Deanne Has A Blog!

Mar. 21, 2019

 

“I love to laugh
Loud and long and clear
I love to laugh
It's getting worse every year

The more I laugh, the more I fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more I'm a merrier me, it's embarrassing
The more I'm a merrier me.”

Remember that great song from Mary Poppins? Ed Wynn floating up near the ceiling and Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews describing all sorts of silly kinds of laughter? Made you laugh, didn't it!

The Laffy Taffy candy company sells little candies in a variety of flavors, i.e., blue raspberry, cherry, strawberry, grape, banana, watermelon and so forth, wrapped individually with a joke on the inside. For example: “What do you call a cow with no legs? – Ground beef!” you get the idea. Anyway, Laffy Taffy conducted a survey of 1,500 people which showed that Arizona is No. 1 in a national ranking about how often people laugh. The bottom of their list of happy places was California with 35 percent of residents laughing only ten times a day. (I’d say the traffic and commute times have something to do with that). The people who make us laugh the most are our significant others, followed by our friends. Our kids make us laugh, like this picture of Jessie, laughing from the simple joy of swinging in the sunshine, then our siblings. The lowest humor providers were mom and dad, which is just sad. Almost everyone in the survey said they enjoy making others laugh.

I’m sure you’ve heard that the National Cancer Institute has laughter therapy: “A type of therapy that uses humor to help relieve pain and stress and improve a person’s sense of well-being. It may be used to help people cope with a serious disease, such as cancer.”

Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts your mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the effects of stress. When we were kids we laughed hundreds of times a day, but as adults...not so much. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. Also helps you release anger and forgive sooner. I guess that means that when somebody cuts you off on the freeway, if you can laugh instead of shaking your fist at them you’ll feel better. There are 42 references to laughter in the Bible and here is the best one ever...

“...where is your wife, Sarah?” “There in the tent,” Abraham replied. Then the Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sara was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh,” but he said, “Yes, you did laugh!” Gen.18:9-15 (NIV)

“Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said...she became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him...Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Gen.21:1-7 (NIV)

And what does the name Isaac mean? Laughter!

Laugh a lot this week. You’ll feel better. And people will wonder what you’re up to!

And just to end with a laugh: Knock knock.  Who’s there?  A little old lady. A little old lady who?  All this time, I had no idea you could yodel.

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them.” Ps. 126:2

 

Feb. 14, 2019

“All you need is love.  But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Charles M. Schulz

“Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine.” Thomas Hood

Today is Valentine’s Day and, hopefully, there’s a sweet card for and from someone special happening in your life, or maybe some flowers or even a dinner where you can hold hands and talk about your life together; and maybe there could be chocolate and champagne. I have found that champagne enhances almost any occasion and if you throw in a little chocolate, i.e., a hot fudge sundae, the occasion becomes even better. Just a little chocolate, friends and neighbors, not the ten pound box of See’s or one of those huge red heart things. 

Just to help you get into a romantic mindset, I’m going to ask you a serious and important question: When was the last time you read Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous love poem? Probably not since you were in high school. Well, here it is and it’s pretty nice:

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.”

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” Paulo Coelho

“Love grows more tremendously full, swift, poignant, as the years multiply.” Zane Grey

My Valentine, the adorable, ever-patient, John, is now residing in heaven where every day is Valentine’s Day, and love abounds all over the place. I never quoted Elizabeth Barrett Browning to him, but I wrote about our love and our life together. “The Best of Marriage.”

“I sit at your desk and look out your window at the sky.

And I think of you and how much I love you.

So many years we’ve spent together, mostly sunny with just a little bit of rain.

I treasure these years which have flown by us.

I’ve grown to love you, respect you, admire you, need you more with each one.

There is so much about you that makes me want to be the best that I can be.

It makes me smile each time you walk into a room.

How many thousands of times have I watched you enter the space where I am,

And each time I feel pleasure, delight, at just the sight of you.

You make me laugh, you make me think.

You make me challenge myself, you make me want to be the best me I can be.

You’ve even taught me to enjoy college football... Go Trojans!

I love just to talk with you, to exchange the ordinary stuff our days are made of,

Conversations that are the flour and salt of life.

You are ever in my mind. 

You are the other half of my heart.

You are, very simply, the one person selected by God to be my lover, my friend, my husband.

I have known you for more than half my life.  The best half.

We have shared all there is in life:

Joy, sorrow, laughter, tears, death, birth, pleasure, misery, poverty, not quite so poverty,

Pride in our children, and absolute disgust with them,

And always, always we have had each other to hold on to.”


Sometime today, if you haven’t already done it, tell your special Valentine how much he or she means to you. Kisses and holding hands are good, too…maybe even better than chocolate. And don’t forget that part where you say, “I love you!”

I am grateful, too, that we have Another who loves us and will never leave us: Jesus, Lover of my soul.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.....We love because he first loved us.” John 4:15, 19

Jan. 29, 2019

“Hope is the thing with feathers,

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard,

And sore must be the storm,

That could abash the little bird,

                                             That kept so many warm.” (Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886)

The new President for the 2019-2020 Tournament of Roses year, Laura Farber, announced “The Power of Hope” as the Pasadena Tournament of Roses theme. “With hope – anything, in fact, everything is possible,” shared Farber, “hope is more than simply the possibility of fulfillment, hope is dignity and respect, joy and happiness, aspiration and achievement. Hope never, ever quits. Through hope we can aspire to be our best and, in turn, inspire those around us to reach higher.”

I just loved this, as Hope is my favorite, most enduring, most encouraging, most uplifting concept. 1 Corinthians 13:13 mentions hope, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” But hope is right there with it.

“HOPE is the little voice you hear whisper “maybe” when it seems the entire world is shouting “no!”

“H.O.P.E. – Hold On, Pain Ends”

“The only difference between those who threw in the towel and quit and those who used their energy to rebuild and kept it going is found in the word...HOPE.”

“Once you choose HOPE, anything is possible.” Christopher Reeves

“Where there is HOPE, there is faith. Where there is faith, miracles happen.”

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without HOPE and confidence.” Helen Keller

There’s a concept going around, brought to my attention by Michelle Griep, successful author and blogger. Look her up, check out all her books and be amazed. I’ve quoted her before as she’s always right on the mark. Anyway, the concept is to pick one word to be your New Year’s resolution or mission statement for the year.

There was a book a few years back: My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen. This is so cool as you can immediately dump those high-minded and probably impossible resolutions like the Ten Most Common Resolutions following and tune into one concept to change your life.

  • Exercise more
  • Lose weight
  • Get organized
  • Learn a new skill or hobby 
  • Live life to the fullest
  • Save more money / spend less money
  • Quit smoking
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Travel more
  • Read more

Seriously?? Get organized? But exactly how do we do that? When it comes to Read More, I don’t have a problem with that one. Here are a couple of books I’m planning to add to my Kindle: “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant To Be,” by Rachel Hollis and here’s another by her: “Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan For Embracing and Achieving Your Goals.” Guys, you can read these, too. We all need a little encouragement of the “get on with it!” variety.

The word I picked last year is: HOPE!

And I picked it again this year. I’m going to lean heavily on HOPE to help me make wise decisions about my future. I’m leaning heavily on HOPE to bring healing to a number of people I care deeply about. 

The picture is of our great-granddaughter, Addison Noel Johnson, who was born August 24, 2018. Here she is selecting her very first Christmas tree. Can you think of anything more hopeful than a brand new life?

So that’s my word again for the year, HOPE. I’m hoping you’ll pick one that will work for you. I love the idea of HOPE so much that I have it in the title of a new book that is currently in process, "Sunrises & Sunflowers Speak Hope!"

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a HOPE.” Jer. 29:11

 

Dec. 28, 2018

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon, planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” Ps. 92:12-15

I read this Psalm yesterday, December 27th, two days after Christmas, and I was so taken with the concept of bearing fruit in old age, staying fresh and green. Isn’t that an attractive prospect, dear friends and family? Beats the heck out of being permanently out to lunch mentally, while still taking up space this side of heaven. The New Year is right around the bend...2019...can you believe it? And I am hoping that God will fill my mind with His thoughts and creativity so I can count myself in with the fresh and green crowd.

This time of year with a New Year lurking right around the corner, many of us think about making resolutions. Or resolving not to make resolutions. A good friend and fellow author, Michelle Griep, suggested the following:

“It’s a new year. Be awesome. Wear a helmet. Don’t forget to call your mom. Or your therapist. Whatever. Be real.” 

To that I would like to add: floss your teeth, write thank you letters for anything someone gives you, or for something nice someone does. Read your Bible. Yeah, I know, you’ve already read it, but it’s not the continuing saga of Harry Potter, friends, it’s God’s letter to us, telling us He loves us. Look around you. Notice stuff. Like flowers and trees and butterflies and bees. And people. Buy a tomato plant at Home Depot, put it in a pot in a sunny spot, water it once in a while and you’ll be so delighted when a tomato appears. Say nice things to people. Smile. Hug.

Eat healthier. Walk more. Look at sunrises and sunsets. Every day I have a front row seat to another awesome sunrise, and every evening, I walk down to the corner and watch God’s artistry as another sunset fills my heart with admiration for His amazing gift for spectacular sunsets.

Find a cause to believe in. I believe in the Union Rescue Mission; Children International where I share in the support of the cutest little eleven year old girl in the Philippines, Ezekiella Crishay Palma, who is in fifth grade and sends me letters telling me about her life. I believe in Feed The Children where I am one of the supporters of Fred, a neat soccer playing kid in Malawi who sends me letters and likes to see pictures I print out for him. I believe in St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. I believe in Smile Train, where $250 can fix a horribly disfigured little child, born with a cleft palate, doomed to a life of pain and rejection.

Learn to do something new. This past year I learned how to downsize from a big two-story house in Southern California to a much smaller (thankfully!) one story house in Arizona, which is three doors down the street from our youngest daughter, Crissy, her husband, Chris, and our two former Texas girls, Jessie (11) and Emily (8). This past Christmas was my second without my best friend, my husband of 50 years, the sweet and adorable John. It wasn’t as hard as last Christmas was, coming just a couple of months after his departure for heaven on October 9th. I was so busy this year, cooking, decorating, having the girls spend time at my house that I didn’t spend nearly as much time looking back to past Christmases.

I guess my major resolution for the coming year is to be fresh and green, to embrace new things, new people. And to be awesome. To be real. To be kind.

Happy New Year, dear friends! May it be our best one yet, filled with love, peace, joy, laughter God’s richest blessings and sunrises and sunsets that take your breath away.

 

 

Sep. 21, 2018

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...

The man who never reads lives only one.”

George R. R. Martin

 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free!” Frederick Douglass

Recently, I came across a review of a book by Anne Bogel, “I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life.”

“For so many people, reading isn’t just a hobby or a way to pass the time,” Anne says, “it’s a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can’t imagine life without them.”

When I was about 8 years old, my mother and her best friend, Florene, had taken me and Florene’s two children, Glen and Marsha, who were about my age, to the beach to spend the day. I was lying on my towel squinting against the sun and reading. Glen and Marsha were in the water but I could have cared less. I was reading. My mother said to me, “You’ll never have any character lines on your face because you never stop reading long enough to develop any character!” I wittily replied, “Huh?” and continued reading. Well, I’ve developed plenty of character lines and have never stopped reading.

When we were first married, John discovered that I read constantly and I even brought several books on our honeymoon. He got used to the fact that I had a book propped up in the kitchen, one in the dressing room and had several on my nightstand. He read mostly technical journals when we first met and eventually married, but subscriptions to everything IEEE puts out eventually lose their charm when one’s life partner reads one amusing passages from Fannie Flagg’s “Standing In The Rainbow” or death defying excerpts from John Caldwell’s book, “Desperate Voyage,” like the one below, especially when we had actually MET John Caldwell! Here’s a sample of what John has to say...

“From Perlas to Galapagos, and from Galapagos on west, I had uttered such curses as I doubt have ever been heard over the keel of a ship. In every squall, gale, calm, cloudburst, and contrary current, I had unloosed a flood of invective to shame a mule skinner. But more than that...in the height of my extremities I had profaned God Himself. On many an occasion I became so bold as to defy Him, deny Him, and swear I would profess atheism all the rest of my life. I even invited Him on deck – man to man – anything but the obstructing persecution of the elements, anything but the slow crawl when I wanted speed. And now, lost, foodless, without instruments, I humbly bent my knees to the deck and laid my folded hands upon the cabin. With eyes raised, I sent off a most heartfelt plea for forgiveness, a piteous appeal to Pagan’s real Captain.” Now I ask you, doesn’t that beat the heck out of what’s doing with transducers?

Books can infuriate us. Yes, indeed, I read the first chapter of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and threw it in the trash. Thoroughly enjoyed the recent movie, “Book Club,” with Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and so forth, but was dismayed when the book Jane Fonda forced on her friends was “Fifty Shades of Grey!”

I read “Forever Amber” by Kathleen Winsor as a pre-teen and it made such an impression on me that I forbade my own pre-teen daughter, Leah, ever to read it as it was just too sexy. It was pretty racy, even making the Black Plague sound hot and bothered, but nothing like what’s being published now. She still hasn’t read it.

“Little Women,” “Gone With The Wind,” “Lonesome Dove,” “Tom Sawyer,” “Huckleberry Finn,”  anything and everything by Pat Conroy, including his cookbook. And my favorite team, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child...these guys created FBI Special Agent A X L Pendergast, one of the quirkiest, most enigmatic, brilliant persons ever drawn on a page. Jack London, C. S. Lewis, John Steinbeck, Amy Tan, and about a hundred others are my favorite authors. Recently read and thoroughly enjoyed:  “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles.

Childhood favorites, all “The Black Stallion” books by Walter Farley, “Misty of Chincoteague” by Marguerite Henry, “Lassie,” “Lad: A Dog” I loved them all. “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.” Reading, friends and neighbors, never gets old. Reading can keep you from feeling alone, from feeling sorry for yourself. Can help you while away the time waiting for doctors, airplanes, other people. Reading is always our friend. What book made you fall  in love with reading?