Tag Archives: change

Time Out

Yesterday I locked myself out of the house. 

We still have a Supra box on the door. As I waited for the real estate agent to come rescue me, I realized it was the first time I’ve had to sit still in weeks.


gone fishing, image credit: Pink Moose

The impending move, the end of school, the women of Monsanto post, the closing on our house… It’s high time for a time out.   

one never ages while fishing

one never ages while fishing 

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:4-6 NIV

Summer Solstice by Susan Ashton.

What do you do for a “time out?”

photo credit: PinkMoose via photopin cc


Filed under life

Game Changer

red shoes

ruby slippers

What if you lost something.

Or it lost you. You knew it was lost when you left it, but you didn’t know the full measure of what the leaving meant.

Once you grasped the leaving and the loss, it was too late. There was no going back. You were certain you would never find it again and it would never find you.

Then one day, quite by surprise, there it was. You could see it in the distance. And all you could think was how to get to it.

Put on your red shoes and click your heels. It’s time to go home.

*  *  *

One Wednesday morning last October, I rounded the corner onto my street. Something was out of place. My husband’s truck was in the driveway.

A little background: my husband’s marketing prowess helped the company where he had worked in St. Louis to sell out of their product all three years he was there. That success in turn attracted a buyer to purchase the company. My husband was wooed to Wichita, family in tow, to lead marketing at the acquiring company. He was supposed to be at work, but he met me at the door.

tornado shelter sign

tornado shelter

“What’s wrong?” I said. “Are you sick?”


“Did you get laid off?”


We’d been nine months in Wichita. Enough time to uproot a family, plop them down on the flat prairie of Kansas, cycle them through homesickness, new schools, new churches, new grocery stores, positive performance reviews, and one nasty tornado. Nine months in Wichita and they cut him loose.

I bought my ruby slippers when he still had a job. Little did I know, they were ripe for this journey.

*  *  *

Within weeks, colleagues called upon my husband as a consultant. This comes as no surprise to me. He’s a creative, strategic thinker. A rainmaker. A walking encyclopedia of agriculture. A good man who’s really good at what he does. We thought consulting would be a temporary gig, but he enjoys the work and he’s doing well. Maybe he’ll just keep right on building his business.

Wichita is not our home. Without the job, there’s nothing to keep us here. But where to go? Home of course. And where is that?

sold sign

deja vu

Home for us is a toss-up between Missouri and North Carolina. We love them both. We didn’t expect to have to choose. Not now, anyway. The last seven months have been a roller coaster blur of weighing good options against each other and agonizing over what to do.

All that is about to end. 

We’re surrendering to our inner South. Moving back to sweet tea and barbecue. Home to where we met and married.

Friends and family wait with open arms and long drawls. Fireflies and tadpoles, tall pine trees and dolphins arching out of the Atlantic at dawn—I like to think they wait for us, too.

We’ve coaxed our son with tales of your finest, North Carolina. There’s no place like home.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near Your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
they are ever praising You. Psalm 84:3-4 NIV

Carolina In My Mind by sweet baby James Taylor.

Plans for our move are about to take over my life.
Please bear with me. I’ll blog when I can!


Filed under life

Going Shrimp Cocktail

cold turkey?

cold turkey?

Somehow, someway, we made it to spring break. Hallelujah!

Change is fast approaching. We got some things going on here. I hope to tell you more soon. For now, I’m taking some time off with my guys to regroup.

I’ll still be around, so it’s not like I’m going cold turkey.

It’s more like I’m going shrimp cocktail.

Yes, chilled shrimp cocktail with just enough fresh horseradish in the red sauce to stir the heart.

shrimp cocktail, photo credit vanhookc

Now that hits the spot.

See you on the other side of delicious.

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Psalm 62:1 NIV

Not for a Moment by Meredith Andrews. Beautiful, beautiful song.

Thank you for blessing me with your readership. Happy Spring Break!

photo credit: vanhookc via photopin cc

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Filed under life


The new year may have us thinking about resolutions or revisions.


What will you revise in 2013?


Filed under life

A Land Without Squirrels

X-Files David Duchovny as Fox Mulder, image from wikipedia

David Duchovny as Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files, image from wikipedia

Month eight in Wichita. We’ve yet to see a squirrel in our yard. Time to call Fox Mulder.

We’ve seen robins, turtles, rabbits, toads, barn swallows, cardinals, deer, muskrats, herons, and a turkey who crossed the road, but no squirrels.

This wouldn’t be a big deal except we have a dog whose favorite pastime is hunting squirrels. Flamboyant St. Louis squirrels.

Cairn terriers are bred to hunt vermin. Ella was only a few months old when once during a walk back in St. Louis, a squirrel fell out of his tree and landed on me. I screamed. The squirrel ran. My cute, innocent, downy-headed puppy sprang into action transformed. Ella didn’t catch the squirrel, but she treed him and wouldn’t move.

St. Louis Cardinals Rally Squirrel

rally squirrel

Long before Rally Squirrel gained World Series fame, the squirrels of St. Louis infested the attics of our old houses. They chewed through electrical wires. They picked our young, blushing tomatoes, eating a single bite before leaving them ruined and discarded on fence posts. With ardor, they hollowed out our Halloween pumpkins.

Our neighbor Bob got fed up with them one spring. We’d see the barrel of his pellet gun poking out his second-story window.

The lone gunman shot more than 80 squirrels that year, but didn’t make a dent in the population.

Another neighbor Larry owned an exceptional golden retriever. Yankee was as perfect as a dog can be in both temperament and stature. When Yankee died, Larry posted a eulogy on a tree in the park: “For Yankee, fine dog and companion, who caught 16 squirrels here. You will be missed.

Our dog Ella never caught a squirrel, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Now she doesn’t have a chance.

I thought of this one night when I couldn’t sleep. It’s the little things like squirrels, forgotten toys, and expired cake mixes that get to me.

In the dark, I could see the outline of Ella’s tiny body curled up on her bed beside mine. How sad she hasn’t chased a squirrel since we left St. Louis. Poor little dog, been through so much.

How much more her owners.

We humans navigate the changes of life, flying and leaping and scuttling through as best we can. We try not to fall, but often we do anyway.

We run for recovery in the next city, job, or relationship. We race away from the sadness only to find it has cornered us and will not let us go without a fight.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14 NIV

Counting Crows are a favorite. So is their cover of Start AgainEven though it’s complicated, we got time to start again…

What “squirrels” keep you up at night?
How do you put them to rest?



Filed under life

Finding Il Vicino

il vicino clayton closed due to fire

Il Vicino was one of our favorite restaurants in St. Louis. But Il Vicino had a series of unfortunate incidents.

First, a wayward car plowed through the outdoor dining area and right into the restaurant. Not good.

A couple years later, Il Vicino had a fire and closed indefinitely. Not good at all.

I’ve eaten hundreds of meals at Il Vicino. When it was just my husband and me. When we were expecting our baby.

When we celebrated our baby’s first birthday with friends. When we were without a kitchen for six months during the big house remodel.

Have our order memorized. Two house salads with gorgonzola, a Da Vinci pizza, a children’s penne pasta with marinara on the side, a regular Coke not diet, an iced tea and a lemonade. For here or to go. Always the same.

As the months dragged on after the fire and the restaurant didn’t reopen, I knew I’d never eat at Il Vicino again. There were other locations, but not in St. Louis.

It was sad, but survivable. We moved on to other pizza places.

Dewey’s opened a location in University City. Pi opened in the Loop. And there was always good old Papa John’s or Domino’s.

St. Louis folks will notice Imo’s missing from our list. In our nearly 13 years here, we never did acquire a taste for St. Louis style pizza so many of you love.

Anyway, we moved on. Same way we did when we left Sir Pizza in High Point, North Carolina, and Giordano’s in Chicago.

il vicino wichita

Then we found out we’d be moving on literally. Our relocation to Wichita was imminent. We journeyed west for a visit.

You’ll never guess where we ate pizza in Wichita.

That’s right. Il Vicino. They have two locations there. The only two in the state of Kansas.

MapQuest revealed Il Vicino is less than five miles from our new house.

Memories flood me in these final days as a resident of St. Louis. I visit the places we’ve frequented and drive the roads we’ve traveled for more than a decade. They’ve become sacred in a way.

It’s the memories and the people that make them so. It’s the life that was lived there. Like our bodies, these places are dust but for the lives that were lived there. The living gives them meaning.

Translated, the Italian il vicino means the nearby.

leaving university city

Wichita, St. Louis, Chicago, North Carolina—they’re not so far apart. I hold them in the nearby. In my memory, my heart. I will add to them as long as I am alive.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8 NIV

Emmanuel. God with us. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by The Franz Family.


Filed under life

Indian Summer

last of the zinnias

Today is Friday in September. Football season. My maroon and gold pom poms are calling.

They beckon me from the trunk of a 1980 maroon Camaro with gold pinstriping. When my dad selected the car, I believe he thought it needed to match my uniform.

The days are warm and sunny. Might think it’s still summer.

Then you catch a chill, the crisp crackle of fall on its way. The changing of the guard approaches. My body remembers it’s time to report to the field.

Hear the drumbeat of the marching band. Spirited cadence, rebel yells. Evening now. Almost time for the game to begin.

The home team bursts out of the locker room and breaks through the paper banner stretched across the end zone. Wild bucks, padded up and set loose. Stampeding leather cleats on sparkling green grass.

The horn section screams and flashes silver. The bleachers applaud. The pom poms dazzle and shake.

At some point in the pre game festivities, we cheerleaders gathered on the field. Maybe the football team too. It’s been years, I’ve been a long time gone, and I can’t remember exactly who joined the circle. But I do remember what we did.

Together we said The Lord’s Prayer before kickoff. A tradition and a covering over our game. Over our youth.

still fits!

So very politically incorrect. Only we didn’t know that then.

Those were the days we could still call our team the Indians. Now it’s called the Storm.

How long, I wonder, until the National Weather Service complains? Good thing the replacement mascot wasn’t an animal or we’d have PETA picketing the commons.

I wonder, as did Bob Fliss in the Carolina Journal Online, if Wake Forest University has been contacted about discarding the demon Deacon? Couldn’t help but notice a neighboring school in Guilford County has yet to give up their Vikings.

And that’s just a wee little pocket in North Carolina.

Dare I question the state university due east of my current home in St. Louis? When will the Fighting Illini become the Fearsome Gully Washers or the Frightening Thunder-Boomers?

We weren’t perfect, but we were good kids. We proudly called ourselves the Indians, believing it meant brave, strong, fierce warriors. We wouldn’t have taken the name if we’d believed it to be oppressive or offensive.

Looking back, I hope no one felt oppressed or was offended. It pains me to think folks would actually take it that way.

cheer detail

In 2004, the Guilford County Board of Education prompted by the North Carolina State Board of Education and the North Carolina Mascot Education & Action Group (yes, there is such a thing) voted to “retire” the mascot that had represented my school since 1926.

The vote came without consulting the citizenry prior to proceeding. The board reasoned the community could comment in the 30 days before the policy would be finalized, as if community input mattered. (Guilford Schools Board Forbids Indian Mascots, Jennifer Fernandez, News & Record, 1.14.04)

So it changed. A lot has changed since I left my pom poms behind.

A couple years ago, the homegirls threw an awesome 20th reunion party for our class. In between all the hugging and laughing and reuniting, we gathered.

Before the dancing and the open bar, we prayed. A tradition. A covering.

maroon & gold

When I think of those friends, those times, my high school—to me, we’ll always be the Indians, brave and strong, on a crisp, early autumn Friday night.

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. James 4:14 NLT

This version of Boys of Summer by The Ataris rocks. Sorry, Don Henley. As noted above, things change.

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Filed under America, family & friends, life