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Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been afraid of bees, even though I’ve never actually been stung.

Actually, that’s a good lesson right there. We’re often most afraid of the things we’ve never experienced.

Anyway, having a stinging insect phobia as a resident of Florida was certainly inconvenient.  That’s something they don’t put in the state publicity material.

It’s not just bees, wasps, and yellow jackets either, though there are lots of those. I was once chased by a biting fly around my yard, which unfortunately no one could see but I could hear buzzing along behind me.

I don’t know what made my dad decide he needed to intervene. Maybe it was because no matter how many times he tried to tell me to be brave, I wasn’t. Maybe it was because for all his demands that I not whine, wince, or otherwise squeal in their presence, I did anyway. I couldn’t help it.

I guess in his mind, that left only one alternative: put me in the middle of a bee swarm.

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It was never intentional.

I let myself get distracted by the quarter inch of dust over the stove’s exhaust, by the bare refrigerator, by the cat who wanted her mousey thrown again and again. Then there was lunch, and the cleaning up after lunch, and the laundry basket that never empties.

The rational part of me says that some days will be like this. That I shouldn’t expect to win every battle, much less a battle everyday.  In order to fight and win, you have to endure some endless days of marching.

Besides, I have a cold.

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She almost wasn’t born … twice.

For most of my life, I was fairly certain I didn’t want children.  I grew up in a dysfunctional household and my father regularly told me I was the cause of his unhappy marriage.  It was a tough message to hear, but as a kid it’s hard not to take such messages to heart.

So when I fell in love with my husband, I was scared.  I told him I didn’t want kids.

Not only did I change my mind after witnessing the birth of my nephew, it turned out having kids wasn’t going to be easy.  Our daughter is a miracle.  After she was born I learned there was an 80% chance I’d miscarry.

To say she’s changed my life is an understatement.

So in honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share just a few of the things she’s taught me about the wonders of life.