Monthly Archives: June 2010

It’s fascinating to watch reactions and responses to life. Three different people can see the same situation in three different ways. I once heard this illustration: Three friends are falling from the Empire State Building. The pessimist says, “We are dead.” The realist says, “We are falling to our death.” The optimist says, “So far so good.” If they had time, these guys could probably get into a good argument about their situation.

Generally opposites attract and then we proceed to make each other crazy. If you stop to think about it, in friendships, business partnerships, and marriages there are usually temperament mixes. I think we naturally seek out those who can balance us out without even knowing it. In all strong relationships the parties involved have learned to value each other’s point of view. Where trouble begins is when we refuse to look at a problem or situation standing in someone else’s shoes seeing things from their vantage point.

Add to our personality differences, when backgrounds and male female differences are thrown in the mix, it’s a wonder any of us get along. Because I’m basically a realist, seeing things as they appear to be, I can thwart the creativity of an optimist. Because Jim Brawner is the eternal optimist, I can start to develop a twitch hearing all his new ideas and plans. Over the years both of us have had to learn to listen without reacting. I have figured out he likes to oral edit his ideas and that in all probability we aren’t moving to a foreign continent and he has learned to let me make my plan and try to work it.

It’s taken a lot of years for us to get to that point. Over time he’s learned in some situations we might be falling and I have learned to frequently say, “So far so good.”


Have you ever gotten up in the morning and wondered, “Why did I bother going to bed?” Half the night is spent dreaming bizarre screenplay type scenes and the other half staring at the ceiling tying to figure out if you might have a mental disorder because no sane person could formulate such stuff. Last night was one of those nights for me.

In one dream segment I was locked out of every door I tried and when I finally found one open it was to an outdoor party where people were sitting around in lawn chairs sipping drinks with long colored straws. They were all a bit odd looking, some with really long faces and some with big eyes. As strange as they looked, they were very kind and concerned that I might need some help. I’m sure there is a hidden meaning somewhere in all of that.

Have you ever had a reoccurring dream like showing up at a party in your underwear or being able to hit a golf ball 400 yards with ease? I used dream of getting stuck in an elevator between the 6th and 7th floors. The doors would open and I would see the concrete floor and steel framework then the doors would close. It was frightening, so consequently in real life I’m not a big fan of elevators.

About 10 years ago I was visiting Jill in New York City. I was staying in an older boutique hotel right in Times Square. We got on the elevator with a young couple who had just arrived in the US for the first time from London. Everything was fine until the elevator stopped between the 6th and 7th floors the doors opened, I saw the concrete and steel then the doors closed. It took me a minute to realize I was awake. I had a meltdown and Jill laughed so hard no sound came out.

I got on the elevator phone in a near panic and called for help. Jill was still laughing. The young couple just stared in disbelief. Suddenly the young man, sensing my out of control fear, said in his British accent, “I hope the lift doesn’t drop to the bottom.” Then he grinned. I didn’t think his attempt to make me laugh was at all funny. In my claustrophobic state I hadn’t even thought about the elevator falling.

Help arrived via the elevator next to us. The maintenance guys opened the side of the elevator and we had to climb though the shaft into the next car. It was like a scene from a Tom Cruise movie. What’s really strange is I’ve not had the elevator dream since the actual episode.

Dreams are interesting part of sleep, but can wear me out. Surely tonight I’ll be so tired all circuits will shut down and I’ll get some dreamless sound sleep.

My first introduction to genetics was in 10th grade Biology class. Mr. Berry, one of my all time favorite teachers, taught us more than we really needed to know about fruit flies. The only thing I clearly remember is they came either short winged or long winged, similar to short or long eye-lashed in humans I suppose.

Several vials of my fruit flies died. I don’t think I was really cut out to be a fruit fly farmer. But I did save enough for my results and report. What I did learn the most about was drawing the little chart to check genetic probability not only for fruit flies but for humans as well. It fascinates me.

So when I started having babies, thanks to Mr. Berry’s teachings, I knew the chances of hair and eye color and important things like the probability of them being able to roll their tongues. Jason and Travis look like Jim and Jill is definitely my daughter. And it’s beyond the boy/girl thing. Sometimes the way genes line up in a family, biological children look nothing like either parent. It’s like hidden recessive traits float to the top of the gene pool and suddenly surface.

When Jill was pregnant with Vivian in my mind she would have a little blonde who looked like her mom. To my surprise she has auburn hair and David’s navy blue eyes. I squint to see things clearer, but she still looks like her dad. When David is holding Viv it looks like David and mini David with a dress on.

God’s design for each of us is so precious. We can draw those little charts all we want, but the way the genes line up are His decision. Vivian is her daddy’s girl for sure. I’m only hoping she didn’t get his gene for size 14 feet.

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart …”
Jeremiah 1:5

My last few weeks have been a little chaotic so I flew to Virginia to sit down for a while. Jim dropped me at the St. Louis airport on his way to Cincinnati the other day. With all the airport delays and changes I could have driven to Richmond quicker than I flew. It was a long day, but, that night, for the first time in a very long time, I slept. I mean really slept. It’s as if I left all my responsibilities in Missouri.

It’s nice to visit Jill, David and Vivian’s world because I don’t have a car and they let me know what each day’s schedule is. I’m in charge of nothing. It does make me a little antsy and concerned. I’ll get over it.

Yesterday we went to Shabbat at Tikvat Israel, a Messianic Jewish Congregation. The only Hebrew I know is “Shalom” so I was a bit lost. The service was beautiful and so rich with passion and tradition. Afterwards we had lunch at a museum then wandered through the exhibits without a timeline or deadline.

Today after church were having lunch with some friends and tonight dinner with some more friends. I’ll just tag along and smile. The best part is I don’t have to think or plan anything. My only decision is what I am going to wear. It’s almost like I’ve gone from high gear to neutral. The biggest challenge is to fight off the guilt of not doing.

I’ll idle for another week before I face the real world again. I know it’ll still be there waiting for me when I get back. Meanwhile, I’m sitting down in Virginia.

Four college room mates visited a neighboring school for an end of year fraternity party. They returned to their own campus late Sunday night. Much to their horror the 7am alarm didn’t go off and they missed the 8 o’clock final in their ethics class. The professor was a stickler and accepted excuses only in extreme cases. Oversleeping wouldn’t get them any sympathy, so they decided as a group to say they had a flat tire on the drive back home. Then they would ask if they could take the test the next day.

Much to their surprise the professor gave them a make up test time of 1pm the following day. They arrived refreshed and ready for the exam. The professor sat the guys in the four corners of the room with the test paper face down. He explained he was leaving on a trip the next day and didn’t really have the time to grade a lengthy make up test so there was only one question. “Take your time,” he said, “and put your paper on my desk when you are finished. Grades will be posted tomorrow. You may begin.”

Each of the room mates turned over the paper and were horrified to see the one question … Which tire?

And this was an ethics class. I heard once, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember which version of the story you told. The pressure to remember details is off.” These guys were busted. If they had told the truth in the first place, the professor might not have let them take the exam and they would have gotten a 0. But, they made up a story and they were going to get a 0. Looking back, I’m sure they realized telling the truth would have been easier.

The truth always floats to the top. It may not be for a long time, but it eventually does. The problem with “little white lies” is they tend to grow darker and larger with time. What sometimes starts out as seemingly innocent can roll into something very deceptive. So a lie is told to cover a lie.

When you’re tempted to stretch things or create a story for what you think is protection, ask yourself, “Which tire?” The truth is so easy to remember.

How many times have you heard, “You just don’t understand”? There’s a lot of truth in it when the conversation is between a parent and teenager. Parents’s don’t understand because, thank goodness, they have forgotten what it’s like to have ninja hormones attacking their brains. Teenagers don’t understand because they don’t realize the parents are only trying to protect them from making the same dumb mistakes they made. The misunderstanding basically is age difference based.

So why does the same “You just don’t understand” conversation go on between a husband and wife who are from the same generation? I heard the best explanation ever the other day listening to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. It was so simple and basic. I’m a simple and basic kind of a person so I guess that’s why it made to much sense to me.

Consider that women wear pink sunglasses, pink earphones and use a pink megaphone. Men use all the same equipment in blue. So when a pink megaphone speaks, pink earphones understand. Sometimes a blue megaphone can say the same thing a pink megaphone says to a set of pink earphones in a different tone with different body language and an explosion is set off.

A girlfriend can tell you the black pants are more flattering than the white flowered pants and no one skips a beat. Why is it your husband says the same thing and you are hearing him say you are fat? You are listening to a blue megaphone with pink earphones. It’s like two walkie talkie’s trying to communicate with one set on the X band and one set on the Y band.

Now does considering the earphone/megaphone idea make communication any easier? Probably not, but for me it put a little more understanding into the “You just don’t understand” type conversation.

I’m a confessed HGTV junkie. I really have to be aware of time when I click the remote to channel 42 because three hours can evaporate before I realize it. The new show Buying and Selling New York, fascinates me. One million dollars equals one hundred thousand in midwest money. Homes on Homes features Mike Holmes, the tough guy who fixes the messes shady contractors have made. He’s no nonsense and it riles him up when innocent people get taken. I think in real life he must ride a Harley and surely has a pit bull named Oscar.

I think my favorite show has to be Hidden Potential. Home buyers are shown properties most people wouldn’t bother to take a look at. Some of the places are nasty and don’t seem to have any hope, but the designers see past the mess and present the possibilities.

I’ve always been a fan of the before and after of anything where something so plain and even unattractive can be transformed to where it’s almost unrecognizable. I think it’s so encouraging to know there’s hidden potential in everything and everyone. So much of the time we don’t give a second look or a second chance to peek past the obvious and search for the hidden. Oh the things we miss out on.

Susan Boyle stunned the world with her performance on Britain’s Got Talent. A plain looking Scottish woman clearly proved the cover doesn’t always show the contents of the book. It was hidden potential at it’s finest.

How differently we would see people if we only could visualize them as a bundle of hidden potential. There is a before and after just waiting to happen.