All posts by rosemaryheddens

Becoming Unoffendable

Recently, I heard someone on the radio talking about being unoffendable. I hadn’t considered what it means to be unoffendable, but it gave me something to think about. Two incidents I was involved in recently made me think that becoming unoffendable was worth pursuing.

The first incident occurred while I was driving on the highway. I found myself in the fast lane, sandwiched between a driver who was contented to go the speed limit and one who wanted to go much faster–making this known to me by riding close to my bumper. We continued our little caravan as we passed a highway patrolman. Since we were going an appropriate speed, I was sure that the driver behind me was spared a ticket. He must not have seen it that way, because when I pulled over into the right lane, he felt the necessity to honk as he passed me. “Why are you honking at me?” I shouted, even knowing he couldn’t hear me. Indignation boiled up in me as I considered the unfairness of it all.

The second incident occurred in church of all places. At the beginning of mass, I got a tickle in my throat and I coughed. The person on my left apparently used that data to diagnose me with a cold. When it was time for the sign of peace, she refused to shake my hand. This would have been fine with me, but she must have felt driven to tell me why. That too was okay until she decided to tell me a second time in case I misunderstood her the first time. Now I was offended. Perhaps, neither of us should have gone to communion–certainly I shouldn’t have. But, alas, we both did. When I came back to the pew, I moved down as far away from her as possible–a childish act for sure.

In light of what we see on the news, we all need to work on becoming unoffendable. I recently saw a woman who was on her way to prison because a road-rage incident had led her to shoot and kill the person she was upset with. She was filled with remorse and struggled to understand how she could have gotten so out of hand. Her victim’s family was outraged and calling for more than a prison sentence.

This situation was the extreme, but we all find ourselves in circumstances that could potentially be dangerous, especially when we are driving. Being unoffendable is not about being weak, or being a victim. It is about taking the high ground–having self-restraint and not letting someone else’s behavior determine ours. Being offended is allowing our egos to rule the day. To be unoffendable, we must keep our feelings in check in order to make decisions we will not regret later.

As for me, I plan to work toward becoming unoffendable in minor incidents like the two I related here.  In that way, hopefully I will have the skills to remain calm under extreme circumstances should I ever have to face them.


A fitting memorial to the nineteen who died.

I had been wanting to hike the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail and finally, in April, I was able to go there with my granddaughter, Brenna. We didn’t get an early start, and it was a fairly warm day, So I had only planned to hike to the memorial which would be five miles round trip. To reach the trailhead, we drove through Yarnell and started down the windy road toward Congress. The parking lot is about halfway down. It is small, but we were fortunate enough to get the last parking space. There is a shuttle that runs 7 days a week from the Arrowhead Bar and Grill in Congress. That is a good alternative if the parking lot is full.

The first two miles of the hike are pretty rugged and mostly up hill. Fortunately, along the way there are nineteen plaques inserted into large boulders. These provided plenty of opportunities to stop and rest while reading the plaques.

Once we reached the summit, we were treated to a 360 degree view that was nothing less than spectacular.

Hiking down the back side toward the memorial, below us we could see the actual site where they died. That was when I began to amend my plans. I was pretty certain that once I reached the memorial, I would not be able to turn around without finishing the hike to the bottom.

The canyon where the hot shots were trapped was now fully visible and we could see its proximity to homes in the small valley.

The memorial was a nice place to rest and have a snack. There were covered picnic tables.  The tribute wall was filled with tokens of appreciation left by previous hikers.

I was wishing that I had something to leave there, but alas I didn’t. If I ever have the opportunity again, I will certainly plan to leave a memento somewhere along the trail.

After a short rest, we began the mile hike down to the actual site. There we found the area surrounded by nineteen gabion baskets  connected by chains to signify the unity of the hotshot team. Inside the circle were crosses where each man fell. It is impossible to stand there and not feel the terrific loss that occurred, especially after reading the nineteen plaques along the way.

Since I didn’t bring anything to leave behind, I looked around for something I could place there. I found a rock that I thought looked like a thumbs up. I placed it on a large rock that was between two gabion baskets to say, “Job well done.”



I think my phone is mad at me.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how much I like my new iPhone, and I still do. But I guess the feeling isn’t mutual. Last Friday, I returned from a cruise (I’ll write about that a little later.). As I was driving away from the terminal, there was a sign straight ahead for the 710 Freeway. Since I wasn’t sure exactly where I needed to go, I pulled into a parking lot to get directions from my phone. For the past seven days, my phone had been on airplane mode. Apparently it was feeling ignored. That is the only way I can explain why it began acting like a spoiled child.

I was told to proceed onto Sea Shore Drive and then turn left on Ocean Boulevard. There wasn’t any Sea Shore Drive, but there was only one way out of the parking lot, so I went that way. I soon came to Ocean Boulevard and turned left. From there, my phone guided me through a messy construction area and then onto a tall bridge to the Long Beach pier. Semi trucks were being hooked up to trailers that had been downloaded from cargo ships. It was a very busy place.

At that point, my phone deserted me entirely, saying simply–“Proceed to the route.” Since I had no idea where I was, let alone what route I was to take, I continued on in the direction I was going. Eventually, I came to an area I couldn’t enter. At that point, I turned around and went back the way I came. I guess my phone decided I’d been punished enough and began giving me directions again.

Eventually, I did find Sea Shore Drive. That must have made my phone happy, because twenty-five minutes after I left the terminal, it directed me onto the 710 Freeway.

A Promise Kept

A few years ago, someone tweeted a plea to authors of children’s books. She asked if we would consider writing about  “Hug-a-tree” as a way to help parents learn how to keep their children safe when out in the wilderness. . At the time, I had just begun writing Not a Happy Camper. I responded to the tweet saying that I would use “Hug-a-tree” in my book. I kept that promise with the hope that it will be helpful to someone, someday in the future.

“When Mr. Rawlings had finished speaking, a large screen was set up in front of the audience. Everyone watched intently as a video showed a family on a camping trip. A young boy name Tim wanted to go exploring on his own. Before he left, his mother gave him a backpack with water, a few snacks, an orange trash bag with holes for his head and arms, and a whistle. Tim ran through the woods, having a great time exploring everywhere. He was so excited about what he was doing that he forgot to notice where he was going. After a while, he became confused and didn’t know which way to go back to camp. At first Tim panicked, running around yelling for help. Finally, he calmed down and began to remember what he was supposed to do. He found a tree and piled up pine needles for a place to rest. He drank some water and ate part of his food, saving the rest for later. He knew it might be a long time before he was rescued. He put on the trash bag over his jacket so he would stay dry if it rained. Also, the bright orange trash bag would be visible to his rescuers.

When Tim didn’t return to camp, his parents called for help. Soon, people were searching the woods calling his name. They searched until dark and started searching again at first light. Finally, Tim heard them calling his name. He began blowing the whistle. He knew that the sound of the whistle was louder than his voice. One of the searchers heard the whistle and found the boy. He was checked over by a paramedic, who said he was fine—just a little dehydrated. Tim had done a few things wrong, but he had done more things correctly, which was why he was rescued.

After the video, there was a brief discussion about what happened to the boy. Parents were given a flyer with important information about how to keep their children safe when camping or hiking. As the campers left the dining hall, they were given a whistle and an orange trash bag. ‘Carry these with you at all times,’ they were told, ‘just in case you need them.’”

You can learn more about the Hug-a-Tree program by visiting their website

Syncing not Sinking

I have to admit, I really like my new iPhone. On Thanksgiving day, I dropped my old phone in the toilet. It said, “I just learned a new trick,” and then it died. I mourned the loss of my phone for several days. After all,  it had been with me for many years–it was an iPhone 4–my original iPhone. I was very sad. I had lost a dear friend.

In early December, I started shopping for a new phone. In the end, I decided to splurge and buy an iPhone X.  Considering that I had my old phone for so many years, I anticipate that this one will be with me for a long time. At least, that’s how I justified the expense.

One of the things I like about my iPhone is that I can sync it with other devices. It syncs with the Bluetooth in my car so that I can make and receive phone calls there. That is very handy at times. It is synced with my Fitbit. Amazingly, when I get texts or phone calls my Fitbit vibrates and I can read the text or the name and number of the person calling right on my Fitbit. That is also very handy because it means that I don’t have to keep my phone in my pocket. (That’s how my old one ended up in the toilet.) When I lost my Fitbit, an app on my phone helped me find it.

While my phone doesn’t have to be directly in contact with the other devices in order to sync, it must be within a certain proximity to work. This started me thinking about my relationship with my heavenly Father.  It is necessary for me to sync with him every day in order for our relationship to work. If I get too far away, we can no longer be synced. When I get into troubled waters, I want to know that he is near, but also when things are going well, I like to share the good times with him, too.

So how do I stay in sync? One of the best parts of being retired is that I have more time for morning devotions. This is a very important way to start my day. It seemed that my devotions were getting a little stale. So I dug out the books from the Prayer and Life Workshop  I participated in a few years ago.  There is a prayer I say everyday. Some days, I struggle more than others to mean the words I say (especially that “I am ready for everything”), but I say them anyway. This is how I sync with God.

Prayer of Surrender

My Father,

I surrender myself to you;                                                                                                do with me what you will,                                                                                                whatever you do, I thank you for it.

I am ready for everything,                                                                                                and I accept everything,                                                                                                    provided that your will be done in me                                                                       and in all your creatures.                                                                                                   I desire nothing else, Oh my God.

I entrust my soul into your hands.                                                                               I give it to you, my God,                                                                                                      with all the love in my heart,                                                                                           because I love you,                                                                                                                and it is a necessity to love you,                                                                                    to surrender myself to you, to entrust myself                                                      into your hands without measure,                                                                              with infinite confidence,                                                                                                    for you are my Father. Amen.


The Bookstore is now open!

Much as I enjoy writing the Handy Helpers books, what I love most is having other people read them. Getting my books out there is proving more challenging than I ever thought. Readers today have so many options with ebooks and free books, and so many books available on line. My little offerings seem to be getting lost in a big pile of books.

I realized a long time ago that my books are expensive when purchased on websites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. There is nothing I can do about that because the price is set by my publisher. What I have tried to do is offer the books for sell myself. I sell them out of the trunk of my car and at local events. To get a wider audience, I am branching out into the online world. I’m still new at it, but trying to learn. First, I opened an online store through Shopify. It is at Recently, I was able to add a shop button to my blog. I now have a bookstore page where you can purchase any or all of the books. I am selling them at my cost and I’m even picking up the shipping now through Christmas.

If you are looking for an entertaining, fun read with no violence, sex or bad language, you have come to the right place. Although my target audience is kids age 9 to 12, I have many adults who enjoy my books. Order them for your children or grandchildren, but take a peek yourself before you pass them on. I know you will have fun getting to know this quirky band of kids who are just trying to make their mark on the world (or at least on their town of Bluesky).

Purchase books from the bookstore on this blog or at

I have locks to be thankful for.

Locks may seem like a strange thing to be thankful for, but for me, locks are my life. Locks help me protect what I value as my husband has reached a stage where he is into everything.

I am sad at times, when I think about how Craig and I have built a life together over the years and little by little I see it going away. It has become my role to keep things together as Craig is busy taking them apart. Today, I replaced a door knob on a bedroom door that had been locked and unlocked so many times that the lock wore out. Then, in the kitchen, I installed child-proof (and I’m hoping Craig-proof) fasteners on some cabinets.

Sometimes, I have to laugh–crying is not an option. A few weeks ago, I stepped out of the shower. As I was drying off, I saw a shadow going across in front of the window. I knew it was Craig and he was carrying something–it was my clothes–the clothes I laid out on the bed to put on after my shower. Not wanting to shock my neighbors by going outside wrapped in a towel, I took out other clothes and got dressed. It took me a while to locate everything. I found my underwear on the propane tank.  I not sure what the man from Santa Fe Propane would have thought if he got there before I did.  Now I lock the bedroom door before I get in the shower.

Nothing is really safe, and once Craig fixates on something, the only thing I can do is lock it away, especially valuable things like my china. While I lock away the things of our life together, I am reminded to also lock away our precious memories. It is my job to preserve them. I must remember that Craig was not always as he is now. Even now, he is a sweet, loving man. But I must not forget that through most of his life he has been a strong, brave, skilled,  smart, creative, thoughtful, generous and caring person.


Some of the most beautiful words in the Bible are found in Matthew 5: 1-12. In fact, they are called “The Beatitudes” because of their beauty.

The first Beatitude is “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I have struggled to understand exactly what it means to be “poor in spirit.” Being poor means being without financial means. But how can we be poor in spirit and why does Jesus call us to be poor in that way?

According to Billy Graham, being poor in spirit means to have a humble spirit. That makes sense, but later in the Beatitudes, Jesus says “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.” It seems to me that meek and humble have the same meaning.  That leaves me still wondering what it means to be poor in spirit.

There is a story I have heard in church about a man who was asked to give God a gift. The gift had to be something that was totally of his own making. The man offered many things to God, but each one was rejected because it was not totally of the man’s own making. Each gift had required the man to use raw materials and skills that God had provided. Finally, in desperation, the man brought God his sin. That was the gift that was accepted by God. It was the only thing that was totally of his own making.

I think that is what it means to be poor in spirit. It means to recognize that there is nothing we have or will ever have that is not from God–except our sin. It is the only thing that is totally of our own making. God wants us to come to Him in our weakness and sin, recognizing our unworthiness. And he will take that gift and make it something beautiful.

Bluesky Familes

I grew up watching television shows like Leave it to Beaver, Make Room for Daddy, and Father Knows Best. Every week the family would be presented with a problem. In the course of the thirty-minute show, the issue would be resolved. The parents always seemed to know what to do and the children always responded in a way that helped them see the error of their ways. In reality, family life is so much more complicated.  Things were a little simpler when I was growing up, but even back then, we dealt with serious issues.

In writing the Handy Helpers books, I wanted to present strong family values. My families share meals together, pray, go to church together and genuinely care for each other. They go on picnics, have game night,  ride bikes and spend quality time together.  Accomplishing these things can certainly be more difficult in the fast-paced world we live in today. But creating a cohesive, loving family environment is worth the effort it takes.

My friend, Teresa, had this to say about the Handy Helpers books:

“I just love how the Handy Helpers get to experience all the things that kids their age experience. When they make wrong choices, they have to suffer the consequences. When they make the right choice, they get the good rewards that come with making good choices. It is so neat to see them learning and growing with each new turn in their lives. I also love that the parents play a big role. I believe the author wisely depicts the role that God meant for parents to have in training and guiding children to do and make right choices. As an adoptive parent I relate to Gus and his heart to help these three children, who so greatly need him, to become a whole family. I highly recommend the whole series of the Handy Helpers.”

You can now purchase Handy Helpers books at 50-60% off directly from


All Saints Day

Today is All Saints Day. It is a feast day to celebrate all of the saints who don’t have their own feast days.  When I was confirmed, I chose St. Teresa of Avila to be my patron saint. She lived in Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. She was very spiritual as a child. In her early teens, she lost her mother. Her father was very strict and when Teresa began choosing a more worldly life, he sent her to a convent school.

At school Teresa began to follow a spiritual life again and became a Carmelite nun. Shortly after that, she became very ill and experienced intense pain. In order to bear the burden of pain, she surrendered completely to God.

Later, Teresa would experience scrutiny due to the Spanish Inquisition which was suspicious of any deviations from orthodox religion. Teresa complained to God, who told her, “That is how I always treat my friends.” To this Teresa replied, “That must be why You have so few friends!”

Teresa’s prayer experiences were so intense that at times her body would spontaneously levitate. Not wanting a public display, she would have other nuns sit on her so she wouldn’t float away.

Believing that being a Carmelite did not allow her to develop the prayer life she desired, Teresa founded her own order. She traveled all over Spain, setting up convents. She died at the age of 67.

Teresa was a writer and poet. The following is one of her poems.

“God alone is enough.”

Let nothing upset you,
let nothing startle you.
All things pass;
God does not change.
Patience wins
all it seeks.
Whoever has God
lacks nothing:
God alone is enough.

Citation : Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of St Teresa Avila “, Oxford, UK – . 12th Jan. 2013. Updated 26 June 2017