Sunday, April 30, 2006


For this my son was dead,
and is alive again;
he was lost, and is found.
And they began to be merry.
-- Luke 15:24

There’s a fellow our age who left home after his high school graduation and has never been back. He has lived all over the world. He calls home occasionally. But for more than 30 years, his parents haven’t clapped eyes on him or been able to give him a hug.
He’s the Prodigal Son . . . on Steroids.
Now, there are SOME relatives you WISH would take a long, long trip like that. . .
. . . but there are others we love very much who, for whatever the reason, run away. They leave a trail of broken hearts, late-night phone calls, frantic searches, and endless tears.
They’re our prodigal sons and daughters: lost lambs, gone astray.
But here’s hope: when you love a prodigal, keep praying . . . and never give up.
See, there was this teenage boy, Kyle, from an excellent Christian family. He got involved with a bad crowd, and started messing around with drugs and alcohol. Boom! He got hooked, powerfully. It was as if he was paralyzed and couldn’t break free of self-destructive patterns.
His parents tried to correct him, but he became disobedient, argumentative and rebellious. The younger three children were terrorized. Everyone was miserable. It was heartbreaking.
The parents fasted. They prayed. They moved Kyle to different schools and even tried homeschooling. But he was on a different wavelength. They couldn’t communicate with him. He was becoming a stranger.
They finally became so frustrated that they “delegated” this problem to God. They admitted that they were at the end of their rope. Only God could save Kyle.
Then one day, they dropped him off at a Christian summer camp.
Little did they know, he was at the end of his rope, too.
That night, his dorm leader noticed him “sitting there kind of dead-pan,” and went over to talk to him. The band was too loud – ironic, eh? – so they walked over to the campground.
Tearfully, the truth poured out of Kyle. He admitted that he was running from God, but it had to stop. He admitted all the wrong he’d done.
He recommitted himself to Jesus Christ.
The youth worker said, “In a few moments, God just changed his life, in such a way that those of us who are trained could only hope to do in a lifetime of working with someone.”
That’s the Holy Spirit for you. Effortless! Irresistible! The harder the case, the more amazing the cure.
The youth leader said that for lots of prodigals, things have to get worse before they can get better. “They’ve got to hit rock bottom before they can look up,” he said.
Under his mentor’s wing, Kyle has come so far that he now is leading his friends to the Lord, too. He is so excited about what God is doing in his life that recently he knocked on his mentor’s door at 11:30 p.m., just to tell him something neat that had happened.
The process has taken about a year, with twists and turns. But today, Kyle is living happily at home, clean and sober. School is going well, college is ahead . . . and his parents call his mentor regularly and tell him he’s an answer to prayer.
He knows. But he’s humble.
“Prodigals do need people who’ll stick with them, and establish trust, and love them and confront them,” the minister said. “But we can’t ‘fix’ them. The church can’t ‘fix’ them. Nothing we can do is going to change a life.
“That’s what Jesus does.
“A lot of times, He facilitates it through relationships. But until there’s a heart change, the behavior won’t change permanently.”
What’s his advice for those who love prodigals? “Keep praying . . . and stick with them.”
So you know that guy we know, who’s been inexplicably estranged for 30 years? We’re putting him on notice: we’re praying for him, we’re sticking by him, and we’re trusting in God’s promises.
There’s a fatted calf back here with your name on it. See you soon! †

Saturday, April 29, 2006


I hope you can see the attached video. It’s MEOW-velous.

(Humorous video of a cat appearing to massage a dog, with voiceover, available only on the email version of DailySusan)

Friday, April 28, 2006


I’m enjoying the email newsletter of my favorite seafood restaurant and specialty store, Absolutely Fresh Seafood in west Omaha. The proprietor has a great sense of humor. He shares recipes, news about the store, background information on the fish, and a generous serving of corny jokes.

This week, he had three zingers:

“You do not need to flip the fish. (It already did plenty of flipping in the water.)”

“Seared Ahi Tuna with a bit of Asian-style foo-foo vegetables. (I don’t know what Chef Jon will put on the plate, but it’ll be good.)”

“Try brushing with oil or spray Pam – the fish – oil the FISH, not yourself.”

Thursday, April 27, 2006


This is why I had four daughters and no sons. A dear friend revealed that what she thought was the flu was causing more and more abdominal pain and distress, until she realized she had better get to a hospital.

It was late afternoon. Her husband was out of town, so she asked her 17-year-old son to take her. He was all sweaty from soccer practice and had algebra homework to do, but OK, Mom.

As she lay in the examining room feeling worse and worse, he worked on his algebra homework, and after a couple of hours, leaned in close to her and said, “You know, I haven’t eaten. . . .”

Is that a teenaged son, or what?

They had determined that it was appendicitis. She would need surgery once the doctors could all be lined up. She sent her son home with instructions to get fast food for himself, and to bring her back some things for an overnight stay. The drugs were really kicking in, so she must not have been too specific.

She realized just HOW unspecific she must have been an hour later when he brought back his sweaty soccer backpack, unzipped it, and out poured these important items he’d selected for her:

1) One embarrassingly skimpy pair of thong underwear.
2) One pair of mismatched pajamas she didn’t even remember she had.
3) Fifteen lipsticks.

The GOOD news is, he finished his algebra homework, and her operation was a complete success, with the medical team still raving about her gorgeous lipstick shade.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


We’ve been going through old pictures, getting Eden’s graduation video ready to go. Among the really, REALLY old pictures is a goofy one of my younger brother Danny. He made one of those rash decisions you tend to make when you’re young and carefree. You know, the type of decision you will really, REALLY live to regret if you grow up to become a highly successful, dignified, middle-aged business executive in the Boston area . . . and your sister is a packrat and practical joker who loves to “get” you for your birthday in a few days.

Therefore, “DanBo,” this one’s for you:

(Photo calendar from 1992 with his face on Sylvester Stallone's body from the "Rambo" movie)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Maddy and her horse-crazy little friend Sami had their first horseback riding lesson Saturday. An old friend from our horse ownership days let the freckle-faced midgets ride Trigger, a 25-year-old Palomino from a ranch in western Nebraska. He’s a blond, but he’s calm and good. He has been living the life of Riley in a manicured pasture on an estate northwest of town, with pedigreed horses worth 50 times as much.

In the beginning, they stood in awe of the tall horse. They made tentative, cautious little circles with their curry brushes, watching his ears the whole time as he flicked them around, wondering what the heck was going on. Gradually, though, they “cowgirled up,” and rode around and around the arena on their new best friend, beaming so brightly there was no need for electrical lighting.

To us, he looked like a dead-broke old quarter horse, barely moving, shuffling along obediently with the glue factory right around the corner. To them, though, he was a wild stallion on the Arabian peninsula, mane and tail whipping spectacularly as he galloped gallantly and raced the wind.

We didn’t have the heart to tell them that THEIR ponytails were moving a lot more than HIS.

Monday, April 24, 2006


We are G-rated. Actually, beyond G-rated: we are N-rated – for “Nerd.”

That’s why I was shocked yesterday when my beloved asked, “What would you like to SMOKE tonight?”

WHAAAAT? How had this bastion of propriety, this captain of industry, this upstanding citizen degraded himself so far, so fast?!?

I turned and saw that he was gazing lovingly at the MEAT SMOKER he had purchased some months before, sitting on the back porch still shiny and unused.

Whew. I thought I was going to have to get a tattoo, some piercings and a motorcycle to go with the Maalox and Depends I’m going to have to start buying some day soon. At my age, a “pot party” is a chili feed, “getting high” is what’s happening to gas prices, and “getting wasted” is what happens to the extra fat you cut off the meat BEFORE you smoke it.

Party on, Senior Dudes!

Saturday, April 22, 2006


I was feeling like an intellectual stud muffin. I had just completed a five-part series for my education website,, on the current controversy raging in the Omaha Public Schools. It was chockablock full of pertinent facts and innovative alternatives for reformed public policy in the crucial area of public education. Chockablock!

Voila! I dispatched the last installment by email, imagining that my readers would all have to wear sunglasses and sunblock, the ideas were so blazingly brilliant and the journalistic explication so fabulous. Chockablock, I tell you!

Hurriedly, I helped Maddy get dressed in her cute little uniform for kindergarten, picked up the carpool, and strolled into school. I visited for a moment with the paraprofessional, still secretly feeling like a total genius -- Woman of Stupendous Cranial Powers!

Just then, I noticed I had put Maddy’s navy skort on backwards. We rushed to the restroom to fix it. Yeah! Right! Like, anybody ought to pay attention to MY ideas. I can’t even dress my little GIRL!!!


What was that noise?

Just God’s little pinprick. He had to burst my self-important little balloon . . . again. Chastened, I returned to my usual state:

Woman With the IQ of a Stump!

Thanks, Lord. I needed that.

Friday, April 21, 2006


My whole life passed before my eyes last night. Maddy came screaming: “FLUFFY’S GONE!!!”

It seems she had left her ever-expanding guinea pig on her bedroom floor as she went to brush her teeth and dawdle before bedtime. When she returned, the tri-toned Fluffington VanChocstraw had headed for the hills, or wherever. It was the first time the new little pet had ever made a break for it, and we were scared.

I had visions of a tiny, rough guinea pig tongue licking my face on my bed in the night.

I had visions of finding a chubby, furry body after the “spin” cycle in a load of whites.

I had visions of not finding her, and then, some time later, she would suddenly appear, with her few possessions in a bandana. She’d be kicked out of the toy trailer in which she’d shacked up with a shiftless escaped gerbil who drank too much and sat on his furry bottom watching NASCAR instead of industriously running on his wheel and stuff. Now she’d be expecting us to support her passel of out-of-wedlock mini-rodents, wanting them to call us “Grandma and Grandpa.”

POOF! My fears evaporated. Maddy found her under the bed.

The poor little thing was just as scared as we were. She ran right into her purple plastic igloo and starting making calls to set up her book deal on her big adventure.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


We were discussing weird funeral arrangements. OK, I know it’s strange. But I once saw a coffin with an elaborately embroidered message on satin fabric on the inside of the lid. It would have been the last thing the dead person would see, if the dead person COULD see. It looked something like this:

Going Home

I don’t know why, but it creeped me out. Our daughter was more pragmatic. “Geez, Mom,” (she says that a lot). “We just celebrated Easter and the Resurrection. We’re all going to get eternal life. Death isn’t such a horrible thing. Isn’t that what that message is saying?”

I looked off into space, frozen with fear over what SHE was going to have them embroider on the inside of MY coffin someday. No doubt it would say something like:

Geez, Mom

She thought my blank stare and faraway frown meant I wasn’t convinced.

“I mean, put it this way,” she said. “If we were really serious about our faith, shouldn’t we be tying festive tin cans on the backs of funeral hearses, with streamers and a big sign that says . . .


Well, geez. She’s right! And the license plate should read:

Going Home

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Said to be a true story out of Wisconsin:

A guy buys a new Lincoln Navigator auto for $42,500, with monthly payments of $560. He and a friend go duck hunting in mid-winter when the lakes are frozen.

These two guys drive onto a lake with their GUNS, a DOG, and of course, the new NAVIGATOR.

They decide they want to make a natural-looking water area for the ducks, something for the decoys to float on.

Now, making a hole in the ice large enough to invite a passing duck is going to take a little more power than the average drill auger can produce. So, out of the back of the new Navigator comes a stick of dynamite with a short, 40-second fuse.

Now our two Rocket Scientists, afraid they might slip on the ice while trying to run away after lighting the fuse (and becoming toast, along with the Navigator), decide on the following course of action:

They light the 40-second fuse, and then, with a mighty thrust, they throw the stick of dynamite as far away as possible.

Remember a couple of paragraphs back when I mentioned the NAVIGATOR, the GUNS . . . and the DOG???

Let's talk about the dog: a highly-trained Black Lab used for RETRIEVING . . . especially things thrown by the owner.

You guessed it: the dog takes off across the ice at a high rate of speed and grabs the stick of dynamite, with the burning 40-second fuse, just as it hits the ice.

The two men gulp, blink, start waving their arms and, with veins in their necks swelling to resemble stalks of rhubarb, scream and holler at the dog to stop. The dog, thinking he is being cheered on by his master, keeps coming.

One hunter panics, grabs the shotgun and shoots the dog.

The shotgun is loaded with #8 bird shot, hardly big enough to stop a Black Lab. The dog stops for a moment, slightly confused, then continues on. Another shot, and this time the dog, still standing, becomes really confused and of course terrified, thinking these two geniuses have gone insane. The dog takes off to find cover . . . under the brand new NAVIGATOR.

The men continue to scream as they run. The red-hot exhaust pipe on the Navigator burns the dog’s rear end; he yelps, drops the dynamite under the vehicle, and takes off after his master.


The truck is blown to bits along with the ice underneath it, and sinks to the bottom of the lake, leaving the two idiots standing there with "I can't believe this just happened" looks on their faces.

The insurance company says that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is NOT COVERED by the policy. The fellow had yet to make the first of those $560 monthly payments.

That’s the bad news. The GOOD news is, the dog is OK.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


One moment of high humor was narrowly averted over the weekend as a tornado swept through a farm east of Beatrice, Neb., on Saturday, and flattened an enormous henhouse.

Days before, the farmer had moved the chickens out of it, so the loss of life, limb, comb and wattle was zero.

He said on TV that he had 80,000 chickens in there. If they’d been there when the tornado hit, who knows? They might have been sucked up into the vortex, cackling and squawking, and then spun out and down back to the ground all over southeastern Nebraska. It just makes a picture.

Of course, the next day was Easter. So if 80,000 scared chickens were dispersed like that, the Easter Bunny would have had a lot of help in distributing eggs hither, thither and yon. BAWK!!!

Monday, April 17, 2006


Highlights from an Easter weekend that was as nice as I can ever remember: my adorable (and available, girls) nephew Mark is a computer engineer with the Air Force stationed in Albuquerque. He came home for the holiday. I hadn’t seen him for many months and loved hearing about his many adventures and experiences.

My favorite two factoids were these:

1) He has a friend who was honored as the best graduate of his officers’ training group and is now fighting for us over in Iraq. His last name is “Bang.” I can imagine his platoon: Sgt. Boom, Cpl. Rat-a-tat-tat, and Private Kapow.

2) Mark has had to go out into the New Mexico desert to train to find mines in the sand. This was extremely scary to hear, until he informed us that they aren’t “live.” So there isn’t any danger at all. “It’s kind of like a big Easter egg hunt, without the candy payoff,” he said.

Yeah, well, until I hear those are just jelly beans the other side’s shooting at us, I’m going to worry – at least a little.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Your Sunday story is coming to you a little early this week!
Wishing you a joyous Easter!
DailySusan will return on Monday, April 17.


For this is the word of promise,
at the appointed time will I come,
and Sarah shall have a son.
-- Romans 9:9

(Continued from “Seth the Impossible, Part I,” 4/9/06, archived on; click on the “Radiant Beams” logo in the upper left-hand corner, and scroll down to “Holidays and Special Occasions” for the first half of this special Easter story about God following through on what seemed like an impossible promise.)

One day, she read Romans 9:9 and Genesis 18:10. In both, the Lord promised a son.
Written centuries apart! On opposite ends of the Bible!
He spoke to her again: “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and you will have a son.”
She circled the date, Nov. 29. God better get moving!
The next summer, she kept seeing a TV ad for the Open Door Mission. A fellow at her church volunteered there. She went with him a few times.
Christmastime rolled around. A group from her church, including him, put up her Christmas lights. She took pictures, and wrote the date on the back: Nov. 29.
The first Sunday in January, she skipped church. Her Bible journal’s verse that day was Hebrews 6:13 – God keeps His promises.
Brrrrring! The phone rang. It was the fellow. “I was concerned because you missed church today.” They talked.
A friend dreamed that a man was looking at her, saying, “I think she’ll be cute even when she’s old.” That day’s verse was Isaiah 46:9-11: God was summoning a man to execute His counsel.
They fell madly in love, and married within two months. Woo hoo!
But there was a snag. The new husband had had a vasectomy. She knew it when she married him. She was just so sure he was the one. . .
. . . and she was just as sure that God had promised her a baby. She even bought a little outfit for a baby dedication.
Years passed. Maybe “Seth” wouldn’t come in the usual way. Her sister considered giving up a baby for adoption. Was THAT “Seth”? No; the sister kept the baby. She and her husband took in a 15-month-old foster child, Michael. His mother was dead and father was AWOL. Was THAT “Seth”?
Then his grandfather showed up, and wanted to take him.
She silently begged God, “Please don’t take Michael. I don’t care if I ever see the promised child. Just let me have Michael.”
God spoke, plain as day: “Do you want ‘Ishmael’ . . . or do you want ‘Isaac’”?
It nearly killed her, but she let him go.
That summer, on vacation in Texas, they kept seeing billboards about vasectomy reversal. Her husband asked her to write down the phone number. The price: $10,000. Fuhgeddaboudit.
One year later, he drove through Texas again and saw the same signs. He urged her to call locally. The doctor said they could make payments after putting half down. Half down was the exact amount of their income tax refund.
They went for it.
The next year, they were headed on a long trip to Colorado, but she felt too sick to drive. She called the doctor. Yes, the rabbit died. Moreover, her progesterone was dangerously low; if she had gone ahead with the trip without checking with her doctor, and hadn’t had a shot right then, she probably would have miscarried.
The ultrasound showed it was a boy.
As her pregnancy advanced, her husband reminded her that they had first met at that gas station on the way to the retreat . . . the one at which God had told her she’d meet her mate. Whoa!
However, the husband balked at the name “Seth.” He prayed about it. Three weeks later, he proclaimed that it HAD to be the name.
After all that God said would happen had happened . . . ya THINK?
And finally, the depth and breadth of the promise came to light. It turns out that this was just as big a deal for him as for her. All he had ever wanted to be in life was a father. But at age 20, when he was overseas with the Marines, his wife divorced him and blew town with their newborn son. He never got to know him well, or be the father he wanted to be.
But now that dream was coming true.
Ohhhhhh. She finally got it! Just as the Biblical Seth was a replacement for Eve’s lost sons, their Seth was a replacement for his.
Seth wasn’t just for her. He was for BOTH of them.
He was born. He was perfect. He was dedicated at church in the white outfit she had bought in faith five years earlier.
Seth was a darling baby who has grown into a handsome boy with a glow about him. You just KNOW he’s someone special. He came here for a purpose. It was all part of a plan.
God’s plan, like the one he has for your life, and for mine, and for everybody’s. Seth’s story is just one more example of how nothing can stand in His way to execute that plan. Nothing!
And so we celebrate “Seth the Impossible” . . .
. . . just like another Son of Promise . . . Who came in a miraculous, impossible way at the appointed time to execute God’s plan . . . Whose “impossible” resurrection after a terrible death we celebrate this Easter Day, and every day.
Jesus Christ is risen today. He lives!
Oh, Beloved, celebrate this: God keeps His promises.
Nothing is impossible for Him. Nothing!
Seth’s smile shows it. Easter proves it!
Amen! †

Wishing you a blessed Easter rejoicing with dear ones in the knowledge of the love of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ . . . and wishing you plenty of chocolate, Peeps, malted milk eggs, jelly beans and all your favorites.

DailySusan will resume on Monday, April 17.

Here’s a heartfelt wish from one of our favorite little “peeps,” Miss Madeleine Joy:

(crayon drawing of a long-legged bunny with baskets and eggs available only on the email version)

Thursday, April 13, 2006


My hubby got a chance to play that famous Florida golf course, with the island green – you know, the one where there’s water on all sides and you have to hit onto this smallish green, then sashay across a narrow bridge onto the island to putt out.

Well, as cool as that was, he has now been officially one-upped by the quintessential island green, located on the new yacht owned by world-famous golfer Tiger Woods. If this doesn’t float your boat. . . .

(today's email included a photo that purportedly shows Tiger Woods chipping onto a green on a small golf course located on top of what looks like a converted aircraft carrier)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


We are really taking our chances, sending a child of our loins to a Christian school. Those other families are holy, obedient, sweet, clean, kind and reverent . . . you can just tell. Then there’s us. We are . . . well, let’s just say we are “remedial” in some categories, especially verbal restraint.

This week, the kindergartners are studying words with the “sh” sound. You know: ship . . . fish . . . shoe . . .

. . . and, to the screams of laughter of her classmates, our Maddy helpfully supplied:


Tuesday, April 11, 2006


As we near Tax Day, government spending comes to the forefront. After all, it’s why we have to pay taxes. So naturally, we want government spending to be as low as possible.

So I was half mad and half amused standing in a long line at the post office yesterday. There, along the long counter, were not one, not two – but FIVE – count ‘em – FIVE little hinged doors where you could throw your trash, each hiding a trash can that was gold-plated and diamond-studded, no doubt.

Not that anybody ever HAS any trash in the post office line, except maybe some litsy bitsy strands of stick-em paper left over from separating stamps. But just in case . . . our public servants gave us FIVE snazzy-looking, well-marked places to throw it.

And what was even more maddening and amusing was that they didn’t have the word “TRASH” or even “RECYCLING” on the little doors you pushed in. Noooooo. This government office had a no good, very bad word on each of the five trash receptacles, considering that this was our tax dollars at work:


So I’m standing there, in a building purchased with my hard-earned tax dollars, with Tax Day coming near, and moths flying out of my wallet, and I’m seeing . . .


I mean, it looked like they were celebrating it!

Next time I go there, I’m bringing some Scotch tape and five little pieces of paper to put above the “W” word on each one. They will say, “DON’T YOU GUYS DARE!”

Monday, April 10, 2006


Maybe Maddy has been watching too many cartoons. Or she is simply exhibiting the enormous self-esteem of a 6-year-old.

She was telling me that she ran across the house very quickly. She put it this way:

“I ran so fast, clouds of DUST were behind me.”

There’s a third possibility: I need to do my spring cleaning!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


And Adam knew his wife again;
and she bare a son, and called his name Seth:
for God, said she, hath appointed me
another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
-- Genesis 4:25

Her husband had left her for another woman. She was alone with her three children for three years after the divorce. Then she became a born-again Christian, and started reading the Bible for the first time, cover to cover. She came to the sibling rivalry scene in Genesis. Cain kills Abel and blows town, and God sends Eve another son, Seth.
For the first time in her life, she heard a voice in her heart that she knew was the Holy Spirit of the living God. She was awed.
He said that He would give her a son and she should name him Seth because God had given him to her.
As if!
That was impossible!
She had no husband! And she already had three great kids. . . .
Soon thereafter, she went to a Christian singles retreat. In prayer before, she asked God to confirm what He had promised about Seth, show her how she could serve Him, and give her a pure heart.
Bing, bang, bong! The keynote speaker covered those three items: God’s promise to Abraham for a son in what seemed like an impossible situation of advanced old age (Genesis 18:14); God telling that son, Isaac, to serve Him and dig wells (Genesis 26), and Ezekiel 36:26-28: “I will give you a clean, new heart; you will be my people and I will be your God.”
Three for three! Whoa!
But again, a baby seemed ridiculous. There wasn’t even a man in her life.
Time passed. She kept encountering references to Abraham and Isaac in sermons, on the radio, in her Bible – God’s faithfulness, timing, and promise of a precious son in unlikely circumstances. It was uncanny.
She learned the name “Seth” means “granted” or “appointed,” and it was through Seth’s lineage that the Lord Jesus Christ was born, traceable all the way back to Isaac, Abraham, and ultimately, Adam.
But nothing changed. She slipped back into doubt. One day she was despairing. She told God that if this promise was really from Him, He should let her know immediately. Within the hour, a friend called with a Bible verse she felt compelled to share: “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother. . . .” (Psalm 131:2)
But still, the whole thing made no sense. She was confused and depressed, as women in her situation can be. She felt broken, unwanted and unloveable – cast aside. Having another baby was the least of her concerns.
Then she went to a garage sale. She overheard two women talking about a beat-up old wagon, and what a treasure it really was.
One woman said to the other, “Some people just don’t know what they’re missing.”
Immediately, she heard God’s voice again: “That’s how I see you.”
More time passed. She went to a church service in a nearby town and the sermon was on – you guessed it – Abraham. The point was that when God promises you something, it’s huge, not mundane. She was sitting there wondering if she was going crazy, and still doubting, when a woman she had never seen before came up to her and said:
“I have a word for you from the Lord. He says, ‘I have given you ears to hear. Satan tells you that you didn’t hear Me. But he is a liar. You hear me loud and clear.’”
She went to another retreat. She was sure God was telling her she would meet her new husband there. She came across a verse, Song of Solomon 4:16, about a lover coming into a garden. Coming to meet HER?!? How romantic! How exciting!
On the way to the retreat, they stopped at a gas station. She was introduced to some guys who were going there, too. Her friend thought one of them was cute; she didn’t give him a second thought. Lightning didn’t strike; no one asked her out.
She went home bummed, figuring she’d heard wrong.
Oh, yeah? †

NEXT WEEK: Conclusion, “Seth the Impossible, Part II”

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Yikes, am I out of it. I can’t translate what my senior teenager says lots of times.

She just got her ears pierced for the first time and is enjoying buying earrings now, a new accessory. The other day, she showed me some dangly ones.

“They have the indie emo,” she said.

I nodded – big fake that I am. Finally, I had to ask:


I was thinking of Indiana Jones on an emu, but I knew that couldn’t be it.

“Indie” is short for independent label music, which apparently is more creative and avant garde than the usual head-banger stuff.

“Emo” is short for emotion, mood, style or genre.

I guess I’ve got that “nerd emo” going. At least it’s familiar to me.

Friday, April 07, 2006


If you’re asked to go on the Jay Leno show, you should never . . . BAWK. This Arkansas lady’s tale of giving CPR to a chicken is one for the archives. Click on the attachment when you have a few minutes. You’ll cackle!

(Today's DailySusan is a video clip that can't be attached to the blog, but was part of the listserv's email.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006


A movie director from India wants porn star and hotel heiress Top of FormBottom of Form
Paris Hilton to play the role of Nobel laureate and prospective Catholic saint Mother Teresa in an upcoming film. "Her features resemble Mother Teresa," director T. Rajeevnath said after a computer-generated test comparing the X-rated celebrity and the Godly, Albanian-born nun who humbly ministered to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta.

The story is greatly complicated by the fact that it is coming out of Thiruvananthapuram, India, which is giving news editors carpal tunnel syndrome and broadcasters a splitting headache.

But no, apparently, this is not an April Fool’s joke.

You gotta ask it: is nothing sacred?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


One of the most beautiful sights in the world is central Nebraska along the Platte River in the spring. Thousands upon thousands of sandhill cranes make their annual migration pit stop there for several weeks. They forage in the leftovers in the grain fields before they wing their way to the northern nesting grounds.

This is such a big deal that my former employer, the state’s largest newspaper, used to sponsor celebrity bus tours out there in the spring so that people could get to “Know Nebraska.” Bus tours into the “outback” of Nebraska . . . OK, it ain’t Monte Carlo, but it beats the Pella (Iowa) Tulip Festival.

So who were these awesome celebrities with magnetic drawing power that made people just line up – line up, I say – to go on these wonderful bus tours? And rub elbows with celebrities and look at birds? Probably the least-qualified people in the universe: newspaper reporters . . . including me. Why? Because we come cheap, that’s why.

It was my one and only chance to be a celeb, though, and I blew it. They didn’t tell me that this particular celebrity bus would be leaving Omaha at something like 3 in the morning so that we could get out to central Nebraska before dawn. That’s when the clock radios on the sandbars on the Platte River start going off. That’s where they roost. At dawn, the mysterious, primeval scene is reenacted as thousands of noisy winged dinosaurs fly up for the short commute to the fields.

Well, it is extremely difficult to get that celebrity pastiche at 3 in the morning. So I didn’t exactly look the part. Plus, I get carsick sometimes. Riding for three hours in a smelly, cramped bus with a bunch of people with morning breath and bad coffee was a trigger.

When we were almost there, bumping down country roads, I stifled my increasing nausea, took the mike, smiled my best celebrity smile, and tried to be happy, peppy and positive as I gave the little spiel about the cranes and so forth.

But I was standing up backwards. And we went over a series of really big bumps. It was like shaking a pop can. My head started swirling . . . and the bad coffee started re-percolating . . .

. . . and I threw up all over the front of the bus.

It was artful, though. Artful! I don’t think I got any on anyone. It was just . . . spectacular.

Which is exactly what the folks were there to see. Something spectacular! They were . . . CRANING their necks, all right. THE OTHER WAY!!!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Fluffington Van Chockstraw is leading a life of leisure in the Williams household. Maddy’s new guinea pig –actual name “Fluffy” -- is the object of her constant faith and abiding love:

Some family friends went through the same thing with a little daughter and a fat guinea pig some years ago. For some reason, the furry rodent got named “Beano,” after the gassy gut medicine. There’s a tender thought for you! Then something happened, and his eye popped out. He swiftly became “Beano the One-Eyed Guinea Pig.”

He became their family’s favorite pet. Not because he had any personality – but because his name did.

Monday, April 03, 2006


I was afraid that I was a certified nerd because of the thick glasses I’ve worn since age 7. Now that I’ve had LASIK and can see 20/20, the physical sign of my nerdiness is no more. Could I be? Should I be? Can I now be . . . no longer a nerd, but a BABE?!?! If it’s true that boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses, what about girls who don’t wear glasses but are long past the age at which they are “girls”?

I swear, I went to the grocery store the day after surgery, and saw two or three men giving me appreciative looks. ME!!! Of course, I instantly saw why: they were wearing Coke bottle bottom glasses, and I was now a cool babe, without ‘em. All these years, I’ve gone without wolf whistles because of my specs, eh? That . . . or they were REALLY ogling the steaks that I was standing right in front of. You think?

Well, the nerdiness doesn’t go too far underground. I think it’s ingrained. I have so far: (1) Poked myself right between the eyes thinking that I had to push my glasses up, although of course there aren’t any glasses any more (2) Put my right hand up to my face and scraped it with my fingers when getting ready to take my glasses off – the glasses that aren’t there, and (3) Looked at myself in the mirror and for an instant didn’t realize that it was me – I was startled to be able to see my own naked eyes with my own naked eyes.

Now, THAT’S a nerd.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

DailySusan returns with joyous news:
the LASIK surgery was a success!
I’m so thankful for your prayers and encouragement.
To my fellow Coke-bottle-bottom glasses wearers: it’s great! Go for it!



(O)ne thing I know, that,
whereas I was blind, now I see.
-- John 9:25b

At my first eye exam, I couldn’t even see “The Big E,” much less which way it pointed. I had to get out of the chair and grope toward it.

Rx: powder blue fairy wing eyeglasses. Next came pink ones. Later, black, navy, brown and tortoiseshell.

Within a few years, they were Coke bottle bottoms. My fate as a nerd was sealed. I even sported tape on my glasses quite often, because I broke them frequently: smashed them on a trampoline . . . stepped on them at the swimming pool . . . left them on the roof of our car to sail in highway breezes. . . .

Home movies of me waterskiing show me squinting desperately like Mr. Magoo in a bikini, trying to see where the water was and the shore wasn’t. Shaving my legs required contortionism to get my eyeballs close enough to avoid bloodshed. I was always afraid they’d go flying off while playing sports and riding roller coasters.

Though I wore contacts through my teens and 20s, dry eyes and astigmatism forced me back into glasses some time ago.

So you could say eyeglasses . . . framed my life.

Not any more.

I’m FREE! Halle-LOOOO-jah! AY-men! Can I get a WITNESS?!?

A good-luck note left on the kitchen counter the morning of surgery.

LASIK eye surgery brought me from the brink of legal blindness to 20/20 vision, at least for distance. Close-up sight in the right eye is still fuzzy, and I may need to go back for a tune-up. But man! I can see!

For years, I was afraid of LASIK. I once got all the way to the eve of surgery, but had to cancel when I developed a sty and discovered I was pregnant. That was quite a day! A friend solemnly decreed that the Lord was protecting my eyesight with those two interventions. Whoa! Well, I’ve never had a sty since, the other “intervention” is now 6, and many people were encouraging me to try again. So I did.

There was an omen the night before, though. We went out to eat, and the lights suddenly dimmed. AAAIIIEEE! Things are going black!

Then there was a tornado warning, minutes before my surgery.What if the building were sucked upward into a tornado’s spiral right when the surgeon was in mid-slice on my eyeballs?

But the staff put me at ease. They promised not to say “oops” or “uh oh” during the procedure. And no chain-saw sound effects, guaranteed.

The Valium was good. Very good. In fact, I may need to go back several times for fine tuning and have it again. SEVERAL times. I literally kissed my glasses goodbye and kept giggling on the table instead of holding still.

All I remember for sure was that the actual surgery only took a minute, giggle-free. And when the surgeon was replacing the flaps of my eyes, he said it was like squeegeeing a windshield at a car wash. I giggled again, for joy . . . because I could see!

I could see Maddy’s freckles! I could walk in the rain without speckles! I could read speed-limit signs! (Darn!)

I could read the newspaper; before, it was like a ball of fuzz without my glasses. I could see my face in the mirror without craning my neck one inch away.

The BAD news is, I also could see cobwebs, dust bunnies and window smears. Hmm. Previous decades of nearsightedness weren’t all bad.

Just kidding. From all the angles, this is a modern medical marvel. People in ancient times would no doubt call it a miracle.

You know those people in the Bible whose sight Jesus healed? I think I know now how they felt. Incomparable joy, awe and gratitude.

My prayer is that I’ll see everything more clearly now, including spiritual things. And when I see Jesus in heaven someday, I’m going to thank him for sending a high-tech miracle . . . for a nearsighted wretch like me. †