Deb Martin Enterprises, LLC Mon, 07 May 2018 14:22:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 /wp-content/uploads/2016/10/cropped-Ellewald2-32x32.jpg Deb Martin Enterprises, LLC 32 32 Enjoy the Journey – part 5 /enjoy-the-journey-part-5/ Mon, 07 May 2018 14:22:24 +0000 /?p=584 As I get older humor is even more important as I seem to do more crazy things.  Luckily, I have a smart car that won’t let me lock my keys inside and has a GPS to keep me from getting lost!  One day the car may lock me out, “I’m not letting you back in until you wise up.”  I have my bike for back up.

Your tasks at times will seem overwhelming.  Rely on your faith, which is a force even stronger than knowledge, power or skill.  There is nothing God cannot do.  Take courage and keep going.  Seek God’s guidance.  Surprises will happen.  Seeming defeats can become victories when you keep moving forward.

Two times when I lost my job, I felt terrible at first and anxious.  Both times I got better jobs, better pay, and met more great people.  The times between jobs tested my faith and my ability to manage my time.  I focused on what I could do, listened to advice from people who knew the process and some going through the same thing, and forced myself to take actions like picking up the phone to make calls.

Notice the everyday things like the smell of coffee, the first tulips of spring, when the robins return, your comfortable chair, tasty food, and more.  Enjoy music even if you think it is played too loud.  Laugh with your friends and family.  Laugh at yourself.  You will do some silly things like forget why you went to that room and where you left your keys.

By nature, I am a serious person.  It has taken work to develop my humor and it has been worth it.   I used to get upset about trivial stuff like someone being late.  I learned to take a book or magazine with so I could read while I waited.  Now my iPhone does the trick.

We live in a beautiful country and world.  You can travel to many places.  Travel can be stressful so focus on the fun of it to reduce that stress.  Cars will breakdown and planes will be late.  It is not the universe against you.  Keep a perspective on the rough spots.  The rewards of seeing interesting places and meeting interesting people is much greater than the rough spots.

I have visited all 50 states and several countries.  We lived in different states from my grandparents.  I attended 4 different schools in 3 states.  As kids we took so many road trips and learned to read maps.  “Are we there yet?”  What a brat I was some of the time.

“I know for sure that to be present with yourself is the most important gift you can have.  Appreciate now, so that the next hour and the next year don’t slip away unnoticed.  Every moment matters.”  Oprah

This is moment is all you are guaranteed.  Be present in it instead of worrying about what is coming or about what happened in the past.  I learned this the hard way and missed so many moments.  Really days and weeks of lost time.

I would be planning the next party, rides to various events, next vacation, dentist appoints, etc. Those may be necessary tasks, but I would get caught up in them instead of playing with my kids.  Luckily, I have a second chance with my grandchildren.

Enjoy the Journey – part 4 /enjoy-the-journey-part-4/ Sat, 07 Apr 2018 18:08:09 +0000 /?p=582 As a teen, I considered studying to be a minister.  I thought that was the way to share my faith and help others.  It is one way.  A powerful way.  It is not the only way.  I chose to get married at 19 instead.

It can be a challenge to bear fruit at work or with a difficult neighbor or relative.  For example, over the years I worked for some excellent bosses and a few where we did not work well.  Once in a mid-year job evaluation my boss told me I asked too many questions.  I was new to the job and was given only sketchy direction.  What I eventually realized was that my boss did not know the answers to my questions and was struggling in his own job.  I asked other people my questions to get the job done.  We got along much better after that.  I used my fruits of understanding and analyzing the situation for win/win.

What you see as the end of the road, is only a bend in the road.  Keep going.  Try different roads.  I often take the road less travelled.  That has made my life more interesting from the jobs I’ve had to the people I’ve met.

What if I had stayed a secretary instead of taking the foreman job in the factory?  What if I had not had children?  What if…  I made mistakes like going to work for one of my last companies.  The boss who hired me, retired about two months later.  The next boss and I never “clicked”.  I liked my co-workers and the job, but that was not enough.  Until I was no longer there, I did not realize how much that job hurt my health.

Your life stretches out before you.  Some decisions will affect your remaining life and others will be temporary.  Whatever your focus, find things to enjoy every day, week, and year.  Be present in your own life.  Yes, goals and plans are good.  Yet don’t allow your focus to be so much on them that you miss life in each day.

I read once that the week-end is only 2 days of a 7-day week.  Don’t just live for 2 of 7 days each week.  I decided then to each week do something interesting during the week.  Sometimes that was joining the church choir.  Or attending a seminar or play.  Or helping at Girl Scout meetings.  Or teaching a college class.

Enjoy your coffee or your choice of beverage.  Eat tasty food.  Your health is worth it.  Take time for friends and good books.  Have interesting events during the week, not just on weekends.  Your choice.

Don’t take yourself so seriously.  Laugh a lot.  Including laughing at yourself because you will do and say silly things.   I still test my car every few months by trying to lock my keys inside.  She just beeps at me.  She also beeps if I try to leave my keys inside.  Some day she may just lock me out.  “Not letting you in until you wise up!”  Thank goodness for the clicker when she is lost in the store parking lot. Laugh.

Life can be serious.  Your work can be serious.  But keep things in perspective and balance.

Enjoy the Journey – part 3 /enjoy-the-journey-part-3/ Mon, 02 Apr 2018 13:53:53 +0000 /?p=580 Years ago when my son was very sick.  It was sudden and scary.  I called it a wilderness journey from the beginning because I knew we could not avoid it.  It was unknown territory.  The length of the journey was uncertain, but we knew it would end.

We could not take a detour or ignore it.  It had to be faced and actions taken.  It could not be rushed.  The rest of life went on – work, school, church, buying groceries, cooking meals, and doing dishes.  The illness was always there.  I know his experience was tougher than mine.  Yet it was hard as a parent to see my child ill and not be able to take it away.  Even take it into myself.

Luckily my faith muscle was strong from years of prayer, Bible study, and friends.  We spent so much time together in those months of doctor visits and hospitals. I was grateful for the blessings in that time, in spite of the heaviness of the reason.

Good things happened during wilderness time as well.  My boss allowed me to work varied hours and the job was interesting.  The evening college classes I taught went well.  We trusted the doctors and the results were good.

      ELW Evening Prayer for Vision (based on Hebrews 11:8-10 (received at a women’s retreat):

“Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

The best venture for me has been as a mom.  When we were first married, we agreed that we did not want children.  It was 1970 and we believed the atomic bomb could drop at any time so why add to the population?  In my mid-twenties, the proverbial “clock” started ticking for me.   I love my children.  I knew that my mom adored and loved me.  What a blessing she was to me and I still miss her yet feel her spirit so often.  But it wasn’t until I had children that I really understood that love more deeply.

We all bear different types of fruit.  What fruit will you bear?  This is how people know your faith and your character.  The people we meet, even briefly may being bearing heavy burdens so a kind word from us or a smile can briefly lighten the load.

Enjoy the Journey – part 2 /enjoy-the-journey-part-2/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 15:58:04 +0000 /?p=578 “I expect to pass through this world but once.  Any good I can do, or any kindness that I can show, let me do now, for I shall not pass this way again.”

A plaque with this quote was in our home for years.  It speaks to the journey of life.  I have lived in many places and homes and travelled to so many other places.  I attended three grade schools and a different high school. I’ve lived in four states.  For me, this has meant blessings because of the opportunities to meet so many lovely people and see so many beautiful places.  I was sad to leave friends each time, too.

Have you ever wanted to know the future?  Had to decide which fork in the road to take?  Wanted to know with certainty that the decision you were making was the right one?  Have you been afraid to make a decision, in case it was wrong?  I stayed married for 35 years being afraid to make a different decision until I had no more excuses.  Finally, it was about my happiness.

Below is a prayer I wish I had found earlier in my life.  I recommend it to you.  When I have felt the tug to go a different direction, I believe it was God’s call.  To put your hand in God’s hand and feel God’s love will give courage for the venture.  That does not mean it will be easy though it might.

I am glad for so many of the ventures in my life.  I did not see the endings or even beyond the bend in the road.  A few were mistakes, but I am grateful for even those because they then led to lovely new ventures.  The future vision would be a distraction from the moment.

ELW Evening Prayer for Vision (based on Hebrews 11:8-10 (received at a women’s retreat):

“Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”


Daycare: Getting There /daycare-getting-there/ Mon, 05 Mar 2018 15:19:32 +0000 Just getting to daycare each morning requires careful planning, coordination and pinpoint execution.

How were mornings without children? You wake up, get dressed, drink coffee and may eat breakfast. It does not take that much time. You know exactly how long you need. There is little variation.

How are mornings with children? Unpredictable some of the time. There is variation depending on number of children and number of adults involved.

Scenario 1 – The ideal world: You got the diaper bag/ backpack ready the evening before. You also decided on clothes the evening before. I read about one executive who even put her kids to bed in their clothes for the next day. I know one mom who on Sunday evening organizes clothes for the week. If lunches are required, they are ready the evening before.

You get up and get ready first. When you wake up your child, he/she gets up quickly. The child either lets you dress him/her or gets dressed alone right away. The child and you eat breakfast talking happily in no rush. Then you pick up all bags and get everyone in the car without mishap.

Scenario 2 – Real world: You wake up late so everyone must get ready at the same time. There is some shouting between rooms, “Get up.” “Are you up?” “Are you dressed yet?” “I can’t find my socks.”

Somehow everyone is dresses and teeth brushed. You quickly shove diapers, clothes, toy, etc. into the diaper bag. The back pack gets loaded with blanket, sleeping bag (did you bring it home?), extra clothes or sweatshirt, etc.

You grab a travel mug of coffee and a food bar. If lunches are needed, you shove food in each bag. Breakfast can be eaten at daycare.

Scenario 2 – Real World plus: Today a child is sick. Now you must still get to work, but first must find someone to take care of the child.

Another day is underway! Are you exhausted already? Give yourself a big hug. You are caring for your family in the best way you can.

Do you have suggestions for other parents/caregivers to help the morning go more smoothly, at least most of the time? Please share at:

Enjoy the Journey /enjoy-the-journey/ Mon, 26 Feb 2018 15:11:01 +0000 /?p=576 Have you even wanted to go someplace, but the time was not right?  Keep the dream because the time may be right later, even years later.  One place I wanted to visit was Ireland.  I started planning the trip and saving money for it.  But life got in the way.  More specifically, I was planning the trip with my husband of 35 years when I realized I did not want to travel with him.  I did not want to be with him.  The money saved for the trip was spent on the divorce instead.

About twelve years later I did travel around Ireland in a small bus guided tour for eleven days.  What a treat!  We saw so many lovely places – castles, country homes, mountains, sacred stones, sheep and more sheep, so many shades of green, endless rock walls, Giants Causeway, the peace wall in Belfast, etc.  All the food was excellent from fresh fish to organic vegetables to tasty brown bread and a little whiskey in Irish porridge (or with honey and cream).  The music and live performances in the pubs exceeded my expectations.  The Guinness beer was smooth.  The weather was cool and even windy and cold, but we were prepared so each day was a treat.

Keep your dream tucked away for another day if it is not possible at the present.  The right time may come later and be even better then.

Enjoy the journey.  It is more important than the destination.

Have you regrets?  Let them go, but first learn from them.  Some of my regrets are kindness withheld from strangers.  We often only have a few seconds to decide.  I want to error on the side of kindness when holding my internal debate.

Years ago I was on a plane with very few passengers.  Gone are the days of near empty flights.  A woman sitting a few rows in front of me was talking loudly on her phone and crying.  I was annoyed.  As we were getting off the plane, she told the stewardess her father had just died and she was traveling to her mom to help with arrangements.  I felt ashamed.  A few minutes later we were both on the same shuttle bus and she was crying.  I decided to approach her.  She wanted to talk.  I said a prayer with her and told her I would be praying for her throughout the day.  She thanked me and walked to her mom waiting at the gate.

There have been other times I turned away.  I am always glad when I do not.  For me, this includes smiling at everyone as I pass them.  If nothing else, it brightens my day.

You are Stronger than You Think – part 3 /you-are-stronger-than-you-think-part-3/ Mon, 15 Jan 2018 19:18:07 +0000 “If you believe you can, you probably can.  If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t.  Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.”  Denis Waitley

There will be lots of good adventures and happy times.  There will also be difficult and sad times.  They often happen at the same time.  That is part of life.  Acknowledge both.

When one of my children was a senior in high school, my other child became very ill.  The fun times of the last year in high school were parallel to visits to doctors, surgeries, etc.  I worked full time and taught evening college courses.  I grew stronger by the end of that year and felt closer to both of my children.

I enjoy traveling around the U.S. and even around the world.  Know that things can and will go wrong. “Have a Plan B,” meaning think ahead in plans for options if something goes wrong.  For example, if your friend can’t go with you, is there someone else to ask or will you go alone?  If your favorite ice cream is not available, what is your second choice?  Life will be much more enjoyable with less stress with Plan B options.  Sometimes Plan C or D will be required, but that will be fine.

Ask for help when you need it.  You help many people.  That is great.  Allow others to help you as well.  Get professional help when needed.  Embrace the Alanon or other twelve step programs and the people around the tables when you need them.  I sat around Alanon tables for 25 years.  This is a safe place with so many great people who care about others and struggle to live their best life.  The wisdom of the 12 steps and the slogans helps in every part of life.

For many years I contemplated suicide.  I felt desperate.  I hid it, but knew I took out my frustration on my precious children too often.  Then I found Alanon.  It took time, but I started focusing my thoughts and actions instead of the alcoholic.  I slept better.  I was a kinder mom and a better employee.

When there are times of sadness and even grief that you cannot seem to get out of, get professional help.  Never choose a permanent solution for a temporary problem.  Suicide is not a good choice ever.  Your kids, your other family, and your friends would be sad.  You are needed.

Go to medical doctors.  Use your EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for counselling advice.  I needed professionals to validate that I was okay and guide me every few years.  My negative self-talk could be toxic.  “You idiot.”  “What is the matter with you?”  “You are not good enough.”

Your friends will be great resources for you.  Strangers will also be helpful.  For example, when you have car trouble, you are lost, you are in a new job, or you are alone, strangers will help.    I could not rely on my spouse to help so that forced me to seek help elsewhere.  Some people are afraid of strangers.  Trust your gut instinct and be safe.  But in my experience, strangers have helped.

There will be times when someone you love dies.  Morn your loss and also acknowledge how blessed you were to have the person (or dog) in your life.  Be kind to yourself during this time.  But don’t let your sadness stop you from allowing new people into your life.

You will help lots of people in many different ways.  Some as simple as a smile, a kind word, a thank you, or a compliment.  Others will become your dear friends.  Of these friends, some will be for a season like a friend whose son was in kindergarten with my son.  I sent a note home to parents looking for someone to share rides to and from school.  She was interested.  She even started babysitting for my kids in the afternoons when I went to work.  She was a big support to me that year including Brian’s birthday party when I invited the entire class.  She moved away the following year.

Some friends will last a lifetime such as Laurra, Sharon, and Mary.  These friends always have my back at some dark times.  They are encouragers and a doers.  Other times we can just have fun.  Always we can talk about everything.

Others still will be spiritual guides such as pastors, Bible study leaders, writers, musicians, and singers.  Acknowledge their blessings to you.  Learn and share.  Examples are Pastor Mary, Pastor Rebecca, and Pastor Kim.  They were in my life at different times with wisdom and support.  They were excellent preachers and easy to talk to one on one when I needed it.

Teachers will come in many forms.  Continue your education both formal and informal.   You will doubt yourself a lot and have many struggles, but persevere.  An example is losing a job, but get an even better job.

There will be teachers/ guides for parenting.  At 18, I was sure I would never have children.  It was the cold war and the atom bomb could annihilate us all at any time.  Luckily, I changed my mind years later.  Mom love is not possible to describe until you are a mom.  When I looked in their eyes the first time, it is electric and eternal.  Yes, there is loss of sleep, diapers, and second guessing yourself a lot.  But it is so worth it.  They will love you back.  Somehow, we all survive the teen years.

Daycare End of Day Pick Up /daycare-end-of-day-pick-up/ Fri, 05 Jan 2018 20:31:52 +0000 Have you ever been running late trying to get to daycare before it closes? Talk about stress! Especially after an already long day at work.

Are there days when you get there and your child is busy playing and doesn’t want to leave? I have gone early to pick up my granddaughter and she runs to jump in my arms with a hug. A few times I’ve been early and she is not happy to miss a special snack or time to play outside.

You make it in time today. Breathing deeply to slow down your heartrate, you get the child(ren), load the backpack(s) with favorite toy, papers, any dirty clothes, and notices. Then get on jackets, mittens, hats, and shoes as needed while listening to events of the day.

Can the child have a treat on the way out the door? This can be an argument or not.

After wrestling the seatbelts you are one your way home for supper, baths, and bedtime. Then start again. You are a good parent and this is encouragement to continue. Give yourself a hug.

Do you have any tips to share or questions to ask? Please share at

You are Stronger than You Think /you-are-stronger-than-you-think/ Fri, 05 Jan 2018 20:27:35 +0000 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking.”

              From Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love.

When I was 25 years old, I was promoted to be the second woman foreman (shift supervisor) in a meat packing factory on second shift.  What a change from secretary in the employment office to factory!  I was scared, mostly cut off from my friends who still worked during the day, and given 3 days training before being left on my own.  I was responsible for three groups on two factory floors in canned meats. The old equipment broke down often and the union steward was uncooperative to the point of breaking the machine if he wanted a break.  I learned quickly which employees to trust for advice.  I survived!  In later years when tough situations came, I looked back at this to get courage for the current challenge.

My children were born when I was 27 and 29 while I working in this factory.  I was always sleep deprived.  I started back to college and graduated when my youngest was one.  My husband’s 12-year-old brothers came to live with us when their parents died.  They were behind in school so needed lots of extra help at home.  In later years when a situation seemed stressful, I would think I survived that so I can handle the current situation now.

I learned to be super organized.  I bought groceries every 2 or 3 weeks which meant freezing milk and bread.  I did two loads of laundry every day to keep up.  I kept a calendar on our refrigerator with all appointments and events.  This was in the dark ages before cell phones.

Get advice from experts.  This helped so much whether it was the workers who had been doing their jobs for years and thus understood the old equipment and company rules better than me or the nurse I called for advice about a baby issue.  I did not need to know everything.  I just needed to know who to ask.

You, too, can remember past situations that you survived or even did well when a current situation seems overwhelming.  The thing I wish I had done better was to reach out for help more because when I did, even strangers have helped.  This reduced the stress and the outcome was better.

About 10 years later I was given an opportunity to take a position as an Industrial Engineer where I worked.  Taking the job changed the direction of my career in a huge way that I could not know then.  My income, opportunities, and knowledge increased so much.  I was given that first opportunity because I had recently earned my MBA.

Remember that you may be more afraid of your power than your inadequacy.  You are smart, and you are intuitive.  Plus, you have an awareness of others.  Trust your gut instinct.  This is serious.  When you ignore your gut instinct, it will often go badly for you.

Later in my career a head hunter called me about the job.  When I went for the interview, I sensed it might not be good.  I could not tell what made me nervous so I accepted the job offer anyway.  The boss who hired me, retired two months later.  The new boss and I never clicked.  It got worse until finally I was fired.  The next job was so much better and my health improved.  To be continued…

How to keep a Journal for your Grandchild /how-to-keep-a-journal-for-your-grandchild/ Fri, 05 Jan 2018 20:25:44 +0000 Do you journal? Did you have a diary as a child?

I do and I did. My parents each had diaries when they were young. It was so great reading about their day to day life after they passed. There was nothing startling, just average stuff, but that made it so nice.

One of my grandmas wrote a journal of her life. Again so great for me to read. It got even better when I read the section about me and “what a fine girl she is” I cried. She wrote it when I was twelve. It felt like a blessing from her received decades later.

My mom died when I was about 40. She had written a letter to me several years earlier when she had been ill. It was such a blessing to read of her love for me and her advice plus special Bible verses. I keep it in my Bible. I always knew she loved me, but this letter is still a treasure.

When my two kids were in middle school, I started a journal for each of them.

I wrote in it about once a week. I wrote about family trips, what they did in school, their friends, how proud I was of them, and how much I loved them.

Sometimes I wrote about a fight we had and how sorry I was to have had it. This writing helped me when our relationship was bumpy. I kept writing my own journal, too.

I was not sure if I would give them the journals, but when they were 19 and 21, I gave them the journals. Then I started new journals, which I gave to them a few years ago.

My own journals kept me sane during some very insane years. This was the place I could pour out my problems and sorrows without burdening anyone else. It also helped me verbalize blessings in my life and work through decisions.

I don’t know if I will read them again, but for now I still have them. And I continue to journal every few days mostly lovely thoughts and gratitude.

As soon as I found out that I would be a grandma, I started a journal. It is almost full with writing about what we did and what she said.

Last year I got the idea to write a book using her words about daycare. There is a lot more to publishing a book than I realized.

Please share a story about your child or grandchild. Let’s keep the conversation going.