Thursday, March 29, 2012

The hump

Photo: Me and Corm-Dog, my oldest grandson.


LuLu-ism # 50: Body parts are to be made fun of. It’s either that or cry a lot.

LuLu is in her bliss. The unseasonably warm weather has us frolicking around the countryside on a regular basis now. However, in the spirit of trying to make all of me healthy and not just my legs and cowgirl, I do return to Hildegard, the elliptical sweatmaker for aerobics and Belle, the ball, for strengthening.

On Fridays I weigh in and take my measurements. A humbling experience, I must say. I’m happy to report I’m down 12.5 lbs and have lost a total of 12 inches here and there and everywhere. However, there is this one little part of me that refuses to budge…

The Hump.

Ladies, you know what I’m talking about, right? That fleshy hunk of meat that can set up residence where your neck meets your back. I haven’t found an exercise that can touch it. When I travel, it’s a wonder the airlines haven’t made me purchase it its own seat. I notice it the most when I exercise on Belle. Lying atop the ball with weights overhead, it feels like I’ve got a towel rolled up under my neck—not always a bad thing I guess. So, since I can’t get rid of it, I’ve begun to think of creative things I can do with it. Feel free to add ideas of your own:

* Use it as a neck cushion. * A writing desk for someone standing in line behind me at the grocery. * An ever ready Halloween Quasimodo costume. * An armrest for my husband. * A perch for owls, crows and small birds * A tote-as-you-go bookshelf. And finally… * Put a hat on it and pass it off as my older, uglier sister.

Well, nobody said this getting healthy thingy would be easy or pretty. I best get back at it. Check back with me on Tuesday when we’ll be discussing posture. Won’t that be fun?



Monday, March 26, 2012

Happiness is a choice


"A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes." Hugh Downs, journalist

I think Mr. Downs is on to something. The other day when LuLu and I were pedaling to our rural post office, I got to thinking about happiness and where it comes from. How many times in the past have I thought, "If only those silly ducks would line up right, I'd have it made in the shade?" If the ducks or the circumstances if you will, didn't fall the way I wanted or planned, I would find myself moping around and feeling sorry for myself. I’d want to blame my unhappiness on someone or something else.

However, what I’ve discovered of late is that happiness comes from within. It cannot be artificially created, at least not for any length of time. Happiness is a mindset that sees us through even the most trying of days.

Paul, the tent maker apostle, put it this way a couple of thousand of years ago, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

A strength that comes from deep within cannot be shook by teeth rattling winds of change or knee high puddles of disappointment. Happiness is willed—a will to be... a will to become... a will to overcome.

I am constantly fighting the impulse to put the burden of my own happiness on someone else. But deep down I know that only I am responsible for my happy heart and that happiness is a choice that only I can make for myself.

And you know what? I choose happy.

See you back here on Thursday,


Thursday, March 22, 2012


PHOTO: Spring around our pond.


LuLu-ism # 48: Waiting for bad news is always a bad idea. Don’t wait on it. Meet it head on. Scare the snot out of it. Make it turn tail and run. I’m just saying…

So… on Tuesday I waited. Once Gary was done with his PET scan and his blood work, we had time to kill before the appointment with our oncologist. If you’ve never been to Mayo, it’s hard to explain the place, but underneath all the ‘healing parts of the clinic’ is an underground walking subway. Restaurants, art galleries, dress shops, drug stores, etc., line the tunnel system. So, we walked through that and then came up to ground level and spent a whole lot of time in Barnes & Noble. Not a typical one by any means. This one is set up in an old theater and is just fun to mosey around in. We ate a late lunch at Mac’s, the best gyros on the planet and then back underground we went.

Two o’clock found us on the ninth floor sitting in front of the huge plate glass windows overlooking the city. We held hands, read, prayed our own silent prayers, and allowed our minds to wrap themselves around what was coming… the verdict.

A little after three o’clock, Gary’s buzzer went off and it was our turn. Waiting for our doctor to enter the exam room is always the worst part for me. I stop my leg from bouncing. I squeeze Gary’s hand like a vice grip. I want to be any place but where I am. And then the doc finally enters the room…

His smile gives it away. No cancer. Gary is either in remission or cancer-free. I don’t care what they want to call it. All I know it that God has been merciful. His limitless power and love have given us a reprieve. We are good to go for the next three months… until the next PET scan.

But I’m not going to think about that now. We’re going to have a cancer-less spring. We are going to enjoy the falling away of brown winter and applaud the fresh green sprigs itching to show off for us. Come on mama robins, lay those little blue eyes for us. Come on daffodils and tulips, show us your dancing shoes. Crab apples, willows, and lilacs let’s see those sweet buds. Let’s celebrate. Let’s dance. Let’s tilt our heads back and stretch out our arms and laugh and twirl and enjoy life…

Hey, LuLu, how about a ride down the road? You game?


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I wait...


It’s Tuesday morning and we once again find ourselves at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I’m sitting in a large waiting room as I wait for Gary. He’s behind one of these art-filled walls in a sterile room lying flat on a table. Maybe at this very minute that monstrous machine is slowly circling his body taking pictures, searching, probing, sniffing like an old hunting dog on the trail trying to flush out a fox.

He’s in the room without me. I don’t like that. I like to be wherever he is. Usually they let me. I’ve sat in the corner during ultra-sounds and biopsies, but this big machine won’t allow it. It likes to do it’s hunting alone. So, I wait… with the others. I wonder if I have the same look on my face as they do? It’s an all too familiar look of controlled panic and disbelief. Right under the surface I’m sitting on a scream. If someone were to accidently touch me or bump my arm I’m afraid it would knock the lid off and out would come this sound, this horrible, guttural, low moan that would grow so loud all these pretty pictures on the wall would rattle and the glass in their frames would shatter. I don’t want to be here. It’s agony waiting to see what the hunter may or may not find. The last two times we’ve done this the old dog holed a dark spot hiding on the back of Gary’s leg… more cancer. A surgery and another round of radiation and here we are… again.

I sit here. Gary lies there. I want to be in the room. They won’t let me. He shouldn’t be in there alone. But then I remember… he isn’t! He isn’t alone. He has never been alone, not one day since his diagnosis has he ever been alone. God knows His way around Mayo pretty good. Every room is the Holy of Holies. Our Savior, our great intercessor, sits in every room with every patient and with every fearful spouse.

Gary lies as the old dog sniffs. God lies with him.

I sit in a cheerful waiting room not feeling the least bit cheerful. God sits beside me.

We will be okay. Even if a fox is found hiding, lurking, today, we will be okay.

So… I wait.



Thursday, March 15, 2012

God who?


“The trouble about God is that he is like a person who never acknowledges your letters and so, in time, you come to the conclusion either that he does not exist or that you have got his address wrong.”

C.S. Lewis

Where I live we are having unseasonably warm weather. In March we’re usually still cross-country skiing and stoking the fire in the fireplace. Yet, yesterday had LuLu and I pedaling down the road and windows open in the living room. As my pink bike and I toured the countryside, the above quote popped into my mind. A strange place for my mind to settle, but I never know where my thoughts will roam once I hop on LuLu.

Those words were uttered by a young C.S. Lewis on his way to discovering his own belief in God. It gives me comfort that one, now known for his great faith, could have had such doubts. After the recent run of bad weather and tragedy across the south, I’m sure there are many people left wondering. “God who?”

I’m not sure why horrible things happen. Some are our own doing. Some are not. Nevertheless, the pain is real. And, as the young author once asked, “Will God answer the letter?”

My thoughts on that? It depends on if you check your mailbox. Digging under the rubble of devastated lives to the answers takes great courage. It takes opening oneself up to answers that sometimes we don’t what to hear, doors we don’t want to walk through, and truths we don’t want to face.

Of late, our television screens have made us witness to people crawling out of ruins covered in near-death dust praising God and life. Did they have moments of doubt? As trees were ripped from the ground and school busses were tossed in ditches like mere tin cans, I can only imagine that they did. But, if they can come out of that ragged mess with faith in tact, by God, so can I the next time my own life encounters hardships that whip through with tornado force winds.

Doubting is the first honest step toward truth.



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hanging w/teens


I spent my weekend with about a hundred teenagers. No, no one made me do it. No, it wasn’t a punishment for some dastardly deed I committed. And no, I’m not losing my marbles. I did it voluntarily. Seriously.

And, what fun it was. If you haven’t spent some time rubbing shoulders with some young folks recently, you don’t know what you’re missing. I was totally impressed by their smarts, their bubbly attitudes, and their kindness to old women. But what impressed me most was their sincerity and commitment to live life honorably.

Honor. It’s a character trait I fear is ailing in these modern times. Our children have too few role models who personify what a life of integrity looks like. Movies stars that live phony lives, US Presidents who dishonor their marriage vows, corporate executives who steal, professional athletes who cheat, have all failed our youth miserably when it comes to modeling decency and goodness. But the kids I was with gave up their weekend of sleeping late and hanging doing nothing to spend time in discussion groups about how to make their lives matter more. They shared together how to overcome trials. They gathered and listen intently to speakers who encouraged them to make good choices.

And, they laughed. And entertained. And shared. And, served. And filled my cup.

What a privilege to be in a room of young people using words like faith, respect, prayer, honesty, morals, love, integrity, trust, giving, sharing, righteousness and yes, honor. The LuLu Chronicles is dedicated to the pursuit of healthy living. Well, I’m here to tell you, that if your insides are not seeking what those teens were seeking this weekend, your outsides will eventually cave into nothingness and all will be in vain.

Thanks, kids, for making LuLu and this old gal so proud.

See ya'll Thursday,


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fish or cut bait

PHOTO: Just messing with ya. There's not two of me, the world couldn't handle it...


As many of you know I’m a writer. With two published books under my belt, you’d think it would be easier to get the third one published, right? Not so much. Now, if I were a Grisham, a Lucado or Kingsbury publishers would be lining up for that next book. Alas, I’m not. I’m just me and the truth of the matter is that I haven’t written that ‘breakout’ book yet.

It’s tough being a ‘newbie’ at age 60, but that’s really what I am, at least in the world of publishing. But I heard something today from author Brennan Burchard that has struck a cord with me, and has put me on notice. He says that he’s never met a New York Times Best seller author who just dabbled in their writing; Who just wrote a couple of hours here, and an hour the next week and so on. Nope, the writers he knows, and he knows several NYT Best Seller authors and is one himself, make a commitment to their writing. They do this by “disappearing off the planet” for a while and immersing themselves in their work. They block off huge chunks of time to write to allow the creative flow to happen. Without a true, gritty commitment to what you want in the writing world, you won’t get it.

That’s probably true in any other world a well. If you want to be the best teacher you can be, you have to work at it. If you want to be the best mom, you have to commit to it. If you want to be an individual who when they leave this world want to be known as kind, compassionate and giving, you have to commit to living that kind of life. Just dabbling in what you want, will not make it so.

That goes for commitment to better health and riding a pink bike as well. I’ve got to decide if I’m satisfied to just continue to dabble in my writing, play around with my health, and just ride LuLu when the spirit moves me. All of the above would be okay, if that is what I truly want… to dabble… to play around… to get as much fun out of LuLu sitting in the garage as I do pedaling down the road on her. I’m 60-years-old. It’s time I make up my mind about these things and others.

How about you? Anything you need to fish or cut bait on? As my granny, Ginny Mae, used to say, Pee or get off the pot!

Have a thoughtful weekend, friends,


Tuesday, March 6, 2012



I thought of LuLu fondly this morning while pedaling along on Rusty, the sidekick exercise bike stationed in my loft. Soon, LuLu, very soon we’ll be out on the open road again. I promise…

Okay, an update on the diet and my two dieting buddies. As one buddy put it not long ago, between the three of us, we’ve lost the weight of a three-year-old child. Our goal? A full-blown Sumo wrestler! But for now, we’re moving along. We email each other almost everyday reporting in. We’ve had to confess to one another our digressions when appropriate, and have shared our successes with relish. One buddy is just getting home from a three-week vacation almost five pounds lighter than when she left. I think they should have given her at least five bucks off on her return flight. I mean she saved the airlines money by weighing in less than when she came. Come on, United, where’s your humanity

Another buddy has developed her own special upper-body exercise plan while shoveling out horse manure from the barn. No, P90X for this gal—not needed as long as those ponies keep manufacturing fertilizer. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, folks. You should be inspired by this one!

As for me, I’m down ten pounds. And while I don’t have a waistline yet, I‘m starting to see the promise of one. I’m noticing fewer aches and pains, and my belly isn’t entering a room five seconds before the rest of me now.

But March is here. It is the skull and crossbones month for dieter’s everywhere. You see, we start out gangbusters in January. We bravely crowd into the gyms wearing lime green yoga pants and carrying gallon water bottles in mass. We begin counting calories like armor-clad mathematicians. We are determined. We have waged war on the Evil Fatty Flab that threatens to end our jean-wearing days. We exercise. We read food labels. We face the bathroom scale with a war cry on our lips. For two solid months we are Fat-Fighting She-Cats. And then…

March happens.

Gyms that were once crammed full of sweating exercising women, suddenly are as empty as the GAP the day after a 75% Off Everything Sale. Cartons of cottage cheese and yogurt begin to spoil on grocery shelves. And, Moose Tracks ice cream once again becomes the dairy product of choice.

But, not with my buddies and me. No, Sirree! March doesn’t scare us. So stay tuned. The next loud whoop you hear will be me finally buttoning my skinny jeans without lying on the bed.

Later, dear friends,


Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Breath of Life...


I am just getting over my second round of bronchitis in a month. I am woman, hear me roar, unless lungs are required. My first bout with pneumonia was at age two. I remember it well. I truly do. I remember the hospital bed with little bars. I remember crying and wanting my mama. I remember this little ‘plastic’ tent being spread over my crib. It was traumatic to say the least. Now some fifty-nine years later, those same lungs are holding on… barely. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve had pneumonia and bronchitis is as common to me as, well, a common cold. Today, add asthma and allergies and you can see how struggling for a breath of air at times can be a personal battle ground for me.

A breath of air…

What must it have been like to have been Adam from the Garden when he was brought to life by the breath of God? As someone who struggles for air sometimes, that thought fills me with exhilaration; to feel that holy warm breath of life upon your face; to experience that life-giving air fill up your lungs. Oh, how glorious.

These days as I exercise, which has been exactly zero this week, there are times when I’m struggling to get enough air—especially on Hildegard, the elliptical. About two minutes into my very first bike ride on LuLu I remember gulping and wheezing and battling for air. My lungs were protesting almost as loud as the *Cowgirl.

The breath of life…

Each morning I try to remember before my feet hit the floor where that breath comes from. I try to imagine My Holy Father standing over me with a smile on his face, a little winded but pleased with what He has done.

May you feel His breath upon your face. May your lungs be filled each morning with the sigh of God.

See you next week…