Camp Disappointment

If you’re a lover of history, I invite you to investigate the trials and tribulations of Lewis & Clark’s “Corps of Discovery Expedition.”  Pay particular attention to the part where they explain the epic disaster that led to a place in Montana that they called “Camp Disappointment.”  At this point in the expedition the mission was to find if the Missouri River reached the Atlantic.  It didn’t. It went in a different direction.  It was supposedly a beautiful place, but it was cold and rainy and miserable.  Everyplace else they went had lots of game and food. Except here. They met some friendly Blackfeet Indians.  The Indians discovered the party was  trading guns with enemies of the Blackfoot.  During the night, attempting to take the guns, 2 Indians were killed. So much for friendship.

Now, tell me if I’m wrong here, but when I think about a trip like this, the last word I’d use is “disappointment.” If I were giving it a name, I’d have called it “Camp Epically Terrible” or “Get-Me-Out-Of-This-God-Forsaken-Hell-Hole.” I mean, if you’re going to describe how yucky something is, give it a TRUE name. If you’re cold, hungry, wet, under a threat of death, and just found out your entire mission was a wash, you’d hardly describe yourself as disappointed!  There’s another D word for that.

Depression.  The word that is FAR too easy to pronounce compared to how it feels.  “Bottom Feeding Life Sucking Blahs” is  much more descriptive.  And it hits you so fast, that you can’t figure out from which direction it’s blasting you.  I can be all up and running in the morning, and not wanting to so much as look out the window in the afternoon.  And  you know it’s going to be a bad day if you wake up that way.

This is supposed to be normal when you’re 52.  “Your hormones are out of whack, and they just need to stabilize,” says the perky 12 year old doctor.  He knows because he read it in a book once…  He gave me some advice on non-medicated ways to help.  And my cynical, sarcastic, and snarky 52 year old self decided to give my answers to each one.

  1. Get some sunshine. Vitamin D helps.- right up until you burn your scalp because your hair is thinning and falling out.
  2. Get more vitamins.- why did my mind just picture Flintstone Chewables?  Those things were NASTY.
  3.  Eat a healthy diet of green vegetables.- I’m certainly going to count the celery stick in my bloody mary as a serving of vegetables.
  4. Get some exercise.- EVERYTHING is solved by exercise. Except shin splints, blisters, and the nasty rash you get when your thighs rub together… And PLEASE don’t mention yoga. No amount of Bean-o is going to help me with my last “Down Dog Disaster.”
  5. Read your Bible.- Great. So I can compare my misery to those who had it worse?  Reminds me of my mother. “What? You broke your leg?  Well it’s nothing compared to what I-I-I went through. You couldn’t possibly survive what I had to endure.”  She was the gold medal winner of competition martyrdom.
  6. Go to therapy.- THAT would mean I have to leave the house and TALK. TO. PEOPLE!!! Has this guy not been LISTENING?kid doctor

But, Doogie Howser is right.  I need to do these things.  And probably take some medication if things don’t change.  Depression isn’t funny when you’re in the middle of it.  Merriwether Lewis and his party was not having fun during this leg of his camp-out.  So go ahead, give the feeling some names.  And the next time my Camp Disappointment has been set up again, here’s hoping that it doesn’t last very long…



This is the time of the year I always enjoy. Growing up in Glacier County, Montana, I saw the alpha and omega of the way wheat came into being. The folks in my family weren’t farmers with the exception of one sister who married a farmer. The rest of us lucky or unlucky folks lived on the main road into town and would see the agricultural process in it’s economic form.  In spring, we’d see the farmers coming into town to get seeds and moving equipment from one place to another to plant the seed.  But the BEST time, the busiest time, was harvest.  The town would be alive with trucks and trains and people coming to town looking for work.  Combines would work in tandem cutting the golden wheat underneath the clear azure sky.  Long lines of grain trucks would traverse the roads in all directions as they ferried the grain from the combines to the grain elevators in town.  And the trains! Night and day, day into the next night, until the last grain was lifted from the stores in the elevator.  If the trains were slow, you’d see the grain piled on the ground, patiently waiting to be moved.  The process was fine-tuned, but always had some farmer’s hair on fire as he had to wait for someone else to get his blankety blank trucks out of the way.  So why is this so important to me now?

harvest 3

Because it’s what happened to the grain next.  It becomes food.  Food that not everyone can afford.  What amazed me the absolute most- some of those farmers who grew that wheat, would spend more to grow it than they got selling it.  Those farmers families would go hungry.  How on earth can someone who grows FOOD not be able to feed his family?

It doesn’t go unnoticed for me that we have food bank drives at harvest time.  We clear out our pantries of all the foods we haven’t eaten or bought when we wanted to try a new recipe that never happened.  We harvest our pantries!  I remember as a child many days when we didn’t have enough food.  But more than that, I recall the day we received a care package on the front door of food. At that time, we did have food on the table, so my parents split up the package and gave it away to the people they knew who didn’t have any.  My parents harvested.

As I prepare for this move, I know I’m going to give away all the food in the pantry and the freezer, but I just feel like there’s something more.  Not sure just what exactly is in store for me.  I’ll be giving, like I always do, but even more. God, help me on this.  Help me not get frustrated that the next guy in front of me has to get his blankety blank truck out of the way.  Help me make sure that ALL of my harvest is picked up and not stockpiled.  Help me do whatever You want me to do REALLY well.



I Reject Your Reality and Substitute My Own…



My favorite phrase from Adam Savage of Myth Busters.  I sometimes get completely stuck in my own head.  I KNOW you have an opinion. Your point of view is acceptable for you, but not for me sometimes.  The problem revolves around what I will do with that discord between your reality, and my perception of it.  And let’s add a little twist… if I don’t talk to you about it, and continue on my own little journey, then I create this world where I am the hero, and you have no choice but to be the villain in my world.


I have created a world where Baron von Munchausen is extolling the “truth”, and because it’s entertaining, it must be TRUTH.  *Let’s back up a little here. Some insight into Baron von Munchausen: I just watched the movie, and it was creepily entertaining.  This veteran with royal blood spins his wildly elaborate yarns about how he led his compatriots to not only win a war with a Turkish sultan, but he defeated a king on the moon (played hilariously by Robin Williams!)  After some research, I found out it’s based upon a book written in 1785 by Rudolph Eric Raspe, which was of itself based upon wild stories told by Karl Friederich Hieronymus, Baron of Munchausen. In order to make himself seem more important, the Baron would create bizarre and lengthy stories of his bravery and importance. Although no one believed the Baron, he continued to consider himself as the hero to all sorts of trials and tribulations, all of which only he could resolve.


Just like the Baron, when I don’t talk to you, I’m important. I’m brave. I’m RIGHT.  But that isn’t the way God makes us. We’re supposed to have dialog.  Having a conversation with another person allows me to see your point of view in the light of day.  I may say something that will change your mind, or you may say something that will open my eyes enough to see things differently. OR we may both walk away with our ideas set, but at least we know the other point of view.  When we let a third person or a media outlet or FaceBook post into the conversation, we have removed the dialog that could have resulted in an understanding. Suddenly, we have given Baron von Munchausen’s stories credibility. We have put his stories out as gospel truth.  When opinions are the only facts, we often find that truth is pushed aside for the sake of agendas.

But when it comes down to me, I know I need to talk to people. To open a line of communication grounded in facts, but not overwhelmed by my own selfish nature.  This is probably going to be the most difficult part of my quest- which isn’t all that surprising. I hate conflict so much that I am often the cause of it.  So, here goes the first goal of my journey: I will change the way I communicate so that I ensure that I leave with a peaceful heart.  Easy to say, now let’s see how easy it is to do…



“Just”- The Heaviest Word in the English Language


I’ve become very afraid of this word.  The word “just” implies that whatever action that occurs next will be easy.  But hidden within that word is the unspoken imperative to not take the time to think it through.  Take the action now, and worry about the consequences later. “We’ll just go off the pill and get pregnant.”  “Just call her.”  “You need to just jump right in and get going.”  We love the idea of adventure, but not considering the consequences can lead to greater struggles.

    just go

We were moving to a new area, and I honestly believed I would find a teaching job during a major recession. Naturally, it didn’t happen as I had planned.  So I decided, “I’ll JUST do daycare from my home!”  Foolish and incredibly naive me…  That JUST became a long list of regulations and considerable out-pouring of cash just to get ready.  To complicate matters, my sons did NOT approve of having other kids get all my time and THEIR space.  JUST required me to work over 80 hours a week prepping, teaching, cleaning, and monitoring.


So here we are, moving again, and I’m trying to avoid my husband as he uses the “J” word about me working up there.  It’s scary considering all that this implies.  When you go out looking for a job, you place yourself in one of the most vulnerable positions as an adult.  You KNOW you’re going to be rejected at least once.  More than likely, it will be far greater than once.

let God

So, when I talk about going on this quest, I have to say “Just Do It.”  And not think it through. And not consider the negative implications that this word has carried with it in the past.  And now, we’re back to faith.  Faith that not only will you have some tribulations, but the benefits gained from those trials will be greater than you could ever imagine. By doing the home daycare, I met some really incredible people, and taught some amazing kids.  My sons and my husband came to fully comprehend the amount of work it takes to teach.  And the jobs I have been rejected from have led to even greater things that were in store for me.

The word “Just” has considerable weight, and will probably require a considerable amount of faith.  So go ahead. “Just go…”

just God

I’m not sure WHAT to do with it…


My heart is all over the place today.   How can a human being fit that many feelings into one head?  I’d like to say it’s all hormonal. It would make it so much easier to think it’s all my imagination. Some of it is.  But for the most part, with all that is going on in this world, I just wish God would push the pause button for a minute.  I was just thinking about how human beings can be so innovative in their cruelty.  Up until today I never quite understood why God stopped all those people from building the Tower of Babel that could reach all the way to heaven.  Now I know. To keep all the crazy people out!


So, where do we find peace in this world?  First, put your phone down and turn off the tv.  “But there are people SUFFERING!” Yes. People are ALWAYS suffering.  I don’t need a reporter to tell me when to be outraged by the insufferable inhumanity towards each other.  I can pray for God to bring everyone quiet. That’s right, quiet. That sound you heard when you were a kid laying on your back on the lawn on a warm spring day, listening to birds, feeling the slight breeze on your skin, and closing your eyes because you felt calm…


I wondered why God wanted me to be completely alone when I turned 52.  This is why.  Because talking about all of this pain and anger with another human being will only bring more anxiety.  HE knew I needed to be quiet. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10.  He’s got this, so i don’t have to.  I think that’s the best bit of advice I’ve heard all day…

Lesson Learned… I’m All In


This was the very first Bible verse I have ever read and committed to memory. Until this week, I hadn’t really comprehended how important it is to have FAITH.  I’ve spent my entire life afraid. Afraid of dying, afraid of being alone, afraid of… being afraid.  While doing the Bible study The Quest by Beth Moore, I read something that just rattled me to the core:  fear is the absence of faith.  Where there is true, uncompromising faith, there is no need to be afraid.  I’ve spent the best part of my years thinking that I was “living in a house with no floor.”  I had no foundation, nothing I could really believe was holding me up. I was dangling in mid-air, waiting for someone else to build the floor for me, or move me somewhere else so I didn’t have to look down.  Basically, I felt like I didn’t have control over anything, I was just riding in a car that was screaming down a mountain road, with the inevitable crash at the end.  If you’re good, you go to heaven, bad, go to hell.

But THIS… this FAITH thing, that I’ve known for so long, didn’t sink in until now.  I mean it hit me in the forehead like a 2 by 4!  “Faith is the evidence of things not seen.”  Like  Detective Colombo on my favorite tv show, you don’t have to actually see it to believe it.  Faith is in, and of itself, the evidence. My son is a detective and tells me all the time about how his “gut feeling” helps him find evidence.  As moms we know in our HEART when our babies don’t feel well.  We just know as we reach for the phone to make a doctor’s appointment that this child needs help.

umbrella faith

So, I knew the words in the verse, and I knew how I felt so afraid, but until now I hadn’t connected the two. So, I need to have faith that God has my future.  My footsteps aren’t so important now.  I can stand where I need to stand, and focus on the next part of the verse: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.”  This was the easy part before I turned 52.  I knew I wanted healthy kids, a nice home, healthy marriage, and good health.  So, now I don’t know WHAT I WANT! Well, that’s where faith comes in again. I just ask God to give me something to be passionate about. Just give me a direction, and walk with me. No, I don’t want to be just a little wind up doll that follows the path and then the power runs out.  I want a QUEST.  A JOURNEY.  A VERY long walk.  And I mean REALLY LONG.  Because if I know where the end is, I’m going to focus on getting finished, and not notice what is going on around me.  I want to take this walk in the woods and notice all there is to see, smell, and hear. Rain or shine. I’m all in…


Squawk, squawk, squawk…


energy sign

I usually like to hear the chickens in the morning. But sometimes, they’re just making noise for the sake of being obnoxious, I think.  And LORD, they can be obnoxious.  It took some honest introspection, but I’ve noticed that I can be just as obnoxious.  (NO! NOT YOU!) Yeah, I know, right?!  When I get into my funk, I just can’t help but complain.  I’m not good enough, not young enough, not pretty enough… and because of all that, not HAPPY enough.  So, I recently listened to Suzy Rosenstein’s podcast “Feeling Like You’re in a Midlife Funk- and Why It’s the Best News Ever!”  She really put into perspective about how what we thinks can become not only how we feel, but what we say and what we’re willing to do about it.  You become what you think.

The more I think about where I am, and the more I let my anxiety about my future (and how short it may be), the more I’ve created this funk.  I’m a hamster on a wheel in a stinky cage that needs to be CHANGED!  So, to get over it, here are the things I need to DO (in no particular order, so relax Type A people!)

  1. Get into a group of people to talk it out.  Yes. Counseling. But I’m approaching this with MAJOR caution because I know how I get- crazy people can steer me like a biker on a Harley!

2. Get moving.  I need to exercise. And flapping my lips is NOT what I’m talking about.           Water aerobics, walking, and eventually running.

3. Bible study.  In order to have a direction, I have to have the right frame of mind,                 and the right reason for doing what I’m doing.

4. Stop the negative thoughts coming in, staying in, and going out.  No more tv and                 politics. FaceBook is limited to smiling happy people.  I’m not avoiding reality, I’m               avoiding all the negative forces at work around me.  I’ll check up on news every                 once in a while, but for the most part, I’m out.  Now, as for the negative things                     swimming around my head that I’ve created all by myself, those need to be put in               check.


I have lots of excuses why I can’t do ALL of them right now, but I’m checking off numbers 2, 3, and 4 right off the bat.  Ok, 3 and 4… So in all honesty, so far it’s just 3 because I started that on Monday. I really have a ways to go, don’t I….


When Jesus and Monty Python’s Holy Grail Collide…

semi colon

What do you seek?


So I started this Bible study with Beth Moore, called The Quest.  Really interesting about how we SHOULD be asking questions about our faith, and especially our relationship with God.  Got to this question, and I’m was really surprised at how much I don’t have a clue about what I want.  I mean OTHER than health and happiness of my family, what do I REALLY want?  If you think materialistically, look around Amazon at all the things that you probably… kind of… maybe… would like to have.

Anyone who has ever been forced to evacuate from their home knows about the importance of “stuff.”  You have to categorize your belongings into what you are ABLE to save and what must be sacrificed due to space or your ability to move.  You quickly realize, everything you buy is insignificant when it’s compared with those people and critters you love.  Think about it: your Bible can be replaced, but your relationships cannot. Is your grandmother’s vase more important than the first picture your child drew? Or are both of these more important as conversations we have with our children where we “remember that time when….”

So that brings me to Monty Python’s Holy Grail


“WHAT is your quest?”

The problem with being 52, you see yourself with this whole unknown in front of you, and you’re afraid if you give the wrong answer, you’ll get flung off into the deep.  We KNOW that our time is limited, so we want to make the most of it. The answers are almost as important as the questions at this age.

I was in panic mode for a while, until my Bible study gave me some unplanned insight.  In John 1:35-51, we learn about how all the disciples were “chosen.” Only, Jesus didn’t go out and find all of them.  The first two guys were following John the Baptist, and he kind of “referred” them to the new job.  Then one of them grabbed his brother. Then Jesus went in to Galillee and found Phillip, who in turn grabbed his brother, Nathaniel by the arm and said, “Come see!”

So, from these two colliding forces, I have learned that my quest isn’t supposed to be me just jumping into an abyss.  My quest has to have a purpose- a goal.  And I can’t go alone. So, now I just have to pray from God to send me someone who is as smart as the first knight, and not get me flung into the pit like the second guy!



How Can I Have a “New Me” If I Don’t Know Who The “Old Me” Is?



Who are you?

So everywhere we see all these advertisements for “New You” and “Re-invent Yourself.”  But since my last son left the house, I’m not quite sure who “I” really am.  I’m someone’s wife (still love you, Babe!), and someone’s Mom (even though they’re both responsible adults and REALLY don’t need me all that much.)  So that just leaves…. me.  Even the things I used to love don’t really ring true until I figure out where I belong in the scheme of things.  But, then little things spring up, and I find myself showing glimmers of maturity that are nothing short of surprising.

Take yesterday.  Saw a post on FaceBook that in the past I would have jumped on and joined the fray.  Instead, I gave a positive answer, valuable feedback, and contact information for the person to get the help they were asking for.  Maturity, right?

What about courage? Where did all that go?  Used to be I’d jump right in and think about it after.  With maturity has come wisdom.  And with wisdom, comes trepidation.  The problem is finding that balance between caution and adventure, between seeking new thrills and not ending up in the hospital.  When you reach 50, you find that sometimes taking a step outside your comfort zone is often more risk-taking and frightening than you were expecting.  But that’s where the mature me, has to call on the adventurous me.  It’s going to take some chutzpa to get through all these new changes.  And to make the changes means I have to have the right attitude about them.  Don’t let my own fear become a reason to not see with clarity.

So, can I say I’m not quite the little old lady waving her cane in the air and yelling at kids to get out of her yard?  Can I admit that I can be wise, and not be OLD?  Answer: yes.

So the answer to the BIG question “Who are you?” I. Am. Mature.

God Willing & The Creek Don’t Rise…


Where are you?

In just over a week, I’m going to turn 52 years old.  I wonder how this happened. Not the age part, but the AGE aspect.  I was always never satisfied where I was, so I would count myself as a year older that day after my birthday. In simpler terms,  I was 10 years old from October 3rd, 1974 to October 1st, 1975.  I had to find some way of making sense of those age cut-off for starting school. If you’re5 years old for almost the entire year, why do you have to wait until you’re almost 6 before going to Kindergarten?

But age is just a number. AGE is something else entirely.  Somehow I became OLD.  Like how my Mom used to sit in the living room with my Dad and watch old movies on their black and white tv.  It didn’t just sneak up on me either. I should have seen it coming, but like everything else that happens when you’re holding on to 29, I didn’t think it would happen to ME.  I couldn’t handle teaching because all of a sudden I didn’t like yelling kids. So I stayed to help out with my elderly Mother-in-law.  When she passed away, I kind of drifted…. and drifted…. and now here I am.

Not just physically, but emotionally.  Hiding like a hermit in a cave, I type away at my funny, troll-like comments on FaceBook and then skulk around on Pinterest to find things to stock my imaginary beach house and camper.

This is where I am: Fat, depressed, and over 50.

BUT…. (and you know that “but” is like a delete button for all that’s said previously)… I have raised 2 incredible young men, who are responsible adults who make their own way in life without lots of hovering.  I have an incredibly healthy marriage to a man who knows me better than myself but has enough tact to not say what he’s thinking! (Thanks, babe!)

Where are you going?

When I was growing up in tiny little Cut Bank, Montana, I would stand on the sidewalk in front of our house on Highway 2, looking to the East.  I just KNEW there was something happening out there, and I wanted to be a part of it.  This point of view where I’m constantly looking forward has served me well as an Army Wife.  We’ve moved 17 times over the last 29 years, across the country, across the street, and across the ocean.

And now we’re starting a new direction:  we’re moving to New Jersey. And for the first time, I’m on myown without kids as a distraction.  N.O. children. And doing the Army Wife thing, after staying by myself in my bubble for so long?

So, this is my future.  Join me as I post my journey.  As a mid-life woman without a normal life.  Will I make it? God willing and the creek don’t rise… I certainly hope so!

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