Changing the wrapping

I’ve been thinking about something for quite some time now.

I’ve debated with myself, asked myself if I really want to undertake this task, this change.  After all, it’s been over 30 years.  That’s a long time.  What is this monumental undertaking, you ask?

I’m going to stop coloring my hair.

Now, for those of you who didn’t realize I color my hair, sorry to shock you.  The red looks natural because it works well with my complexion.  I did have strawberry blonde hair when I was younger but, as can happen, the color changed as I got older.  In my twenties I started playing around with hair color and landed on red.  There have been varying shades over the years, some darker, some lighter, but it’s still been red.

There was one thing in particular that had to happen in order for me to finally step into this idea because something else happens with age, thinning hair. For those, like me, who also have fine hair it can be quite dramatic when that hair loss happens.  In women, hair loss is more stress and hormone related as opposed to the hereditary type of hair loss with men.  As many of you know, I was a single parent for over 13 years and that, in and of itself, is very stressful.  I wanted to start using a treatment to regrow my hair before I stopped coloring.  That, my friends, finally happened.

In December I started using Keranique (no, I’m not getting paid for this plug).  I should start seeing new growth in another month or two.  Just after Thanksgiving of 2018 was the last time I dyed my hair, and it will indeed be the last time.

Why did I decide to do this?  Well, first because I’m just tired of dying my hair every couple of months – sometimes longer if I was lazy.  Second, I’m 55 and just felt it was time to see the color God gave me again.  I’m excited and I’m nervous!  Excited because I haven’t seen my natural hair color, apart from the roots when the color grew out a bit, in over three decades.  Nervous because I haven’t seen my natural color in over three decades, lol.

It will be interesting to see other people’s reactions too, including my children.  I wonder how it will affect me?  Will I struggle with the change?  How long will it take me to embrace it?

Another big question is: How much of my sense of self have I tied up in my hair color?  I think we all do that to an extent.  Not specifically with hair color but with other things like hair styles or how we apply our makeup or the shape of our bodies.  I’m trying hard this year to keep my sense of self where it belongs, in God.  After all, He made us who we are, gave us our physical attributes.  I don’t think it’s bad to want to see ourselves with different hair color, or eye color, or change the shape of our bodies.  But it’s important that we embrace what God wants us to be.  Our outer appearance is easy to change, usually.  It’s our inner self that takes more work.  That is where the Spirit resides, where our true being comes from.

It’s not about hair color, or if we look good in a bathing suit.  It’s how we express ourselves in our actions and our words.  THAT is who we are, the rest is just wrapping paper.

So why does it matter to me that I have more hair?  Because I am human, and a bit vain about my hair and God understands that about me, as He does about all of our vanities.

I wonder how much white I’ll have… maybe I’ll finally look my age?  Thank God for good genes and aging well!  (Yes, I know, I know…)

 

Advertisements

A Question can prompt so many thoughts…

An interesting thing happened to me after church today.

To give you a little back story, I have an old car.  Well, oldER anyway.  It’s a 2005 Ford Taurus wagon.  It’s been through long trips to Nebraska, hail storms and teen drivers (I love my kids but parents, you get me, I know you do).  It is not in the greatest condition, and wasn’t much better when I bought it.  The heat doesn’t work at the moment, nor does the A/C or cruise control.  It has close to 164,000 miles on it so I’ve actually been thinking over the last few months that I’ll probably have to get a new car this year.

Now, back to what happened today.  I was at a shoe store getting some new tennis shoes (found some really fun ones!).  When I got out to my car and sat behind the wheel I saw a piece of paper stuck under my windshield wiper.  Slightly irritated, I so dislike windshield advertising, I reached out and pulled the paper from under the wiper and got back in the car.  When I turned it over, I saw that it was a handwritten note on a piece of paper that must have been on the floor of a car because it had what was obviously dried muddy water on it from someone’s shoes.

In the note was a question about my car, specifically if I was willing to sell it.  The person had been looking for a Taurus wagon, the only kind of car she would trust with her two new teen drivers.

It made me think.  Is this God telling me I was right to think I’d need a new car this year?  I mean, if you know my car you know it’s not too far away from being a bit of a junker.  It still runs somewhat decently, it has been a good car to get me from point A to point B, but I never thought someone would offer to BUY it.  It can’t be worth more than a few hundred dollars in the condition it’s in.

Then I have to think, can I really afford a “new” car?  It would mean car payments again (I haven’t had any for a few years) and higher insurance.  I’m still trying to pay off my dog, for crying out loud, do I REALLY want to add another expense to my already limited budget?

Of course, God knows what my finances look like, and He knows everything about my car etc.  He also knows I am expecting some other expenses this year.  This is definitely something I will need to pray about, and I should do some research on used cars.

The biggest question, though, is once I disclose the condition of my vehicle, will this person still even WANT it?

One simple question, so many things to consider… like, what did I do with the title?

 

The Word

I hear a lot of people talk about their “word”.  I see a lot of posts in social media asking “What is your word for the coming year?”  I’ll be honest, I’ve given myself a word before, but then forgot about it.  It was a fun idea, something to live your year by, but does it really work? How do people choose their word?  When I picked a word I just thought of something I needed to work on, and then of course I didn’t as I am a world-class procrastinator.  I’ve never had a word slap me in the face, so to speak.  That is, until now.

At church my pastor was talking about looking back so we can look forward.  See what’s been so we can hope for what’s coming in the firm belief that God is with us.  As he was speaking about this, about believing in what God has called us to do, one word leapt into my mind, my figurative slap in the face.  That word was OBEDIENT.

Now, when we think of obedience I’m betting most of us think of it with a disciplinarian tone.  “Obey your mother and father or else…” type of thing.  It really is more than that, though.  When we are obedient we are honoring the person to whom we are being obedient.  We are showing them respect and love.

When it comes to being obedient to God the same applies.  We are honoring our creator by trusting in Him.  We listen, we read the Word, we pray, we show praise in many forms – all of this is being obedient.  The bible tell us to be in the Word every day, to seek His face so we may know His will.  When we do this we can discern the path He has laid out for us.

I’ll tell you right now – I have not been obedient.  I have not sought Him every day, I have not prayed consistently.  When we are NOT obedient we cannot move forward on the path for our lives.  We can’t see it or we choose not to be aware of it.  This is not what God wants for us.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

For us to prosper in this life, and keep in mind being prosperous does not specifically mean having lots of money, we must be obedient to what God asks of us.

What does that mean for me?  Writing this blog post, for one.  Writing, period.  I believe He has stories He wants me to tell. Yes, I know I’ve said it before.  I’ve said I was going to write more, or spend time writing after work.  I even put a reminder in my phone for NaNoWriMo, which I ignored.  

Not anymore.  

God gave me a word and to ignore it wouldn’t be, well…

OBEDIENT

Adventures in Bra Shopping

It’s not as easy as you might think, shopping for a bra.

Let’s face it, there is more to it than just finding the color you want.  There are questions we must ask ourselves:

Lacy or not lacy?

T-shirt material or satin?

Wide shoulder strap?

Underwire?

No Underwire?

Matching panties?

There is just SO MUCH to consider, and I haven’t even delved into the variety you can find at lingerie stores.

I’m one of those women who doesn’t usually buy the lacy stuff.  Aside from the fact that it can be scratchy, I am more of a utilitarian style.  Would I like to be able to walk into a Victoria’s Secret (not dissing VS, it’s just a fact) and buy a bunch of cute, frilly undergarments?  Yes, I would, however, even if I could afford it, THEY DON’T CARRY MY SIZE.

And here we come to the crux of the issue.  SIZE

Regardless of the size of the woman there is one undeniable fact.  Unless we possess implants, our boobs are not the same size!  One boob is always bigger than the other boob, kind of like feet and ears.  In my case, it’s the left, but that’s beside the point.  Another fact that bra designers don’t seem to realize is that just because you are big around doesn’t mean your cup size is commensurate.  I happen to be 42″ around my ribcage.  I am a big girl and also big-boned (yes, it’s really a thing).  However, my cup size hovers between a B and B+, not quite a C.

Do you think I can find a 42B?  NOPE!  Since it is so difficult to fit my non-standard size I usually go one cup up.  Do you think I can find a 42C?  RARELY!  When you find a 42 it is usually accompanied by a DD cup.  Yet, if you look at 34 and 36 you can very often find them in a DD cup as well.  Why can you be small around with big boobs but not be big around with average or small boobs?  There’s a discrepancy there, don’t you think?

Another thing I usually go for is underwire. I know there are varying opinions regarding this particular bra feature but I like it, and I’ll tell you why.  My boobs are not perky, never have been at any age, so I like the lift provided by an underwire.  Why am I telling you this?  Because, today while bra shopping, I had to settle for an XL bra that sort of fits my size and unfortunately it has no underwire.  Now, instead of perk, I get to worry about side-boob.  No woman wants to worry about side-boob.

So, to the bra designers out there, stop thinking women are cookie cutter perfect.  We are all gloriously different and should be able to find bras to accommodate our figures regardless – without having to pay an arm and a leg to do it.

I will continue my hunt for a bra that will work for me and hopefully will find it soon.  Too bad there aren’t adjustable cup bras… are there?

Erroneous Indignation

I bought a new phone recently – an iPhone SE

I had finally dropped my little Samsung too many times and broke the screen.  I went to the website for the company I use for my phone (an inexpensive company I shall not name) and purchased the iPhone because they were having a nice sale and I could afford it.   The shipping was free and I’d have the phone within a few business days.  Exciting!

Well, I got the phone which was a nice rose gold color because I’m girly and I like it.  I bought a case, because one does not carry an iPhone without a case around it if one is  smart.  I sat on my couch, went to my carrier’s website and started the process of activating my phone.

To my dismay, I did not find a SIM card with the phone.  How could this be?  No one told me I had to buy the SIM card separately, that just didn’t make sense?  I opened a chat window on the website and waited for an agent to respond.

It didn’t take long to get an agent, which was nice.  I immediately started typing my concern regarding the SIM card.  The agent was quite understanding, asked if I’d checked the box, to which I replied I had indeed.  He told me he could send me a new card and I should have it within 5 business days.  This was yesterday, Friday, which meant I would not have the card until the end of next week.  I was a bit peeved by this so I (politely) asked if there was any way a card could be expedited for me, an overnight shipment would be nice because I had really been looking forward to using my new phone, as silly as that may have sounded to him.

He asked me to wait while he checked for me.  I was patient, had nowhere to go, so I waited… and waited… and waited.  When he finally came back in with an answer it was not what I wanted to hear.

“We can rush a card to you for $9.00 and you would have it by 8/20.”

I beg your pardon?  This card was supposed to have been sent with the phone, but it wasn’t which was their error, and they wanted me to PAY to have one sent?!

Hell to the No

I replied, still being polite yet firm, that I should not have to pay for something to be sent to me that should have been with the phone in the first place and could I please speak to a supervisor or manager.  Yes, of course, was his reply.

I didn’t wait long for his manager.  She told me he had informed her of my situation and that no exceptions could be made to their policy.  If I wanted the SIM card faster I would have to pay $9.00, period.

You know how you shouldn’t read tone into text messages because it’s hard to gauge what was really meant by them?  I DEFINITELY heard tone in that message.

I reiterated that I should not be made to pay for something that should have been included with the phone.

She asked if I had checked the box.

Yes, I checked the box.

Did you look in the bottom, she asked.

Yes, of course I had, and the only thing at the bottom of the box was more box.

Check again, she said…

By now I’m pretty much fuming.  Ask my oldest daughter, I was on the phone with her at the time.  And let me be honest, I’d had a rough week at work and was tired and really trying not to take out my frustration on the chat agent and his manager but I was still hearing a TONE.

I replied there was definitely nothing else in the box.

She stated, yet again, that I could either wait for the card or pay to get it sooner.

I’d had enough.  Fine, I wrote, send it the normal way because I’m not paying anything.

“Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“Apparently not.”

“Thank you for choosing (insert company name here), have a nice day.”

“You as well.”

OH LOOK – a feedback link.

Let’s just say, I was truthful and blunt and leave it at that.  I DID use the managers name and put in the time of the chat as well so the powers that be could check their records.

Done, over, had to wait another week to actually use my phone for more than a media device.  Fine, whatever.  I started downloading apps and changed Siri’s voice to male with an English accent (because I could, although it would be nice if the accent came in Scottish or Irish).

I got up from the couch a little while later, and as I was walking past my dining room table I spied a small packet.  It was on the wrapping that had surrounded the phone box. I internally flinched as I reached for it, knowing exactly what it was, the SIM card.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you were sure you were undeniably right about something, were indignant about it in fact, only to find YOU were the one who was mistaken…. Yep, that’s the feeling, the sinking in your gut I’m-such-an-idiot feeling.

I opened the packet, found the card, went back online to my carrier’s website and activated the phone.  I did not stop there, however.  I went to the feedback link again and updated my comments, letting them know I had found the original SIM card, apologized for my rant and asked them to please pass along my comments to the agent and manager named in my last message.  I couldn’t quite leave it there, and did mention that I still felt the manager did not respond as nicely as she should (I’m in customer service and have high expectations), but that I own up to my mistakes.

My phone is working nicely, much better than my old one, and while I still feel badly about my insistence that the error was on the part of my carrier, I am glad I went back in and corrected my rating.

Everyone makes mistakes, it’s what we do after them that really shows people who we are inside.

And I’m sorry Lord, for my… verbal word usage while I was in the chat.  Thank you for controlling my urge to type what I was saying…

All about a dog

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about getting a dog.

I’ve been telling myself, and others, for the last year and a half that I don’t want a dog.  I live in an apartment, it costs extra to have a pet, I’d have to go out in all kinds of weather to walk it, etc.

The problem is, I’m still having a bit of a hard time with the whole empty-nester thing.  I have no purpose other than going to work and church.  On my days off I find myself bingeing on Netflix or watching movies – in other words, I’ve turned into a first-rate couch potato.  I get out on occasion, but not nearly enough.

I’m not doing things around the house regularly either, like cleaning.  This is also one of my symptoms of a depression.  I have a couple of books and a screenplay I started writing that I have let go dormant.  I don’t write as often in this blog and I’ve become quite negative at work, which is never a good thing.  In other words – I’m not really living.

I have started to change little things to get out of this funk, like joining a group talking about intentional living, but I lived so much of the last 14 years raising my kids that I just miss nurturing, I think.  Now I need to figure out how to nurture myself, because we, as parents, can get a bit lost in our kids.  That’s why it is so hard to adapt when they inevitably leave home.  Some days, more often than I want to admit, I need a reason to get out of bed and enjoy the day.

So, in return for the help a dog would give me, I will help the dog too by adopting one out of a shelter.  This isn’t something that will happen right away, I need to save up the money for a pet deposit at my apartment, and an adoption fee, food etc., but the plan is definitely more solid than it was at the beginning of the year – and by that I mean there was no plan…

It may be a small purpose, a small step in intentional living, but that’s how progress is made, right?  One step at a time.

Sparklers and Strawberry Ice Cream

When I was growing up my family went to Grandma’s house for July 4th.  I can’t recall if we went every year, but seeing as how she and my grandfather lived only about thirty minutes away makes it likely we went most years.

Great food was always included, of course.  My grandmother was an excellent cook and a good portion of it probably came from her garden.  There were uncles, cousins – most of whom were boys – laughter and grandpa’s cigars, or pipe if he felt like it.  I liked the smell of the pipe tobacco but the cigars were another story.  The kids would go play in the small apple orchard in the big lot next door after dinner, climbing the trees and scraping our skin on the rough bark, while the adult men talked and drank and the women cleaned up the dishes and prepared desserts.

While it was still light enough the kids were given those black snake “fireworks”, the ones that grew out of a small round disk when you touched fire to it.  The back porch was heavily scarred with the residue from those snakes for years.  We had the little poppers too, creating tiny sparks when you threw them at the cement.  The boy cousins would light off bottle rockets from glass Coke bottles Grandma saved.

While we’d wait for the sun to set Grandma would get us bowls of ice cream.  My favorite was strawberry.  It’s really the only food I distinctly remember and associate with my childhood July 4th celebrations.  It’s odd what sticks with us, isn’t it?

Just before the men started to light the fireworks they wet down the grass and pulled out an old, rusted metal wagon where they placed each one.  They’d nail the one that goes around in a circle to a board propped up against the side of the wagon.  While we waited for the men to be completely ready the kids would stand out in the grass with sparklers, making designs in the air with light that you could still see behind your eyelids when you closed your eyes.  Fireflies added their light as well, blinking like flying stars, at least until the big stuff started to be set off.

Then it was time for the show.  There were fountains, roman candles and any other kind of firework you can think of that could be set off by non-professionals.  Each time one exploded it was accompanied by the obligatory exclamations of “ooh!” and “ahh”.  The smell of gun powder saturated the air.  I still love that smell.  Once the show was over all the spent firework casings were doused with water from the hose and it was time to go home.

I thought about all this today while I was sitting in my apartment, spending a quiet day by myself.  I don’t mind being by myself, sometimes I need it, but I do miss those lazy summer days and the time spent at Grandma’s.

The smell of fireworks, the laughter of family and the taste of strawberry ice cream – a dessert I’m having tonight, because it’s the Fourth of July.

The Victor

She knew it had to be done.  There was no getting around it.  It was just a matter of time before she was caught.  All she needed to do was research and implement the plan and all would be well, the power of darkness would be overcome.

She first went to her computer, one of the greatest tools known to man.  It didn’t take her long to find what she was looking for, the perfect solution.  She hurriedly got dressed, donned her favorite cap, grabbed her purse and was out the door.  As she walked to her car she looked to the west.  Storm clouds hovered over the mountains and the wind was picking up.  It was now a race between her and nature.  Could she complete her mission before all was lost?

She drove to her first destination knowing she needed two things.  The question was whether other parties involved would assist her with the sense of urgency she required.  Luckily, they picked up on her need for haste and she was back in her car heading to her next stop within just a few minutes.

As she pulled up to her second destination, the wind was already getting much stronger than she had anticipated and the sun had disappeared.  The odds were quickly stacking up against her.  She moved with a single-minded resolve and was able to procure the items she needed without delay.  She got back in her car and drove home as quickly as the speed limit allowed, praying the storm would hold off.

Finally, she was home.  She popped the hood of her car as the wind continued to whistle through the trees, as loud as a train passing through on the tracks nearby.  She went back in her mind to the knowledge she had obtained in her research not even an hour earlier. Tools in hand she unscrewed the bolt, pulled up the pins and released the headlight housing from the body of her car.  Suddenly the hood slammed down on her head.  The enemy wind was attempting to sabotage her plans!  With more determination than before she quickly unscrewed the casing that held the bulb.  As she pulled out the old light the hood came down again, but she would not be deterred!  Twice more the hood would come down, but her efforts were not thwarted.  She moved the housing back in place just before the hood came down again.

One final step was left.  She moved to the driver’s side door, opened it, and flipped the switch.  When she stepped in front of the car and saw the light she was filled with elation!

“YES!” she shouted to the wind, “YOU HAVE NOT WON, DO YOU HEAR ME?!”

The wind continued to howl but she stood firm, fist in the air.

“I am the VICTOR!  Darkness is vanquished!!!”

 

THE END

Just around the corner

This is one of my #MeToo stories.  This event, while it may seem tame compared to others, had a significant impact on my life and I felt I should share it.

I grew up in a small town where people just knew each other.  You couldn’t get away with much there.  Unfortunately, even in a small town bad things can happen.  For instance, I was bullied from the time I was in elementary school until I reached high school.  There was a short span of time in 5th grade, however, that this bullying went to a new level.  It all happened just around the corner from the school yard.

I can remember walking home one day after school, or maybe it was to the babysitter, I don’t recall, and there were two or three boys waiting for me.  They started teasing me although I don’t remember what was said. I tried to get passed them but they blocked me.  They kept at it, acting like it was fun for them, and then, at some point in time, one of them reached out and unbuttoned my pants and tried to pull them down.  They kept yelling and laughing at me, kept trying to “pants” me.  I think they finally stopped when a car drove by and I was able to get away from them.

It happened again another day.  This time I remember I actually sat on the ground trying to hold my pants together while the boys stood around me yelling and laughing as I cried and screamed at them to stop.  I was scared, I was embarrassed.  This was happening on the sidewalk in full view of the street and houses and these boys didn’t seem to care.

After that I was terrified to leave school.  I would sit on the steps and wait and wait until I thought enough time had passed, until maybe they wouldn’t be waiting for me.  I can remember one time asking a boy I knew to walk with me, but he couldn’t.  I stayed on the playground for what seemed hours until I felt it would be safe enough to leave.

I never told anyone, not family or friends.  I don’t really remember how many times this happened, but it didn’t take long for my parents to find out about it.  I think someone called the school, and the school called them.  All I know is one day I was asked to go to the principal’s office.  I was scared, I didn’t know what I’d done wrong.

When I walked in I saw the boys sitting there and was terrified all over again.  I believe it was the principal who asked me some questions, asked if these boys had been bullying me.  I couldn’t even look at him.  I was crying when I said yes.  I’m sure my parents were there too but I honestly don’t remember much about that part.  I am not sure how long I was in the office but I know I still somehow felt like I was at fault, like I was getting those boys in trouble.

That’s the thing with harassment, bullying, assaults… for so long women have been made to feel that how we act, what we wear or just the fact that we have breasts somehow leads men into thinking this behavior is okay.  In truth, a truth I know some women out there right now don’t know, it has nothing to do with US and everything to do with THEM.

Speak out and support your female friends, believe them when they tell you what has happened to them.  Let them know their story, should they choose to share it, won’t fall on deaf ears.  Don’t judge, just be there for them.

I don’t remember who those boys were, and it doesn’t really matter.  I  don’t know why they did what they did to me, why they felt it was okay to treat a shy, overweight girl that way, but I know it wasn’t really about me.  I also know I have forgiven them.  I know I raised my children to show respect for others and to step up and support those who have been or are currently being subjected to such detestable treatment.  I pray if anything like this ever happens to them that my children, my son as well as my daughters, will feel they can tell me about it.  I am here for any friend who may want to talk as well, or if you just want to sit in silence.  You are not alone.

We are not alone.

Uncommon

I work in retail, at a home improvement store.  This time of year, actually starting in March and going through the end of July, it’s very hectic.  Everyone comes in for their flowers, new grills, outdoor projects, painting projects, and remodeling projects.  They also come in to return dead flowers, grills that didn’t fit their space, leftover items from outdoor and remodeling projects… it gets crazy.

What is also crazy, and very taxing on the employees of the store, is the way many of the customers treat those who work there.  It is very commonplace for a customer to be rude, disrespectful and downright nasty.  When a store gets busy it can take time to get help, or get through the checkout line.  It may take time for an employee to get a vanity down from a top shelf because you need a forklift for that and you have to block off the aisle for the safety of customers and employees and you need a spotter so there is someone else you need to find and you may have to wait for them to get done with a customer… it can be very involved.  Tempers flare, mouths open and rudeness spills out.

What is also common is hot, tired, and stressed employees who are doing their best to work through situations like the one described above.  Unfortunately that means that sometimes they aren’t as polite as maybe they should be, to customers or each other.

The knee-jerk reaction in situations under which we have little or no control tends toward the negative.  Frustration, irritation, impatience, anger, sarcasm and rudeness.  It happens to all of us, customers and employees alike.  When it happens we lash out at the person in closest proximity to us, regardless of whether they had anything to do with the situation at hand or not.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could embrace the uncommon?  

The word “uncommon”, as defined by Merriam-Webster is: 1) not ordinarily encountered; unusual.  2) remarkable, exceptional

Let us be uncommonly respectful – and realize we are all on this planet together.  Just because someone isn’t moving as fast as we would like it doesn’t give us the right to be rude.

Let us be uncommonly kind – and go outside the box to help someone, go the extra step even if it may put us a few minutes behind our carefully planned out schedule for the day.

Let us be uncommonly understanding – of situations we find ourselves in and put ourselves in the other person’s shoes.  Maybe they’ve been working for eight hours already that day and haven’t had a break or eaten anything since before they came in.

Let us be uncommonly forgiving – when we have to wait longer than anticipated, or when something is wrong on our order.  Everyone makes mistakes.

Let us be uncommonly generous – in showing grace to others who have made those mistakes.  You will inevitably find yourself on the other side of that coin and wish for the same grace to be shown to you.

And finally, let us show uncommon love.  Love others for who they are; flawed human beings, because we ALL fit that description.  Not one of us is above anyone else, not one of us is without blemish, not one of us is perfect.

Regardless of where you work, where you live, who you are –

Be UNCOMMON

 

This post was inspired by the book Uncommon: Living a Life of Purpose and Pursuit by Carey Scott. You can learn more about the book and order at http://careyscott.org/uncommon/.