The stress of pooping in aisle 12.


My life is pretty much stress-free. I really have no complaints. I live in Mayberry USA where all is calm, all is bright. My husband is the best in the world, literally. My daughters are beautiful and living full and happy lives. My grandchildren are healthy. I have a dog who wags her tail when she sees me. I have the best job in the world going on five years now.

Last week, my sister played Mom and said we should go to Portland to our aunt’s funeral service. Included in the trip was a short visit with my daughter Katrina and her family. Also included in the trip was a surprise traveler, our “adopted” sister, Michelle, who went along for the ride and some crazy entertainment.

Here’s the “no stress trip” details:

  1. Make it a fast 24 hour trip
  2. Rent a Jaguar because it’s good to be Angela, and then can’t remember the street name to locate rental car after dinner
  3. Fit in as much time as possible with daughter and grandchildren
  4. Fit in as much time as possible to visit at funeral before having to return Jaguar in perfect condition six hours before flight
  5. Wrangle two crazy sisters on the streets of Portland and then again for the five hour wait in an airport
  6. Travel back to KC at 1 am,  arriving in the same funeral clothes with sandpaper in the eyes the next morning, ready to tackle city errand-running and a five hour drive back to Mayberry USA

Stress 3

  1. Drop off two crazy sisters, unload and load at Dad’s, pick up the Natia dog, track down granite countertops for bathroom vanity, get list from Sam of all the things at Home Depot, go to Home Depot with Natia dog on leash, begin hunting down the list, call Sam with questions in aisle 12 about faucets, notice other shoppers staring at Natia dog who happens to be pooping
  2. Panic

Stress 2

  1. COUNT BLESSINGS that someone’s used paper towel happens to be nearby in cabinetry and forget that it might be loaded with E-coli or the hantavirus, clean up dog poop, push cart full of tile and faucets and NAUGHTY DOG to the bathroom to throw away MAJOR BLESSING of a used-used paper towel and grab more to go back to aisle 12 to finish clean up
  2. Call Sam back and deal with a plumbing novice in aisle 9 who has no clue about P-traps
  3. Pay a fortune at the checkout and stress that someone is going to track down the dog who pooped in aisle 12 before we get out of Home Depot all the while sweating from the heat and the no shower and the funeral clothes and the stress
  4. Drive as quickly as possible to the nearest Taco Johns for some Mom-Stress-Eating for the five hour drive back to Mayberry USA

I am grateful for potato ole’s and tacos and memories of Mom and not caring sometimes about being overweight.

I am grateful for a great trip FULL of unforgettable.

I am grateful that I will be able to say I saw BOTH of my daughters in one week, and I am so grateful for the anticipation of seeing Karissa and family this weekend.

I am grateful to be back in Mayberry USA with lots of hammering and drilling and sawing…and a sleeping NAUGHTIA at my feet.

Stress 4


This is my story.

Blessed Assurance

This is my song.

I have been focusing on the fruits of the Spirit lately. As Sam and I read through Bob Goff’s “Everybody Always,” it has been good for me to re-evaluate how I’m doing with the fruits gauge. And interestingly enough, because this is how God works, one of our church devotions this week talked about the fruits and asked us to measure our effectiveness with each one.

Love – well, I’m working on it, thanks to the influence of this great book. I tend to love the bigger hurdles because they are big and don’t require the “down and dirty” of every day relationships, while I struggle with loving the irritants, the ones that are right in front of me.

Joy – I think I do pretty well with this one, although sometimes I do forget to be joyful in the dips of everyday life. Happiness is not joy. Happiness is fleeting at times. Joy is solid and concrete. Joy is IN SPITE OF…

Peace – I mostly have peace, although I find that my worry over my children and the state of our Union sometimes causes me to feel like I am on an internal roller coaster/too high swing/highway hill going 80 mph. I don’t like that feeling, and I have my Mom’s worry, the worry gene. Thanks A LOT, Mom. 🙂

Patience – I think I do pretty well with patience these days. I have learned that I cannot change some things in life, and I have learned to accept as is. Divorce and bottom of the barrel will do that to a person. I guess it’s one thing that was “beauty for ashes” or “Potter and clay.”

Kindness – I think I am mostly kind. I cannot think of any situations where I am not. Where I struggle is the absence of kind, the leaving it to someone else to be kind…

Goodness – I think I am mostly good, although my inner thoughts sometimes get the better of me, and I remember my Mom telling me that my thoughts are as deadly as my actions.

Faithfulness – Hmmm, gotta work on this one. Having faith, being faithful, I think, is a lifelong lesson. There are many areas where I struggle with this one.

Gentleness – Except for when I am frustrated, I have this one down. When my hormones get the best of me in frustration, I throw gentleness out the window, along with kitchen utensils, right, Sam?

Self-Control – THIS IS MY STORY THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE, in so many areas of my life. I do not exhibit self-control on a daily basis, especially when it comes to my mouth, my thoughts, my actions.

I want my story, my song, to be one continual Blessed Assurance, a song that never ends. I am grateful today for gentle reminders from the Holy Spirit that I should live the fruits of the Spirit in every action, every word, every thought.

Fruit of the Spirit 2

No exceptions.

Everybody Always

I am grateful today for this book.

I am grateful for the beginning to my days this week that included chapters from this book.

I am grateful for the reminders this week of the hard people in our life – hard to love people in our life.

I am grateful for conviction.

I am grateful for the ones who are on the other side politically that drive me a little batty. I don’t even have a side these days, but I am grateful for those who do and are so opinionated – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who hurt me deeply with their rejection and their silence. They are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who make wrong decisions and come to us to bail them out – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones I do not understand, the ones who cannot see the forest through the trees, the ones who do not ask for advice but go headstrong and think they know all – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who make me feel very uncomfortable and awkward, the ones who make me feel inferior and unworthy, the ones who make me feel like I do not know anything – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who cannot keep their opinions to themselves, who only talk about themselves, who are “takers” – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who do not say “Thank you.” They are my challenge to love everybody, always.

Everybody Always 5

I am grateful for the ones who are not like me. They do not dress like me, they do not worship like me, they do not live like me, they do not speak like me. They are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones who do not drive right, do not use correct English, do not wash their hands before they leave a bathroom, clip their fingernails in public or in my presence, do not brush their teeth, scream at their little ones in public, mistreat their animals – they are my challenge to love everybody, always.

I am grateful for the ones on MY side of the fence – the ones who sinned, the ones who harmed unknowingly, the ones who have been shamed, the ones whose sins are still being held against them long after the offenses. They are my challenge to love and accept everybody, ALWAYS.

Everybody Always 4



Ridiculous I say.

Tucked shirt

I was shopping online for a polo shirt for Sam. He has a tendency to spill, and I have a tendency to throw clothes in the washing machine without checking for spills, thus, I was shopping online for a polo shirt for Sam and saw this model modeling. And yes, the actual picture cut off the poor guy’s head.

Who, for heaven’s sake, since that is where Mom is at and I am sure she agrees with me, WHO had the idiotic idea that it is stylish to tuck in the front and untuck in the back?

I like to let people be. I like to take the stance these days that I have not walked in their shoes, therefore, I have no place to judge.

But seriously.

That looks ridiculous.

I would ask the photographer to cut off my head too if I was that model. How embarrassing. All he needs is a pair of high heels with a big maxi-pad inserted for comfort to complete his outfit. (see previous post if that seemed completely inappropriate and random)


On to the important things in life.

Last night, Sam and I took an evening drive, a favorite pastime, since it was 124% humidity outside, too hot to walk, and the mosquitoes are on the hunt. We love the countryside views, and harvest has just begun all around, so we decided to sit in the comfort of the truck and AC blowing in our faces to see what we could see.

I am grateful for combines everywhere, working hard to get the fields done.

I am grateful for fields of fireflies, twinkling like it’s the land of Tinkerbell.

I am grateful for beautiful sunsets and strawberry moons.

I am grateful for deer, bounding across a field after we disturb their peace.

I am grateful for a skunk running the other way.

I am grateful for the sounds of meadowlarks and red-winged blackbirds on fence posts and frogs in ponds.

I am grateful for a husband who is happy to stop and back up so I can get a picture of the full moon through a barbed-wire fence.

I am grateful for the inventor of air conditioning in vehicles.

I am grateful for the beauty of ripe wheat fields and healthy corn fields.

I am grateful for bats in the front yard, eating all the mosquitoes.

I am grateful for the farmer wave.

And I am grateful for a beautiful ending to a hot day – it’s ridiculous how I never realized how glorious and praise-worthy a quiet drive on a boring country road should be. God has given us such an incredible gift…




The things you learn when you work from home.


I was knee-deep in a spreadsheet this morning, updating information on Vice Presidents of Marketing at major pharmaceutical companies. The fan was blowing, Natia was sleeping at my feet, and the TV in the bedroom was white noise for my work.


I heard a familiar voice on that TV – two women on a morning talk show, talking about all the important things, like shoes that don’t fit correctly. That was the important topic of the segment.

DID YOU KNOW? A sanitary napkin/maxi pad is a perfect shoe cushion that makes you feel like you are walking on a cloud when you insert it into your 4-inch high heels that don’t exactly fit perfectly.

I can go about my day now.

I am grateful my job involves finding important people who are discovering and bringing life-changing drugs to market. I am grateful my job is not informing the world how cushion-y soft a sanitary napkin is in a shoe.

Annistan High Heels

Cooooooold mornings in June

Early morning

We spent the weekend in our favorite place. It was one of the few times I have seen Sam stop and smell the fresh air without his mind spinning out projects. There were so many things about the weekend that made us say, “Thank you, God.” I will attempt to name them one. by. one.

  1. Smooth roads
  2. Good squeegees for clean windows
  3. Cool breezes
  4. Snacks in the car
  5. National parks
  6. Tight hugs and big smiles from our Macedonian daughters
  7. Friendly customers in line at the grocery store
  8. Dillons Plus cards that work at City Market
  9. Warm covers and an open cabin window to enjoy the very cold early morning
  10. Hummingbirds everywhere
  11. Empty rocking chairs waiting for us on the deck
  12. Mountain views
  13. Lake views
  14. Laughter with the girls as they described the possibility of Sam driving in Scopje
  15. Moose and elk and ground squirrels…and dogs on vacation
  16. Flower boxes with raninculus
  17. “Everybody Always” by Bob Goff, our latest road trip read
  18. Hearing soft sobs as I finished chapter 3 – I love that he cries
  19. Meeting even more Macedonian kids
  20. Seeing Craig and Marjorie, our Grand Lake friends
  21. Buffet breakfasts
  22. Really good pineapple
  23. A jacket and insulated wind pants
  24. Aspens
  25. Sailboats and sunshine
  26. Porch swings
  27. Conversation with other dinner guests sitting at tables nearby
  28. Being remembered, one year later
  29. Having the luxury of throwing NASTY TASTING popcorn away, just because it was NASTY TASTING – sorry Mom. We wasted, because we definitely didn’t want.
  30. Beautiful storm clouds to watch on our drive home
  31. Planning a summer party while the miles pass
  32. 75 MPH speed limits
  33. Hand holding to the quiet hum of tires
  34. Walking in the door to see little Natia wagging her tail after being alone all weekend
  35. Our own bed


Grand Lake mid morning

Sam relaxing

Porch swings

Flower boxes

Expanding the vocabulary, one term at a time.


Weed whip.

I figured it was Cool Whip, just made with marijuana.

Or maybe it was an Indiana Jones kind of weapon, made from dandelions.

I was wrong.

Apparently, it is another term for a weed trimmer aka weed eater aka weed whacker.

Who knew.

I am grateful for the end of a long day and for the anticipation of a great weekend.

Junk drawer mind