What a Difference 5 Years Makes!

Downton Abbey

I wondered when it would happen, because we all knew it would someday—Downton Abbey first season reruns are back. I just happened to be flipping through channels this past Saturday night, and there it was. Mesmerized as if I had never seen it before, I sat down to once again be caught in the world of the Ladies Mary, Edith, Sybil, that of Robert, the Earl, and Cora, the Countess of Grantham, and of course, the Grand Dowager played by Maggie Smith, but also the lives of the servants, Carson, Mrs. Hughes, and Mrs. Patmore, to name just a few. But what was shocking to me was how different everyone looked in a measly five year period. In season one, Lady Mary had a softer roundness to her face than she did in the last episode of the last season. The Grand Dowager and  Cora were both visibly older. Carson revealed, in a life so far removed from that of a head butler, that he had been a performer in a circus-like act. And the conniving, despicable character of Thomas that no one really cared for when Downton Abbey began, was so miraculously transformed, that by the end of the show’s run, everyone was rooting for and loved the man he had become. What a difference five years can make.

And what a difference that can be in our own lives, too. Just think about when you see a fresh photo of yourself. We often think how awful we look, but seeing that same picture even just a few years later we think, “I didn’t look that bad. In fact, I looked pretty dog-gone gooood.” Or, on the other end of the spectrum, the growing number of laugh-lines, smile lines, and turkey neck syndrome can equally make us think, “Oh my! WHAT a difference five years can make.” Continue reading

Here’s One Thing That May Be Stunting Your Spiritual Growth


I’ve often said in jest, but somewhat seriously also, that one of the blessings of getting older is your vision starts to go.

Now you might think that an odd thing to think, but in many ways not being able to see all those wrinkles daily taking over your face, is a blessing. That is, until you get your hands on a magnifying mirror and “Wowzer!” The reality that time has passed—years, maybe even millennia—is clearly evident. But you know, I would rather have a clear picture of what I look like—wrinkles and all—than run around thinking I look pretty good when, actually, broccoli has taken up temporary residence between my two front teeth.

And I feel that way about my heart also.

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Don’t Give Up

road trip

Summertime is the time for travel, and good music always makes the road trip better. Whether it’s Classical or Contemporary, Country or Pop, the tunes that rock can make your day. At any given moment, they can lift you to new heights or bring you to tears, make you think, or let you escape what you face in the ordinary of everyday. Continue reading

Running With Our Eyes Up

When I was in the first grade, I was the fastest runner in my class. I could outrun boys and girls alike. It was a beautiful thing. But when I hit second grade, a new girl came to school who could run faster than me. In my eyes, that made her a wonderment, and I tried in every way I could to be her. I found myself in a position of respecting her and at the same time, one, of growing envy. That old adage of “keeping your friends close and your enemies closer,” subconsciously came into play even in my seven-year-old mind. So, one day walking together—I had invited her over to play—I asked her what her secret was to running so fast. Her answer, “I run with my eyes up. I look at the clouds as I run, and that makes me fly like the wind.” Strange as it seems, that’s what I tried. I don’t know if it worked, but up until the third grade, I could still beat any guy, even boys who were 12 years old!

What she said though, “running with my eyes up,” has stuck with me through the years. Like a piece of wonderful chocolate to be savored, those words have translated into many areas of my life. And today, in the light, or should I say in the darkness of everything that is happening world-wide, they ring truer than ever before.


The world as my generation and the one even my grown children knew, seems to be crumbling before our eyes. Nothing is as simple, as sweet, as easy, as it seems to have been in years past. You can see it from the crazy way people drive—taking unbelievable chances of turning in front of an oncoming vehicle that’s a mere ten feet away, or careening 90 to 100 miles an hour on a heavily trafficked freeway—to the mass killing of people. People in San Bernardino who were working in an office, or those in Paris, listening to music, and now, in Orlando, unsuspecting victims dancing in a nightclub were gunned down. And for what reason? It feels like people are losing their minds.

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Surprised by Thankfulness

My daughter informed me that yesterday, on social media, was #ThankfulThursday. So she asked me for a photo of what I am thankful for. For one thing, I am terribly grateful for my daughter—I would definitely post her picture in neon lights if possible because she is the one who handles the world of instagramming, tweeting, facebooking, and anything else social, for my book Mr. Zip and The Capital Z. Without her, I would be lost. I can barely make it through the maze of Facebook without spending hours of reading, laughing, and responding—hours I can hardly spare. But seriously, I asked her to post these pictures from Mother’s Day—for those were sweet moments with my children and grandchildren, and my husband, Jerry—he’s taking the photos.

Mother's Day with my kids and grandkids

This past Tuesday in my blog for Mr. Zip Books, not knowing that Thursday was “thankful day” on social media, I wrote about being grateful for the gift of going to the beach almost 40 years ago, a gift that to this day is still giving many blessings. What I didn’t tell you, though, is what transpired in my heart at that moment last Saturday morning. For you see, my late husband, Marty, is the one who gave me his love for the ocean. I had gone to the beach with my youth group when I was in high school, but not much before then. My dad, who enjoyed freshwater fishing, lakes, and ponds, didn’t have much use for the sand. But in October of 1982, Marty and I took our first trip to Emerald Isle, NC, and apart from the time that we lived in California, went almost every year—even when it meant a 19 hour car trip just to get there!

Marty with Laura as an infant at Emerald Isle

Marty with Laura as an infant at Emerald Isle

But in March of 2002, Marty passed away, and as a mom of three children, ages 10, 15, and 17, there was little time to do anything but parent and follow the direction of life Marty and I had discussed before he died. There was especially no time to grieve.

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