Archive | July, 2017

Thursday:) This Is What Happened~ Experiment by Jeff Hayden

21 Jul

“A compliment is verbal sunshine.”

~Robert Orben

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I’ve been writing for many years, but I’ve also been reading and learning along the way. What better way to learn how to write, grow, and learn about life and yourself, than to read what other people have to say.

I was especially tickled when I read this post by Jeff Hayden. He gave himself an interesting challenge, and I’d like to challenge you to give it a try. I’ll admit that I already do this every day on a smaller scale. Sunday at church, greeting at the door, is my most rewarding day. 

This may be a long read, and if you don’t have time to finish the entire post, here’s a synopsis. Jeff challenged himself to compliment everyone he saw for an entire day. Everyone he made eye contact with, whether friend or total stranger. Here’s the thing, when you compliment someone, they smile and feel good, and in turn, you feel good for making someone happy. It’s contagious. 

 Sunday, greeting at the door of St. Gabriel’s, I have the perfect opportunity to say, “Beuatiful dress. I love your hat. Look at those handsome young men. You girls look so pretty today. Let me see that precious baby.” And the list goes on. I find the more I compliment people, the easier it is to be genuine and share my observations. 

Challenges are wonderful. I remember when I challenged myself to write a blog post every day for one entire year. Impossible! Well, it’s over 4 1/2 years later, and I still write every day. This is post number 1,675.

So, I challenge you to give it a try. Compliment someone, or everyone. You’ll find that one day turns into a week, turns into a way of life. You’ll never know how much one kind word might brighten someone’s day.

By the way, you are a very kind and special person. Why? Because you are reading this and you put up with my ramblings. Love you guys!


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This Is What Happened When I Complimented Every Person I Met for an entire day.Jeff Haden

Ghostwriter, Speaker, Inc. Magazine Contributing Editor

No one gets enough praise. No one gets enough recognition. The reason is simple: Very few of us praise and recognize people as often as we should.

I know I don’t.
So in the spirit of challenging myself (like when I was foolish enough to 5,000 pushups in one day), I decided I would compliment everyone I ran into for an entire day–even just in passing, whether I knew them or not, whether it seemed socially appropriate or not…and whether or not I could think of something (anything) I could compliment them about.
While that might sound easier than doing 5,000 pushups, for me it wasn’t. I’m fairly shy and don’t go out of my way to speak to people I don’t know. (You might even argue that I go out of my way not to speak to people I don’t know.)
And here’s how that little experiment went.
The Rules
Challenges work best when you impose structure, helping you stay on track and reducing the temptation to lose resolve and rationalize that you should change your goal midstream.

For this challenge, the structure was simple:
If I made eye contact with someone, I had to compliment them in some way…
… and to make sure I never chickened out, I had to actively try to make eye contact. I couldn’t intentionally look away.

But I didn’t have to compliment people already having a conversation, or on the phone, or wearing headphones.

And I couldn’t hide away all day. I had to go out into the world at least four times.

So with that in mind…

Morning
The first few were really easy.
I was rolling the trash out to the street and saw my neighbor. She has a great collection of plants and flowers, so I said, “I’m always impressed by how beautiful your plants are. You have a real gift.” Her face lit up. I don’t think I made her day, but I do think I helped get her day off to a good start.
Then I went for a quick walk on the beach. Since it’s fall, many of the people I met were walking their dogs or throwing balls into the surf for them to retrieve.
“You have a beautiful dog,” I said to the first one. He smiled and I realized I had complimented his dog, not him. Although many dog owners don’t see a difference…still.
So I followed up with, “She always seems so happy. You must take really good care of her.” He beamed and I realized I was right: Complimenting a person’s dog (or child or car or whatever) is nice, but making the compliment personal makes a bigger impact.
So that’s what I did. I told one man he had done an amazing job training his dog. I complimented a lady on what a great job she did grooming her dog.
I felt pretty smug. Complimenting people was easier than I thought.
Then, off in the distance, I saw a fit, pretty, 20-something young woman headed my way. No dog. No third person-ish thing to compliment. Uh-oh.
I didn’t want to be that guy, that older guy who goes around randomly complimenting young women and comes off creepy and, well, icky.
I started to walk slower. I was thinking furiously but had nothing.
Then, from about 20 feet away, she made eye contact and smiled; not a half smile, not an automatic “good morning” smile, but a big, genuine smile.
I smiled back and said, “Thanks.”
“For what?” she said.
“Lots of times when I’m walking people don’t even make eye contact. I’ve always thought that was kind of rude. You seeming so happy and saying hi was really nice.”
She smiled even bigger and said, “How could I not be happy when I’m out here? Have a great day.”
I know: What I came up with was pretty lame. But I like to think she walked away feeling good about herself, if only for a moment or two, which was the whole point of the exercise.
And I felt pretty good about myself, too, at least until I later led with, “Your daughter is really cute,” only to be told, “Thank you, but he’s a boy.”
Oh well.
Afternoon
Except for a few miscues, by this point I was rolling. I had learned to quickly size people up and pick out something obvious to compliment: how they cared for their animals, how they landscaped their yards, even how they dressed.
Yep: I even managed to whip out a, “That is such a pretty sweater–I wish I had your fashion sense.” (And to my surprise, she took it well.)
Then I went to the grocery store.
And let’s just say that no one in a grocery store expects you to walk by and compliment them–not even the people who work there.
And let’s just say that, “Wow, you picked the perfect melon,” isn’t the right way to go.
And neither is, “You look like you’re on a mission. You seem extremely well organized.”
And, “I wish I was as good at choosing the right steaks as you are,” falls pretty flat.
And I wanted to give up. In some settings, it seemed, compliments are not just unexpected but also unwanted.
But I decided to try one more time, but with a twist. I decided to ask for help, because asking for help is implicitly complimentary: If I ask you for help, that means you know something I don’t know, can do something I can’t do…asking you for help is like saying, “I respect your knowledge/skill/experience.”
That’s what I did. I was in the seafood section and made eye contact with a 30-something woman. She didn’t smile or nod (gulp!) but I forged ahead.
“I’m terrible at picking the right piece of salmon,” I said. “Can I bother you for a second and ask you to help me?” And she did. She actually seemed to enjoy it.
And I got to say, “I really appreciate it. Thanks for helping me, and for being so nice.”
So while I did have a couple tough moments, especially when I was standing in the checkout line behind an extremely frazzled father with three borderline out of control kids–the last thing he seemed to want was a random compliment–I made it out of the grocery store and through the parking lot with my compliment streak intact.
But I do have to admit I was relieved to get back in the car.
Evening
Dumb move No. 2: I went to the gym.
On one hand, it was easier: Most people wear headphones when they work out, so that eliminated them from my challenge.
On the other hand, moving from bench to squat rack to machines to free weights meant at some point I ran into almost everyone who was at the gym.
Still. One guy was benching 325 pounds for reps. Easy compliment. A woman was doing a split and then laying all the way forward on the mat. Another easy compliment. A guy jumped in and helped an apparent newcomer with his form on squats; presumptuous, yes, but also kind, since the way the guy was bending his back was a recipe for injury. When I ran into the Good Samaritan a few minutes later it was easy for me to say, “That was really nice of you to help him out.”
Then I found myself doing pull-downs near a guy doing seated rows. And I had nothing.
Then I noticed the tattoo on his forearm.
And I was in. “I really like your tattoo,” I said.
He smiled, said thanks, and then spent the next five minutes talking all about it: where he got it, how he came up with the design, what it means to him…. And I realized that sometimes the easiest thing to compliment is the thing that people seem to want you to notice or are obviously proud of: a tattoo, a piercing, an unusual hair color…a Porsche, a Hayabusa, a tricked-out truck…almost everyone has something they do or say or wear that they feel represents who they are inside.
All you have to do is look for it.
What I Learned
I can’t say it was easy. Complimenting every person I ran into got easier, but never easy. It’s not hard to compliment people you meet who are doing their jobs: grocery clerks, managers, front-desk people at the gym…saying thanks and telling them they did something well is fairly easy.
All you have to do is remember to do it.
Complimenting “random” people is harder but surprisingly rewarding. It was fun to watch people’s faces light up.
You’ll think so, too. Every day, people around you do good things. Most of those people don’t work for you; in fact, most of them have no relationship with you, professional or personal. Compliment them for something they would least expect.
Expected feels good.
Unexpected makes an even bigger impact.
Complimenting people who try something different can also be hard. Do it anyway. Status quo is often status safe. Taking a risk, however small, is hard, especially if you’re insecure. Insecurity feeds off silence, so mention when you see someone trying something different. Compliment the effort. Praise the risk.
Even if what they try doesn’t work, they will know you noticed, and everyone likes to be noticed.
And they’ll know, regardless of how it turns out, that you respect them for trying.
Most of all, make the compliment personal. Compliment what the person did to achieve a certain outcome, not the outcome itself.
And never be afraid to ask for help, because the act of asking is a compliment in itself–and then gives you the chance to praise someone for his or her knowledge and skill.
Give it a try. Commit to complimenting five people today, or 10, or nearly everyone you meet.
It’s not easy, but I promise you’ll make the day brighter for at least a few people–and you’ll learn a little something about yourself, too.

Wednesday:) What’s With The Cleaning Frenzy?

20 Jul

“My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?” 

― Erma Bombeck

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First of all, today is Wednesday again. Yesterday, I posted that it was Wednesday until my friend Mary commented on my post that it was only Tuesday. I lost a day. Where did it go? I changed it later. So, not only am I a space queen, but sometimes I get OCCD. Yesterday, it was compulsive cooking. Today, it was compulsive cleaning.

I started out the day by stripping the bed, throwing it all in the laundry, going for a walk in the blistering heat, then coming home to drink four glasses of ice water, then emptied the dishwasher. While doing that, I noticed the tile floors were all spotted and grimy, and could use a sweep and a mop. When I opened the blinds to get a better look, I saw the the window sills had little cobwebs and dust. Oh no!


Then, I had to dust all the blinds and sills. With all that dust floating around, I got out the broom and swept the floor. While I was at it, I might as well sweep the rest of the house. Wow, looks like the carpet in the family room could use a vacuuming. Oops, let’s not forget all the other rooms. I don’t take out that Hoover that often. Might as well make it worth my while. I even vacuumed all the tile floors because, after all, I was going to have to mop them all anyway, and didn’t want the mop to get all full of dust bunnies.


I even used the tubey extendy thing and sucked up the baseboards and corners. By now, I was possessed. One thing led to another. I couldn’t stop. OCCD. (Thank goodness it’s only a seasonal thing. Like once a year.)

Next came out the mop. The mop was safely hidden in the deep recesses of the garage. Darn! I found it anyway.


Kitchen, two bathrooms, entry, hall, and laundry room. Check. I took the little rugs and mats outside and beat them against the house. They didn’t do anything bad, they were just dusty. Then, the dryer went ding, and the sheets were dry and ready. Go make the bed.

Oh, those poor stairs. When’s the last time I vacuumed those stairs? The new little vacuum I bought months ago was still unassembled in its box. I put it together and laboriously worked on each step, fourteen or fifteen.


Aren’t you exhausted just reading all this? My sister called just as I was giving the kitchen floor a final rinse, so I took a break.

Well, I decided that was enough. I was going to dinner with Kathy across the street, so I needed to shower and change. We had a nice dinner, and I got home around 8 o’clock. When I walked in the door, I admired my nice clean floors. I decided I needed a little something sweet, so I opened the cabinet to look for my stash of chocolate covered raisins.

Oh no!!! Those cabinets are in such a sad state of clutter. After I post this, I have a late night project to keep me busy. OCCD. Compulsive Cabinets. I sure hope this frenzy is gone when I wake up tomorrow. I’m exhausted. I don’t think there’s a support group for this, because everyone is home cleaning their house. 


Taco Tuesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

19 Jul

“Nothin’ says lovin’ like massive quantities of home cooked meals.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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(Thank you Mary Hodits- it’s Tuesday not Wednesday. Maybe the Texas heat and all the cooking has fried my brain.)

I suffer from a very serious and little known disease called OCCBD. Those initials stand for Obssesibe Compuslsive Cooking Baking Disorder. When it comes to cooking and baking, I don’t have a shut off valve. I don’t know how to cook for one, and they don’t have a support group in my area where I can get help. So instead, I just cook and bake with reckless abandon, feeding firemen, neighbors, friends, and occasionally total strangers.

I’ve been trying to use items I have squeezed and crammed in my freezer. I had some ground beef and decided to make tacos on Sunday. I invited a couple of friends for dinner, trying to use up tortillas and other left overs. I made tacos and quesadillas, served with some homemade sangria.




But, here’s the problem. There was a little ground beef left over, but not enough to make anything substantial. So, I boldly scoured the recesses of the freezer and found some ground pork sausage. Ah, I’ll make some penne pasta. Not just a little, but a big vat of it, of course.


I told you, I have that disorder. I took some over to Kathy’s. I just let myself in with my key and left it in her fridge with a note. She loves my surprises and she hates to cook. Good combination. I made some for my neighbor Mr. Mike and then took some over to Sweet Spot Bakery and had a late lunch with my friends Kathy and Elizabeth.


There’s a tiny bit more room in the freezer, but now the fridge is over loaded until I dispense most of the food frenzy.

If you know of a good support group I can join, please let me know, otherwise… come on over for dinner. There’s always somethin’ cookin’.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Steamy Peek

18 Jul

“It was so hot out there today that I could smell bacon sizzlin’. Turns out it was me.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Another fine week with friends, painting rocks, lunches, church, cute firemen, yummy brownies, and a lot of steamy walks. It’s hot out there folks. It’s Texas, what da ya expect? 

A week in a peek….

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Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

16 Jul

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

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How many beautiful Sunday mornings can there be? Let’s see…52. Another fine Texas day, already a little warm and muggy at 8:30, and the good news, St. GAbriel’s is air conditioned. Mary and I greeted at the door, opening and closing behind groups, trying to keep the cool air in and the hot air out.

I decided to hide one of my painted rocks on the bench outside the door before I went inside. Mass had already started, this way no one would see me. This was a cute one. A heart with Bluebonnets. (It was still there when I left. I’m sure it will find a good home.)


Today’s Gospel was about Jesus talking to the people through parables. He told the story of the sower. When the seed fell on the path, the stones, or among the thorns, nothing would grow. But, when the seeds fell on the rich soil, it produced fruit.

“But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

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My take on it… besides the old standard, you reap what you sow, I think it also means watch where you wander. If you walk on a stony path or among the thorns, nothing good comes of it, nothing can possibly grow. Plant your seeds in good rich soil. Choose the right path. That’s how you should lead your life and raise your children. Makes sense. Life is an echo.



Happy Sunday, y’all. (I just get a kick out of sayin’ y’all. It’s SO not me.)

Saturday:) Some Hidden Treasures

16 Jul

“There are many types of hidden treasure. My favorite type is of the two legged variety.

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Yesterday, I met some friends for lunch at Barn Light. I thought it would be the perfect place to hide my first “McKinney Rocks” hand-painted rock. I placed it outside the restaurant under a tree. We ate and visited for almost two hours, so I half expected the cute little rock to be gone when we left. I noticed it was still right where I placed it, so I said, “Hmm? I wonder if there are any hidden painted rocks lying around somewhere?” My friends started looking high and low, and Karen spotted it first and was tickled to death.



The option was to keep it or re-hide it somewhere else in McKinney. She liked it too much to part with the hidden treasure.

After lunch, I did a little shopping, then home to walk Bella. It’s so hot out. I’ve been taking her out for five or six short walks. Afterwards, I downed a couple of glasses of ice water and ventured out for my own longer walk. I came home, put my feet up, drank more water and dilly-dallied on Facebook. 

Last night, I saw that my friends Sherri and Michael were having an open house Saturday for their beautiful home that is for sale, so I offered to loan them my St. Joseph statue to bury. (It’s not just a Catholic thing. Many people use it to sell their house.) So, I posted on Facebook that if the Murphy’s wanted to pick up St, Joseph, it was also Black Russian Friday. To my delight, the response was, “We’ll be right over.” 


St, Joseph, my personal buried treasure who hopefully will bring them a quick sale.

My favorite treasure of all… the two legged variety. The Murphy’s.


My treasures are many, countless as the stars.

Friday:) A Few Cute Firemen Faces and Some Brownies

15 Jul

But sound aloud the praises, and give the victor-crownTo our noble-hearted Firemen, who fear not danger’s frown.

~Frederic G.W. Fenn, “Ode to our Firemen,” 1878

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When I bake brownies, I usually make a double batch. This way I can take some over to my local fire stations. I’ve been doing this for over 15 years. They really appreciate the random brownie drop by. My first stop was Station 5, close to my old house. I started visiting in ’04 when I moved to Texas. I picked up the outside house phone. A voice said, “Station 5,  can I help you?” I always say, “It’s Toni with some brownies.” Look at that smile. Well worth a little effort.


Station 2 was my next stop. They don’t have a phone. I tapped at the glass door and I think they saw me coming, because they were at the door right quick.


More cute smiles. That’s what it’s all about folks. Making people smile. Every time I stop by with some treats, I say to myself, these men and women are willing to risk their lives everyday for me, you, and total strangers. I can bake an extra pan of brownies every now and then.


Theme Song Thursday:) That Old Time Rock N’ Roll

14 Jul

“And yet we couldn’t leave–it was if the rocks were holding us there. I mean, they were only rocks. But for some reason, those rocks made lonely feel good.” 

― Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck

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A super fun day “Rockin'” with a lovely group of artistic ladies. Well, the “Rockin'” was actually painting rocks on the porch of the Heard Craig House in the McKinney historic district. The concept is people or groups paint rocks and hide them around McKinney. When someone finds a hidden rock, they can either keep it or rehide it. On the back, it will say…please post on the Facebook McKinney Rocks page where you found it or a selfie of you and your found treasure. Such a charming idea.


Here are some of the “Rockin’ Painters.”


Very nice, right? Mine are in the upper right hand corner. I need to find some more rocks to paint. If you find a beautiful painted rock somewhere in McKinney, pick it up and enjoy the random act of rockin’ kindness.

They could be hidden anywhere. 


Wednesday:) What Do You See?

13 Jul

Art is always in the eyes of the beholder. Only posterity has the right to point out our mistakes. ~Len Wein**********

Everyone sees the world through different eyes. Sometimes I see the strangest things in the strangest places. Perhaps I need glasses? Oh, that’s right. They are on the way. Thank you Dr. Craig DeClark. 

Those of you that know me well already know about the funny faces in the brownie mix, and oil spots on the street, but I see wonderful shapes and scenes and people in the shadows or the clouds.

Today, I was walking through the park with Bella. She is a very patient dog, and understands at any given time I need to stop and take a picture. Today, I was glancing up at the hollow opening of a tree. I know you’ll think I’m crazy. I’ll show you the picture, and you decide if you see it too.


Squint your eyes a little. This is a close-up. I was looking from about ten feet. What do you see. Maybe it’s a Catholic thing, but I see the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, her eyes looking down. See her face and veil? Baby Jesus is in white on the left. Ah…now you see it!

No, it’s not one of those miracle things, or anything weird. I always look at things in a different way. I see beauty where someone sees a hollow tree. My point is, sometimes you need take a look at life and the world with different eyes. Eyes that haven’t gotten their new prescription glasses yet.

Tuesday:) Testimony and the Trilogy 7/11, 8/23, 12/5

12 Jul

“How well you cross a storm of life determines your testimony about it.”― Sunday Adelaja

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Most of you already know my story, but for those who do not, I’d like to share this magnificent testimony. It starts out with a story of betrayal, lies, pain, and suffering that has, with time, found some solace and redemption. A journey of healing.

This is a trilogy of events spanning over four decades,  each date in time very significant.

7/11~Today is the first significant date of my testimony. On July 11, 2013, I confronted my now ex-husband about his affair with the waitress from his country club. I discovered that the sorted affair had been going on for many months. He had been coming home drunk after golf, saying he was with his buddies. Then, he went on several weekend “fishing trips” with friends. Once, he even said he had to take some business people to look at factories in Oklahoma, when he was really at the casino with her. He actually had the nerve to call me every night to check in and say what a great time he was having “fishing,” or he’d be late because the guys wanted to have dinner. Really, who does that? Always ending the phone call with, “Love you, bye.” 

I had only suspected something “fishy” when I came home from a trip to Chicago to visit family, and found absolute proof. I won’t go into all the details, but the summary is I found his bragging emails to his buddies on his computer, phone logs, hundreds of texts, disgusting photos, and a half empty bottle of viagra. There was so much more that I can’t even mention. You get the picture. So, when he came home that day, from “drinking with the guys,” and two little blue pills were missing from the hidden bottle before he went out, (yes, I counted them) I confronted him when he staggered in the door. I was smart and recorded the conversation. He denied everything, lied right to my face, said I was crazy, and tried to talk his way out of it. Finally, he said she meant nothing. We argued. He went up to the guest room. The next day, he wanted a divorce. Obviously, a call to his girlfriend that night sealed the deal. She wanted him. She could have him!

That was 7/11/2013, a day that will live in infamy. I couldn’t believe it. This from the man who said family was the most important thing in the world. We had been together 43 years, married 38 at the time. Forgive my French, but when a little tramp waitress on the prowl for a new sugar daddy starts her maneuvering, anything can happen. She literally set him up to get caught. She got her wish. I was in such pain, no sleep, I couldn’t eat or think or breathe. All I did was cry, vomit, and cry some more. I ended up in the emergency room. There was no attempt on his part to repair the marriage or the damage. He refused counseling or even discussing reconciliation. He wanted the slutty waitress. Divorce proceedings began. It was messy, ugly, and heartbreaking, at least on my part. He moved out with a couple of things, a few boxes, and left me with 38 years of stuff and memories. It took over a year to sell the house and finalize the divorce. 7/11, was the worse day of my life.

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12/5/1970~ This was a special day, the day we met on a blind date. We were still in high school, and we immediately hit it off, fell in love and were inseparable. Fast forward, 12/5/1974, he proposed on the same day four years later. We always celebrated 12/5 every year. We called it our un-anniversary, always going out to dinner or exchanging cards. It was a very special day. But, in 2013, when that day showed up on the calendar, I cried. I was alone, miserable, and still dealing with trying to sell the house, while he was shacked up with his girlfriend, partying like a teenager, and more.

I had many friends and family members to lean on, but my greatest comfort was my church. As horrible as I felt, I knew God would not abandon me and would take care of me. When I prayed, I didn’t ask for anything special. I just said, “Thank you for your strength.” That was my mantra. It was difficult at first to watch the young families or elderly couples come into church holding hands, children smiling, reverent prayers and hymns filling the air. I often found myself crying, and wiping away tears as I sang. It was almost a year before the tears subsided and the hymns were joyous. 12/5 was still a sad day.

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8/23/1975~ This was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life. I married my first and only love, the man that I planned to spend the rest of my life with. When I stood at the altar on that steamy August day, I swore to God and to myself that I would be the best wife ever. We knelt at the altar, we exchanged vows, and both promised to love, honor, and cherish till death do we part. Well, we all know how that turned out. Now, I am able to joke around and say the vows should have been, “Till death do us part, or until something better comes along.” 

On 8/23/2013, I went out with a bunch of girlfriends. I requested that he come over to the house and watch his dogs that I was temporarily stuck with. He finally figured out what day it was as I walked out the door. Oh, 8-23. It would have been our 38th wedding anniversary. Instead of dinner with my husband, I was having pizza, and drinking beer with my girlfriends. That lessened the pain a little, but not much. 8/23 was still a sad day.

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NOW FOR THE TESTIMONY: THE TRILOGY OF REDEMPTION

When I told some of my friends how these three dates, the only three painful memories in my life were given a new lease on life, every one of them said, “That is an amazing testimony. You need to share it.” I couldn’t help but think, what are the chances that these three days c ould become happy memories? I believe it was a God thing.

*8-23-2014~ The year between 2013 and 2014 was an agonizing blur. The house finally sold and closed on 8-20. The court date and final divorce decree was 8-21. I closed on my new house 8-22. Everything went like clockwork. I spent weeks packing, purging, and crying. Then, the best part, I moved into my brand new house on 8-23. A brand new house and a brand new start. My youngest son came to help me move. My friends came to visit with food and to offer help. Last year I had a huge anniversary party at my house. It was the anniversary of my new home and my new life. I just may have a party every year.  8/23 is a great day.


*7-11-2015~ The previous year I was busy getting unpacked and settled into my new house, meeting neighbors, trying to adjust to being alone, with all the worries and responsibilities. After the divorce was final and he handed me the papers in the driveway of the home I was forced to leave, I never heard one single word from  him,  not one. I still haven’t, three years later. How can you say you love someone for 43 years, then not say a single word to them? While we were going through the divorce, he said, “And we can get together sometimes, talk about the boys, maybe have lunch.” When we all went to the Norte Dame game together in October with the boys and friends before the divorce was final, I said, “Well, we’ll never be doing this again!” He questioned what I meant. I said that we wouldn’t be going to football games, or sitting under the Christmas tree, or having Thanksgiving dinners together. He actually said, “Why not?” Seriously, did he say that? He hasn’t spoken to me in three years.

7-11-2015 is a wonderful memory now. My son got married on 7-11-2015. When he told me the date, he said they picked it because 7-11 is a lucky number, like in Vegas when you shoot craps. Those are the lucky numbers. He had no idea that that was the worst day of my life. But guess what? Now, it’s a happy date. A day of celebration. I danced with my son at his wedding, and I cried tears of joy on his shoulder. I danced all night with friends and family. God washed away the tears of sadness and replaced them with tears of joy. 7-11 is a great day.

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12-5-2016~ This was the last painful date that was given a second chance. The trilogy completed. It was Sunday night, 12-4. I hadn’t heard from my son. He calls every Sunday without fail. I finally called him that evening. His wife answered his phone and said they were on their way to the hospital. She wasn’t feeling well, something was wrong.  The baby wasn’t  due for another two weeks. I had my plane tickets for the 14th, baby due the 18th. I tried not to panic and just asked them to keep me posted if they could. The next morning he called and said they might have to induce and take the baby early. I prayed and prayed. “Please, Lord, let everything be ok.” I didn’t realize what time it was much less what day. I called Mom and some friends and asked for prayers. I called my neighbor and asked her to pray. Trying to console me and divert my worries, she said, “I’m sure everything will be fine. If the baby is born today, her birthday will be December 5th.” She didn’t realize the significance of that day. That’s all I could think about.

A few hours later, my son called and said,”It’s a girl, I’m a dad. Mother and baby are fine.” Those were the most beautiful words I ever heard. I cried. I was a grandma. 12-5 is a great day.


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The trilogy now complete. I have three wonderful days and memories that have erased the painful ones.

This is my testimony. What are the chances that all  three of those days would turn out to be so wonderful? What are the chances that a moving day, a wedding, and a baby being born would all happen on that particular day? Not the day before or after, but that exact date.  The odds are astronomical. 

This is my testimony. Thank you GOD!