Am I Ever Good Enough

There are moments in my life when I question the value of my attempts at achievement or accomplishment, although I know in my heart that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. I still doubt.

Continue reading Am I Ever Good Enough

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Valentine – Be Mine

Overcast. Heavy gray clouds hang over Denver this morning with a crest of clear skies just beneath the edge of heavy snow weighted clouds.

Yesterday I drove west down Belleview Avenue and enjoyed the colored variations of the mountains rising in the distance. Magnificent. The only word they bring to mind, the majestic Rockies rising out of the valley to the skies, covered in pines and holding tight to the snow caps.

Nothing in my world says romance like the mountains. I love the crisp mountain air, the fresh provocative views of trees with or without leaves, pines daring to reach the skies and more… anything I can see in the mountains reminds me of the glorious feeling of being loved.

So, the trick to being my Valentine, is the mountains. Of course, there are many more parts to that trick… and those you’ll have to learn by getting to know me better. But for this moment, let it be known that if there’s a Valentine out there that would like to be mine… I’m available. :0

Living the Good Life

As provocative as it may sound, that suddenly took on new meaning over the past many hours. While I attempt to proceed in my life with some sort of understanding over the events of the past three weeks, the shock of realization brings to mind a commercial, where the strike phrase is… “I’ve looked over a lot of bodies and none of them have had an expiration date.”

Expiration, death, dark angels, end of life, all catch phrases for the same stupid awful change that comes after we’ve experienced the glory of God’s wonderful creation for a time, sometimes a short time… But for a time. With the beginning comes the end… I get that.

As my grandfather slipped away, those final years, I remember hearing him say, “I’m ready to meet Jesus.” The knowing that his days were numbered, and only God knew that number gave him a grace that is not totally uncommon. He never said he was comfortable with the process, just that he was ready for the end result. And, I know he wasn’t ready to leave Grandma. That was the catch 22 that left him holding on, those last few hours… The woman he’d loved for a lifetime, stood beside him, along with a daughter who had spent her life caring.

Those moments, on Christmas morning flew by in a flash. There were no long good byes. He’d had no warning. Life was there, then it was gone.

The next many years, Grandma missed him, but carried on without him. Her life filled up with times and places, people and things, but she never stopped longing for him. In those last weeks, I remember hearing her say, “I’m ready to meet Jesus. I miss Daddy (her nickname for Granddad), and it’s time to go home.” I knew she wasn’t talking about the rickety little house at 504 N. 11th. She had a better home, on a golden shore far away, where Granddad and Jesus were waiting for her. She was ready to go.

I heard the angels singing in that last sweet breath she took, as she drifted into the heavens and the arms of her true love. There was no greater joy or contentment on any woman’s face as she escaped the confines of earth and her tired body, and entered those Pearly Gates of Glory. Sweet blessed peace enveloped the room as the harps played out songs of welcome laced with the love of one of God’s children making her way into heaven.

Now, as an adult – I look back on those memories of childhood and young adulthood knowing that life has come full circle again. There may be no expiration date, but there’s a time to live…

The beating heart of another waits for that precious moment when she will see the face of God, hear heaven’s trumpet calling and witness the voice of angels singing and harps strumming out the delicate tremors of love’s embrace. Implications by Doctors are that they know when the time has come, but as one who has witnessed the passing of many – the realization that none here knows the time, nor the hour has become abundantly clear. The moment in time when each of us faces our maker isn’t set by a Doctor’s diagnosis, the rudimentary procedures of medicine, nor the educated guesses of those left behind.

As the treasures of earth part from the holdings, we begin to understand that life has no boundaries, there is no expiration date. Time does not draw nye unto the end of our road, but rather the passing of time becomes that of precious hours presumably living for the moment at which we will understand with great joy our passing into eternity.

Salvation and our walk with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit become the center of our existence and we understand that it’s not the hour, but rather the power that transforms us into His chosen. If we haven’t found His glory, in those final hours our search is bolder, more intense and stronger, but yet… also more sensitive to His voice and His calling. We hear Him, in those final hours – however long they may be.

We learn to love and forgive, understanding that we might not have another single moment in which to care, worry or share our feelings with others. We learn to live the good life, without further concern over the trials and struggles of life that have no longer any hold over us.

It means nothing, to know how much or how little is left of time or money. Only what’s held in our heart matters. The treasures we’ve laid up in heaven will be the only treasures that carry meaning in those last hours – hearts, lives and loved ones. The rest is left untended.

The search is on…

To know what is meant by living the good life. I don’t know how much I’ll be posting here, but it may be a lot of thoughts about the passing of time and the motion required to move from this life into the next. The joy of living the good life… .shared.

Coming Home After Vacation

The return home after vacation often includes counting pennies and making ends meet whether you want to or not. The deal breaker comes when you traveled on borrowed money. There’s the big kahoona that doesn’t quite fit. If you traveled on plastic, arriving home means you’ve got bills to pay and there’s no rest at all from your trip. You’ve got to get right back to work, moving toward payment of those cards, and saving up for another trip isn’t even a remote option.

So, what’s a girl to do…

Mom 4 Business - Mom's working from home Rock!

Toss the cards before the trip.

Yup, that’s the solution. Don’t use plastic. The agreement when we left was, we’re not using plastic unless it’s the last option – as in the VERY LAST OPTION – and it’s gotta be an absolute emergency before we pull out the plastic.

Well, we didn’t find any of those emergencies in our pocket. We had a great trip with no problems and financially – well, we arrived home with a little cash left over and no NEW debt. That’s thanks to great planning and the ability to pinch a nickel until the Indian screamed and the buffalo – er… well… you’ve probably heard it before. We did manage to get home with a few of those super pinched nickels.

Scentsy Candles by Sharon Arns

And on the way, we did a few other things… Like sell some ads on our home page here, to make a few extra bucks. If you’d be so kind as to click on these ads and buy something from the sites in order to help us pay for the trip NEXT year, we’d appreciate your assistance. If not, I just want you to know that we’ll still manage to go, because we know how to pinch those nickels.

The best part is, we found ways to earn on the trip. Which I’ll be talking about in the near future, because it’s really awesome information that you might be able to use too. I’ll probably even give you a tip or two before I quit today.

First off, I want to tell you… It was right back to work, before I even arrived home after vacation. There’s truly no rest for the wicked, and I’ve been told I was plenty ‘wicked’ as a child. I must have been, because there’s been no rest. Even on the trip, there wasn’t many hours of rest. I couldn’t get over how much work it is, just to drive across country. Although – it was a total blast of fun (and I’ll be sharing photos very soon).

Coffee Clatter

Our favorite stops included coffee shops along the way. From the iced coffees in Missouri to the hot espresso in Tennessee. Did you know that Tennessee coffee shops don’t have latte? Well, some may, but the back woods cafe where we had breakfast simply said, “We have hot coffee or cold coffee, you add the cream and sugar.” AHEM.

Definitely, check your coffee drinking etiquette before traveling.

Then there’s the sweet tea thang in the southern states. ER HERUMPH I prefer unsweetened tea, thank you. After all, when I add the sugar, I know how many calories I’m adding, but when you add it, my butt cheeks are at the mercy of your measuring cup. Have you ever noticed there are no calorie counts on those sweet tea cups?

But, then there’s the A&W Root Beer taps… Oh, my gosh, that stuff is good. Yeah, sweetie, I know it’s got more sugar than a cup of sweet tea, but heaven help me, I felt like a five year old dragging my tongue around the frozen edge of that root beer mug. Can I get a refill with a new frozen mug? Oh, wow! That was practically orgasmic pleasure. I’m tellin’ ya. It was better than the Orgasmic Mocha Brownies I used to crave. Gotta love Root Beer from a tap in a frozen mug. YUM.

So, if you’re wondering what happens on a vacation to Virginia Beach and back… um… just keep checking back, because I’ll be telling more and more details as the days go by… I really gotta get all the batteries charged and upload the pictures, soon.

Recovering Youth – The Exuberance of the Young

“Hello, my name is Jan Verhoeff and I’m recovering from youth.” My attendance at the Senior Center had been recognized and I was forced to join the twelve step program for the prevention of exuberance. No where in all my youth had I prepared for this experience. I had no clue from the many times I’d visited the Senior Center with my friends and family that there were so many rules about the Senior Center. Nor had I cared.

I mean… I read the signs that said no skateboarding. Those signs made sense and were understood. After all, someone might break a bone, but did you see the look on that lady’s face when I laughed at the knock knock jokes on the back of their daily program? Is humor not allowable in her either?

Later, I was caught playing with a toy on the counter and given a resounding slap to the fingers by a matronly woman of 55 as she walked past. I won’t forget her hand print in the near future. But the ultimate shame came when I was passing out the fliers for a speaking engagement I was supposed to do in the dining hall after lunch and an elderly woman gave me a “true looking over” when my fingers inadvertently touched her husband’s fingers. If I ever do that again, I’ll probably sprout horns and die the wretched death  of a frog on the highway. SPLAT!!

Mr. and Mrs. Young Exuberant NewlywedsThese  daring young adults dare to laugh and have a good time on a nearby lawn, enjoying the pleasant summer afternoon, long before the onset of winter, where snow days outnumber sunny afternoons and the grasses grow weathered and brown.

Dare we entertain exuberant youth in our communities, as the aging among us slip off toward the winters of life, when our youthful exuberance risks notification of a local senior authority? We must risk it all for the fun of a little good times in the sun, youth or the aging, take a risk. Have some fun!

The Writer in Me – A Journal of Survival

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with Oris George,  the back roads of yesterday guy who writes about mules and such stuff as comes about on those back roads where real folks rarely wonder. He mentioned something I’d written and said, “It’s really good. You ought to sell that.”

I went off half-cocked and wrote a query letter to a popular editor/publisher and ended up with a contract to… uh… sell that. What I’d actually written was little more than a title and a few paragraphs of plot, which could go many directions, but I chose to send it down the road of mystery/suspense where I rarely ever go. Not that there’s anything wrong with sitting on the edge of your chair turning pages one after another to get to the end of the book and find out if your hero survives, I just never wrote that stuff before.

So, sitting on my desk, in front of my face on any given morning is an acceptance of a story genre I’ve never written before. Thus far, I’ve gotten about 4500 words and it’s due in a few months, along with several other projects, jobs, and items of work type nature… In fact, the book is due on or about the same date as my third grandchild.

But that reference has nothing what-so-ever to do with the book, just a general concept of I’d better hurry, because I don’t want a looming deadline arriving with a baby due any minute. Babies don’t wait, and looming deadlines must be met.

And yet, here I sit stumbling over the words of the suspenseful novel, waiting inspiration beyond – it was a dark and gloomy night. It’s rather over used, droll, and… Sorry Ava, but… Rather Ava Betz-ish. It has been, often, one of her favorite comments when we start writing those suspenseful pieces in writer’s group, because she knows I’m going to dream up a thunderstorm. “The thunder rolls…” is one of my favorite starting lines for just about anything, because once I get the thunder rolling out of my way, I can get down to writing something of value.

It’s my white page, black-out. You know, those words that settle onto the page first, to remove the fear of white page addiction, which has been known to cause writer’s block in the fairest of writers. Once we’re addicted to the white page, we lack the sensibility to add words and get beyond our addiction. It’s a disease that has stumped many writer’s next books and prevented many Wurlitzer Prize winners from accomplishing their goals.

The psychosis of writing is much the same as the psychotic mania that spurs my hero into action in the thriller I’m currently writing. The desire to accomplish that which is irregular or unusual, while making a statement for humanity drives a strong pulse to continue. Where does the need to stop insanity come from in a sane world? Isn’t it normal to have moments of ridiculous tumultuous experience and a sense of crisis in each day of living?

So, what is so different from putting those thoughts and feelings into a book and calling it suspense and mystery? The doom and gloom of daily living is surely enough suspense to carry us through a thriller crime story filled to the brim with mayhem and chaos, right?

And yet… In a very literary sense, the book must go on.

After an intense conversation with my daughter (who has an incredible sense of knowledge about profiling) I found my weakness in writing to be at least half as great as the profile required to create a psychotic killer in my book. With that knowledge and at least five Sydney Sheldon’s sitting on the shelf, I’ve determined that I can do this. I will write this book, fulfill this contract and beat down the demons that keep saying that I can’t write this book. I can, I will and they can’t stop me!

News Today – Life in an Uproar

I just opened my eyes. The dark and stormy night had me bewitched into thinking I was sleeping. I realized when I opened my eyes that I’d merely been working horizontal. My body feels like I was lumber-jacking. I may have sounded like it last night too. I don’t know where the truck is that hit me last night, but somebody ought to stop that guy from driving.

It isn’t that I had a bad night, it’s this head cold that showed up about the time I arrived home from the Constitution Meeting last night. Speaking of Constitution, I’m thrilled at the response to the Constitution Meetings that are rising up in our community. I was shocked that there are so few women involved in the meeting. Nita and I decided if they try to take away our right to vote, we’ll stop bringing cookies. That should solve the problem of women’s rights!

I’m listening to the radio this morning, Eric Stone chatters up the War in Iraq, while Ty Harmon chips in with comments on Afghanistan. And the talk turns to a plane crash in Amsterdam.

Foreclosures are down in Colorado, already this year. Glaciers in Antarctica are melting faster than previously thought… Could the Arkansas River rise?

The question of the day.

“Will Jaws be a few feet closer to shore?” Eric Stone is highly concerned about the effect of the rising ocean waters on Southeastern Colorado.

And the pillow won. I gave up my blanket and my nice cozy bed, and I’m in here working while the pillow sleeps to prepare for tonight’s wrestling match.

Obama has promised a land of milk and honey, I don’t think I’m following him through Egypt.

The poles are melting and they expect Denver to be beach front property within two years, perhaps I’ll keep that house instead of selling. It’ll be worth more in two years. The world is a snowball on a down hill run, we’re gathering flakes and speeding up.

Jan Verhoeff

(Currently reporting the news as it happened on “Anything Goes” in Lamar, Colorado.)

Pat Palmer invites all to the Pitstop for a Thursday Taco.

Bad Hair Days – The Dire Necessity of Overcoming

It’s always the bad hair day that gets the blame, no matter what you accomplish in life, if you’ve had a mishap and failed at some stark necessity of living… You can blame it on a bad hair day.

Such was yesterday.

Dressed for success means fixing my hair – a bit more than just sweeping it off my face, behind my ear or into a ponytail (if it was long enough – which it isn’t right now). So, I showered and dried my hair in the usual way, upside down looking at my knee caps under the towel I wear wrapped and tucked for modesty in an empty bathroom. Okay, perhaps it’s because seeing myself in the miror might be shocking, but the mirror only comes to just below my shoulders, I think I’m safe. But, what if someone walks in?

It’s the weather. I’m certain of it, there must have been a storm coming in that cause my usually well behaved hair to go limp as a biscuit on Sunday afternoon. Seriously, who needs hair anyway? It’s just the covering for the top of your head and looks a bit disheveled unless you’re one of those fortunate few who have all the time perfectly behaving hair. Wait! I don’t know anyone like that.

So, the reality is… my hair misbehaves.

My son suggested I blame the wind. My mother, bless her heart, asked if I’d combed my hair – she’s one of those with perfectly behaving hair all the time women – sports a tube of VO5 and claims it works miracles. UGH! Greasy hair day — oh, definitely I’d rather have a bad hair day.

So, I ask myself, is having a bad hair day enough of an excuse to skip the day all together? Perhaps… I’m thinking I might. Then I realize… Life is going on without me. I can either stay home and bemoan a bad hair day, wishing I could be perfect like… ummm… someone else. Or, I can get out there and play the hand I’ve drawn, for better or worse and make the best of my day.

In the course of the bad hair day, I managed to attend a funeral and comfort friends, experienced the love of friends who said nothing at all about my hair, and inspired another friend with what may possibly be the funniest story he’s ever written. I can’t wait to see the publication.

And today, the wind has come up and is blowing off the shingles, so my hair won’t matter a bit.

Overcoming a bad hair day just simply means you got up and went at it again. Let me part my bangs so I can see where I’m headed today!

Burning Desire to Succeed – Writer Eulogies

For some really strange and weird reason, the thought of writing a biography errupted through the process of an interview yesterday with Danielle Simone. I’d been considering a biography, simply because there are things about my life that I believe my grandchildren (okay, I only have one now) might want to know at some point. Not because I’m a famous person or because I’m even someone who made a great impact on the planet, I believe I’ve left a relatively small footprint thus far, although, I’ve made a difference. But, rather because I’ve been an integral part of the lives of their parents.

Beyond my own grandchildren, there may be a few who would be interested in the life I’ve lived. Probably a few more who don’t give a rinky-dink about anything I have to say, anything I’ve accomplished, or anything that might have been caused by the fact that I raced time across planet earth, somewhere during the late 1900’s. To those folks, I can only say, you’ll never know what you’ve missed by not knowing me. To those who did know me, I’d want to thank you for making an impact on my life, for the breathless moments you shared with me, and for the breath taking moments we experienced together.

The real reason I’ve been thinking about a biography is that I have noticed successful writers have one that spills out the joy of writing and shares the purpose of their lives. Once joy and purpose are spilled out, success appears. A biography doesn’t have to be long or accomplished to be important, it can be simply a statement of joy and purpose. (I’ve been told, I’m redundant. I disagree.) I want mine to be an expression of the joy I’ve lived, the care and concern I’ve given others, and a gift of love that I can give back to my children and grandchildren.

An Epitat goes on the headstone, and mine should read “A blessing in word, deed, and seed. She has wonderful children.” Of course, it would be best if my ex-husband’s were not asked. I’m most certain they’d have a different epitat for me. Of course, I have a few blessed words for them as well, so if you don’t ask, I won’t tell.

The Eulogy is read after the demise, and most often written by the heirs of the demised (hopefully prior to the reading of the will). This short description of the dash between the years of birth and death leaves those behind with a view of a warm fuzzy person, caring and sharing, and often missed.

The biography, on the other hand, recognizes the importance of life before it is complete. Most often a Biography tells the story of how the person lived, the joy they gave to others, and the purpose of their life. A bio shares the philosophy and the concerns of the person and reveals the attempts at success as well as the achievements. But, more than anything else a biography does, the simple profound fact that a writer has a biography often implies the writer (or person) has accomplished something of value.

The value of a person’s accomplishments may be perceived differently from one person to another. Whether a writer offers great provisions and receives great awards may not be the only determination of value, but it probably has significant impact on their readers. At some point in life, I aspire to receive a pulitzer. The bigger goal is to write for people who read, to share the joy and the purpose of my life and to glean power and prestige for what is good and whole in life.

The Burning Desire to Succeed rests in my daily drive to complete my goal of loving more, giving freely, and sharing the most.