Lethologica and Me: Why Jeopardy is a Lost Cause

I don't know if you've ever watched an episode of Jeopardy.

If you haven't, well... you're missing out on intelligent people answering trivia in the form of a question. We're talking walking brains who can give you an answer about any random thing on almost any random subject.

If you have, then you know what I mean when I say Jeopardy is a show unlike most.

Lethologica meaning
Jeopardy is one of my husband's favorite shows. We've been watching it together for years. Decades even. 

I think he loves it because it's a challenge. But the other reason he loves it is because he knows how to play it.

i.e. He's a genius.

Me, I am a literal imbecile who can barely remember the day's events let alone random trivia that I've accumulated in my brain over the years.

So for me to watch this show, it equals amusing frustration.

That above comment about accumulated trivia implies I've actually accumulated said knowledge. And while I'd like to believe I do have something filling in the lobes of my brain, I'm not so certain they like to show themselves.

They love playing hide and seek with me. Especially when I need their assistance.

Here's what I mean. When my husband watches Jeopardy, he responds with the (correct) answer probably 90% of the time.

When I watch Jeopardy, I answer with phrases like "It's that guy; it's that place; it's that thing!" 

That's not an exaggeration. I'm seriously not kidding. I know what I want to say, but cannot think of the word.

My recall is hideous. I know the stuff; I know the answer (albeit at a 10% accuracy rate) but I cannot - for the life of me - recall it in the appropriate amount of time.

And for the record, the appropriate amount of time is about five seconds before you're allowed to ring in with the answer.

After a couple decades of watching Jeopardy - my recall and right answers are still at a miserable 10% - but my husband has increased his useless trivia talent and now has even more correct answers to combat our television set with. 

Some folks are born with high IQs, others are great at recalling useless information, and some people just know a lot about a lot of things.

They're the folks on Jeopardy.

They're the people like my husband.

But, with my aging brain, I honestly find myself wanting to laugh at the entire purpose of Jeopardy.

Who can remember all of that useless stuff?

And why?

So what's a brain like mine supposed to do? I just sit there and try to absorb every answer and question and try not to groan at my husband's continually perfect answers.

(What is, "I married a genius, Ken.")

Some people aren't born with the highest IQ, others aren't so great at recalling useless information, and some people know a little about a few things.

They're the more "common brain" folks who will never ever get to be on Jeopardy.

They're the people like myself.

(What is, "A lethologica.")

When I saw the definition of what a lethologica was, it was like I had found the perfect description for myself: The inability to remember a particular word or name.

That is me. I have lethological tendencies. 

I have the recall of a sloth. 

The info is in the brain but there's a very slow filing system for recall.

When you live with a smart person, you learn to accept the fact that you'll never be like them. I'll never find my answers like he does; I'll never solve riddles or puzzles the way he can. And it's something one can choose to stay mad at. Or not. 

I haven't. I've accepted his and my brain's realities eons ago. He's a smarty pants.

I'm not.

And instead of cringing at his smartness, I've learned to stay mesmerized by his brain and use it to my advantage. Most often, if I'm trying to remember a name or place of something at any given moment, all I have to do is give a few very vague descriptions, and by golly, he knows exactly what I'm talking about.

That really is genius. 

So, all that to say: If you want to feel like a fool, watch Jeopardy. 

If you want to feel a greater fool, marry a genius.

But remember this: God gave us all different brains. Some retain better, some understand better, and some are better in other areas of the brain, like, empathy, and creativity.

I celebrate his brain with wonder. And instead, just wonder about mine.

I don't know if I'll even remember the word lethologica if this came in the form of a jeopardy answer despite me writing an entire post about it.

Jeopardy is a lost cause for me.

And my saving grace is I'm just smart enough to recognize it.

Dare to Dream and Then Do Something About it

I've written on and off for Guideposts for the last ten years. I've been in many of their compilation books and it's a joy to write for them.

But getting into their devotional books has been something of an unattainable goal... until a couple of years ago. I've always wanted to be a part of their devotional writing team, but I couldn't find a way in. It's on the competitive side.

Guidepost's Books
But, I'd finally had enough of wishing for something and decided to do something.

I went out on a ledge and did what a writer is not supposed to do... I contacted an editor to audition to be a part of one of their devotionals after the deadline had passed, after the editor no longer worked in that department, and a year after the "call for submissions" went out.

It was risky. 

It meant I could get a nasty email in reply, or worse, no reply at all. 

That's not what happened though. The editor allowed me to submit for the following year's devotional. 

And I was rejected.

As is the work life of a writer, rejection is a part of the business. But, since I was on an edgy roll, since I knew now it couldn't hurt to take yet one more step further into the unknown, I contacted the editor a year later who had replaced the former editor (there are a lot of changes in the book world, all the time, constantly) and asked to audition. Again.

She let me, and this time, the editor accepted my work.

Two years later, this devotional is finally out and I just received my author copies two days ago.

I'm happy to report that dreams do come true... they just don't come true sitting around waiting for them. I had to make them happen.

I'm also writing for their 2026 devotion and hopefully for the foreseeable future.  

This beautiful 365-day devotional book is called All God's Creatures; Daily Devotions for Animal Lovers. Animal lovers? Hello, this is 100% me and so many other people too.

If I could, I think I would write about dogs in every single devotion. My love for dogs is a tad over the top. And I don't care. But, it might hurt the birds, deer, squirrels, and owl's feelings if I don't write about them too.

Which is why I'm talking about this book. 

My Owlie, my resident owl, is in this devotional book. I wrote about finding him just like I wrote in my previous post.

Text in a book

I'm so proud of Owlie. Now, the whole world can read about him.

The book is available on Guidepost's website and should be available via Amazon soon.

I have plans to write for their other devotional books if they'll let me. I'm currently banging down that door.

For months, editorial personnel shifts have prevented me from contacting any editors about that. But, I won't give up. 

Here's what I've learned through this herculean task of trying to get published where I want to get published: If I really want to accomplish something, sometimes I have to take an indirect route. But the point is I TAKE the route regardless of how difficult and uncomfortable it is.

Dreams come true. They especially come true if you take the opportunity to do something about it.

As Mark Twain once said, "The secret of getting ahead is getting started."

If you're waiting on a dream, now's the time to get started; now's the time to do something about it.

Keep at it, and get creative, and you will find a way to come through the other side.

Our Resident Owl

We have an owl outside our bedroom window.

It began when my husband set out to remove the old cable dish and box from our roof two years ago that no longer served our television purposes.

Cable dishes - large or small - are not exactly the most attractive thing to look at. They look like a UFO attached to the home. After all, this dish transmits to and from space, with a saucer-looking shape. I mean, that's an Unidentified Ariel Phenomena (UAP) if I've ever seen any. 

Don't get me started on Skinwalker Ranch. If you've watched this show, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you don't, well... you might want to (if you're into UAPs and all that.) 

We innocently started watching this show a few months ago, binged all the episodes in a few weeks (like 6 seasons) and they got us... hook, line, and sinker. 

The show is hokey; it's absurd; and comical. There may be a little bit of phenomena happening, but probably not to the degree they're implying. But, now we're hooked. We can't not watch the show. 

I suppose it happens to the best of us...

Regardless, my husband set out to remove the UFO from our roof one day and as he got closer to the dish and paraphernalia that went with it, he noticed two large eyes looking at him.

Actually, the eyes weren't that large. Our resident screech owl is small, maybe about 8 inches tall, and weighs half a pound. But his eyes look impressive. One look from him, and you know he's zooming in on our face just like we zoom in on a photo from our phones.

The owl was tucked inside the box (that went with the dish), wondering why we were disturbing his sleep. "Um..." says my husband diplomatically, "I don't think I'm removing the dish or box today. If ever."

I stopped raking leaves and looked toward his direction, him on a ladder looking into the UFO. "What are you talking about?"

"We have an owl. An owl is living in the cable dish box thingy."

Sure enough, this sweet little guy took up residency in the shaded, shielded, part of the roof that had a bathroom, a living room and wouldn't you guess it, cable TV. From his perch, he has the best view of the entire yard. A room with a view.

We left him alone, my husband backed down the ladder, and he has his space all to himself now.

I ingeniously named our owl "Owlie." And for two years, he's been a fixture in our old cable dish and box. 

He killed all our rats, a feat worthy of his little stature. As soon as he did that, I viewed Owlie as a God-send. 

We were having a rat issue. The rats were outsmarting us, blindly ignoring the traps we'd laid out for them (the nerve). But Owlie swooped in (literally) and took care of them. We haven't had a problem since.

 A few months out of the year, we think he heads off to find the female persuasion, live with her, and make little Owlies. That's fine. Nature has to do its thing. But, I must admit, when he's not around, I miss him. I feel like our backyard, if it's not being watched, needs to be watched!

Just last week, after being gone from us for four months, Owlie returned. 

I was so excited you'd think I had just seen a real UAP. Owlie was back, ready to return to his patrol of our yard, and I couldn't think of a better way to start the summer. 

When it comes to living a full life, it's "slow living" things like this that make life wonderful. Nature meeting nurture: Owlie meeting our UFO ...and choosing it.

While our cable dish still hangs uselessly from our roof, looking like a UFO, we have an owl who wants it for himself. And as far as I'm concerned, that's fine by me.

Owlie will always be welcome in his little corner of our home.

My Gram

A photo of a couple from the 1940s
My grandmother Lulubelle and grandfather Ralph
Just today, I came across photos of my grandmother and grandfather (my dad’s parents) and it made me stop what I was doing (canvasing my boys' rooms for errant laundry) and sit down (on the floor), forgetting the world around me. 

The photos were probably from the 1940s. You’d think as a vintage clothing seller, I would be able to tell instantly what year it was, but I wasn’t sure. There was no date on the photos, nor the location, but if I had to guess, I’d say the photo was taken in the mid ‘40s

My grandmother was a beauty and I miss her. Seeing her instantly made me think about the first time she met my firstborn. I wasn’t sure if she knew she was holding her first great-grandson. But I wanted to believe that she did.

“Look,” I said, “He loves being with you, Gram.” 

My son was only a few months old, and he was the first great-grandchild of the family. The two of them meeting was a momentous occasion.

She stroked my son’s soft skin, comforting him with the occasional “Oh,” as he whimpered, while she held him in her lap. Gram seemed completely normal; as if she could say to me, “He’s just beautiful, honey.”

But she said nothing because she couldn’t.

Gram loved caring for anyone who needed it. Serving was her gift. But after the stroke, she wasn’t the same. I’m sure it was torture not being able to hold and kiss my baby the way she could’ve done it just a year ago when the ravages of a stroke hadn’t yet happened.

I wondered if she despised everything that came with the change. Did she yearn to tell us to stop fussing over her? Because overnight, things were suddenly all so different. Nothing was the same anymore. Not for us.

And definitely not for her.

She couldn’t move one entire side of her body, she couldn’t form words anymore, and she was no longer the grandma I had grown up with. And yet, she looked the same. I could see that she was the same strong woman I’d always known.

I wondered what she thought about on the days we didn’t see her. Was she lonely?

The nursing home was incessantly busy but I wondered if the constant noise bothered her. Did she ever want to turn off her neighbor’s television? It was loud enough for neighbors three doors down to hear.

Gram had a window to look through, but I wondered if it was enough to assuage her gardening longings. The flowering tree was beautiful and I hoped it sufficed now that she no longer had her yard to tend to. But, did it only serve to remind her how much she was missing in the world she once traversed?

I’m sure she had to think about her old home; the one with the garden she and Grandpa tended to for nearly twenty years. She had to dream about picking the zucchini, tomatoes, squash, and beans. Every summer the harvest was full and overflowing. She loved her garden. But she loved giving it away even more. 

My sisters and I would help her pick cherries from her cherry tree, water her plants, and feed her cat even when she didn’t need our assistance. She and grandpa let us "help" when surely, they had it all under control.

I wondered if she remembered all the breakfasts she cooked for us grandkids. The days we’d spend at her house playing hide and seek, pretend store, and board games. 

And what about us playing her marimba, the organ, the piano - all the instruments she and Grandpa had in their home? Could she still hear our disjointed melodies?

In all honesty, that was probably something she didn’t want to think about. The cacophony was intense.

I wondered if she thought about us helping her set the table for meals and watching her cook? Did she think about her son and daughter? The old days of raising them in Iowa?

She and Grandpa lived a slow life back when it wasn't a thing to aspire to. It was all they knew. And their slow living not only made them happy but it made everyone else around them happy.

Maybe that's why I desire the slow-living lifestyle so much. It takes me back to my grandparents... as if I'm living an extension of what they used to be and do.

I wondered what she would say if the stroke hadn’t taken her voice or where she would go if the stroke hadn’t atrophied her legs and arms. Did she think about her old days as a missionary, going by boat or plane worldwide and embarking on trips to Liberia or Indonesia? 

Though she must have had a lot of memories floating in and out of her mind, the way we floated in and out of her assisted-care room, I wished she could have known that I think of her now more than ever before.

My oldest son will never recall her. Only the things I tell him about her. My second son never had the chance to meet her. 

But it doesn’t matter. I have stories of her love locked in my heart; I have memories of her care etched in my soul. And the prayers she prayed for me resound strongly with the peace present in my life today. 

Gram lived a life separated from herself; one that was more in tune with painting the interior of her church -- when she was seventy-five years old -- than getting her hair done or going out to lunch. Her heart was dedicated to me as a granddaughter, and all of her family. It was also completely devoted to God.

I don’t know if Gram cares about any of that anymore. Being in the presence of God sort of puts things into a different perspective.

But her legacy surrounds me. The blessings she bestowed on all of us as the family matriarch were unprecedented and something I can only hope to aspire to when I become a grandmother one day.  

Thank you, Gram. For all of it.

Live Simply

I just received this beautiful cross-stitch from my friend for my birthday. She made it for me! And it sums up my life goal perfectly: Live simply.

Living a simple life is something I’ve had to work for. While I wish it came easy, choosing the simple life requires cutting things that take away from my goal of living a simple life.

A cross stitch of a vintage truckOver the last seven years, I’ve slowly transformed my hectic, consumeristic, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses lifestyle into a peaceful, simple, and minimalistic one. And I’ve never been happier.

But getting there was not easy, and it required - and still requires - a constant willingness to say no to the world's calls. From getting rid of social media I don’t use, to not buying things I don’t need, learning to be content with what I have, and shifting from fast living to slow living, it was all a challenge to work through.

At times, it still is.

But now, I don’t want it any other way. I love my simple closet; I love my minimalist kitchen. I know where everything is and I love everything that surrounds me. The chaos has quieted and I don't want to return to that loud, busy, expensive way of living.

My goal of living a simple life isn’t to have as little as possible with a self-imposed poverty mindset. It’s about waking up my heart’s eyes to how good I already have it. I’m finding that the less I have, or desire to have, the more grateful I am for what I do have. It’s like learning to appreciate something you love while you still have it (which is an astounding skill to acquire.) It’s not taking my blessings for granted. It’s seeing how good I have it all the time.

Through my minimalism and simple living journey, I’ve found the Goldilocks of balance, and it's about living a minimalistic lifestyle. When I have the right amount - when I appreciate what I have and desire less stuff (and more of what I already have) - I find my whole world is balanced. I have it all. Satisfaction with what I own, have and use is like finding a treasure vault. I am rich beyond my wildest dreams.

My biggest takeaway since turning to a more minimalist mindset is this: We don’t need much to live fulfilled lives. Maya Angelou put it best when she said, “We need much less than we think we need.” Exactly.

If we shop our closets rather than head to the store for the latest trend, when we give away the items we don’t wear, when we pare down to what we love and only use what we love, our lives become simple and peaceful. 

Less becomes so much more. 

When I’m focused on using what I have, wearing what I already have, and not looking to shop my way to satisfaction (which will never happen, by the way. We will always want more), it is suddenly so clear how much I have. And more often than not, I not only have what I already need but have more than I need.

So, how can I stay this way and keep my peace?

Get out of the consumeristic circus. Forget fast fashion. Don’t buy into the latest trend (literally). Get off social media. Be content with what I have, and then I can watch how God provides for every need. 

Less is so much more. And I write about it often to remind myself why I'm doing this and how to stay in this lifestyle.

For me, I've given up some social media, minimized the things in my home, let go of jobs that didn't work well with me; and said no to social commitment (and yes to others). This frees up valuable time and space - including mental space - so that I can instead do things I want to do: read, garden, thrift, help neighbors, exercise, and be with family.

The list goes on and on.

What can you let go of to live a life more simple?

Simple Living │ Pretty as a Picture

Sometimes, a blog post is best presented as a meme, a photo, or a piece of art.

As with today's post, a meme/ art/ whatever you want to call it, this is what caught my attention:

The Real Luxuries Meme

As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." 

I'm not sure who created this image. If I knew, I'd credit the artist. This was another "mindless scrolling" image that popped up on my phone.

But what I love about this post is that every one of these "luxuries" makes me want to ensure I'm doing more of it.

With simple living - focusing on the things that mean something to you, that give you meaning and value - and focusing less on keeping up with the Joneses, if you want to do all of these things, you can.

But you have to get rid of the extraneous activities (i.e. keeping up the trends) to get there. You can't do both and expect peace. Something has to give.

If you want simple living, you must immerse yourself in what that entails.

Simple living doesn't mean living with less, it means living purely with what gives you life. This means (to me) doing the best things in the world; things that satisfy your body, mind, and soul.

What resonates with you most in this picture? I want - and mostly do - all of them. I might add "drinking a great cup of coffee" to the list, but that's just me.

Do you want to do all of these verbs? Do you already do all of them, or do you need to add more to your life?

These are the real luxuries. Not fancy houses or cars or designer clothes.

This it is. This is where your riches are. In peace, having less stuff, and instead gaining more experiences.

Now you know.

Sewing and Slow Living

A hand and fabric at a sewing machine

I have trouble finding pants that fit me.

This sounds like the bane of every woman in America, but for me, it's because of the inseam.

I'm tall with petite measurements so finding pants long enough is a neverending chore. The waist will fit, but the length looks like I'm treading flood waters.

And choosing the "tall" option doesn't work either. I'm not tall enough for that. 

I'm right in the middle; I don't fit in. Sort of how I feel about all areas of my life, but that's for another post...

I came across a pair of pants that fit great last week. Linen pants: perfect for summer. The waist and hips fit great, but the inseam was a good inch too short. Like normal.

This time, instead of suffering in silence, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

At home with the trousers, I took out my sewing machine with the intent to fix my problem. I know. A sewing machine? Yes, me, who isn't a sewer was going to fix my hems.

I bought this basic beauty about 20 years ago and use it maybe once every five years. But by golly, I wasn't going to let my inexperience hinder me. I was tired of pants not fitting.

After rereading the instruction manual, it all came back to me: how to thread the needle, refill the bobbin, all the things a seamstress would know in Sewing 101. I took out the hem and re-hemmed them with a now more perfect inseam.

It only took about ten minutes (most of that was spent figuring out the sewing machine again) but let me tell you... I've never felt more proud of myself.

Sewing is slow living at its finest. Sewing, reusing clothing that I could've given away because it didn't fit, reworking fabric, taking my time ... it all encompasses the slow-living concept. 

The simple hemming of my pants made me feel like I could conquer the world.

I'm not a real seamstress. I can mend holes in wool sweaters and sew on new buttons. I can occasionally hem my trousers (as I just found out). But a sewer, I am not. 

My mother and mother-in-law know how to sew. They're the gifted ones who can make clothing out of a single piece of lifeless fabric into something that fits and looks incredible.

I also have many friends in the vintage clothing world - friends much younger than me -who know how to sew and sew well. So, the talent may have waned over the years, but it's still very much alive.

Is sewing in my future? Probably not. Though I would love for it to be.

But do I feel just a little bit more tied to my ancestors of yore, when buying cheap clothing on Amazon was not only "not a thing" but an unfathomable concept?

Yes. I feel 1000% percent better about myself. I'm living the slow living way, which goes along with me selling vintage clothing, and living a simple, minimalistic lifestyle.

I'm not a future designer, but I now feel capable of being able to hem pants to fit me better.

There's no perceptible value in that feeling. It's the priceless result of me learning how to work with my brain and hands and not let the monster of short inseams scare me forever.

Self-sufficiency does wonders for the soul. 

And apparently, hemming pants was all I needed to feel like I could take on the world. 

Highly recommend.

Lethologica and Me: Why Jeopardy is a Lost Cause

I don't know if you've ever watched an episode of Jeopardy. If you haven't, well... you're missing out on intelligent peopl...