How I Knew My Husband was “The One”

Fourteen years ago today, I married the love of my life. Like everyone else, we’ve had our ups and downs, but looking back, we wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve had a lot of disagreements, discussions, and disappointments…but we’re also each other’s cheerleader, ‘go to’ person for advice, and at the end of the day, we’re best friends. Here’s the story of  how I knew it was the right move, and I never looked back.

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When Jimmy and I met, we lived 1,4oo miles apart. We spent a week together, and I left Missouri knowing that I would be putting the wheels in order to move back.

I was tired of the heat, the traffic, and the bright lights of the Big City. I wanted to live in a small town again, where you ran into people you knew in the store,  life moved at a slower pace, and if you need help, people are there.

I had become de-sensitized: fatality accidents were huge inconveniences that snarled traffic; billboards with girls’ behinds were such a familiar part of the landscape that we didn’t even notice them anymore. A homeless man lived behind our dumpster where I worked; two strip clubs were on the same street, we regularly had lunch or dinner at the neighborhood casinos, and it was just all part of a normal day in a large tourist city.

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I wanted to be offended again.

So to move back home, near where I grew up, solidly in the Bible belt, was a no-brainer.  I was already ready to leave. It was not a surprise to me.

Plus, it seemed that once Jimmy and I met, it was almost as if we had stepped on an escalator…things just kept falling into place. It was easy, and it was happening without any effort on our part.

Not everyone felt that way, however.

My friends and family were shocked. After all, I’d lived there for eleven years: at that time, it was a third of my lifetime.

What did I think I was doing, moving back home to be with someone I’d only just met?

Never mind that my parents basically did the same thing…this was different. I was their daughter. And the baby of the family.

The morning after one particularly painful discussion with my mother, I was on the freeway headed to work. I had about a 25-minute commute to the other side of town, plenty of time to think.

I was teary and fragile, struggling to keep myself together. Doubt had crept in.

I did the only thing I could do: I prayed.

“God, I really feel like this is the right thing to do, but everyone’s questioning me and I don’t know what to do. Please, help me! Give me a sign that what I’m doing is the right thing! I need a sign!”

(I’m a big believer in signs.You might have picked this up by now.)

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No sooner than I finished speaking, it dawned on me that the silence in my car was oppressive. I had been listening to a local country radio station, but suddenly, there was no music. Like, for several seconds.

Just dead air space.

Seconds went by.

Suddenly a Leann Rimes song came on the radio that I’d never heard before:

I’ve never been so certain
I’ve never been so sure.
We’re on the side of angels,
If we believe this love is pure.
Is it so hard to trust it,
‘Cause we’ve been wrong before?
There comes a time in every life,
We find the heart we’re waiting for.
After all the might-have-beens,
The close and distant calls
After all the try-agains,
Don’t be afraid to fall
We’re on the side of angels after all.
Every time you touch me,
Don’t you feel it too?
The gentle hand that’s guiding us
You to me, me to you
After all the might-have-beens,
The close and distant calls
After all the try-agains,
Don’t be afraid to fall
We’re on the side of angels after all.
Heaven only knows
Why this took so long
But only Heaven knows
A love is right or wrong
After all the might-have-beens,
The close and distant calls
After all the try-agains,
Don’t be afraid to fall
We’re on the side of angels,
On the side of angels,
On the side of angels, after all.
I felt like God was speaking directly to me. I burst into tears of joy, and relief.
And I never looked back. 🙂


My Goal for the New Year

SunriseI woke up this morning feeling like it was the dawn of a new day.

Well, it WAS the dawn of a new day, literally. But something was different about it. I felt different.

I don’t really make resolutions; I’m more of a big believer in setting goals and starting each new year with a Plan.

Think about it: would you start on a road trip without a map or GPS? Without goals or some sort of plan for the year, how do you know where you’re going or what you’re going to accomplish?

To me, the New Year is a time for reflections; to look back on the past year. Did I accomplish what I wanted? Was there something I needed to improve on? Did I need to make a change? Where did I see myself in the next year?

Marathon Sunset


Last year, I resolved to watch more sunsets. I was a strong starter, then trailed off…

When I was younger (and single and had only one dog and a 9-5 job) I would spend a significant amount of time (usually on New Year’s Eve itself) essentially saying goodbye to the past year and welcoming the new one. Now, of course, I don’t have the luxury of that time. It’s more of an ‘in the background” type of thing, in the back of my mind, with some pondering in my journal early in the mornings.

Several years ago, I read somewhere that at the first of the year, one should plan their time off ; otherwise, the year passes and suddenly you realize  the year has mostly gone by and you’ve not really done anything but work and go about the usual busyness of life.

It’s a sad but true fact that our tight schedules have forced us to plan our fun and have something to look forward to.

I just finished reading the book One Word That Will Change Your Life, by Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, and Jon Gordon. I saw the way I used to be in their words.

“There’s no question that it’s hard to break away from the busyness of life. It’s become the silent killer of our day.”

No Shirt, no shoes, COOL!

Earlier in January, I had made a list of my goals for the year. Just the simple act of writing down those goals always helps me make significant progress towards achievement, even if I never look at the goal again through the year. It was always sort of a fun exercise to review my goals at the end of the year and see where I was. Some years I do well, some not so well, depending on the circumstances happening in my life.

Sometimes I get discouraged, but I keep digging, because I believe God rewards those who persevere.

Over the last couple of years, I have really focused on trying to lead a more balanced life. To be present, to appreciate the small things (because they really are the big things), and to learn to embrace the emptiness rather than fill the time with manic activity.

I have always loved to read books, and a common thread of most of the people I admire who become really successful in their work and in life is that they always make time to read. I’m getting better at doing that.

Which led me to this book. Which has already made a profound difference.

We set ‘to do’ goals instead of ‘to be’ goals.’

Busyness is a disease that’s robbing us of life. It brings on stress and exhaustion, and it weights our hearts with anxiety so that we become numb and calloused to the most important things in life. Busyness throws us into survival mode and leaves no time for mission and meaning.”

Wow.  A truer statement has surely never been written.

This book spoke to me.


According to the proven process in this book, I should figure out just one simple word on which to would focus. It would become my ‘theme’ for the year.

As I went through the process outlined in the book to figure out what my word was, various words popped in my mind. But that was too easy, and too obvious.

And one thing I’ve learned in life is that the most obvious things are not usually where the answer lies. So I kept asking myself: What was holding me back from living my best life? What was keeping me from succeeding?

The answer was surprising. I realized I was already doing a lot of good things, a lot of the things I wanted to be doing.

The common factor that was holding me back in achieving the level of success I wanted was that I wasn’t doing them consistently. I would allow myself to get derailed from my vision or become influenced by other factors for one reason or another. I struggled with consistence.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you already know that. 😀

If I want to lose my last 20 pounds, I need to eat healthy consistently.

If I want to lead a more active life, I need to be more active consistently.

If I want to reduce the external forces that bring me down, I need to monitor my exposure to negativity consistently.

If I want to be more successful in my work, I need to be working at it consistently.

The Jim

If I want to lead a better life and find more joy in the small things, I need to embrace and appreciate the little things consistently.

Clearly, my word for 2014 is Consistence.

Isn’t it interesting what a difference one little word makes?

What kind of year will I have if I live a life of consistency? Time will tell…about 11 months, to be exact! 😀

Maggie’s Last Day

Our hearts are heavy tonight with the passing of Maggie (Magnolia Moose Pickle, AKA Magpie, Magda, Large Marge, Farticus, Stinky and Brutus Beefcake). Charra and Ekko are subdued, not quite knowing what to do with themselves. And neither do we. I write this post not to dwell on sad things or to make you, the reader, a part of our drama…but because there’s a larger message here that I think should be shared. And if you read my post about saying goodbye to our old friend and felt what we feel, or have ever lost a beloved pet, may this also bring you closure. And peace.

Maggie had a great last day.

It began much the same as any other day. Through this whole process, we have worked to keep her routine as normal as possible. Routine and consistency mean comfort and security for a dog. And so, our days passed quickly, one after the other, blending all together.

We had planned to take a short weekend getaway at Christmas, but opted to stay home and not subject Maggie to any change of scene or anything that she might find stressful. The last few weeks have been all about keeping everything calm, peaceful and comfortable.


She got me up by 6:30 this morning, much as any morning, whether I wanted to or not. 😉 After breakfast came a nice nap. It’s usually during this nap time that I go work out; today, however, I stayed home, not willing to miss a minute.

Nap time!

A little later in the morning, as I typically started my work day, it was time for her to ‘supervise’ from the dog bed behind the desk. Once she retired herself from going to work with Jimmy every day, she became more attached to me. She needed to be close to me, and would become anxious if I were out of her sight for long.


Most of her favorite people (whom she remembered) were with her today.

Dad came home once to spend some time with her, but he had competition: the housekeepers were here! Maggie adored Traci and Tiffani. They were always here on Thursdays.

Dad visit

It was ‘Donut Day!’

The donuts started as a bribe so she would let them in the house. Of course, they became fast friends. Especially when they brought donuts.

She barked for donuts.

I want donuts!

And she got the donuts.

She had a last walk with Traci, cruising around the yard. This was also a regular routine. As they walked, Maggie would check periodically to see if Traci was still walking with her.

Out for a walk

The day passed quickly.

I have learned that it is a tremendous blessing, almost an honor, really, to be at someone’s side when they pass from this life into the next. Sometimes I think death can be scary, because it’s something we don’t really know about until we’re there. (And it’s not like you can tell anybody about it once you’ve been there.)

But to be at someone’s side when they pass is an incredibly peaceful, special time. It’s almost as if the world stops, and becomes hushed for a minute, and the arms of heaven reach out to bring you comfort as they escort your loved one away. There’s no pain, no anxiety, no hurt.

With dad

I’ve also learned there are fates worse than death. To bring eternal peace and life to a suffering soul is a beautiful thing.

My mind began playing tricks on me last night; I was awake, restless, unable to sleep.

“Maybe we should just cancel this appointment. Maybe it’s too soon. Maybe we should wait.” After so much certainty, why was I suddenly uncertain, questioning our decision?

I did the only thing I knew to do at 3:00 a.m.: I prayed. I prayed for guidance, strength and peace.

And so it came.

I am a big believer in signs. I believe that if you look for them, the signs to guide you are there. You just have to learn how to read them. (Sometimes the universe has had to provide billboards in my case, but that’s another post for another day.)

We’d had signs we were doing the right thing, which comforted us about our decision. She had failed noticeably in the last week, falling multiple times a day. If we waited too much longer, we risked waiting until she broke a hip or leg. And then she would suffer.

She had been too good a friend to us and given us her best for almost 15 years. She deserved better from us. She deserved to have us protect her from suffering; she needed us to be the strength that she didn’t have.

The final sign was there this morning; she had an accident in the house and didn’t realize it until later. As she sniffed the paper towels in the trash, she looked at me, bewildered, as if to say, “Where did this come from? Was this me?”

It was time.

Jimmy came home in the early afternoon, and we all spent a quiet hour together in the den, in her usual spot. I was at the desk, and Jimmy sat on the floor with her. Her people were with her. She was content. Life was good.

The last picture

This is the last picture I took of her today, in that spot in the den.

About 5 minutes later, the vet arrived. While they got set up, I got her a “cookie” and she and Jimmy and I all went to a nice sunny dog bed in the living room. She ate the cookie (a jerky treat actually), and laid down on the bed between both of us. Soon, with the help of a sedative, she was in dreamland chasing groundhogs.

After everyone had left, it was quiet. Too quiet.

Jimmy asked me, “Well, what are we going to do now?”

“We’ll put one foot in front of the other,” I said. And so we will.