Recapturing the Joy of Christmas—Part II

IMG_4191 - Copy (2)In my previous blog, we explored the first way I was able to recapture the joy of Christmas in 2016 after a very difficult year—finding a way to serve.

Notice I said a way to serve—not fifty ways to serve. Pray about it, pick a few, and do them well, because if we go overboard, any joy we experience from serving becomes eclipsed by exhaustion and stress. And it also makes it tough to follow the second way I recaptured my Christmas joy:

After you find some ways to serve others, do something you love to do at Christmas.

And don’t let the grinches stop you.

Let me explain.

At Christmas, I love looking at Christmas lights. When my children were younger, our whole family would drive around gawking at the twinkling homes while we sang Christmas carols at the top of our lungs, laughed, and emitted periodic oohs and aahs. A festive familyIMG_4174 time.

Then, my children grew older. Enter: the grinches.

“Do we have to?” my oldest son asked when I announce that we were all piling into the van after dinner to look at lights.

“Yeah, it’s boring,” my youngest son agreed.

I turned to my daughter, my usual ally in all things Christmassy. “Don’t look at me,” she said. “I have plans with my friends.”

Now, here’s what I used  say—”Tough. We are ALL going. I want to look at lights WITH MY FAMILY, so get your butts in the van. Now!”

You can probably guess how joyful this outing was. As we rode around the neighborhoods, instead of carols, everyone would be yelling at the top of their lungs. The kids: “He stinks!” “She’s touching me!” “Give that back!” “This is dumb.” My husband and I: “Be quiet!” “Stop teasing your sister, NOW.” “Everyone shut up and look at the lights before I knock yours out!”

Finally, a few years ago, it dawned on me. You cannot recapture joy amidst grinches.

So, last year, if no one wanted to look at lights with me, I said, “Fine. See ya.” I’d jump in my truck or walk around town. And I’d see my Christmas lights. In peace. Quiet.

And, ah…joy.

In 2016, I found ways to make time to do the things I love at Christmas. In addition to looking at lights, I watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the latest Hallmark movie with my daughter. I baked ginger bread cookies, left half of them unfrosted—the way I prefer them, to the chagrin of my family—and ate them all by myself. I didn’t let anyonegingerbread else’s disinterest, schedule, or conflicts stop me from enjoying the things I loved about Christmas.

Now you may be thinking—Here we go again. Last week, you told me to find time to serve when I don’t have time to even think! And now I have to find more time to do something I love? Not possible.

Here’s a little secret. With a little tweaking, making time to do your favorite Christmassy things is doable. Allow me to impart some of the ways I learned to free up time at Christmas.

1) After you decide how you are going to serve, don’t overload your Christmas plate. Let your “yes” be no and your “no” be yes.

No, I’m not contradicting the Bible. I’m talking about reprogramming our initial response when we are asked to do more—organize the classroom or work Christmas party, volunteer at church, bake Christmas cookies for a child’s group party, etc…  Let’s face it—most of us are doers, and our first reaction will be to say “yes.” Instead, pause, take a breath, ignore the guilt, and…you can do it!..say “no.” Trying to do everything at Christmas is not only a joy-killer but also a great way to make sure you don’t do anything you love.

Last year, I gave this advice a tentative whirl. And the most amazing thing happened.

The next day, the sun still rose. The world could, indeed, carry on without me.

And when should our “no” transform into a yes? When we are asked, “Can I help?” Insteadyes of saying, “No, I’ve got this,” here’s the new answer—”Yes!” Question: “Can I bring something for Christmas dinner?” You—”Yes!” Try it. When I overcame my discomfort and took offered help, I found my joy liberated once again.

2) You’ll love this one. Make time to do something you love at Christmas by not doing something you dislike.

Of course, we all have to do things that we aren’t crazy about. But we can certainly bag some of those things we dislike about the holidays. For instance:

  • Don’t like shopping in crowded malls and stores? Get Amazon Prime, baby!
  • Not thrilled with baking? Let Costco, Sam’s, or the grocery store do it. Don’t gasp. No one will mind.
  • Sick of lugging tubs and tubs of decorations from the basement or attic? Pick your favorites and keep the rest in the tubs. Your house will still look pretty.
  • Feeling frazzles because figuring out gift ideas for all the nieces, nephews, and friends’christmas presents children is taking too much time? Have all the adults draw names and only buy for a few children. We do this for my nieces and nephews, and everyone loves it. The kids get more expensive gifts, and the adults get freed-up time. I have also done this with my adult brothers and sisters and their spouses.

This Christmas, do something for yourself. Get into the car and look at lights. Take a walk in the glittering cold. Catch snowflakes on your tongue. Listen to carolers. Savor unfrosted ginger bread cookies. Bask in the warmth of your children, your spouse, or even your dog. Have dinner with friends. Spend time with God. Read the Christmas story.

Allow yourself to be still.

And, when you’re immersed in the peace of doing something you love at Christmas, you’llchristmas joy feel it. The wonder of Jesus’ birth seeping into your heart, unhindered.

Christmas joy is flowing back to you.

See you next week when we’ll explore Part III—the most crucial step that I learned last year about how to truly recapture joy at Christmas.


Recapturing the Joy of Christmas—Part I

IMG_4116It’s Christmas time. And here we are, waiting and waiting for that special Christmassy feeling to envelope us. We listen to Christmas carols, bake, shop, watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas, and decorate the tree, expecting our heart to begin beating with the joy of the season any minute now. And…nothing.

At Christmas, when we should be reveling in the ultimate example of our big God in small places—Jesus in a manger—instead we feel weighed down and stressed out by the bustle ofjesus birth life.

Our ho-ho-ho sounds more like a ho-hum.

How do we recapture the joy of Christmas?

Last year, I had a tough time “feeling” Christmas. I love Christmas, but by December, when I’m usually bouncing around singing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs and decorating every nook and cranny of my house—inside and out—I found myself struggling to find the Christmas spirit. I had quit my job so that I could be at home with my son as he dealt with a serious back injury that left him in 24/7 pain and unable to attend school. At the same time, my daughter was also dealing with a very difficult, ongoing situation. I spend a lot of 2016 literally on my face before God, praying for healing for my son and strength for my daughter. After eleven months, when my son was finally pain free and through medication withdrawal, and my daughter’s issue ended, I waited for peace, rest, and joy to return. But it didn’t. Their suffering had left me anxious, lifeless, and drained. I was unable to grasp joy again.

Even at Christmas.

Then, as I looked around me,  I realized that I wasn’t the only one bewildered by my lack of Christmas spirit. All around me, I saw people who had lost the joy of Christmas. Like me.

So, how did I get my Christmas joy back?

Today we’ll focus on the first way.

Serving others at Christmas.

I know what you’re thinking—Oh yeah, right. I already have twelve million things to do, and you’re telling me that adding something else to my crammed schedule will help me recapture my Christmas joy? I don’t think so.

Trust me. If you want to recapture joy, find a way to serve.

Resized_20161203_183739Last Christmas, I signed up to be a table hostess for our church Ladies’ Christmas Tea. And let me tell you, this is a lot of work. Shopping for table gifts. Ironing table cloths, buying and wrapping gifts, deciding upon table decorations. Lugging fine china, silverware, tea pots, creamers, sugar bowls to church. Lugging dirty china, tea pots, creamers, and sugar bowls home again. Washing everything—by hand—the next day.

But here’s the upside. Seven ladies, including some who do not attend church, felt pampered, relaxed for three hours, sang Christmas carols, and heard the gospel from our speaker. It was a wonderful evening…

And, then, I felt it. The first flutter of joy seeping into my dispirited heart.

Next, I signed up to lead tours of our church’s live nativity scene for two weekends. While this required no prior preparation other than clearing my evenings, it did require me to swallow my pride.

You see, in order to lead tours of 50-75 people through the thirty minute live Nativity, I had to dress as a shepherd. And since the live nativity is outside, in the freezing cold, I put my shepherd’s robe on over my heavy winter coat, hood, and boots.

Which means, in essence, that I looked like a very fat shepherd.20161210_162131

Ladies, you get it, right?

The photo here is of my husband, who also volunteered. He doesn’t care if he looks fat, so…

But leading groups of people through the live nativity all evening—listening to the children squeal in wonder at the angels and the real camels, hearing the appreciation from the adults, and watching cold-reddened faces light up with wonder at the birth of Jesus and the gospel message presented at the end of the tour—was well worth waddling around as an over-sized herdswoman.

And, again, the miracle of Jesus’ birth washed over me, giving me hope, calming my anxiety, instilling anticipation.

IMG_0072I also agreed to handle the game at our neighborhood group’s Christmas party. I divided everyone into smaller groups, and they decorated a member of their group as a Christmas tree.

And I had fun. After my year, I’d almost forgotten what having fun was like.

This Christmas, find a way to serve. Opportunities to volunteer at church, food pantries, schools, senior centers, shelters, and community events are boundless.

And, before you know it, you’ll feel your heart begin beating once again with Christmas joy  and the miracle of our big God as a small baby.

If you live within driving distance of Woodside, Troy campus, I encourage you to go online and register to attend the free live nativity. You can find more information atwoodside nativity  And, if want to be a fat shepherd, serve free coffee and donuts, or help with check-in, you can also sign up to volunteer.

Next week, we’ll delve into Part II as, together, we recapture the joy of Christmas and the miracle of  our Savior’s birth.


We’re Having Turkey for Thanksgiving

Not exactly what I meant, but…okay.

With Thanksgiving just three days away, like most of us, I’m reflecting upon what I’m thankful for this year—my wonderful family, our health, all of you who read my blog,praying hands folded finishing novel #1 and starting novel #2, my church, friends, and most of all, my big God and his gift of salvation.

And, on November 23rd, as we bask in our blessings and the warmth of family and friends, I’d like to impart some of the Thanksgiving wisdom I’ve learned over the years:

Hug and kiss your family and friends, and not just when they arrive and leave.

Invite a lonely church member, neighbor, or friend to share Thanksgiving with your family. And when they ask if they can bring something, for heaven’s sakes, say “Yes!”

Count your blessings but not the calories–this is not a day to diet!

pumpkin-pie-1041330_960_720Snitch a piece of crisp skin while the turkey’s being carved. Yum!

Say yes to gravy and butter.

Add whipped cream to your pumpkin pie.

Watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and enjoy feeling like a kid again. (Normally, I would add “watch a football game,” especially since the Detroit Lions play every Thanksgiving afternoon. But, since I’ve had it up to here with the disrespect the players and league show our veterans and active service members, this year I’m altering my suggestion.)

Don’t freak out over spills.spill

If you’re hosting,  spent time with your guests and leave the dishes unwashed until everyone goes home.

Take a nap.

This Thanksgiving, my prayer for you, my readers, is that your table would overflow with God’s bountiful blessings and…

Hang on. Mr. Turkey wants to add one more thought to the above list:

Don’t gobble your food.thanksgiving dinner

Leave a comment with your Thanksgiving suggestions. I’d love to hear from you!

From Mr. Turkey and myself, Happy Thanksgiving! God bless you!


On Our Knees—Praying for Our Children’s Future Spouses

IMG_4102Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. And I have to say—my husband, Bruce, deserves a medal for putting up with me for twenty-nine years.

Or at least a red 1968 Corvette.

When I think about meeting my husband at college, I am so grateful to our big God for his grace and mercy. His grace—for bringing a good man into my life.

And his mercy—for bringing a Christian man into my life when I too young and stupid to care all that much if he was a Christian.

Although I grew up in a Christian home, I never gave much thought to the Bible’sdating teaching about being unequally yoked. In high school, I dated boys who were cute and fun without caring whether they had a relationship with God.

When I was a freshman at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, being a Christian finally made my perfect-college-guy list. But, I’m ashamed to admit, it ranked somewhere near the bottom. And it certainly never even dawned on me to pray for a Christian spouse. Of course, since Grove City is a Christian college, my chances of dating a Godly man were better than at a secular school. But, even at Grove City, many students were there for the excellent education and beautiful campus and had little interest in their faith.

And because being a Christian wasn’t my most important qualification for a future husband, I could have dated, fallen in love with, and possibly even married a man who wasn’t a Christian.

I still shudder when I think about it.

But, instead, God brought Bruce into my life. A Christian man who He knew would be a loving husband, wonderful father, and most importantly, a faithful follower of our Lord.

So, like I said, I often think about why God brought Bruce into my life at a time when I wasn’t even praying for a Christian man. And I’ve come to this conclusion—someone a lot wiser than I was praying for me and for Bruce.

praying handsActually, someones. I believe God was answering the prayers of our parents.

I know that Bruce’s parents prayed that he would find a Christian spouse. Both strong, committed Christians, they spent time on their knees asking God to give their son wisdom and guidance when choosing a lifelong partner.

As for my parents, they also wanted me to chose a Christian who would love the Lord and love their daughter. My father, a man with a quiet and deep love for his Lord, welcomed Bruce with warm acceptance the first time I brought him home. And it gave me joy to see his growing contentment and peace as Bruce and I dated, became engaged, and finally married.

My mother also loved Jesus with all her heart. Although I was never able to ask her if she prayed for my future spouse—she died of Leukemia right after my sophomore year in college—I have no doubt that she put my life in God’s hands and trusted him to bring a Christian man into my life.

The power of a parent praying for future Christian spouses for their children cannot be underestimated. And it’s never too early to start praying for our kids’ eventual prayingpartners in life. In this day and age, when young Christian men and women are harderpraying on your knees and harder to find, make no mistake about it—it will take an act of God for our children to find Christian people to marry. We need to be interceding for our children, asking God to guide them to men and women after his own heart.

Parents, it’s imperative that we get on our knees, pronto. The spouses our sons and daughters choose will have eternal ramifications for their faith, their children’s faith, and so on, throughout the generations. I am the perfect example of the power of that prayer.

So, on my anniversary, I want to say—thank you, parents, for your prayers.

Thank you, Bruce, for your love and unwavering faithfulness—for me and for God.

And to my big God—thank you for your everlasting love, for answered prayer, and for the gift of a man after your own heart.

Happy Anniversary, Bruce. I love you.


Oh, What a Riot—I’m on a Diet

IMG_3849I’m on a diet. Again.

Sound familiar?

These days, the question isn’t, “Are you on a diet?”—it’s, “What diet are you on?” Everyone seems to be trying to eat healthier or lose weight, and doing so in different ways: eating small meals, fasting, high-protein, liquids only, no meat, no dairy, no carbs, no fats, no gluten—

No fun. Whoever said the first three letters in “diet” is “die” certainly had that right.IMG_3923

I don’t like broadcasting the fact that I’m dieting, but inevitably, when I’m at my neighborhood church group or Bible study or out to dinner with friends, someone offers me a fattening dessert or snack, and I fess up. The usual response is, “Why are you on a diet? You’re not fat.”

To which I respond, “That’s why I’m not fat.”

Many of you can relate to the bewildering fact that our bodies and metabolism change as we age. When I was in my twenties, I ate whatever I wanted and never gained an ounce. Good times.

In my thirties, I still ate what I wanted and went on occasional diets that lasted maybe a week. That’s all it took to bring my weight down. Then, when I turned forty, I found that I needed to exercise and diet together in order to keep my weight under control.

But when I turned fifty, everything changed yet again. I would diet and exercise, get on the scale to see how much weight I’d lost, and…you guessed it. Not one pound.

“Honey,” I told my husband. “I finally figured out why I’m not losing weight. Brace yourself.”

“What’s wrong?” he asked, concerned.plant names sue

“I think I’m a plant,” I said.

“A plant?”

“Yep, your wife is a plant. There’s no other explanation for it. I starve myself, I exercise, and nothing happens. I must be using sunlight to make my own food.”

Fortunately, thanks to Chris Powell’s diet plan from his book Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution, I came to the relieving conclusion that I’m not a member of the kingdom plantae.  His diet is not only good for your body, it really causes you to lose weight. Here are the basics:

  • Every day, eat five small meals.fruits
  • On Monday-Saturday, breakfast consists of a lean protein and a healthy carb—no fats.
  • On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the other four meals consist of a lean protein and a healthy fat—no carbs. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, the other four meals consist of a lean protein and a healthy carb—no fats.  Do this for three weeks in a row. Here’s my favorite part of the diet—Sundays are free days. Not a pig-out day, but a time to eat some of the foods we’ve been craving during the weeksalmon-518032__340
  • During the fourth week, all five meals Monday-Saturday consist of a lean protein and a carb—no fats at all this week. This “jump start” boosts your metabolism. Sunday is still a free day.
  • Continue this three-week/one-week cycle until you get to your desired weight. After that, all five meals each day can include a lean protein, healthy fat, and healthy carb.

nutsIn his book, Chris Powell also talks about portion size, what constitutes healthy fats and carbs, and even provides recipes. And, of course, exercise is a big part of this diet as well, which he explains in detail.

But I gotta level with you about one thing—

This diet is not easy.

I’m a pretty disciplined person, but along with keeping my weight down, resisting candy, desserts, and fast food has become more difficult for me over the years. So how do I manage?

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you already know the answer.


Does our big God care about my struggle to stay healthy? You betcha. I’m not bothering God one little bit when I ask him to control my urge to stuff myself with huge portions or junk foods on a regular basis. Notice I said on a regular basis. I enjoy ice cream, pizza, chips, and pop on occasion without the slightest twinge of guilt. I also live a little jogginhat Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special days. But, as a general rule, I try my best to eat food that will benefit my body and to exercise almost every day—not only to feel good, but out of obedience to my Lord. God wants me to be healthy, not only so that I have the energy to serve him, but also so that I can rejoice in him and glorify him. If I feel crummy and tired all the time, because I’m not taking care of my body, I will fail to give him one hundred percent of myself.

So, as tough as dieting can be, I try to honor him with a healthy body. And, like King David wrote in Psalm 139:14, ” I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV)



Happy Halloween—I think.

I have mixed feeling about Halloween. But, to be honest, I don’t think I’m the lone pumpkin in the patch.

Like myself, a lot of Christians struggle with Halloween. While we enjoy certain aspects of the day, we feel uncomfortable too.  Many faithful Christians truly believe that Halloween is evil and take no part in celebrating it. So we wonder—should we ignore October 31?

I like many things about Halloween. Take costumes, for instance. Who doesn’t delight when we see little girls dressed up as princesses, ballerinas, kitty cats, and Wonder Woman? And the boys—tell me whoIMG_4098 could possibly scowl at baseball players, Ninjas, Spider Man, and pirates?

When these cute little kids knock at our doors, do our hearts not melt when we plop a piece of candy into their pillowcases and receive a mile-wide grin and breathless “thank you?” Okay—maybe we can make an argument that sugary candy isn’t good for children. But my philosophy is that Halloween comes once a year—let the kids live a little. If you’re really concerned about the sugar, kids love cool pencils, home-made cookies (Although I warn you—as a parent, if I don’t know who gave my kids that homemade cookie, I pitch it; what if it’s poisoned?), and other healthy snacks. Or, if you IMG_4082really want to see a megawatt smile, give them money.

Besides the costumes, I love the carved pumpkins, the corn stalks, the hay bales. And this year, in my little village of Romeo, Michigan, folks have even decorated their homes in orange lights.

Ah, lovely.

But then there’s the flip side of Halloween that I definitely do not like—not one little bit. I shudder when I see children dressed as witches, ghosts, ghouls, or fortune tellers. The Bible clearly tells us to have nothing to do with these things.

There shall not be found among you anyone…who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead,  for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. (Deuteronomy 18: 10-12)

And, call me a fuddy-duddy, but children dressed up as the devil? Jesus—myJesus dying on the cross Lord that I love above all—allowed soldiers to mock him, beat him,  and nail him to a cross to free me from sin, death, and eternal damnation—the same sin, death, and damnation that delights the devil. Satan isn’t a fairy tale or something to take lightly. He is serious business; so serious that it took God Almighty himself to save us from him. The devil wants nothing more than to separate us from God by wooing us with worldly sin. To die and spend eternity in a lake of fire. And, make no mistake about it—his agenda includes our sweet children.

How’s that for scary?

Therefore, I will never, ever see anything adorable about a child dressed as the devil.

Of course, I could easily pretend that Halloween doesn’t exist, thus eliminating my quandary. My kids are all out of high school, so I don’t have anyone to dress up anymore. And, since we live on the outskirts of Romeo, the number of trick-or-treaters that came to our house in the past few years is a big fat zero. Therefore, no one will be disappointed if I don’t pass out candy. Yep, October 31 could just roll on by—be another fall day like any other day. Except, as anyone who lives in Romeo knows, Halloween is almost impossible to ignore.

Because of Tillson Street.

Starting in early October, the residents of Tillson Street decorate their homes for Halloween. When I say decorate, think thousands of dollars—and the results are spectacular. I have friends who lives on Tillson Street, and every year they convert IMG_4092their home into a castle, complete with a cannon that goes BOOM and scares the pants off anyone inching past the house in the long queue. Fun stuff. (I’m a willing cannoneer at least once a year—see why I kind of like Halloween?) And, I kid you not, during the week before Halloween, people actually wait in a line to walk the sidewalks with thousands of other folks who have come to view the amazing displays. On Halloween, the police close the streets as over two thousand costume-clad children scurry to the coolest trick-or-treat spot in Michigan. You can find out more about Tillson Street at or at

Tillson street is fun to visit. Again, while I’m not a fan of the witches and ghosts, a lot of homes are truly wonderful to see. Let me end this blog by displaying my favorite decorated Romeo homes in the photos above and below, many of which are on Tillson Street.

Be safe on October 31.



That’s My Son’s Truck

I’ve been writing a lot about vehicles lately—Jeeps, our GMC Safari… Here’s one more, courtesy of Dizzy Blonde Chronicles.

garageSeveral years ago, my oldest son’s Dodge Dakota needed new wheel bearings. Since the garage my husband and I use would do the job for a good price, he dropped off his Dakota and took my Jeep for the week. I’d drive his truck when the mechanics fixed it, and then we’d swap back next weekend.

One evening, my son called and said his vehicle would be ready for pickup the next afternoon. So the next day, I had my youngest son take me to the garage.

“Wait here, in case it isn’t done,” I told him.

It’s a good thing I asked him stay, because when I walked into the garage, the first thing I saw was my son’s brown Dakota still on the lift.

When a mechanic came my way, I pointed to the Dakota. “That’s my son’s truck. He told me it would be done by now.”

The mechanic took off his hat and wiped his brow. “Sorry, but that truck needs a lot of work. We’re not finished.”

“But my son told me it just needed new bearings.”

The mechanic replaced his hat. “It does, but we found a lot more problems.”

I cringed. My son was a new teacher and not making much money yet. “My son said the bill would be around $600,” I said.

The mechanic shook his head. “Not anymore. He’s looking at $1,500, maybe more. Let me show you.”

He led me under the truck and began pointing out the problems. I’m sure he wasempty pockets trying to be kind, but all I could think about was that $1,500 would wipe out my son’s meager savings. While the mechanic pointed to thingamabobs and twiddled hickey majigger, I contemplated asking my husband if we could help by paying at least half the bill. But, no matter what, I’d have to break the bad news to my son when I got home.

I called him as soon as I walked in the door.

“Honey, bad news on the truck,” I told him. “It’s not done, and they found more that needs to be fixed. And it’s going to be over $1,500.”

“But they told me $600,” my son said.

“I know, I know. But they showed me all the problems. And even though my knowledge of truck innards can be summed up in the words ‘diddly squat,’ even I could see that those parts needed replacing. But don’t worry, we’ll help you.”

After I hung up, I found myself angry. How dare those mechanics give my son a price, have him haul his truck all the way up here, and then swindle him. Wait until I picked up his truck—I’d give them a piece of my mind they’d not soon forget. And I’d never, ever, ever take our vehicles back to them.

An hour later, my son called. “Mom, I just talked to the guys at the garage. They said the bill was $600.”

“But, but…”

“They also told me they finished my truck this morning.” My son broke it to me gently. “Mom, I think you were looking at the wrong truck.”

The wrong truck? Now that I thought about it, I’d never told the mechanic my son’s name. I’d just pointed to a brown Dakota, assuming it was my sons.

“Mom,” my son continued, “can you go back and pick it up today? I already gave them my credit card number and paid for it.”

“Uh-uh, no way José, I’m not showing up there again,” I said. “Never, ever, ever. I’ll be the laughingstock of the whole garage!”

20171020_154622But in the end, I went back. But not until the next day, hoping another mechanic was on duty. Just in case I saw the same guy, I pulled my hair back, put on a ball cap, and wore a different coat, hoping he wouldn’t recognize me.

But, when I slunk into the garage, there stood the same mechanic. And, yes, he recognized me right away. I could tell by the way he bit his lip when he saw me coming.

Fortunately, the man must have a blonde wife, because he had the remarkable ability to keep a straight face. “So, talked to your son yesterday. I guess you got his truck mixed up with another customer’s truck.”

When all else fails, I’ve learned to try laughing at myself. “Ha ha, isn’t that funny? What’s the chance of there being two Dakota’s in here at once? And both dark-colored! What a hoot, I can’t believe I did that, I’m so funny…” I snapped my trap shut. I was babbling, like I always did when I’m humiliated. I got the receipt, grabbed the keys, and hightailed it out of there as fast as I could go.

Today, we still use the same garage, now that I’m back to trusting them again. And I’m never embarrassed to have my son or husband drive me there when I have to pick up a vehicle.

Of course, I have them pay and get the keys while I sit outside slumped down in the seat.

Wouldn’t you?