My daughter says the thing she hates most of all is being cold. I believe her. When I ride with her, summer or winter, the temperature inside her car is at least 100 degrees.

What I hate worst is having to look for things.

My history of losing things goes way back. When I was in high school, I loved writing with fountain pens, fine point ones with blue ink. I still do, in fact. Back then, I almost looked forward to doing homework if I had my fountain pen.

I got off the bus about 100 yards from my house. One day when I got home from school, I discovered I had lost my pen.

I retraced my steps back to the bus stop to see if I had dropped it while walking home. Sure enough, there it lay, my red fountain pen, completely squashed in the middle of the road. A car had run over it.

That was a sad day, but here is the pathetic part. The exact same event occurred a few weeks later, this time with a blue fountain pen.

I routinely lose my car in parking lots. I try hard to remember where I parked my car before going into a store. Yet invariably, I later wind up pushing my loaded cart up and down parking aisles, frantically pressing the unlock button on my key fob, listening for the familiar beep signaling me that my car is nearby.

Often, I get myself lost.

I grew up in the country and our house was situated on a dirt road. I knew nothing about towns being laid out on grids. Most of our roads had no names. They were referred to in terms that made perfect sense to those of us who lived there. My friend, for example, lived on the dirt road near the old field where Mr. Shelton used to keep his cows.

Therefore, though I’ve lived in a “gridded” town for many years, I don’t trust the people who laid out those grids. To be on the safe side, when I drive to a new place, I turn around and return home by the exact same path.

Recently I picked up my four-year-old grandson from his preschool. I parked in front of the house in which his school is located. When we left, I drove halfway down the block in the same direction, turned my car around using someone’s driveway, and started home using the same route.

My grandson asked, “Grandma, why are you turning around in someone’s driveway?”

I answered, “So we can take the same street out of this neighborhood.”

He said, “Why don’t you just drive to the end of this street, turn right, turn right again, and you’ll get to the street we need?”

“Because that’s too hard,” I said.

Top among the things I look for is my phone. I average making a phone search five times a day.

My kids and grandkids laugh because whenever someone asks, “Where’s Grandma?” the rest of the people in the room join in a chorus of “Looking for her phone.”

I would consider wearing my phone inside a fanny pack except my hips are already wide enough. I carried it inside my bra until one day, while digging through a bin of frozen chicken pieces at the grocery store, I accidentally sent my sister a picture of my chest.

Remembering each time where I laid the phone down is, like making three right turns in an unfamiliar neighborhood, too hard.

If I could pull together all the hours I spend looking for things, say one hour each day, I would have an additional seven hours per week, 30 hours per month, 360+ hours per year to do other, more enjoyable, things.

Like recording a detailed inventory of everything inside my house using a fine-tipped fountain pen with blue ink.



Click It

Dan and I cannot help each other on the computer.

Neither one of us is particularly adept in this area. He knows what he learned from working with pharmacy computers for many years.

I know what 25 years of trial and error, error, error, error and error have taught me. Mostly I know how to use Microsoft Word.

When we try to sync our knowledge of computers, we crash.

We both know how to Google, how to send and receive emails, how to create and save documents, and how to use the scanner and printer attached to our respective computers.

He knows how to upload photos from his camera to his computer, and I know how to upload photos from my iPhone to my computer.

I routinely send my photos to Walgreen’s or some other place to have prints made. I then put the photo prints into albums.

Ordinarily, Dan does not have his photos made into prints.

Last night I sent about 100 Christmas photos to Walgreen’s to have them made into prints.

Shortly after I finished sending them, we discovered that Dan had some Christmas photos on his camera that were different from the Christmas pictures I had on my phone.

“Why don’t you send those to Walgreen’s and have prints made?” I asked him.

“I don’t know how to do that,” he said.

“I can show you. Sit down at your computer for a minute.”

“Oh, you mean ‘why don’t I send these to Walgreen’s and have prints made RIGHT NOW.’”

“You don’t have to do it now, but I’m going in about an hour to pick up my prints. If you send yours now, I can pick up your prints too.”

I should have known by the way Dan grimaced and ran his hand down the back of his head and neck that this was a bad idea.

We positioned two chairs in front of his computer. We sat.

“Go to Walgreen’s photo website,” I said.

In his search window he typed www dot Walgreens dot com.

“No, not that website,” I said. “Their photo website.”

“I’m sure I can get to their photo page through their main Walgreen’s website,” he said.

Sure enough he could, but it seemed like the long way around, to me.

The photo website opened.

“Now scroll down,” I said.

He scrolled.

“No. Wait! Stop! Go back up.”

“You said scroll down.”

“I know I did but you scrolled too far.”

He went back up.

“See where it says prints and enlargements?

“Yes,” he said.

“Well, you want to have prints made, so click where it says prints and enlargements.”

 He clicked on prints and enlargements. A new screen appeared.

“Now, click on prints and enlargements again,” I said.

“Why?” he aked. “I already clicked on prints and enlargements.”

“I know you did,” I said, “but you have to click on it again.”

“Why?” he asked.

“I don’t know why. That’s just what you have to do,” I said.

“Why can’t I just click here where it says upload photos?”

“Oh, okay,” I said. “Sure. Click there.”

He clicked. He was then instructed to select photos.

His computer’s Pictures folder opened.

“Now,” I said, “This is where you go into your Pictures folder and select the pictures you want to have made into prints.”

“My pictures aren’t in my Pictures folder,” he said.

“Sure they are,” I said.

“No, they are not,” he said. “They are in Picasa.”

“Oh,” I said, “then go into Picasa and get the ones you want.”

“How do I do that?” he asked.

“Well, you just find your photos and select the ones you want to have prints made of.”

“I know,” he said. “How do I do that?”

“What do you mean ‘how do I do that?’”

“How do I go into Picasa and select photos?”

“I don’t know, Dan,” I said. “I don’t use Picasa but you do, so just open Picasa, find your photos, and select the ones you want to have prints made of.”

“I understand that, Deb,” he said. “What I am asking is HOW do I do that?”

This is where I made a big mistake. I reached across his chest, clicked his mouse, and opened his Pictures folder.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m opening your Pictures folder.” I said. “Your pictures have to be in there.  That’s where pictures always are. That is why it is called your Pictures folder.”

“My pictures are not in my Pictures folder,” he said. “They’re in Picasa.”

His pictures were not in his Pictures folder.

“All right, Dan,” I said, “show me the Christmas photos on your computer.”

He showed me.

“Now, click on the photos you want to have prints made of,” I said.

“How do I do that?” he asked.

“How do you click?”

“No, I know how to click.”

“Then click,” I said, “on the pictures you want to . . .”

“Deb,” he said.

His face was getting red.

“You are not listening to me.”

“Yes, I am,” I said.

“No, you’re not,” he said. “You are not answering the question I am asking you.”

“Yes, I am,” I said.

“No, you’re not. I feel just like Nicky in that Lucille Ball movie about the long trailer. You’re not making any sense.”

I stood and walked into the hallway.

“I’m going to Walgreen’s now to get my pictures,” I said.

“Thank goodness.”


(From my iPhone)


The cause of many husband/wife arguments is a failure to communicate clearly.

Below are listed some Golden Rules of Communication. If followed carefully, these rules can prevent spats between partners.

  • Be honest.
  • Ask for clarification.
  • Be kind and consider the other person’s feelings.
  • Keep a cool head.

In sporting events, referees watch closely and call out violations when they occur. Severe penalties often result.

I have invited a virtual referee to examine this recent interaction between Dan and me and call out fouls when he observes them.

Listen (or in this case, watch) for the referee’s whistle.


My husband, who is a retired pharmacist, now works two days a week making deliveries for a local auto parts store.

A few weeks ago, Dan returned home early from his delivery work. He was sick, he told me, and he went straight to bed.

I was in the process of getting ready to go out and meet a friend for lunch. Before leaving the house though, I asked Dan if I could get him anything.

Referee whistles: FOUL! You don’t have time to do anything for him. You are in a hurry and should have said so. Failure to be honest.

“Yes,” he moaned from the bed. “Could you run over to CVS and pick me up some medicine?”

I, of course, said I could.

Referee whistles: FOUL! You said what you thought you should say, not what you really meant. Failure to be honest.

 “Thanks,” he said.

“You drove right by CVS on your way home. Why didn’t you stop and get what you needed then?” I asked.

Referee whistles: FOUL! You are not showing respect for Dan’s feelings. Failure to be kind.

“I was too sick,” he said.

“Write down what you want me to get for you from CVS,” I said, tossing him a sticky note pad.

He wrote.

I grabbed the sticky note from him and hurried off.

 Referee whistles: FOUL! You should have made sure the note provided all the information you needed. Failure to ask for clarification.

I entered the store, walked to the over-the-counter meds area, took out Dan’s note, and read it.

I was sharp enough to realize he had not written down the medication’s brand name but rather the active ingredient in that medication.

I was not sharp enough, however, to understand why he would do a dumb thing like that.

Referee whistles: FOUL! Warning! You are losing your cool.

I scanned 5 shelves and scowled at 200 boxes, searching for one that declared in tiny print: active ingredient Loperamide 2 mg.

Referee whistles: FOUL! Second warning! You are losing your cool.

I alternated between looking at the shelves and looking at my watch. At the rate I was going, I would not make it to my lunch date on time.


Referee whistles: FOUL! You have lost your cool.

 I marched myself over to the pharmacy desk and asked if someone could help me.

“I’ll be right with you,” said a slow-moving girl in a blue jacket.

I didn’t have time to wait on her all day, so I called Dan on the phone.

“Dan,” I said. “Why in the world didn’t you put the brand name of the medicine you wanted on this note?”

Referee whistles: FOUL! You should have used a softer tone of voice. Failure to be kind.

“Because I didn’t want you to buy the brand name. I wanted you to buy the generic. It’ll be cheaper.”

“Did you really think Loperamide 2 mg would mean anything to your wife, who is not a retired pharmacist?”

Referee whistles: FOUL! You should have used a softer tone of voice. Failure to be kind.

“It’s Imodium,” he said.

At that moment the girl from the pharmacy sauntered over to me

“I need this!” I said, flashing the note in front of her eyes.

“That’s Imodium,” she said.

“So I hear.”

I bought the Imodium, drove home, and tossed the CVS sack onto the bed beside Dan.

“Now I’m going to be late meeting Mary Kay for lunch!” I said.

Referee whistles: FOUL! You did not mention your lunch date earlier. You should not have mentioned it now. Failure to play fairly.

“I didn’t know you were getting ready to go out. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “It’s not a big deal.”

Referee whistles: FOUL! It is a big deal. Failure to be honest.

I replayed this experience in my mind as I drove to meet Mary Kay. Realization dawned. I had learned something during this brief exchange.

The reason why ballgames drag on forever is the fault of those referees with their infernal whistles.


I have had a nasty cold. For the past three days I have coughed so hard I thought I would rip my throat open. I’ve seen the doctor now and am on my way to recovery.

Thursday night I stayed awake all night coughing uncontrollably.

In the past if I had missed a full night of sleep, I would have had to get up the next morning at the usual time and either start taking care of my kids or start making arrangements to miss work.

Last Friday when I got up, exhausted, the only pressing responsibility on my mind was making an appointment to see a doctor.

This is the best thing about being retired: Fewer have-to’s.

Yes, I had other activities planned for the day. I was scheduled to babysit my sweet little eight-month-old granddaughter (I’ll call her Glitter.) for several hours in the afternoon.

Though I hated doing it, I called Glitter’s parents and told them I could not babysit.

Years ago, I would have been the person receiving the “sorry-but-I-can’t-babysit” call, not the one making the call. Though the last minute change was inconvenient for my son and daughter-in-law, they rolled with it, as all good parents roll with unexpected events..

I am called upon to do much less “rolling with it” today than I once was. My obligations are fewer and less important. What once were pressing obligations to a job or to a growing family are now volunteer activities and lunches with friends.

I lived my whole life in order to get to this point, and it is nice.

But it came at a price. I did my share of changing diapers, settling arguments, administering medicines, scheduling play dates, hosting birthday parties, and picnicking among bees.

Though it was difficult at the time, I am glad to have had those days. A mom is eternally love-bonded to the child she nursed through three months of colic.

Those days allowed me to feel a love so intense I thought I might die every time I looked at the faces of my sleeping children.

I am thankful for the sacrifices that brought me through those days, thankful that I persevered, improvised, finagled, and wrestled my way to where I am today.

Those past days grew me up. They revealed to me strengths I didn’t know I had. They showed me that I could, when called upon, be unselfish and strong. They proved to me that “Oh, yes, I can.”

And those days went a long way toward making me who I am today: a woman with a degree of maturity, accomplishment, and confidence she might not otherwise have achieved. A woman who is now freer to do what she wants to do. A woman who is tired, but in a restful way.

Yes, retirement is good. But it is good because of the days that came before.

So, if you are in the throes of diaper changing and all that comes after that, stay the course. You will never be sorry you did.

Then, when you are where I am today, you’ll be grateful for the freedom that comes with fewer responsibilities. You will enjoy carefree lunches with friends where you will talk about little else but the days that brought you here.


Like most people, I have trouble carrying through with good intentions. My problem rarely is ignorance (not knowing what to do). Rather, my problem is inactivity (not doing what I know to do).

Gaining knowledge of what I should do is easy. A quick look around my house tells me what I need to do in terms of housework. I can search the Internet or see a doctor to learn dos and don’ts for caring for my body. Usually I have only to ask my family members and friends to know how I can help them. I can read the Bible to know what God asks of me.

Acting upon that gained knowledge is the hard part.

My natural tendency is, like water, to follow the course of least resistance. I see Hershey Kisses and I eat freely. I sit on the couch and work crossword puzzles half of the day. I leave dinner dishes to be washed in the morning. Daily time spent in the Word is hit or miss.

Doing whatever is easiest rarely means doing what is best. Often it means doing nothing.

Just as the cure for hunger is eating and the cure for tiredness is getting rest, the cure for inactivity is becoming active. Becoming active always requires effort.

Failing to put forth effort results in many unpleasant consequences. Your house gets out-of-control messy. Your weight increases and the state of your health declines. Personal relationships grow weaker and fewer. The intensity of your spiritual life dwindles, and what is commonly referred to as your “quality of life” starts to stink.

Thus, all of us face this decision: Will I follow the path of least resistance and pay the penalties that ensue, or will I put forth the effort required for living the life I want to live?

Many people try to do both. They laze their way through days, weeks, and months until they become miserable enough to be motivated to become active. Then they put forth effort for a while until they get tired and gradually slip into inactivity again.

This is no way to live.

But neither is a life of constant activity a good way to live. Balance is needed.

This is what balance looks like for me. My house is reasonably clean (not immaculate), I am eating, sleeping, and exercising reasonably (not focusing solely on one), my friends and family members are close but not suffocating me (I need some alone time.), and God’s peace indwells me (I am experiencing joy, not guilt.)

Maintaining this balance requires me to establish good habits. Good habits ensure that I give proper attention to my body, to my relationships with other people, to my house and other responsibilities, and to my Christian walk.

I compare myself to a high-wire walker. He reaches his destination safely but not without making adjustments along the way.

Like the tightrope walker, I usually know when I am veering off course. The sooner I make adjustments, the sooner I am back to where I want to be.

If a tightrope walker follows the path of least resistance, he will hit the ground. Figuratively speaking, the same is true for me.


I’ve been a bit miffed at my pharmacy lately.

Early in the week I received a text advising me to come in for a pneumonia shot. My not-so-young age now renders me more susceptible to this bacterial infection.

I went into the pharmacy and a young technician approached the window to help me. She asked what I needed and I told her. She spent several minutes looking at my “profile” on her computer screen. Finally she asked the pharmacist to help her decide what should be done.

After the pharmacist had studied the screen for a while he said, “You cannot receive your pneumonia injection yet. You need to wait a full year following your first injection before you get your second one.”

I couldn’t remember if or when I had received my first injection, but I took the computer’s word for it when it said I shouldn’t yet have a second one.

A few days later I received another text that read, “We are still holding your pneumonia vaccination for you. Please come in as soon as possible to receive the injection.”

This time instead of going to the pharmacy, I called. A technician answered.

“Tell me again what we said in the text we sent you,” she said.

I told her.

“No,” she said. “We are not holding a pneumonia vaccination for you.”

“But I received a text from you stating that you were holding one.”

“I see no evidence that we sent you a text,” she said.

Now before you jump to the conclusion that I was at the wrong pharmacy, allow me to assure you I was at the right one. I use the same pharmacy for all my medications. This time it is the other party, not I, who is responsible for the confusion.

I am confident the pharmacist will untangle this mess, and I will eventually receive the second pneumonia injection as recommended by the CDC.

I am taking this opportunity, since this is a pharmaceutically-themed article, to address those of you who frequent pharmacies for your prescription medications.

My husband Dan is a retired pharmacist, and the following points are based on conversations I have had with him.

  • Most pharmacists are extremely busy, probably busier today than ever before due to the growing list of federal and state regulations they must follow. They are not allowed to cut corners when filling prescriptions simply because a long line of customers has formed at the counter.
  • Your pharmacist knows much more about prescription drugs than the non-pharmacist person standing in line behind you telling you the pharmacist is giving you bad information.
  • Your pharmacist has no control over your insurance company, who determines how much you will pay for your prescriptions and how often you may have them refilled. Neither can he/she control your ex-spouse, who has stopped paying insurance premiums, thus rendering your children uninsured. No amount of yelling at the pharmacist will change these facts.
  • Please resist embarrassing yourself, pharmacy personnel, and other customers by calling your offending ex-spouse or insurance company on your phone and reading them an expletive-filled riot act while you stand at the pharmacy counter.
  • Do not plan to stop by your pharmacy to pick up your prescriptions on your way out of town for an extended time. Take care of this important pre-travel task ahead of time. Any number of situations may cause the pharmacist not to be able to fill the prescription while you wait. Lamenting that your family is waiting for you in the parking lot in a car packed for vacation will not make a difference.
  • Please comply pleasantly when pharmacy personnel ask to see your ID. They do not make the laws regarding the purchase of certain drugs. They merely enforce them. Yes, you still need to provide ID even if you use the drive-thru window and even if the time is after 10:00 p.m. Dan once had to explain this to an angry drive-thru customer who shouted back, “No one carries their ID with them at night!”

Pharmacists deal with unpleasant people every day. In fact, being forced to deal with those people is one reason my husband retired earlier than he had planned.

Though I am sure you are not such a person, maybe these reminders will help you be a bit more patient with pharmacy personnel.

Sometimes a little patience is just what the doctor ordered.


Are you a liar?

I am not asking if you have ever told a lie. All of us have lied at least once. I am asking if you habitually speak untruths. Is lying your “native language,” as it is Satan’s, according to John 8:44?

I knew a man for whom, as far as I could tell, lying was his first language. He lied even when lying was of no benefit to him. He lied about what he ate for lunch, which shirt he wore the day before, and whether or not he liked cheese pizza. When he was caught out in an absolute lie, he lied about having lied in the first place.

I am not a liar except in one area of my life. I lie to myself. I tell myself on Monday that I will thoroughly clean my stove on Tuesday when I know I probably won’t. I tell myself eating two ice cream sandwiches won’t sabotage my attempt to lose weight when I know it will. Most of us indulge in this kind of dishonesty when we want to do something we shouldn’t do or don’t want to do something we should do.

But my lying to myself does not end there. I habitually speak untruths to myself about myself. According to me, I am stupid, mud-fence ugly, unreliable, and a lousy housekeeper. My hair always looks awful, I can’t cook, I have no self-control, and I can’t compose any piece of writing worth reading.

None of those brutal accusations I throw at myself are true. Occasionally I am unsuccessful in achieving a goal, but by no means am I the total loser I tell myself I am. So why do I habitually speak painful untruths to myself about myself?

Do I think that by telling myself these untruths, I will be motivated to become a higher achiever? Will demeaning myself prevent me from becoming arrogant? Or have I, like the man I mentioned earlier, just become so accustomed to this kind of lying that I continue the habit even when it is of no benefit at all?

In chapter 4 of the book of Ephesians, Paul exhorts Christians to avoid all sinful behaviors: stealing, indulging in feelings of bitterness and wrath, practicing lascivious living, and lying.

Right in the middle of that chapter he writes: But speaking the truth in love, (you) may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.

 I routinely speak the truth in love when I am talking to others. Perhaps I should employ that practice when I speak to myself about myself.

My self-conversation then might sound something like this:

Though I am not beautiful or a candidate for induction into MENSA, and my home will never win the Good Housekeeping Award and the meals I cook won’t grace the cover of Taste of Home, and though I will never win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature and will occasionally disappoint myself and other people, I am capable of functioning in a responsible adult manner. I am thankful for the gifts and abilities God has given me, and I will use them to serve others and to bring glory to God.

This is who I am, and only a liar will say otherwise.

In 2018, practice speaking the truth to yourself about yourself. And don’t forget to do it with love.


For friends who share common interests with me and enjoy reading lighthearted, inspirational, and entertaining articles, many with spiritual applications.