Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

5 love languages

There are many books out there about love, relationships, and marriage.  Many of them are worthless; few of them are great.  The one I recommend is Gary Chapman’s  book  “The Five Love Languages”.  

Here are the five:   words of affirmation — quality time — receiving gifts — acts of service — physical touch.

It was an eye opener for me the first time I read it.  Curt did not have the same primary love language as me.  The more I thought about it the more it made sense. 

All five are important and can be a valuable tool to improving your relationship.  Most people will have a primary language though.  Sometimes there will be two dominant ones.  (that’s me) 

 People will tend to operate in their primary language.  For instance someone who sees quality time as the way to express love may miss the boat if the other person feels words of affirmation are the way love is expressed. 


As I mentioned in the last post, it has been 23 years since my first date with Curt.  When I got home from work he had this present for me.  I love willow trees.  They are plain, simple, and yet beautiful. 

Receiving gifts is not my primary but it is a close second for me.  It doesn’t have to be anything costly.  One of my favorites is when he stops to pick me up a fountain pop on his way home.  Fountain pop is the best!

flowerThen the next night he comes home from teaching and has brought me flowers.  They were a bouquet of tiny rosebuds.  It is great to watch them open up.  It is even greater to know that he was thinking about me. 

I do feel that it is very valuable to know and operate in the primary love language of one’s spouse, children and friends.  It really is about getting to know what is important to the other person.  It can take time and observation, but it is worth the effort to find out.

I have three men in my household.  Each one of them has a different love language.  It is important to my relationship with my husband and my  boys that I keep that in mind.

So what’s my primary?  Acts of service.  This will come as a surprise to some but nothing speaks love quite as loudly to me as when Curt cleans out the gutters or puts gas in the car or brings in the veggies from the garden or has made supper etc — I think you get the idea 🙂 

What’s your primary language?  More importantly, what’s the primary language of those who are close to you? 

til next time


January 30, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, relationships | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

first date

Have you ever pre-planned a conversation?  The kind where you think you’ll say this then they’ll say that and so forth?  

23 years ago  I was working at the college deli totally oblivious to the fact that I was being manipulated.  This guy, who had been coming in regularly for coffee, tricked me into going out with him.  Now at the time I didn’t realize that it was this whole planned out scheme.  What I knew was that I had a date with this guy, who I thought didn’t like  me, and I was blown out of the water. 

I mentioned it to my friends.  They knew immediately who I was talking about because I had mentioned on more than one occasion about this guy who always looked irritated with me.  I didn’t have a clue what I had done.  Oh, he made an impression on me.   He definitely stood out over all the other guys that came in there.  I am a people person and I just couldn’t figure him out.

Now back to the manipulation, here’s how it went down.  It was later than usual and I was starting to clean up when he walks in to get his coffee.  Usually when he would come in there were lots of people around.  This time he is the only one in there. 

I put  my cheery self forward and this time he struck up a conversation.  He mentioned that today was the final day of end of active service in the marine corp.  To which I told him that he needed to go celebrate.   He then mentions that he doesn’t really know anyone having just returned to college a couple weeks earlier.  To which I respond that there is a dorm full of girls just waiting to go out.  He then nodded and  said that was an idea and left.

I was about to close when here he comes again.  I am clueless.  Looking back I should have known something was up.  This time he says that since it was my idea about celebrating that he would take me up on the idea.  “What was I doing that night?”  Hmm, so I said ok but I was a bit puzzled.   

He then said that he’d be wearing his uniform and we would be going somewhere fancy. 

So it is with mixed emotions that I get ready for this date.  My girlfriends are convinced that I need a chaperon because after all who is this guy anyway?   I am a bit nervous but really only because I am wondering if I can get through this meal without wearing some portion of it.  I really need a bib. LOL 

He pulls up in this white truck and we go to the Nicollet Island Inn.  It is a beautiful restaurant right on the river.  Somehow I get through the meal without spilling (Curt later  jokes about it being the only time – 😛 haha).

The thing that really impressed me was the manners this guy had.  I think if it had been raining, he’d have put his coat over the puddle.  He was a true gentlemen.  The other thing that spoke volumes to me was that he spent  $50.00 on that meal (hey Perkins back then was spending high on the hog at $6.00 a meal).     Who was this guy?  

As for my first impressions of him – that was the Sergeant in him.  He wasn’t angry at all.  He had just been conditioned for four years in the military to wear that face.  Every once in awhile the Sergeant does come out.  🙂

When we got back to my place,  he came inside and we talked for quite awhile.  Before he left he prayed with me.   The way he just talked to God was refreshing to me.  This guy wasn’t like all those other Bible college guys that I had dated.  I was in for one more surprise.  As he went to leave, he hugged me.  He didn’t know about  my dating rule.  If a guy tried to kiss me on the first date, there wasn’t a second date.   

It is much later in our dating relationship that he comes clean and tells me that he had worked out the whole initial conversation ahead of time to set me up to go out with him.  The problem came when I suggested he go find a girl over in the dorms.  That was not part of his pre-planned conversation.   To which then he had to go back and rethink his strategy.

It’s been 23 years since that first date.  He is my best friend.  It is an adventure.

til next time

January 28, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, relationships | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

celebrate life

Life is worth celebrating.  I look for any old excuse to celebrate.  To pull off a surprise birthday party though, that takes effort.  Many people try.  Few people are successful.

My friend’s step-dad was turning 70. She, along with her mother, wanted to give him a surprise party.  They figured he would not want all the fuss if he knew about it.  He is a gentle, quiet man – not one for a lot of hoop-la.

The look on his face when he came through the door.  Priceless!!  Here are a few pictures. The one of him entering was too dark 😦                                              

                  b-day-boy           pat-alley-joanne-tj   

                    Chuck (in the middle)                girl talk   


                                           Steve and Lisa

       zach-eric-megan-andrew               megan-eric

 Megan with her ‘brothers’             Megan and Eric (not her brother -LOL)

Life is worth celebrating.    What are you waiting for??

til next time

January 25, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, relationships | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


My life is anything but bland, (that is except for possibly my food).  Life is the thing that happens while I am making  plans and going through the daily ‘routine’.    It’s just that very rarely is my life the same old same old.  Truly being a Christian is exciting.   What will God do with me today?  How will He use me?  What lessons will I learn?

I have purposed in my heart that this year I am going to be more aware of the abundant life that God has for me.   I am mindful to live in the moment.  I also am incorporating margins back into my daily life.  I am trying to be aware of the choices that I am making.

All of that leads me to the choice I made the other night.   If I have a choice between spicy or bland food, I take bland every time.  Add a little pepper and I am good to go.  I would rather not have my tongue screaming for water. 

 Thursday night Curt and I went out to TGI Fridays.   This is not a usual hang out for us so the menu is still very new.  Choices, so many choices.  *sigh*  However, the next day was the weigh in day.   In order to be good, I ordered one of the two things they have on their menu listed as low fat.  **patting myself on the shoulder**

It was the dragon fire chicken.  It sounded really yummy.  Chicken on a bed of rice with this sauce, a bit of that, some more of this, and mandarin oranges.  The picture and the mandarin oranges are what sold me on it.  It did help when the waitress said that it was one of her favorites.

When it arrived it actually looked similar to the picture.  That rarely happens. 

I began to eat and then my mouth was on fire!   I’m quickly thinking wha… what did I order???  Then it hits me.  Dragon fire chicken –  dragon fire chicken!   How did I miss that??? 

I’ll tell you how I missed that.  I was all wrapped up in this whole ‘gotta be good’  – ‘weigh in is tomorrow”  that I completely overlooked the dragon fire

I did manage to eat it.  I drank a lot of water (mine, Curt’s, and then mine again).  I kept telling Curt to look out because I was going to be breathing out flames at any point.  He just chuckled and continued eating his ribs and fries.  (ribs and fries *~* pouting now)  By the time I was done my tonsils were burning.   I am talking spicy hot.

After leaving the resturant we head over to Hy-Vee.  Hy-Vee has a lot of unusual things.  Curt decided to get some papaya chunks and crystallized ginger.  We do like to try new things.

Curt did comment, at the check out lane, that I have certainly changed the way I grocery shop.  Not a piece of junk food in the whole bunch.  It really did look pathetic.  Where were the pop tarts, chips, chocolate, and ice cream?? 

On the way home I open the ginger so we could  give it a try.   After all the package said “enjoy this tasty slice of sweet and spicy ginger as an after dinner mint or….”  After the dragon fire chicken I certainly could use some type of after dinner mint.  Once again I missed an important part of the description –  “spicy”.

I will say that if you want to awaken your taste buds, or maybe I should say alarm your taste buds, try some.  Even Curt, who likes his food spicy, was surprised at the punch that a little piece had.  It was indeed unusual and quite hot.

Later that evening we convinced Andrew to try it.  It was funny.  We then told him he could encourage his friends to try it also.  After all it is a very unusual taste.  Certainly my food choices were an adventure. 

The life lesson to be learned – in the zeal of trying to eat healthy don’t overlook key words.  😛

til next time

January 22, 2009 Posted by | get fit america, just thinking about stuff, life lessons, weight loss | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

as the day ends

Here it is the close of another day.  I’ve been up for almost 17 hours.  It has been a good day.  Yet even as I write that I am reminded that any day can be a good day.  It really does depend on attitude. 

Just try to have a good day while you grumble or speak negative things.  On the other hand,  it’s really hard to have a bad day when you choose to enjoy the day God has given you.  Just try spending one day in an attitude of gratefulness and really live in the moments.  It makes such a difference.

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”  Anne Frank

Not sure what inspired Anne to write that quote.  I can think of many things.  Maybe the day was horrible.  Yet there is still beauty around.  Maybe the day was filled to overflowing with commitments.  Even if one does not see the beauty, it is still there.

I have come to the conclusion that happiness is a state of mind.  I can choose to embrace life or I can choose to endure life.  I really don’t enjoy living in survival mode.  I don’t think anyone does.  Yet many people live there.

I like to think back on my day before I go off to sleep.  Is there something I need to do differently?  Are there any decisions I made that maybe weren’t very good?  Did I live in this day?  What was my attitude like?  Did I do anything to encourage others?  etc

Lastly I end my day with prayer.  It is by far the best way to go to sleep.  I take all my answers to the above questions to God.  My mistakes I lay at His feet.  The things done right I thank Him for helping me.  Most importantly I thank Him for going through this day with me. 

As morning dawns I will pick up where I left off  in my conversation with God.  

Psalm 118: 24 “This is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.”  (my own paraphrase)

til next time

January 21, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

how many days left??

The 100 day ‘get fit’ challenge has started.  There is something almost exciting about starting a diet.  It is even more so when there are a bunch of you all starting at the same time.   We have 10 people in our group.  Our fearless leader even managed to get one of the doctors to join.  Go king pin.

There is an electricity in the air.  On day one king pin cleaned out the cupboard at work.  No junk food for us.  She pitched a bunch of non-healthy snacks.  We really were a junk food junkie kind of group before this.  *sigh*

This morning I brought up a bushel load of diet pop to restock the frig and what did my eyes see when I opened the frig door??  A big ol bag of m & m’s.  I’m talking a jumbo ziplock bag – huge! 

Apparently someone forgot to tell Dr. B (from another office)  that we are all getting fit and trim.  So there I sit holding the bag and Jackie (aka Gidget) walks in.  Busted.    Did I mention the bag didn’t belong to me, nor was it opened??  LOL  Well, Gidget was quick to remedy that.  I should mention that I am not generally tempted by m& m’s but who knows.  After all it was the only junk food in the place.

  One of the girls lost 3 pounds already.  Go Sharon!!   We are certainly still in the honeymoon stage of this whole diet thing.   It is still very upbeat.  I hope the momentum continues.

I am glad that I joined.  I still hope that I don’t gain that 5 pounds I talked about earlier.  What I have decided is that I am going to focus on being mindful of the food I eat.   It is so easy to just grab a snack or piece of candy and continue on with whatever it is that I am doing.   I want to be mindful of what I am doing, and of what I am eating.

In fact mindful is the thing I am focusing on as this year starts.   Mindful – aware, attentive.  To really live in each moment.  I am great at multitasking but I am not so sure that has been a good thing.  To be mindful…. 

I am also working on being mindful of the abundant life that Jesus has for me.  Joy unspeakable and full of glory!!   It is so easy to get caught up in multitasking and schedules that my life no longer would be described as joyful – abundant.   It would better be described as too busy.  That is not the way it should be.  I am looking at things a bit different.  I am mindful of the wonderful things in my life.  I am taking time to live in the moment.

Getting back to this whole diet.  How many days are left??   It is going to be an adventure!! 

til next time

January 19, 2009 Posted by | get fit america, weight loss | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

the anchor holds

My last blog on lighthouses has me thinking about big ships.  Big ships fascinate me.  They are built to withstand enormous waves and turbulent waters.   Yet, when the ship wants to stay stationary, it is a small anchor that secures the ship. 

anchor – an instrument used to hold a ship at rest in the water.

Heb 6:19 ‘This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast and which enters the presence behind the veil,”

This hope — once we have placed our hope in Jesus  our  hope is secure.  It is the real deal.  It is not anchored in sand but in the presence of the Almighty.  Hope in Christ becomes our anchor.  It is the thing that keeps us at rest in whatever ‘water’ we find ourselves.  Knowing that God is at the ‘wheel’ of our life we can indeed rest in Him. 

“Col 1:27 “…Christ in you the hope of glory.”

Whether in rough waters or calm waters God is with us and we have hope.  I see so many people who are stressing over the economy.  Some people are frazzled, even dreading the future.  Unfortunately even Christians can fall into this trap by taking their eyes off of Jesus.  When we look at the storm, we sink into the water just like Peter. 

I have a special place in my heart for pastor’s wives.  That is really no surprise 🙂  It does seem that their ships look a bit more worn.   I am sure that has something to do with the fact that if the enemy can shipwreck the pastor’s wife then that in turn has a domino effect on the pastor and the congregation.  It should not come as any surprise then that she would be a target. 

 Whether you are a pastor’s wife or not  don’t let the storms shipwreck your peace or your joy.  Don’t give in to worry or fear.  Whatever comes our way God is not taken by surprise.  He is in control.  

This song is a powerful reminder that our anchor holds.   We all face storms of life.  Some of them are even pretty powerful.  As we remain rooted and grounded in Christ, as we continue to cling to Christ through faith,  the anchor will hold.  We will weather the storm.  God will see us through.  

I have journeyed
Through the long, dark night
Out on the open sea
By faith alone
Sight unknown
And yet His eyes were watching me
The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm
Ive had visions
Ive had dreams
Ive even held them in my hand
But I never knew
They would slip right through
Like they were only grains of sand
I have been young
But I am older now
And there has been beauty
That these eyes have seen
But it was in the night
Through the storms of my life
Oh, that’s where God proved
His love to me

til next time

January 18, 2009 Posted by | Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

peace in the midst

The beacon of light shining on good days and shining on bad days.   I am drawn to lighthouse pictures.fireplace-004  A lighthouse was made to handle waves crashing.  This picture tells a story. 

We have this amazing lighthouse picture over our fireplace.   When we first saw this picture, both of us thought  that it was a great representation of our life.  We never actually thought we would ever buy it.  After all we are living it. 

Through a chain of events  (aka the hand of God) Curt decided to leave his full time,  dependable,  guaranteed great paycheck, yet life robbing job, and just pastor.  (Just pastor – ok that is an oxymoron if ever I heard one, but for now I’ll leave it at that.)

We pastor a small rural Iowa church and at the time they couldn’t afford to pay us much.  We were both working part-time jobs.  When we started using our credit card to live,  Curt picked up a full time job as a pipe fitter.    

It was great money.  We quickly got out of debt, bought new appliances — (some day I’ll blog about the ants in our refrigerator -Oy!)  However, the long hours were  slowly ‘killing’ him.  Man was not meant to work all those hours while pastoring a church.  There is no such thing as a part-time senior pastor. 

(I will add that God blessed both him and the company while he was there.  There were no major injuries to anyone – very long safety record.  Plus it gave him tons of illustrative material.)

I remember like it was yesterday.  It was during a service at District Council that Curt leaned over and said he felt strongly that he needed to quit.   His pipe fitting job had become his safety net.  God had begun to prepare my heart a month earlier at the women’s conference.   I guess God knew it would take me longer to get it.  🙂  I wanted him to quit.  I just didn’t want to go back to pinching pennies or going into debt. 

It was time for that season of our life to end and the nexlightt step to begin.  It was at this time that we saw this picture again.  Not knowing  just what our financial state was going to be, we still decided to buy this picture. 

It would become a daily reminder that whatever happens God is with us, and He is our provider.  You might not be able to see it  but there is a guy on the platform not bothered by the crashing waves. 

It has been 12 years now since Curt worked as a pipe fitter.   I would love to say that he is no longer supplementing our income with outside employment, but that isn’t the case.   The fact is that he loves both of  his jobs.  He is now a part-time college professor.  He sees this as an extension of his ministry.   From faculty to students, he has contact with all sorts of  people from all kinds of religious backgrounds.

So let the wind blow and the waves crash.  With God in control we have peace in the midst of any situation.  Life is good.  God is good.  Life can be hard.  God is good.

til next time

January 16, 2009 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

dogs have feelings too

Our cat is thrilled.  She struts around the house.  She hasn’t ‘yelled’ at me all week.  She is one happy kitty.  See the dog is gone. 

It is has been a week since Curt took Daisy to the Humane society.  Last Wednesday was the final straw.  She had three accidents (small but none the less still messes) all in the morning.   If only one of us was home more, that would have made a big difference.  I volunteered to stay home – for the good of the dog of course 🙂  You know how far that got me.  LOL

I still find myself keeping the crusts for her and looking for her when I come in the door.  I guess I was more attached than I thought.   She is the most loving dog.   

We gave her four months.  On the one hand, four very long months.  On the other hand, only four months.   She adapted really well, that is except for that occasional one small thing.  The longest she was able to be successful was a week.  That is not long. 😦

What is the problem now?  Tonight after supper Curt told me he called the Humane society.  He wanted to tell them a couple of things he had  forgotten and to check on her.  If only they would have said that she has managed to adapt or better yet that someone is interested in her.  It’s been a week.  Yes, I am probably asking for the moon.  I just know that I sure didn’t expect the news we got.

What he was told is that she whines all the time and is not eating or drinking.   Now doesn’t that just make us feel better?  I asked him if we could go get her?  Andrew had the same exact question that I had.  

Do they even let you come and get a dog that you have dropped off?    Is that even an option?   The problem is that  we would be right back where we started.  I really hate no win situations.    

I’ve heard it said that animals do not have emotions.  Whoever said that was wrong.  Daisy misses us as much, if not more, then we miss her.   She may not understand, but she knows we have left her there and haven’t come back.  She is sad, terrified, and depressed.  Those are all emotions.  (I say depressed because I think that is the only reason I wouldn’t eat or drink for a week )

Do dogs have abandonment issues?? 

til next time

January 14, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

mall of america

The Mall of America is quite the place.  I happen to love it.  Curt happens to barely tolerate it.  That all changed this past weekend.  We were going to get to meet Chris’ girlfriend.  The problem was that she works at the Mall of America.  Really that is not a problem for me. 🙂 

We drove up Friday and dropped Chris and Andrew off.  We then went on to my sisters where I stayed the night.  Curt went on up to his moms (2 more hours) so that in the morning he could go visit his dad in the hospital even farther north.  Needless to say there was a bit of drama.

Saturday afternoon found us heading over to the Mall of America.  We knew there was a problem when it took 20 minutes to get around to the parking ramp.  What was the deal??


Here is the deal.  It was the high school and college cheer-leading/dance competition.   People people everywhere.  Now I could have found a bench and just spent hours people watching.  They even have mall cops on those little 2 wheel thingies that I thought was only in movies. 

Long ago, on opening day, I managed to get Curt to go to the Mall of America.   I got him there two other times.    However, he could only barely tolerate it before.  I may never get him to go back now.couple1  It was just crazy with people and the parking – Oy!  

I tried to get the guys to go to Lego land for old times sake.  *Sigh*   

The best part — we did get to meet Chris’ girlfriend.  First impressions – sweet.  Didn’t really have much time to chat.  They had been apart for 3 weeks and he didn’t want to share her break with mom and dad.  ??  LOL    The thing I know is that if Chris is interested then she must be pretty great.  (Here’s a picture I borrowed from him.) 

til next time

January 13, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , , | 3 Comments