Do you have a fear wagon?

I’ve been perusing websites lately, mostly ones that I find inspirational or self-empowering.  They all seem to have one thing in common.  They want to help you, help yourself.  This can be anything from attaining peace of mind, starting a small business, or in my case, conquering my fears. 

Matt Koenig wrote a guest post recently on my son, Sean Ogle’s, blog, Location180.  In it, he mentions being “paralyzed by fear.”  I can so relate to this.  I can’t tell you how many books, blogs, magazine articles and fortune cookies I’ve read on this subject.  I read all the tips and strategies to help overcome it, but the big bad wagon train of fear, circles around my brain and holds me captive.

Now there are different types of fear wagons.  Some are uncovered and exposed for all to see.  These would be the ones without the canvas on them.  This is the type of fear you have when you are actually thinking about doing something stupid, i.e. dangerous.  Cliff diving, alligator wrestling, skating on thin ice, okay I ran out of examples, but you get the point.  You are intentionally putting yourself in a dangerous situation.  It doesn’t matter if you are doing it on a dare, for money or just because you really are, stupid.  This type of fear is adrenalin based.  The closer to the event you get, the more your fear rises and then, whoosh~ it’s gone once you’ve done the idiotic deed.  I don’t really have this type of fear.  I’m a middle-aged, mundane, look both ways before you cross the street, chicken.  No stupid tricks for me.

Then there’s the fear wagon with the canvas on it.  This is a secret, hidden fear.  Maybe you’re afraid of spiders (arachnophobia) or speaking in public (glossophobia).  It’s something that someone might not necessarily know about you.  But then, with that being said, how often do we recognize fear, of any kind, in people?  Well those, less than smart (notice I didn’t say stupid this time, I’m working on being politically correct…) morons (oops) probably have fear written all over their faces, or running down their legs, before they wrastle that gator. 

My favorite type of fear wagon doesn’t even look like a wagon.  These are fears that you’ve probably never heard of, like, lachanophobia (fear of vegetables) or leukophobia (fear of the color white).  These wagons would be like elephants on roller skates.  You see it, but you don’t believe it.   Sorta like, I found it on a website, but not in the dictionary, fears.  Don’t hold me accountable.

So, all these fears are different from my type of fear.  Remember the paralyzing fear?  This wagon is made of stone, has square wheels, and is stuck in quicksand.  The all-consuming fear.  It wakes me in the middle of the night with questions like, “How am I going to support myself?  Where am I going to live when my house sells?  Who’s shoulder am I going to cry on when I’m trying to get my wagon out of the quicksand?”  No matter how many articles I read or bullet point tricks I try, when it comes down to it, I’m the only one that can help alleviate my fears.  It might be by checking out the local community college for career directions, looking on Craigslist for apartments or homes to rent, or calling AAA to get my wagon hitched back up to its giddyup.  It’s up to me to take those steps. 

And I’m doing it.  It might be with baby steps, but they’re steps nonetheless.  Plato once said, “Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” 

This would be me, in my little red Radio Flyer, trying to reconnect to the wagon train.

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Do you believe in Angels?

This is a story I’ve been wanting to write for a long time.  I just hope I do it justice.  It was an event that happened that reinforced my belief in angels.  I have no idea where you stand on this subject, but perhaps after reading this post, you will become more of a believer.

My story begins with my mother.  Each year at Christmas, my mother would drape our fake silver pom pom Christmas tree with dozens of twinklie lights and probably close to 500 ornaments.   My favorite ornaments were the plastic ones with the little piece of tin in the middle shaped somewhat like a pinwheel.  They were in pretty pastel colors, my favorite being pink, and to my child eyes, looked like little merry-go-rounds.  The absolute best part of these ornaments was when you hung them near a light, the heat would make the tin pinwheel spin.  Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, but to me, always mesmerizing.

My Mom died in 1997.  About five years later we moved my father to Eugene.  When cleaning out their home in preparation for the move, my brothers and I, either donated to charity or divided up, what my father didn’t take with him.  I wanted the twirly plastic pastel merry-go-rounds.  That, and my mom’s garlic press.  Those were the two items that would forever remind me of my mother.

So, every Christmas since, the twirly ornaments have graced my tree.  I think I have nine of them all together.  Until I got the tenth.  That’s where the second part of my story begins.

I want to preface this with saying I’ve never seen these ornaments in any store.  I’ve never seen them anywhere else, period.  The ones I have are close to fifty years old.  They are not fancy and if you could buy them today, they would probably cost $2.99 a dozen at Walmart.

The summer before my daughters’ final year in high school, we were gearing up for senior portraits.  Some parents spent close to a thousand dollars on these photos.  Being newly separated, and having two girls to buy portraits for, money was tight.  I chose to go with a photography studio in town that was known for taking the local children’s sports team photos.  They were no where near the best, but they were affordable and did a great job on my son’s senior pictures.  Nevertheless, I was worried that the photos wouldn’t turn out.  I really lost sleep over this.  I know it seems silly, but senior pictures are important, especially to girls.  Well, you get what you pay for.  Some of the girls’ photos were just awful.  I was beyond upset.  I’m not an “in your face” kinda gal but I mustered up enough courage to ask that they be retaken.  To their credit, they obliged.

Now that my fears had come to fruition, I was really worried about the re-takes.  What about, if they too, were awful?  More lost sleep.  Something you should know about me, is when I get agitated about something, I tend to let it consume me.  It’s all I can think about.  With my divorce coming, tight finances and the botched pictures, I was a basket case.  When this happens, I ask for signs of guidance.  From the angels, from God, from my mother, who must be in heaven watching over her only daughter.  Sometimes I recognize the signs, sometimes I don’t, but more often than not, I see something little that reassures me, my prayers are being heard.

The night before the re-takes were scheduled, I asked for such a sign, something that would let me know everything would be alright.

The next morning, my daughters and I went to the scheduled re-take appointment.  It was in a lovely park-like setting.  There, alongside the wooded and grassy areas, was a beautiful river.  A perfect spot for taking outdoor photos.  The area seemed virtually empty, we had it all to ourselves.  I didn’t want to linger and hover about, making my girls nervous, so I decided to take a walk and view the river.  There was a viewing platform with a wooden rail that jutted out over the water.  As I walked up to the platform, I noticed something perched on the top rail.  As I’m writing this, I’m still amazed at what I found.  There, sitting all by itself, was a beautiful blue pastel twirly Christmas ornament.  Exactly like the nine others I had packed away at home.  Only this one was sitting in a pink and white needle point box.  My sign.  Gift wrapped in my favorite color.  Waiting for me to find it, to tell me, every thing would be alright.

Thanks Mom.

The girls senior portraits turned out beautiful, but then you could probably guess that.

If you have any stories with divine intervention and would like to share them with me, you can email me at,  Or post a comment and share it with my readers.

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How are you holding up?

Continue reading

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What do you really want to do?

My son recently sent me a link to a USA Today article entitled, “For Some, Hard Times Are a Gateway to New Careers.” I think he was gently trying to nudge me out of my funk, to help me stop feeling sorry for myself and to think about what I’d really like to do with the rest of my life.  Of course, that’s my interpretation of it.  Sean’s gift is he’s an eternal optimist.  My gift is that I can read what people are thinking.  Or so I think I can.

I haven’t shared too much of my story, and I won’t go into it at length here, except to say that seven years ago I unexpectedly found myself in a position where my secure life was not so secure anymore.  My marriage was ending, my financial parachute was gradually dwindling and I was informed that I needed to figure out how to support myself.  Wah.

I’ve been in denial for those seven years.  I didn’t want to think about it.  It was too painful.  I was too scared.  My self-esteem was non-existent, excuse after excuse.  I liked my life as a part-time massage therapist, mom and tennis player.   Okay, that last description was how my daughter described her Mom when she was in kindergarten.  I realized right then that I had a pretty cushy life.  Everything had been provided for me.  My day consisted of playing tennis and deciding what to make for dinner. 

So fast forward again to this morning.  I’m reading this article about people who unexpectedly find themselves out of a job.  Instead of it being a negative, they turned it into a positive.  They went back to school and learned a new skill, they took chances and fulfilled their wildest entrepreneurial dreams. They became nurses, piano teachers and professional dog walkers.  Professional dog walking?  That’s a career?  Apparently, at least one person makes $75,000 a year at it.  That’s a lotta biscuits.

I currently have two jobs.  And they both make people very happy.  Problem is, they don’t necessarily make me very happy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being an LMT, but after ten years, my body is not loving it.  Too much kneading, knuckling and elbowing.  Ouch.  So, last summer I started another little business.  I invested in vending machines.  Quarter vending machines to be exact.  I know what you are thinking… Loserville.  Well, not exactly.  I own fourteen machines and have some very lucrative placements.  It’s true what they say about location being everything.  So, I’m a candy maven.  And nuts.  And small toys unsuitable for ages under 3.  Please children, listen up!  Do not choke on your superball or tiny little jesus ring.  I can’t afford a lawsuit.

These jobs are wonderful, but they are not supporting me.  Especially in the lifestyle I want to be accustomed to.  But for now I’d settle for enough moolah to pay for room, board and a nice place for my dog and I to play fetch.  Which brings me back to the point of the article.  What would I really like to do for a living? Who would that person be?  I’ve thought long and hard about it.  Don’t you dare laugh at what I’m about to say.  In my heart of hearts, my wildest dreams, I would like to be Dave Barry.  Ok, I sorta like being female, so let’s say Erma Bombeck.  Remember her?  Only the greatest humorist that ever graced the written page.  I loved her.  She had the perfect ability to tell a story, with a point and a chuckle.

Well, I am a realist.  I’m probably not going to make much money writing.  Notice I said make much money.  I’m holding out that someday, somewhere, somehow, I might become a published writer.  I actually have a bet with my son, Sean.  We made it a couple of years ago.   The first one of us to get published, in print, and get paid for it wins and has to take the other to dinner at the establishment of their choice.  Blogs don’t count.  Online magazines don’t count.  It has to be something you can pick up and read.  Book, magazine, coaster, whatever.  You must get paid.

This post really hasn’t dealt too much with what I’m actually going to end up doing to support myself, more with dreams that I have to be able to support myself.  In the meantime, I’m going to try to improve my writing skills.  I’ve signed up for a community college class titled, “Writing Funny Memoirs.”  I’m going to try to improve my storytelling.  To make an impact on my readers and maybe, just maybe, elicit a chuckle or two.  Stay tuned.

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Go ahead, make someone’s day.

It’s so easy to make someone’s day.  Grace them with a smile, a word of praise, or a comment on their blog.

If you happened to read my last post,  “Do blog stats rule your world?” you might remember I was asking for comments.  I wanted some tiny little indication that someone out in the blogosphere was reading my posts.  I’m happy to report the “asking” served it’s purpose.  Within 5 minutes of posting, I received two comments!  I was so happy, thrilled to no measure, a Cheshire cat grin was pasted on my face.  People commented, they liked me! They made my day.  Or so I thought.

I had convinced myself that I was being heard, people were finding my blog and taking the time to comment.  I had proven my son, Sean, wrong.   He who said, I probably wouldn’t get any comments.  He who said, not to be discouraged.  He who had actually tweeted his followers,  “Please post a comment on my Mom’s blog.”  Busted.  I don’t subscribe to twitter, so I’m sure he thought his secret was safe.  I can hear him saying to himself,  “She won’t find out that I actually asked my followers to comment…”

Somehow, I was deflated.  But then I thought, what’s the difference if I ask or he asks?  Well, he has followers.  But what I came to realize, and now in my fourth paragraph I’m finally making my point, is that he was trying to make my day.  It took him less than 5 minutes.  It didn’t cost him anything.  The small effort that he put forth, gave me two days of pleasure.  The short-lived disappointment I had from his tweet, melted away when I realized that this person, my son, was just trying to make his mom happy from halfway across the world.  And he did.  And so did his followers that commented.

I want to add, that I also had comments from people who didn’t know my son.  People who took less than 5 minutes out of their day, to read my words and reach out to me and put that Cheshire grin back on my face.

Have you got a spare 5 minutes?  Go ahead, make someone’s day.  The simplest of things can often be the best, a smile, a hug, a word of encouragement, or a comment on their blog.  🙂

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Do blog stats rule your world?

My new blog is just over two weeks old.  An infant.  A newborn.  I wonder at times, if it isn’t a  premature baby.  Have I launched my creative outlet too soon?  If you go on the premise that I’m writing just for myself, then who cares, right?  It’s for my own pleasure and development, my own amusement.  Or is it?  If that were the case, I could write my blog out as a personal journal or diary, where no one would read it but me.  But, I do want people to read it.  I haven’t quite figured out why this is yet.  I’m either looking for rejection or mountains of praise.  Or just validation that I’m trying to be creative.

As of this point, I bet I know a full 12% of what my WordPress blog is capable of doing for me.  I know how to create a new post, edit the post, post the post.  I haven’t figured out how to upload photos yet or create a personal theme, but I did find the “Blog Stats” page.  This was a mistake.  This is where the “rejection” or “mountains of praise” come into play, not to mention turning your psyche into mashed potatoes.

After four days, I had 17 visits to my blog.  What the ?  How did they find me?  To my knowledge, there were only two people who knew about the site.  My son and moi.  Let’s say he was responsible for three of the visits, which I think is being overly generous on my part, as he’s told me over and over, he’s a waaaaay busy person, he wouldn’t have too much extra time to check in on Mom and her silly meanderings.

Then I found the part of the Stats page that said, “Referrers.”  I’m guessing this was where the readers were coming from.  Two were from my son’s successful blog at  Thank you whoever you are.  The others are coming from such sites as, pleasefreeinfo.blogspot and my favorite, bestpaidsurvey.yabadaba-doo.  Sounds like a site Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble own.  It makes me a bit leery of where my posts are landing out there in cyberville.  I suppose some people might be coming from sites I have posted on, but seriously, yabadaba-doo?  As best I can recall, I haven’t been on Fred’s site. 

At two weeks and counting old, I’m patiently waiting for my first real comment on my blog.  I’ve only had three, two of them were from my son and the other was from his friend, Tate.  And where I appreciated them, they weren’t real, honest to God readers.  As of this posting, I’ve had 105 visits to my site.  Other than the two mentioned, not one comment.  I’m trying not to take this personally.  I realize I’m a baby blogger, a newbie, apparently a person with uninteresting things to say.  One of the books on blogging I’m reading says to ask for comments.  Okay, so here goes.  Please post a comment.  Be nice, keep it clean and remember my psyche made of mashed potatoes.  Even an “I read your blog and have nothing to comment,”  would be a minor victory.  Please give me a legitimate reason to be checking my blog stats page twenty times a day.

So, who wants to be the first?  Everybody desires to be first at something.  Now’s your chance.  :o)

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The World Series of Poker…

This is one of those “bucket list” items that you dream about. Playing in the World Series of Poker.  The Vegas lights, the cast of characters, the professionals and the amateurs, or as I like to refer to them, the….

Sharks and Fish 

Two kinds of players in poker you see,

“Sharks” and “Fish” said the man with glee,

I’m the former, he said with a grin,

You’d be the latter ~ so, let’s begin.


A compliment he gave to me,

When’st called a fish from the beautiful sea.

But soon I saw by his devious look,

He planned to fleece me, bait and hook.


He won the first pot and deftly so,

I watched as my chips were dwindling low.

A winning hand I’d seldom seen,

This little fish must swim upstream.


It started benignly, a card here or there,

Luck was a changin’,  twas in the air.

I won a round, then two, then three,

Others dropped out, was just the Shark and me.


Last hand was dealt, winner take all,

I raised, he raised, and then the Call.

Five pretty red ones he said to me,

He was right, diamonds they’d be.


Victory certain, he was sure he’d won,

After all, she’s a little fish, she must be done.

“Show me your cards, see that you’re beat,

Come on, let the Big Dog eat!”


“Not so fast”, I said with a look,

“Full House beats a Flush in anyone’s book.”

Beginner’s luck, or just a lark~

Guess what?  You’d be the Fish and I’d be the shark.

Yes, if I had a “bucket list,”  playing in the World Series of Poker would definitely be on it.  Guess I should work on that, and maybe start with buying a deck of cards and learning how to play poker…. 


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