Being married to me

Must be tough being married to me

A kiss can turn into a nightmare, intimacy much worse

When the beast of illness rears its ugly head

And convulsive episodes ensue and last and last . . .

You never really know when

Some sweetness will turn to black

Your affections will turn to caretaking

Yielding another failed remedy instead of a back rub . . .

No partner by your side

Others asking about the phantom wife

Does she really exist out there somewhere

Or is it just on paper and within her cage of the home?

She cooks alright and keeps the house afloat

But complains every time you call

Of this dire affliction or that when he’s at work

Helpless, other-directed, and burdened under the strain . . .

Months turned into years

As life tried to move on so we

Try to celebrate this or that, have a nice meal

Only to have her collapse at the kitchen table again . . .

He has gotten stronger

From carrying her burdened frame

To the toilet, the bed, the couch, off the floor

Rolling her over in bed, lifting her up to drink . . .

He has had to adjust to this abnormalcy of life

Never mentioning it unless another asks

For the pain of the story isn’t worth the awkward moment

A thousand times told, untold a bit later . . .

Tis the Lord’s will

The believer in Christ must contend

Yet are we not commanded to fight

For good, for answers, for more faith when tears flow?

Altogether lovely

He remains strong

Goes to work and play

To cope with the madness . . .

She waits at home

What choice does she have?

Her calling different from his

Or is it when bound by love?

There is no right way

To navigate a life gone off the rails

Except to breathe daily in prayer

When being married to me.  JJ

Finding the music you love

Songs of the 70’s hold a special passion for me, perhaps because it’s when I came into adulthood.  Put a swoony love song next to some old fashioned rock-n-roll and I had music to cover the range of emotions of a young adult woman coming into bloom.  Then my taste got lost.  What happened?

It almost doesn’t matter.  I lived a bit of a double life for about a decade after graduating high school:  college student/working professional by day and party girl with friends on the weekends.  The latter covered everything with a disco beat anyways as my personal life unraveled.  Then I got saved.  What happened next left me lost on the radio dial.  Which songs was I supposed to listen to now?

The answer to that question took another half of a lifetime to answer.  Amy Grant was the artist for my first Christian CD followed by Russ Taff and others.  Christmas recordings were easy to select since well, the popular and Christian music are really o.k. no matter where or who you are with most of the time.  Then I started working out.  The worship or pop hits with clean lyrics just didn’t get me moving.  What to listen to  was a question I struggled to resolved as I flipped between my old and my new music discs.

This year I started listening to the noon radio news program for the American Center for Law and Justice.  The host often plays classic rock played and recorded from his namesake, the Jay Sekulow Band.  I love it!  Suddenly my dilemma has now been solved!  I know many believers in Jesus Christ stop listening to secular music when it compromises their thinking and I agree:  we must use discernment to not recite lyrics that dishonor God, His Word, and His creation.  And guess what?  There is quite a bit of toe-tapping, electric guitar music out there that does just that while simply expressing the topics of life in song.  In addition, these days Christian music has come into it’s own with better production, sound, lyrics, and vocal styles to keep me interested.  I’ll end with two examples in just a moment.

So when ya just gotta move to a tune that gets ya going, do a theme check and PLAY IT LOUD SISTA!  Our dog might hide out in the back bathroom until the bass stops rattling the windows or my husband rescues her to send her outside for a run in the yard.  Tuff beans, pup.  Chasing a tennis ball just doesn’t do anything for me like it does for you!  I need my music.

Anyone else know what I mean?  JJ

Network Marketers Never Die

Network marketers never really die . . . they just change companies!

Have you ever been approached by a friend who wants you to take a look at something he or she has just discovered?  The opportunity surely will change the world, help you lose weight, create and earn an extra $500 per month in income all while working from home in your pajamas!  Well I have.  My run with one particular network marketing company lasted over a decade.

At first my friend called me one day in 1998 because she thought that I needed the products.  I was experiencing severe pain after an auto accident which was preventing me from returning to work.  So-and-so had gotten tremendous benefits from this new company’s products and I could learn all about it on a 3-way phone call.  Before long, Donna was at my house providing a product demonstration (called a “roll out”) and loaning me a Japanese magnetic mattress pad.  It made sense to me that a product that helped lower “physical discomfort” and improve sleep would have the potential to help me.  I trusted her and bought a smaller product and eventually the full mattress pad plus insoles for my shoes.  Impressed by what I saw, she invited me to a Wellness Preview where I took a closer look at the business.

Network marketing (NWM) is simply a means of distributing goods or services via a network of individual representatives who sign up with the company.  They are not employees but a sort of independent sales associate.  Instead of selling products via a store front, or now-a-days via ecommerce, the hierarchical matrix of Wellness Consultants (or whatever title is given) finds the customers and makes the sales.  If one Consultant finds another to do the same thing then the first person will receive an override, bonus, etc. according to a set compensation plan.  The concept made sense to me in 1998 and still does.  I researched the difference between NWM and pyramid schemes:  the latter usually collect some kind of large fee without any goods or services being provided.  Pyramid or ponzi schemes are illegal.  Network marketing is legal.

My sleep did improve and my pain went down some.  Oh how much I have learned about my health since then (!) yet I did receive some benefits.  This was enough to have a big “product experience” when those benefits helped me to return to work, thus providing me with a conversation-starter with my own new prospects.  Unfortunately I lost a year or more analyzing the products instead of sharing more of what they did for people.  My research background gave me a bit of analysis paralysis trying to understand the science behind the innovative technologies crafted into wellness products.  This over-thinking of things actually ended up stalling my ability to help more people; you can reach more people if you focus on building a business instead of, well, trying to “help people” with the products.  “Sell the sizzle,” they say.

In due time, I did achieve the first level of leadership:  Silver Independent Wellness Consultants.  In a single month, with the help of my friend and my downline organization (i.e. those whom I brought into the business), we generated $20,000 in sales plus met some additional criteria.  My organization and the local consultants we ran with held product and business-oriented events, nearly a hundred Wellness Previews, trainings, booths at job fairs, product demonstrations at wellness fairs and markets, and really tried to make a go of things.  I even presented Nikken at the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association State Conference with a physical therapist friend in the business.  Along the way I met some amazing people, some of whom I still chat with occasionally today.  You do develop a special bond with fellow Distributors who are smiling, positive, and trying to make a difference in his or her sphere of influence in the world!  Sure was more happiness there than in my traditional job in healthcare or “sick care” as we used to call it.

Yesterday a gal called me whom I had not talked to in over 10 years and since I had moved away from our circle of distributors in the Chicago suburbs.  She said she came across my business card and wondered how I was doing?  Sure was nice catching up with her for the first few moments.  Quickly she launched into an unusual discussion of two new companies, one familiar to me, that a friend was trying to get her involved in but she did not want to sell whitening toothpaste!  Not sure if she was complaining or prospecting?  Anyhoo, we are both occupational therapists which is probably what attracted both of us to Nikken’s “5 Pillars of Health” philosophy and wellness technologies.  Yet at some point we all need toothpaste so why not buy it from a friend?  [These are my words, not hers.  Based upon my own practice of recommending favorite products via affiliate programs.  Check out Julie’s Favorites below.  ;)]

Pat’s call was one of two prospecting calls this past week.  The first one was actually from a third gal who wanted me to look at a FitBit-type of personal monitoring device that had  a special germanium plate that was supposed to block electromagnetic frequency radiation (aka EMFs).  Oh dear.  I asked for research evidence of its effectiveness and ended up watching a video on the product benefits.  Below this YouTube listing was a video on the company’s compensation plan!  Perhaps I need to warn future network marketers who come a-calling:  I came into this industry as a skeptic and left it as a certified network marketer.  Yes, there was a program sponsored by the University of Illinois for persons of many different companies, given by a marketing professor and gaga-millionaire from the skin care company who now sells whitening toothpaste.  You gotta do better than this to snatch my attention gals . . .  Still love ya hon!

So I say:  Network marketers never die they just switch companies!  While I have seen this over and over again with my former Nikken buddies, all of us still use their products.  They are great and we are still sold on them.  There’s a KenkoAir purifier in our bedroom as I write this and our home, even this many years later, would still certify as a Nikken Wellness Home.  That also means that I bought-into and bought a lot of products . . . to support my health, of course . . . to demonstrate while enjoying the benefits . . . should I ever get back into the business . . . oh dear ones, I really don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.

Nikken, independent, wellness, consultant, business, home business, opportunity, Japanese, company,

But I tell ya Gentle Reader, I will incorporate the concepts of leverage and word-of-mouth advertising (now called social media) should the Lord allow me to develop my company, Two Step Solutions, LLC.  My experience in network marketing definitely tapped into the entrepreneurial spirit that led to two other home businesses:  the Living Safely Program and Trinity Jewelry by Design.  I guess there is just something in me that loves to create new things.  Call it “humans being more?”

Hmmmm, I am getting a little happy feeling just thinking about it!


Where to go from here?

More testing, more phone calls

Why did I ask for preliminary results?

Wouldn’t you knowing my next appointment was so far away?

Two hours of seizing.  Every day now.  Of course I asked!


Full report due next week.

The findings of acute toxoplasmosis will be clarified.

Will PCR or the summary mean more antibiotics

To challenge my innards, still reeling from IVs last year?

I cried when I should have been glad

To know there was something there after all —

The test will cost over a grand

And we have no idea what insurance will do.

So for now I wait.

The specialty lab is delivering on time

Hoping the Lab Director talks to my Doc

And none too soon . . .

Hold me Jesus.

Taking Turns

He needs me not but benefits just the same

And I am there to fill his tummy, help out at river races.

Then the nights return with my special kind of hell

And he brings me this or that to get the ravages of illness to stop.

Both are love in their simplest forms:

Meant to serve, to go beyond what is comfortable to desires of the heart.

Oh that my end could be gentler, the wretchedness, the pain

Making the care less traumatic between seemingly timed screams for hours on end.

But that is not our story at least for this season of life

(We define our bond in sickness and in health)

In moments at edges of the extreme . . . for over five years now.

We are weary from the journey with bodies broken with fatigue

Where only the Holy Spirit can infuse us with grace to carry us through the nights and days.

So when those pundits talk formulas of 50-50 or equations of sort

Plunge them into our caldron and see how the overflow of energies exceeds the common core.

Marriage is simply the art of taking turns without keeping score

The Heavenly Father sees the man, the woman and makes you what you are:

Instruments of His hands, ministers of His peace

Care that makes love come alive, pictures of His glory.

One day we will know why



kayak, canoe, racing, paddling, awards, ceremony, St. Joe River, Fort Wayne, competition, C2, Stellar, Steve Horney

Steve on the right, congratulating C2 Aluminum Canoe paddlers George and Tilman during awards the Three Rivers Fest 7.15.17

this all came about

In the meantime I will take my turn when it comes

And serve my beloved for a purpose beyond . . .