Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas: Round 2

Did you all have a good Christmas?

Tell me about it... I want to hear about your holidays. Just leave comments so I can read and enjoy them, ok? Whatever you want to share.


So tomorrow the fam is coming over. Since I was gone out west right up until Christmas eve at midnight, and since the younger families want to have their own celebrations in their own homes with their children, starting their own family traditions, and that is a good thing... since all this, we decided to have our family celebration on a different day. We are getting together New Year's Eve for our gifts and celebration.

Christmas Day felt a little different because of this. It was good, but different. Smaller. Daughter who lives at the other end of town came over and we opened gifts, had breakfast casserole, and relaxed around the house as we always have on Christmas Day. But there were only 5 of us.

It wasn't as noisy as usual. Not as full of... something. The commotion of happy people who love each other's company. I missed it. So did the younger ones. We had a good day, don't get me wrong. It was good to relax and the gifts were really nice this year, and it was good to be together. There was just a subtle difference made of having fewer people here and knowing they were somewhere else. I'm so glad daughter came for the day.

Life moves on.

So they each had good days in their own homes, and we are all getting together tomorrow night here, to pick up the celebrating where we left off, the few of us, on Christmas day. It will be good. There will be a crowd. Like 15 of us. And THEN it will feel like Christmas! There will be noise and laughter and gifts to open. There will be small people running around! There will be food and fun and someone will probably be grumpy at some point but it is all part of life and it's all good. I love it!

I hope you have a good Holiday tomorrow as well, and that your New Year starts off well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas List

I said there would be a list of my Joys and Thank Yous for Christmas. And here it is:

488. Christmas tree, shining in the living room. So pretty, so festive. It just glows.

489. Christmas lights twinkling in my house. I love the twinkly kind!

490. Christmas lights all over the countryside, sharing the Holiday Spirit with everyone!

491. Ornaments, reflecting the lights on the branches, telling their stories

492. Decorating the tree together with family, every ornament reminding us of something, some story past, and the sharing that happens right in that moment. Our family history shared and enjoyed.

493. The incredible fact that Christ, having lived forever in heaven, would be willing to come down, take on mortality, and live among us, in order to correct a wrong that we ourselves had done. Even though He knew it would be deeply painful and lead to His death. It's hard to understand such love.

494. Celebrating His birthday with the whole world.

495. Also celebrating family and friends and togetherness.

496. Finding gifts for people I love.

497. Getting good gifts. Did you think I would leave that out?? I am not that virtuous, people!

498. A new baby in the family.

499. The honor of attending the birth of that baby.

500. Sweet memories of being pregnant at Christmastime, kind of identifying with Mary and thinking how glad I was not to be on a donkey at nine months.

501. Nursing a baby by the light of the Christmas tree, in the middle of the night while all the house was silent. The lights from the tree cast a warm light on the baby's contented little face. All is Calm, All is Bright. It's a perfect moment of Peace and Love. This is one of my favorite Christmas memories of all.

Merry Christmas to all of you, dear friends.
Tonight I will be flying home for Christmas. As much as I am glad to have been here in Wyoming to attend daughter's first birth and to be some help, I am really excited to be heading home just in time for Christmas tomorrow.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." (John 14.27 NLT)

That's God's gift to you, if you take it. If you want more information, check out the Book, the Bible. It's all in there. Otherwise, just ask.

Happy Christmas Eve, friends, Merry Christmas too, and may your homes be filled with His peace and His love. May you each grow to know Him more and more as a good friend, One who loves us beyond anything we can understand.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Windy day in Cheyenne

It's blowing here. Man is it blowing! They say it can get windy in Cheyenne, and today they sure are right! I want to go out and run a couple errands in daughter's car (I am here visiting her and her family), but it is blowing so loud and hard I wonder how the car will handle in this wind.

I won't be going on the expressway so I imagine it'll be fine. I'll just make my list and go.

I am scheduled to fly home on Friday night, Christmas Eve! I am getting excited about that. It's good that I have been here. It's good I was here for her birth. I am trained as a doula, and she asked me to come. It's also good that she has had someone to help around the house, even though I haven't done a lot of work. Just straightening and getting the dishes done is helpful. Those first few days with a new baby can be so overwhelming. Babies need so much! And they need it constantly! It can be exhausting.

It is interesting that in so many cultures such great care is taken of a new mother. Not so much in this culture, but many places a mother is fed certain foods, restricted in her activities, massaged or loved on... different things in different cultures. I don't think I would like some of those customs, the ones that restricted my freedom especially. But I do think there is something to be said for taking special care of a new mother. Some places set apart a certain number of days - 40 days maybe - for this special time of postpartum care. I think this is a good thing, though I would wish for it to be flexible. In out culture I am suprised that women are expected to be at appointments as soon as the day after they leave the hospital (assuming they have gone to the hospital to give birth in the first place, which choice is another post altogether). If they give birth at home, I believe that any checks that need to be done are made in the home, with
midwives or visiting nurses coming in. At least, that has been my experience.

Anyway, I am here to be helpful for a couple weeks, and after that I think she will be ok. Her husband is very helpful. I hope other friends in the area pitch in too. But right now I have to go run a couple errands for her. Gotta go.

Wrapping Gifts With my Kids on the first Snowy Day of the Season.

Gift Wrapping on the First Snowy Day

First of December,
The snow begins falling...
Couple of inches and
Keeps coming down.
Quiet and bright.
Ground soft and white.

Up in my sweet room
There with my offspring,
Colorful wrapping,
Fun job ahead...
Presents galore
Spread on the floor.

We are relaxing,
Music is playing...
Happy old Christmas songs
from long ago.
Complete contentment
One perfect moment.


It really was one of those perfect moments that will stay in my memory bank for life. One wonderful son, one precious daughter, and me, all together in the room we have just redecorated with my favorite colors. My work was done, so I curled up with pillows on the day bed while they sat on the floor and we talked.

Somehow all the Christmas wrapping paper in the house had migrated to this room, and the gifts they had chosen were spread on the floor waiting to be wrapped.

Pandora filled the air with its best old Christmas music, the kind you hear on the radio every season: "Silver Bells", "Baby, It's Cold Outside", Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Eartha Kitts, and the room was filled with Christmas happiness and the love of family.

Then it began to snow!

And outside the windows, we watched things change from late autumn's brown to a new, clean, pure white. The first snow! Right there, right at that moment, while we basked in each other's company, surrounded by colorful papers and ribbons, wrapping gifts to the sound of the season, right then the sky shared its own holiday treasures, and the air inside brightened as the air outside filled with tiny white snowflakes and the ground was covered with white, freshened for a new season.

Perfect moments like this can only be the gifts of a perfect heavenly Father who loves us more than we deserve. I am so grateful to be loved so lavishly.

On In Around button

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Where I've Been

Wow, seriously? I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted. My last post was a gratitude list from Thanksgiving! Linda from Lime in the Coconut read that and suggested it was time for a Christmas list. She has a point! I have been busy with life and not with writing. But it's time. And Ted from Jesus Community noticed I tend to make lists. Well, he's right, I do... this time I'm not listing, but I expect to have a Christmas list up soon. Today I want to tell you where I've been and what I've been up to. I haven't posted much lately because life required my full attention.

I am halfway across the country right now, in the state of Wyoming. The weather is far different here from at home where they are experiencing true winter with near blizzard conditions.

I came out here to attend my daughter's first birth. (I am a trained doula, as well as being her mom.) Got here on December 8th and plan to fly back home on the 24th. A tiny pink thing, Lindsey Ann, was born on the 10th, only two days after I got here. She weighed 7lb, 13 oz, was 20 inches long, and she is simply beautiful. See for yourself:

She has so many different expressions! The run across her face like cloud shadows run across the plains on a windy day, changing constantly.

Sometimes she studies the world around her like a little scientist, scowling in deep thought, figuring out this new discovery. Sometimes a hint of a smile flits across her contented little face. It is amazing, isn't it, how much real humanity is packed into such a tiny package?

After about three days, yesterday she seemed to be getting the hang of life on the outside. Days are beginning to smooth out. Those first few days with a newborn are so intense, with such a huge learning curve for all involved. But everyone is doing well and already I see things settling down.

Meanwhile, back at home, a big winter storm came through. It turned super-cold and roads got very slippery. This is what they tell me by phone. On the way home from church - a half hour drive - the temp dropped 5 degrees and roads began freezing over. Husband was the passenger and my son got a well-coached "first crazy-slippery driving of the season" lesson. I was glad for this. Everyone takes a few times out to remember winter driving each season, and yes, even though he is a pretty responsible 19 year old, still, ice is ice and I worried a little. I will worry a lot less now, knowing his dad was there to help him out this one time when it got so bad.

So I am here, going out shopping in just a sweater while at home they are bundling up. It feels strange. But I am glad that I can be here to help out for a while. I fix meals, help put up their first Christmas tree, load the dishwasher, answer questions on baby care, etc. It's not a lot, but it seems to help out.

It's good.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Thanksgiving list so far...

things I'm thankful for at this moment...

473. National Dress Up Day! (Also called Halloween) I love that there is a day when everyone pulls their imaginations out and just has fun with costumes! and I love that a daughter of mine renamed it this fun name, National Dress Up Day.

474. being waited on by Donald Duck

475. People in costume everywhere

476. apple butter, spread thick on good bread

477. turquoise

478. going to a fun concert

479. overnight road trip with daughter

480. meeting the artist and his manager

481. getting my new cd autographed

482. coming home

483. days when my hair turns out

484. misty air that replenishes moisture I've lost to the season's dryness. The mist looks dull and gray in the air, but it feels so good!

485. planning family holiday gatherings, and looking forward to their warmth

486. being together with family, with people I love who love me back.

487. the simple word, "hi", and the power it has to connect people. tiny but powerful!

Friday, November 12, 2010

hot tea and apple butter

I'm sitting here this morning with a cup of hot, sweet tea...

I love a good cup of tea.

And toast.

With apple butter.

Oh, my!

The water came to a screaming boil, and was promptly moved by offspring who can't stand screaming.

This is very hot water.

Tazo. Awake. Good tea.

A good healthy dash of agave nectar....

A touch of milk...

And two ice cubes. While I make the toast.

Gluten free, rice flour, never tried this before, but it's good! It's delicious!

With apple butter. Oh, I love apple butter!

Apple butter makes me think of my grandfather, PeePop.

PeePop, because the oldest cousin couldn't pronounce PopPop when she was a tiny girl.

PeePop knew how to enjoy apple butter, and he taught us:

A half inch thick on the bread.

Half inch, got it?

Well, who are we to argue with the grandpa?

And so this morning, I savour tea, like my British aunt (on my mother's side) used to enjoy, and with it I eat toast and apple butter, like my father's father used to enjoy.

And my solitary moment is a reflection of my heritage.


Good stuff.

(linked to LL Barkat's "On, In, and Around Mondays" )

Friday, November 5, 2010

Noone Knew

Noone Knew

Noone knew.

When my heart had broken into shards,

When my heart was aching so very hard

That I could hardly stand it,

And I hurt from the hair down.

Noone knew.

Because I could still walk,

And I could talk,

And I could say, “Fine” when anyone asked.

But they didn't know me well enough to see what was behind my eyes,

So noone knew.

But you knew.

And you cared about me, I could see that in your eyes.

You didn't invade my privacy with questions

Or unnecessary words,

But I bet you prayed for me,

Because you knew.

And you cared for me

As a good friend would do.

You knew.

And you were a good friend.

So I'm telling you now...

Thank you.


© 2002

(This is not a new poem, but it is a real poem. I wrote it years ago. I am sharing it here, responding to L.L. Barkat at . We are looking at a specific poetic tool, called the catalog technique. Honestly, I am not sure if this is a good example of this. This repetition is something I use a lot, almost automatically sometimes. I use repetition here not only in the repetition of the main phrase throughout the poem, but also with parts of lines repeated in the first two sections. I remember my dad talking this way sometimes, when he was serious and really wanted me to hear what he was telling me. It reminded me of a preacher, this repeating of a part of a phrase, not in poetry, but in speaking. Maybe his using it with me makes this repetition for emphasis or contrast come naturally to me. But I never knew it had a name, and I'm not sure if what I am doing here is exactly what the catalogue technique is about. Regardless, I write to unload my heart, and the styles and techniques just work themselves out, for better or worse. Please hear my heart when you read this. )

the smell of winter

The last Sunday morning in October, I sat in the pew and noticed that the air smelled dry, and dusty, like winter. Like Winter, when the furnace blows and the air dries up, and things are dead and brown, and dusty, and scarce on life. That was the last Sunday in October.

The very next day was November, and later in the week brought the first flurries flying in the almost freezing, under an absent-minded sky that scowled, ever so slightly, like it wasn't sure what it was supposed to do.

November is for gray skies. For sunless days that string together like dirty pearls. We all forget what we are supposed to do. We forget who we were, back in the summer. Life ebbs.

Two different people asked me today, as the flurries flew outside, what did I think of the snow? And I said I didn't know yet. I'm not sure what I am supposed to think. I haven't decided. Some people seem surprised by the snow. Others counter with, "What did you expect, it's November!"

I know the snow will pile deep, and then it will shine. It will soften the lines of the landscape and reflect the moon's blue glow. It will sparkle on sunny days and become dotted with sledders on the hills. It will be beautiful. I will love it then. But it will be cold, so cold, and life will ebb some more. Energy fades in the winter. Smiles fade under the colorless skies, and souls need the sun to shine.

But it will be beautiful.

So I don't know what to think, how I feel about the snow that came today. I'm not getting giddy out of a sense of obligation, that's what I'm not. But I'm not hating it, either. Little kids love it, drivers don't. I have no opinion. It's just flurries. It isn't staying yet. Like the smell of winter, it portends, that's all.

(I was challenged by Emily at to write something to join her and a bunch of her friends for "imperfect prose on Thursdays" over at her place. I wasn't sure if I had anything, but I guess I did after all.)

Monday, November 1, 2010


456. bright sun shining full on my face like happy kisses

457. getting lost in a big, smooth, steamy vanilla latte, whipped cream on top. Comfort food.

458. potato chips, delicate crunchiness all salty good

459. Kalamata olives

460. the smell of fresh coffee filling a place

461. waiting for the foam to settle down so I can top off my Vernor's

462. shouting for joy, really LOUD! at the top of my lungs! (in the car where I won't scare anyone!)

463. honest sadness.

464. good clean anger. not the ugly kind, but the kind that heals.

465. clouds that shine bright at the edges

466. pretending, when I can, just for the fun of it. It's good to play sometimes.

467. being real and honest, transparent. Within right boundaries, it seems healthy and freeing.

(I don't mean to "be transparent" with other people's stories, even when they overlap mine. I mean to tell the truth when possible about where I am. Still working this out.)

468. really big tortoiseshell sunglasses. I wanted some, in fact, but they told me my prescription wouldn't work in those. So now I just enjoy them on other people.

469. exercise balls

470. lots of suds on top of fresh, just-hot-enough dishwater

471. starting a new week, with new possibilities

472. getting a new cd for my own listening

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

all piled up


I think I write best when I am not under too much stress - some, mind you, just not too much.

Not enough stress and nothing happens; too much and all my energy is spent in dealing with it.

"Life piles up" sometimes, my good friend tells me.

Yes it does. And it is, and I am full with the dealing and the loving and the doing.

The celebrating and the aching.

We have had: out of town guests, a sudden wedding, a baby party here, a dear friend of my daughter with very serious surgery. And more. All in the last week.

I feel like the hub of a very dizzy wheel. I am the center of the gyroscope. By God's grace I am still upright, though around me life is spinning. I am fine. I am loving and loving and loving. And that is all I can think of right now.

So, I am just letting you all know that I am fine, and I will write as soon as I can, but right now I am focused on life and its needs. The needs of those I love.

Right now, I am making the stories. Later I will tell them.

Soon, I think. When the dust settles a bit.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Utterly loved

“The Lord your God is in your midst; a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will be quiet in his love. He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
(Zephaniah 3:17 NASB)

I love Zeph 3:17. When I read this, I get a mental picture that thrills and lifts me up, of my God, mighty and powerful, loving me so much that He sings over me! It reminds me of a mother tenderly rocking her precious child as she sings lullabies full of tender love, and then again it gives me a picture of God in joyous, celebratory love that bursts out in song
for the sheer joy of loving!

Think about this with me a minute. God, the mighty warrior... I picture Him here as just having come from battle, and He is victorious! Yes! He has won! The shouts of battle have faded into the background, but still He wears the aura of the thrill of victory! That thrill surrounds Him, is almost palpable, and being in His presence, I feel that thrill, that excitement! Our God is the mighty, victorious one! Always! He never loses. Ever!
He is strong.

And he loves me!

He is "mighty to save"! Oh. My. Goodness! Why in the world, why in the WORLD, would such a great God care to look out for me? It is awesome to think that He is strong enough to handle anything, and that I can be safely protected when I am with Him, but why? Why does He even want to take care of me that way?

Because He loves me! Does anyone else get stuck on this like I do? Here is this great, Awesome God, and Yeah, ok, He loves the world, and that is wonderful, and I get that, and I benefit from that, and I'm thankful, but wait... he loves ME! He loves ME? Why? What did I do to deserve this??

Nothing. Really.

That is what is so boggling about this. He loves me, not because of anything I did, have ever done, or will ever do. He loves me because I am me and He loves me because of who He is.

He takes "great delight" in me. Oh, wow. He "exults over me with joy". Oh, wow, I can hardly grasp this!

You know how you exult with joy over an adorable toddler, because they are just so crazy cute you can hardly stand it? You know how you take great delight in a little child, because you just love them so intensely? We in delight in every accomplishment, or even in their just sitting there. We gaze adoringly while they sleep, even, because our hearts just overflow with love. We love them. Not for what they do (they are too little to do anything at first), we love them for who they are. We laugh, overflowing with joy as we watch them. They make us so happy! They truly delight us!

It boggles my mind to think that I make God happy like that. I make God smile
just by being me.

He will be quiet in his love. He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” He loves me sometimes in quiet tenderness; he loves me sometimes with shouts of joy. He loves me! He gets that I have different needs on different days, and He loves me right where I am in every instance.

Another version says, "He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." (NIV)

And this is where I get the picture of a mother rocking her child to give comfort, as she sings her love over him. She strokes the soft skin, and her love just pours over that child.

But also... I get the picture of that "joyous, celebratory love that bursts out in song for the sheer joy of loving!" How fun is that?! To be loved that way satisfies something deep in me that I can't even put into words right now.

It is in God's nature to love. I don't have to earn it. He made me, and He did that on purpose. He wanted me, before I was even born. I am loved. His way is to love wholeheartedly, with abandon, and with joy and delight. With fun, and with tenderness, and with good things. His love means I am important. Oh, wow, I am important to God!!

Oh, wow!

And... His love MAKES me important! If God is for me, after all, who can be against me?

To think that my Father loves me like this chases away any kind of self doubt. I am precious in His eyes. And who am I to argue with God? I am precious to God. I am of value.
God says so. It's settled.

No wonder I love Him so. How can I not? He loves me unconditionally, constantly, joyfully! Wow. How cool is that?!

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
(Jeremiah 31.3)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

evidence that I am loved

Love gifts...

443. orchard fresh apples, still dripping with fresh air and juice, bought from the farmer who grew them. You can almost taste the sunshine!

444. stumbling upon a demonstration of wild birds of prey! Full of fun and good information.

445. petting a wild bird, a soft pigeon, white with black spots. so pretty.

446. being fanned by the large, strong wings of a turkey vulture

447. looking into the round, golden eyes of an owl right up close. wondering what he's thinking of me as we look long at each other.

448. pumpkins appearing everywhere, whispering of pies and spices and fall

449. scrubbing the dirt off fresh-dug potatoes and finding their real skin red underneath

450. huge orange carrots, covered brown with the land that grew them, rich with flavor. Readying them for dinner with thanks.

451. Multi colored carrots, some yellow, some deep purple-red, some orange, making for a colorful glad stew.

452. Indian summer... another chance at warmth and sunshine, energy and gladness, this time with colored leaves all around, one more time before the cold sets in.

453. Music playing on websites, a gentle surprise for me to enjoy as I read and learn.

454. Mullein root for backaches, learning how to make the oil that helps

455. Learning the sweetness of truth-telling

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What I learned from the Smoking Poet

It's Tuesday. And that's really close to Monday, right?

The reason I ask is that L.L. Barkat invites us to write on, in and around Mondays.

And I am practicing something a poet told me.

I sat in a crowded, smoke filled restaurant one New Year's Morning and found myself sitting at the bar between a musician and a poet. (There were no tables left and if I wanted food, I had to sit at the bar in the smoking section to get breakfast.) I love this town. It is full of artists. What are the odds of going out for a simple breakfast and finding myself sitting with a poet on one side of me and a musician on the other?

I talked briefly with the poet, and he told me that he writes a poem a day. Every day. As he talked, he smoked. The whole place was full of stinky, gray smoke. Every other restaurant must have been closed for the holiday, because it was crazy, buzzing busy there that morning. And smelly, and full of smoke. The cooks in back were overwhelmed and moving as fast as they could to keep up. Pans and plates clanged and clashed. Voices shouted. I watched. And the poet wrote. And he smoked. He didn't talk much; we just had that short conversation. And I was amazed. How could he write in such a noisy, stinky, head-buzzing environment?

He told me that he writes a poem every day. As a personal discipline. He doesn't wait for inspiration, or for a mood to move him. He just decides to write and he does. He told me that he liked the energy in that place. I didn't. It helped him write. It took away my appetite!

But I got the idea that if I want to write - poems or anything else - then I have to just do it. It is easiest for me to write when something is going on, when something inspires my creativity, or when I need to work through something. But sometimes I should just write because I decided to. It would be good discipline for me.

So, thanks to the smoking poet in the smelly restaurant, who taught me something, I am writing today. Even though I don't feel like I have something important to say. Still it is Monday...ish. Well, it is "around Monday", and that is as good a reason to write as any.

And, thanks, L.L., for the invitation.

ps- You know what? That day, I ended up taking my food out of that place and eating it where I had quiet. And in my quiet, I wrote a poem. Maybe I'll post it sometime.

Monday, October 4, 2010

good things

439. clam chowder

440. creativity, seeing it spread all over the city, watching it expressed by my good friends.

441. Hot soup on a cold, wet day

442. stellarium, Downloaded onto my computer, it shows me the sky from any time, anyplace. I can take my laptop outside at night and match it up to the sky over my house, and it will tell me what everything is! Every star, every planet! It's very smart.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Turquoise Room

Ok, This:

is the color I have painted the new room
(new for me to use because a grown-up daughter moved out)

(this image is taken from
where there are a lot of great ideas)

My new room will be my office/reading room, and also, hopefully, a place for conversation. Daughter's bed will stay, in the form of a day bed piled with pillows for comfy lounging. I envision people reading there sometimes. My new writing desk will be there, too. I hope to get a lot of studying accomplished in my new room.

I am happy to see, in the photo above, that the floors are tan, because that's close to the color of the carpet I plan to put in there. I wanted the color of sand at the beach, only more speckled to hide the inevitable spills and wear that happen at my house.

I will show you more pictures as they happen. So far, the walls are painted.

I do like to paint... especially when my kids are working with me.

They have their own way of making it fun. (Really? A skull and crossbones?) I love these kids so much!

Next, another son is coming the week after next to paint the ceiling and add white crown molding.

I plan to hang a very old (over 100 yrs) door on the wall, sideways, as decoration, so this next week I want to get that cleaned up and ready to bring inside. Since it's been sitting outdoors, it's gotten dirty along the bottom edge. I want to clean it up but leave the weathered paint alone. This vintage door came from the old farm house at the far end of our land that used to belong to friends. We bought our land from that old farmer. They are gone now. The old house, built in 1897, is gone now. But I have a few pieces of it, and this old door is one of the pieces. I think it will look great, weathered white paint against the deep turquoise.

The carpet is ordered and waiting for these things to get done before it is installed.

It is so great that when I mentioned to Husband that I was thinking about turning this room into my office, he immediately agreed!

I will keep you posted as to my progress. I'm really excited about this. I do not get to redo a room very often, so this is a big deal! I am having a lot of fun with this!

Monday, September 20, 2010

new joys. constantly.

429. ripe, sweet pear, brought fresh this morning from the farmer's market, juicy goodness glistening in the sun

430. the luxury of a pedicure

431. bright pink nail polish

432. fresh paint, making a room new

433. subscriptions to online comics bringing me smiles every day

434. seeing a friendly dog downtown that reminded me of The Never Ending Story.

(She looks kind of like that big white friendly creature in the movie, doesn't she?)

435. Learning together with my midwifery sister-students. There is something special about being with these women. Hanging out with them nourishes my soul.

436. Adirondack chairs right outside my door, waiting for the break when I take a cup of tea, or a tall glass of water, and rest a few minutes

437. warm breezes after a run of fall-cool days. This feels better!

438. street musicians spreading music and good will all through the neighborhood

random beauty

422. small, red barn in bright yellow field surrounded by a deep green bank of trees, colors all sharpened by misty rain

423. Wedding colors: deep purple and apple green. very pretty, very fun!

424. these cupcakes! by Cupcake Zoo

425. gazebo at river's edge

426. finding new shops to browse while we wait

427. everyone being flexible when the weather turns wet. Flexibility is a great quality!

428. little girls in pretty, dressy dresses, all shined up for a special occasion

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

long day, short poem

bright half moon
deep black sky
long hard day
good sweet night

(Some days just take more work than others, and it is really good to see them end. Rest looks very inviting!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Random Pleasures

407. the cherry on top!

408. sun-bleached curls gleaming on little children

409. baby laugh, all bellyful and chuckly, and you can't help but laugh with!

410. creme brulee

411. long braids on sweet girls

412. eyes that shine all happy

413. rain splatters on the window

414. love's caresses, soft and gentle

415. sun breaking through

416. tiramisu

417. late day sky of purple and orange

418. being with friends

419. inside jokes, when all you have to do is look and you both break into knowing smiles

420. breakfast out

421. having a baby fall asleep on you, knowing that you are their safe place right then. Such trust and comfort. What an honor!

(more of my list of joys and thank yous. Because no matter what, there is always much to be thankful for.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What I've been working on today

Today I have a project. I'm refinishing this:

This is my dad's old workbench.
It's full of splatters and gouges and love.
When we were little, sometimes he'd call out,
"Who wants to come help me in my workshop?"
and if we chose, we could go down in the basement and "help" him.
We held the board while he cut it, helped him read the numbers on the tape measure,
or handed him things.
Sometimes we just watched.

I watched him use the plane and I was amazed. I could never get that thing to work like he did! When Dad used the plane to smooth a board, great blond curlicues of wood would come out of it, and he would let me play with them. When I tried, not one thing came curling out.
That plane was like magic to me!
I loved that tool!

There used to be a vice attached to the side of this old desk, and there are chunks cut off the edge where the saw was sharp and the board was clamped too close to the tabletop.

When we worked with Dad at his workbench, we learned about measuring
and cutting and teamwork and life.

I always liked this desk. I like the strong, graceful turn of the legs,
and all the memories piled up in it.

I was mighty happy when he said I could have it!!
I mean really, mighty happy!

This afternoon I was refinishing it outdoors at my house.

I didn't take a good "before" picture of the whole thing, but here you can get an idea of what the top looked like with paint spilled and holes drilled and the corner
sort of cut off at a little bit of a funny angle.

It's had quite a history!

Here is the section of the top that I worked on already. The cuts and scratches still show, but the beautiful grain is beginning to shine through. Some of the paint splashes came off, but some were untouched by the refinisher I was using. I love that it still looks rough, used, and laden with rich, sweet stories, yet is much cleaner and just a little bit smoothed out.

But just a little bit.

Isn't it a pretty shape? I've always loved it!


It is going to be my new writing desk!

I am excited!

Eventually, today's strong winds put a stop to my progress. The refinisher was evaporating too fast. I got the first step done, and I am going back to finish it later, when the wind dies down.

(This is another post related to:
just so you know.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Birthday Happiness

(adding to my list of joys and thank yous)

392. So many friends wishing me a Happy Birthday on Facebook!!

393. Husband taking me out shopping for a birthday treat.

394. A surprise party given me by my wonderful family.

395. Birthday cheesecake! With chocolate drizzled over the top. And raspberries. Yes, indeed!

396. The fact that they put the right number of candles on that thing! Wow!

397. Blowing all the candles out in one breath! (So... I get my wish then, right?)

398. Ribbon streamers hanging from the ceiling!

399. Balloons! (I like balloons.)

400. Being surrounded by tiny girls wishing me "Hoppy Booday".

401. Birthday coupons, such as...

402. Free Birthday Coffee! And...

403. Free Birthday Ice Cream! And...

404. Free Birthday Dinner Entree!

405. Celebrating my birthday for days, weeks, as long as I want!

406. "Belated" birthday greetings, otherwise known as "extended" birthday greetings!

406. Friends who tolerate my endless celebration.
They even encourage this nonsense! I have such great friends!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Right Here

Right here, I sit and write, and wonder whether I ought to be doing something else.
Like laundry.
Or dishes.
Or at least supervising those types of things...
Out there.
I do have responsibilities after all.
But I remember what I heard today...
that creativity is a thing to be used and nurtured.
So I sit,
Determined to continue sitting,
Right here,
Under the big round mirror,
Where the yellow chair is comfortable sometimes,
Bitingly uncomfortable at other times,
Where the laptop is all mine
And I can write
Or edit pictures.
To my heart's content.
I can create.
And it does make my heart content!
Right here
In my yellow room,
Where sunshine comes in softly,
comfortable and inspiring.
Where the antique bed stands ready in case of guests,
But right now empty,
Freeing this room for me to play,
To nurture the creative,
Under its friendly gaze...
In this room,
Right here.


(in response to the suggestion at )

By the Campfire

- Star Flower -
Full moon rising over her shoulder
She sits by the fire, her long braids hanging.
Moonlight and firelight shine
On my beautiful daughter.



Beautiful place! Near the junction of two slow-moving rivers, on an island... we had the place practically to ourselves.

The morning sun rising behind my sweet daughter helping with her little nephew Caleb.

Sweet Abigail in the morning.

Breakfast outdoors...
Hot coffee is the best first thing on a cool morning, sitting outdoors while the sausage cooks over the fire, eggs on the camp stove.

Watermelon at lunchtime!

Grandgirls everywhere!

Husband and son lumberjacking together, felling a dead tree for firewood. I love seeing the strength in them both.

Turns out I loved the boat!

I loved the feel of flying over the water, with the breeze blowing in my face, and the occasional cool spray on my skin.
I loved it when we went back over our wake, making our boat rise and fall in the water.
I loved seeing the beauty on both sides of me - the trees, the sand, the green, the cloudless blue above.
I loved seeing the bald eagle flying to the top of a tree and the swans on the water, and the egrets standing on long legs.
It made me laugh right out loud for the sheer joy of it all.
I loved the boat rides!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Solace and jazz

Today was busy
almost frantic
and solace was hard to find.
I sat and calmed
but only a minute -
quiet was hard to find.
I took a nap but even then,
peace ran right away.
I wanted solace but couldn't grasp it,
until tonight, when
I found some smooth, sweet jazz, and drank it down
with a cup of hot tea,
a speck of sugar, and milk.

(this post is in response to a suggestion at
who I only just recently discovered.
You should go visit!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weary, but usable

I feel tired. Weary.
I was starting do feel pretty discouraged in this state,
feeling like I couldn't accomplish anything, and like everything was huge and tragic,
until I remembered that those times that I am useful,
it is not because I have strength, or energy, or beauty, or brains.
I am useful to God, free to do great things, free to help change the world,
when I am just willing to be useful.

If I am willing, He will do great things through me, regardless of how I feel.


And when the difficult times come along,
I consider that if He is allowing these days, then He must be preparing me for something great. Something with a good that is bigger than this bad day is bad.
Because that is how God is.

And I am encouraged.
Still tired, and still weary, and still feeling too small for the day ahead. But confident that how I feel does not limit God and what he can do through me, if I choose to be usable.

2 Corinthians 12:10 - Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bird Accomplishment!

The babies have learned to fly! Fat, feathered babies crowded into the nest so full of them that I thought they would fall out (how DO they sleep at night!) and finally they are flying.

The air over the back yard filled with birds they day they learned. It seemed the entire barn swallow community came to celebrate, to show them how it should be done, this flying business.

One bird stayed behind that day, huddled in the nest, watching. Noone bothered him. The next day or so, he was out there in the sky, indistinguishable from the others making circles in the air.

Each one learns at his own pace. Even in the bird world.

Monday, August 9, 2010

August Pleasures

383. second round of baby birds (the first, of course, was in the spring), squeezed tight in their little nest waiting for dinner to be delivered, clamoring in high pitched baby voices when it comes.

384. my birthday... all month! Claiming every celebration as my own!

385. basil and mint growing friendly together

386. hearing fireworks, from somewhere, celebrating something. I don't even know what... but isn't it fun to know someone, somewhere is celebrating?

387. Sunday night, family watching a movie all together

388. Hot temperatures calming down. Opening up my house to feel breezes again.

389. cicadas singing loud hot songs on long hot days

390. planning a party! for a beloved son who has earned it.

391. being proud of my kids in a mom sort of way, not proud of myself, but thrilled at the good qualities I see growing in them. I like these kids of mine!

Rainy morning pleasures

371. slow, gentle rain

372. raindrops gathering in puddles on the glass

373. or gathering in little rivulets and running down together

374. thirsty flowers happy

375. mist rising behind the trees across the valley

376. stone path shining wet

377. driving through a puddle and splashing water high, like an upsidedown waterfall spraying all over... and then being glad the brakes still work afterward

378. going out to breakfast with husband on a wet, drippy, dark, comfy morning

379. Eggs done just the way I like them, with fried potatoes perfectly crispy around the edges, and just right in the middle. (and having them cooked for me.)

379. coffee with cream, because I can. Just this once. Probably.

380. thunder... and even a little lightning

381. getting wet and not caring, even if it makes me cold. It is so good to actually feel the rain once in a while

382. tiny crystal raindrops hanging, sparkling ornaments everywhere. The whole world is decorated now.

Can you see them? Fuzzy in the photo, but crystal clear in real life, just imagine!

There is so much beauty everywhere, and so often I don't see it...
I have to choose where to focus.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day at the Zoo

Yesterday, Husband was handling some paperwork here, and came to a question regarding our membership at the zoo. He called to talk to someone about it, who answered his question and then told him about all the cool things at the zoo this summer. By the time he got off the phone, he had decided we all should go to the zoo for the day!

Spontaneity rules the day!

We had a great time.

This is Mighty Mike, the zoo's huge new alligator. He was a nuisance alligator in Florida. The man who caught him (I'd love to hear that story!) was so impressed with him that instead of putting him down, he worked and worked until he found a place that would take him. Our zoo was wishing for an alligator, so it was a perfect fit!

Mighty Mike is said to weigh at least 500 pounds, and is somewhere around 15 feet long. They keep him separated from the other alligators, because given the chance he would eat them.

Husband was pretty impressed with the size of that alligator!

We all enjoyed the zoo. I enjoyed watching my children.

The flamingos were pretty cool.

(Ok, these are not flamingos, are they... but I don't know their names. Are they storks? Pelicans? I think they might be pelicans.)

They were looking at the Bald Eagles when they noticed a lost pacifier in the enclosure.
We laughed about that, imagining the scene when it happened.

One of the zoo's special attractions this summer is a Monarch exhibit.

They will release these butterflies in the fall so they can migrate.... so pretty!

I liked the turtles.

I think turtles are cool anyway.

These are my kids.

And this is my husband, who is pretty handsome, I think.

But I am not related to this guy...

He was just chillin' on this hot day.

Yeah, it was a good day.

I'm so glad Husband thought of it!