without truth. I will tell it absolutely, come what may.

And what should you make of the maybe sometimes seemingly random blog topics you’ll encounter? Well, I’ve found that the answers to getting up and keeping on–not stopping a nose length short of the finish line–tend to be wrapped up in and all around just such “random” things, big and little. It’s called life.

I hope to see you again soon. If you find anything interesting that resonates or you disagree but believe in exposing yourself to different perspectives, you know the cyber drill. Please follow and share liberally with friends (many thanks). If not, thanks for stopping by and blessings to you as you live your own blog (written or not), because everybody lives valuable volumes. I’m no different, but my story is. This is the sometimes dizzying, sometimes stunning view from my one seat on our spinning sphere.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,

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This entry was posted on February 17, 2017. 1 Comment

Spoiler Alert (An Introduction to My Blog)


I thought I’d give one more sneak peak of what’s to come when you follow this blog (for all the rebels who like to read the last page first).

Ultimately and fundamentally I’ll preach, don’t quit (hallelujah, amen, period, thanks for coming). I had no more frequent temptation in life than to do just that–quit (picture fetal position, white flags, choking out “uncle,” playing possum, giving my 3-week notice, taking up an agoraphobia hobby, you get it). So with some authority and much desire to bolster the weary among us, I repeat, under no circumstances give up, ever. If I know of anything I can do for you as a result of my lessons in “different” (see “Anomaly” post), it’s relentlessly channel my inner Winston Churchill.

Races are meant to be finished, so for goodness sake, don’t stop anywhere short of the finish line, even if you have to crawl, trip or fall over it onto your lovely face. Partway to victory is not where you want to set up camp (even if a doctor, professional, authority or friend says so, and many a one does), because you just might stay there forever. That’s called settling, and it just makes a bad situation worse, the highest crime we commit against ourselves in my book.

So, my chronic message to you and me will be, get up! Get up again. And if you can’t get up on the outside, then get yourself up on the daggone inside. Don’t close your eyes in the middle of a concussion. Fight for vision. Endure. Come back. And do life with excellence in whatever ways you can no matter how life is happening. Mediocrity never changed the world. Be outstanding. Whether you need a cheerleader or a solid kick in the pants to move through your stuff, I’m your girl. YOU. CAN. (Rah-rah-ree, kick ’em in the knee.)

This blog is me standing back up too, by the way, from my current, three-year K.O. round in the ring. I don’t know how many times a phoenix can rise from those ashes, but I’m bound and determined to find out. And I’m a scrappy fighter, so it’s not pretty over here right now sometimes, but what I lack in finesse I make up for in resolve.

So for me, this blog is an un-sticking. Stuck is the opponent that so often shows up to hold us down, so I opened my laptop with a wink to the opponent’s corner from my down position. I’m conscious, still breathing, says my one twitched eyelid. Game not over. Like a crouching tiger, I’m conserving energy looking for the right time to pounce. I’m coming for you again, lifting my heavy head off the floor. Life is grand, but life also feels like that sometimes.

You and I, though, were constructed of guts, not resignation. Conquering is in our DNA underneath it all. So, if no one is encouraging you saying, “You’re strong, brave, a beast really, and you’re killing it just by putting one foot in front of the other today, and you will become more from this if you doggedly hold on,” then let me tell you just that. I intend for that message to be the undercurrent keeping this blog (i.e., you and me) afloat.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,

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