Redemption’s Heart is Under Construction and is getting a new name.

under constructionA new attitude is rising up around here — I’m thinking a brand new look is in order as well. We’ve slapped on some paint, shifted some  furniture, knocked out a cyber wall or two and this page is really starting to come together nicely. In light of all the changes, both in my life and on this blog, Redemption’s Heart needs a name change. — For starters it just doesn’t fit anymore. and I’m not a Mommy / Garden Blogger Anymore. I’m still married, but my kids are grown and my gardens are dead.

And so, we’ve changed the name from Redemption’s Heart to Deana Louise.  We’ve played with all kinds of names, some of them really cool (My husband suggested “my hot wife”  and while I thought that was sweet, I decided to pass) Since I own Deana Louise Productions, it just made more sense to go with that. I’m a comic, artist, speaker, freelance writer , banjo student, and poet. Instead of PTA meetings and bake sales, I am now exploring life after kids, facing down fears and testing my own grit. This is where I share my new adventures – and sometimes misadventures. Welcome.

Music Monday: eye of the tiger, ala the pedal pusher society

I think this video is hilarious and I’m kinda diggin the Girl Power Groove thing they got going on  here.

I’m under the weather at the moment so I thought I’d catch up on my blog reading — I was starting to get scared again while studying group rides and what counts as an acceptable speed. I needed the levity. These gals are having fun and you know, I kinda think that’s how it should be.

And then another cycling video just for fun.


Where Were You When You First Met Anne?

anne-lamott-credit-sam-lamott-final-small_custom-508ad61ad7cd1860a90521caedf65c1aeb330750-s6-c10It’s not like I’ve never heard of her. I have. “If you want to learn how to write, read Bird by Bird.” my friends say. I own Bird by Bird and while I’m not entirely certain as to whether or not I’ve read it, I know it’s here in my home somewhere.  I put it away for safe keeping — along with all of my other safe keeping dreams.

Time and busyness of life have relegated the book to one of my piles of things that stack up when unattended. Sometimes my piles of things include tangible things like books and papers, other times they are more reminiscent of Pandora’s box — this dream, that lust, this need, that resentment. Which box or which pile or room I’ve relegated that book to, has yet to be determined. In many ways, I’m still sifting through yesterday’s hopes, and clearing out some wreckage in order to make room for the good stuff. Only recently am I starting to remove the bandages on my wings and testing their muscle. I do notice that while they tire easily, they grow stronger every day.

I could simply go buy it again. It’s not like I can’t afford to. And maybe I will, maybe I won’t. It doesn’t matter at the moment because in all honesty I didn’t meet Anne in Bird by Bird. Maybe I sensed something when I held that book in my hands that I was just wasn’t ready to face. I think I was afraid. Afraid of change. Afraid of truth. And maybe even a little afraid of meeting myself.

Because the truth is, you cannot  meet Anne and not be changed. I wasn’t ready to meet me yet. Sweet little,dishonest to a fault,  people pleasing, just give me the rules and I’ll follow them so you’ll like me, me — standing on my branch and rather than flying choosing to climb back down for a while. The clamor of life: laundry, dishes, dirty floors, homework, sex, obligations, gardens that keep dying cover the voices screaming in my head that there has got to be more.

More to this recovery thing.

More to this God stuff and service.

More to writing and family.

More to life.

More to me.

Anne’s is a name that is sometimes spoken in hushed whispers in my somewhat conservative circles. Even in AlAnon, she is considered contraband  “Non Conference Approved Literature” and all. It’s not as if she’s Voldemort or anything. I mean she’s just a woman like me – except for the dreadlocks. Oh how I love the freedom in those.

I didn’t meet Anne in Bird by Bird. I met Anne in Sunday School while teaching a safe and Board of Education approved class on Spiritual Disciplines. Not a bad study really. We talked about the importance of prayer, and meditation, forgiveness, and walking in the Spirit. Strong, spiritual Godly stuff. Stuff fit for women taught to serve and not ask questions. Problem is, I had a lot of questions. I still do.

Two visitors wandered in one day and joined my class. After a month or so one of the ladies torn over the ultra conservative nature of our church and her own personal beliefs, offered me a book on loan. “Read this and give it back to my friend when you are finished. I’m not coming back.” –

The book is Traveling Mercies.

This is where I met Anne.

This is where I learned that it is okay to have a crazy family, a messed up testimony,and a messy faith that is wholly mine and no one else’s. It’s okay not to have all the answers, have teeny tiny control issues, and I learned that thinking things that would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of a cat dish is a starting place for forgiveness sometimes. It’s okay to tell the truth. To stand up for women. To be ourselves, without apology. It’s okay not to believe everything people believe and to think for yourself.

It’s okay to find your own music and purpose in life.

We listen to the same radio station, (K-FKD) only I was too embarrassed to admit it. Not Anne – she called it was it is and dropped the F-Bomb right there in black and white. I giggled out loud and looked around the room to see if anyone had heard what I just read. Feeling safe in my overstuffed green chair, certain that no one had overheard,  I sank in deeper and read the book through the night. By the end of the book, I wanted dreadlocks as well.

I don’t have them. Frankly they would look foolish on me.

Being the only daughter of an alcoholic mother myself, I run the gamut of loving and hating Anne. Sometimes I feel jealous and fall into traps of self-pity and wonder what my life would be like had my mother stayed in the program. Other times, I feel alive and torn between conviction and reassurance that I am indeed on the right path.

Anne is to me what women like Gloria Steinem were to my mother — an awakening. A voice to be heard and digested. A reminder that I am a child of God first, as well as a woman and a sister to others. All of my roles, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend MATTER.  I too have a responsibility to wake up and keep the fight that the women before me fought. Freedom does not come from passively enjoying the benefits bestowed upon my generation by my Grand Mother’s and Mother’s generation or by assuming they will always remain. Simple things like credit, workplace equity,educational equality,  peace in this world, caring for the poor, all of those things matter and can go away with the very next generation if we don’t speak up.

This world needs voices.

This world needs women.

This world needs you and it needs me.

I’ve been asking Anne (via Facebook, I know weird right?) if she’d please include Tulsa in her book tours. That hasn’t happened yet. She is however on tour again discussing Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son and is coming to Kansas City MO in April. The church she’ll be speaking at is only four hours from my house — I’m going. Bought my ticket already and everything.

I just want to meet her and say thank you.

Hopefully I won’t gush. That would be embarrassing really —

She’s influences me as a woman and that influences me as a writer.

She is just a mirror really — because the truth is – you spot it, you got it.

That which is we dislike in others are things we usually dislike in ourselves


Those things we hold up and admire in others are also those same things that exist in ourselves.

So, where were you when you met Anne? Have you? If not — let me introduce you — I think you’ll like her. I do.  — ANNE LAMOTT FACEBOOK PAGE

I’m Riding in the Tour de Cure: Go Team Phoenix Rising

photo (2)Okay, I know I said I wouldn’t post while under the influence of cold meds, BUT I have got to share this with you guys. It’s official. My group of friends have all agreed (mostly all anyway) to ride with me in the Tour de Cure this year for ADA. I rode alone last year — yes they sent me out as the scout. I came back alive and so they’ve decided if I didn’t die, neither will they. That and the sub-culture at my husband’s office is one of physical fitness and it seems everyone and their grand-kids signed up this year —

Because I didn’t know what to expect, I only rode 10 miles last year — this year I’ve signed up for 25. All road, no trail that I know of . YIPES. (put paper sack over face, breathe deep, I can do this!)  Most of the team will hang at the 25 mark because this is their first ride for ADA. My base is presently at about ten miles, all trails, zero road. I need to up that over the next ten weeks or so in order to get ready — and ready I will be. I have to be ready, I’m the team captain for heaven sake. I mean how would it look if the captain dies mid route?

It would look bad.

Granted these riders are pros. They know what they are doing. They really just needed me to co-ordinate everything for them. I’m like the Wedding Planner only cooler. All they have to do is train and show up — I got the rest.

I have not ridden 25 or more consecutive miles on a bike since that day back in 1989 where Jeff (my then boy friend, now husband) tried to kill me. I still did not know my way around Chicago so when he suggested we take a “fun bike ride” from Niles IL to the Botanical Gardens, I had no idea how far it was.

I spent the night sleeping on the floor of my apartment with every muscle in my body seizing up because that was where I landed when we got back and getting up was not possible. I couldn’t walk right for a week. I should add, I was also in my best physical shape possible, weighing in at a whopping 124 pounds. I ran cable and installed PBX systems for a living. I rocked. And I still almost died.

And here I am ready to do it again — some 24 years later. HA This time, I’ll be prepared. This time I’m training. This time I have to because I don’t weigh 124 lbs anymore. My “diet” took a fun turn in December and January while I blew off some much-needed steam. (Translated, I decided to throw a major temper tantrum) I may have over enjoyed my newly discovered friends: Zacapa Rum,  and Glen’s Fiddich and Livet, My Irish Friend Jameson and my new favorite girlfriend Miss Tequila Rose with a splash of Baileys. I also discovered yummy smoothies made with avocado, cucumbers and coconut milk that probably pack half a days calories per pinch as well. While my calorie intake from food remained at 1,300-1,500, I’m afraid my beverage consumption offset that terribly.

Explaining to my doctor on Monday why I didn’t lose the ten pounds he suggest I lose two months ago was awkward and embarrassing.  He used the word “moderation” and I’m like okay, yeah, probably a good idea at this point. Alcohol has a lot of empty calories and I can either continue to be a brat or I can suck it up, find my resolve to get back in shape and start again. I’m not a heavy drinker, never have been, I just didn’t pay attention to the caloric intake and I’m paying for it with my lack of weight loss.

My temper tantrum is over.

I used to be an athlete.

I used to be a model.

I’m neither of those things today.

I’m not used to having to work at it. At least I didn’t consider it work when I was competing at Shaolin and Tai Chi. It was just fun.

Guess I need to learn how.

Now is as good a day as any.

CC_TourDeCure_190x190 Click on the Photo and Support My Ride!

Where Did She Go?

ill It would appear that some lucky bug has come to roost at my house this month. It arrived just before Valentines Day and like a bad guest refuses to clean up after itself and leave already. I have learned from past experience that blogging while under the influence of cold and/or pain medication just causes the potential for restraining orders as well as evidence in mental health hearings. Granted I’ve written some of my best work while under the influence with my no holds barred, Can I Keep My Doctor if I said he followed me home bit being the best of them all– and of all 700 something blog stories I’ve written, THAT would be the one to go viral before I came to enough to remove it from the blogosphere.

I promise to be back at the joke writing, and whining about my lack of weight loss and having to explain to docs who use the word “moderation” in regards to my diet that I believe 1,300 calories a day is about as moderate as I want to get thank you very much so quit yer yapping at me..soon enough.

And if by some chance really bad poetry makes it way here before I am well, just know that I blame the NyQuil and hope to delete it once I come to.

Thank you for understanding.