Friday, August 25, 2006

PLEASE VISIT and for fresh material.

This blog contains the archives for the DailySusan humor anecdotes.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Today is the first day of school for most of the schoolchildren in Omaha’s public schools. Have at it, kids! God bless you, teachers! OK, you moms, now join me in clicking your heels and high-tailing it to the nearest bar!

Just kidding.

Then again, a friend of mine used to host a “REAL MOTHER'S DAY” celebration coffee on the first day of school all the years her boys were in school. Everyone knew to just come, and often brought others. The noise level was high as all chattered about summer and the relief of having kids back in school with some semblance of order back to life.

But each year, there would be ONE mom who'd fall into the open doorway, sobbing, after she had just sent her last child off to the wild kingdom of kindergarten.

Everybody sympathized. But then my friend would serve her a mimosa – spiked orange juice – and voila! She’d be allllllllll better.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Ooh! Talk about oddball college roommates struck a nerve. There was the guy who never slept on bedsheets in four years; he slept on the bare mattress with an old Indian blanket over him. Hence the nickname “Chief.” It made everybody else itchy, though.

There was the girl with feet so smelly, her roommate snuck baby powder into them at night while she slept. In fact, there was another girl with a bona fide skin problem who was so smelly, her roommate moved in with two other girls and let her have a single room. A rather . . . stinky . . . way to get some privacy, but oh well, and they stayed friends, too.

There was the freshman who got paired with the busy junior who was never there and interacted with her as much as with a hat rack. There was the serious scholar who got paired with the noise addict who couldn’t sleep, study or do anything without the TV blaring.

There was the orderly engineering major who studied at her desk every night until 10 p.m., even on weekends, and then went immediately to bed. Her schedule called for her to leave for class every day at 7:15 a.m. Her roommate, naturally, was the party hog type who came in late and slept in, taking classes not necessarily in her "bunny slope" major, but whatever was offered in the afternoon. Weeks went by and they barely saw each other, although relations were cordial when they did. They left notes about getting together to paint their room but could never find time. Finally, in mid-October, the future engineer went to the dorm office, requisitioned some paint, and painted . . . HER half of the room. Pea green, too. The party-hearty roommate came home from Homecoming festivities to see the line down the middle of the wall, and figured it was time to move out . . . for no other reason than that she HATED pea green.

They stayed friends, too. Sometimes it’s easier to be friends when you can’t even be in the same room . . . especially if it's pea green.

Monday, August 21, 2006


One of our young family friends freshly off to college is a girlygirl to the max. She loves to dress up, fix her hair, go out and be with people. She’s always bubbly and the life of the party wherever she goes. She signed up for a four-girl suite in the dorm with hopes of having a blast with other young women in wonderful new relationships and lots of socializing.

Alas! Two of her roommates are self-described “band nerds.” They wear the same athletic shorts, T-shirts and ponytails every day, never wear makeup, stay in the room except for going to class, and practice their instruments constantly.

The third is from a foreign country, and so far, no fun.

It seems like an impossible situation. But this young woman has red hair. Those people have irresistible charm. Sooner or later, she’s going to get her way. Prediction: by Christmas break, this foursome is going to be the talk of the campus. Party on!

Sunday, August 20, 2006


And God blessed them, saying,
Be fruitful, and multiply. . . .
-- Genesis 1:22a

They challenged us in church. Could we raise a million dollars this summer to help build a much-needed hospital for women and children in impoverished Mali, West Africa? Women still die in childbirth there; ‘way too many babies never see age 5. What could we do about it?

Could we pour out the love of Jesus Christ on the people of Mali half a world away, to show the largely Muslim population what Christians are really like?

Every once in a while, something like this breaks through to help us focus on how richly we’re blessed, and see what it’s all for:

To multiply our blessings for others.

Not just spend our money – invest it. Not just rear our children – love them. Not just give money to the poor – pray for them, serve them, protect them, heal them, teach them, create opportunity for them . . . invest in them, and love them.

And oh, the creative ways people found to raise money to do all that:

Among other projects, one family went “Dumpster Diving for Mali.” They retrieved a castoff bicycle, fixed it, and sold it.

A nurse who visited the Holy Land and had 600 pictures from her trip made and sold greeting cards.

A teacher who goes to “therapy” in the summer – on the golf course – donated $2 for every stroke over par.

A family whose boys play a lot of baseball sold ice-cold water bottles at sun-baked ballfields with no concession stands.

Another family took orders on where to plant their outrageous flock of plastic flamingoes in people’s yards as a fund-raiser. You could pay to “flamingo” someone, or pay to have “insurance” that no one would “flamingo” you.

Another delivered new phone books and donated their pay; another haunted thrift stores, bought underpriced treasures and made a tidy profit on eBay; one couple sold their old boat and raised over $1,000.

I set a goal of walking 56 miles in 56 days, and raising $5,600, a dollar a mile to bridge the gap between our home and Mali.

Thanks to prayerful prodding by my family, and a lot of generous friends, we made it. We’re contributing $5,600. Wow! What a blessing! I’m so grateful.

As usual, God did a lot more than I bargained for:

I started off as an extreme couch potato, a Poster Child For Pudge, barely able to walk one mile slowly in about 30 minutes. But now I’m jogging – OK, semi-staggering – able to go three miles in 45 minutes.

I have more energy, look better in my clothes, lost seven pounds, and two inches off my flabby waist.

Grim realities of childbirth in Mali refocused me on the blessings of great American health care. I had toxemia with our late-in-life baby, Maddy; if we’d lived in Mali, we’d both have died. A niece had a C-section a few weeks ago and developed complications; in Mali, she’d be dead today. But she’s here, and she’s fine. Gratitude is a blessing in itself.

Friends sent me neat cards and notes along with their donations, including one who sent Band-Aids for the inevitable blisters and some Freedent gum, which she said won’t stick to dental work, but will help me “stick with” my goal. I loved praying for each supporter. The time spent walking, away from duties and distractions, refocused me on others and revitalized my prayer life, which brought me closer to the Lord. That sweetened me up – for which my family gives thanks!

Finally, I’ve always crabbed that I’m fat, but I don’t have TIME to do an organized diet and exercise program. Yeah, right. Through walking, I found out there’s a Weight Watchers meeting at a little church a block away. Is THAT convenient enough?

So yes, I’m joining. And I’m going to keep on walking. I’ll be a babe in no time.

A “Dolly For Mali.”

And I thought the idea was to help OTHERS. Hah!

But that’s God. See how He multiplies His blessings? They’re endless. They boomerang. In His economy, the return on investment is always world-class . . . and downright heavenly. †


Miles For Mali Final Report

Goal: Raise $5,600 by walking 56 miles in 56 days, obtaining sponsorships to help build a much-needed maternity hospital in impoverished Mali, Africa, which is 5,600 miles from Omaha.

Three words: WE MADE IT!

Two more: THANK YOU!

All glory and honor for this “feat of the feet” goes to the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s in His Name the miles were walked, and the dollars were donated. Who knows how many lives of women and children will be saved, or how many people will come to Christ when these blessings materialize in Mali?

As soon as the total amount raised in our church is known, I’ll pass word along. Prepare to be amazed! Thanks for your prayers, and please keep them up ‘til the mission is accomplished!

Thank-you notes and tax statements to our personal sponsors are on their way, but they’re inadequate to express our gratitude. You know who you are! And you know what a blessing you have been, to me, to Mali, and to God. Watch Him multiply His blessings to you!

Hope this little funny blesses you, too. I wish I were this graceful on the treadmill. Hope it makes you smile:

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Another sorority Rush Week has ended at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. More than 800 young women, mostly freshmen, got as gussied up as girls get today, and went from sorority house to sorority house in a series of parties that culminated with them selecting their sorority and vice versa.

I remember it well in my collegehood days, how smart-aleck fraternity boys would cluster their lawn chairs out in front of their houses as the rushees walked by, and “rate” them with cards similar to the ones held up by diving judges. You know: a girl would come walking along, thinking she was a “10,” and three boys would hold up a “6,” a “5” and a “7,” or whatever, to deflate her ego just when she didn’t need it.

I guess that kind of thing still goes on. The frat rats were playing on their Slip ‘n’ Slide outside their house this past week while ogling the girls, while others sat on their front stoops or hung out their windows, watching the stream of lovelies pass by on the sidewalks.

Their wolf whistles and catcalls got pretty intense. One girl made the mistake of looking toward them . . . and she ran right into a parking meter. WHAM! Then she got her heel caught in the vent around it.

That’s why they call it “rush,” I guess – you just want to get through it as quickly as possible, with some semblance of self-esteem intact, and let some time pass, so you can look back on it with a smile.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I haven’t verified this, because my math skills are still on vacation. But it sounds about right:

Pythagorean theorem: 24 words

The Lord's Prayer: 66 words

Archimedes' Principle: 67 words

The 10 Commandments: 179 words

The Gettysburg Address: 286 words

The Declaration of Independence: 1,300 words

U.S. Government regulations on the sale of cabbage: 26,911 words

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I was having trouble with my computer. So I called Harold, the computer guy, to come over. Harold clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem.

He gave me a bill for $75, the minimum charge for a service call. As he was leaving, I called after him, "So, what was wrong?"

He replied, "It was an I.D. Ten T Error."

Ooh! Sounded serious! Something to do with my identity? Was it a virus? "An I.D. Ten T Error? What's that, in case I need to fix it again?"

Harold said with a twinkle in his eye, "Write it down, and I think you'll figure it out."

So I wrote down: I D 1 0 T

I used to like Harold. . . .

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


For some Equal Time:

Two blond guys were working for the city works department. One would dig a hole and the other would follow behind him and fill the hole in.

They worked up one side of the street, then down the other, and then moved on to the next street, working furiously all day without rest . . . one guy digging a hole, the other guy filling it in again.

An onlooker was amazed at their hard work, but couldn't understand what they were doing. So he asked the hole digger, "I'm impressed by the effort you two are putting in to your work, but I don't get it -- why do you dig a hole, only to have your partner follow behind and fill it up again?"

The hole digger wiped his brow and sighed. "Well, I suppose it probably looks odd because we're normally a three-man team. But today the guy who plants the trees called in sick."

Monday, August 14, 2006


Some people go to the lake in the summertime to enjoy family bonding activities such as boating, tubing, fishing and swimming. But a twisted few go there mainly to watch people in the worst possible circumstance of life: trying to pull their boat out of the water. It gets to be a spectator sport when they’re trying to do this in front of people, especially if 1) they’re brand new to the process, or 2) a heap big storm’s a-brewin’ and the wind and waves are huge.

Our particular twisted friend actually brings a lawn chair to the boat ramp when on camping trips to sit with his little buddies with a festive beverage at hand. They laugh their brains out at the antics of poor, unsuspecting, would-be boat loaders. You’d think at HIS age he could come up with a more constructive leisure-time activity.

On the other hand, he’s doing the same thing car-racing fans pay big bucks to do – hope there’s a crash and a lot of excitement – and what bird-watchers do – listening for telltale chirps and ruffled feathers. Only THESE “chirps” are usually long strings of words you don’t say in front of Junior, and THESE “ruffled feathers” usually shake out as hilarious arguments between a Mr. and a Mrs.

One time, the husband was navigating the boat toward the ramp while the wife was backing the car with the empty trailer down to meet him. He shouted at her to go left, and she went left – only the trailer went RIGHT. High winds were literally rocking the boat, the trailer was all crooked, people were watching, other boats were lining up behind his, and he was getting very frustrated.

“I SAID ‘left!’” he shouted.

“I TURNED ‘left!’” she retorted.

“You went the wrong WAY!” he raged.

“You TOLD me to turn that way!” she rebuked.

“Well, hurry up and try it again, and THIS time, do it right!”

She whipped that car into Park, yanked out the keys, marched to the water’s edge, hollered, “NO! YOU DO IT!!!” . . . THREW the keys at him . . . they promptly sank . . . and she stalked off.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
-- 2 Corinthians 10:17

My adorable, zestful friend Julie Erickson was facing The Big 5-0 this summer. People wanted to throw her a stand-up cocktail party with lots of black crepe paper, prunes and the Grim Reaper. There’d be lots of hoopla, lots of funny cards rubbing in her advancing age.

But that’s not Julie. She’s fun, but she runs deep. She hatched a big, fat, hairy wish: she wanted to share a concert on the beach with her friends, featuring songs that would glorify . . . not Julie . . . but God.

And that’s exactly what she got. By all accounts, it was the most fantastic 50th birthday party anyone had ever seen.

“It really wasn’t about me,” she said. “It really was for His overall glory.”

Eight couples came forward to co-host the sunset picnic and put on a beautiful spread for 125 people.

Instead of gifts, donations were encouraged to, which delivers girls out of international sexual slavery, one of Julie’s “heart burdens.”

Dear friends donated their longtime family cabin on a gorgeous pond outside the city. There was a picturesque fountain, the sprawling Platte River nearby, and most of all, the beach. It wasn’t fancy: the building was like an old sleeping porch, there was an old mossy staircase, tiki torches were stuck in the sand, and the electrical wiring was from the 1920s or so. But it was perfect: unique, private, and oozing with personality.

Her husband, Bill, put his back into the task. He rented thousands of dollars worth of sound equipment, and assembled a band with two vocalists, a keyboard artist, a bass player, and himself on drums. They worked up 12 songs by Julie’s favorite Christian singer, the incomparable Nichole Nordeman.

These lyrics had seen Julie through crises like the death of her father. They were precious. These songs told what she was feeling on this big milestone birthday better than she ever could. She was eager for her friends to hear them, knowing that many had never heard a note of Christian music outside church, or weren’t church-goers at all.

The day of the party dawned searing hot, eventually reaching 100 degrees, with 100% humidity. Bill built a stage, shoveling sand, laying in place big eight-foot by four-foot boards, stringing out a million miles of electrical cord, and adjusting the amps, instruments and lights right up to the start of the party.

Everyone went into overdrive doing last-minute tasks. Julie was stressed out, hot and sweaty. Would the wiring hold up? Would people get lost? Would they think the whole thing was weird, corny and colossally dumb?

Suddenly, a supernatural calm came over her. “It was like, we set the stage, and we could step back now and let the Holy Spirit work,” she said. “I knew it didn’t matter if my makeup was running off my face as if I’d jumped into the pond myself. He’d take it from there.”

Everything went beautifully. The lingering sunset gave way to darkness. There was soft clapping between songs, but otherwise, everyone just soaked it in. A sign-language interpreter stood up for a song about gratitude, and someone shined a spotlight on her. All you could see were her hands and her face; the song was about asking God for the simple things in life, and how He is so good at giving us what we need.

And then the finale, the song called “Legacy”:

I want to leave a legacy.

How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering:
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

When it ended, people rose quietly, hugged Julie, and filed out, as if they’d just been to a holy place. Which they had.

Happy birthday, Julie. Your wish came true. The light that shined that night outdid 50 candles by far, old girl. You left a legacy, because you took the priceless birthday gifts He gave you . . . and passed them along. †


Miles For Mali Update

Goal: Raise $5,600 by walking 56 miles in 56 days, obtaining sponsorships to help build a much-needed maternity hospital in impoverished Mali, Africa.

Second to last week’s report: 47 miles walked, $3,931 raised. Deadline: Aug. 20. Wow! The goal is in sight, and I’m excited. I hope some biggies roll in this last week. It has been such a joy, and so good for me, physically and spiritually, as the miles and the donations have piled up. It is such an encouragement to receive those sponsorship checks and know how much each dollar is going to mean!

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please consider sponsoring me for $1 a day, to help bring decent medical care to nearly-destitute women and children in West Africa. Any amount would be greatly appreciated, of course! Let me know your prayer requests, too. Your generosity and kindness to people who are literally at the end of the earth will be noted in prayer, every step of the way.

DEADLINE FOR RECEIVING DONATIONS: I must have them by Saturday, Aug. 19.
Please send checks made out to Christ Community Church to:
Susan Williams, P.O. Box 995, Elkhorn, NE 68022.

Donations tax-deductible; you will receive a letter for your files after the money is turned in next Sunday, Aug. 20. On the personal side, I’ll endeavor to thank our sponsors in a special way in next week’s story. I literally kiss your feet, but after putting in 56 miles . . . you won’t want to kiss mine! :>)

Learn more at: or

Saturday, August 12, 2006


A young blonde was on vacation, driving through the Everglades. She wanted to take home a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way. But she was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking.

After becoming very frustrated with the "no haggle on prices" attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the blonde shouted, "Well, then, maybe I'll just go out and catch my own alligator, so I can get a pair of shoes for free!"

The shopkeeper said with a sly, knowing smile, "Little lady, just go and give it a try!"

The blonde headed out toward the swamps, determined to catch an alligator.

Later in the day, as the shopkeeper was driving home, he pulled over to the side of the levee where he spotted that same young woman standing waist deep in the murky bayou water, shotgun in hand.

Just then, he saw a huge, nine-foot gator swimming rapidly toward her. With lightning speed, she took aim, fired, killed the creature and hauled it onto the slimy bank of the swamp. Lying nearby were seven more dead ones, all lying on their backs.

The shopkeeper stood on the bank, watching in silent amazement. The blonde struggled and flipped the gator onto its back. Rolling her eyes heavenward and screaming in great frustration, she shouted out, "Oh, NO!!! . . . THIS ONE'S BAREFOOT, TOO!"

Friday, August 11, 2006


Whoa! The terrorism news was scary yesterday. We know lots of people who need to take airplanes in the next few days. This is not good.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going . . . for an hour-long spa pedicure complete with hot wax treatments, foot massage, and mango daiquiris (alcohol-free, of course, and to drink, not pour on our feet). Yes, it was a mother-daughter summer swan song, as our daughter is returning to college for her senior year.

We discussed the latest terrorism news, and then the young pedicurist mentioned the most terrible thing that ever happened to her on an airplane:

It was a rough ride. She became nauseated. She reached for the paper bag. She shoved her hand inside to kind of pop it open.

It wasn’t empty.

AAAIIIEEE!!!!!!! It must have been used on a previous flight, and no one disposed of it. She was totally freaked out and couldn’t move ‘til they touched ground again.

If any al-Qaida or Hibz’allah dudes ever make it onto an airplane I’m on, I’m going to be hoping bigtime that the stew was a slacker like that, and they freak out and can’t go through with whatever their evil plan is.

If not, I’ll just kick ‘em where it hurts, hard, with my gorgeous, revitalized, all-American, pretty-in-pink piggies.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Maddy, 6, came home from a playdate with fake chicken pox spots all over her body. They were made with red magic marker. They were very funny.

However, we had somewhere to go yesterday and the spots were still there. I sent her in to the master bathroom shower for a Business Bath with soap and a washcloth, and instructions to Power Scour.

The clear glass shower door fogged completely up, and the shower was noisy. “How’s it working?” I yelled in to her through the foggy glass.

She rubbed a circle clean to reveal her smiling face.

Then she rubbed another tiny circle above it . . . to show her upraised thumb.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I can’t think of much else scarier than having a tornado roar toward you in the dark of night. Ooie gooie: if you can hear it coming, but can’t see it coming, you’re scared but you don’t know where to duck.

Here’s a picture of a nighttime tornado said to have hit Sedalia, Mo., this past March 10:

(photo available only to email subscribers)

It reminds me of my old newspaper colleague, who once came in to work and was assigned to report on a massive tornado that rammed through a small town in western Nebraska at o’dark thirty. It was so many hours away by car, he never could have gotten there in time to file a story for the afternoon edition. So he raced to our collection of small-town phone books, and started calling.

He called the grocery store. He called the church. He called people at random from the white pages. No one answered.

Ye Gods! Was the entire town wiped out?

Finally, someone answered at the post office. “Hallooooo?”

Phew! He went into overdrive. “Hello there! I’m calling from the newspaper in Omaha! We hear you had a tornado! Oh, my gosh, I’m so glad to find someone who can tell me what it was like! We have reports of massive destruction – buildings demolished – trees down. Are there people hurt? Anybody killed? What did you see? What did you hear? Tell me all about it! Tell me everything you know!”

On the other end, there was a long, long pause. Was this poor soul in shock at the trauma of it all, the utter chaos, or perhaps injured, unable to speak?

Finally, the reporter heard again: “Hallooooo?”

Turns out he’d reached the one person in town who was hard of hearing. The reporter went through his whole spiel once again, and the poor guy still couldn’t understand. They hung up in mutual frustration.

I don’t know what the paper wound up putting in the afternoon edition . . . but I think the reporter took a long, long, LONG lunch.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


My buddy arrived back in Jerusalem after a summer trip to the U.S.A. She was on the phone with her husband, who was still back in the States, when she heard a commotion down in the street below from her upper-level balcony.

There were tambourines and chanting, so she thought it was a parade. He was worried about her, and she wanted to reassure him that everything was OK that many miles from the fighting. She put the phone out so her husband could hear the parade and grasp how vibrant and beautiful the city still was, despite the nastiness of the war. Too late, she finally could make out what they were chanting:


Oops! She thought her husband might try to jump through the phone line when he heard that. It was a protest by an Islamic group outside a nearby Jewish seminary. They were soon dispersed without incident by Israeli police.

Yes, life goes on in the Holy Land, even though sometimes it gets wacky. For example, she attended a wedding of two Christian friends last week in Ramallah, the former headquarters of Yasser Arafat and now the home base of the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas.

It’s a long story: the bride is a Palestinian Christian from Ramallah with dual citizenship in the U.S. The groom has an Egyptian background and is a Christian, too. The bride’s family members in Ramallah don’t have a certain blue identity card which would allow them to travel inside Jerusalem for the wedding in the groom’s church. You have to have been born in Jerusalem, and be a resident there, to have one.

So the couple had to borrow a church in Ramallah to get hitched. That’s why it was a Coptic Christian service for two evangelical Christians held in a Greek Orthodox Church in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

They pulled it off, and then some. Look at the regal bride and groom in traditional garb:

Isn’t it nice to know that you can still find love, beauty and joy in the midst of war and hate?

Or are you just groovin’ on their crowns? I know I am. Think what happy marriages we all could have, if you start off thinking of yourself as a king and queen. Nothing could get in the way of your peace and happiness!

Take that, Hizb’allah!!!

Sunday, August 06, 2006


I will not leave you comfortless:
I will come to you.
-- John 14:18

It’s been an Alka-Seltzer / Tylenol / Maalox / Hot-Fudge Brownie Sundae kind of summer, news-wise.



Basket-case countries going “noo-coo-lar”!



Global warming!

Illegal immigrants!

And now Mel Gibson! (Sob!) Say it isn’t so, Mel! The hunkiest actor ever, in a drunken moment last week, revealed ugly, shocking anti-Semitism.

I cried out in agony when I read of my longtime crush’s freefall. I slumped, and my arm dangled down the side of the chair.

Suddenly, a cold, wet snout bounced my hand upward so that it landed on a warm, fuzzy head. It was Sunny Bone-O, our yellow Labrador retriever. She’d heard my cry, and in her doggy way, thought I’d feel better if I petted her a little bit.

Darn right I did. I think it’s in the Plan. I believe our companion animals are deputized from above. When people aren’t around to give you comfort and tenderness, animals are there to do it, and do it well.

One starry night years ago when I was sad and couldn’t sleep, I went outside to have a private little pity party on the back patio. Not too many tears had dripped down before Fat Louie, our often-AWOL and usually neglected barn cat, jumped into my lap, demanding to be petted, all warm and cuddly and purring. Isn’t it funny? Usually, he’d bolt away from anyone who tried to pet him.

We don’t speak of it; cats have their pride, you know. But he certainly made me feel better. Maybe it’s nuts, but I feel we’ve shared a special bond ever since.

How do animals know what we’re feeling? How do they know when we need them so much? It’s a great mystery, and a comfort. People who had rocky childhoods even say that the one who knew them the best and cared for them the most was the family dog. You feel sorry for them . . . but so glad they knew the true love of a God-given, faithful friend, four-legged or otherwise.

So in this summer of stress and anxiety, crisis and doomsday talk, I was delighted to hear about a dog named Hogan who’s gone above and beyond the call of Man’s Best Friend. Hogan, you see, has become a New Baby Nanny beyond compare for a week-old infant named Charity Rose.

Hogan is a 3-year-old, 80-pound, Great Pyrenees / Chow mix who belongs to Jeff Curtis of Omaha, and wife Beth McDaniel. Hogan’s been a playful companion for the blended family’s older six children, ranging in ages from 13 to 6.

But when Beth became pregnant, Hogan changed. His sheepdog lineage already made him protective, territorial and loyal. But through the pregnancy, he just went bonkers over Beth. He watched her like a hawk, following her from room to room.

“He slept on the floor on my side of the bed,” she said. He’d never done that before.

“Any time I had any kind of twinges or anything, especially as the baby got bigger and would kick me, he’d be right next to me. Maybe I would kind of wince, but I don’t know. It seemed like any time the baby would kick, it was like he could sense it.”

Charity was born last Monday, at 8 pounds, 14 ounces. The couple didn’t really know what to expect from the dog when they brought her home. Well, Hogan’s tenderness and concern turned him in to an adorable, shaggy Mary Poppins . . . heaven-sent, pure love.

“He always wants to be next to her,” Beth said. “He doesn’t care about me now – he’s completely bonded to her. He sleeps by her bed. If she makes a peep, he runs right over to her. He likes to lick her, too – Jeff says it’s his instinct to clean her – but I don’t really want her to be cleaned by a dog’s tongue.”

Jeff says it best: “If Hogan only knew how to make her a bottle and bring her a Binkie.” †

(If you’d like an update on Charity and Hogan, help this young family, and get some mighty nice, sparkling windows, note that Jeff Curtis runs Xtreme Glass Cleaning in Omaha, 208-9314)


Miles For Mali Update

Goal: Raise $5,600 by walking 56 miles in 56 days and obtaining sponsorships to help build a much-needed maternity hospital in impoverished Mali, Africa.

Fifth week’s report: 32 miles walked, $1,545 raised. Deadline: Aug. 20. Eek! I’ll be putting the pedal to the metal, or should I say the Reeboks to the pavement, bigtime, these last two weeks of the effort. But I believe!

Please consider sponsoring me for $1 a day, to help bring decent medical care to nearly-destitute women and children in West Africa. Any amount would be greatly appreciated, of course! Let me know your prayer requests, too. Your generosity and kindness to people who are literally at the end of the earth will be noted in prayer every step of the way.

Please send checks made out to Christ Community Church to:
Susan Williams, P.O. Box 995, Elkhorn, NE 68022.

Donations tax-deductible; you will receive a letter for your files. THANK YOU!!!

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Saturday, August 05, 2006


Our daughter Eden chose to stay in Nebraska and play in the high school all-stars softball game this week while her traveling team went down to Texas for the national tournament of the American Fastpitch Association in Beaumont.

She missed the first few days of the tournament, but after her game up here, they were still alive, with only one loss in the double elimination tournament. So the morning after her game, she and her dad arose at 4 a.m. to get her on a plane to join her team. She made it well in time for the 12:30 p.m. game.

That afternoon, her dad fielded the dreaded call:

“We lost 1-0 in extra innings,” she began, in a tiny voice wracked by sobs. You always HATE to lose those close ones, especially since it knocked the team out of the tournament, and now she would have a 19-hour car ride home with a teammate’s family.

“I’m almost afraid to tell you this, too, Dad,” she continued, sniffling, “but I didn’t get to play. I turned my ankle in warm-ups.”

The blood drained completely out of my husband’s body and pooled at his feet, as he contemplated the $350 he’d forked over for a one-way plane ticket.

Then she burst out laughing. “HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Just kidding! Actually, WE beat THEM in extra innings! And I wasn’t really hurt – in fact, I got two hits!”

She had him hook, line and sinker, the little stinker. Then he turned around and pulled the same stunt on ME, giving me a heart attack, too.

The team wound up respectably, but did get knocked out and got home early this morning. So she’d better look out: middle-aged revenge can be sweet!

Friday, August 04, 2006


Someone I know and love went to that exotic vacation paradise, Indianola, Iowa, this week to attend the National Balloon Classic and have her first ride in a hot-air balloon.

I had a maiden great-great aunt whose passion was going on a senior-citizen bus tour to the Tulip Festival in Pella, Iowa, every spring. We thought Aunt Nell’s annual adventure was the epitome of a nerd vacation. But balloons over Indianola sounded even worse than tulips in Pella.

Come to find out, Indianola’s balloon event ranks right up there with the New Mexico balloon lifts as a world-class showing of that special and beautiful hobby. It’s a hotbed of hot air! As Ron Burgundy (movie Anchorman) would say, it’s kind of a big deal.


But I’m stuck at home, and probably won’t even get a souvenir T-shirt out of the deal because I made fun of the excursion. All I can do is the next-best thing: a VIRTUAL balloon ride. Try it with this game. It’s kind of fun:

Thursday, August 03, 2006


There was a typographical error in this morning’s Omaha World-Herald. In an account of the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star softball doubleheader, held Wednesday at the sparkling University of Nebraska-Lincoln softball field, there was this sentence:

“Elkhorn’s Eden Williams also had a terrific defensive play and singled before Bryant singled home Columbus star Chelsey Woodside.”

Grammatically, it was correct. But typographically, it really should have been:

“Elkhorn’s EDEN WILLIAMS also had a terrific defensive play and singled before Bryant singled home Columbus star Chelsey Woodside.”

We are so proud of her: two amazing outfield catches, a double play and a well-timed snappy single in front of the largest crowd she’s ever played before, 875 people. They put up an enormous roar after her two catches that brought out that magnum smile. And her grandparents, two sisters, a beloved aunt, and friends were there to see it. For all the all-stars, it was fabulous icing on the cake for their high-school softball careers, and a great sendoff to college.

Here’s to Eden. You’ve come a long way, Baby.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Drove through the booming metropolis of Gretna, Neb., and was amazed at all the construction, new houses, and new businesses along the highway. Gretna used to be the sleepy little town ‘way on the outskirts of metropolitan Omaha that my dad held up as a threat to my mom. If she didn’t behave, he’d say, he was moving her to a trailer home in GRETNA! Ewwww! She would shiver, and toe the line. It was the ultimate scare tactic. Nowadays, though, Gretna has gotten all upscale, and it’d be a treat to live there, trailer home or no.

But my daughter Eden and I have decided that Gretna is Mean City, USA. Why? Because of the odd combinations of businesses that are near to each other. Tactless! Unfriendly! Nasty, even!

There’s a mortuary right across from a nursing home!

There’s an ice cream shoppe right next to a fitness center!

And the Tender Care Animal Hospital is next to a fast-food joint that sells barbecued wings. That can’t be very fun for the birds whose owners bring them there. So THAT’S what they call “tender care” in Gretna, eh? Chicken TENDERS, they mean.

Next thing you know, they’ll have a bridal shop next to a shotgun store on the other side of a psychiatrist’s office . . . and a jail next door to the high school. Then again, with the first day of school right around the corner, that might not be half bad city planning after all.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Forget the Interstate. We drove home on back roads from a boating excursion on the Nebraska-South Dakota border. We saw a gingerbread-y old house done up as an art school . . . a couple of junk yards that were textbooks of farm implements through the decades . . . lots of “beefies,” our word for cattle . . . and of course, miles of corn and beans in beautiful fields as far as the eye could see.

Then we got a surprising treat.

Just outside the town of West Point, Neb., nine elk were grazing in the late-day sun, with magnificent antler racks. Daughters Neely and Maddy check them out. Maddy was looking around for Santa Claus, because these were definitely reindeer on steroids.

It was better than Cabela’s, because they MOVED! We’ve traveled pretty extensively, but we’ve never seen elk. Best of all, we live in the town of Elkhorn, so now we have even more pride of place.

But the question was, why nine BOY elk? Where were the girls?

I googled a little bit, and found a possible solution: it seems that the 15 to 25 pounds of elk antlers each male sheds annually can produce a delightful income in this global economy. Turns out elk antlers are ground up for a hot-selling aphrodisiac in Korea.

Now we know why they call it “animal husbandry.”