I Say A Little Prayer For You

Those of you who have been reading www.terrilabonte.com for a while know that I have reinvented my religious life in the past few years.  I won’t go into the whole story again, but, for those of you who want a refresher, you can review: http://www.terrilabonte.com/2017/01/a-crisis-of-church/ and http://www.terrilabonte.com/2018/01/grace-on-robinson-street/

I could say that my change in denominations started a revamping of my spiritual development, but I am sure there was more to it than that.   In retirement, I have had the time and energy to look at many of aspects of my life.  Also, traveling the end-of-life journey with my mother caused me to start examining how I could live my most satisfying, congruent life.  I’ve always been introspective about most things. My spirituality has certainly been no exception.  In the past few years, I think I’ve been maturing that spirituality.  I’ve thought and prayed about how to deepen my faith and how to express it.  I don’t know if I would say that I am now walking a different path exactly, but I am walking the path differently.

One aspect of walking differently has been the matter of Bible study, spiritual reading, and prayer.  In fact, a little over a year ago, I mentioned in my Alpha small group that I was interested in trying to improve my prayer life as a Lenten observance.  I wanted to be a better pray-er.  One of the other members of my discussion group kindly decided to help me in that endeavor by recommending me to be the chaplain for our parish ladies’ organization.  Practice makes perfect, I guess. 

Something I read said that prayer boils down to only four words to God.  These four words are please, thanks, sorry, and wow.  In other words, effective prayer petitions the Lord, thanks the Lord for all His blessings, asks forgiveness of God for our sins and weaknesses, and praises God simply for being God.  I find this idea comforting.  It helps, when I think of the enormity of God and the puniness of my little soul, to have a bit of a framework to know where to begin with prayer.

At any rate, I have been working on increasing the depth and breadth of my prayer.  It has been a rich, satisfying experience.  When I pray for people, I believe it helps them.  I know it helps me. 

I’ve decided that it is time that I shared some of that payer with you.  I pray for you all frequently, grateful for the blessings that you have brought to my life. Let’s pray together this week.

Precious Lord,

Please bless the readers of my blog.  Help me to create content that will entertain and provoke introspection.  Help my readers to know that You are in control and have a plan for each of us. Help me to write truth and to touch people’s lives. Help me encourage others as I have been encouraged by Your love and the love of Your people. Please provide us all with peace, hope, love, and joy.  Please protect my readers as they journey through life.  Guard their bodies, soothe their souls, and soar their spirits.  May they know Your never-ending, all powerful love.  May they find happiness, health, and satisfaction in their lives… every day, in every way.

Thank you for the immensity of Your blessings on us.  Thank you for the light and for the dark of life.   Thank you for the richness and wisdom You provide. Thank you for the joy only You can bring to our hearts.  Thank you for the path You have provided for me in my life and for the wonderful opportunity to write this blog.  Thank you for the wonderful people who read what I post.  Thank you for the encouraging support I receive from all my blog buddies and for the thoughtful comments readers provide.

I’m sorry for the times when I have been weak or scared and failed to use opportunities to spread Your love.  With Your help, I will strive to constantly get closer to You and lift people to Your light.

God, You are the King of the Universe.  You are in control of everything that happens. My job is simply to try to discern where you want me to go and follow You there.  I trust in Your power to guide me as I work my way through this life.  I know You bless even my weakest, poorest effort so that it contributes to the good of Your people and the glory of Your name.  I am humbled by Your majesty and the fact that You love me as if there were only one of me.

I pray in Jesus’ name….


God bless you all!  If anyone feels inclined to pray for me, I would be grateful.  If anyone has any specific prayer requests that they would like to share, perhaps we can multiply the power of prayer.  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

PS: Remember…. my new book, RANDOM (A)MUSINGS by Dorry Curran, launches next Tuesday (6/2/20) in paperback and kindle editions on Amazon!


I’ve never been very good at self-promotion.  It makes me distinctly uncomfortable to put myself forward and try to convince other people I am worthy of notice.  And yet, here I am, pitching a shameless plug out into left field of cyberspace!

Some of you will recall that I wrote a book a couple of years ago called Changing My Mind: Reinventing Myself In Retirement.  I published the book under my real name, Dorry Curran.  That entire process was an extremely meaningful and exciting experience for me.  While the book was never going to make any best seller lists, it did have some success in the market.  The real success, however, was in personal satisfaction.  I was so proud that I was able to accomplish this lifelong goal.

I thought that Changing My Mind was going to be a one-and-done. 

Guess what?  I have just completed my second book, Random (A)Musings by Dorry Curran!  Don’t tell me the quarantine cloud has no silver linings! Who says you can’t make lemonade out of lockdown?  The book is a wild ride through my brain, in which I muse about my bizarre personality, my aging body, my existence in the great state of Florida, my obsession with all things Disney, and other random topics. The book will be available on www.Amazon.com on Tuesday, 6/2/20.  Paperback ($11.99) and kindle ($4.99) editions will be available.  Please consider purchasing one or more of my books.  Okay… here is the absolutely most shameless moment of this blog post…. The book is awesome! I love it! It is super-fun. I think you will enjoy it.  I would also be grateful if you could share this information with all your friends and relations… your enemies, too… in the interest of creating some degree of buzz about Random (A)Musings. 

I want to be responsible and respectful in this time of social separation, so I won’t be having a face-to-face launch party for Random (A)Musings, as I did for my last book.  I may be able to arrange some sort of IRL celebration in the future, but it just doesn’t feel right to cram a bunch of people in my living room just yet.  HOWEVER…wait for it…. I am going to host a virtual launch party on www.zoom.com at 6:00pm EDT on Tuesday, 6/2/20.  I hope you will want to join me.  Please email me at terriretirement@gmail.com to let me know you want to come.  I will need an email address to send an invite giving you access to the party.

For my last launch party, I did incorporate a virtual component by using a conference call service.  A few family and friends who do not live locally joined through conference call.  Frankly, it surprised me (and disappointed me a little) that none of my blogosphere friends joined.  I am hoping that this time, with everyone getting more comfortable in the techno-virtual environment, some of you will zoom in with us.  I’d love to meet you! 

Happy Reading!

Okay… end of shameless self-promotion… I return you now to our regularly scheduled programming!

Terri/Dorry 😳

Will you read Random (A)Musings when it is released?  Why or why not?  You can be honest.  Feedback is a gift… or at least that is what “they” tell me.  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.comPLEASE REMEMBER TO EMAIL ME WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN INVITE YOU TO THE ZOOM PARTY!

The Reality Of Fake

A few weeks ago, I lamented the fate of my acrylic fingernails during the COVID-19 lockdown. When I wrote that I had been wearing the nails for over 30 years, something inside me blushed in embarrassment. How could I have been wearing fake fingernails for so long?  Time has been marching on over my lifetime. And it seems it has been marching past me with acrylic fingernails.

This epiphany started me thinking about what motivated me to pay someone to paint artificial material mixed with toxic chemicals on my hands every few weeks over the past 30 years. Arguably, the whole acrylic fingernail thing is a ridiculous notion. I have been embracing it for over half my life. How is this possible?

My journey towards three decades of acrylic nails started long before anyone ever even heard of acrylic nails.  I was a terrible nail-biter as a child. It started with thumb-sucking and escalated.  I could not seem to keep my fingers out of my mouth, no matter how hard I tried.  My parents didn’t make a big deal about it, but they tried to help me overcome the habit in every way they could.  They tried manicures.  They tried bribes.  They tried coating my fingers with various solutions designed to discourage me from putting my fingers in my mouth.  They put a rubber band on my wrist to snap when I caught myself biting my nails.  It was so bad that I often left myself with only nibs of nails.  Sometimes, I had to go to the doctor to be treated for infections because of the nail-biting. 

Most kids outgrow nail-biting.  I was not most kids.  As I grew older, I did lose the thumb-sucking habit, but was never able to control the nail-chewing urge.  I picked and broke and bit my nails well into adulthood.  My hands were always in shambles. I can’t count the number of times I tried to stop, but I always failed. 

Fast forward to 1989.  My ex-husband left me in 1988 and I was just starting to think about dating again.  This was long before internet dating sites (it was long before the internet, period). In those olden dates, the pre-cursor to match.com was the newspaper personal ads. I had no idea how to meet people. I think everyone I knew socially was married.  No one seemed to have any suitable gentleman friends with whom to set me up. I eventually met the first man I dated after my divorce through a personal ad. After a few phone conversations, we agreed to meet in person.

I was terrified. In retrospect, I probably had no business dating at that point.  I was still too broken from a bad marriage and divorce. Besides, I was almost 30 years old and had not been on a first date since I was 17.

The day we were to meet, my nervous system was in armed revolt.  To soothe my squirrely spirit, I went to the mall. Shopping is kind of my drug of choice when I need a little artificial serotonin.  As I wandered through the stores, every stress response in my brain pushed me to buy something.  I ended up buying some pretty underwear.  That didn’t really do the trick for me.  After all, I told myself, I had no intention of letting anyone see my underwear that evening so what difference did it make if it was new?  I kept wandering and looking for something I could buy.  I had already told my date what I was going to wear and, since that was the only way he would recognize me at the bar where we were meeting, changing that particular horse didn’t seem like a good idea.  As I walked past the beauty salon, I noticed a sign for acrylic nails.  That’s it, I thought, I can buy new nails!

Acrylic nails were just starting to become the rage at that time.  I didn’t know anyone who had them.  I just saw them as a quick and easy way to gain some confidence for the evening.  I knew that my date was likely going to be disappointed in my looks, so I thought that I could at least buy myself some pretty hands.  Honestly, if I’d known at the time that you had to come back every few weeks to have more acrylic applied to your fingers, I doubt I would have done it. 

I guess ignorance was a good thing in this case because I did like my new nails.  I guess I liked them a lot since I’ve been maintaining them ever since. 

My hands were nice.  They were way nicer than the guy I wanted to impress deserved, as it turned out. I dated him for about a year before realizing he was kind of a jerk and way more trouble than he was worth.  I broke up with him, but I did not break up with the acrylic fingernails.

Speaking of breaking up… or, rather… not breaking up… one of the benefits to the acrylics was durability. I can’t say that I completely stopped biting my nails when I got the acrylics.  However, the consequences of biting my nails were much more limited. They were so strong, I didn’t demolish them every time they got near my mouth. It was like there was more intervention time.  When I put my fingers to my mouth, I had enough time to realize what I was doing and remove them before I did any damage.                                                                                             

 All in all, once I had the acrylic nails, I couldn’t imagine not having them.  My hands, another shameful secret in my repoirte of unattractive qualities, were no longer a source of embarrassment.  I guess, overall, acrylic nails and I have had a decent partnership.  But 30 plus years?  That just doesn’t seem reasonable.  Still, I had every intention of starting over again once the salons reopen.   I figured, with the acrylic-related damage incurred by my natural nails and my uncontrollable nail-biting, I’d be lucky to have fingernails at all by the time we are released from lockdown. 

Surprisingly, though, my natural nails are doing fairly well after four weeks of freedom from acrylics. They are not in great shape and I’d love to have a manicure, but I don’t seem to be destroying them. The nail atrophy that I expected was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.  The nails are flimsy and rough but seem to be holding up against normal wear and tear and many, many hand-washings. Even more surprisingly, I don’t think I’m biting them.  I smooth the edges each day with a manicure block because they do seem to fray a bit, which also seems to help.

Maybe that the reality of fake is that I don’t need the fake after all!

What is the most fake thing about you?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com

Have a real day!

Terri/Dorry 😊

PS:  EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT! My latest book, Random (A)Musings will be released on Amazon.com on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.  Please look for it and consider buying a copy… or several dozen!  The book will be available in paperback and kindle editions.

Wild And Un-Woolly

Well, it has finally happened.  There was an alligator in my backyard.

Yes, after more than five years of living in Florida, we saw an alligator meandering around the green belt behind the houses on our street.  He was a reptile on a mission, although a slow-moving one.  Luckily, his mission seemed to be taking him in a direction away from us.

Let me back up and remind you of the little bit of heaven we call home.  When I bought my house in this quiet little age-restricted community, the realtor went into raptures about the beautiful location and natural view.  Truthfully, that location and view were big selling points for this particular house. I look out my sliding glass door and huge windows into a beautiful, peaceful greenbelt area.  It is a conservation zone.  Developers will not be constructing any new houses in that area.  It is quiet.  It is serene. 

What I didn’t realize until several years after I purchased the property is that the “greenbelt” is actually a wetland.  It was at least a year after I moved in that I realized there was WATER down the grassy, forested slope from us.  The epiphany that there was a body of water about 20 feet from my house dismayed me for a little while.  People say that, if there is a glass of water anywhere in the state of Florida, there will be an alligator trying to get into it. 

When my mother moved to Florida, she insisted that I find her a home that was not on the water because she did not want to share her property with the alligators.   I thought she was being a little unreasonable because we live in a place called LAKE County. There are over 1000 lakes in Lake County, which cover over 200 square miles of water.  Finding a place to live far away from the water is sort of geographically impossible. I did find her a place that didn’t back up directly on water, so that was a win in my book.  I didn’t take the alligator thing very seriously, though. All in all, my #1 strategy for living in Florida is to try not to think about alligators.

We had a guy do some work on the soffits in our house.  This was after the great snake chase ( http://www.terrilabonte.com/2016/07/the-great-snake-chase/) and I was kind of paranoid about wild things entering my home.  I was thinking about small wild things like snakes and squirrels. Obviously, an alligator could not get into my house through the soffits.  Or could it? The soffit guy mentioned that he heard a big bull alligator bellowing while he was on the ladder screening up our gaps.  I, for no reason other than abject denial, decided it must be bullfrogs he was hearing.  I validated this opinion based on Google, which told me that mating season for alligators was over, and on some random wildlife page that said an alligator sounds like a motorcycle starting.  The noise in the backyard did not sound like a motorcycle.  More like the foghorn on the Titanic.  Return to strategy #1 for living in Florida…. Try not to think about alligators. 

As I lived in Florida longer, I started to get a little more comfortable.  The only place I ever saw an alligator in the wild was on the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center, of all places.  It was becoming easier to employ strategy #1 for living in Florida.  Still, I had friends who kept insisting that alligators are commonplace in Florida communities.  They recounted their alligator sightings on golf courses and local ponds. One friend seems to spend a lot of her time in the passenger side of a car keeping her eyes peeled firmly on the surface of any body of water, fascinated by the prospect that she might see an alligator.  Sometimes, she does.  Me? Strategy #1 for living in Florida… Try not to think about alligators.

Once I got on Facebook, I saw photos of alligators wandering in my subdivision.  At first, I thought some of the folks who posted these pictures might be trying to pull my alligator-ignoring leg.  Then, there was a video of a whole batch of my neighbors herding a small alligator from one pond to another.  Apparently, he was too young to challenge the male alpha-alligator for breeding rights and too old to be tolerated as a juvenile by said alpha-alligator. Papa Gator apparently ran him out of the breeding pond. Junior was looking for new digs, aiding by my neighbors.   

Despite my strategy #1 for living in Florida.. Try not to think about alligators…. I think I always knew, deep down, that there were alligators out there.  Because I live on the wetlands (which looks suspiciously like an everglade environment to me), I really did believe that someday I would see an alligator in my backyard.  The only thing that really surprised me was that it took as long as it did.  Well, one more thing really surprised me.  This guy was huge!  I figured the day would come when I’d see an alligator, but I thought it would be one of those 3-5-foot models.  Oh no, this guy was super-sized.  He had to be at least eight feet long. 

Max was standing out in the Florida room, looking out our windows.  He called to me and asked if I could identify a large dense-looking dark patch of matter about 25 yards from our back door.  We thought it might be a fallen tree or large turtle (strategy #1 for living in Florida… try not to think about alligators.) I almost had him convinced it was a log.  Then, the log lifted its head, opened its mouth, and meandered a few feet up the slope towards the house next to us.  Ghastly Gussie the Gator was on the move.  We watched, pretty aghast ourselves, as he ambulated a few feet north, stopped to rest for a few moments, then progressed a few more feet before pausing again.  He continued in this manner for some time.

I called the phone number Google told me to call for “nuisance” alligators.  I wasn’t sure Ghastly Gussie was really a nuisance, to be fair.  Sure, I saw him as being in my backyard.  I’m certain the alligator thought I was in his backyard.  He wasn’t really threatening anyone, although I was certainly relieved that he was “non-threatening” further away from me as time passed.  My Google research advised me that the alligator wranglers would likely not “relocate” Ghastly Gussie.  At least, they wouldn’t relocate him alive.  Apparently, alligators are very territorial and will keep returning to “their” place repeatedly, despite human attempts to change their venues.  Still, Gussie was a pretty big guy and I thought, given that he seemed to be getting closer to peoples’ back doors as he headed north along the water line, there might be some danger to people and pets.  Anyway, when I finally called the alligator wranglers to get their advice, I only reached voice mail.  The voice mail gave me another phone number to call if there was an immediate threat.  The message listed the criteria for declaring an alligator an immediate threat.  Some of the criteria were finding an alligator in your garage, finding an alligator under your car, and finding an alligator attached to your leg.  None of the criteria for immediate threat applied, so I left a message.  I also posted a picture and a warning on our neighborhood Facebook page so people could exercise a little extraordinary care.

Eventually, Gussie disappeared from my view.  I started trying to re-engage with my strategy #1 for living in Florida… Try not to think about alligators.  It was a little harder to force my brain into that frame than usual.  However, the experience wasn’t all bad.  At least Ghastly Gussie practiced proper social distancing!

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in your backyard?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have a wild and un-woolly day! But stay safe!

Terri/Dorry 😊