Where To From Here




I had a decision to make– to write this book or not to write this book. Obviously I chose the former, and began the interesting task of finding the words necessary to convey the importance of a complete start to finish decision making process. I have learned over the years that most of the anomalies that afflict mankind are bits and fragments brought on by nature. But, enlarge the picture to monumental proportions and you will find, in detail, varying phases of exaggeration in attempting to make a decision. It is, what can only be described as, overstated and overwhelming contradictions of life facing us every day of the year.

The art of making decisions is not necessarily inherited, but rather the gathering of information throughout one’s life and retaining the lessons learned from what is usually recognized as reconstituted experiences! A person’s character is colored by the decisions made over the years and how it is applied to everyday circumstances. We must face these trials with exact determination and yet, the personality of any normally constituted person must be flexible enough to be capable of seeing the many sides of any given situation. To not be, will prove itself the machinery for doubt and all reason will be absent. Sadly, what is worse than that, is the madness that wedges into your life while you are trying desperately to maintain your sanity, remaining positive and without confusion.

To ensure your sanity, while the elements of an internal disagreement are ever present, is a grand task to say the least. So, because decisions exist and their influence can affect anyone at anytime in the course of one’s life, I am attempting to help with irrefutable proof as to how decisions can determine your well being and contentment.

It is my dearest hope that this will help bring into your life a secure presence controlling your personality. For that reason I address and attempt, what I pray is not a folie de grandure, but rather answers to that vexing age old dilemma—Decisions…Decisions!





What would life be like without having to make decisions? That is a profound question and one I should hope to answer, even perhaps before I conclude writing this book. I will put no guarantees on that as I am certain there is a deeper complexity than one sees at first glance. We should all be experts at the decision making process, for it is estimated on average that a person makes three hundred serious stress related decisions a year!

For that reason alone I should be a world-renown pundit on the subject, but alas I will not be hanging up any shingle advertising such talents. You may suffice it to say, I have had the honor of helping many dear ones come to conclusions in making important decisions. It comes with being a friend and is definitely a part in the calling of being a minister’s wife.

As we venture further into this self help book, I would hope that you will have a different perspective on decisions and realize that they are all important to our lives and those around us. None should ever be taken too lightly, nor without considerable attention to detail and thought of the future, considering the consequences your decision plays in that role.

It is my experience that no one really relishes having to make choices, especially those that could drastically change lives. Some decisions come to us from having spent hours in prayer or playing every game card to get to a certain point. We love it when we have such a victory to claim, but having to face a predicament that requires having every wit about you challenged could cause some consternation.   That is usually where my husband and I come in, and hopefully are able to guide the dear soul in an effort to bring them to a joyful conclusion; always requiring common sense and God’s intervention.

We usually see these dear ones after they have given it their best and have exhausted their energy level to an all time low. We try to get a finger on the pulse of the origins of their feelings and take every step of the way with them. Once they are released of their fears for their future, we can institute reason and can now make inroads into helping them make a profound decision.

The symptoms of attempting to work this out on your own usually follow a particular pattern. First off, you are confronted with having to make a decision. Some of the avenues taken to get from point A to point B are rather extreme. Not surprisingly they include…soothsayers, tarot cards, Ouija boards, flipping coins, outrageous circumstances, palm readers, prognosticators, fortune tellers, clairvoyants, psychics and of course crystal-gazers!

Then finally seeking higher wisdom, and more than likely this is even done frantically, they beseech Our Lord asking and praying for His Divine guidance, hoping invocations will produce a revelation. They wring their hands and walk the floor pacing back and forth discontented and desperate. Not to be overlooked, friends and families are subsequently inundated with thought provoking questions. They are brought into the undertaking and put on the spot to help come up with the ultimate definitive solution to the dilemma. All possibilities have been explored, everyone has been alerted and hence, the ever present decision making process is now dubiously underway. One of the great facts of life now looms up, it is being faced with having to make an important decision, often times difficult and debilitating. Before you are all the things that must be done to effect a happy ending, and the time has come for sound thinking and proper judgment.

Most people do not want the responsibility of making the ultimate decision for anyone, lest the wrong answer is given. What happens next is usually a mountain of distress and ill feelings coated with problems that may never be resolved.

The amount of wrong decisions that have been made, far outnumber the stars in the heavens, and what can be devastating in most cases, because most decisions are sadly irreversible; thus we must live with our mistakes. Those that have to live with these poor judgments, more often than not, find it life changing and far from the best for them.

Many examples will be presented in this book, where good and bad decisions were made. In each case these people wanted others to learn from their experiences, and yes we can learn much from other’s mistakes and even better, hopefully, from our own.

Experience is the best teacher, and if we can avoid the same pitfall from a repeat performance, all the better. Going through the ups and downs and the ins and outs of a rough patch in life is disconcerting, and can take many years to rectify and smooth out. We can spend many wasted hours speaking of it, hoping to hear encouraging words from someone wiser than ourselves. Much time is spent in prayer over these situations, and day after day we seek counsel and solace. All the while hopefully we are learning from our predicament to arise stronger, enlightened and more astute.

Let us then lend a hand to those faced in a catch-22 situation…relate what perplexed you and had you in the grip of muddled difficulty, guide them away from the abyss and tell the stories that will allow them to come to a proper and correct decision in their life. You made it through, perhaps with a few scars that tell the story of one who faced having made a bad choice in life, and ironically, what was hard to endure is often times sweet to recall.

We must always ask ourselves some pertinent questions when making a decision. For instance, is it for the here and now, or one that takes us far into the future? The importance that this decision will have on your life should have the greatest consideration, and of course how it affects others in the short and long term has to be pondered with serious contemplation. The responsibility is yours and all the ramifications that fall into the category of decision making are now yours, but conferring with and taking into your confidence those closely involved is uppermost. Prayer is so much a part of the equation that it is incumbent upon you to choose and to include others in your supplication, or there is always a chance that it would perhaps be preferable to take this up with the Lord in private. Either way, do let anyone that will feel the affect of your decision know which steps you are going to take. In other words do not leave them out if they hold an important role in your life, hence your future.

Whichever decision you make concerning your appeal to The Lord must be taken seriously and without any restraint. God is listening to you and the urgency placed upon your plea should rest on the timing involved, do you need to act in just a few hours or do you have the luxury of some time for contemplation and introspection before you have to choose?

Find the important questions to ask; whether it is from yourself and or others that give you the answers, take and make the time to ponder and reflect on every aspect of the situation. If you are so convinced to take that leap of faith after doing all the necessary things, then it would seem that you will feel confident in making your choice. God Bless You, and may this decision prove to be a source of blessings and a sense of accomplishment. For now you have to move on with your life and have come to that crossroads where deciding which direction to take will weigh heavily upon your future or it lays comfortably on the path. You are on your way! Life is filled with such dilemmas, but you are equipped with the good sense needed to face each and every decision and hopefully you will always have the correct answers to…“Where to from here?”





There are a lot of challenges a person has to face in a lifetime and some of the most difficult are making decisions. There are those that are made as a leap of faith and many times these work out to be most gratifying, but I do not recommend such a resolution without forethought and a good amount of time spent in prayer. Calling upon your intuition and your common sense is a way of sifting through the various scenarios that usually accompany making a choice. Perhaps you have already had experience that can be used as the criteria in coming to a sound conclusion. Whatever the means, an important decision should never be taken too lightly and cavalierly, nor without deep thought on your part.

The leap of faith decision is one that has a lot of chances involved, having such trust in the fates seeing you through is admirable, and may I say, there is that element of fortuitous providential intervention that plays an important role, but it is, without me sounding like an unbeliever, chancy.

I do not wish to take anything away from the miraculous, as so many “leaps” end up being, but there is a caveat, do not assume that Heaven is going to guide you to a resolve… you may be asking amiss! Perhaps putting out a fleece first might give you the confirmation needed before you take that infamous first step.

I think most people have experienced taking a leap of faith at one time or another in their life. It has been a desperate ‘last resort’ in a few cases I can recall, but the person came out smelling like a rose and none the worse for wear. The accounts of how it all took place and what happened as a result are stories still told as one would relate a precious moment in time. These stories serve as inspiration to anyone listening, and most of them are told during the testimonial portion of a church service or in making a point at an important gathering. Many of these accounts leave everyone awe-struck and filled with encouragement.

I am always amazed at the outcome for the leap of faith individual, they really are very blessed to have no adverse consequences in the final analysis, but again it must be remembered they did not step ahead of God’s plan when in the process of reaching their goal. They let The Father lead the way and inspire them to carry on, with their hand firmly clenched in The Master’s grip.

For one to be so self-assured as to think that once they have a clue they can proceed, throwing caution to the wind and forging ahead with eyes half closed is simply preposterous and precarious. Again, this is a decision, perhaps even a momentous one that could spell big change in your life, affecting others as well, and bigger still what could be for a lifetime.

To have to live with the regrets of a poor decision, a hastily made one, or one not very well thought out; giving no assessment to the consequences and collateral damage that could accompany this fiasco, is going to dominate your life and leave you with wonder as to the “what if” I had planned this differently? Now are you being considered a hero or a flat out selfish oaf? How many people were involved with the proposition and what kind of changes did it mean for them to have to make? Were they in favor of it, or do they view you with distain? Worse yet, will you ever be able to live it down?

Staying on the subject of the leap of faith may I add, it always sounds so spiritual when someone speaks of it. I would hope that in their hearts they are fully absorbed in what they are doing and have gone through all the motions to arrive at the decision to just step out and let fate do what it must. Again, I cannot emphasize enough, that I know I must sound like a skeptic and not showing much trust in the Divine, that couldn’t be further from the truth…I have deep confidence and conviction, and may I add, have had many experiences where only God and His angels could have intervened on my behalf to make what happened come to fruition. The other experiences where skepticism has snuck in, is when I have had to counsel someone who thought they had made the decision that was a directive from Heaven and lo and behold it was not at all, and now the person is suffering for their lack of discernment and poor judgment. It is difficult to reverse a decision rashly made, but one must do their best to help the person through what is always traumatic and emotionally distressing. Thank Heaven God always gives the answers and we are able to see these dear souls past the distress and on track to what often times is a new life!

So may I, based upon my experience, advise you to be very diligent in your prayers when asking for guidance, and when you hear that ‘voice’ speaking to you to trust in Him, and you are certain that it is The Father, He will not be offended if you ask for confirmation, and it will be there. He may use another person or incident to prove His involvement, but you will know, and then it will be the time to take action in affirming your decision.

So, may I wish many blessing upon you in your future, for the future is from this day forward. And in all you endeavor to do, strive to be the best you can be, excel at whatever the task or challenge that is at hand, and make yourself proud for having made the decision that got you where you are. I pray you are not disappointed with your situation and that it provides you with enough stimuli to give you greater ambition and enthusiasm with each passing day, so that someday you can happily say, it was exactly where you wanted to be and what you wanted to do. Remember, whatever you do, do not forget to thank the one who got you there in the first place… when you were inspired to take that “Leap of Faith”.

Add examples






There have been countless times that I have counseled with someone who is lamenting the fact that they have made a terrible mistake when it came to making a decision. The number of people I cannot even begin to count, and the reason I am emphasizing this is to bring up the point that this is a common occurrence and not at all unusual. I have often wondered what this world would be like if no one had ever in the history of mankind, made a poor choice and or bad decision. Think about it!! Every step forward that humans have made is preceded by the question of whether to or whether not to. Even animals have to move on the instincts that tell them to cross the street or not to…oh well you fill in the blanks. I am sure that the little Opossum that visits our garden wished that she had decided not to check out one night the trench that was dug for a foundation for a small addition (here in California foundation trenches have to be four feet deep). Early the next morning our pet bunny rabbit was beside himself trying to tell me something was amiss in the back yard. I kept asking Rochard what was troubling him so. He would run around my feet and look up at me as if to say, “We have a situation outside that needs your attention.” So many of his behaviors that morning were unlike his usual “good morning, Sharon” style. I knew I had to investigate the reason he was leaping to the door leading to the courtyard, and not in his typical cute bunny manner, but rather with determination and a sense of urgency. I went outside, Rochard was behind me at a safe distance, but intense to say the least. Something told me to look down in the trench…oh my goodness, there was Blossom Opossum pacing back and forth in the ten foot long abyss looking very worried at her plight. By this time Tom had come out to see what was going on. “Get a long board, Tom, we have a very frightened and perplexed possum here.” Tom got a two by four and placed it on end down near the poor little creature. We walked away, and when we returned only moments later the trench was empty!! We were pretty impressed with how agile she was even in her fearful state. Blossom is still around and full grown, she presented our garden with two babies this spring, Pinky and Olive. And as a footnote, our rabbit never again had to act the way he did that morning when the possum made its infamous calamitous decision!

So, as you can see, even animals have decisions to make, though it is purely instinctive, they listen to that and for the most part adhere to their natural tendencies, hence preserving their species. I think there are times when we could learn a lot from God’s creatures, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised that we are supposed to.

There is an art to making decisions, starting with good common sense. If we allow our inherent traits to speak up in these crucial times, we should find that our thought processes follow a certain pattern and road map from point A to point B. Thinking logically is going to be key in helping you proceed through what could be a jungle of ‘what ifs’ and ‘wherefores.’ Adding to this maze are the variables that weigh heavily upon you, for it is your responsibility to keep them in line and in perspective. If one of these little bug-a-boos gets out of sequence it could cause a set back or extraordinary confusion making finding your goal an even more difficult task. Writing down a list of pros and cons, must do’s, and to do’s is sure to help you to see through the haze of uncertainty and doubt.

I cannot emphasize this warning enough, keep your head! It is going to get you nowhere if your ardent emotions lead the way. Impassioned responses have their place but not when being rational is uppermost in coming to a sensible conclusion, especially when there is so much at stake. Having control of one’s self will enable you to see further into the distance more clearly and this can mean the difference between getting it right or ending up an abysmal failure.

I have no ode to failure or any prose that can ease the pain to an irrational decision. But thankfully I have been given the words by Our Father and have been able to guide dear ones out of the miserable journey they ended up in due to a choice hastily or poorly made. I thank our Lord for sending these tormented souls to me, and it always seems to be at the time their hearts and minds are the most ready to receive the answers. I consider it an honor and a blessing to be of help in any way I can in getting a dear one back on track. So, I pray that there will be the inspired words in these chapters to help you, either for yourself or for someone you may be able to help through ‘the woods.’

Finding and pin pointing the unheralded beginning of the case is sure to get you off to a good start. It may require you to take on the persona of Sherlock Holmes, but the opening salvo is going to get to the root of this dastardly condition you may be in. It also has many more clues than you may think, so find that fateful moment when it all began and then lay out all that followed. Somewhere along the way there will be that infamous “ah ha” moment. It could be where you may begin to unravel the entire mess and be able to extract yourself from the terrible grip it has had you in.

Unfortunately there are other circumstances where it is not going to be as easy as the aforementioned. Being caught in the web of a bad decision will require you to have to either adjust to it and live with it, or slowly but surely be loosened from its entrapment. Most of these situations are structured insomuch as they have changed your life and caused you to have to even compromise yourself. You end up living a life that is so far removed from what you had envisioned your future to be. Sadly all those dreams and goals you hoped for have vanished, and worse yet what you strived for and worked so hard for are now just dim memories far off on an elusive horizon.

So find a way out, nothing is impossible, there is usually a way to change things. It will require you to make a decision, so take it step by step, but by all means do all you can to make things right for yourself. You may have to remain in the situation you are in but do all you can to make the best of it. Find the positive qualities whether it is easy or not, and seek The Lord, He is there for you and He has been known to make the best out of awful circumstances, yes He will guide you through even the roughest of journeys through the darkest of days and deepest dense forests.







“Thirty is the new twenty”.   A phrase I have heard far too often and may I add, I find it absurd, for it is just a way of procrastinating and putting off getting started with your life maturely and seriously. What a lot of nonsense this new thinking is, and the worse elements are the parents of these reluctant elder juveniles who go along with this ridiculousness! They use it as an excuse to let their wayward offspring founder about, bouncing from pillar to post like straws in the wind. Parents, you are enablers and are absolutely of no help whatsoever to your children if you have adapted this foolishness. They are becoming more and more inclined to delay making the DECISION that is to determine their future and what they are going to do with their lives to make a living and have a profession. Suddenly, that position they spoke of ‘someday having’, will be given to someone else…someone who is obviously more ambitious and reliable.

I find an obscene amount of party spirit in these procrastinators who would rather find the so called good time than become a productive and successful person in realizing their dreams. They have their plans all laid out, but they change on a frequent basis. To say these individuals wake up in a different world every morning is precisely putting this picture in a frame. They may have the same ambitions from one year to another but the premise changes as well as the location as to where they hope to “land” someday. But for the present they are content to just keep seeking the perfect position in life and bouncing around from one dot on the map to another. They carom around like the proverbial rubber ball with just about as much cohesiveness, and when it comes to caring about how others are affected by their wanderlust, they seem to care less. To add to this dereliction, they have more often than not been educated at universities where their parents have expended a small fortune in educating these pupils, who perhaps end up doing what they were educated to do, but here’s the rub, there is no conviction or resolution to use the diploma and degrees with a wholehearted commitment. Sadly, comes the day when they completely walk away from the job or are asked to leave…do you suppose their lack of enthusiasm may have something to do with that? Or perhaps their superiors saw in them this only being temporary until that other offer comes along.

Of course there are those who have various pipe dreams, often times used as a subterfuge to keep people thinking they are so ambitious and full of thrilling idealism. But it is only a way to hide behind a smoke screen, for they can no more make a success of themselves than where they are right now. So they bump along with less and less inspiration and ingenuity, being indulged by deluded parents who want to believe only the most lofty thoughts about their underachieving progeny.   Quite often these sons and daughters possess a good personality and can ‘get a foot in the door’ having made a favorable first impression but, before too long their weaknesses show and another change of locale is forthcoming. To sum them up, it is not beyond reason to say that when it comes to any ideas and resolutions, they start off with a bang and end up with a fizzle!

There are many examples, one young man I know was given every chance, a good college education, opportunities with various firms, but none were just right, for they lacked the prestige, the salary he sought, something more at the higher levels of management. Finally his mother offered him a job in one of her small business.

Here was the most amenable employer, and one in which he could easily advance, However, the security camera caught him pilfering cash from the registers. He lost even the job with his mother.

I have found with this type personality, there is an addiction of some sort, and in many cases it is serious. They need a “place” where they “escape” to when they can, and they make that opportunity happen as often as possible. Alcohol is the biggest culprit, but also drugs, and now even video games that provide a fantasy escape. When such personalities are near their addiction they have a difficult time stopping and usually imbibe until they are inebriated, stoned, or all time is lost. They become habitués of the local sites where they an meet up with other people who are like-minded. They get to know the in places to go, for sadly being alone is a frightful proposition for them. Supposedly, there are always irons in the fire, and introspection and honest self analysis is a state of mind that they abhor, hence avoiding reflection and soul-searching like the plague, if it means they must effect change. Most of their ideas come from being with these people who think as they do. It is pitiful for they are without deep, meaningful and lasting relationships. Friends come and go over the course of months and even a few years, but they never grow and mature into a healthy and sincere friendship. Sadly these people have friends that move on and leave them behind, growing tired of hearing a lot of bragging and “me” stories. Yet, they consider and speak of each and every acquaintance as a close friend, non committal as the camaraderie is. Where are the lifelong healthy, meaningful and robust friendships for them? Nonexistent, sorry to say, but remember, birds of a feather flock together, so we have a case of the lame leading the halt.

Then comes the day that they are no longer considered in the young set, they are past the years of acceptable youth and are considered middle aged. But the years (though considered ten years off), are now showing on our person, who kept putting off the planting of feet firmly on the ground and now has only the frivolity to look back upon. The comings and goings of a foot loose soul who now has not got the credentials needed to attain the position of one this age would seem to require. So they stand alone and bewildered, passed over and not even considered for any position. This is a difficult blow to one’s self esteem, and once that is gone the future can only look dim and grim at best.

Let this be a warning, a heads up if you will. These behaviors are indicators of the insidious problem of addiction and dependence on substances or activities that alter the mind and help the “tuning out” process. Do not sit back and allow this affliction to fester and grow into an illness that is difficult to cure. Patterns begin usually at a fairly young age in these individuals and for the most part they may go un- noticed by the unsuspecting parent or possibly spouse. The truly ambitious person wants nothing to do with something that will interfere with their progress and there is a deep desire to keep a clear head at all times.

As we have heard from many who have licked such addiction, the impetuous to be free must comes from within. As one dear friend could admit after being alcohol free for seventeen years would say, “Until one faces the truth, no matter what is threatened, no matter the choice presented, wife, family, job, you choose the bottle.” Sobriety is not an option. The decision has been made and one becomes ‘addicted, hooked, even chain smoking goes along with this syndrome. You may know seemingly successful people, who drink heavily, smoke or even indulge in drugs, but look deeper there is a dysfunction here; it can never be completely hidden for sooner or later it raises its ugly head. The worse scenario is the tragedy of suicide, which is often an emotional scream for help when they feel so trapped, and quitting seems impossible. It may require intervention or a facility that specializes in addiction. It is important to remember, that the vast majority of these souls possess a fairly upbeat personality, they do not brood in public, but rather show a light side and not a mask of tragedy at all. But there is the darker side, which is hidden in that necessity to drink too much or abuse drugs, when that substance simply cannot be left alone.

This state of mind can be like a roller coaster ride where the addicted try sincerely to quit their habit, may spend time sober and free of the expensive monkey on their back, but sadly their efforts are short lived and all those phone calls to friends and family about their new resolve and ambitions is for naught and the roller coaster is once again in operation. That DECISION to quit was short lived for it lacked conviction to really change their way of life. They are totally and completely enslaved. Often such persons seem functional, they are capable of carry out their plans to play and have fun and will not deprive themselves of any thrills. Some may live in hovels of disarray, but there are those that have a handle on keeping things neat and tidy, so it is not indicative of either, but usually is displayed to an extreme of neatness or slovenliness. The time and money wasted on these expensive habits can total conservatively over a thousand dollars month, the amounts can go way up from there depending on the persons financial status and need for the ‘embezzler of one’s well being.’

The disheartening outcome of this is wasted time, money and one’s sanity… not to forget being robbed of your ambitions and goals. Add all of this over a period of years and when the reality sets in bouts of depression and despair will result. Through a well of tears I have heard so many of them declare that they are, to use their term ‘a looser’. (Convincing them otherwise is a difficult task for no matter what tact I use they know the truth about themselves, but I am delighted to say there are successes, thank Heaven!). I hear questions like “Where did the years go?” “Time has flown by at an outrageous pace!” “It seems like only yesterday that I……” Oh, but they never missed the parties or the pursuit of a good time.

Yet all their escapades are remembered only in vague fragments, and alas, the years cannot be recaptured, they are gone for good! These elusive days and weeks have become lost and wasted years. All money spent on whatever had them enslaved can be astronomical. They are victims of a selfish individual, ironically themselves, who foolishly frittered away precious time and treasure. There is no unique legacy to remember this person by, they will be remembered primarily as having no respect for the time given them here on Earth, nor for their talents and the terribly poor DECISIONS they had made through their life.

Unfortunately this story covers more than one person. There are always many of these people with us, others are gone and far too many by their own hand. Those so ensnared are still making detrimental decisions, and then wondering why there is so little happiness and why the bottle or drugs affords them so little solace. You see, one decision that they have not made is to completely give their life to The Lord. The operative word is completely, a DECISION that no one ever regrets!


Chapter 5



Some of the most important decisions a person will ever have to make follow a crisis or a life changing event. Death in the family with the loss of a spouse or loved one brings about important changes that must be made. You may have to consider moving, and to add to that there are financial and fiscal matters that must be addressed that come with being widowed. The government even gets into this with social security or whatever your nation provides, also your port folio will have to undergo adjustments to comply with your needs and your government’s laws on this subject.

Facing what could be financial burdens will require you to take notice of all your options and get sound advice and information from someone you completely trust. Do all that you can to have peace of mind about your finances and really give sound thought to your future and your well being. There are charlatans out there that prey upon people in crisis, for they know your judgment is impaired while you go through the throws of such changes in your life.

Divorce too, demands having to make difficult decisions. Clear thinking is caught up in a flurry of emotions that range from anger to total despair. Clear thinking eludes many during such varied events as divorce proceedings being brought to the table, and one’s mind becomes foggy and hazy while plowing through each and every detail. The cloudy mind can be a terrible foe, so be aware of all the pitfalls and physiological tormentors that can and will occur. Do not be so naïve to believe that fairness will prevail, lucky you if it does but the reality is that a divorce is messy and there is usually much at stake. Emotions run high and the dominant person is jockeying to keep the position that has been possessed most likely all through the marriage. Stand up for yourself and hold your ground at all cost. Wisdom is key during the months and sometimes years that dissolution of a marriage can take. There will be many decisions that are going to have to be made in the interim, give each one good judgment and weigh all the possibilities involved both for the long and short term. Remembering always those involved are no doubt innocent victims and they are most likely still young children.

Having an awareness of all the ramifications and complex consequences that accompany the proceedings gives you an advantage, though that is not to say the other member of this is not as informed. But at least keep your guard up and stay apprised of all the proceedings in and out of the courtroom. The decisions you make at this time will be in stone as soon as the judge’s gavel hits the block and the verdict is decreed. So, again I cannot be emphatic enough to make certain that you are in control of your faculties and are courageously poised for action.

I despise divorce, and it is not just for scriptural reasons, but it is personal. But divorce is prevalent and one might say a fact of life. So if you find yourself heading in that direction and counseling isn’t an option or consideration, then by all means be prepared for what lies ahead and be fully aware of the toll it can take on all concerned. As in my own life, when my father walked out of the house one night to get some ice cream, so he said, but would never return. The bank accounts were emptied, and we would discover he had moved in with another woman. My mother was inconsolable for months, and it fell upon me, at eighteen, to do everything until mother was at last able to at least cope. Divorce, of course, followed, but few know what this cost my mother or myself.

In such times one may ask “Where To From Here?” Here a profound decision must be made, putting off the inevitable only prolongs the pain and tribulation. Think of all of those who may have supported you, who want to see you start a new life with a new resolve. Forget the past decision that may have brought you to this you fix, but do not fall into old patterns, like ending up with someone similar to the one who brought you to a divorce court. Your new life is now before you, quite different from what you may have known. You are the captain of your own ship and it is incumbent upon you to act wisely.

Yes, if only you had known what you now know about your ex, perhaps things would be completely different, but we can learn from our mistakes and take these lessons with us. Here again even a divorcee is a target for scam mongers. Watch yourself, man or woman you are in the cross hairs of a long bow belonging to a smooth talking thief and con artist. There is no conscience whatsoever in these monsters and for them to walk off with all of your holdings is exactly what they are vying for. There is no such thing as immunity to the sick swindle that is poised to victimize the unsuspecting. It is easy for them to procure the information needed about your recent divorce and they pounce as soon as they can, hoping to find you disoriented and needy. Reject any unsolicited stranger who approaches you with a plan to help you with your future, I hesitate to say this but even a family member can be opportunistic at this time in your life. So be cautious and not in any hurry to fall for something too good to be true, and put your trust in someone who will only take advantage of you.

There are even scammers that will come to your home with a proposal to fix it up. They insist on getting money in advance to buy the supplies they tell you are needed, and you may never see them again. There are local agencies for you to contact to get all the pertinent information on them, but always proceed with caution and get all the credentials on them you can. I have heard so many horror stories about these characters that I cannot feel good about recommending such work be done by anyone who just happens by. Usually, if you are a member of a church, a committee will come over and help you out, so hopefully this would be the case if the scenario applies.

In counseling I have heard numerous times someone say, “If I had only known.” I can sympathize with them for I have much empathy for their plight from personal experience. Foreknowledge is unquestionably priceless, but we are not always given the opportunity to experience or possess this treasure, and so we are destined to grope and plod about while in the process of making a decision. Keeping a cool head has immeasurable advantages in this act of moving along and living with what we have done for ourselves. So think things over, weigh each proposition before making choice. A hastily made decision could end up being a terrible mistake and one you will have to live with the rest of your life.

I am reminded of one of many stories concerning such poor decisions, that I was asked to share with others in hopes that others may learn from it. Only the names have been changed in relating this tale. One would think that family members are to be trusted, but that is unfortunately not always the case. Marie had been married for thirty-six years to a man who was widower with three daughters. The relationship with the three girls was never what one might call pleasant, for each one of them was very spoiled and indulged.

Marie was their step mother and they treated her as such, never letting her forget that. It was a very sad state for Marie, who would have loved to have been more engaged in the girl’s lives. They had a governess and a nurse so there was little that Marie had to do in caring for them. Their large home in Beverly Hills made it necessary to have a staff of four just to keep the home in order. Visits there were always lovely except when the three sisters appeared, they were calculating and obnoxious, and the youngest of them, who was my age, I found to be insincere and snooty to boot. As such no one enjoyed their company. On a cruise to Europe the captain of the ship had to reprimand the girls and exclude them from dining with the other first class passengers for a few meals. Yet, their father was blind to all this, instead he would brag unceasingly about their accomplishments…I use that term loosely. You see, they were students at a school of dramatic arts that I attended, where as I saw it any talent they may have had was far over-shadowed by their lack of discipline and desire to be noticed. The attitudes each of them displayed made any effort at acting for them tedious and distracting. Yet, to hear their father describe them Broadway and Hollywood had better brace themselves, for no Barrymore or Bernhardt could ever light stage and screen like his darling “doves.” Dream on!

I tried, but it was virtually impossible to make friends with these girls. One could only take so much of their banter before seeking fresh air. A dear friend and fellow student of mine tried, but she gave up, wanting nothing to do with the back biting and gossip that they seemed quite adept at. I think to sum them up, Cinderella’s step sisters had nothing on them.

Years moved on, and Herr Von Helsing passed away. Who, when he wasn’t boasting about his “doves, was a joy to be around. Born in Europe and living in many countries, he had interesting stories to tell of his adventures, many of which were spell binding tales of intrigue. He had once been kidnapped for ransom and the stories of his captors led us all to be amazed that he survived at all to tell the stories.

If circumstances weren’t difficult enough for the now widowed Marie, the girls made her life even more miserable than previously. She had brought a great deal to the marriage, with beautiful possession many that were heirlooms passed down for generations. In the loss of her beloved husband Marie was not thinking clearly and began letting others make decisions for her, some quite important. Her attorneys had quite a huge estate to administer, with her husband’s holdings both here and abroad, including complying with the wishes in his will and testament. Of course the daughters were well taken care of in a sizeable trusts. Not one had married, nor ever gainfully employed as they had become accustomed to their father seeing to their financial needs. Now, they incessantly hovered around Marie. Marie confessed to my mother that it felt as though they were haunting the house with the way she would see them all about the estate poking in to everything. When Marie would ask that she have some time alone, they would hear nothing of it, acting as if they had concern for her well-being, which of course was anything but the truth.

However, Marie, in her state of mind, began to believe that the girls were indeed watching over her However, Marie, in her state of mind, began to believe that the girls were indeed watching over her, and slowly but surely began to put her trust in them. As mentioned, Marie had many wonderful museum quality pieces not to forget the jewelry both inherited and given as gifts from Karl down through the years. She had often spoken of the need to establish a will of her own and make arrangements that would assure that her wishes would be carried out and she would be well taken care of in her declining years. Eventually, she was convinced that the girls would see to it that everything would be taken care of in a manner that would be pleasing and satisfactory to her.

She and mother stayed in touch and we saw her from time to time, and yes, the “doves” would be there. It was like days gone by with the three of them all speaking at the same time and getting louder and louder with one upstaging the other. No circus ever had an act like the ‘three shrikes’ with arms and hands flailing about, fingers pointing and oh, the posturing, with not one of them backing down for a moment. So the din would continue through the entire visit. Needless to say one would leave there reeling from the cacophony of unmelodious discordant sounds emanating from the infamous ‘vitriolic three’ in the center ring.

The irony is that the girls actually attended charm school, it’s difficult to believe but true. Their selfishness overrode any training they had on social graces, they were definitely prime examples of sibling rivalry. Ignoring their behavior was sometimes easier than at others and I did have an opportunity from time to time to say something constructive, but the results were short lived as could be expected.

Came the day when I received a call from Marie, who was so terribly distressed I could hardly understand what she was trying to say. Finally she calmed down enough to tell me the awful news, the girls had not complied with her wishes. When I inquired about the existence of her will, she confessed that she had never had it drawn up, for the girls told her she could trust them. She continued by telling me that she had been taken from her home, where it had been stipulated in her husband’s will that she was to live there until, because of health, she no longer could stay there. She was put in a facility so far away from any of her friends that it would be next to impossible for her to see them at all, especially with any regularity…she had been moved hundreds of miles away from her home. They were taking her on a ‘short vacation’ she said, dropped her off, had her bags taken into what she thought was where they were staying and they drove away. All she had was what had been packed in two small suitcases and a train case. She sounded devastated and so distraught, I asked her what we could do to help her, any of my suggestions were not going to work, she had spoken with her attorneys. However, there was nothing that could be done due to the fact that there was no will or any instructions that could have been submitted to her lawyer and would have given her at least some leverage.

I called her attorney to ask if there was anything that could be done there was nothing short of a lot of expense that may lead nowhere and cost a fortune. She at one time had more than enough to handle any extraordinary expenses, but he told me all the money was gone, taken along with everything else. Only what was needed to keep her in the home was what was allotted, she was now considered a ward of the state, and the three sisters were no longer living in the U.S., but were now in different countries where they could live very comfortably and lavishly on their stolen funds for very little expense.

What they did to this lovely lady, who wanted so for them to love her, is unconscionable. She stated several times during the course of our conversation “If I had only known.” I was never able to speak with her again, there was always a questionable reason why they would not bring her to the telephone. Then one day one of her attorneys called to tell me that Marie had passed away, with no ceremony at all, she was not even buried next to her husband, who had a plot for her next to him. The evil trio was able to strike again because Marie had not made a decision to take care of her affairs and decided to leave it to of all people the wicked sisters of ‘the evil trio’.

Being careful and cautious is certainly what I highly recommend to anyone who may or may not have anything of value at stake. It just seems where there is money or something of great worth the vultures come slithering out of the woodwork and begin circling. It brings the worst out of many people…the love of money is the root of all evil. It is astonishing at times as to whom the wolves are and their behavior gives nature’s scavengers a bad name. It is usually easy to predict just who the trouble makers will be in such a situation, but the unsuspected loom in the shadows and they can show their true colors in a flash.

It is advisable to have all of your wants, wishes and affairs in order. It can keep a semblance of peace in a family and prevent some problems, but there are no guarantees when dealing with the human psyche. So do your part and suffice it to say not everyone will be completely satisfied with your choices, but the operative word is “your” so keep it as such!





Getting into a position where you have multiple choices can often be fun, maneuvering into a place where you have several different choices. However, usually the choices come first, and from this the decision making process begins. It can run the gamut from which sweetheart you wish to marry, to which car shall I buy? Car buying can be narrowed down from what you can afford, to the one that is really saying ‘you’. Then, there is much more to the decision that goes into the one you choose to drive off the lot in, and I dare say budget plays a big part. But once you have the car you want, all the other difficulties that will follow is hopefully worth it.

There is often buyer’s remorse or feeling you were talked into buying the wrong car, now you have to cope with the anger and anxiety that will follow. Was a wrong choice made…no, it was a decision. If you have been talked into something that you now regret, you are in a bad place. You have to go through all the rigmarole to reverse what has happened. On the other hand you may have bought a car strictly on emotions. You let your mind run away with you thinking that this is the car for you. The price did not even enter your mind as you gazed upon that shinny object or found that rusty old classic in a dusty garage, and all you could see is yourself restoring it to its former glory with perhaps a few added attractions and accessories. If that is your forte then congratulations, and oh, that lucky car! Too many of these good intentions are still sitting waiting for the work to begin. Was it a good decision, I cannot answer that for you, but you will know in your heart if it was well worth it.

The auto analogy is a simple one, and most can relate to it. If not a car, then pick another item, where you had to deliberate over as to whether you had to have it or not. Were there other choices? And by what means did you come to the conclusion to buy what you did.

Another big choice is buying a house or condominium. If you have moved often such a purchase may not take as much out of you as one that is house hunting for the first time. However, in either case you will have choices before you make that decision on which to but. The one thing about buying a home is in time you could put it on the market if it is just not working out for you. Hopefully you may even make a profit.

A long-term commitment makes the decision making more profound, for as it implies it will be with you for a long time. You may have to live with it for a myriad of reasons, one being saving face and not having to admit to a big mistake. A lady, named Roxanne, wishing that others will learn from her experience, hoped that I would include her story in this book. Because it is such an important lesson I agreed. Her story is one that should be told.

She was engaged to a very wonderful young man who had great potential for his future. He adored her and wanted only to make her as happy as possible. She never seemed to be as devoted as he, but went along with all the attention as the future bride and seemed to enjoy all the fawning she was getting. She was invited to a relative’s lakeshore home for a long weekend and hastily accepted the invitation. The first night she was there a number of people got together for a potluck dinner at her aunt and uncle’s place. Among the group of vacationers were many young people her age. They gathered on the deck listening to music and having convivial conversation. Suddenly coming up the stairs was a late arrival,

he spelled danger right from the start and her cousin was disappointed to see him show up. He had a too self-confident attitude and everything about him said he possessed a monumental ego. After the introductions were made, the party continued with a buffet table filled with all sorts of delicious food from hors d’oeuvres to desserts. Laughter filled the air and friendships were budding. The party was becoming memorable and even the narcissistic one began to blend in with the crowd.

Roxanne was approached by him over dinner and he seemed never to leave her side for the rest of the evening. He turned on the charm and she was taken in by his prepossessing allure. The evening wore on and Roxy was completely taken in by the character with the ‘great smile’ and gift of gab. Roxie’s cousin pulled her aside to remind her that she was engaged and of all people to be attracted to was the self proclaimed Mr. Wonderful. She was warned to get a hold of herself and quit sitting there entranced by the Don Juan who crashed the party. Reminded that she had a marvelous fiancée waiting for her back home wasn’t enough to turn her away from the obvious lothario who was her idea of a real “hunk”. She was smitten by the attention he gave her and said it was one of the best evenings she had even spent. She mooned over him the rest of the weekend but he never came back to call on her, much to everyone’s relief. So she left for home a sadder girl than the one who had arrived.

She returned home carrying a torch for the lakeside Adonis and could not get him out of her mind. Letters to her cousin asked the question each time if he had been seen and if so did he ask about her. He worked at the boat rental and gas station so he was around. In despair Roxy made arrangements for she and her parents to go to the lake for a visit. A very unwise decision, in the meantime she told her fiancée that she wanted to postpone the plans for their wedding as she needed time to ‘think’. Wanting only to please her he agreed to wait until she felt the time was right.

She had convinced her parents to spend an entire week of summer vacation at the lake, so they rented a very beautiful cabin overlooking a picture postcard view. She had contrived plans that would have her near to ‘him’ everyday, but had hoped that it would appear to be happenstance and coincidental. She practiced a surprised expression and inflection in her voice so the lakeshore lothario would not suspect a thing. Ha! The first day they rented a boat, but it was his day off, so they cruised the lake for hours. Her parents were not aware of this secret romance she had conjured up since meeting him the month before. Her new found interest in boats had them a bit perplexed since she never liked the water but they were glad to see her so happy even after postponing her wedding. appraisal of Rowell, but did her best to hide her real feelings for him.

Her father and mother were not at all impressed with the sleeves on his cropped tee rolled up high to show off his muscles. They thought him to be way too roguish and conceited to boot. Roxie’s mother went on with her assessment, and made it very clear that he is an undesirable fellow. Little did they know that Roxie was plotting to have a clandestine meeting with him that very evening. She handed him a note when her parents were boarding the runabout about telling him where they were staying, and she hoped he would come by at eleven o’clock that evening and they could go out to the sunning house at the end of their wharf. She had written three different notes so that depending upon what kind of reception he gave her she would have just the right note of invitation for him. Suffice it to say, no lady would have given any man any of the three notes that all but invited him into her bedroom to have his way with her.

That evening the bewitching hour arrived, she snuck out and awaited the overconfident Rowell to appear. Eleven o’clock came and went he was nowhere in sight, and she had to keep spraying herself with insect repellent as the night wore on and she stood alone as mosquito fodder on the wharf. He never showed up, even though he held the note up when they returned from their boat ride and nodded to her making her believe he would be there in the pale moonlight.

Now any self respecting girl, even though she had already impugned her reputation, would chalk this up to stupidity and want nothing whatsoever to do with the clod again. But no, she composed in the middle of the night three more notes to be chosen from and handed to him again when they rented a boat later that day.

With no shame she walked over to him, handed him a note and said please come see me tonight, I will make it worth your while. What cheap dime novels had she been reading for goodness sake? Well, needless to say he showed up, and apparently she made it worth his while for he showed up every night after that. She had made a decision to give herself to him, and I doubt that he appreciated it at all. This is nothing special to a character like the ‘randy goat’ Rowell.

Before summer was over, she made another trip to the lake to stay with her aunt and uncle there. Every night she let him in through a window and as fate would have it they became an item and were seen during the day out and about together. Of course, most of this was behind her aunt and uncle’s back, as she lied about who she was going out to see. Her cousin was at work and not at the cabin during her last visit of the summer. I know Vivian would have been livid if she had any idea as to what Roxie was up to.

Her visit over, she returned home, and announced to her parents that she was in love with Rowell. She made it very clear that he was the man for her and of course that broke the heart of the man that cherished her so, proclaiming her love for Rowell and therefore calling off any plans with her betrothed. It was over and she wanted nothing whatsoever to do with him. Much to everyone’s chagrin, she carried a torch for Rowell and he came down off the mountain to visit her from time to time. Marriage was never spoken of, nor were any plans for their future…until one day when her figure was making a definite change and she was having to miss her college classes due to feeling ill.

Well, Rowell did the right thing but it took a while for her to get him to commit, there was no wedding as was planned with her former fiancé, as a matter of fact there never was an engagement. The girl who had starting planning her wedding when she was in junior high school didn’t even have a service in church. The starkly under stated ceremony was held in her parents living room on a very gloomy, rainy day.

There was no honeymoon. That evening Rowell went back up to the mountains to finish a job he had started there. She was nearly six months pregnant with his child and he did not seem to be very interested until Roxie inherited four hundred and sixty eight thousand dollars, after taxes, from her grandmother’s estate, which back then was a tidy sum. Suddenly the errant husband and father was showing up on a more frequent basis and became very involved in a house hunting quest before his baby was born.

Everyone questioned why she wished to stay married to him, the baby had a last name and there was little else one could say about his parental involvement. He was worthless and certainly not going to be any kind of husband and provider. But she was determined to be his wife, ‘come hell or high water’, end quote.

He had his mountain shack, but convinced Roxie they needed a better place there, and soon he got exactly the huge log home he wanted, along with a vehicle that could be used in the snow. Oh my but was he having an inordinate amount of fun with her inheritance. She knew it was the tether that held him to her and allowed him all sorts of shopping sprees and the gathering of possessions. The baby was born, an adorable little girl named Rebecca, and even Rowell was taken aback by this sweet little child and her irresistible charm. But even with all that, her father could not be faithful to her mother and was very often seen on the lake in his sleek new high speed motorboat with other women.

He was going through her money at a rapid pace never seeming to be satisfied with all the gifts she bestowed upon him. She knew she had made a terrible mistake ever getting involved with this ne’er-do-well playboy.   But Roxie could not bring herself to the point of admitting her foolishness in being attracted to the philandering womanizer with the, oh so winning smile!

He was enjoying living the lifestyle that her money accorded him and he flaunted every bit of it. As far as paying any kind of quality attention to his wife and child there was little evidence of that. It was so obvious that he was never going to change and become a devoted father and husband that soon every one’s prayers were that she come to her senses and realize that he was unfaithful and unwilling to think of his family first. It was all about him and his happiness and he let nothing stand in the way of his pursuit thereof. Roxie tried to get him to attend marriage counseling, but he would hear nothing of it. Marriage encounter was very popular at the time and try though she would he paid no attention to her pleas.

So finally she came to the decision to begin divorce proceedings on the grounds that there was much infidelity on his part and alienation of affection when she cut off his spending account. There was enough proof of his adultery that the hearing was swift and she came out much the victor. He was awarded a few of the ‘toys’ she had purchased for him, and visitation rights to see Rebecca. Because he quit his job and lived off the dividends of her inheritance the court felt that what he got was sufficient. Since he brought nothing to the marriage and thank Heaven she listened to her parents and had nothing in his name, he ended up back in the shack and pumping gas in motorboats!

In the meantime the young man she was betrothed to was on his way with his career and making a fine life for himself. He was engaged to a lovely young lady and had a beautiful wedding planned. Roxie pined away about breaking up with him realizing that she did not appreciate him. She cried huge tears when she said, “What was I thinking when I decided to pursue Rowell, I really made some stupid decisions, and I hate myself for it.”

There are several profound and important lessons to learn from this story. The terrible decisions that turned a promising life into a shambles of heartbreak and anguish need to be thought of seriously, and one must do all they can to avoid having the same experiences happen to them. Every mistake was made because of a wrong decision, and we can be certain of where her life went from there. It is difficult to pull yourself up by the bootstraps when so much negativity is surrounding you.   Contentment was null and void and there was very little happiness. Even her darling daughter was without having devotion from a loving father, but rather him saying she should have gotten an abortion and they could have avoided all this mess, that doesn’t make for a happy family environment.

She never felt loved or cared for and least of all her daughter. Attention time was when he wanted some new “toy.” She would buy it wanting him to tell her how wonderful she was. But once it was purchased there were no attempts made to appear to be considerate, kind or loving. She has continuously regretted her decision to turn her life over to him and stated, “I will take those regrets to my grave.” She is not the only one who was seriously affected by that misguided decision, her entire family bore the burden of having to endure the ill-conceived marriage and all the situations that go along with such a union. She admitted to her selfishness and wanton desires for a man who was not at all interested in making a good life for them, and many people were hurt in the process. “I guess I got what I deserved” she announced one day. In many ways she was correct, for she was no better than he. They both were selfish and cared less as to who was hurt in the struggle, for they were in an ever constant battle over their wants, and in war, there are no unwounded soldiers.

I am happy to say that at least she came to a decision to seek help and has benefitted from the comfort she has found in God’s grace and mercy.







What I wish the most for you is that you have made the kind of decisions that benefit you in all facets of your life. I am praying that you are content with the many choices made throughout the years. Our lives are filled with these welcomed and unwelcomed opportunities where we are faced with having to decide on one thing or another. These can be trying times if what must be done is unpleasant and that can take a lot out of you in the process. We all have to come to these moments at times in our lives. Even the very young may have to make an important choice that only they can.

Poor choices can be disastrous to all concerned. I mentioned the young, too many of them have the tendency to predicate a choice for themselves on what everyone else is doing. The “just-because-your friends-did-it-does-not-mean-you-should” syndrome comes to mind as does a terrible thing that happened to one young man not so very long ago.

Several of his friends thought it would be fun to see which one of them could go the fastest down a very curvy street. They chose a late hour of night to have their challenge race, he was in a brand new sports car that his parents had bought him for his seventeenth birthday. Each car made the course alone while others with stop watches at either end of the ‘raceway’ watched the event that also had several spectators looking on. A friend of his later said he was not real sure that he wanted to participate in this spectacle with his brand new car and all, “but everyone else was doing it”, and that was how he made his momentous decision to race, and illegally at that.

It was his turn to run the course, those at the other end waited for his arrival but he never showed up at the finish line. The next day those commuting the street saw what was very obviously the results of a terrible accident. Parts of a car were strewn all over the roadside and imbedded in the cutaway of the hill. The newspapers said he had to have reached speeds of over a hundred and twenty five miles per hour to have disintegrated the car as it did. The debris from the car was removed and in its place were candles and flowers left by friends and family who of course will miss him terribly. He is gone, but his awful decision to be in the race will haunt his loved ones for the rest of their lives, and may I add, their lives will never be the same. I suspect his parent’s decision to buy him that car will long be a distressing source of grief. And nothing anyone could say or do will ever change that. God bless them.

There are far too many stories where someone carelessly goes about doing something foolish and pays a terrible price for having done so. The end result is, that the people that are so profoundly affected by one of those “decisions” may last, very likely, the rest of their lives. Giving great thought to a whim or some idea is highly recommended, for accidents can result from even the simplest of projects and change the course of things from that moment on. Remember, we are all interconnected in our relationships and the result of one bad decision could adversely affect many around you.

A dear friend’s father went up on the roof at the protests of his wife, but he assured her that he could get the job done and for her to just go inside and let him go about his business. After a while she heard a thud on the roof and went out to see what had happened. He had fallen down on the roof and then to the ground where he laid limp and in shock. He wasn’t able to move, so she called for an ambulance to come. He was taken to emergency and then transferred to orthopedic hospital, for he had severed the spinal cord and was now a paraplegic. Talk about life changing, he spent several months in therapy in the hospital while changes of every sort were being made on their home. Ramps had to be installed, hand rails, spaces widened to accommodate the wheel chair, changes in furniture and counter heights, and a special bathtub, shower and facility in his bathroom as well.

How his accident affected his wife and two daughters was imprinted in every phase of their day. I have to add however, he was no wilting flower. As soon as he could, he had a car modified to accommodate his condition, so he drove, and had invented a device for getting the wheel chair in the car and him in the driver’s seat.

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