Ephesians 5:33b: And the wife should respect her husband.
Respect is his primary need, his deepest desire.

I Put My Followers First

Friday, April 01, 2011

And Now, The Rest of the Story

On January 5 I wrote a post entitled "Wives, Submit". It was then that I publicly announced our plans to abandon California for a lower cost of living.  At the time we had no prospects for work or housing.  What we had was the answer my husband received when he prayed.

My husband went to the Lord with all of his fears and returned multiple times with the same answer. 
"You need to move in May."
I went to the Lord with all of my anticipation and returned multiple times with the same answer.
"Organize yourselves.  Prepare every needful thing."
My husband went back to God at least five times asking for clarification.  (I think he was actually asking God to reverse his decision.)  The answer became more clear.  Bruce told me that we were expected to move to Nauvoo, Illinois by May 31st.

I trust in my husband.  I trust in God.  So, since January 5th I have been preparing every needful thing.  I have been preparing and packing and cleaning fully expecting a late May departure date.  I admit that it was difficult when people asked questions and I had no satisfactory answers.
"So?  Do you have job?"  
"Where will you live?"
"How will you survive?"
"How will you get there?"
"Do you realize how much it costs to move?"
I could only square my shoulders and respond, "My husband prayed and God told him that we need to move."

I had read that only by believing could I receive.  (Matthew 21:22)  It was all I could do to walk by faith.
"I have set about reducing the size of our household and making some money by selling our excess on eBay and Amazon.  When I look at the total sum value of the items I am selling, the goal will not be met. 
But, I have faith in the Lord.  He did not tell me to make $3,000.  He told me to organize and prepare.  Each day I fight back the demons that taunt and tease me about the futility of my efforts."
And on that day (January 5th) I also wrote this:

Two months later, the job is tentative.  A long shot, actually.
The move is definite.
That job did not pan out.  Today is April 1st.  We have thirty days in April and thirty-one days in May to accomplish what the Lord has asked of us.

As of this evening the move is VERY definite because a home is definite and a job is definite.

The job is that of Innkeeper at the Rufus Abbott Manor Bed and Breakfast in Nauvoo, Illinois.  The house is the Innkeeper's "apartment" on site.

Really!  Truly!   This is not an April Fool's Day Joke.  Seriously.

So? Tell me?  Have you ever fantasized about running a Bed and Breakfast?

I sure have.

Now comes the final stage of preparation.  Raising the funds needed to move.  I entered a contest on Brickfish (a whole other story) and Brickfish went out of business just as the winner was to be announced.  It would have very nearly paid for the moving van.

I was lamenting the loss when a fellow writer, Michelle Devon, suggested that I hold a fund raiser.  She suggested that I offer a free ebook to anyone who donates to our moving fund.

I have not yet published the ebook on Smashwords but now that the big hurdle is behind me, I will get that up and available as soon as possible.  For tonight, I am setting up the Pledgie site because I promised my husband that I would. I'm calling it "In Pursuit of Self-Reliance".

Click here to lend your support to: Defeating The Catch-22 and make a donation at www.pledgie.com !

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Having Had a Spiritual Awakening

My husband, Bruce, asked if we could study the scriptures together this morning.  This is a RED letter day!

Remember, Bruce has aphasia.  Aphasia is an acquired language disorder "in which there is an impairment of any language modality. This may include difficulty in producing or comprehending spoken or written language."  In Bruce's case he has difficulty producing and comprehending spoken and written language.

Learning to read and write again is an enormous struggle.  To share scripture study with him has been a dream since we married nearly six years ago.  But he has difficulty comprehending common English.  I have tried to read the scriptures to him but his eyes glaze over after a verse or two.  Studying the scriptures as a couple was a dream I finally set aside.

Imagine my surprise this morning when he asked if we could study the scriptures together.   We talked about it for a few minutes.  We agreed that attempting to start at "the beginning" of a book or even a chapter and simply read straight through would complicate comprehension for him.  I felt that we would be better served to choose a topic and  a small portion of scripture and study that one passage.  We could then discuss the scripture and apply it to what we know about life and living.

So?  Which one passage would be best?

I could have started anywhere.  I'm sure that some of my readers have suggestions popping into their minds right now that would have been perfectly acceptable.

I chose Luke 22:31-32 wherein Jesus counsels Peter to strengthen his brethren after he was converted. This scripture is mentioned in the 12th Step Study and Understanding section of the Addiction Recovery Program manual that we discuss at our Wednesday night meetings.

Bruce had asked me earlier if I would mind if he did not attend tonight.  It is not his night to facilitate the discussion and we're discussing Step 12 - again.  I told him I was not his mother and he could choose for himself.  I thought it would be helpful if we discussed the step together since I would be missing his contribution to the sharing at tonight's meeting.

Luke 22:31-32 (King James Version)
31  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren

Bruce and I both learned a lot from that passage of scripture this morning.

We learned that Jesus prays for us.  My conscience was pricked.  When Bruce ends his prayers he says "Please pray for us."  I admitted to Bruce that I was often mildly irritated when he would pray because I thought he was being quite presumptuous.  Obviously, I have been mistaken.

Jesus does pray for us.  Why not ask Him when we feel in need?

Then Bruce and I talked about how the devil would try to shake our faith and how he has been doing that in our lives quite a bit lately.  We reviewed our recent struggles and recognized numerous occasions  where Satan had been gaining a foothold.

We talked about how Bruce is sponsoring two people in the AA program and sharing what he knows in almost daily meetings.

As a sponsor, Bruce receives phone calls throughout the day.  The men that he sponsors call when they are struggling with the desire to drink or when the details of life are tripping them up.  I told Bruce that I notice that he never gets caught up in the details of people's perils but goes straight to the point when he teaches.

"How so?"  He truly needed clarification and not an ego boost.

"Every time your guys talk to you, you listen.  They might spend ten minutes explaining their situation and talking about details.  Every time you tell them the same thing.  You tell them to pray and to listen. You are telling them to have faith.  Then you tell them that you will pray for them and I know that you do.    Your instructions never change.  Your message is always the same.  Just like Jesus' message to Peter."

I am grateful today for God's word and the ability to use it in our lives.  I am grateful for a husband who relies on God for wisdom.  I am grateful for a husband who practices the twelfth step every day of our life.
Step 12 - Service
"Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, share this message with others and practice these principles in all you do."

P.S. Bruce will be attending tonight's meeting.  He recognized that not wanting to go was "the guy downstairs messing with me"

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Sharin' for Sharon

A favorite writer and 'online friend' of mine just published an article about me.  ME?  Yup, about me.  

What is surprising is that Michelle Devon (the author) and I have never met.  Yet she has gone to great lengths to plead for the help of others, especially fellow writers, in my behalf.  
The thing is, in this life, we have the chance to make choices that affect other people’s lives in so many ways–both positive and negative, kind and hurtful–and perhaps the most horrible way possible, the apathetic. When we stop caring, we lose what makes us human.
(Michelle Devon)
See the rest of what she said here:

Living the Writer's Dream
Michelle Devon

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spell Breaking Magic

This morning's episode of the fairy tale I've been writing for a Brickfish contest presents an interesting concept.

Until the heroine (Persnickety Princess Penelope) showed an interest in the activity of the hero (Ferdinand the frog), he did not seem the least bit interested.  (One reader actually asked me if the frogs were gathered willingly, knowingly or eagerly.)   It surely seemed that Ferdinand was simply enduring the contest.

Today that perspective was altered.
Festus and Ferdinand were selected for the second race and were waiting their turn a few paces back from the starting line. The Princess was watching the first racers. Ferdinand was watching the Princess. Keeping him sitting for hours with her hand looming over every head, never choosing, had soured his opinion of the persnickety Princess. This new Princess, animated and excited for a competition, was captivating. "Earth to Ferdinand! Ferdinand!" Ferdinand nearly jumped out of his skin. "What? What did you say?" Festus nodded towards the starting line. "We're next. You got a strategy in mind?" Ferdinand snorted. "Move fast. Jump high. Crouch low. Repeat. That should do it."
I got to thinking about it today.  Could this be the "big secret" to success or failure in marriage?  If my husband does not think that I have an interest in his activities, will he think that I love him?  Will he believe that I respect him?  Will he think he even matters or will he think I am just going through the motions?

If you've been following my fairy tale, it was heading in that direction: Superficial princess selects shallow frog and prepares to magically transform him into a prince.

Real life does not come with spell breaking magic; not the kind we read of in fairy tales.

I'm not going to dissect this story any further today.  I just wanted to take a look at how I treat my "prince".

I have not been showing interest in (respecting) the important things in his life and he's become a bit of a toad.

(I need your vote every day.)

Thank you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Did You Think to Pray?

Today's chapter in our ongoing fairy tale may surprise some people.  References to God or prayer don't generally appear in stories of fantasy.  I decided it was high time to give it a try.

Princess Penelope was seated at breakfast when her father arrived. 
"Good morning, Princess. Did you sleep well?" 
The princess shook her head as she swallowed. "It was a difficult night. I woke often." 
Her father sat across from his daughter and looked her in the eye. "I am sorry to hear that my dear. This is a difficult decision; one that you must not make in haste. Yet, you must also not expect the answer to come simply because you have taken time and great caution." 
Picking a frog was serious business. If the king had insight to share, she was willing to listen. 
"Be intentional in your quest. When you hold your hand above each frog, you must ask God if your choice is right."

Have you, like me, ever watched a television show or a movie and become frustrated when no one addresses problems with prayer?  It drives me absolutely crazy sometimes.  So many story lines would go completely different if the character would pray and respond to the answer given.

I was teaching my little Sunbeams (4 year olds) about prayer today.  I asked them if they could tell me why it is important to remain quiet when a prayer is being said.  No one really had an answer.  The two other adults in the room also looked to me, somewhat puzzled to consider what the answer might be.

The answer is something that my husband taught me.  He said that when he prays, he talks aloud to God and then says his ohms (clears his mind).  "And then I close my mouth in quietness and I listen and I follow what is said."  

It is wonderful counsel and I honor him for providing it.  It is such "successful" advise that I cannot consider life without following it.   I wonder what will happen with our Princess.  Will she think to pray?  Or will she continue to lean on her own understanding?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Idolized My Father

As a little girl, I idolized my father.  There was nothing that he could do wrong.  He was Superman and Einstein all rolled up into one.

As I grew older, I realized that even fathers have foibles.  They do things that irritate or agitate or even devastate their children.  My dad was like that.  That made it difficult to reconcile the command to "honor my father" with my awareness of my father's fallibility.

In our unfolding fairy tale, our princess Penelope has just about to come face to face with that same problem.  She is, however, much wiser than I was at that age.  I did not even attempt to recognize that my father was ever a young man with all the faults and shortcomings that attend the human youth.

The Princess stared at the ceiling. The dream had been so real. The handsome prince waiting at the altar was not a prince at all. He had been a frog.
"It's all those frog faces I looked into today. Each one's face pleading to be chosen."
Princess Penelope closed her eyes but sleep would not come.
"I cannot stay awake all night thinking of this. I wish my mother were still alive. She did this. I wonder how?"
The Princess tried to remember if her mother had ever spoken of choosing her frog.
"Her FROG? My father was a frog?"
She supposed she had always known but it was hard to imagine her father as a frog in a pool of frogs and her mother stretching out her hand to choose him.
By now, my adult readers are coming to an awareness of the analogous relationship between frogs and men in our fairy tale, so I will not beleaguer that point.  Do stop for a moment and remember when you realized that your father was not the prince of your childhood.  Were you able to continue loving him, your father, in spite of his short comings?  (For me, that did not happen right away.)

What I would like to bring to our awareness is how we tend to set our own husbands up against that same fantasy prince persona that we once held our fathers to.

I promise you, that we will not be disappointed as long as we accept them for exactly who they are, right now -AND - we cannot respect or honor them until we do.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Man of My Dreams

When we left off with our story yesterday the cranky princess was giving up for the day.  She had spent hours in the sun, considering a pool of frogs from which she was expected to choose one to kiss.  (Thus transforming the slimy frog into a perfect prince that she would marry and with whom she would live happily ever after).  The story picks up today:
As the Princess drifted off to sleep she remembered her childhood fantasies of a dream wedding.

She would enter the cathedral to the melody of a harp and flute. She would walk down the aisle in a gown of white organza with beading on the long train. Through her veil she could see her gallant knight waiting at the altar, dressed in the finest robes of blue to match his eyes, trimmed in gold to match his hair. He would smile as she came near.

Suddenly, Penelope woke and wiped the tears streaming down her face. The smile of the fine prince had become the grin of every frog that she had considered that day.

Which frog had she chosen to be the prince of her dreams in her dream?  
(to be continued)
As I was writing this segment (chapter, if you will) my mind reviewed the past.

I had dreamed as so many little girls do - of fairy tale princess gowns, magnificent castle, the hunkly-handsome man, our vast kingdom trimmed with white picket fencing and everything set to a birdsong soundtrack.  Never, ever, ever was the dastardly dragon of reality allowed to impose itself in my dreams.

Just like the princess in my story, how incredibly misguided I had been as a young woman.  I chose my boyfriends and my husbands by "leaning on my own understanding".  My understanding was completely out of whack and my choices proved to be disastrous.

Life is not a fairy tale and like Humpty Dumpty, I had a great fall.  My life shattered into oh-so-many little pieces.

BUT this is where the story veered off its course.  All the King's horses and all the King's men, really did put me together again.

I relied on my God and King for the first time in my life and the results have been remarkable.  The frog that he sent me to kiss with respect and nurture with love - truly is a prince with kingly attributes and a royal future.  He truly is the man of my dreams.

Consider, as you think of frogs and princesses, princes and kings - could "the kiss" be metaphor for respect?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Every Frog Is Meant To Be A Prince! Right?

Some of my readers have been following along with a contest that I have entered. Many have been voting for the photo on the merits of the photo alone. That is wonderful and I appreciate it.

I heard today that some people are unaware of the unfolding story that accompanies the photograph.   I have been using the photo description field to tell a fairy tale.  Some people have missed it all together and others have missed earlier episodes.  I've compiled the entire tale (to date) and I offer it below. 
More "episodes" will be revealed daily until the end of the contest. Why?

(1) Because I am permitted only 700 characters in the entry description, and
(2) Because I want to entice people to visit and vote every day, and
(3) Because, as with traditional fairy tales, this tale will teach a lesson. This is a fairy tale about love and respect and following the counsel of God.

Once upon a time the King of the Boardwalk called for thirty eligible frogs to vie for the hand of his fair daughter, the Princess. Each frog received a number to display upon their chest.

"You'd think we were running a marathon," one particularly portly frog complained to his neighbor in the pool.

"This is my lucky number," another exclaimed. "I just know she'll choose me."

The King arrived with the Princess. The crowd cheered but the frogs grew quiet, watching above their heads as the Princess reached her hand toward the pool.

Who among them would she choose?
Ferdinand gazed at the face of the Princess. She was more beautiful than he had been told. Her lips were as pink as water lilies. He sat motionless, knowing she would soon lift him to her lips and break the spell that held him captive. She did not even look his way. Her eyes searched the far side of the pool.

Ferdinand raised up to survey his competition. He gasped. The Princess began to reach for a frog near the edge of the pond. Ferdinand nearly jumped out of his skin.

He called out "foul" for he knew the frog to be an imposter. Surely, the Kiss of a Princess would never release such a cad.


Festus heard the other frog but dared not blink or turn to look. The hand had stopped to hover above his head.

"What in tarnation have I got myself into this time?"

One minute he was dreaming in the warm mud of his holler in Froggy Bottom.

"Now I got a couple dozen other fellers crammed in this here pool and all a starin' at me. Look at their frozen eyes. What they got to be scared of anyhow? She ain't a reachin' in to pick them up by their heads."

It did not bother Princess Penelope that people called her "The Persnickety Princess". The shortened "Princess P" was also an appropriate name.

"I know I am particular," she would say. "I am particular with a P."

The King would snort a retort. "You are particularly nitpicky, my Princess P."

As Princess Penelope poised her hand above the pool of frogs, she was peculiarly particular. To kiss one frog was disgusting but to kiss yet another would be repulsive. To make this selection, the Princess would be positively punctilious and so she paused.

With her hand yet suspended above Festus, the Princess thoughtfully surveyed the huddle of frogs.

Ferdinand kept his gaze on her face hoping their eyes would meet when she looked his way. He heard the fly buzzing before it landed between his eyes. His skin began to twitch and his tongue instinctively started to dart from his mouth.

He could not bite his tongue, as frogs do not have teeth.

He could not purse his lips, as frogs have no lips.

Sheer will-power held his tongue when the gaze of the Princess met his. It is difficult to say whose eyes crossed first, but as the Princess turned away in discomfort, Ferdinand snatched his snack.

Ferdinand kept watch on the Princess while pressing the squirming fly against the roof his mouth until his tongue grew sore. He could wait no longer. He gulped loudly.

With a snap, Princess Penelope withdrew her hand and turned away.

The King caught Ferdinand's eye as he gulped again. A smile began to tickle the corners of the King's mouth.

"Princess?" The king stepped to her side and placed his hand on her shoulder. "These fellows are famished. If you do not choose your prince in two minutes, I will order a recess. They must eat a decent meal or perish where they are."

To the King's surprise, his daughter blinked, returned her attention to the pool and stretched out her hand.

The crowd grew quiet.

The wait staff stopped setting up tables and turned to watch.

The paparazzi and reporters froze where they were. Every camera was trained on the hand of Princess Penelope and a microphone on a long boom was held above her head.

The King grew concerned. Surely Persnickety Princess Penelope was not about to make the decision of a lifetime in less than two minutes!

The King signaled for his guards to clear his way to join his daughter at the edge of the pool. He arrived to hear her address the would-be-princes at her feet.

"The Bug Chef has been commissioned to prepare a meal. We should not disappoint him. My staff will assist you to your seats."

"Highness? The King has assembled the frogs in the pool. Your prince awaits you."

Penelope had chosen a gown with three quarter length sleeves so as to avoid soiling the dress when selecting a frog. Her naptime had been devoted to further considerations, not sleep.

While the frogs were enjoying a feast of roasted cicadas in a centipede sauce, the Princess was considering the appropriate manner for lifting a would-be-prince from the pool. Contrary to popular belief the Persnickety Princess did not intend to lift anyone by his head. She would either slip her hand beneath his belly or she would grasp him about his body.

She returned to the pool of frogs and stretched out her hand.

When Festus and Ferdinand had been seated together at dinner, Ferdinand realized he had been mistaken about Festus. Now, back in the pool and finding himself shoulder-to-shoulder with Festus, Ferdinand apologized.

"I should not have called foul on you. I mistook you for a bully I know. You look just like him. Maybe you're related."

Festus grinned. "Pfft. No harm, no foul. I knowed a few toads in my time, too."

The joke went right over Ferdinand's head and that is right where Princess Penelope's hand stopped and hovered once again. The two frogs glanced at each other before each turned their gaze to her beautiful face. She was captivating.

She smiled and knees grew weak.

The Princess moved away, considering each frog as it fell beneath the shadow of her hand.

"Psst. Festus! How's she going to choose a prince doing that? Do you think her shadow knows?"

Festus kept his eye on the Princess. "I dunno. I thought we was gonna jump or somethin."

"You're kidding! Right?"

Ferdinand and Festus kept watching the Princess.

"Heck, I dunno if I'm even supposed to be a prince."

Ferdinand stuttered. "What did you say? Every frog is meant to be a prince! Right?"

Festus was quiet for a minute. "I know lots of frogs that ain't princes. Heck, even my Pa ain't no Prince."

Ferdinand was confused. "Never chosen to be a prince? How could that be?"

Please, Click on the Vote button below and come back tomorrow for another episode as the Princess moves closer and closer to making her choice. Will it be a correct choice or will she lean on her own understanding?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

For Richer, For Poorer

We're off to a pretty rough start for 2011.

That may not be quite accurate.

We took some pretty severe hits in 2010, financially speaking, and in December it all . . . . what?

It didn't all come crashing in - I saw it coming for quite some distance.
It didn't all blow up in my face - There was no one significant event, not really.
It didn't come to a screeching halt - I know where we're going from here.
It simply scared the apathy out of us and tossed the status quo out the window.

And now, because my husband prayed with a most incredible faith in God, we know what the Lord would have us do.  For my husband, it is not the answer he was looking for.

He kinda hopes in the back of his mind that it'll work out for us like it did for Isaac.  You know.  God will pat us on our heads and recognize our good effort, calling a halt to the "carry through" and we can return to life "as usual".

I chuckle because I do not expect that will happen.

We will abandon my husband's life-long home.  I say "good riddance" but he is conflicted.

This state, California, is all that he has ever known since birth - aside from a short stint in Germany while he was in the Army.  Since having the stroke it has become even more imperative that things in his world not change.

Why do I say imperative?  Because his stroke-induced short term memory difficulties are avoided when nothing changes.  So, things in his house didn't move around.  For years on end.  Everything had a place and everything stayed in its place.

Then he got lonely and asked God for a wife.
God sent me.
We got married and I moved his world
Into our apartment.

Oh my.  It was traumatic.
But he prayed and God reassured him.
So he held on.
He adjusted.

Then he asked God for a dog.
Dogs couldn't live in our apartment.
So we rented a house and I moved his world.

Oh my.  It was traumatic.
But he prayed and God reassured him.
So he held on.
He adjusted.

And we were well on our way to happily ever after.

But real life is not a fairy tale.
I had a stroke.
I recovered.
I went back to work.
Our dog had a stroke (really).
Just thought I 'd toss that in.

We held on and got back to our happily ever after.

But real life is not a fairy tale.
I got laid off.
I started a home business.
It's going slow.
His hours were cut.
Three per week
That's all he works.

Did I mention we live in California?  It is EXPENSIVE to live in California.
I gave up driving 10 years ago when I arrived here to accommodate the increased cost of living.
I saved on Car payments.  Repair Bills. Smog Checks. Insurance. Gasoline.  All that.
We could do without.  And we were just making ends meet.

What I'm trying to say is that we had very little left to "tighten our belts" around when the economy took a nose dive.  So, in 2010 I was forced to get very creative and I'm pretty proud of my accomplishments.  But we are still spiraling downward.

Just about the time that I was getting frightened and Bruce was getting frightened, a suggestion was made about moving to another state where the cost of living is much cheaper.

So my husband asked God, "What should we do?"

Let me pause here.  If it were me, I would struggle not to tell God what I wanted Him to do.

But not my husband.

He quietly hoped for something that would let him stay here, where things don't change much.
Most importantly, my husband told God he would do whatever he was asked to do.

And God did not give him what he hoped for.

God told him that we have to move - almost 2,000 miles away.

It was not the answer my husband wanted but it was an answer he wouldn't deny.

There are no words to describe how it feels to be married to someone so refreshingly obedient to God.  My husband's obedience makes me happy.  His obedience lets me feel protected, provided for, and loved.

It has had me thinking. If his obedience to God makes me happy, then wouldn't my obedience to God probably make him happy?.

Is it possible that God designed the rules for marriage so as to produce happiness in the marriage?

Is it really that simple?

One of my creative efforts to raise the money for the move is an entry in a photo contest where votes are requested daily.  To keep my public interested in returning day after day after day - I am writing a fairy tale to entertain and entice.  Well, see for yourself: 

(Note: The Brickfish Contest Ended without a winner when Brickfish went out of business.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The First Mistake

Continuing with yesterday's "Fracturing the Fairy Tale", let's meet "Ferdinand".

Ferdinand gazed at the face of the Princess.  She was more beautiful than he had been told.   Her lips were as pink as water lilies.   He sat motionless, knowing she would soon lift him to her lips and break the spell that held him captive.  She did not even look his way.  Her eyes searched the far side of the pool.  Ferdinand raised up to survey his competition.  He gasped.  The Princess began to reach for a frog near the edge of the pond.  Ferdinand nearly jumped out of his skin.  He called out "foul" for he knew the frog to be an imposter.  Surely, the Kiss of a Princess would never release such a cad.    (To be continued tomorrow.)

I have mentioned in previous posts that I have failed at marriage, miserably, three times.

The first mistake I made when selecting a husband was that I "leaned on my own understanding."  I placed all the importance on his good looks and charm.

Do you remember how it was when when we were young and we listed what we thought was important or "cool" in a guy?  Did you ever not begin by describing what he looked like?  And then he was supposed to laugh at your jokes, like the same music, enjoy the same food and would "tell me he loves no matter what".

When a tall, dark and handsome man showed an interest in me I was captivated.  I ignored every warning sign in his behavior.

His character, faith and integrity were never considered.  Counting on the beginning of all the "happily ever afters" in all the fairy tales I'd ever read, I was prepared to "fix" all his character weaknesses with a "kiss".  After all, I was a princess and I had the magic touch.  And no, I did not consult with my father and I did not consult with the King.

Imagine my surprise when no matter how much I kissed my husband he would not turn into a prince.  He continued to be who he was.

So, I worked hard at fixing him.  I told him how he was not all that he should be.  And when that didn't work, I showed him how to become all that he could be.

I never respected who he was and I never treated him like I did.

I had decided before we ever married that the magic of my touch would transform him into something that I could respect.   And when he didn't become a prince, I became a nag.

It would be many, many years before I realized that the transforming "kiss of the Princess" in the fairy tale did not represent an actual kiss.

If you're coming into this fractured fairy tale a little late, this series is helping to promote my entry in a contest on Brickfish.  (I mentioned it in yesterday's post.)  The story is being posted in 700 character installments - the character limit set by the Brickfish website.  The second paragraph was posted yesterday and is being replaced with a new installment today.  Check it out, vote and leave your review of how its going so far.

If I win the prize, it will pay for our exodus from California back to my beloved Midwest where I can be reunited with my children and grandchildren.

My photo entry will be familiar to any of my readers who have browsed the collection of respect cards on Zazzle.   The greeting card from the contest photo and ancillary product line are also titled "Chosen".

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fracturing the Fairy Tale

From the time I was a young girl I loved to read.  I learned to read rather young.  (My father was a reading teacher.)  I cannot remember many of the books that I read but I do not forget the fairy tales.  I had no idea the impact those stories would have on my life.

As a young girl, of course, I did not know that fairy tales were used to teach the reader principles and morals to depend upon in life.  But, teach me they did.  Some were helpful lessons.  I think of "Hansel and Gretel" knowing to leave a trail to return home.

I also remember stories like "The Princess and the Pea".  What a whiney little brat she was. I became disenchanted with Princesses at about that point.  I considered the many that had fallen captive to spells cast by wicked witches or slimy step-mothers.  Consciously I rebelled.  Being a Princess was not something to which I would aspire and it was obvious that I was not born to the title.

Yet, as I grew up I did consider myself a Princess of sorts.  I would be in charge someday and rule my own little corner of the kingdom called reality.  I would find a handsome prince and he would break the spell that held me captive to discontent.

Ah, but first I would have to find the frog that would be the Prince.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Did you, like me, set out to find a flawed frog because you knew you would the one woman on earth who could transform him?

"So? How's that workin' out for ya?"  

Darn those fairy tales!  I was so misguided and so misinformed that I did look for the worst possible specimens of the male gender to date and then marry.  (I do not mean Bruce)

Surely I was the kind of woman, a Princess really, who could change one man from an awkward slimy reptile to a dashing do-gooder on a white steed.  I cannot begin to tell you how badly those choices turned out.

I do not place all the blame on childhood fairy tales for my marital mistakes but I do know that they were foundational in the downfall that led to divorce.

In an effort to affect the future for the better, I would like to contribute a few fairy tales of my own to the literary world - or at least to the libraries of my posterity.  I think I understand where the changes need to be made.   Now - I would like to write fairy tales that would train up a child in the way she should go because I finally grew up and rebuilt a more sure foundation, a foundation built on Rock. 

Yesterday, I began one such fairy tale that also promotes a photograph I've entered in a contest on Brickfish.  (I mentioned it in yesterday's post.)  The fairy tale to fracture foundational fairy tales will be posted in 700 character installments - the limitation set by the Brickfish website.   The opening paragraph was posted yesterday and replaced with a new installment today.
Once upon a time the King of the Boardwalk called for thirty eligible frogs to vie for the hand of his fair daughter, the Princess. Each frog received a number to display upon their chest. "You'd think we were running a marathon," one particularly portly frog complained to his neighbor in the pool. "This is my lucky number," another exclaimed. "I just know she'll choose me." The King arrived with the Princess. The crowd cheered but the frogs grew quiet, watching above their heads as the Princess reached her hand toward the pool. Who among them would she choose? (Cast your vote, invite your friends. The story continues tomorrow.)

To help in the dismantling of bad foundations (yours, mine or theirs), can I point out the first problem with this and many fairy tales?

Since when would the Daddy of a beloved little daughter gather together the slimiest reptiles from which his daughter should choose a mate?  Now really?

I don't know about your father, but my dad wanted me to choose the most prestigious man to marry - well educated, hard worker, ambitious, and powerful.  My dad would never have taken me to skid row to choose a man.  

I've already posted the next "installment" in the photo contest for today.  In tomorrow's blog post, we'll discuss the first frog in the fairy tale pond, a would-be-prince named "Ferdinand" who is sure that he will be "Chosen".


My photo entry will be familiar to any of my readers who have browsed the collection of respect cards on Zazzle.   The greeting card from the photo and ancillary product line are also titled "Chosen".

Monday, January 10, 2011

Once Upon a Time

"You have to kiss a lot of frogs . . . before you find your prince." ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ A young girl is held over a wading pool filled with rubber frogs. The frogs are numbered on their bellies and each number represents a tantalizing prize for the participant. This girl took a great deal of time to choose and I had plenty of time to take the shot. We were at the Famous Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee in California. It is ironic that this is my favorite photo. Now, just as rats abandon a sinking ship lest they drown, I am anxious to leave California. Winning will insure our return to my beloved Midwest." 

Good Morning!  I feel like I've been running a marathon and can only stop for a moment.  So much is going on in our lives right now.  It is hard to know where to begin.  I surely cannot bore you with all the details in one sitting.

But I have to tell this audience how impressed I am with my husband.  He is not at all anxious to leave California.  He is vehemently opposed to change.  Yet, he trusts in the Lord and is convinced that God is directing our path.

I cannot fathom the amount of faith required to set aside all of my own agenda to adopt that which the Lord requires.  The scriptures are full of stories of such faith but I have never felt as if I could be so trusting.  But, I know that my husband is.  He amazes me.

Sure, I trust that we are doing the right thing but then again I have no qualms about leaving California.  I WANT to go home to the Midwest.  I'll do whatever it takes to get there.

One of those things was to enter a photo contest on Brickfish.  The prize is $1,800 - the amount needed to move our household belongings across country!

That entry has evolved tremendously in the two days since first posting.  I have learned that scoring and ranking is based on the number of votes, shares, reviews and views my entry acquires.  Viewers can vote once every day during the contest.  (I got to vote for my own entry only once so I cannot do this alone!).

I cannot simply expect you to return day after day for thirty days.  I should make this worth your time and effort.  I needed a way to make you want to return.

So, having been awake most of the night writing the story, I will be posting installments of a Fractured Fairy Tale that will take the place of the photo's original description.

There are thirty days remaining in the contest so the story will take 30 days to tell. The story begins this morning!  I hope you enjoy it!

Please view, vote, share and review as you are able.  I will appreciate it so much.

Can I get an Amen?