Wednesday, January 26, 2022

One Size Fits All

 One Size Fits All


You’ve seen the sign in department stores. One size fits all? Not likely. 

Unless of course it’s a stretchy knit cap or a scarf.

Maybe a wrap of some sort. 

One size rarely fits “all.” Most maybe, but surely not ALL.


At least that’s what I believed.

Then I came across this shirt. 

I took a picture of it next to my Bible for comparison.

It was advertised as a “one size fits all shirt perfect for travel.” I looked at it in the store and almost laughed out loud. Okay, true confession. I did laugh out loud. But I bought it. Here is a selfie I took of me wearing this shirt.


It is rare we truly find anything where “one size fits all.” And actually, this shirt won’t fit “all.”


Then one day, I was reading in my Bible in the book of Ephesians. The Ephesians were people in a place called Ephesus. The same way I’m known as a Cincinnatian because I live in Cincinnati. I digress.


I’m reading in chapter 4 when it strikes me. The author, Paul, speaks of  “one size fits all.”  Here’s what he wrote:


“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”


He’s talking about Jesus. Jesus is indeed the one-size-fits-all.


Jesus lived and died for any and everyone willing to wear his name. 

All body types. Seriously.


Consider these body types:


Liars of every size from white lies to whoppers.


Murderers of all sizes, from those who harbor hate in their heart to those who actually commit the crime. 


Adulterers. Everyone from lust and fantasy to those crawling under the covers and, well, you get it.


All the evil acts we do or simply imagine…Jesus lived, died, and returned to life to cover those body imperfections. He is a one-size-fits-all Savior. 


You think you’re ugly and would never “fit” in with those folks who believe in Jesus? 


Try it on. Examine the seams. Read the Bible yourself. 


Yes, I know it’s a big book. But do like most people do when they hear about any other best seller. Start with the “good parts.” Read one of the first four books in the second part known as the New Testament. Those are known as the “Gospels” and each offers an account of Jesus’ life on earth. Read a little every day. Then read on. You’ll be surprised to find yourself in the pages.


And if you choose to clothe yourself in Jesus, you’ll find not only a great fit, but you’ll be more attractive to others and happier than you ever imagined.


Leave your comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.




Tuesday, January 18, 2022

C is for Celebrate

 C is for Celebrate...Not for Covid


It isn’t every day a woman celebrates her 90th birthday. Nine decades of life. Nine/tenths of a century. 


My mom, now nine decades young, celebrates every day. She knows the secret to a happy life.


This past week (on Martin Luther King Day) my mom, Nora, celebrated her ninetieth year of life. She told me long ago she did not want a party. 


“A surprise party for a ninety-year-old? Don’t do it!” She told me. “If you choose, you have my permission to give me a tasteful reception when I turn a hundred.”


I pictured the reception at church held for her dear friend, Velda, when she turned a hundred-years-old. Tasteful. I tucked away a plan for the year 2032 in my mind and set about thinking how to recognize mom’s 90th.


My three daughters and I discussed several ideas. We decided to host a series of small celebrations. Each of my girls would treat G.G. to a small family dinner. We knew she would appreciate the time with each family. She loves her grandchildren and great grandchildren. 

By the way, the name G.G. came when she became a Great-Grandma and stuck. Now even people outside the family sometimes call her G.G.


We had a few other plans in the works as well, when, rather suddenly, Covid started ramping up again in Ohio. 


Plan B. Plan B was decided via a Zoom meeting of the minds the Thursday before the weekend events. My middle daughter, Danielle, and her family were Covid free. The plan was for them to travel from Wisconsin and celebrate with G.G. the weekend of her birthday. The others would celebrate when things calmed down here.


Plan C. Plan C emerged when Covid reared its ugly head and Danielle’s crew couldn’t come to Ohio due to the youngest of her clan coming down with the nasty virus.


There would be no small gathering of individual families. Instead, we played games on the computer together while face-timing on our cell phones. And yes, the 90-year-old is all into the computer games and face-time. 


Now our plans included breakfast at G.G.’s house with me (Mom and I have been around each other throughout all of this.) and my oldest daughter on Monday morning. Three of us instead of the usual sixteen.


We set up the Zoom and G.G. opened her gift box. A box filled with letters, cards, and small gifts from people all over the country who know and love my mama. I had asked people to send me cards and notes to include in the box. There were gifts as well.


·     A tiara with “90” on it as well as a sash worthy of any beauty queen.

·     A sweatshirt my oldest made that reads “God’s Favorite 90 years and counting”

·     A small hummingbird feeder

·     A suncatcher

·     A new novel by Sandra Hart

·     A bag of shuck beans


I may have missed something. I hope not. 


However, the point is simple. Remember I told you in the beginning my mom knows the secret of a happy life? 


Love people. Go with the flow. And above all else, put your trust in Jesus.


Might I add…Always be willing to embrace Plan C. After all, “C” is for Celebrate.



Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Homework? At My Age?

 Homework? At My Age?


Did that title say something about HOMEWORK?

Yeah, well, the truth is simple. If you don’t fully understand something, you need to do your homework. 


We do a quick “google search” to find out how to install closet doors. We find a book to learn what we can about investments. We ask questions of friends and study the Bible. 


Purposeful, meaningful homework is not only good… it is necessary.


I’m a teacher so I get it. I’m also a writer. I am working on a suspense novel. I offered it to some beta readers who gave me feedback. I cut and rearranged and kind of watered down some of the story, while I beefed up other parts. 


Satisfied, mostly because it was “done,” I sent it off to a publisher. 


And waited.


And waited.


The response was actually good. No, they did not want to publish the story as is, but they said they liked my writing. They gave me specific areas I needed to address. They encouraged me to do a rewrite and resubmit it to them. And…this is big…they offered to work with me.


In one of the comments the editor wrote something to the effect that I seemed to have the detectives there, not to solve the problem but to fill in missing information. Busted! That was exactly what they were doing. It was weak and I knew it.


So I embarked on doing some homework. I studied the genre, picked through my manuscript as a reader instead of a writer and started reading suspense novels both outside and within the Christian market. 


Then my homework turned to movies. Pen and paper in hand, I began immersing myself in suspense movies such as Along Came a Spider and Double Jeopardy. It was easy to get lost in the story and forget to take notes. (Sounds a bit like my high school days.)


Then a friend found an old movie he thought might fit the bill. The 1994 flick, The Puppet Masters with Donald Sutherland is a suspense albeit sci-fi film. There is absolutely nothing about this movie that would have made me choose it. But I watched. I took notes. And I learned.


Because the movie was not something I would have picked up off the shelf, I was able to readily tune-in to the elements essential to carry the story.

There is an idyllic opening scene with farms and children and a summer day. 

Then? A disturbance. In this case a flying saucer lands in rural Iowa. 

We meet a team of scientists (our protagonists) at the airport as they head off to investigate. They are introduced early in the story so we’re pulling for them to succeed.

At one point, the lead scientist says, “What we need to know is who we’re fighting and what they want.” This is the defining goal for our protagonists. (By the way, we’re talking about alien creatures that look like giant slugs.)

Each team member, at that point offers specific information. Each character has a purpose…one piece of the puzzle.

“The trick is…” to find a specific vulnerability of the aliens who are now taking over humans and wreaking havoc.

One of the researchers becomes infected with an alien. This is a twist.


I won’t go through the whole movie for you. I think you get the idea. I was able to dissect the movie in terms of story development.


I shared the experience with my daughter. She put into words what I was experiencing this way:


“I think because it’s not something you would typically watch, you’re able to see the mechanics behind it all.”


That’s it. I wasn’t so caught up in the story I could analyze how it worked.


True, but now I’m thinking about all those books I had to read in high school. Classics, they called them. Homework. Maybe there was more to it than a crazy story. Maybe they were about the ebb and flow…the mechanics of life.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Hitting the RESET Button

 Hitting the Reset Button


Be… B-E. 


That was my word for 2021. All sorts of notions about that word came to life for me. When I announced the word in January, a few friends offered ways the word might play out. One sent me a link to the Beatles song Let It Be. Others suggested words beginning with those letters such as become or because and everything “betwixt and between.”


While I appreciate their efforts, the word was simply “BE.” 


I took things in stride. I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone.  I simply had to be the person I am and appreciate the person God created me to BE.


Psalm 46:10 reads “Be still and know that I am God.”


The word served me well this year. I found rest, joy, new friendships, and through it all, a quiet strength I didn’t know I possessed. 


Now I face a new year. I’ve been praying over the word that will guide me in this season of my life. I allowed a few possibilities to roll around in my head. I paid special attention to words I encountered in my daily Bible reading. Nothing seemed quite right.


I resisted the word that seemed to pop up everywhere. Finally, I gave in and explored the word, looked up synonyms for it, and wrote it down. 


My word for 2022?



It sounds so cliché for a new year. Yet, I’ve decided it fits. RESET simply implies change, adapt, adjust, recast, revise, redesign. Those are a few you'll find. 


I think I resisted the word because I feel 2020 and 2021 were all about change and adaptation. So what is different now? 


This time, I am the one hitting the “reset” button. I am not changing or adjusting to accommodate Covid or anything else. I am making deliberate choices in every area of my life to hit that reset/ rethink button. 

To start over.

To charge forward. 

To forgive myself of my shortcomings

and move on. 



I am not sure how it will play out, but it certainly has the feel of moving in the right direction. 


What is your word for the year? 


By the way...

This Screen Shot came from a google search on RESET. Try your word out for a few new takes on how your word works for you.



Tuesday, December 28, 2021

 “Allow Enough Prep Time”

You’ve likely heard or read those words. They often show up in the kitchen. They are indeed words of wisdom if you plan to bake homemade bread from scratch for dinner or serve a roasted turkey at Christmas or Thanksgiving. But those words are good reminders for other areas of life as well. 


As we come to the end of 2021, we begin to set new goals for the upcoming year. Goals are great. Perhaps you may want to lose a few pounds, organize the closet…or your life, or perhaps learn a new skill or language. Even goals that appear a bit lofty to some may be attainable if you plan them out and allow enough prep time. 


Here’s an example. Let’s say you want to lose twenty pounds. Some people will argue that is a lofty goal. But with planning and patience, you can map out a plan to lose two pounds a month between eating right and bumping up your physical activity. Two pounds is doable and in ten months you’ve reached your goal. 


Perhaps, like me, you want to complete a new novel this year. The planning (aka: prep time) includes carving out time to write, mapping out my storyline, assembling my main characters, and doing a bit of research about my subject.  If I pour myself into the prep time, I’ll be able to complete the task in the time allotted. Oh, sure, I’ll change things along the way and need to “spice” the story up a bit as I go. (See how I brought that back to the kitchen?)  I’ll continue my research and go through numerous rewrites, but the prep time I am doing now will serve me through my season of writing the book. 


Although it is well documented, I already know from life experiences that exercise and weight loss usually hit numbers 1 and 2 on the “goals for next year” list. Getting organized, learning something new, and money management also show up in the top ten. If any of these resonate with you, know you are not alone.


The point is simple. Any and every goal you set requires some prep time.

This is the time to do it. 




Think of your life as a garden. 

1) Clear the garden plot. Make room for your seeds to be planted. Clear your calendar or secure materials you need to reach your goal.

2) Plant the seeds. Start with a little self-talk about your goal and why you want to do it. Write it down and post it where you will see it on a regular basis. The dream is the seed. Nurture the dream.

3) Keep the weeds at bay. That is, push aside the negative talk you sometimes allow to cloud your thinking. Don’t become distracted with things that really don’t matter. You get the idea.

4) Water your dream garden frequently. Read, study, practice, whatever your dream needs to grow and produce fruit from your labor.

5) Get excited for small increments of growth/success. Those dreams, like the beans, take time to grow and produce. Celebrate the little victories along the way.


Those are my words of encouragement for this week. “Allow enough prep time”and by doing so, this time next year, you will likely have accomplished more than you can imagine without becoming discouraged.


Be sure to share your goals here or with others. Sharing your goals with others increases your chance of attaining them.


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

I Hope You Dance

Music. Music not only touches our heart, music tells the story of our lives.


Music has been a huge part of shaping me into the person I am today. I grew up with everything from hymns to show tunes. I gained knowledge and appreciation for all music. I learned to appreciate the richness of bluegrass as well as the nuances of classical music.


I cannot remember a single car trip from my childhood that wasn’t filled with singing. As a matter of fact, I’m sure my own three daughters will likely say the same thing about their growing up years. The autumn my husband died, we had planned to record a collection of the car songs for our children and grandchildren for Christmas. 


Music provides a way to connect with people across generations. And cultures.


My parents loved musicals. They enjoyed Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma so much they bought the album. I played it over and over. When I came into the Waters family, my mother-in-law delighted in my one-person rendition of the musical Oklahoma. She had me perform it more than once in her living room. 


My late husband sang in the choir. My oldest daughter took up the flute for marching band, my middle daughter plays the French horn, and my youngest still “fiddles around” with her violin.


The old hymns were at the core of my maternal grandmother’s being. They remained untouched by the dementia that stole so much of her memory. All we needed to do was to begin to sing one of those hymns and grandma would join in. 


Music is powerful.


This last week, friends and family gathered at my house for a Christmas caroling party. It is the way I have recognized my wedding anniversary these past seven years. This year would have marked my fiftieth anniversary of marriage to Tom Waters. 


The music filled my house. (Now I know why they are called cathedral ceilings. The sound was amazingly beautiful as we sang our way through the Christmas story.) The songs and story warmed my heart.


Only eight days earlier, we had buried my Uncle Noah. That day, as the story of his life unfolded both through words and song, I thought about the theme song of my own life. 


Many people who know me might think I would choose a beloved hymn or something I enjoy from the contemporary Christian music genre.


I like that music. I sing it all the time. I listen to it on my Alexa and in the car. It fills me up.


But the song I would choose to pass on to my loved ones may surprise you. It is Ronan Keating’s version of I Hope You Dance. I’m including the YouTube link below.


Here is a sample. I find myself in these verses.


I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean

Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens

Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…

I hope you dance.


I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,

Never settle for the path of least resistance,

Living life might mean taking chances, but they’re worth taking,

Loving might be a mistake, but it’s worth making.


Yeah…I hope you dance. And for the whole song, CLICK HERE.


What is the music of your life?

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Antidote for Despair

 Christmas Caroling... an Antidote for Despair


Through the years I have learned enough about myself to know when I need help. It isn’t always easy to ask others to step in and assist. Especially when you are a person who works hard to be self-sufficient. That would be me. Or at least it used to be.


When my husband died seven years ago, I had to lean on others to get me through the simple tasks of everyday life. Especially during those first several months. My mother and my children pitched in to help. I could count on my mom to buoy my spirits and keep me fed. My kiddos kept me busy and quite frankly became my first line of tech support. Tom had always done that sort of thing.


Those first few months were hard. The first few weeks, the hardest.


Seven weeks after Tom died was our anniversary. December 18th. Ours had been a beautiful Christmas wedding, but facing our 43rdanniversary alone was daunting. I knew this was not something I could hand over to someone else to bear. 


I considered several options. For example, I thought about spending the day in bed eating chocolates. That idea, like many others, didn’t appear to be a healthy choice. I thought about fixing one of Tom’s favorite meals and lighting our wedding candle. Eat alone? No, that didn’t work either. 


I knew my family would do whatever was needed. I simply didn’t know what that looked like. 


So I prayed about it.


A plan took shape. I called members of my family first and asked them to join me for Christmas caroling at my house the evening of the eighteenth. I then called several of our closest friends and asked them to come as well. My children readily recognized the date and understood the purpose. It didn’t hit my friends until the evening arrived. 


Everyone brought finger foods. I ran the vacuum and made a pot of coffee.


Tom loved to sing. He loved to go caroling. The evening was a perfect way to recognize our anniversary. My family and friends rescued me through song and love and care.


I have continued that tradition. It looked a bit different the year I lived in Kosovo, but there, too, friends came to my apartment. We sang Christmas carols and celebrated the birth of Jesus and my anniversary all in one.


Last year, due to COVID, my mother, children, and grandchildren walked through my neighborhood singing carols with me. Though I usually hand out poinsettias, that year I made little cakes instead. We even caroled one song in French for the sweet family from Paris down the street.


I started the tradition to keep me from falling down a deep hole of despair. Now I find the event one of showing others how much they are loved. 


It has been seven years now. December 18, 2021 is the 50thanniversary of my marriage to Tom Waters. Friends gather. We share stories and food and song. I don’t know if I will continue the caroling party next year. At least not for the reason I started it.


But I will continue to sing and shout that God loved me so much, he came to earth as a human and suffered the same sorts of difficulties I often face. 


And when the time was complete, he suffered a death so horrific I cannot imagine it. But he then did what only he could do…he came back to life. 


Heaven is real. And somewhere in its realms, I trust Tom is singing right there with me.