From my little book of verses in my purse.

Hmmmm. What should I write about? Did you know the world has turned upside down? And yes, the whole world! Instead of sports and politics, our news is consumed with updates on the Coronavirus, aided with pictures of germs and viruses that are blown up a million times plus. I guess the media thinks we want to know what this germ looks like up close, but I wish they would ease up on that.

I began to do my bible study this morning, and before I delved into it, I changed my mind. I have a small notebook I keep in my purse that contains many favorite verses. Instead of my bible study, I decided to indulge in receiving the comfort of those verses. No studying, just lingering in the presence of promises. Those verses melted over me, like the coolness of a morning evaporates while the sun rises into the sky, my soul warmed and snuggled into the Holy Spirit with hope and assurance that all would be well.

I’m glad I did that, because the morning’s memory rested on me like a seat belt, with a sense of security in spite of someone running a red light in my path. I ran errands for Juggle Source later in the day. Evidence all around me seemed as surreal as the colorful blown up coronavirus pictures that display on the TV screen.

Costco managed its customers with thoughtful and bold crowd management, Fred Meyer closed off coolers and other sections due to a power failure, and I heard someone say that Winco was closing for a week (that was not confirmed). There were no paper products or chicken at Costco, and shelves were bare at both stores. These scenes of unfamiliar chaos and strangeness caused me to question the certainty of this small part of the world that I know so well. Yet, my spirit was not defeated.

I was shaken, but I wanted to take it in. I want to see the people, desperate to get food that we assume will be waiting for us tomorrow. I shook my head for a minute at a woman who clearly saw that my position was ahead of her when she veered at an angle to grab my anticipated place in line.

Then I unshook my head, and thought of the opportunity I have to assist her in this tiny moment, by smiling and acknowledging her need, whatever it is. I want to see the the empty shelves and coolers, and know that I have something in common with people who live in countries half a world away from me. I want to encourage the cashier who I’ve seen a thousand times, but never paid her much attention. I want to check in on my neighbors, because being in this store in this moment might be more than what they can do on this day, and maybe more than I can do tomorrow.

I take a lot for granted, one being my health. But in this moment, I realize that I never considered some things to be precious. Toilet paper, and paper products in general, salt, touching, hugging, holding, and kissing people I love and care about.

Socializing, restaurants, and entertainment. Sports, teams, practicing, playing, competing, and preparing. Church, work, shopping, celebrations such as weddings and birthdays. These are all things precious today, tomorrow, and for who knows how long?

I want to move beyond the disappointment that this American life isn’t meeting my needs.  I want to inhale this life, breathe it in, breathe it out, but I must do it from at least six feet from you.

I want to exercise my faith in God. I want to grasp what’s at stake, take hold of it, and make use of it.

On this day I’m glad to be healthy and I hope to be used.

I’m also really grateful for “The Voice.”

And, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and Happy Birthday, Clare.

Yum. Well, the store only had purple cabbage. I already had to wash out purple splatters on my shirt, but purple or not. It is good!

Checking in with a few friends as I head out for my first Valentine’s date in over ten years!

My last post said that my next post would be on my on line dating life. That was over two weeks ago. Not that this is good news to you, but good news for me is that I have met someone! And honestly, in the moment, I’m not crazy about writing about it.

First off, a new relationship finds hours in a day you didn’t know you had. But those hours are spent on each other, not on writing blog posts. It’s true that this time in my life, having left a FT job and started Juggle Source, allows me flexibility. I believe whole heartedly that when I was working my FT job, if Brad Pitt were knocking on my door I could not have found time to date him. I know that’s hard to believe, but my sanity is dependent on my home, spiritual life, my kids, friends, job, learning how to do a job, etc. There are only so many hours in a day, and Brad would have gotten the boot. Well, unless he would have joined me in the yard and at church. Then I would have considered him.

When I left my job last August, I didn’t think, “I’m going to start a new job and date.” In fact, it didn’t enter my mind once. But somewhere in the midst of creating Juggle Source and talking with a friend, I had a sobering thought that my marketability was narrowing. Finding a partner wasn’t something I consciously considered. I just “figured” it might happen some day. Then I realized that nothing was happening, and that if I wanted to be with someone, which I very much do, in spite of my ten year absence from a partner, I would need to create a plan. Like my courageous friend, I decided I would follow her lead and explore dating, on line. So I signed up for EHarmony.

I referred to my personality quiz results in the post (see link above). I am impressed with how EHarmony is able to use those quizzes to match people. In a 30 minute quiz, EHarmony has you figured out, kind of. About 10 years ago, in the middle of a night when I was sick, had slept all day, and couldn’t sleep, I decided to hunt around on EHarmony. I really wasn’t interested in dating. Not in the least, and I think my personality quiz showed that, because even after entering a mileage distance of “unlimited”, my results came back with no matches. NO MATCHES. IN THE WHOLE UNITED STATES. It could have had something to do with a few of my answers. For example, the one that asked what my trust level is on a scale of 1 to 10. I think I put 2. I trusted my kids, so they each got a point. I really wasn’t upset, and in fact it humored me. But there must have been something in my voice when I called my friend. Or maybe she couldn’t imagine that a person could overcome such rejection, because she brought me flowers the next day.

This time around I must be pretty matchable, because there are more matches than a person could possibly consider. However, there are very few in Oregon. Even with that, there are many matches that would be a disaster from the get go. Like one who says, “Looking for Mrs. Right. A beautiful woman who takes care of herself and embraces life with enthusiasm and vitality.” And what happens when she stops taking care of herself because a crisis erupts in her life and she’s crippled with heartache over a child who is sick or has lost a job and can’t make the mortgage payments for his family of four? Or, “Looking for a woman who is able to pick up and leave at a moment’s notice and discover the world.” That’s a nice idea, and he’s a match for someone, but I don’t know how he got mixed in with my matches. I’d be like, “Sure! Let’s go. Can you mow the lawn first, spread the bark dust, and weed the back yard? Oh, and supplement my income?”

Yet… there are some that are just right. It’s too early to talk about him specifically. But I will tell you this: Dating is fun until you like someone. What I mean is that I enjoyed the two times I met someone (I call them meetings, because it’s not really a date). It was fun to go make conversation and see what happens. They were both good and seemingly quality men, but there was no chemistry. I can analyze that, but what’s the point? In time, they will likely meet someone with whom they do have chemistry. I’m big on chemistry. I feel like it starts with that. There are things that attract me to a person, and it’s not good or bad. Oil and water don’t mix, but oil and water are good by themselves. It’s not fair to dissect a person because after one date, I’m not “feelin’ it.” It’s two people coming together that mix well. Then you move to other things, like values, life goals, etc. For me, his love for Jesus. However, that wasn’t always the case.

Then I connected with a third person. He lives in Washington, so meeting wasn’t easy. After a few days of online chat, we moved to the phone where suddenly I found two and three hours in a day to talk on the phone. In the evening, I stretched out on my couch and chemistry waves flowed through the phone as if he was closer to me than Winky who nestled into my thigh. We scheduled our first meeting: Valentine’s Day. During the two weeks of getting to know him by phone, and the anticipation of meeting him, was both fun and terrifying, because I liked him.

The plan was that he would come here (check 1). Suddenly everything needed attention. The extra five pounds that hung on since the holidays. Date clothes had to be found (like I found time to talk on the phone, I found time for shopping and money for clothes. I hate shopping, so I knew I was serious). I sent pics to friends of outfit combinations and I modeled outfits for one good friend and raided her closet. I got things in order that I’d put off. I shaved my legs. I cleaned up my yard from the winter ruins, and cleaned my house like I was hosting a party (of 1).

As the big day approached I vacillated between excitement and dread. Excitement if I liked him in person as much as I liked him on the phone, and dread that in person would be a disappointment, to either of us. On Valentine’s Day morning I prayed, “God, don’t let us cause each other pain.” I liked him too much for that. I didn’t want to be a source of pain, and I also didn’t want to be the subject of it. I continue to ask God to lead me and us. My prayer was also, that God’s will be done. I don’t necessarily believe that God appoints someone for us. I’m not saying he doesn’t, but I am confident that God has given me the ability to make my own decisions, and when I’m in communion with him, he will guide me.  God wants what is best for me, so I am doing my best to allow the relationship to develop without force, manipulation, or fear. It’s still early and good things take time, also something that wasn’t always the case.

Our Valentine’s date was awesome. It lasted for two days (not nights), and we continue to talk. That’s all the time I have now. I’ve got to get to work, and save time for an hour or so of phone time tonight. Our phone time has slowed down, thank goodness. So I got to write a post!





Facebook Banner: by Machele Brass

Today I’m off to my favorite place: the beach. I get to combine work and pleasure, and am so very grateful for the two things coming together. To top if off, a friend is coming with.

I really wanted to bring a friend, and marveled at how determined I was to have someone with me. In the past I would relish a weekend at the beach alone. Last year I spent several of my summer vacation days alone and didn’t think I could get enough of it. I’m here to tell you, that if you are a people person like myself, you learn that neither extreme is good long term.

Loneliness, which I had rarely felt, is a new adversary. I know I mentioned before that when I worked FT, I longed to be left alone for a moment or two. Within the first week of working from home I discovered that a moment or two was what I wanted, not moments that never seemed to end!

Right away I discovered how easily distracted I was when a friend contacted me. Previously, work demanded that I put off friends who wanted to make contact during the work day. Suddenly my demands weren’t quite demands, but aspirations, and they seem more amendable to interruptions. Especially when loneliness prevails.

Intention is always our friend (coming from a pragmatic person), and it’s my weapon in this battle. Bills are my motivator: the house that I want to keep, the vacations I want to take, manicures, and everything in between. Aspirations that birthed this journey are flexibility and financial security. My behaviors have to support those two goals.

So I get out of bed in the morning, even though I understand, possibly for the first time, how dark clouds and pelting rain can affect the spirit. I set time goals to work before I allow distractions to win, and then I eagerly connect with a friend, or sometimes, anything that gives life (Winky, nature, a walk, an errand, an EHarmony check) to fill me up for the next few hours of work.

My notable accomplishments to date:

  1. Website is established
  2. I added a blog to it
  3. Sent out a mass email/slow mail announcement for Juggle Source
  4. Created a Facebook page

Those are/were all challenges for me. I have/had no idea what I am/was doing. The growing pains are real. Frustrations of how to post successful pictures on different social media platforms, liability insurance for a business like Juggle Source stumped even insurance brokers, bookkeeping management… Everything is new and often elusive. There isn’t enough gratitude for friends who help with resources and listen to me while I contemplate out loud. If learning new things keep us young, Fifty Nine is the new 20!

Now what?

I wait. No, I do not wait! But sincerely, what? The foundation is looking good. Now I pursue opportunities with friends, acquaintances, and business peers to communicate my service and pray that the Lord blesses this effort!

EHarmony update next.

Photo by Olivier Collet on Unsplash

When someone is as public as Kobe Bryant, we feel connected to him. Not knowing him personally doesn’t seem to matter, because publicly he stood for things to which we all can relate, or if we can’t, we want to. He was a competitor, he pursued and expected excellence, he was self aware and in retiring, he was decisive. Above all, he was a husband and father, and it appears he put as much energy into that as he did everything else. He proudly proclaimed his family man status, and “girl dad” privileges. Whether we have a dad, lost ours, or never knew ours, we understand the impact of a good father and husband.

Photo by Tina Bo on Unsplash

A good father and husband can strengthen, encourage, comfort and heal. His presence nourishes his family like the early morning dew that revives and energizes possibilities of a new day. In Kobe’s sudden departure, we see the beauty of those two roles and his example encourages us to embrace them when we have the opportunity. We can also imagine the unbearable pain of his absence. It’s the same pain we all feel when we lose a husband and a father, and for many, that is also relatable.

Kobe was a hero in our world, and in his family. It’s hard to lose a hero, but it’s not too late to be one. Thank you, Kobe.

With excitement, a queasy stomach, and overflowing appreciation to the friends who have provided me with thoughtful feedback and a critical eye, I bring to you: Juggle Source. Nothing would be possible without God and his never ending encouragement. His word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. It has carried me through every valley and up every hill. I could not be more grateful to him.

Logo design by: Machele Brass. Her logo was exactly what I wanted in the one sentence I gave her: “I’m leaning towards a 50s look, but clean and sophisticated.” It’s driven every design aspect, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Thank you, Machele!