High-Waters

December 15, 2014 — Leave a comment

“High-waters” are what we called them—pants that hit at the ankle, pants that had been outgrown. All of Willy’s pants were high-waters.

When I was ten, my family moved from Franklin-Madison Road to Germantown Road. That’s when I started riding the same school bus as Willy. I got on first, at the bottom of the hill, and he got on a few minutes later, at the top of the hill. He was tall and lanky and a bit awkward. He’d climb the bus steps, walk slowly down the aisle, and plop into the first empty seat. He almost always sat alone.

One day as Willy walked past me, I invited him to sit with me. He smiled and sat down. We began to talk. We talked… and we talked… and we talked. The next day he sat with me again. And we talked… and we laughed… and we talked. Every day after that, Willy and I sat together on the bus. He seemed hungry for a friend and I enjoyed his happy spirit. We didn’t really run with the same crowds at school, but when we’d see each other, we’d always wave. We were bus buddies and that overrode any social lines set for us by kids at school. We shared a seat for years—I guess until I got my first car at seventeen and started driving to school.

Time passed, graduation happened, and I lost touch with Willy. It wasn’t until our twenty-year class reunion that I saw him again. It was great to see him. We picked right back up where we left off, talking and laughing. And then out of nowhere, Willy’s countenance changed. He became somber, leaned in toward me, and spoke softly. Continue Reading…

Free As a Hummingbird

December 10, 2014 — 4 Comments

I have always known that I was born to fly. As a little kid, I was the president of the clubhouse. My siblings and cousins still tease me about how I made them pay dues. In junior high I started writing articles for the school newspaper in fifth grade and ended up being the editor by eighth grade. In high school I was elected class treasurer as a freshman and by my junior year, I was class president. During college I loved my job as the activity director of a nursing home. I changed my major from computer science to gerontology (the study of aging) and became a nursing home administrator by age twenty-two. At twenty-eight, I was overseeing senior adult ministries for a church on a volunteer basis. I found it to be so fulfilling that I switched careers and became a full-time pastor. You see the pattern. I’ve never spent too much time searching for worms in the ground before something in the blue sky above catches my attention and draws me treetop-ward.

And that’s exactly what happened again last year. My husband Tim and I went on an amazing Hawaiian adventure in June. Our cruise ship Pride of America transported us from Honolulu to Maui to Hilo to Kona to Kauai. We drove the winding Road to Hana, searched for (and found) Moloaa Bay where the pilot of Gilligan’s Island was filmed, took a hula dancing class, ate coconut macadamia ice cream, and stuck our feet in the turquoise water of Waikiki Beach. We relaxed a little and played a lot.

After arriving home, I posted on Facebook: “I want to be a tour director when I grow up!” It made me smile to say it. Twenty-five years as a pastor had taken its toll on me. I was exhausted and beat down from dealing with conflicts and tragedies and problems for such a long time. Wouldn’t that be the best job ever, I thought. Continue Reading…

The nurses began preparations for my dental implant surgery. They lowered my head in the procedure chair and had me scoot to the top. Standing to my left, Nurse #1 unfolded the blood pressure cuff. Standing to my right, Nurse #2 gathered supplies to insert the IV.

Nurse #1 reached toward my left arm. I took great pride in telling her that it is prosthetic and might not give such an accurate blood pressure reading. She was clearly caught off guard.

Thus a conversation of adaptions ensued. My entire life is about adaptions. Adaptions aren’t a bad thing. They force us to exercise our brains to figure out Plan B’s.

“Can we have the blood pressure cuff on the same arm as the IV?” Nurse #1 asked.

Nurse #2 paused for a minute. “Yes, I’ll just have to put the IV in her wrist instead of her elbow,” she responded.

Nurse #2 stuck the needle in my wrist fairly painlessly and got the IV started. Nurse #1 moved to my right side and positioned the blood pressure cuff on my upper arm. Then she clipped a pulse oximeter to the end of my index finger.

My right arm was pretty tied up, if you know what I mean. And I was ok with that until… my nose started itching. At first I tried to convince myself that my nose wasn’t itching—that didn’t work. Then I tried thinking about traveling to New Mexico, my next vacation destination—that didn’t work either. So I moved on to the famous “Bewitched” method, wiggling the nose up and down, left and right, using facial muscles—it only seemed to make it itch more. Just as a bit of claustrophobia was rising within me, the surgeon walked into the room and shot the happy serum into the IV. Ahhhh, my nose stopped itching.

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“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11 NASB).

“The Colorado Rocky Mountain high… I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky… Talk to God and listen to the casual reply… Rocky Mountain High…” I blasted that song from my iPod and sang those words at the top of my lungs as Tim and I explored the little mountain towns around Denver for the first time. I did feel high in a way, from the inspiring beauty of the mountains surrounding me. I wanted to soak in every sight, every taste, every smell, every sound, on this, my last day in the Wild Wild West.

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(Sorry for the year-long delay in completing my posts about the Wild Wild West. I got side-tracked publishing a book.)

After breathtaking trips to New England in the fall of 2009 and the fall of 2010, I couldn’t imagine that the West would ever compare. But by Day 7 of our Wild Wild West trip, I had completely changed my mind. I loved the West… just as much… maybe even more.

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1. The University of AL football team won the National Championship for the third time in four years on January 7, 2013. As it is fun to be a fan of a winning team, I have become one. Tim and I went to our first game at the 100,000-seat Bryant-Denny Stadium in September. What a crazy wonderful experience. Roll Tide!

 

 

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Family Tree

November 3, 2013 — 2 Comments

It always seemed so creepy to me for a person to get their grave headstone carved in advance—name, birthdate, a dash, and a blank spot for the death date. However, after a visit to the cemetery with Aunt Treva, I felt differently.

I asked my great-aunt if she would be my guide on a historical tour through the Germantown Cemetery in Germantown, Ohio. I knew many of my ancestors were buried there. I was especially interested in locating the grave of Isaac Selby, my great-great-grandfather. I had chosen the name Isaac for my own son from the family tree and wanted a picture of Isaac Selby’s grave for his baby book.

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The Dentist from Hell

October 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

“Do you realize where we are, Beck?” Tim asked, looking warily from one side of the street to the other as he drove.

“No,” I answered. “I got this dentist’s name from our insurance website. He was the only one on our preferred provider list for Cincinnati. Where are we?”

“We are in Over-the-Rhine,” Tim announced slowly.

I had noticed that the neighborhoods appeared rougher and rougher as we followed our directions, but I had no idea. Over-the-Rhine had been in the news a lot lately, and not for the best of reasons. It boasted 606 violent crimes and 350 robberies in the past twelve months. One website had deemed it The Most Dangerous Neighborhood in the United States. The police had even created an elite sixty-man crime-fighting unit, code-named “Vortex,” to work the Over-the-Rhine area. And here I was in the middle of it with my husband and two kids, going to get our teeth cleaned!

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The Elevator

October 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

My definition of a road trip is a mini-adventure. The final destination is pre-determined, but the stops along the way are spontaneous and wide open with possibility.

My husband Tim, my sixteen-year-old son Isaac, and I were on one such road trip. Our final destination was Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where we would meet friends from Kentucky for a few fun-filled days in the mountains. En route we decided to stop near Chattanooga and tour Ruby Falls. Ruby Falls is a spectacular 145-foot waterfall. But what makes it most spectacular is that it is 1120 feet under the ground!

The tour began by entering a large elevator. An elevator operator cheerfully greeted us and encouraged us to pack in tightly so that everybody on our tour could fit in the elevator on one trip. Tim, Isaac, and I stood with our backs against the right wall. The glass elevator door shut and we started to drop quickly.

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Cadillac Mountain

October 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

I spotted him, just twenty feet away on the mountain trail. There we were, so far from home. To be exact, we were 1446 miles from Sweet Home Alabama. We were standing atop Cadillac Mountain, the spot where you can see the sunrise first in the United States. The view was magnificent in every direction. To the east, I could see Sheep Porcupine Island and Bald Porcupine Island. To the north, I could see the town of Bar Harbor, Maine. To the west, I could see Eagle Lake and Blue Hill Mountain. To the south, I could see Southwest Harbor, Maine. And right in front of me, I could see the man wearing a “War Eagle” sweatshirt.

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