Shout-Out to Fellow Travelers and Friends We Made in Ireland this Weekend (18 Sept-21 Sept)

How do you unplug? We travel. Sometimes it’s a planned and plotted out vacation, sometimes it’s spur of the moment. Last Tuesday, my husband who is enamored to the point of obsession with his roots, found great last minute airfare and hotel to Ireland. A police captain on the force for 28 years and caregiver to many, Sean finds his happy place on the Emerald Isle. Who am I to stand in his way? Like the lyrics to Eddie Money’s “(I’ve got) Two Tickets to Paradise, Pack your bags we’ll leave tonight!” we stuffed two carry-ons and left on Thursday 18 Sept spending a long-weekend in Dublin returning Tuesday, 22 Sept. Our main purpose was to attend the album launch of our friend Lughaidh “Louie” O Broin’s wife and her band The Evolution Project‘s new album, Outta the Blue at the hip Odessa in Temple Bar. (Read more about how we met Louie in “Moriartys in an Irish Bar Fight in 2012!”)
Besides cheering on these up and coming musical stars, we ended up meeting a slew of cool folks along the way. We want to shout out to those we met (and gave our card to) as we dashed through Dublin. Hello to fellow USA travelers Kathy and Rod from Seattle! Have a great next leg of your trip to South Africa! So good to meet you, Carrie and Paul from Yorkshire, England! What insightful conversation in Cassidy’s over our game of Scrabble! To John at the Abbey St. Methodist Church, we thank you for the tour and warm welcome. We were blessed to worship with your congregation representing 25 different nationalities. Sláinte, Larry and Evelyn of western Ireland! So great to chat at the album launch! Bike safe, Larry and all the best on your Master’s Evelyn! Stephen, Gary at the Padriag Pearse Pub, what good craic! We came in “just fer a pint!” but drank in so much more of Dublin’s life, vibe and culture! Hope all is well on the homefront, Stephen! Gary, did all the letters get delivered to the right addresses? LOL! Hats off to Jimmy at our last pub—Sean’s Cuban and bit o’ Jameson’s on the rocks. Sean and I hope to cross paths with each of you again, or at least keep in touch via this blog and/or our Facebook pages. https://www.facebook.com/sean.moriarty.505?fref=ts, https://www.facebook.com/tanja.moriarty.
“May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.”

Debit Card Debacle: Charged Over $300 on My Neighbor’s Plastic!

My long-time neighbor and friend Jane and I had just finished a golf lesson and headed to the nearby 19th hole for a pint. We paid our respective bills each sliding the waitress our same-bank debit cards. The next day, I handed the debit card to our garage guy to pay a $300 repair bill on our truck. Card slides, I sign, I stick in wallet. Next I met a niece and paid plastic for my $3.29 frozen coffee. Card slides, no pin/no sign, I stick in wallet.
Later that afternoon on a top secret beer run for my husband (he had just been alerted in an exclusive email that a select brand that had just come in at a local beer cave), I pulled out the card to make that purchase. Card slides, I put in pin—DENIED! The familiar lady behind the counter politely said, “Oops, it says the pin number doesn’t match.”
“Huh?” I went over four digits in my head. “It’s my card…” Then I looked at the slightly scratched name on the rejected card. Jane ______! Not Tanja!
“@#$!” Then out loud, “OMG! It’s my friend’s card!” Then, I when it dawned on me that I had just paid the $300 truck repair bill on HER CARD, I really let out an exasperated OMG!
The counter woman sort of laughed. I gained enough of my senses to write a check for the coveted, designer beer (good wifey), but I lost it in the car! What if my running Jane’s card to the tune of $300 plus dollars set off a chain of bounced withdrawals on her end? I knew there’d be a $29 penalty on each botched transaction! Ca-ching! Ca-ching! Ca-ching!
Stressed and more than a little embarrassed, I dialed Jane. She took the news with an initial “OMG!” Then her usual calm self, “It should be alright, I have enough in there.”
“Oh, Jane, I am so sorry! I will go straight to the bank and pull out the $310 and drive it right over to you!”
“Or you can just write me a check and I will cash it tomorrow,” she said.
I called my husband who was working an overtime shift. He just laughed at first, but then,”Did you get the beer?” Man!
I drove down the street to the now-closed bank and actually walked half way up the sidewalk to the ATM before I realized, I can’t pull the money out! I don’t have MY ATM card, Jane has it!
By the end of the day, we were able to reimburse Jane the truck repair and coffee in cold, hard cash. She and her husband were very good natured about it. Lesson learned. Check to make sure YOUR name is on YOUR card before running it all over the place! Do you have a similar story?
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The Deadly Consequences of Unforgiveness – Health & Science – CBN News – Christian News 24-7 – CBN.com

I just had to share this with you! Heard highlights of this on the radio (K-love.com) on the way to work. There’s actual medical evidence that we are made sick by holding grudges and refusing to forgive! It is so important to let it go when we are wronged for the sake of our own mental, spiritual and physical health! It’s not easy, but I have personally experienced the benefits made possible by giving it over and over and over again to God. How about you?

The Deadly Consequences of Unforgiveness – Health & Science – CBN News – Christian News 24-7 – CBN.com.

Thankful on Three Year Anniversary of Husband Surviving Broken Neck

Today, (June 10th) I humbly and gratefully observe the three year anniversary of our horrific motorcycle accident where my husband Sean broke his neck in five places.  I firmly believe God sent immediate help and spared us from long-term injury, paralysis and even death! Here are two previous posts explaining what happened and why I say Thank You, God!  God sent help Man’s Craving for a Beer Saved My Husband’s Life

Click here to hear Sean’s theme song by Chumbawamba

Son’s Request Plays Within An Hour On The Radio: What’s Your Latest Godincidence?

Chris, The Thinker, with Belle.
Chris, The Thinker, with Belle.

Another “Godincidence” (a.k.a. something unexplainable that seems to be divinely directed, not mere coincidence) happened recently. Both of our children— Erin, 24 and Chris, 21 had come home for Easter weekend. As we were finishing breakfast, I was talking up the praise band that we’d be seeing at the service that morning. Chris, rather out of the blue said, “If I hear God of Wonders today, then I will believe there is a God.”

I sipped my coffee and shot up a quick and silent prayer, “Please let him hear that song today.” Chris and I have a little history with the song God of Wonders by Marc Byrd and Steve Hindalong. It seems that whenever he and I would have a discussion about the existence of God, faith, or organized religion, Chris would spoof-sing in a hippy sort of way some of the lyrics, “God of Wonders beyond our Galaxy, You are holy, holy.” He had heard this now-19-year-old song during his childhood when he and Erin attended a vacation bible school at an evangelical church in our area.

Though, or maybe it’s because he had received the same rudimentary Sunday school education I did—learning the basic tenets of the Christian faith and how to find the old and new testaments of a Bible–his current take on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit was colored with age-appropriate, healthy skepticism.

“It’s nice that you and Dad are into it, but I just don’t know about it for me.”

We headed to Easter service in separate vehicles. Chris rode in Sean’s car and Erin rode with me. While driving, I had 106.9 FM, K-LOVE on my radio. Granted it is a Christian radio station, but in my experience listening to it for almost a year, I’ve only ever heard them play current Christian artists and new songs. All of a sudden, God of Wonders started playing. “Erin!” I screamed, “The song! The song! Call your brother right now! Tell him to turn on 106.9 on Dad’s radio!”

Erin looked stunned as she dialed Chris on her cell. “Mom, don’t cry, you’re gonna make me cry!” Then to her brother, “Mom says to turn on 106.9 right now!”

Chris was on speaker, “I bet I know what’s going to be playing,” he said.
“I can’t believe it, Chris! I’ve never heard this song is played on this station! You asked for it, Bud!”

Please share your latest “Godincidence.”

Sometimes, All I Need is My DQ: What is it that You Need?

As a rule, I am not a brand maven preferring names like Campbell’s over store brand labels for soups, or Birds Eye over Stop & Shop brand for string beans. I am, however, an absolute snob when it comes to soft serve chocolate-dipped-in-chocolate cones. There is positively NO substitute for Dairy Queen. I should know. I had my fill working at a DQ in my late teens and have sampled hundreds of poor substitutes elsewhere in my life ever since. Though the menu of treats at today’s DQ has ballooned since the early 80s, I find myself going back to my tried and true treat.

There is just no better food (except perhaps peanut M&Ms) than a DQ chocolate-dipped-in-chocolate. It’s perfect hard shell is unmatched in taste, texture, and chippity-crunch. I may be giving away a trade secret, but if memory serves, there is just a hint of wax—yes, wax in the dip. I’ve read the back of the can and though may have been a little startled at first, it never kept me away from my devotion to DQ dip.

Since I’ve not found its equal, I won’t bother make any comparison with far trailing runners up here. Beneath the signature DQ curl, which only true DQ employees can make because of specific, franchise ingredients and top-secret training, is the softest, perfectly blended cool chocolaty, creamy sweetness. So what if it’s not actually ice cream? Who cares if it comes from a mysterious plastic bag and flows through a Wonka-esque machine with a huge shaft thingy, gears and oh-rings? Whatever is in it and however it gets from liquid to lusciousness in my wafer cone is absolutely no-never-mind to me.

I admit I can get a little moony when I settle in to nibbling deftly to avoid dripping and to make sure I get every lick. Cool, silky smoothness floods my every taste bud with unrelenting creamy chocolate, stealing my breath away. My eyes glaze over in pure ecstasy and I’ve been known to coo softly.

On occasion, a line from The Hollie’s song overtakes me,  “Sometimes, I all I need is the air that I breathe…and my DQ.”

What’s your treat you just can’t do without?

Click on this for some Hollies:

50 Things I’ve Come To Know in 50 Years

Fifty things I know as I turn fifty today, 2/25/15:

1. I am loved

2. I believe in a merciful God

3. I feel the power and presence of Jesus in my daily walk

4. I have come a long, long way in my healing

5. I am so much more centered than in my 30s and 40s

6. I have been forgiven

7. I have forgiven

8. I still need to forgive

9. I know the answer is always “no” if you don’t ask

10. I have confidence to speak up and am learning when it is better to just keep quiet

11. I have learned not to waste my time with negative people

12.  I need to give negative people and situations over to God to protect myself… from myself

13. I am still deeply in love with the man I met and married

14. I am blessed to have been able to balance work and spend so much time with my children as they were growing up

15. I am probably always going to be my current size and weight and have embraced it

16. Walking is my best defense to maintain #15

17. Dairy Queen chocolate dipped in chocolate cones are the best treat on Earth

18. One of the best places in the Universe is in the arms of my husband

19. Cuddling on the couch often beats going out

20. Laughing my head off with good friends is one of my very favorite pastimes and something I need to do so much more of

21. Encouraging people brings me joy

22. Sometimes I just have to write (ugly journaling) or I will lose my mind

23. Creative writing is like free-falling and eating a chocolate dipped in chocolate

24. It is important to celebrate my heritage, all sides

25. It is important to honor friends and relatives—living and passed

26. Having reunions—especially with live music—is restorative on many levels

27. I know that I am letting go more, prioritizing what or who is important

28. Moderation in everything makes everything more enjoyable

29. I don’t need to drink to have a blast

30. I never need to over-drink ever again

31. Sipping from a small glass of irish whiskey on the rocks that we brought home from Ireland is exquisite

32. I am supported by good women friends

33. I have been blessed with particular women prayer warriors who hold me up, and I them

34. I love to pray for people

35. I rejoice in answered prayers or blatant or subtle evidence of God’s hand in  situations

36. I love God as my Heavenly parent and finally feel I can climb on His lap and have him stroke my hair

37. I am excited for today

38. I am excited for my future

39. I am grateful

40. I know it is important to carve out trips for my husband and I to take now

41. I am humbled that America is not the center of the Universe

42. I love finding and playing records and jamming on my air guitar

43. It is important to keep learning

44. It is important to take up a new sport or hobby (golf!)

45. I want to write to raise people up, show love, praise God

46. I love my humble, 70s raised ranch

47. I like my funky green Fiesta that gets 40 MPG

48. I love making chocolate chip cookies for people

49. I like where I am at age 50

50. I am not afraid

Enjoy “Wild Wild Life” by The Talking Heads  

“I’m wearin’ Fur pyjamas

I ride a Hot Potata’
It’s tickling my fancy…

“Buddy Jesus” Meme Gets Personal

Just for fun this weekend, I searched my name in meme using Google Image and my oddly spelled T-A-N-J-A. I thought “Tanja with a “J” would never come up. Lo, I found this among other “Tanja” memes, a good number in German. At first glance I thought this rather duded-out rendition of Jesus could be a bit irreverent, but I have come to know that divine messages are delivered in all shapes and forms.

My husband who is far hipper on-line than me is well-versed in memes and explained that this is the “Buddy Jesus” meme. I realize that someone  generated this meme for another “Tanja” somewhere out there, but since we share the same spelling, I hope she won’t mind if I claim this meme as a personalized message for me today.  It rather reflects on my current faith journey status: I am seeing Jesus not only my Savior, but as “my bud” who gets my back as a Heavenly bro. God uses the world wide web as well as burning bushes to get our attention. Can a I get a witness?

Divine Depositor Revealed: Culprit Close to Heart and Home

“I have something kind of awkward to tell you,” our 23-year-old daughter Erin said on speaker phone from Vermont last week. My husband Sean and I held our breath. In a nano-second, my maternal mental Rolodex spun with at least seven or eight “awkward” scenarios she might break to us. Thankfully she came right to the point. “It was me who wrote on that twenty-dollar bill.”

Relieved it wasn’t something grave, I was just flabbergasted. “It was you? Really? Why?” I had tears in my eyes and a smile a mile wide that she couldn’t see.

“When did you do it?”

A few years ago, she said, but she had forgotten that she had done it at all until she was reminded by my previous post.

Back in 2011, sometime between her junior-year college breaks Erin had gone to our former church with us and was intrigued by this “reverse offering” idea. I recall now that it was a project loosely based on the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-30. A woman challenged parishioners to take a sum of money and to go out and invest it so it might yield more money for the church. I remember one woman used her “talents” to buy beads and wire and then made and sold jewelry with the proceeds going to the church.

From what I gather, Erin’s take on this project was to use her own (hard-earned) $20 from her part-time job and sort of invest it in us, her parents! “You and Dad are always doing so much and model devotion, love and perseverance. I just wanted to give this to you.” She explained that the message she wrote back then just flowed and “fit perfectly around the bill.”

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When I discovered this money popping out of my bible bag last week, I hadn’t recognize her handwriting.  I think I was thrown off because she had written, “Dear Sean and Tan,” and not, “Dear Dad and Mom.” Instead I’d asked a few female friends if they had made this divine deposit. Erin never crossed my mind.

There is only one other time in her life when Erin referred to me as “Tan” and not “mom.” When she was about 2 1/2 I had asked her to pick up her toys or something and she just gave me a look and said, “I don’t think so, Tan.” Needless to say I couldn’t keep a straight face and all parental resolve went out the window.

“I hope you aren’t disappointed,” Erin said.

“Why would I be? Because it was you or that you wrote on money?” I joked. I wasn’t even a little disappointed that the mystery was solved.  I was delighted, not disappointed. I explained to her a few reasons why:

First, finding this twenty-dollar bill with the message from “The Holy Spirit” brought me a profound sense of mystery and excitement (just like the still anonymous Valentine’s card from 2013). Who would take the time and thought to write such a lovely, spirit-filled message and give this generous gift of $20? I felt blessed to have such a grand list of possible friends/suspects to wonder about!

Then, there was the reminder of how God still speaks to us and gives us signs and words of encouragement especially at times in our lives when we feel burdened and weary.

Plus, posting about this mystery stimulated many readers to think and share about mysteries in their own lives! It started conversations about miracles, mercies and unexplained circumstances.

I told Erin that my heart was full of joy because I believe that the Holy Spirit in her moved her to write that encouraging message on that $20 three-plus years ago. That it was meant to be found now as words of encouragement to keep us on track. Think about it, three years ago Erin was a “broke college kid”and twenty bucks was no small amount for her to part with!

All in all, I feel so blessed that I have a daughter (and son) who even when they naturally and appropriately question the basics of what they’ve learned in Sunday School (who hasn’t or doesn’t?), that they are, in my heart and understanding living their lives guided consciously or unknowingly by the Holy Spirit. Finding this message, nearly four years after it was planted in my often-used Bible bag was yet another gift of God’s good and perfect timing. Even though it was written in my own daughter’s hand a few years ago, I feel the Holy Spirit was all over it then…and now!

Have You Any Sweet (still unsolved) Mysteries of Life?

Have you any unsolved mysteries in your life? I have two that I may never solve but they are happy ones, none-the-less. The first one I am thinking about is coming up on its two-year “unsolved” anniversary. In 2013 I received a homemade lace Valentine card that says, “I love you” in fancy, swirly script. The envelope’s cancelled stamp only says it’s from Southern Connecticut. My address is handwritten on a white label, in pen. “Tanja” is spelled correctly, but Moriarty has an extra “i” in it. I called around back then but to this day I still have no idea who sent this to me!

Today, I stumbled upon a second mystery. I ‘ve been on a tear going through old files, notebooks and boxes lately, putting decades of my writing into some sort of order. Am I merely stalling to work on current writing projects?

Anyway, I reached for my Bible bag thinking I had stored a eulogy or two I’d composed for friends and loved ones over the years and wanted to put them in a three-ringed binder.

As I started picking through the side pockets of the pouch, a twenty-dollar bill popped out! I jumped in that surreal moment when one finds unexpected money. A $20 no less, in my Bible bag?

It was folded in quarters and as I unfurled the bill, I noticed someone had written a message around the edges on the back. It says, “Dear Sean and Tan, Please accept this reverse offering as a token of my appreciation of your devotion, love and perseverance. Love, The Holy Spirit.”

Say what? Love from whom? It’s in what appears as feminine handwriting. Does the Holy Spirit have girly penmanship?

I immediately thought,” I can’t spend this! It has our names on it and a personal message from God!” Then I thought, “Who would leave me this?’

I don’t know how long this mystical money has been in my bag. I did attend a study group this fall and on occasion brought the bag with me. Yet, I can’t imagine when or how one of them would have made the divine deposit while I was right by it.

I suspected a friend of mine who’d likely do something like this. I had been in a study with her for months back in 2013. She claims it wasn’t she.

If it wasn’t CB, would the generous person please reveal him or herself so I can take you out for some, err, Heavenly coffee? But, if it was the Holy Ghost, please approach me gently and don’t freak me out!

Please share when you’ve received something mysterious or from an anonymous source.