I’ve never had children of my own, but I do claim the children of many of my friends (it’s a much easier, less expensive parenting plan). Enter Madolynn Hurley.
I sang with her mother in college and met her father a few years later. Then a few years after that I was in their wedding. Ten months after that I met Madolynn. 26 years after that I’m beaming with pride on how well she turned out. Read on to see for yourself…
I am 26 years old and single. In a few months, I will turn 27 and then I can no longer deny that I am in my late 20s. For those of you that are beyond your late 20s, I’m sorry for sounding like a whiner when I’m really quite young. Boy, do I know it. Singleness is weird to me because everyone is born single. Maybe it’s in my head (I’m pretty sure it’s not), but people have made it seem like getting married is a “level up” or somehow moving on to the next stage of adulthood. Being in my late 20s and unmarried means that I’m not as “adult” as the 21-year-old girls who are married, right? And don’t get me started on how having kids factors into that. All that to say, I’m getting older and am still young all at the same time.
People seem to have low standards for single women. They recommend that we pursue guys that have bad theology, bad hygiene, or are just overall not great guys. These recommendations, of course, come from women who are themselves married or pretty seriously dating. I want to ask, “have your standards lowered since getting into a relationship or do you just have low standards for me?”
If I get married (and yes, I would like to be married), I want to be married to someone amazing. Someone who treats me well and treats others well. Someone who loves Jesus and challenges me as one of Christ’s disciples. Someone who will work alongside me to usher the Kingdom of God into the here and now.
The thing is, I don’t want my life to wait until I meet a man. I want to be challenged to grow in serving God, not beginning to serve Him. I can love the Lord my God with all my heart and soul and mind and love others as myself by myself. Nothing about those commandments indicates that I should hold off until I am married.
It has taken me a lot of time to come to this conclusion and I can’t promise that I’ll always be strong enough to feel it with all my heart. I know that the feeling will ebb and flow just like every feeling does. This, though, is what I believe: It is not better to be married. It is not better to be single. The best thing for you is to be where God wants you to be at this moment. Let me say it again for myself, but feel free to say it with me: The best thing for me is to be where God wants me to be at this moment. God can bless every circumstance. God can use you no matter your marital status. True, holy, pure joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Abide with God now! To quote Elevation Worship, “come today, there’s no reason to wait. Jesus is calling” (“O Come to the Altar,” 2016).
We have each been uniquely and carefully created by God with different gifts, talents, and passions. Colossians 3:17 says “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Immediately following this verse is a list of ways that people can lay down pride and exchange it for love. One of the many great mysteries of God is that when we surrender control and pride, we have more room in our arms to receive blessing. When we give ourselves for the sake of others, we somehow end up more filled. Married or single, I hope that all people would recognize how special they are to God and how much they are able to contribute to His Kingdom.
You go Madolynn!
Are you as impressed with Madolynn as I am? We can’t take comments here, but please feel free to leave them on the Facebook post.
Lookout at the top of Loop Road in Washing Park, Anacortes, Washington.
The title of this blog is misleading. As if I could ever speak just “one word.” I’m awful at being succinct. That’s why I fail at playing games like Password where you have to give one word clues for your partner to guess a specific word. I’m much better at Taboo. Hollering out a bunch of words at the top of my voice over everyone else is where I shine.
During my final year of college at ACU I lived in a house off campus with 4 other girls. One roomie was engaged and her fiance was a friend of mine. At least I thought he was until one evening he asked me if I could go for at least five minutes without talking. I looked at this sweet guy and tried to figure out if he was serious. He was. Game on! The timer was set and when it went off he congratulated me, but I just glared at him and didn’t speak for the rest of the evening (or maybe just another five minutes, which felt like the rest of the evening to me) proving I wasn’t the chatterbox he insinuated I was. (But I was!)
A few years later I was playing a Mash trivia game (I loved Hawkeye!) with my singles group from church. Midway through my winning streak one young man came over and taped my mouth shut.
So see, I have proof that I fail at the one word thing.
However, this will be the third year in a row I have chosen one word to concentrate on in the new year as opposed to making official resolutions. I thought this endeavor was something I came up with on my own. Since then I’ve seen many a blog and Facebook post on the idea so I guess I didn’t. (Just like having to tell my friend he indeed did NOT invent “The Wave” at sporting events, as well as all the folks who think they coined the “Have 20/20 vision in 2020!” phrase.)
2018 I selected Health (Romans 12:1-2). It wasn’t just physical health, but spiritual and emotional health as well. In addition to the numbers on the scale creeping higher, I was feeling selfishly unhappy with my living situation and was allowing myself to fall into a bit of depression. I’m happy to say I ended 2018 in a much better frame of mind.
2019 Discipline became my focus (II Timothy 1:7). Wanting to keep the progress I’d made in 2018 going I thought a good dose of discipline was needed. And since I finally published the book I’d begun 15 years earlier I’d say I did rather well.
Lovely Anacortes Sunset
2020 will hopefully bring Contentment to the forefront (Philippians 4:4-9). Life is good. I have a loving family, fun and supportive friends, a great job, dependable vehicle, good health, and countless other blessings. So why do I spend so much time living in the future? I am seven school years away from retiring and moving to Anacortes, Washington and spend way too much time daydreaming about 2027. Doing so wishes my current life away. Time is precious and I don’t want to waste my present on living in the future.
Washington Park Loop Road.
On a 17 day (17 day!) visit to Anacortes last summer I was awakened in the middle of the night with the words written below. I got up and wrote them down. The next morning I set them to music.
I will walk through ’cause it’s leading me to You
I will walk straight then wait…’til You show me what to do
I will walk through this and come out the otherside
See Your arms open wide
So I will walk through
‘Cause it’s leading me to You
My role in life now is to live with my mom and partner with my sister to take care of her. I am blessed in this. Wishing I had my own home again won’t change a thing, except to frustrate me. That’s what the enemy wants–discontentment. God wants to bless me. And He has, so richly. I will walk through this season of life and come through it stronger, more aware and appreciative of my God who brought me through.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What would your “One Word” for 2020 be?
I can’t take comments here, but please feel free to comment on the Facebook post.
My sweet mother with one of her “pets”
I am a horrible daughter. I left my mother at home alone with a mouse in the house and went to a diner to stress eat.
Let me start at the beginning.
Monday evenings my sister, Chrystal, attends BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and is usually gone by the time I get home from school. A few Mondays ago I came home to find my mother staring at the floor beside her rocking chair saying, “I think we have a pet.”
My sweet 91-year-old mother has dementia so I wasn’t sure if she was hallucinating our cute little fox terrier, Puddles, from the 70’s or just seeing a dust bunny on the floor.
“What do you mean, you think we have a pet?”
“Over here by my chair. I think it’s a mouse.”
I had begun to walk over to her until she uttered the word “mouse” then I quickly began backtracking.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, and he’s so cute.”
She lowered her hand to the floor and I screamed, “Don’t touch it!”
“But he’s so cute. I just want to pick him up and cuddle him.”
“Stop!!! Don’t you dare.”
I gathered up what small amount of courage I had (which even on a good day is next to nothing) and stealthily walked over behind her chair to see our, hopefully imaginary, little pet. There was a tiny bundle next to her chair and I assumed it was just a lone Christmas ornament that had strayed from the pack. I thought that until I saw the bundle wiggle its ears.
“Eeeek, a mouse!” If there had been a chair close to me I would have jumped on it. Instead, I grabbed my phone and ran outside to our carport and called Chrystal.
“There’s a mouse in the house,” I said very Dr. Seuss-ly.”
“In the den. I thought it was a Christmas ornament until it wiggled it’s ears and now mother wants to pet it. What should I do?” I said that hoping she was going to race home to take care of it.
“It’s not running away?”
“No, it’s just sitting there freaking me out!”
“Well if it’s staying put and not scampering away it must be dying.”
“I think maybe mother rocked over it, causing him a slow, agonizing death.”
“Well don’t tell her that. She’ll feel bad.” At that point I didn’t really care what my sweet, mouse-loving mother felt.
“I can’t handle this. If it was a spider I could take care of it, but I don’t do mice. You have to take care of it.”
“OK, I will when I get home after BSF.”
“But that’s in 4 hours. I’m FREAKING out…”
By this time my anxiety level was rising along with my voice level.
“Get a bowl and put it on top of him. That way he won’t wander off before I get home. I’ll deal with it then.”
“Are you crazy?!?! This is freaking me out! I can’t even go back inside.”
“Where are you?”
“Outside in the carport.”
“(Sigh) Just go back inside and keep mother from touching him and put a bowl on top of him.”
“I can’t do that. I’M FREAKING OUT!!”
Chrystal laughingly gave up on me and hung up.
I went back inside, took a bowl from the cupboard and proceeded to ask my mother to put it on top of her pet.
“I can’t,” she said, “he’s too close to the chair.”
Bummer. I realized it was time for me to rise to the occasion and be the adult in the room. (I hate being the adult in the room.)
I prayed. Nothing. No bravery dust fell from heaven. I then recited all the Bible verses I’d committed to memory. Nothing. No sudden surge of courage. I did deep breathing. Nada. Just made me dizzy. So I stood frozen in the kitchen staring at my mother. When her hand went down towards her pet again I screamed, “Do. Not. Touch. That. Mouse.” Grabbing my purse, I made my escape outside leaving my crazy mother inside next to what might as well have been a terrorist.
I found solace in the loaded tater tots at Sherry’s diner down the street. Halfway through my tots I began to feel guilty for leaving my mother alone with a monster, but not guilty enough to go back home. Instead, ordering more food seemed better and definitely more logical.
Three courses later I figured it was time to venture home via the Starbucks drive through window for a Chai Tea Latte. I sat in my parking spot, sipping away, and left Chrystal a voicemail, “I’m here, but not going inside until you take care of the mouse.”
Proof…sometimes people think I make these stories up. Trust me, you can’t make this stuff up!
A minute later she texted that the coast was clear.
Once inside mother told me she didn’t know why I was frightened by such a cute little thing. I stared back wondering if she was always this way or if the dementia had taken her fear away. She also mentioned she may have slipped him some crumbs from her cookie. (No wonder we have mice, cuz If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…)
Not a proud moment for Miss Dana. Leaving one’s aging mother alone for four hours wasn’t kind, thoughtful or wise. What if she’d gotten up and tripped over the mouse as he tried to escape? What if she really did pick him up to have a snuggle? What if he had managed to escape only to wind up having a snuggle with ME in the night? (Shudder!)
Oh well. One of these days I will learn to not overreact. It reminded me of the time I found the leaf in my hallway, or when the power went out during a snowstorm (those of you who read my book will know those stories…you other losers need to buy the book and find out…hee hee). But I do so want to be the adult in the room. Like I said, a spider would be creepy but doable. When I was teaching at Crossroads Christian School we didn’t have a school nurse. If someone was hurt on the playground, we all had our specialty. Mine was vomit or blood. No broken bones for Miss Dana. Other teachers would pass out with blood or throw up themselves over vomit. So I guess being afraid of a mouse is my broken bones and spiders are my blood and vomit. We all have our skills. Fortunately for me Chrystal’s is mice.
I never saw a mouse in the house before December 9, 2019 or seen one since. It’s been 2 ½ weeks. I pray the streak continues.
Would you have been able to handle finding a mouse, alive or even half-dead, in your house? I can’t receive comments here in my blog, but please feel free to leave them on the Facebook post. Thanks!
Chuck FROM the 70’s
If you grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and I were to mention a certain bullfrog named Jeremiah, whose love of the ladies and propensity for drinking wine would shame the Christmas carol whose name he’s associated with, you could probably tell me the name of the band who sang his song. BUT, could you name one of the band’s lead singers on whom I had a crush? No???? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s Chuck Negron. And though it has been nearly 50 years since Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World” was a number one hit, I still have a major crush on the man.
In the summer of 2018 Linda and I were driving south on I-205 on the east side of Portland when a Three Dog Night billboard caught my eye. They were playing at one of the nearby casinos so I grabbed my phone (Linda was driving) and called for tickets. Sadly they were sold out (nooooooo!!!!). But being so excited that they were still touring I googled for more upcoming dates only to find out that Chuck (my Chuck) was no longer with the group. Soooooo, we googled just him. Come to find out he does summer gigs with a group called The Happy Together Tour. After deciding between driving to some nearby town or flying someplace exciting, we opted for—Vegas Baby! So, July 11 of 2019 Linda and I boarded a plane for Las Vegas. I’d never been there before. Not sure if I’ll go back. Kinda wild for Miss Dana.
However, the concert was the bomb! Even the Uber ride from the hotel to the concert venue was the bomb! The driver wasn’t familiar with Three Dog Night so Linda and I gave him a quick education in song during the 20 minute ride. He seemed entertained as we told him we’d NEVER BEEN TO SPAIN and that he was a LIAR when he finally said he did recognize some of the tunes. And that MAMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME cuz I prefer to be OUT IN THE COUNTRY rather than in Vegas. And even if we’re late THE SHOW MUST GO ON cuz ELI’S COMING! And being a sucker for AN OLD FASHIONED LOVE SONG I couldn’t wait to feast my eyes on the one and only Chuck Negron.
Linda and I, being cheap, bought tickets way up in the balcony instead of on the floor close to the stage (a mistake I did not make on a recent ticket purchase to see Sara Bareilles–row four was awesome!) Anyway, looking around I could tell I was among my people. When I was a nanny we took the girls to see the Spice Girls. There, I was certainly not among my people. But The Happy Together Tour group was full of middle-aged, over the hill, retirees and senior saints. Everyone was friendly as well as feeling nostalgic for the bodies and hairlines they’d had decades before.
The Cowsills of “I Love the Flower Girl” and “Love American Style” fame opened the night and they were very fun. I remember not being allowed to watch the Love American Style TV show, but loved the theme song. They were followed by The Buckinghams and The Classics IV. I hadn’t heard of them before, but recognized some of their songs. They were fine, but I was getting anxious for my Chuckster.
Intermission couldn’t get over soon enough. Gary Puckett, lead singer from The Union Gap, began the second half. I always thought it was funny their most popular song “Young Girl Get Out of My Mind” was followed by “This Girl is a Woman Now.” Apparently she did not get out of his mind. Gary sang his last song, and I was on the edge of my seat. You could tell the crowd was getting anxious as well (or maybe it was just me). Shadoe Stevens’ deep DJ voice rang out with, “Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great JOY that we introduce, Chuck Negron.”
Chuck IN his 70’s
It took a few seconds for the 77 year old rocker to make his way center stage. I’m thinking back in 1970 he may have walked a little differently. But I gotta tell ya, he was still a mighty fine looking man. Back in the day he had long hair and a thick mustache. My senior year in high school I dated a guy with long hair…and a beard…also a singer…also a mighty fine looking man…hmmmmm…ANYWAY, Chuck wowed us with five of their hits. And then, when it was time for his last song, the crowd went crazy (again, maybe it was just me) as the intro for “Joy to the World” began. Sooooo great!!
That evening was such a fun walk down memory lane. I told Linda at the beginning of the evening I was going to be an old lady groupie and not leave without an autograph, picture and at least a kiss on the cheek. But I guess the aging Happy Together Tour cast need their rest. There was no table of merchandise to hawk or lines of swooning women waiting to be close to their teen idol. I was so disappointed. I had what I was going to say all prepared. Here’s how the conversation would have gone:
Chuck: Hello there. Thanks for coming to the show tonight.
Me: Hi Chuck. You’re welcome. I flew all the way from Portland to see you (and boy are my arms tired—no I wouldn’t have said that!).
Chuck: Wow, you must be a really big fan.
Me: Oh I am, I am!! Your songs are the soundtrack of my life. When I hear “One” I’m in the front yard of our house on Salazar street in San Diego climbing trees with my neighbors. When I hear “Joy to the World” I’m playing four-square at Oakhurst Elementary in Ft. Worth Texas. When I hear “Old Fashioned Love Song” I’m with my friend on my living room couch in La Grande, Oregon. When I hear “Eli’s Coming” I’m in Anacortes, Washington singing it out as my first solo my junior year. (Yes, we moved a lot!) Thank you for choosing such great songs to sing. You and Three Dog Night will always be one of my top favorites.
At that point Chuck would have invited me back to his hotel room, but not wanting to dis Linda I decline.
I just texted Linda the advertisement for next summer’s tour…
Do you have a favorite band or song from your past that brings up fond memories?
(I can’t accept comments here, but please feel free to respond on my Facebook page.)
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, greatly offended me in the first sentence of his book The Purpose Driven Life: “It’s not about you.” Uh, excuse me, but yes it is, Sir. I don’t care how famous someone is, they can’t just up and tell you what’s what when apparently they haven’t a clue. Because you see, in my world, it really is all about me. Just ask anyone.
I guess it’s connected to my controlling personality (that I am trying really hard to overcome). Even when I try and make it about someone else, it rolls back around to me. Innocent dinner plans with my friend, Linda, usually wind up like this:
“Where do you wanna go for dinner tonight?” I ask politely.
“I don’t care. You pick.”
“No I always pick. It’s your turn.”
“OK, how about Applebee’s.”
“No, I just ate there on Tuesday.”
“No, they have Pepsi instead of Coke.”
“That’s right. Then how about Red Robin? They have Coke.”
“I don’t feel like a burger.”
“But they have other…”
“Oh sorry. The Thai Place by church?”
“No, it’s cold in there.”
“Pastini? Oh wait, I forgot you prefer Olive Garden.”
“I’m not in the mood for Italian.”
“Heidi’s? Elmer’s? La Castita?”
“Oh, yes, McMenamins! I love their tater tots!”
“Then McMenamins it is.”
“OK, but next time I get to pick.”
I mean well.
When you’re single it is ever so very easy to get caught up in your own stuff because there is no one else’s stuff around to clutter your brain. For the past few years I’ve lived with my mother and sister so I’m becoming more aware of how I’ve spent the greater part of my life rather carefree and self-centered. I’m less 100% focused on me now. I’m probably 60-40. No, probably 70-30. (80-20?)
Last summer I stayed in an Airbnb in Anacortes, Washington (so beautiful). One of the first things I noticed when I entered my adorable cottage was the Wifi network printed on a card: danamyhome. How nice of them to make the Wifi network for my stay as Dana My Home. I thought it must be a lot of trouble to do that for each guest. Then I wondered if they just did it for me. Either way I was impressed with their “above and beyond” kind of guest-pleasing attitude.
Later in the week, my friend, Stacy, joined me for a few days. I showed her the Wifi network and she was just as impressed as I was in that attention to detail. One afternoon my Airbnb host, Amy, came by to say hi.
“Just checking to see how you’re doing.”
“We’re doing great,” I said.
“Hey, how difficult is it to change the Wifi network each time to fit your guests?” Stacy asked.
“Oh, we don’t change it each time. We just leave it Dan and Amy home.”
“Wait, what?” I asked. Then I turned and looked at the card again. I laughed so hard I could hardly tell Amy what I had thought.
Stacy and I couldn’t stop laughing at how I thought it was all for me. She is a dear friend but also has a Masters in counseling so I get sessions for free all the time. She assured me that it wasn’t a sign of narcissism. It was just since my name is Dana my brain focused on that spelling instead of separating it into Dan and Amy. But we still got a good chuckle out of it.
So whether it’s in my home or Dan and Amy’s, I am thankful for the people God has placed in my life who are patient with me along my journey to becoming a little less “all about me.” Even Rick Warren.
Question: What did you see when you first looked at the Wifi picture?
Friday night my friend Stacy and I were two wild and craaaazy single gals out on the town to hear our friend’s band play. They are called Opie and if you ever have a chance to hear them you should go. However, I hope you have a more pleasant experience than we had the other night.
When we walked into the bar we saw a couple exchanging saliva rather rigorously, so we steered clear of their table. It was somewhat difficult since it was smack dab in the middle of the floor. They didn’t seem to care that their tender moment of intimacy was being played out in front of everyone. I attributed that to all the empties on their table. And those made me wonder if they had just met.
Now being somewhat of a good girl (I say somewhat cuz I did have my twenties) I couldn’t help thinking this behavior was a bit, well, embarrassing; disgusting; crude; high schoolish; gross! Soon their make out session began to progress more into the realm of a lap dance. Having never really seen a lap dance before, I can only assume this was one. I can also see why a man would enjoy one. This man certainly was anyway.
He was quite a bit older than his lap buddy so I’m thinking she may have been playing out some Daddy issues; which is really pretty sad when you think about it. There were also some girls dancing in front of the band. I’m sorry, but there is just not enough alcohol in the world to get me to do the “drunk white girl dance” in front of a crowd.
After standing for quite a while and spilling my drink on my shoe we finally gave in and took the only two chairs left in the room. I say gave in because they were at the lap dancers’ table. There were three chairs and since they were only occupying one, we moved in. I thought if I just kept my gaze toward the stage I wouldn’t notice the X-rated action on my right. But it was really hard to not look. Like when you see an accident and you just can’t look away.
It was just amazing; arms were flying around and clothing was all askew. I can’t really tell you what her shirt looked like but I can describe her bra in detail. I was shocked they were behaving that way in front of everyone. But then again I don’t get out much.
She was in every position possible on his lap that there could be (or at least that my imagination could come up with). She was up, she was down, she was all around. She would do him in a house; she would do him with a mouse. She would do him in a box; she would do him with a fox.
We moved the table closer to us, not to give them more room, but to make it more apparent that we weren’t with them. At one point he was reaching for his beer and couldn’t find it, I assume because his eyes were otherwise occupied. I nicely slid the table over for him to grab his beverage. I’m nothing if not polite. After his refreshment he went back to business.
It was then that things really started to heat up. With the table further away, it gave her the leverage she apparently had been missing. She put her hands on the table and went to town. Somehow his arm came up under mine and it was then that Stacy and I grabbed our purses and joined the fans storming the stage.
I guess I am just too sheltered. And I’m okay with that. Other than the two of us no one seemed to give the lap dance couple a second thought. Or at least they didn’t stare like we did. I couldn’t get outside fast enough once the music was over. Ewwww.
I prefer my sheltered church girl life over public displays of lap dancing. But the music was good. Maybe I’ll just stick to their CD’s.
Question: My goodness, I can’t even come up with a question for a blog focused on lap dancing! Got any?