Category Archives: Emotional Fitness


A group of American White pelicans soaring over our house.  LOVE them.

A group of American White pelicans soaring over our house. LOVE them.

Hi all,

Just a note to let you know my life is chaos right now, and I will be on and off the grid for a few weeks. I am traveling to Boston this week (work, not play), I have a colonoscopy scheduled for the next week, we are still struggling with our lawn, I have been to three funerals in as many weeks, I’m slammed at work, and mentally I’m just not on top of my game. Something has to give.

So, I’m taking a page from our retreat, and I’m going to concentrate on taking care of me for a few weeks until things settle down a bit. This means I may or may not be blogging or reading blogs.

I’m calling this little hiatus a “Mental-Pause” – because I just need to hit the pause button in my life and slow down a bit.  Take stock and weed out the things that interfere with just “being”.  I’m tired of rushing around each day trying to fit it all in.

So, to quote a lovely blogging friend – Gemma at Dear Bliary– “I’ll get to it when I get to it.” Oh yeah, and “BREATHE!”.

Shipping off to Boston,


Lifestyles of the Cold and Frigid

This morning, I rolled over and did what I do every morning.  I checked my weather app to see how many limbs I was going to freeze off when I took the dogs out for their morning constitutional.  This is what I saw:


I rolled over and stared at the ceiling.  One of the dogs whined.  “Cross your legs,” I growled.  My dogs do not cross their legs.  My dogs say “Screw you,” and pee on the floor so I figured I better get up.  A few yellow doggie ice cubes later, and I was back in the house sipping coffee on the couch, burrowed in my Star Trek fleece blanket and wishing I was back in bed.


“It’s too cold to go anywhere.  I just want to go back to bed,” I whined via text to my friend and co-worker.

“Then go back to bed,” she responded.

“I can’t.  Dave already made the bed.”


“Well, I have to go to work, don’t I?”

No response.

“Look- even the cat is in silent protest with me.  He’s sitting on my clothes.  I can’t possibly go to work with a cat on my clothes.”


Again, no response.

“I hate all my clothes anyway.  Winter is so frumpy.  I feel like a stuffed sausage.”

Continued silence.  Ah, my friend.  You know me so well.  I kept texting.

“I want to eat all the cookies and donuts in the land.”

“But noooooo!  We’re all trying to be healthy!  Blah, blah, blah.  I’ll just eat this celery stick instead.”

“This cold celery is giving me frostbite.  I’m slipping into torpor over here.  You don’t even care.”

“Yum, yum, yum. Celery is soooo good! I just LOVE it! *gag*”

“I’m dying.  Dying of starvation and frostbite and hypothermia but you can’t even text me back.”

“This celery needs something to spice it up.  Peanut butter?”

“Bacon.  Bacon is the key ingredient to celery.”


“I tried to move the cat and he bit me.  Clearly another sign I must stay home from work.”

“Oh great.  I ate too much celery, and my pants are tight.  Thanks a lot, Obama!”

“Aaaaaand even though I wasn’t wearing this shirt when I ate the celery, I still managed to get bacon grease on it.  Or maybe it’s peanut butter…not sure…”

“False alarm!  It was toothpaste!”

“I hope you’re driving to work right now, and when you get there you see all these texts and feel really bad that you let me down and now I’m dead.”

“I really hate this outfit.  Did I mention stuffed sausage?”

“The cat keeps staring at me.  I know he’s judging me.”

“OMG.  I just poked my eye with the mascara wand.   BLOOD GUSHING EVERYWHERE!  I’m so not coming to work.”

At this point, I threw myself on the couch and shut my eyes.  I didn’t stab myself in the eye at all.  I don’t even wear mascara.  It makes my eyes water and I end up looking like Tammy Faye Baker.  My phone buzzed.  FINALLY.

“You don’t even wear mascara,” she said.

“Bitch.”  I responded.

“Loser.  So are you coming in to work or not?”

“Maybe.  Yeah.  I guess so.” I texted back.

“Bring me a donut.”

And that my friends, is how you survive winter in Wisconsin.  Kind, attentive, loving friends, willing to talk you off the ledge and listen to your troubles…and donuts.  Lots and lots of donuts.

Stay warm my friends!




Bell Choir Reject

I don’t know if I told you guys this, but I joined the bell choir at church.  If you are unfamiliar with the term “bell choir”, it’s a choir made up of people ringing hand bells to play a musical score.  Each person has 2-4 bells which they ring when their notes come up in the piece.

Dropping these in the middle of a piece is frowned upon.  Do not ask me how I know this.

Dropping these in the middle of a piece is frowned upon. Do not ask me how I know this.

I can hear you now.  “Sue?  The bell choir?  You do know you can’t use colorful metaphors when you play the wrong notes, right?  What were you thinking?”  It was a weak moment. I was tired and emotional (long story but the majority can be blamed on hormones) when the ring leader approached me (“ring leader”…get it? Hahahahaaaaa! I kill me.) one morning after church. She had an opening in the choir and remembered that I had played a few years ago as a mentor in the confirmation class and thought I would be a good fit.

A lot of factors played into my “yes” answer, besides hormones.  First of all, this was the second time she asked me – the first time being about a year ago and at that time I felt too committed (or maybe just needed TO BE committed.  You know, to the looney bin) to other things so I said no.  Plus I figured this would give her a chance to come to her senses and find someone who might actually know what they were doing.  Apparently, “coming to her senses” wore off after a year.  Or maybe she was desperate.  People will do a lot of unreasonable things when they are desperate.  Like asking nonmusical people to play in the bell choir.  Or accepting said bell choir offer.


Second, I kinda felt it was something God wanted me to do.  This has been a rough year for a lot of reasons (sadly, not all to be blamed on hormones), and my mind likes to play the Circle Game.  This is not a fun game.  It’s exhausting and frustrating and sometimes it makes me cry.  And yet, every time my mind suggests it, I’m all “Sure!  That sounds like fun!  What issue are we going to obsess about nonstop today?  My Life Is Going Nowhere?  Great!  We haven’t done that one since yesterday!”  Playing in the bell choir gave me something to concentrate on that I actually had control over.  Plus God was shoving me (rather firmly) from behind.

And finally – I love being the center of attention.  Shocking, I know.  I have always wished I had a choir appropriate voice. I have spent many a lost youthful hour belting out John Denver and Tony DeFranco songs in my trusty tape recorder, only to play them back in abject horror.

Still, I practice in the car every once in a while, to see if anything has improved. Sadly, it has not.  Dave still cranks up the radio to drown me out and my kids yell, “Oh my God, Mom. Stop.  STOP!  STAAAAHP.”


Playing in the bell choir allows me to live the dream.  I get to say things now like, “I’m sorry, I can’t attend.  I have choir practice.”  “Oh sure, I’ll come over, right after choir practice.”  “I have to be careful with my voice hands.  I’m in the choir, you know.” So now I get to be part of a choir, practice is only once a week and I get to create pretty music with a bunch of really nice (and patient) folks.  Everyone’s a winner.

Except, of course, for anyone listening, because Hello! – I can’t read music. When I played with the confirmation group, she had all of our notes color coded so it wasn’t very difficult for us to follow. When I saw a pink or green highlighted note, I rang my bell. Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeesy.

There is no color coding in the adult bell choir.  No conductor counting the measures out loud and pointing briskly at me when it’s my turn. I have to learn to read music, people.  REAL MUSIC.  And it’s seriously cutting into my obsessing time.  My own kids don’t recognize me.  “Who’s that lady over there humming at the kitchen table?”  “I dunno.  Mom?” “It’s not mom, you dork.  If it was mom, our ears would be bleeding.”  “I’m not a dork.  You’re a dork.” “No, you’re a dork.”  “No, YOU’RE a dork!”  “DORK!” “DOUBLE DORK!!”

So far, I have had about 5 practices and played in 4 services.  And I screwed up in every single one, without a single colorful metaphor escaping my lips.  Now that’s progress, people.  The rest of you will just have to worry about the world going to hell in a handbasket without me.  I’ll be over here, highlighting my notes.

Until next time,


PS.  Cake was not involved in any of the bell choir practices or services.  I have a note in to management.


Scotchy Scotch Scotch, We Love Scotch

I have had several people ask me why we moved from DePere. The short story: Empty nesters. But you know me. I’m not about the short story. I always gotta write a book. But in the interest of being interesting, I’ll give you the abridged version.

Dave and I got engaged in the middle of a field on Dollar Lane in DePere. We were young and green and dreaming big. But you know how reality reaches in and kinda changes how you look at things – money and circumstances and all that jazz. We couldn’t afford it and that was okay. We found an adorable little house in West DePere, and made our first nest there. Kids started coming, we moved to the next size up on the other side of town, and then Lindsay got sick and then we moved again and then they needed braces, prom dresses, bmx bikes, and cars. You know the song and dance. It was always something. But the dance was lovely, and I wouldn’t change any of it, except maybe the leukemia part for Lindsay.


Now we are in our empty nest stage (almost) and have been able to financially breathe easier for a few years now. We have about 15 years (if all goes well) to retirement, and we are both in good health. After talking a bit, we decided that if we were ever going to have that little piece of country, we needed to do it now. So we started looking.

I will admit that I wasn’t on board right away. My open house attendance was half-hearted and I hated everything we saw. We had lived in our current home for 15 years, and in that particular neighborhood for over 20. And I liked our home and neighborhood. I liked it a lot.

These dogs were made for walkin...

These dogs were made for walkin…


I liked walking the dogs every night and knowing all the houses and people behind the doors. I liked when Bricky drove past and honked. I liked when Pen and Ben were outside and we hollered across the street to each other or when Jim was in his driveway putting up Christmas decorations and we would stop and chat. I liked walking past “the boys” on Erie Street in the summer, when they would be sitting out side in the evening watching the neighborhood. I always felt a little safer because I knew they saw everything. (Geez, I better quit this – I’m starting to depress myself).

Then one Sunday, we went to an open house out here on Scotchman. While it wasn’t the home we purchased, it was the one that began to turn my heart. I remember standing in the living room there, watching a red-tailed hawk wheel around the farmer’s cornfield, and my heart skipped a beat. I knew I would move to be there. I can’t tell you exactly why – it’s not like we didn’t see red tails in DePere. Or eagles or sand hill cranes or deer or great blue herons, because we did. It was more the area and knowing it would all be right in our backyard. Or close to it.


After a lot of talking to the realtor, we decided to try to purchase a spec home they were going to build out there, a few lots down. It would have a three stall garage and a walk out basement, and would have part of the pond in the back yard. We listed our house and crossed our fingers. A lot was riding on whether we could sell our home on time, and Lord knows I didn’t want to move twice.

Now, I have to be honest here and tell you my heart swayed back and forth for a while. I had mood swings from “I can’t wait to move!” to “WAAAAAAH! I don’t want to moooooove! I want to live here forreeeeevvvveeeerrrrrr!” Dave asked me at least three times if I really wanted to keep pursuing it. I kept telling him yes, but I really wasn’t sure. In fact, right before my birthday, I almost decided to take him up on his offer to back out.



We had rented a condo up in Door County for my 50th, right on Lake Michigan. I was stoked because I was finally feeling better, after having been sick for over a month with some mystery virus, and I couldn’t wait for a weekend to snow shoe and tramp along the frozen lake shore. I told my realtor not to schedule any showings that weekend. Showings and open houses were a huge pain in the butt for us because we had to do something with the dogs and cat.  This meant a really long hour in the car with fish-breath hyper dogs and a yowling cat, who also occasionally puked for good measure.

We got a call two days before my birthday that there was a couple that wanted to see our house on my birthday, which meant either losing a night at the condo or one of us (meaning Dave – duh – it was my birthday, dammit) staying home and coming later. I couldn’t believe it. I ranted and raved inside my head and called Dave to see what we should do. I really just wanted to throw in the towel and tell the realtor no. To heck with it. This was crossing the line. A gauntlet thrown at my feet. Nay, I shouted! I won’t give in to the heathen realtors who would steal my birthday!

Of course we scheduled it. Dave stayed home and I went up alone (don’t feel too sorry for me, he came up later).

On the way up to door county, I drove past the turn for the new house, and had an epiphany, kind of how the Grinches small heart grew three sizes on Christmas day. I could feel the area calling to me. I felt at home. I realized I had from the beginning, and that I really wanted to move, but had been to afraid to ask God for it. It seemed a silly thing to ask, when people were starving and dying and suffering, but I had to let Him know my heart. So I prayed. I asked God for His blessing, that we would like to move there if it was okay with Him, and that if the answer was no, we would understand.

The folks who came thru that day, the ones I was so annoyed with my realtor about, came thru again on Sunday. By Monday we had an offer. Huh. What do you know.

And the rest, as they say, is history. A lot still had to happen (read my blog about all the cake eating involved), but it all fell into place, one piece at a time. We sold our house with time to spare. The buyers didn’t want to close until mid-March, so plenty of time for the new house to be finished and we would only have to move once. Given my freak out level thru the whole process, it seemed like a miracle.

Now, before anyone starts singing “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me, a Mercedes Benz,” I just want to say it wasn’t like that at all. We didn’t ask for the house to be given to us or to win the lottery or anything like that. All we asked for was guidance and an open door. And you can look at it as coincidence if you want. We choose to believe that God cared enough to give us an answer.

I believe God works that way – that if you talk to Him and have Him in your life, you’re going to hear back from Him.  Sometimes I enjoy the conversation, sometimes I don’t.  And I don’t always understand what he is doing or why (like, hardly ever).  But I wouldn’t want my life to be without Him.

The other day I was driving to work, basically telling God I surely didn’t understand why Jen died, and what part of His plan required this type of loss. It seemed arbitrary and cruel. When I got home, I had a letter waiting for me from a friend, with words of encouragement that assured me that even though I didn’t ‘get’ what God was doing, He was at least listening.

Enjoy the spring weather!  I will be back next week to tell you all about my Zelda, Ocarina of Time, appliances.  zelda


PS -My ancestors are from this area. Champion, to be exact. There is even a Conard road (see pic – I was on it last summer and I am sure I will be again, often) and somewhere a cemetery with some of my ancestors in it.

15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame

PPS – When we were growing up, my grandparents had a cottage on the bay. It’s about 4 miles from me now.

PPSS – When my kids were growing up, my parents had a cottage up in Crivitz. This home reminds us both of going there with our kids. I think it’s the open concept, the dark counter tops, and the feel of being up north. Every night we come home from work, we feel like we are going to the cottage.

PPPSSS – Dave’s dad grew up in this area. Attended Holy Cross school and church on Bay Settlement Road and lived not too far from here as a kid. Dad D’s cousin Louie’s dad used to own the land we are currently living on. He still owns a pretty big chunk, and lives only a mile or so away. Less than that as the crow flies. That said, Dad D often stayed at his uncle’s farm, and literally ran and played in these very fields we are now living in. Sometimes I sit, and imagine the DeGroot boys running thru yelling and waving sticks, all brown and dirty and smelling like sun. It makes me smile.

PSPPPSPSPSPSPPS – There is a cemetery up the road with DeGroot ancestors in it, too. And stop thinking the cemetery thing is creepy. I actually like them for some weird reason. I always try to imagine the history of the people buried there – like telling myself a story. Now, I can imagine it, knowing they are people who are a part of who I am.

PPPSSSSPPPPSSSPSPPPSSSSSSSSSP – Maybe it is a tiny bit creepy.



Back in the beginning of January, my friend Collie told me about a challenge she was going to participate in called “!00 Days Of Happy”, and invited others to join her.  So far, she has faithfully posted pictures or thoughts everyday on Facebook.  It makes me a little happier every day just to see what makes her happy.

I, of course, immediately thought “blog post” and decided I was going to participate, but that I would post my photos on my blog.  At first I was going to post them all at one time, but then I realized that “ain’t nobody got time for that” – so  then I thought – how about if I post them every two weeks or something?  That’s only 14 pictures and even if I write a little blurb under each one, most people ‘got time for that”.

Unfortunately, I started on the 4th, and this post is on the 23rd, so that actually gives us 19 days for this first post, and I didn’t have pictures for every day because I have been sick since December 30th and didn’t always remember to take a picture or even focus on finding the happy in on some of my days.  So, I’m going to fill in with some photos of things that make me happy but may not have occurred on that specific day.  It’s only cheating a little, and I think it still keeps in the spirit of the challenge.

If you would like to take part in the challenge yourself, you can do so here:

Here we go then!

January 4th:


The Muppets Take Manhattan and The Muppet Movie were on cable in the same day!  I didn’t notice this in time to see the Muppets Take Manhattan, but was in time for most of The Muppet Movie.  When this first came out in theaters, I saw it with my friend, Jeannie.  We loved it, and being weirdos, decided we were going to go to Hollywood and make it big, playing the banjo.  We got as far as buying banjos and taking lessons but never made it to Hollywood.  No regrets though, and I still love this movie.

January 5th:


I have been watching the Packer games with my dad the last few years, because my mom’s blood pressure goes thru the roof if she watches them (talk about your diehard fan).  I love these Sunday’s with my dad.  The Packers may not always win, but I win every time, and I am pretty sure my dad sees it as a win, too.

January 6th:


I received notification that my blog post “10 Advantages to Living in the Frozen Tundra” was an editor’s pick for Freshly Pressed on  That meant my little blog was about to get a ton more views, and likely some new followers.  It didn’t go live until a few days later, but it was well worth the wait.  I had my 15 minutes of fame, and got to meet some cool new bloggers too.

January 7th:

JH’s Snow Monster.  My friend’s son used basic copier paper to make a snow monster, modeled after the one in the movie “Frozen”.  His mom couldn’t see it at first, because her son used white paper on white paper, and it didn’t have much contrast lying flat.  But when she held it up to the light – the magic happened.  She posted the picture on Facebook, and it made me smile as soon as I saw it.  It still does!

January 8th:


I got this in the mail.  I know it’s dumb, but that stupid commercial makes me laugh every stinkin’ time.

January 9th:


Bought tickets to see Wicked at the PAC, for my daughter and I.  We’re so excited!

January 10th:


Yearly outing with my homegirls to the PrimeQuarter.  I can’t even print the subjects we discussed.  Honestly.  It surprises me that we don’t get kicked out of restaurants.

January 11th:


I LOVE MY KEURIG!  Nuff said.

January 12th:


These two.  I mean, how cute are they?

January 13th:

This Linda Ronstadt song on the radio, as I drove home from work sick…again.   The second picture is of myself and my siblings, minus my one sister who is taking the picture.  We are singing “Blue Bayou” by Linda Ronstadt, while doing the dishes.  We were sober, in case you were wondering.

January 14th:


This snowy snowy day!  I spent it at home trying to kick the bug out of my system (not successfully I might add), and got to watch the 8 inches of snow fall and blow from the coziness of my livingroom.  I actually love getting snow if it’s in December, January, or February.   I mean, it’s winter, right?  Might as well have snow to play in.

January 15th:


Peaches!  My daughter’s kitty.  Which makes me think of my daughter, which of course gives me a Happy!

January 16th:


My son’s car, parked in the same work parking lot as mine, because he works for the same company.  I get to torture him everyday by saying “hi” to him in public.  Another happy!

January 17th:


My family.  The picture below is of all 13 of my parent’s grandchildren from a long ago Christmas, although it seems just like yesterday to me.  Probably to my dad too, also in the picture.

They are all adults now, some starting their own families.  Watching them all grow up and become such loving, diverse, and interesting individuals has been one of my greatest joys.  And I LOVE being a great-aunt!  Or a “great” aunt.  Or just “great”.

January 18th:


These kids playing on this giant snow pile by the elementary school.  Totally brings back memories of doing this as a kid.  I showed it to my 22 year old son, who interestingly enough said, “That’s not even a big pile.  We used to get more snow when I was a kid”.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Dave and I say the same thing about our childhood, and that him saying that was his first venture into sounding like an old man.  “GET OFF MY LAWN” can’t be far behind.

January 19th:



January 20th:


These ornaments, traded for on the black market, for a used Mini Keurig.  I can’t reveal my sources, or my supply may dry up.  One of these may or may not show up in a future Conard White Elephant exchange.  You won’t know, Hao Nguyen or Joe Conard or Ben Conard, until you open it.  You’ve got to ask yourself a question:  “Do I feel lucky?”  Well, do ya, punk?

January 21st:


This response to my Facebook status by my friend Caroline.

January 22nd


Since getting to know Joey (see Meet Joe, Not Your Average Joe, Thanks For Making Me A Fighter) and being involved with mTT (My Team Triumph) last summer, I decided I wanted to learn sign language so I could ‘speak’ to Joe, who has profound hearing loss.  Besides Joe, many of the Captains in mTT are unable to speak and/or hear so learning it will really come in handy if I continue to be involved.  I signed up for the class with my BFF, Doreen, who is Joey’s aunt.  Last night was our first class, and we learned the alphabet.  The instructor brought us to a website that showed videos of words being spelled out, and we had to try to figure out what they were.  The only word I got right? “Wiener”, for which I took a load of crap from Doreen.

Later in class I told the instructor I knew how to say “Live Long and Prosper” in sign language and of course splayed my fingers out ala-Vulcan.  Doreen just looked at me and said, “Get out,” as she pointed to the door.  So earlier today, we had a little email banter going.

January 23rd

I don’t have a picture for today, but I am very happy.  And content.  Some days you realize how truly blessed you are, and today is one of those days for me.  Tomorrow, I might be swearing like a sailor on the way to work, but for now, all is well.

What made you happy today?

Stay warm, my friends!

The Boringest Blog Post Ever

Today’s post is very boring.  If you would like to quit reading now, and come back next week in the hopes that I will once again be clever, inspiring, humorous, and/or profound, please do so without any feelings of guilt or worry of retribution.

One of my goals for the new year was to post my blog twice a week.  I also had a set idea in my head about what those posts and my blog should be about.  Well, that whole thing is kind of going out the window.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t know if I have the bandwidth to post twice a week all the time, nor to have a set “type” of blog.  I think I am going to keep my weekly Thursday night posts, and then sometimes Mondays, until I get a better handle on my time.  And what you get is what I am in the mood for that day.  You might get humor, you might get inspiration, you might get the crazy cat lady.

Goal setting and accomplishments mean a lot to me.  I don’t set goals lightly.  I set them based on drive and passion, because I want to grow and stretch my life.  I want to test the limits of my capabilities, to use all God gave me to live my life as fully as I can – sometimes in service to Him and others and sometimes just for the pure joy of it.  But I am not above admitting when I have too much on my plate, and that is really what this is about.

You have all heard the famous John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”.  I made all these plans and now things I didn’t plan for have taken precedence, and I have to pare down my life a little.  It’s nothing major, just other areas need my attention.

When we were first married and learning to budget and live on our own, Dave and I would sometimes find ourselves running out of money before the next paycheck, simply because we were hit with an unexpected expense.  We learned to be more cautious with our money, to hold off on buying the extras until we knew we had paid all the necessities.  Publishing my blog more than once a week is an ‘extra’ for me time wise, not a necessity.  Notice I didn’t say “writing”.  Writing is a daily necessity.  But not everything I write is for my blog, and I just don’t have the time and energy for biweekly posts right now.  That’s not to say I won’t ever – just not consistently for now.

I’m admitting to this because I want you all to know that it’s okay to re-evaluate and adjust your goals.  It’s okay to say, “I still want to do this, but I need to do it at a later date” or “I need to only do half of this now, and build up to the rest” or “I thought I wanted to do this, but now I think I have changed my mind”.  You have to give yourself permission to change your goals without berating or belittling yourself for it.  And without using the other F-word – FAIL.

Assessing your life and changing your plans in order to meet your current needs is how you become successful in achieving your goals.  Setting a goal to lose 100 pounds in 3 months by drastically changing your diet and adding two hours of exercise everyday would easily overwhelm a person, but deciding to lose 10 pounds and adding a half hour of exercise 3 times a week, and eliminating just one trigger food is much more manageable.  It’s not that the 100 pound goal is thrown to the wayside and forgotten.  It’s merely been reevaluated and broken down into more manageable steps and a more realistic timeline.

So that’s that.  Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go walk the dogs seeing as we finally have a night above 10 degrees, and then I am going to come home and go to bed at a decent hour so I can finally get rid of this crud I have been walking around with for over two weeks.

Keep warm!


PS – the “crud” might very well explain my whiney, boring post tonight.  Or maybe I just need a Snickers bar.

PPS – you know a post is boring when there aren’t even any pictures!!!

PPSS – remember the old “generic” brands of food – white boxes with black lettering?  This post reminds me of that.

PPSS – okay I’m really finished now.

Roller Coaster…of Love…(Say What?)…(sing it with me!)

Happy 2014!

It’s that time of year again!  The time where we look back on the past and forward into the future.  It’s like being at the highest point on a roller coaster – that pin-dropping moment of silence after a ponderous, rickety climb, where your heart gained momentum faster than the roller coaster car.  And then as the car pauses – you hold your breath and you see your future ahead of you, and you begin praying that your harness holds you firmly in your seat and that you won’t derail on the hairpin curves.


Did I ever tell you I hate roller coasters?  I don’t trust the harness, I don’t trust the course, and I don’t trust the person who built it that insists it’s safe.  This is exactly how I feel about life.  God loves me but I must really test His patience.  I see the course He has set before me, but I am already arguing with Him that the harness He provided is going to give out, hurling me into space.  He knows I’m going to have a death grip on Him, eyes squeezed shut and screaming all the way down that first hill.

These last few weeks have had some unexpected twists and belly droppers and I can’t say I was overly appreciative of the final moments of the 2013 ride.   And now we are back at the top of the coaster and as I look down to the coming journey that will be 2014, I see a lot of question marks and unknowns, and it’s making me a little crazy.  I wish I could see the course ahead of time, to plan for each turn and belly drop.  To be prepared and know exactly how I will handle each situation.  I want the security of the KNOWN, of the quiet, mundane day-to-day living, that stretches no faith nor spirit.   God doesn’t see it that way.  He knows without stretching my faith, I won’t grow.

So God and I are having a talk.  He’s going to keep me secure in my harness, wrapped in his love and strength, and I’m going to try to keep my eyes open and enjoy the ride without barfing up my Slushie or screaming for the ride to stop.  I actually did that once – scream for the ride to stop, not barf up my Slushie – on the Matterhorn at Disneyland.  In my defense, I was only 9, and I was riding with my mom who was also screaming.  Gotta love those mother/daughter bonding moments.

I know I will be a stronger, smarter, wiser version of myself when it all shakes out.  The process is the tough part for me.  But like I said in my Christmas blog – life is precious and it’s important to live in the moment – even the crappy moments.  In a nutshell, that is my main goal for this year.  To embrace every second of joy, anxiety, fear, happiness, sorrow, humor, and love.

Therefore, besides learning to live in the moment, one day at a time, on the things of 2014 that I won’t be able to control, here is a list of the more mundane things I have a little more control over and hope to accomplish.

  • Mental Survival for this Sunday’s Packers’s/Niners game. I know I am being overly dramatic, but all my fellow Cheeseheads will agree that watching the Green Bay Packers play lately is enough to make you go running to your doctor for a prescription of Xanax.  At least the game will be at L-L-L-Lambeau, and it will be c-c-c-cold!
  • Increase my blog posts to twice a week.  I am planning on keeping Thursday, and then probably adding Monday – hopefully something humorous because Lord knows we need a reason to laugh on Mondays.
  • Pull my pal Joey Christensen on the Titletown Tour in another mTT (My Team Triumph) event – this time cycling.  As you may remember, I was one of his angels in the Bellin last year,and I would like to continue that relationship by doing the Titletown Tour cycling event with him in 2014.
  • As part of my involvement with mTT and hanging out with the Joe-meister – attend, learn and pass with flying colors the American Sign Language class that I signed up for thru St. Norbert College.  Gotta be able to communicate with Joe while I am pedaling him around this summer.  Hopefully I don’t crash when I am turning around to sign to him.
  • Clock 2000 miles on my bike.  No clue how I am going to find time to ride more than I already do with everything else on my plate but I’m darn well going to try.
  • Running the Fox Cities Half Marathon with my bestie, Dawn.  Although this is really her goal, I am along for the ride to provide motivation and encouragement.  Of course, I haven’t ran long distance in over two years, so she may be the one cracking the whip on me instead!

And that’s about it for now.  As a good friend of mine just emailed to me:  It takes less time and energy to pray than to worry.  I am hoping to pray more than worry in 2014, for all of our benefit!

May you all have a blessed new year!  And stay warm!