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We take a family vacation every year.

Every other year or so, we head to the beach. Until recently all twelve of us were Midwesterners who couldn’t afford to fly every year and didn’t have the time to drive for days, so our only realistic option was the Gulf coast. Thus, my husband Tony and I rent a house on the beach, and we all settle in to relax and enjoy one another for one glorious week.

On the alternate summers, we try to go somewhere the kids will enjoy almost as much as the beach. Two years ago we went to Yellowstone. The scenery was wondrous. If you’ve been there, you know I’m not exaggerating, although our accommodations on the edge of Yellowstone were so rustic one reviewer wrote: “For the love of God, keep driving!” I suppose we shouldn’t have laughed, but we did (we still do, every time we think about it). We also stopped, and we were glad. We must have been a little heartier than the reviewer.


Day breaks, and my husband Tony is ready to get going.

He usually begins with some kind of breakfast, after which he will read the newspaper and play a rousing game or two of Spider Solitaire on the computer before hopping into his golf cart and heading to the club house to team up and play eighteen challenging and joyous holes of golf.

This he does every morning of his life if we’re in town and it isn’t sleeting. Or, to be fair, this he does if someone doesn’t need him for something before one in the afternoon.

The morning of my sixtieth birthday, Tony was kind enough to linger in bed with me awhile before throwing back the covers to embrace the day.



I mentioned last week that only three weeks into my teaching career, I wanted desperately to quit. My husband talked me into hanging in there until Christmas, but my anxiety, coupled with sleep deprivation caused, no doubt, by that anxiety, led to an incident that I have called “the last straw.”

I was standing before my third hour class and someone said something funny that made me smile. When it was time to quit smiling, however, I couldn’t. The smile, becoming quite inappropriate, remained.

Even when I told it to go away, it didn’t. Though I’ve never heard of such a thing and haven’t experienced it since, it seems both my involuntary and voluntary muscles had shut down. I actually turned from the class and did what people have been commanding to do for years: I wiped that smile off my face!



I try to post a new item every Monday. Twice now I didn’t get it done. I seriously doubt anyone has noticed, but if you have, maybe you’ll understand. My life is like most of yours—crazy. Good crazy at the moment, but crazy.

I’ve been posting things my students always seemed to like; however, the next two posts are from a devotion I wrote for the Ozark Christian College faulty. Like much that I write, it’s pretty transparent. I don’t mind that up to a point, not if it might provide insight or comfort to someone.

I got the title for this from Wordsworth’s great ode on immortality. I do love a “timely utterance,” and something like writing in a journal has brought me comfort in the past, but there is something that has always been more helpful than that. That’s what I’m exploring in this devotion. If you need relief from an anxiety or heartache, I hope this will encourage you.