Donna's Blog

Don’t Hold Your Applause!

My early morning minutes are usually spent silently correcting everyone’s grammar on Facebook and not so silently correcting news anchors’ grammar on television. Quite a bit of eye rolling occurs during those times with only Harper as my witness. Eye-rolling is all I have left of my teaching career, so I was thrilled when I was invited to work with a high school class of seniors working on college essays. While I looked forward to teaching a mini-lesson, I was

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Cape Power

Whether it is Egyptian or Turkish cotton, linen, rayon, terry cloth, 300 or 900 GSM (grams per square meter), a towel has the power to transform a child into a superhero. The common boring adult sees an adorable four-year-old running around the house with a towel flapping in the breeze, but the towel-wearing child sees the earth beneath his feet, the clouds at his shoulders, and an evil villain straight ahead. Sadly, there are chronologically classified adults who still think

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The Beauty of Change

Any type of change can be difficult, painful, uncomfortable: loss of a loved one, a move, a new job, a change in a relationship, a medical diagnosis. This morning, however, I am reflecting on changes that accompany the process of growing old which is difficult, painful, uncomfortable. I’m now buying concealer in bulk; soon a semi will be backing into my driveway for the delivery. Any product that says “rejuvenating” is my friend, and my hairdresser, Kim, and I are

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Intentional Widow – A Short Story

“Hey! You’re kind of cute!” I jerked my head towards the voice in the left lane. The driver of the silver Corvette convertible winked as soon as our eyes met. A second later, the light turned green, and he took off. The car behind me honked impatiently, so I closed my mouth and stepped on the accelerator. Within seconds, my red Pontiac Sunbird was pulling up beside the very handsome, stop-light-pick-up-line man at the next intersection. “Are you following me?”

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The Power of a Lullaby

Our middle child had a rough infancy. Our nights and my days were filled with trying to soothe him; he had colic in the worst way. I remember holding and rocking him at 3:00 a.m., not yet having been to bed. He was squirming and crying, and I was in tears, not knowing what to do. I then began singing “There’s Just Something About that Name” hoping the song’s “something” was peace and quiet! He kept crying, but the words

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Checkered Flag Only

Sometimes the mountain of negatives obscures my view of the positives, whether I am just trying to cook a meal, clean up the dog hair, or survive another day. I know that a lot of people have that same struggle. Lately, I have realized that while I tell myself I have the checkered flag as my goal – to finish my race with dignity, grace, and strength – I have been holding the white surrender flag behind my back, ready

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Well That’s Awkward!

My most embarrassing moment occurred when my children were very small while my husband was working to grow a church in a small community. There was a large room with a separate entrance at one end of our house; the small congregation used that room for services. Sunday School (boy, that’s an outdated term!) classes were held in our living room and even in our laundry room. My housekeeping skills were under scrutiny! The back part of our house, however,

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Measuring Up

Here in the Rhodes’ home, we are in the third month of our three-week renovation project.  During this project, there have been a few times when I was on one end of a tape measure: not my favorite place to be. Who has time to count all those little lines and figure out fractions? Why isn’t “a little past 31 and a half inches” good enough? Admittedly, sharing the tape measure is not part of our marital highlights. Cooking isn’t

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Family Dinner

Last evening was a mid-week, no-occasion, family dinner. Mother-in-law made a delicious lasagna, daughter-in-law made a fresh, tasty salad, and I made some bread and a dessert. Two little boys were also here. They brought the giggles and kept us all on our toes. Life doesn’t get much better. The dinner discussion was quite interesting, and I thought I would share it with you. I’m sure you have had similar discussions at your family dinners. “I don’t like lasagna!” “This

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Silent Music

The concert hall was packed. The largest orchestra ever was assembled on the stage and two young vocalists nervously awaited the moment in which they would begin to sing. The conductor stood on the rostrum with his baton poised in the air. All eyes on the baton, the orchestra began playing at just the right moment. Once they made their way through the first two measures, their attention fell to another conductor standing behind the one on the conductor’s platform.

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Sometimes You Just Have to Fling a Pig

One of my favorite yet most-likely untrue stories from touring France is that of the city of Carcassonne. While this walled city is fascinating in and of itself, the legend behind all the pig memorabilia is worth pondering. Lady Carcas paced in her room, hands clasping each other behind her back. She had seen her husband do this numerous times when faced with an important decision as the highest official in the city. Since his death, she was now in

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The Art of Being Right

I had simply told my sister what I had heard our mother say she was cooking for dinner. Next thing I knew, my wrists were pinned to the floor, and my spine was chiseling its way into the hard linoleum. The weight on my chest as well as the onion-laden breath in my face made it difficult to breathe. . . That memory popped into my head as I was scrolling through Facebook and noticed an advertisement for a notebook

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Breaking the Sound Barrier

Yesterday, I took two drives through the country with my mother-in-law to our hair stylist. Only one trip was planned, but it seems we somehow showed up to our hair appointments four hours early the first time. I’m sad to report that I was the one who put the wrong time in the shared calendar. On our second trip back home with our hair looking good, we were honored with a small air show because some jets were practicing for

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Perpignan vs Hairy Underarms

I was alone on a train in a foreign country. The clacking of the rails and rocking of the train car would have normally put me to sleep. However, I was surrounded by strangers who mostly spoke Spanish, not French. I have no problem telling you that this small town farm girl felt very alone on that train. After about an hour and a half, the train pulled into La Gare de Perpignan, and I stepped into one of the

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That’s What Dads Do

My dad was a farmer. His specialties were corn, soybeans, wheat, and pigs, but most of my memories revolve around the pigs. West of the house, across two fields, was “The Other Place.” That’s what we called it because we were very creative back then. There were a few grain bins, a large shed, and the “hog operation.” I have no idea why it was called “operation” because that was confusing for me as a little girl. I always imagined

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Throw the Pie Crust

I remember well the kitchen in our South Milwaukee parsonage. There was not a lot of counter space, but there was enough. The day had arrived when I decided I was going to master making pie crust. Every time I used a store-bought crust, the weight of failure attached itself to my leg as I carried the pie to my guests. For years, I had watched my mom conjure a pie crust; she simply threw some flour, Crisco, salt, and

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Through the Fire

When I was little and would get a splinter, my mom would grab a needle. As the terror grew in my heart, I would watch her light a match and hold the needle in the flame for a bit. After the needle cooled, then she would begin gently digging for the splinter. She explained that the flame killed any bacteria on the needle. Everything that would cause me harm, except the sharp point, had been eradicated. The fire had purified

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Thermostat or Thermometer?

According to smart-energy.com, 75% of couples argue over where to set the thermostat. While my husband and I have come to terms with this dilemma after 41 years, I still struggle with other people’s thermostat choices. But, hey, if they want to set their thermostat at subzero temps, more power to them! The thermostat determines the temperature in the room. I know that is earth shattering info for you, but I wanted to clarify that before continuing. In our first

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They “Took the Bullet” for Me

Do you have someone in your life who would “take a bullet for you”? When describing a special friend, my students would sometimes use that phrase. It indicates that one person would volunteer to experience the pain of being shot and even dying to protect another. That’s how I feel about our veterans who have lost their lives serving my country. They didn’t know me, but I enjoy many freedoms because of their sacrifice, not just of time, talent, or

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Beauticians to Babies Anonymous Response

Below is a response from a reader who wants to remain anonymous but would also like his message to be tagged onto the last blog entry, “Beauticians to Babies.”  Please be sensitive and tactful if you choose to respond to this person. ~Donna My deepest, darkest secret is portrayed in this blog entry. The number of years that have passed since I agreed to and even recommended my girlfriend get an abortion have not diminished the pain I feel from

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