Thursday, March 29, 2012


When I wanted to be in a community group to read the Bible and connect with others who craved God’s Word, God brought me to 66 Books.

When I continued to crave deeper, interpersonal connections around me, God moved our family here–out of a neighborhood and into the woods! We don’t just bump into a neighbor walking by–all of our interactions are intentional, inviting others to be in our lives.

God quite regularly causes me to think outside the box. I had my own ideas of what honoring God might look like, but He has shown me how to do it with my life.

Writing today at 66 Books

Monday, March 26, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (2782-2811)

big bundles of kindling wood
a first bonfire on a Friday night
marshmallows to roast
barefoot kids

blooming daffodils, tulips and hyacinths
blossoming cherry and apple trees
meeting a new neighbor while dressed in snake stompers and a do-rag
t-bar supports to hang ceiling drywall
burgers and chicken on the grill

a medieval summer reading list
cold water in the fridge
frog parties in the backyard
cardinal courting songs
library trips

a piano waltz
flower earrings on little ears
a Saturday morning sleep-in with my girl
thunder sounding
hard rains against the roof

primrose relocated by a bench
stepping stones
warm temperatures
dinner with friends at Panera

a card in the mail from a treasured friend
a hard head
Dad and Linda visiting
her kind call later
the work of joy

a muck rake

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Erin climbs into the middle of the bed this morning. Snuggles in close. I wake later than usual alongside her, letting the morning tick away. Thinking of a Friday night bonfire in the backyard. Thinking of roasted marshmallows and frog serenades and barefeet and peach wine. Thinking of friends over and family. Listening to rain outside the window. Even thunder.
Erin wakes. I pick her up to head to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee.

"You grew last night," I say. I'm not kidding. She feels another year older in my arms. "You're longer. You feel bigger. You're all five wearing a six and you feel like a six in my arms."

I step on creaky steps one at a time, slow and awkward.

"You feel like you're one hundred," she says.


Rainy day and chilly. I took Lanie to her modern dance class this afternoon. She is happy to go and show friends her earrings. I wait a few minutes until the class starts up. A woman chats me with a little ballerina in tow.

"What class is this?" she asks, raising the little one to the one-way glass to see the dancers inside.

"Modern," I say.

"It's not ballet," she explains to the little one in her tutu. She looks to be grandmotherly. I watch them get ready. Grandma puts on a red jacket and I see the back of it, white lettering announcing "The Red Coconut Club" from someplace in Florida. It's probably much warmer there than where we are today.

"You're a long way from The Red Coconut Club," I remark.

"It was my father's jacket," she explains. "He spent winter months in Florida in an RV. He passed away last year. I kept his jacket."

I smile at her, warmly, as I am moved. This woman, a grandmother, toting grandchild to class, wrapped in her father's memory on a cold, rainy day.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The illusion of time

I think some people have a sense about time, maybe women more so than men just because of our cyclical nature, the ebb and flow of life rhythms. March days brought a sense of remembrance. Shane's dad died a year ago, and Friday I asked him if he remembered the date. Searching the archives here, I found it on March 18.

A year later, sunny days, warmer temps, budding trees, flowers blossoming. We had on short-sleeve tops and capris, flip flops. But last year, cold temps and drizzle, a snow dusting, and a long-lingering sadness.

"Has it been a year?" he asked. "It doesn't seem that long ago."

"No?" I wondered. And I thought about the illusion of time. My children's baby faces, seem just like yesterday; little pudgy cheeks giving way to growing up; favorite outfits packed away year after year for my own keepsakes of theirs so I can remember what little was like.

Reading history books of life a couple hundred years ago, not so long past, but another time's frozen forever. Vapor.

And only last summer's breezes against my skin, swinging in sunshine and trying to bottle all that was good into the moment, big and full. Remember how the sun felt. Remember how the breeze blew. Remember the shade of sky. Those moments, those moments, holding on tightly.

That I could grasp at temperature and color and the panting breath of children, yet other years packed up and nearly forgotten. Some memories like a lifetime ago. Others like just yesterday. This illusion of time.

With a pen

I remember a college day, sitting in the hallway waiting for a class to start, book opened and nose buried. My professor walked by and commented, "Mademoiselle, il faut lire avec un stylo."

That has always stayed with me.

Writing today at 66 Books.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First day of spring

When I was eight years old, my mom took me to get my ears pierced. I told Lanie about it as she grew year to year, but when she was eight she didn't want to get them pierced. Exposure to friends and their fabulous earring collections started to work on her, and she announced last fall that she was interested. I told her we'd get them done in the spring. We even set the first day of spring as our date. That's today.

When Erin heard Lanie's excitement as weeks turned to just days away, she wanted her ears pierced too. We went off to the mall today with a friend and Erin climbed first into the big chair at Claire's. She picked out a rainbow-colored flower. Lanie selected a purplish-blue flower. (I expected she'd want the peace signs, but no.)

Erin was sad she forgot her beloved Noonoo at home, so asked if I would be her Noonoo and I said yes and held her hand. Disinfecting, marking ears, explanations and loading the piercing device. I held her hand and as the store manager prepared to pull the trigger I held my breath and smiled. Erin howled. Big teardrops fell on my hands and I was sad for her. She didn't want the other one done. Christy pulled out M&Ms, and the store manager offered a lollipop. It was a rough few minutes, but she got the other side done.

At Lanie's turn, she climbed into the big chair. Disinfecting, marking ears, explanations, etc. I held her hand. She sat quietly and waited.

Christy said, "By the time I get to three it will be all over. One ..."



I looked at Lanie, trying to read her expression. Not a word. Not a clue. She sat and waited for the other ear to be done. The party explodes in her imagination. I knew I would hear all about it after she thought it through.

Afterwards, I hugged her and whispered into her ear you were a brave girl! Little brave moments that prepare us for life's call to big brave moments.

"Lanie, you look so beautiful!" from Erin. We had a mall lunch, and a special stop by Dairy Queen for mini blizzards. Erin stood next to me in line and said of ear piercing, "I would never do that to my kids!"

But at home, both admiring their jewel-tipped ears and talking about the kinds of earrings they'd like in the future. Each excited to show friends. Amazed at the now lack of pain.

Lanie sitting across from me at the table working on spelling and touching her ear, eyes all glowy and a big smile on her face, "I always wanted earrings." And then the happy chatter of her experience.

This little milestone done, justlikethat.

It goes so fast.

Monday, March 19, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (2754-2781)

a chorus of frogs in the night, so loud I wondered if I could fall asleep
how they made me laugh

nightsong in the woods
daffodils in a row
heavy rocks
oatmeal in a mug

Erin's serenade to a mom (me!)
how their hands are still small
recessed lights in
a garden tilled and prepped for planting
how my back hurt from a full day's work

cold water
a glider bench in the garden
buds on trees
frogs in the pool
girls hunting them down before the (frogs') pool party started

inflatables at a 9-year-old's birthday party
lavender cupcakes
with sprinkles
bumper cars
peach wine

Erin walking the rock border of the garden
Lanie's laugh
the opportunities to serve at a great church
being part of something way bigger than myself
copper in the hills

His promises and love
that He can make what's broken work

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Extreme gardening

We hauled a truck load of rocks home this morning. Placed them around the garden to border it. Big rocks. Good work. Shane went into the house to finish working on the school room, putting recessed lights in. I put on the long gloves and grabbed all my tools to start working the ground. I have a row of bushes to plant along the driveway. Digging plants up, turning the soil, removing weed barrier where new plants will go later this week, replanting five azalea bushes along a woodland border. Worked hours and hours.

Shane mentioned how he remembers doing jobs around the other house and how he used to think that was work! This place, it's changing us.

"I used to have an 8 x 8 garden bed--I pulled maybe five weeds a summer. Now I'm deep in extreme gardening," I laughed.

I cannot wait to get under covers and let my head hit the pillow tonight. Shane told me to take it easy this week since we're putting up the ceiling next weekend. Still, hit by this great weather, I want to be outside getting things in order so we can enjoy it this summer.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Post title

Sometimes the things that are for my good don't feel good at all. Not one bit.

Over oatmeal, I'm confronted with this: that complaints don't add an ounce of beauty to anything--not to the speaker, the hearer, or this world.

Writing today at 66 Books.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


There's a lovely sunset picture on the desktop of my computer, someone's stock photography. Erin helped me pick it out when I got the computer. Beautiful lavender flowers in the foreground. Mountains in the background. Ponds and golden light. She loves when I start up the computer, loves to look at such a pretty picture.

"Wouldn't you like to go there some day, Mama?" she asked me tonight.

"I would. But I don't know where it is," I said.

"It's probably at the end of the earth," she said.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dinner tonight

This has become my new default favorite. I throw down some olive oil and freshly grated pepper on a plate with sliced baguette to snack while the sauce simmers. Yum.

Chicken, pasta and olives

olive oil
1/2 red onion diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can diced tomatoes
assorted olives, pitted and roughly chopped (love the olive bar for this!)
1/3 cup cream sherry (or a white wine if you prefer)
2 chicken breasts (or if you're out like me, four skinless thighs)
salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese

Pour just enough oil to lightly coat the skillet, about 1 tb. Heat on medium, add onion. Chat on the phone for a few minutes while it cooks, and mince up the garlic. Then add that. When everything smells good, add the chicken and get it going. After a few more minutes, flip the chicken, add tomatoes, olives, sherry. Check Facebook. Send out 2-3 emails. Blog about something. Get the water boiling for the linguine and cook according to package directions. Simmer the other stuff, at least 20-25 minutes total.

Serve it up.

Feeds 2 adults, a nine year old, and a finicky five year old.

One thousand gifts and still counting (2727-2753)

for a boyish smile and eager help cutting branches from the cherry tree (Joel)
blueberry bushes along the fence line
warmer temperatures
endurance in the garden

breakfast with a bestie and her daughter
a lovely note in my inbox and delicious smells of friendship
kids' laughter
working side by side with Shane
a hug from Theresa

bike streamers sparkling in sunlight
Erin dancing on rocks in the garden
azaleas to relocate
a new path to mark
this house in spring (so many garden surprises to witness for the first time)

a compliment from Linda, a salve for this heart
words in a song, redeemed and free--hit home in a new way after a Thursday post on 66 Books
a chat with an old neighbor
hugs from another former neighbor
a new book to read

Toccatina on the piano, her song for the spring recital
chicken salad sandwiches delivered by a friend
honesty in quiet morning
a good shovel
cupcakes with sprinkles

being outside the box
turning sorrow to joy

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


When our former house was being built, we were there weekly to watch the progress. Shane snagged a picture of me writing inscription on the wall. I reminisced over that packing up last summer. Buying an older house, I didn't expect to have the opportunity to do that again. I cherished that memory of once upon a time.

But some walls were meant to come down. Shane hated the school room from day one. Wood panel. Bulky ceiling beams. We tore it all down the other weekend. And to my delight, I was surrounded by bones to this house. Wood studs and rafters, waiting for us to write our story--and so we did.

Happy to be home.

God bless our home.

God provides.

Our names in red Sharpie on the door frame.

Walnut trees, apple trees, a reading nook, a captain's bell, dogwoods, wild raspberries, tulips, a room with a view, sky-scraping pines, a long driveway, a woodland awning, a tree (and a fence) for kids to climb, inscriptions ... thanks fills my eyes.

When Joel showed up in our driveway yesterday, I went out to greet him.

"Are you still happy you're here?" he asked.

"Yes," I said.

We walked around the property, looking at trees and talking. His face full of warmth, he said, "I feel really good that you bought this house."

His story written here. And now ours. A house that seemed meant for children's laughter. And joy. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (2693-2726)

Erin calling out, "We're home!" as we pull onto our street
Lanie singing along with the radio
an extra day

popsicles for fevers
cough drops
a new piano book
how her fingers fly
dust mops

insulation in the walls
laundry to fold
a nighttime grocery run with Lanie
chili powder
hot water

bright-feathered birds on nearby branches
birdsong in the air
a purple blossom
big buds on the rhododendrons
laughing with Shane

sore muscles
an extra shovel, since I broke one
an apple tree to climb
a neighbor dog named Ziggy
a pole saw

Bob (and his garden assistance and tips!)
drywall stacked to hang
friends to pick up Lanie
an impromptu dinner
a big pot chicken tortilla soup

sweet wine
easy conversation
girls at play
how I missed them when they left
for walls up

and walls coming down

Thursday, March 1, 2012


When Shane first got me a smartphone a while ago, I set the ringtone to something tinkling and pretty. I kept missing the calls because I hadn't discerned the ring from other noises throughout the day. This became problematic when mine was the first number to call to announce a house showing. So I changed the ringtone from "jazz" to "alarm". And it is alarming. Even after we moved, I was conditioned to it and left it as is.

All of us at the dinner table last night. My cell phone rang.

"House showing!" Shane announced.

Seems like that was a lifetime ago.

It was, and it wasn't.


When I hit publish, Wordpress offered me this little tidbit:

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own. --Carol Burnett

And I smiled, knowing all too well, words have a life of their own. What do the words you speak say about you? 

(Perhaps silence says more.)

Writing today at 66 Books.