Archive for the ‘love’ Category


When it comes to relationships:

A man has one great desire….to desire his woman….

A woman has one great desire…to be desired by her man……

Sounds like a simple concept doesn’t it?

Controversial?  I can see how that could happen.

Not believed?  I can also see how that could come about.

But how about you give me a minute?  I think I have an answer to a mystery here, but you have to walk with me a few steps….

We tend as a species, to be slightly opposite from the animal kingdom (I say slightly because it is not always the case, but predominantly so).  In the animal kingdom, it is the male who usually performs the outlandish attention getting schemes and presents himself in all of his colorful and outrageous glory toward the targeted female.   Now it is God’s nature in this design remember that.  God’s nature.  He put all of himself in everything he created.

In the human species, however, it is the female who, however subtle and crafted, attracts the attention of her male counterparts.

Agreed, human males are also known to strut their stuff in various ways, i.e, that six figure job, that red sports car, those amazing physical skills.

But ascetically, it is the woman who tends to please the eye more (men are slightly more visual in nature than women are)

It is the woman who primps her hair (for hours on end)

It is the woman who buys the shapely and figure flattering fabrics.

It is the woman who falls smitten and embarrassingly pesky.

It is the woman who paints her face with outrageous tones.

It is the woman who plans from girlhood her wedding day to prince charming.

You get where I’m going……

So with this in mind, let’s just dance briefly through a typical courtship:

She displays her feathers in all of their glory (like the male peacock in the animal world).  He does a double take.  She persists, with phone calls and “unexpected” encounters (yes, I know we’re pitiful), or purposeful ignoring (yes, guys we do that too).  Her every purchase and every thought is done with his observance in mind.  Every clever thought, action, and kindness seems less rewarding without him there to impress.  She hangs on his every word, and aches when he isn’t around.  And an amazing thing happens…he feels all of these vibes and vibrates right back all of his amazingness into her world… and so is the enchantment of a love affair!

It’s how we are wired, the woman to be desired, the man to desire.  It’s how God designed us.

Want to know how I know?

Watch your relationship.  Are things a little dull?  The touching not so frequent?  The pizzazz seeming to wane at times?  When this happens we tend to blame each other:  He’s not making me feel like a woman.  He’s too brash, not attentive and taking me for granted.  She’s not giving me what I need, She used to be so sexy and so admiring of me, she doesn’t back me up.

Here’s the deal.  Why did it stop?  (talking to the ladies now)….When did you stop feeling sexy? Desirable?  Did you know you can’t get into romance or sex if you don’t feel sexy?  It’s true!  Women have to feel sexy, desirable, and brilliant (there is a whole lot more to being desirable than looks by the way) –  measuring up to her own standards first!  Desirable, not just to her mate, but to everyone else (Of course only your mate gets what you have, but you still have to feel that it would be worthy of anyone).  When you let yourself get run down…(don’t take care of your hair, don’t  take care of your priorities, convictions, and beliefs….how can you expect someone else to admire you if you don’t even admire yourself?), is when you will notice things aren’t quite as bright as they used to be in your relationship.  So get cracking and start feeling sexy again!  (You know you’d do it if you were in a new relationship).  Observe all of these things and tell me if I am wrong.

And guys?  Did you leave your dreams at the door?  Drop them off in a knapsack when you said “I do?”   What’s up with that?  Your woman’s best asset is to get behind you and to believe along with you- to strengthen you.  To stand behind you and be freaking, stomping, proud of you and the things you have, and will, accomplish!  And when did you stop telling her that her eyes are a beautiful array of various colors?  (they still are aren’t they?), a little compliment to a woman goes miles and miles (remember this is our greatest desire- to be desired, and your greatest desire is to desire your woman!), and why do you keep telling her there isn’t enough money for a hair style, lingerie, or a new dress?   Give a little on a few of these cosmetic extras and watch her self esteem soar and your bedroom sizzle up! (girls don’t go overboard when finances are an issue, it doesn’t take much to look better).

Observe, and tell me if I am wrong!

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Get With A Man…

1. Who You Respect
2. Who Respects You
3. Who Is Grown Up and Responsible
4. Who Has A Family That Respects You And You Can Get Along With.
5. Who Has Proven His Love For You.

If someone had handed me this list and the following article in my late teens or early twenties, would I have taken it to heart? Would I have listened to the fifty-something author who poured her heart out with conviction and sincerity? Would I have believed her, or would I have perceived her as demanding, spoiled, entitled, or selfish? The honest answer is that I do not know. I do not know if I would have listened. I do know, however, that my younger self didn’t look very deeply to her own needs. I know she used to do just about anything in the name of love and goodness to make her relationships better. But rarely did that anything include preserving her genuine needs, and own self-worth.

But there is good reason for this. She never had a Father speak these things into her life. Nor did he teach her of her value as a woman, nor helped her know what to expect from a healthy man in a healthy relationship. And she never had a Mother who modeled these expectations.

And that is why I am writing these things today. Because there are many women, young and old who might need such a list; who maybe never had it modeled or taught. And I am writing it because I have a single daughter. She means the world to me, need I say more? I am writing it because I am in my second marriage and it has taken me this long to understand how imperative certain things are for a healthy relationship. It is not wrong or selfish to ask for and expect these things from the men we marry or get into relationship with. In fact, I have come to learn that it is detrimental to both the man and the woman in the relationship if we do not ask for, expect, and uphold these things.

So without further ado, let me flesh out some of the things that I have learned.

Get With A Man….

.…Who You Respect.

Why are you looking at his handsome face? Why are you looking at the way his body moves? Why are you melting over those flattering words or the way your heart skips a beat when he looks at you? Don’t you know the art of courting and seduction has been going on for thousands of years and it will continue the same way until the end of time? Those kinds of things are a dime a dozen. The wise woman will study a man’s character, plain and simple. And study him for more than a New York minute. Study him for a good while and in various circumstances. The wise woman will look at a man’s potential. He doesn’t have to be perfect, but he sure better have potential. Potential to be kind, fair, honest, hardworking, responsible….all of those things you need a man to be. And we’ll cover some of those later.

Knowing yourself is key. Because you have to know what you respect and what you don’t in the first place. When we are young most of these ideals are already formed inside us, but many of us don’t understand that we can, and should, protect them and assert them in all of our relationships.

When you know what you respect, then you know what to look for. Many of us older lovers have learned the hard way that there is really no use in trying to coerce, or mold or bend someone into being what we want. It never works. You are better off finding someone whom you respect in the first place, and with potential, instead of setting yourself up to the difficult and impossible task of trying to change another human being. And really, it is kinder to them as well if you just let the wrong ones go instead of subjecting them to your anxious dissatisfaction.

Find someone who matches you intellectually and spiritually. Someone at least in your ball park. It’s even better if you genuinely think they are a little smarter or wiser than you in certain areas. This will fuel your respect and admiration- two things that can’t be borrowed or bought. Invaluable. Look for it.

Find someone whom you know you can talk to. Someone who can carry an interesting conversation and bring interesting perspective. True, some people don’t like to talk hardly at all, and if you are down with that and that is what you want, then I guess you had better find someone who is really okay with that, and wants that as well. But most of us want someone we can have meaningful conversation with. Look for someone who you know you can live a half to three quarters of a century with, and whom you will never become bored with because of their lack of depth. Important. Think about it. This is supposed to be forever, right?

Look at someone who has earned your loyalty, admiration, respect, affections, and love. And I mean earned. That, more than anything else, is going to matter to a woman the most in the long run and will also set precedent for the level of a man’s respect or disrespect toward you. Don’t be afraid to set the bar high. If he can’t jump it, he’s not worth it, trust me. You don’t always want to be guessing throughout your relationship if he really would have gone the distance for you. You want to know this upfront. You really do want to test him on this. You are a fool not to. I speak from experience.

Can you get down with his beliefs, his convictions, his dreams, his goals? Do you have common interests? Don’t underestimate the importance of this. This is the person you will be spending most of your time with. You’d better have at least 70-80 percent of the same interests and ideals. Do you truly admire him? Do you truly respect who he is as a person? Does he have skills and talents that you admire? What personality traits do you admire? What gets you excited? Is he an innovator, for instance, or a man who takes action? Do other men respect him? What is important to you? Do you find yourself a natural cheerleader for him, or does he have to force that out of you? Do you have to force it out of yourself? If you do then why are you in this relationship, girl? Do him a favor, move on.

I think there are universal needs that we have collectively as women and we need to learn to recognize, acknowledge, and accept what those needs are. But equally true is the fact that we also have individual preferences that we desire in a man. We won’t all want or need the same things. For instance, I have recently come to realize that I really want a man who isn’t on Facebook and will never get on Facebook, but has an impressive and bustling personal life. Quirky, huh? I have my reasons for this. They are solid and they are all my own. Another high preference of mine is a man who is as honest as the day is long. Just a deep need of mine. And a man who never stops mining for, and applying, spiritual truths in his life. Know who you are. Know what you need. Try not to settle ladies. Try very hard not to settle.

Get with a man who you can respect. Because when the chips are down and shaky ground finds its way into your union, it is your respect for him that is going to carry you both through and strengthen, not weaken, your relationship.

….Who Respects You.

You can feel his respect. Your inner being knows if he respects you or not. Trust it.

Does he value your opinions? Seek your advice? Take your advice? Is he impressed with how you live your life? Does he admire your values and believe in your character? You have to know these things. Don’t get with someone who does not.

If he hits or shoves you- even one time- he does not respect you. And it WILL happen again Trust me. Again, I speak from experience.

If you are not willing to have sex with him before marriage, will he still be there a few months or years down the road? Does he genuinely just like being with you enough to hang around? Does he love you enough to wait? Do you think it is asking too much of a man? It is not. In the Bible there was a man named Jacob and he loved a woman named Rachel. He offered to work for her Father seven years for her hand in marriage. The Bible tells us that Jacob’s love for Rachel was so strong that “Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her!” Honestly, if he loves you, he will wait.

He will hear your needs and work with you to meet them. He will be willing to talk things out with you. He will want to help and be “active” in his listening. He will validate your feelings and not write you off as an emotional female simply because he cannot deal with the depth your feelings bring. He is tender toward you in your distress because he adores you through and through. You are worthy of his undivided attention, just as he is worthy of yours, and you will not have to beg him for it in times of need.

He lifts you up with his words, instead of putting you down, both in private and in public. If he does not do this, he does not respect you. Remember, you deserve a man who respects you. And you had better always give him the same courtesy.

He will respect your boundaries. Do not appreciate his coming into the bathroom while you are using it? Then he won’t come in there, period. Need some space with your girlfriends? He won’t call you on the phone every hour. Don’t like to talk in a vulgar way about your previous love-making session? Then he will not. Don’t want him to brag to his friends about your sacred sex life? Then he won’t. The list goes on. You know your boundaries. Expect them to be respected. Assert them.

He will not bully you outwardly, nor will he bully you in a passive-aggressive manner. Both bring their own kind of heartache and are equally destructive. Watch for this while you are getting to know someone. If you are not too emotionally entangled with a person, these traits are not hard to spot. Thus why it is best not to give away your affections to a man who has not yet earned them.

He will expect his family and friends to respect you. Realize they will always follow his lead. If they see him disrespect you, this gives them license to disrespect you as well, and they will. It doesn’t matter if they are his parents, his siblings, or his children. He will protect you, and back you up in front of them. Especially when you are being upright, honorable, good, and kind.

Get with a man who you know will respect you. It will save you a lifetime of heartache.

…. Who Is Grown Up and Responsible.

You want a man who wants to lead and knows how to lead. Not a man whom you have to lead. Not a man whom you have to pull along. You will know him by the initiative and innovation he displays when he is still merely a ‘friend.’ Don’t be deceived. He won’t change once you get into a relationship with him- not long-term change anyway. You need to know that he will be a courageous leader, and a self-starter. Someone who will sit down with you and map out a plan for your family and will follow through with the plans you have made together. He keeps his promises by following up with what he said he would do. If you have found that he is someone you respect because you believe in him as a person, then you will be able to get under his leadership and let him lead. If you are in a relationship with someone whom you do not trust or respect then it will be very hard for you to get underneath his leadership. That is why I put that you should get with a man whom you can respect as #1, because everything else in your relationship depends on it.

Get with someone who doesn’t need a Mother. Look at his house. Is he clean? Is he organized? Does he get himself up for work on time? Does he pick up his clothes? Does he leave little unorganized piles of “stuff” in every room? Does he get the garbage to the curb on time? Is his garage organized? Are you okay with this? If you are not, better look at it. How big of a deal is it to you? Remember, he is not going to change to any great degree, so are you prepared to be a Mother to a man who needs one in order for your home to run properly? Now I am not saying he has to be perfect. But this comes down to you. You need to know what you can and cannot live with. You have to know what you are willing to overlook and what you know will drive you crazy. Keep your eyes open and figure out his mental age. Then figure out if you can live with someone that age.

Do you see him living out the beliefs he claims, or is he a man of many words, but little action? Actions always speak louder than words. And you want a man whose actions have a positive, not a negative, effect. Remember that men have an interesting effect on women. It is their actions that make us feel either secure or insecure. When a woman feels insecure she invariably uses more words. That’s how it works. When she feels secure in her relationship, she uses less words. Get with a man whose actions make you use less words, not more. Whose actions make you shed less tears, not more. Whose actions inspire you to be the very best woman you can be.

Get with a man who is not physically or emotionally lazy. He will put in the work to make your communication and understanding better and he will put in the work to provide for you.

Yes, he is the one who needs to provide. Old fashioned, I know. But it is God’s design. “But if any man does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t help out financially when needed. But what it does mean is that he carries the bulk of the responsibility in this area. When he honors this responsibility, it frees you up to be a better homemaker and a better helpmate. He does not have to be rich, and shame on you if you are looking for a rich man. But you do want a man who works an honest day for an honest dollar to provide for the ones he loves. A man who may not be rich, but wants to give you everything you need and even some of the things you want. He may not always be able to achieve this, but he should certainly want to in his heart. You should feel that and love him for it.

A mature man will not turn arguments around on you unfairly. He won’t make you feel crazy or tempt you to second guess what is true. He will not call you (or perceive you as) crazy when you are honestly working through feelings and issues. He will deal with them head on the same way you do and will not take detours or try to unbalance sanity in difficult times. Men who do this do not respect women. You know what it looks like. You know it when you see it. A little of this is too much. A lot of it should be a huge red flag. Respect yourself. Trust yourself. Walk away if he consistently shows spiritual immaturity in this manner.

….Who Has A Family That Respects You And You Can Get Along With.

We touched on this a bit earlier. A man sets the tone for how his family views you. Unless of course you are an evil woman who has pulled the wool over his eyes and his family sees what he does not. In that case, you are on your own and you won’t get any help from me. I’m assuming that only good-hearted and well-intentioned women are reading this blog. That’s who it is written for and that is who I am addressing.

Here’s the deal ladies: When you marry a man, you do indeed marry his family. Better make sure you can get along with them. I actually believe now that if you do not get along with a man’s family right from the get-go (after the first few awkward weeks or months of course), it is pretty tell-tale as to how difficult your marriage is going to be and possibly even how unsuited the two of you may be. And unless his family are all evil and he is the only good one of the lot (and that can happen!), they will actually know him better than you. They will have known him longer and can probably discern better what is best for him. This goes for his closest friends as well. They, too, are family. Pay attention to them. Learn a lesson from them. And, honestly, bow out if you have to. Know, too, that if they are treating you with the nasty, it will probably not be too long before he starts showing you his nasty side as well. They are kin after all. And we are products of our raising. Of all the things you might take my advice on, this one will probably be the hardest to swallow. I’m just telling you, I’ve been in two marriages, and seen a lot sister. I’m just sayin.’ Take it or leave it.

And last, but not least get with a man….

….Who Has Proven His Love For You.

Don’t get with a man who you think loves you. Don’t get with a man who you believe will prove his love for you when the time comes. Just don’t do it. Get with a man who HAS proven his love for you. Get with a man who has and is willing to prove his love for you along the way. And here is why.

#1. You deserve to know absolutely that he loves you. You deserve proof. You are worth that.

#2. Men talk a lot of talk. Men are good at sweet talking women. Men are good at getting the girl these days mainly because it is so easy. You make it easy. You make it easy because you fancy yourself in love and you do not want to lose him. But don’t you realize you are much better off without a man who doesn’t really love you back? If he loves you, he will be more than willing to prove it. This is how you will know he loves you. A man who doesn’t genuinely love you will drop out of the race. Why would any man want to do all of the things we have discussed? It’s an awful lot to ask of any man don’t you think? And believe me, he won’t UNLESS he loves you. Only love can make a man strive to give you the assurances you know in your heart that you need. If he can’t or won’t do the things above, then please hear me on this- he does not love you. Put these things to the test. Love will bear them out.

#3. If he doesn’t have to earn it, he will never really honor it. Men are just like that. They have to work for something to really appreciate it and attach value to it. Don’t deprive them of this. It has been said that “it is a man’s job to respect a woman, but it is a woman’s job to give him something to respect.” Truer words were never spoken. Give him something to respect by giving him the opportunity to prove his love.

Get with a man who finds you attractive and desirable in every way. Don’t get with a man who makes you a possible second runner up for his love. Never be content to be with a man who “settled” for you. It has also been said: “When someone treats you like an option, help them narrow their choices by removing yourself from the equation.” It’s that simple. Expect the very best from a man, never seconds my lovely. Because you are too damn lovely. Don’t ever believe for a minute that you aren’t worth more. There are, in fact, good men out there who will love just you, and all of you, and will wait for you, and will put in the effort for you. Get with those men. Well, ideally, just one of those men. 🙂 Leave behind the ones who are not worthy. Learn your worth.

I may not have had a Daddy to teach me my worth and I may have had to wade through time, experience, and much heartache before I finally chose to listen to, and believe, the voice my heavenly Father was whispering in my ear all of those long and difficult years. And I did, eventually, get the message. I did, eventually, learn. So now I am telling you the same thing with loads of love. Be wise in choosing who you settle down with. Take your time and make a good choice. You deserve that.

Remember nobody is perfect. And you WILL have to leave room for compromise and patience. Even the greatest guys are going to bring you heartache from time to time and you have to learn to roll with the punches (but not real punches). Men and women are different with different expectations and different needs. But if he loves you, he will be willing to prove it the way you need him to prove it. And once you know he loves you and has your best interests at heart, you have a better chance at overall contentment together even through the difficult times.


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We live in a new age. Everyone is an expert. Seemingly new ideas and philosophies are wowing those with improper upbringing and lack of a fundamental value system, common decency, common sense, and experience. So when a “new” idea comes along many takers jump on board.

Take for instance the idea of living a “positive” lifestyle. “I’m no longer going to let negativity into my life.” is the modern cry. But I have noticed that many of the people who voice this stance are often perpetrating more negativity than they realize. Because I think many times there is a misunderstanding about the true nature of positivity. For what is true positivity? Is it living a care-free life void of conflict or distraction from their goals? Really?

I have  a few ideas on the subject, and I’ve laid them out here in: “What Positivity Isn’t” and What Positivity Is.” Tell me if you can get down with this, if you can get on board, if you can pick up what I am putting down. 🙂

What Positivity Isn’t:

  • A lack of true peace, contentment and inner joy, no matter what is going on around us.
  • The need to avoid conflict at all costs.
  • A refusal to look deep into one’s soul to examine if I may have contributed to a problem when dealing with relational issues.
  • The need of drugs or alcohol to achieve a calm and restful state of being.
  • Living from Monday to Friday without any greater goal than looking forward to the weekend so that I may party with my “friends.” Positivity is not getting drunk or high every Saturday night. That is a temporary ‘happiness’ that leaves one empty, yet again, the next day.
  • Having no concept of/or taking no responsibility for/ putting true effort into making relationships work. Fruitful and rewarding relationships take effort. An extreme amount of effort from both parties.
  • Hanging on to my possessions and my perceived freedoms at all costs
  • Not taking responsibility for my actions.
  • Positivity isn’t only to talk about subjects that make me feel happy or upbeat. Or to only hang around people who are seemingly only happy or upbeat. (“He [Jesus] was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” -Isa 53:3) Why was Jesus like this? Ask yourself why was C.S. Lewis or Bob Dylan like this? All for the same reason. They contemplated the deep things of life, didn’t shy away from them, avoid them, or let them go. They contemplated pain and suffering, and they tried to do something about it. They always strove to go deeper, harder, stronger, longer. They were, in fact, the real deal.
    Does that mean they did not have inner joy? Of course not. I know for sure that all had serious inner joy. For knowing all things as Jesus did, and not being afraid to contemplate all things, as Dylan & C.S. Lewis did are what brings about ultimate peace. For if we do not search, then how can we ever arrive at the answers?
  • Positivity is not avoiding people who encourage you to be a better person and steer you toward better behaviors.
  • Positivity will not give in to the temptation of pride.

What Positivity Is:

  • Genuine peace, joy and contentment that can only come from a relationship with, trust in, and an understanding of Jesus Christ and what He desires for our life.
  • Living an honest life. Foremost being honest with oneself and before one’s God (“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts” -Psa 139:23)
  • Tarrying with my brother or sister, hearing their concerns and bearing their burdens with much forbearance and kindness. (“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” – Gal 6:2).
  • Learning to be content with a few good friends in whose hearts you can trust, instead of the false validation of many friends whose hearts are not with you.
  • Does not avoid conflict, but deals with conflict head on as one who is courageous and one who is kind- who does not seek his/her own comfort. Realizing that without conflict no relationship will ever delve beneath the surface and become great or beautiful or truly comfortable. This is true in our adult relationships and is especially true when raising our growing children.
  • Positivity is gentleness and patience in attitude and manner. (Kathleen, especially, needs to work on this when she feels hurt from others)
  • Is knowing your own worth no matter what anyone else tries to tell you that you are, or you are not. God says you were uniquely and wonderfully made!
  • Deals with sin head on and honestly.
  • A positive person will not consider themselves as entitled or elite, but humbles oneself and avails oneself to service in the kingdom. Whatever it takes. Whatever the Lord requires at any given moment in order to build relationships, in order to mentor, or in order to build the kingdom.
  • Is not selfish with their things or their time.
  • Is not a respecter of persons.
  • Positivity is content with being alone when it is required.
  • It knows oneself and owns up to the good and the bad in oneself. Works on oneself and gives oneself a break at the same time. But more than that, knows one’s Savior and knows Who holds the entire universe, and everything that goes on in it, in the palm of His hand. And rests in that at all times, even when there is no one else standing beside you in the whole world. That is positivity at its finest.
  • Positivity is spending joyful hours with children and the elderly.
  • Positivity is giving to the poor and spending time with them. Realizing their value and their worth. (“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”- James 2:5)
  • Positivity is loving at all times in word and in action.

So maybe it is time to re-think the positive lifestyle. Maybe it is time to dig a little deeper. I guarantee that if you do, you will smile even in whatever darkness the world might throw your way. And then the, “I’m no longer going to let negativity into my life” becomes a very big job indeed. But you will be on the right track and you will see great success.

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Is the name of the game
With a sickle and a blade
In the drizzling rain

Until dead is good and dead
And not one limb twitches
And there’s no more pain

If I have to stand here
A fortnight until the deed is done
And you look at me and hate me
Then my race will have been run

If I have fallen
From the maid you thought you knew
And all of my bright colors have turned to darker hues
Then remember me not, if it’s easier for you

As for me I’ve retired
To the prison where murderers they throw
But it’s better than the prison
Of watching you go

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Garden Tour II

All Organic of course!!

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Here are some notes on my upcoming Bob Dylan covers album to be recorded this spring….Songs covered from his gospel albums and a few more of my other favorites


This album has been thirty one years coming….

At that tender age of seventeen when I lay on backyard blanket, with Bob Dylan’s “DesireLP wafting “Hot chile peppers in the blistering sun….” through neighboring row houses, I had no idea those mesmerizing hours spent fascinated by Spanish drug lord’s daughters, and mysterious heartbreakers named “Sarah,” would eventually lead me here.

As “they [ran] to the water their buckets to fill,” I was filling buckets of tears.  I believed every single line of it.  Every heart wrenching melody broke my heart, and I shivered on a cold night with outlaw lovers while bullets flew overhead.  I agonized the haunting cry of No llores, mi querida, Dios nos vigila, soon the horse will take us to Durango. Agramme, mi vida. Soon the desert will be gone. Soon you will be dancing the fandango,” though I understood none of it.

I was young and impressionable.  I’d been raised by an honest woman who lived on the edge of normalcy in complicated righteousness.  Bob seemed to fit us.  I knew that.  Mommy didn’t always get it and often yelled for me to turn it down or off, to get out and meet people, and to stop lying in the sun all day.

But a romance was blooming.  It was strong and true and lasted many years.  Then I got married to a “real person,” and there was no room for Bob.  I got civilized.  No one else our age was listening to him anyway.  He was already fast becoming a “has been” and certainly not something the respectable Christian folk were listening to (which I was).

Fast forward thirty one years, I’m still a Christian, but not as respectable.  There it is, that edge of normalcy again, that complicated righteousness.  Is it any wonder I found my way back to Bob?  How can it be that his same truths that rang curiously sound way back then, still ring true to me all these years later?

I guess true love really does last a lifetime.  Some lights (and some people), are strong enough to never wane and never leave your soul.

Turns out, I sing and write a bit too.  Oh, nothing like the way Bob can write a song.  I play a notoriously bad guitar which you still may be able to hear if we didn’t get it completely drowned out in the mix.  I have a pretty good singing voice, but more than anything, I think I qualify because I’m a die hard fan.  I don’t like everything he ever did, but who likes everything about another person?  Where I lack in talent, I pick up in heart.  I wanted to speak his voice in my voice since I’ve been so intricately knit with him, and so affected, for so long.  It just seems a natural next step.  I think all of these songs are so good and so life changing that they deserve to be heard one more time with a slightly different take.  Anything I can do to make you listen to Bob will be counted as success for me. I even learned to harmonize in the making of the record because I really want to give it my best.

I’m making this recording for my children, because I want them to know  what moves me, and what I used to groove on at their age.  I think they can find me in here, as so many Bob fans find themselves in his music.  I suppose that is what makes a great writer, and I suppose that is why he is still referred to as the greatest songwriter of all time.

As for me, I have had as much fun making this music as I did listening to it thirty one years ago, and on a scale of one to ten of all the best things in my life, listening to my favorite Bob songs ranks right up there as a nine and three quarters.

Be blessed as you hear this. Be forgiving.  But above all, be open to where it can take you.

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There we sat, all seventeen of us on this special occasion.  The after church meal devoured and the cake and ice cream just dished up.  My thin slice of chocolate tiramisu contrasted the thin coffee tiramisu, and both teetered on my lap as I found a spot on the love seat with my sister-in-law.  Everyone else clamored into our makeshift circle of armchairs, couches, and folding chairs.

It was time for our family birthday tradition and I sat nervously shifting under the love “embrace” that, at this particular moment, was deeply permeating my bones.  The tradition being, that after the singing of Happy Birthday everyone in the room tells the birthday girl (or boy) what they appreciate about them.  Afterwards, the birthday girl passes on some wisdom that she has learned in the past year.

But I have run a little ahead.  Some background information on how this forty-seventh birthday celebration of mine came to pass might interest you.

You see, a month earlier I had sent out an email to my “nearest and dearest” list.  I invited them to my very own “surprise” birthday party and suggested we hold it at my sister’s house (a central location).  Everyone agreed.  These emails were the beginning of the medicine administered for my physical and spiritual healing.

Loneliness is simply not healthy.  And I’d been feeling particularly lonely for my family and friends having recently moved to a distant town where family could not be found, and friends were still few and far between.    Add to this the viral infection that invaded my bones and zapped my strength for what seemed like months during this winter of my discontent.  Something had to be done and my looming February 23rd birthday seemed the perfect antidote.

Bless my siblings, their families, my son, his wife, and a few good friends who seemed to positively jump at the idea.  Perhaps their winter needed some pick me up as well.

Just the planning of this not- so- secret event actually gave me the boost I needed to get out of bed and out of doors on occasion.  The hacking cough, fatigue, aches, pains, and slight depression seemed not so daunting and I was sure that I’d be fully recovered at the anticipated gathering.

Well the virus was a nasty one and, though I’d experienced some improvement, was still hanging on when the party date finally arrived.  But for my husband’s kindness and gentle care, I’m not sure I could have survived the severe onslaught of viral pneumonia followed a few months later by viral bronchitis that finally moved upwards into acute sinitus.  He truly went above and beyond: doing all of the cooking, cleaning, and shopping, not to mention his amazingly patient attitude up against my grumpy one.

And now, here we were three women all related and battling the exact same thing on this Sunday morning gathering.  Yes, that’s right.  Turns out my sister and my sister-in-law were fighting the same winter warrior with the courage of front line soldiers.  Interestingly enough, my twenty-four year old daughter who was at college 2500 miles away, also displayed the same symptoms as her female relatives to the “T.” Go figure.

But this was our day.  This was our respite in the storm.  We three ladies swapped horror stories of phlegm, fatigue and fever.  Oh it was GOOD to be home!

I’m a fairly independent woman it’s true.  Sure, I love my family, but the realities of life have moved me, like most of us, into stoic self-sufficiency and self reliance.  But not this day.  Not this month.  Not this winter.

Though, if only in spirit, I could feel my sister-in -law falling into my arms and I into hers.  I saw my sister cradle us both as we held her up in return (metaphorically speaking).

Add to that, the comfort that always is my brother Matt; the joy that is my nieces and nephews; the easiness of my brother in law’s hospitality; the thrill that is my son and his wife; the kindness of a few good friends, and you have the perfect recipe for complete healing.  That’s just how it works.  It’s a God thing.  Love is a force capable of manifesting miracles.

The words of kindness as the first participant started the traditional, “I appreciate Kathleen because…” spoke health to my bones.  But after hearing that sixteen different times and in sixteen generous variations, the lame have jumped up and walked, the blind have regained total sightedness, and the dead are awake and walking around!

My daughter and her husband heaped on more healing in the form of doorbells ringing bringing daises and roses, and precious written words of love.

In the days that followed, my health took a distinct turn for the better as I climbed out of darkness into marvelous light.  Let me say it again:  Love is a force capable of manifesting miracles.  We should not be afraid to ask for some every now and then.  We should not be afraid to admit we need a shot of love.

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