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Green Eggs and Ham

green eggsIf you are at all familiar with children’s literature, there is a good chance you know Sam I Am. Persistent and polite at the same time, he thought outside the box not once but dozens of times in an effort to share what he already knew was good. You also know his very stubborn friend refused each and every offer only to finally give in and discover for himself he too liked green eggs and ham.

I ask a lot of questions. And I have a lot of suggestions. I am good at thinking outside the box. I can give you a hundred things we could do with that box if you insist it be part of the solution but I’m just as happy to send the box out to the curb for recycling. What I am not good at is satisfying people who simply refuse to try or ask or look or think. Those people cannot be helped. Well, maybe they can but it probably won’t be by me.

If you are hungry, taste the green eggs and ham.
If you need help, ask.
If you don’t understand, say so.
If I can help, let me know.

But if you ask for help, accept it.
If you don’t understand, be willing to make the effort to learn.
If I can help, tell me what you want and I’ll see if I can help you out of your box.

But if you stand there with your nose in the air, there is nothing I can do. I’m having breakfast with Sam.

Category In Response Ability Continue Reading

I Don’t Know You

47c493569655e723d686268cfe02d530You are not the same person you were when we first met.

You are not the same person you were last time we were together. Neither am I.

You have had adventures and joys and sorrows and failures and successes that I was not part of or witness to. And you missed mine.

You have changed. And so have I.

You are older and wiser and smarter and deeper than ever. I am, too.

You are stronger in some ways and weaker in others. Hard to admit but so true for me as well.

There is something different in the way you walk, the way you choose your words, the way you let me close or don’t.

I am sorry for the times I rushed through our re-connection assuming I knew you and where you were in your journey.

I am sorry for the times I did not see how much you have grown.

I am sorry for the times I presumed to know what and how you think.

I only ask for more opportunities to get to know you again.

And to offer you the opportunity to get to know me.

Category In Relation Ships Continue Reading

Monday Madness

I don’t like to be pushed. Unless you are a child in a swing, I can’t imagine anyone really likes someone bigger and stronger to put their effort into a good shove. I especially don’t like to be pushed for expressing my opinion or staying in my own lane.


One of the ever expanding opportunities to express opinion is writing reviews. The earliest reviews I am familiar with are the ones from old movies of actors waiting around in smoke filled restaurants waiting for the early morning papers to be delivered; the over dramatic actor who doesn’t want to know, but allows it to be read to him as he strikes a pose, bracing to hear the scathing words of the New York Times theater critic or the young understudy who’s whole future hangs in the balance while the Star crumples to the floor. The success or failure of the show depends on the one or two critics writing a favorable review. 

Today reviews are attached to everything. Movies and theater are a natural. Books and music come with both fan and professional evaluations. Amazon lets customers review every product they sell. Toilet paper? Yes. Bird seed? Yes. High price electronics? Yes. Now everyone with access to the internet is a reviewer. Content has been replace with Feedback as king. Free books are available if you will just read it and post a review. Fandango emails right after your movie is over to see how you liked the show!

With all these free flowing opinions two problems have emerged. The first is not all experiences are positive therefore not all reviews will be glowing endorsements. The second is that people are relying more on the experience and opinions of others instead of forming their own.

It is the first that has me writing this afternoon. Over the past month I have had extended contact with two major communication empires and one little family restaurant. All three have lost sight of customer service let alone customer satisfaction. When discussions have turned to other’s experience with the first two there is great sympathy and heads nodding in understanding at the frustration and seemingly endless process. The little restaurant, in entering the world of social media, did not have a clear understanding of how quickly they can escalate a non-issue into a very negative one.

Which leads into the second problem. Because a neutral review upset the owner of the little restaurant, a small place in an unremarkable strip mall is being discussed by people from a dozen states. My audience may not be vast but it is loyal and knowledgeable. Locals who may have never heard of it now know that the owner’s response was to tell me I was violating his intellectual property by posting a bland review on his page, that I was creating a negative vibe on the page and that I was bringing the whole thing down.

This was not a positive way to influence my opinion. It had exactly the opposite effect. A mild pass that I had forgotten about entirely was now front and center. My opinion was not only being challenged but my right to express it was being denied. I did not go out of my way to post a negative review. I had simply used the review tool on the page to leave my experience. The review stands. It has been edited to include the request of the owner.

I have declined to write reviews for books that have been provided to me free for marketing purposes. I couldn’t in good faith endorse or recommend anyone else spend time reading the material submitted. I do write rave reviews for books and anything else I enjoy and put my endorsement behind.

My opinion is just that. Mine and opinion. If someone wants my opinion to change badly enough, they will be much more successful if they understand what formed the opinion in the first place and change that first. The opinion will follow. 

The great news is you are just as free to form and have your own.

Category In Response Ability Continue Reading

Early Adopter

cell-phone-evolutionDid you have a cell phone that looked like a putty colored brick?
Did you have a projection tv?
Did your blog start on Blogger?
For a long time were you the only one you knew using a Mac?

If you were, you may be an Early Adopter. EAs are the ones who stand in line for the latest and greatest, plunk down a serious chuck of hard earned cash and wade through the challenges of technology that is still in the formative stages.  They are also the ones who pave the way for availability to go up and price to come down. They are the ones taking the risks and doing the heavy lifting for consumers to follow.

Because of my husband’s job in tech we are not only EAs but our home is often the site of field testing for pre-production items. While I loved the compact size of a laptop that fit in my purse in 2005 it’s proclivity to revert to Japanese while I was typing in English was more than a little frustrating.

Being ahead can be a lonely place. Finding someone to talk to about your experience is challenging. Waiting for other’s to catch up so you can connect is tiresome. But the alternative is moving with the herd. Plodding along at the same pace, doing what everyone else is doing because it’s what everyone else is doing. There is an illusion of safety in numbers. Class action law suits are more successful than individuals who go up against a major corporation or an industry giant.

What is it that draws us to the edge? The edge of technology or the edge of our experience or the edge of greatness? What makes us break out from the lock step of the crowd and do the cha cha? What makes us run ahead down the path with a machete swinging wildly yelling over our shoulder to those who will eventually find the trail?

I honestly don’t know. But my machete is sharp and I plan to keep whacking away.

Category In Re-creation Continue Reading

Closing Doors

jesus-at-doorMy dog Mickey was whimpering behind the closed bedroom door. He has free range of our home and often goes into our bedroom and closes the door. There is a full length mirror on the back and he likes to look at himself. It’s harmless enough. He doesn’t tear up anything or sleep on the bed. He just lays down to wait. If it takes us too long or he hears something interesting in the rest of the house, he will let us know he’s stuck. You see, Mickey doesn’t know how to open the door once he’s closed it. He never closes it completely. There is always a small space left open.

Mickey’s litter mate Minnie knows how to open the door. If she hears him, she will go give the door a push and let him out. But Minnie can only open the door from the hallway. If she is on the same side of the door as Mickey they both have a problem. Occasionally, she will stick her nose in the gap and nudge until she can get her head through. But Mickey gets in her way making it hard for either of them to get out.

The thing about doors is they are a temporary obstacle. Even the locked ones have the possibility of swinging wide open if someone has the key. They can be opened from either side. They can even be knocked down in case of emergency. Some are made of glass, giving sight but still separating the two sides and easily broken. Some are made of much sturdier material, offering obscurity and a false sense of security.

This painting was a fixture in my home as a child. It was on the front of a big heavy Bible that I remember seeing from time to time. It is often pointed out that there is no doorknob in the painting, implying it can only be opened from the inside. But even with a door knob Mickey cannot open the door and when she does open it, Minnie never uses the doorknob. I always thought if he just put his shoulder into it that door would pop open.

I think that’s part of the misconception we have about God. If He’d just put His shoulder into it He could break through our doors and rescue us from whatever door we have closed. It’s not that God is thought of as vengeful or cruel but just absent. Where is He when children suffer? Where is He when planes crash? Where is He when….? Where is He when we close the door ourselves to look in the mirror and find ourselves stuck?

Sometimes we are very much like Mickey. Other times we have the opportunity to be Minnie. Just a little push when we hear someone is stuck may be all it takes to let the door swing open and set them free to roam until the next time.

The irony of this post is that I was interrupted half way through writing it by the arrival of the cable man. I showed him the place in the backyard where the cable needs to be rerun. I showed him where the main box is. When I saw the truck pull up I had put Mickey and Minnie in my room and closed the door firmly. I wanted them secure while he was here. They made plenty of noise to let me know they were not happy about it.

After showing the cable man where the junction box is outside I said I was going back to my office while he made some phone calls. I reached for the front door knob and, you guessed it, I had locked myself out of the house. Normally, I carry my house keys with me at all times for just this reason, but this morning I hadn’t put them in my pocket. Banging on the front door and ringing the bell got the attention of the two trapped in my bedroom but failed to rouse the teenager sleeping down the hall. Fortunately her window was open and she less than cheerfully stumbled down the hall to open the front door. Coffee refilled and keys securely in my pocket I returned to my desk and the subject of doors.

This whole post began yesterday when someone firmly slammed a relationship door in my face. It was followed by another person taking up guard duty in front of said door and taking some very cheap shots at me for trying to ring the bell. All the commotion brought out some villagers who opened their doors to me and all in all I count the day a gain not a loss.

My question to end this would be what doors are you facing? Are they open or closed? Who opened or closed them? Are you waiting for someone to open it for you? Have you forgotten your keys? Have you lost your keys?

Or are you the ingenious little dog who will stick your nose in the small opening and set yourself free?

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.…”



Category In Questions, Relation Ships, Response Ability Continue Reading

Then there was one

coffee mugs

A few months ago I ordered this set of coffee/tea mugs. When I originally went looking for them I was only thinking of ordering one. But they came in a set so six it was. They have since offered them individually. The box arrived in a timely manner and sat in my office aging.

I already have a lot of coffee mugs and tea cups and tea services. And I plan on increasing my collection. Besides the very practical nature of holding hot beverages, many of these are my tangible prayer list.

Some were gifts from people near and dear to my heart. Some I have decorated with names from retreats or support fellowships. Some are half of a set, with one in my home and the other in the home of a precious friend.

This afternoon, I set five of these writer’s friends free. They are each nested in a box entrusted to the United States Post Office. Each one went with a prayer for inspiration and free flowing verse. Each one has a number on the back reminding the recipient that they are not alone in the lonely endeavor of writing.

When I fill my cup with coffee or tea, I will be sharing the cup of creativity and offering up a prayer on their behalf. Can you guess which one I kept for myself?

Category In Re-creation, Relation Ships Continue Reading


images (8)It sits buried beneath years of fallen leaves and unchecked forest under growth. If you didn’t know exactly where to look you would never see it. The ones responsible for it being there are all long gone and only a few carry the memory at all.

Once it was precious and shiny and new. Once it was a dream and an expensive goal. Once it was powerful and vital. Once it could carry life or end it.

Then it became worn out, faded, dented, broken, and finally discarded. Pushed off the side of the road to rust and melt, abandoned and unwanted.

Faith…friendship…love…or just an old rusted forgotten shell.


Category In Relation Ships Continue Reading

Baby Babble or Why I won’t pray for you

Warrior Woman SilhouetteA friend of mine was spending the afternoon delighting in the company of her two year old granddaughter. All was fun and light until it wasn’t.
Granddaughter smiling up at a loving face said “Baby babble baby babble baby babble”
Grandmother replied “Yes, dear. Aren’t you cute?”
Granddaughter toddled away giggling. While grandmother’s back was turned granddaughter swung a small hammer she had found, shattering a ceramic lamp into several large and a great number of small pieces.
Grandmother stood frozen realizing she might have just given permission for her granddaughter to smash the lamp, placing her in the middle of sharp objects.

And this is why I am very careful the battles I join in prayer. If I don’t know what’s really going on I will not enter into agreements. I will not pray for unspoken requests. I do not hand over my power and authority blindly. I do not add my strength unless I know what the weakness is.

If you want me to join you in battle, I will but you have to tell me what we are fighting and how we are going to come in agreement with God’s will. My sword is sharp, my arms are strong, and my authority comes from my Father.



Category In Reverence Continue Reading

Out, damned spot!

out damn spotOut, damned spot! out, I say! One; two: why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky! Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?

Since Lady M there have been issues with spot removal. Today I stumbled upon one that so clearly illustrated what I consider to be a major social ill in America. Personal responsibility.

I have a regular neighborhood dry cleaner. I have been a steady customer there for almost a dozen years. I like the 1950′s wife feeling I get when I pick up my husband’s work shirts all freshly laundered and lightly starched. I take my winter comforter in to be cleaned each spring and my summer comforter in to be cleaned each fall. They are also my first stop after buying new jeans. They can do a hem that is undetectable from the original.

Today I was dropping off shirts and slacks and taking in a special project. As the shirts and slacks were counted and  the ticket printed out an older woman came in with her already cleaned items. Since I expected my special project to take a few minutes to explain and price, I let the nice woman behind the counter help the older woman while I waited. With a thick Russian accent the older woman demanded the dry cleaners re-clean her two skirts. She had picked them up, paid for the cleaning and didn’t look at them until she got home where she saw a stain on each skirt in roughly the same place. The dry cleaner explained in an equally heavy Asian accent that the stains had been spot treated but because they had been on the fabric too long they were deeply set before being brought in.

The customer became more agitated, accusing the dry cleaner of not telling her the stains would not come out when she brought them in the first time. The dry cleaner explained again that she had done all she could to remove the stains but offered to try again. The customer kept trying to blame the dry cleaner. Then she made the mistake of looking to me for support. She said “what am I supposed to do? Throw them away?” I said, “That’s up to you. You spilled something on both skirts. You waited until it was convenient to bring them in and now you expect the cleaner to fix what you ruined. It’s not her fault you stained them. She did everything she knows to remove stains. She’s even willing to try again to satisfy you. If you aren’t happy don’t wear them.”

At that point, I had the full attention of both women. I don’t think either had expected me to say anything. But if you know me at all, you know I will not stand by and watch someone berated for doing their best by someone who is taking no responsibility for their own actions.

The customer spoke first “She never told me it wouldn’t come out!”

“You stained them. She’s trying to clean the mess you made.”

“Well, if you think you can get it out….”

“I try. I try. Monday, ok?”

“It will have to be.” The customer took her receipt and left the two skirts.

The dry cleaner waited until the door closed and said, “Thank you so much. It’s hard to get some people to understand. Some stains don’t come out.”

We went on to discuss my special project. She was very knowledgeable and offered me a 20% discount on the job. She will call me if she has any problems with it. It’s a crazy cleaning request.

How often do we focus on the stain, refusing to take responsibility and expecting someone else to fix it?

How often do we say “no one told me”?

How often do we set impossible high standards for others with no room for grace?

How often do we push because we are the customer and “the customer is always right”?

Category In Response Ability Continue Reading


Goldfishjumping1The end of May and the beginning of June seem to be the season for major life changes.

Graduations and Commencements are scheduled at educational institutions ranging from pre-school to doctoral levels.

Weddings, scheduled months ago insuring a June bride and all the traditional blessings that used to impart,  fill the calendars of every Saturday and Sunday and even a few Friday nights.

Many people find this to be the right time to move to a new home or a new city. Changing jobs or finding a job may be the focus as new workers enter the marketplaces.

The same things happened last year. The same things will happen next year. Not to the same people but to those who came before and those who will come after.

The more things change the more they stay the same.


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