Monday, December 30, 2013

"Saving Mr. Banks"

My family and I went to the movies.  The 3 of them went to The Hobbit,  and I went to Saving Mr. Banks.  I think I saw the better movie!
It was so good, I had to take my husband a 2nd time to see it. 
This time I brought my journal.  Yep...wrote in the dark!  Hard, but not impossible.  The first time I saw it, I cried and was just way into the characters.   I kept telling myself, "I'll remember that line."  Of course, as soon as I got home, I had forgotten all that was said.
My husband just knows that I need my journal.  There are just some things that one simply has to write down, and some of these lines in the movie are just epic. 

Mary Poppins is just so English.  Classic. 

Helen Goff.   The author.  She wrote under the pen name PL Travers. 
What an imagination she had.  I read she was 96 when she died.  She seemed to have quite a life.  Made Walt Disney work for the rights to her story!  I will say that she got into her characters.  Her characters became her family.  An author who writes well, does that.  Makes their characters actually come alive.    Seem real. 

In the movie, PL Travers was real.  I rooted for her and for  "Ginte", the driver, the mother.  They will stick with me for days.  Weeks maybe.  It was just a well done movie. 

There is theme, and story question, and lies that she believes.  Emotion and dark moment, disappointments and epiphany! 
This movie is a must see! 

Have you seen it?  What did you think?

Thursday, December 26, 2013


A long day at work done, I was looking forward to picking up the pizza and begin celebrating this season of wonder with my family.  Having already figured out which ingredients I wanted, I ambled up to the register and placed my order. 

Casing my "suitcase" (my family much prefers the term to purse!)  quickly, I wasn't seeing it.   With a line starting to grow, I dug a little deeper.  Out came my notebook, coupon holder, hand lotion, lip balm,  but no wallet.  Spotting a $20 bill in a side pocket, I paid the fee for the pizza and made a beeline for my car. 
My day was about to get longer.
I rehearsed the entire day in my mind over and over on the long ride home.  I knew I had my wallet at the beginning of the day. 
Thinking maybe I had left it at home, I ran inside my home frantically hoping that was the case.  Bolting from room to room, no wallet could be found.   During this freaking out time,  I heard it. 

Beeps.  Annoying beeps coming from my answering machine.  The irritation got to me and so I pushed the button.  Playing back to me  was this haunting voice.  My fears had been confirmed. 
"We think there is fraudulent activity on your account.  Please call us back ASAP."  Sweat immediately dripped from my forehead and pooled in my armpits!  My head was spinning as the next message played nearly the same memo.
My wallet was stolen and someone was going to have a Merry Christmas at my expense. 

I am still astounded at the amount of money that was spent in such a short amount of time.  I can't even do that much damage in a whole day.   
I spent most of Friday night closing accounts and figuring out what was in my wallet. 
I have had to go to the DMV and apply for a new license, make police reports, and I have cried at the loss of a picture of my father that can't be replaced.  It was a favorite picture of him because it showed so well his personality.   My dad died 14 years ago.
I am praying by some miracle that my wallet will be found and I can get that irreplaceable picture back.  The police have been wonderful, but wisely have told me the odds of getting it back are not good.  It simply would be that...a miracle. 
I do believe in miracles and hope to maybe write sometime that indeed it was found. 
I have had a few sleepless nights as I have allowed fear to overwhelm me. 

We had a very Merry Christmas.  I wasn't going to let them take that too.  Slowly, I am putting a new wallet together.  My kids found the exact one that I had before online.  I cried when they gave it to me for my gift this year.  They were perusing the internet right away on Friday night.  
I have much to be thankful for.  I actually feel sorry for those who stole my wallet.  What a life of desperation they must lead to resort to stealing. 

Have any of you ever had your wallet stolen?  

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas tradition...A Christmas Carol. 

We are all familiar with the story. 
Written by Charles Dickens.  Born on February 7, 1812 in the UK. 
He started writing the story in September of 1843 and completed it in six weeks.  The book was then published on December 17, 1843. 
A story of a bitter old man.  Ebenezer Scrooge.  He gets visits from Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. 

Here are a few quotes from Charles Dickens...

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  I will live in the past, the Present, and the Future.  The spirits of all three shall strive within me.  I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!"                                  

""Bah," said Scrooge, "Humbug."

"God bless us, every one!"
Here is a link to the Disney preview of the movie A Christmas Carol from a few years ago.  Definitely worth a repeat viewing this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas.                                                   

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"How are you?"

"How are you?"




Sound familiar?
This "conversation" is spoken countless times during the course of one day. 
From the drive up window in the morning, to the cashier at the grocery store at the end of a long day, these 6 words pretty much sums up "small talk."

This week I asked someone those words, "How are you?" and got an altogether different response.  One that threw me off guard.  Looking  at  me with such depth, such pain,   I swear I saw inside her soul.  As if  daring me to blink, she held my stare and drew me in with the tear rolling down her cheek. 
She had my attention. 
In the minutes that followed, I learned of a mother's pain with a wayward child.  Honestly, this person is "just" an acquaintance, but she took a chance that I might listen and answered my question in a very real way.   Desperate to have someone understand, she needed to be heard. 

 I can still see those weary eyes as I sit here alone in my thoughts. 
What power in those three little words.  Even more to just simply listen. 


Monday, December 16, 2013

The movie The Holiday

The Holiday is a movie about two women who switch houses around the holidays.  One goes to California and one goes to England. 

The best scenes in the movie, in my opinion of course, are the ones with "Arthur Abbott."  He is the older gentleman who "was" a script writer during the Golden Age in Hollywood.  He helps one of the characters (Iris) get some "gumption." 

Parts of the movie were filmed in Shere, Surrey, England UK.
We went there!  How fun to watch a movie and say, "I've seen that!"
This is the grounds where Rose Cottage--the home of Iris---used to be. 
Towards the beginning of the movie, there are some shots of this church.  It is St James Church right there in the middle of the town. 
Some quick shots are taken in the movie of this pub, The White Horse.
What movies have you seen where you have been able to actually go to where it was filmed?

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Fear of the unknown.
It has a way of taking up residence in my mind and filling my head with ridiculous scenarios.
How ridiculous you ask?  Well, here is one synopsis in taking a trip.  

What if?

We sleep through the alarm and don't make it to the airport in time.
The car doesn't start because it is -12 degrees.
We get into an accident on the way.
Our house goes up in flames while we are gone.
Someone in our family dies while we are gone.
One of us slips on  ice while departing our vehicle at the passenger drop off site.

(I'm not even in the airport yet!  It gets better! )

One of us gets stopped while going through security and we miss our flight because of it.
We forgot to check the expiration date on our passports and can't get back in to the USA.
The kid in the seat behind us throws up...(you get the picture!)
The flight is delayed and we are stuck in the airport for 3 days.

We get picked to have our person and our bags checked in customs.
We drink the water in Mexico and get sick.
We swim in the ocean and with a quick wave, we are swept out to sea
Drug dealers swarm our hotel and take all of us hostage.
The sun burns our skin because we fell asleep in our chairs by the pool.
We don't understand pesos and give our waiter half our cash.

Whew!  Fears.  They start with just a thought, and the seed grows and pretty soon I am illogical.  As I read through the "what ifs," they are absurd.  Wacky!

 I actually visited the idea of  bailing out and just stay home.  Oh the mistake that would have been.

I get to spend time with my husband seeing things for the first time together.  
Look out into the ocean daily from our room.  
God simply said it, and there is this colossal body of water.  Beautiful.
The drinking  water is just fine.  
Spend time with some really awesome friends who laugh at my worries and whose glass is constantly full and overflowing.  
It is just about 92 degrees warmer here than from where I left! 

I met the most wonderful lady who cooked for Yvonne and I yesterday.  We were in her home. We drove ( not us, the driver!)  through Mexican neighborhoods to get there, complete with bars on some windows and I was not one bit afraid!  Imagine that!  I got out of the van and was welcomed by Claudia, who appeared through a red door.  I loved that door!  Hugs ensued as we padded through her walkway to the inside of her home.  Such generous hospitality.  We were given Mexican coffee and what tasted like churros as we gathered in her sitting room.  We laughed and learned so much about her country.  She was so proud of her heritage.  Tamales, beans, rice, salsa were all on the menu.  I think I can even make it when I get back home.  The tree was up, the nativity scene in place, and the table set so ornate.  We were her guests.

 I would have missed out on such bliss had I let fear consume me.  None of us knows what each day will bring.  This one brought me another day closer to my friend Yvonne.  I am overjoyed I took the risk.





Monday, December 9, 2013

English breakfast

This is a typical English breakfast, minus the mushrooms!  I must have already eaten the mushrooms before I took the picture!  Yum.  Mushrooms are my favorite.  Usually the tea in my cup each morning was English Breakfast!  I make it daily in my tea maker here each morning!  Cream and sugar make it such a treat. 
It was pure joy to be served each morning with a cup of tea and delightful conversation with our innkeepers. 

What is your favorite tea?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cancel Christmas?

While driving into work yesterday,  I was channel surfing.  (The drive was pretty treacherous. Snow was falling, cars were going in the ditch, should have had both hands on the wheel...what is that called?  Oh yeah...inattentive driving)...Anyway....   

I heard the words "cancel" and "Christmas" and thought, "Hmmm...this could be interesting" so I took my finger off the dial and tuned in.

A woman called in to the station venting about her dilemma.    Her husband had had it with their  9-14 year old kids "being naughty" and basically said, "that's it, I'm cancelling Christmas."  He proceeded to take down the tree and the decorations, much to his household's stunned disbelief.     

My first thought was "what an idiot parent."  Seriously.  Who does that?  Nothing like scarring your child for life.  In a writer's life that would be called your "dark moment from the past."  Cancelling Christmas would definitely qualify!  That dark place in time when something happened that you just can't get past.  This would be it!  No tree, no presents, no Santa.  Being a parent myself,   I was rooting for those kids!
I found myself unleashing my outrage like a raving lunatic only to realize that no one was listening.  (thank goodness!)
The radio announcer encouraged the audience to chime in with their advice to this woman.  "This ought to be good," I howled out loud. 

Many called in and  told of tales in their own lives of how they dealt with "naughty kids" this time of year.
One told of having put  presents under the tree.  Whenever their child displayed disobedience, he was told to go and pick out a present under the tree and unwrap it.  The gift was then taken away from him,and given to a child in need.
Numerous callers told of giving their juvenile coal in their stocking citing the Christmas Carol "he knows when you've been bad or good...."

I giggled as I pulled in to my office parking lot.  Sliding into a space, I parked my car and gathered my things.  Getting out of my car, I trudged through the snow, and up the stairs to start my day.  I couldn't seem to get that drive time conversation out of my head. 
Could it be that father wanted his kids to understand what Christmas really means?  Their fighting just made him realize they weren't getting it?
Peace and "Joy to the World" were being strangled by food fights and hair pulling.
He probably questioned, "this is my child?" whenever he heard, "What child is this?"

If getting his children to comprehend that Christmas is about giving and not getting, about a Savior who is Christ the Lord, then I am all for his proclamation.  

Monday, December 2, 2013


Having just eaten my share of turkey, I thought it appropriate to talk of beefeaters! 
 The real name for this gentleman is Yeoman Warder.  This is not just a costume, but actually is a pretty big deal over there across the pond.  It is an honor to be a Yeoman Warder.

  A few facts about a Yeoman Warder:         One must be passionate about history.  After all, one of their "jobs" is to guard the Tower of London.  It is old.  Really old.  Like 1100s old.  That's old.       
       Next, they must love the public.  It can't be easy to love us.  Especially when we ask questions such as "Are the jewels real?" or "Did people really die here?"  Yep, they did.  Including Queen Anne,  but that is for another post.   
                      In theory,  they are to guard the Tower and also be sure that the jewels are safe.  Practically, they are tour guides who know the story of the Tower of London like the back of their hand.  They are quite funny and really tell great tales.  
Each must have served at least 22 years in the Armed Forces of Common Wealth Realms and also hold the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.   I learned so much during the hour tour.  There are ravens at the Tower of London.  Seven.  (Six and also a spare!)  The story goes that if they go awol, the Kingdom and the Tower will crumble.  Hmmmmmm..... Their wings are clipped just to be sure!  The Yeoman Warder also has a red dress uniform that they wear for special occasions.  It costs around 6000 pounds (that is about $9800 US dollars!) each.  Most days, the above picture of their blue "undress" uniform is what they wear! 
  Why are they called "beefeaters?"  The most likely explanation is that they were paid back in the day,  partly in salary with beef.  I think it is all in who you ask!   Maybe they just like beef?

Good question...Do any of you know the answer to why they are called beefeaters?                                

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Not Fair

An American flag sluggishly hangs at half mast in front of the fire station.

 The firefighter's death has caused "emotional mass casualties" among his company.
A haze of grief hangs in the air, causing a town to call on each other for mutual aid.    Indeed, all who knew him are fully involved in disbelief.   One day he is here, and days later a procession of fire engines carries his casket to his final resting place.
The frigid temps outside cannot begin to compare to the numbing the mourners are feeling on the inside.  Their hearts are broken.   This is not fair.

It is never fair when someone dies so unexpectedly.  Somehow it seems worse when it happens days before a holiday.  A wife and two very young adult boys are hurting.  A life changing event has taken place.  A heart attack took him.    I have thought and prayed of not much else these past days.  I am so sorry.   I wish you all of God's comfort in the seconds, and hours, and weeks, and months ahead.  You have a whole town ready to tend to you as you need.   It is so very obvious he was loved.  Take great comfort in that fact. 

 I think of those I will be with on this Thanksgiving day.   Those sitting on the chairs.  May we live and eat and laugh and make beautiful memories today.  Let us all  be grateful for this day. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Shopping at Harrods Department store

 Harrods is an appealing stop on the "must see" listing of sites to visit while in London.

With Black Friday right around the corner, it got me thinking about shopping.  Harrods is pretty luxurious.  They have a dress code.  I like that.  Recently I was in a coffee shop.  A girl, not more than 16,  walked in with very offensive attire.   If I were in a clothing store, I would have bought her some sweat pants...really.  Trust me.  She needed them.   She would have been asked to leave at Harrods.     
The Food Hall captivated me.  Food was brilliantly displayed in glass cases strategically placed, hooking those "just looking."  Before I knew it, I was buying a pound of truffles just because they hypnotized me with their gold wrapping! 
Smells wafting from Harrods many restaurants convinced us we were hungry even though we just ate.
Strolling through the jewelry and handbag departments, I felt like I was touring an art  exhibit.  Spotting a handbag I thought I might like, my eyes scanned the price tag.  Trying not to gasp out loud, I decided it best to keep moving and not touch a thing.  I watched in disbelief as a woman picked out a handbag and bought it right on the spot.  It fascinated me.  
The sounds of many languages could be heard throughout the store.  I tried to pick out German and Arabic, Spanish, and of course, English.  I am not sure any stores in America can compare to Harrods.  It was a rather unique experience. A memorial was also displayed showing a picture of Princess Diana and Dodi.  Dodi was the son of the owner of Harrods.  He was killed, along with Princess Diana, on that fateful day in August of 1997.
I saw a woman in Harrods.  To this day, she was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.  Interestingly, I only saw her eyes and her hands.  Her olive skin mesmerized both my husband and I.  I wanted to touch her but she was surrounded by men.  They looked important.  Probably her bodyguards.  Who was she?  I will never know.  But one thing I know.     I am convinced she is what Esther must have looked like from the bible.  Absolutely stunning.                      

Thursday, November 21, 2013

2 named Jack

Tomorrow (Nov. 22) marks the 50th anniversary in the deaths of CS Lewis and President John F Kennedy.  Both referred to as "Jack."
The first picture is of CS Lewis' gravesite.  (The one with the cross.)  The bottom, JFK. 
Each site very unlike the other...much like their lives.  Not much can be compared, except that they died on the same day.   CS Lewis quietly slipped away, 

These two had already lived and left their legacy before I was even born.
I have read many of CS Lewis' writings and was admittedly, very overwhelmed when I made the  pilgrimage to his gravesite.   A sign outside the churchyard  simply stating CS LEWIS GRAVE with an arrow pointing me in the direction, was my only clue  where to find it.  No eternal flame making it obvious.  Just a simple grave in the Holy Trinity churchyard.   With no one else around in the whole cemetery, I could take all the time I wanted to ponder who this man was.  It was quite meaningful for me.  So very peaceful.  I wish I could have met him in life.  I think we could have had great conversations about Aslan around a cup of tea.
      I have also been to the JFK gravesite.  I mean no disrespect whatsoever.  After all, JFK was our president.  But with so many people gathered  around the site, the clicking of cameras, and the expressions of grief, it was difficult to just reflect and be silent.  With this 50 year anniversary, it just begs the question...What will my legacy be?  How will people remember me?  How do I want them to remember me?  I wonder if these two men ever thought just how much people 50 years after their deaths still thought about them?  What if JFK wasn't assassinated?  Would he have lived to be 90?  And what would life have been like for CS Lewis if Joy had not died 4 years after they married?  I am thankful that CS Lewis did what he was called to do...write.  He wrote for future generations to learn and imagine and to think.            

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jane Austen fan

Pride and Prejudice.  Just the name makes me smile.  The era, England, tea, Mr. Darcy.  A true literary classic.  One of my favorite stories.  

Just  imagine Jane writing at her desk with a  quill pen and ink.  Such patience she must have had.  Ink blobs on the page, smearing her classic words.  I get frustrated when I lose a page,  because I keep forgetting to save my work as I type along on the keys of my computer.  The hours she must have spent penning Sense and Sensibility and Emma.  A literary genius indeed. 

I happened to see this video about Jane Austen fans and found it really neat!  Maybe because a writer friend is in it!  Julie is a historical romance author.  A very gifted writer. She is also so very kind and extremely humble.  Julie is in a pink gown toward the end of the video.   Enjoy.

Julie's website:
Julie has a new book launch  on December 12 at 7:00p.m.    If you are in the Twin Cities area, she will be signing books at the Har Mar Mall Barnes and Noble in Roseville MN. 

Which Jane Austen book is your favorite?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Care Packages

Recently I was asked if I have ever sent a package to my college age kids.   Hmmmm.  Do I just say "yes," or do I admit that I have sent more than I can even count?!  In fact, between the USPS and the UPS store, I'd say easily I could be walking around with a designer purse.  Or, maybe  a few outfits from Mall of America with how much I pay to send my babes love from home! 

"I've sent a few," I reply.  And then hope they don't ask, "What's a few?" 
"So, once a quarter, once a year, how many have you sent?"

"Well, I can't give an exact number, but on average for sure every two weeks," I respond. 

I must admit, I love the reactions!  "Are you kidding?" "That must cost a fortune."
My favorite..."Do they like it?"

"Do they like it?"  Getting a whole almond cake to themselves baked fresh, just for them, a few days before.
A handwritten note in their mother's handwriting, and not an email.
Chocolate chip cookies wrapped individually.  The chips are more like chunks!
Gift cards to Starbucks and Buffalo Wild Wings
Funky Chunky pretzels

Oh, I have no doubt...they love it.  Especially right around exam time.  I love it when they call and say, "I got your package."      It was especially wonderful when our son was away for the summer and was out of cellphone reach, and would call on the satellite phone sparingly.  The first words out of his mouth, "Hi mom I got your package."

PRICELESS FOR ME:   When they do return home, finding the letters I have written.    Opened and kept. 

What about you?  Do you send packages?  What do you put in them? 
Did you ever get any while you were away?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wells Cathedral

England is abundant with  history.  This cathedral holds many tales of bygone times.  A peaceful place, it is found in the County of Somerset, and in the City of Wells.    I remember stepping  in, and weeping.  The architecture is simply magnificent.  I had not seen anything like it.  What a gift to be a local, and be able to go there and be still with God.  Many sat in the pews in silent meditation.  Every place we wandered, I would  gaze up and down and left and right and still not see everything.  The details were high and low.  Arches and spires, a very famous clock that rings every hour, candles and carvings, stain glass and tombs.  Stories burst from every corner.  And the doors...opening one could lead down a secret passageway.  Kind of like walking through a wardrobe.      


Toothaches must have happened often while the cathedral was under construction.  Maybe inspiring this carving?  It is famously known as “toothache man.”  There are eleven like him throughout the cathedral.  Being in the dental field, I just had to take his picture!  Begs the question...what did they do  back then for an abscessed tooth?  What a great conversation piece!

This is a 40 second video.  You can hear my husband asking me what I think.  Hmmm…that is a loaded question.  I think England is a place full of legacy and much history, and I want to know it all!  We are in what is called the Chapter House.  One of many stately rooms in the cathedral. 

The sign intrigued me.  The thought of who ascended those steps made me ask all sorts of questions.  How did they get so worn?  Who walked those steps?  Did anyone fall?  Were they silent? 

Meet John and Yvonne.  They are full of life and graciousness.   We are fortunate to have them in our world.  While in England, we stayed in quaint bed and breakfasts, ate at some of the most unique pubs, and got to see what it is like to drive on the wrong side of the road from the safety of the backseat, all because of them.  Thanks for the memories.      

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Operation Christmas Child


Click on the video!

This is an excellent way to bring joy to a child.  Each year, our family makes  2 boxes.   We have had the privilege of going to the warehouse, preparing  the boxes for shipping.  If you ever get the chance...go!  Picture if you will, thousands of boxes piled to the ceiling, wrapped in every color of paper conceivable.  It looks a bit like the North Pole.  Lots of little elves busy wrapping, stuffing, making sure each box is "just right" for the little hands that will receive it.    I have often thought of what it must be like to be the ones delivering the boxes to remote villages in far off places, watching the children running to receive their gifts.  Wouldn't that be great?  That would be the most fun "job."

Ideas to put in the boxes include:  dolls, toy trucks, stuffed animals, balls, pens, pencils, washcloths, toothbrushes...the ideas are endless. 

A few things Samaritan's Purse asks not to go in the boxes:  war related items...toy guns, liquids, breakable items, chocolate.

Questions?  Go to
Have fun shopping. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday blogging--England

 I have decided that I need to keep myself disciplined in writing, and so I am doing Monday and Thursday blogs. 
Mondays are going to be about England...Thursdays are whatever my heart desires! 
England is my happy place.  I was so blessed to have been able to travel there with my husband and our very dear close friends,  John and Yvonne. 
We had the most wonderful time.  We would not have done, nor seen,  all that we did without having them as our traveling companions.  It remains some of the most wonderful memories of my life. 
Monday blogs about England are endless.  There are authors and bed and breakfasts, churches, gardens, oh I can't wait to relive it!
I thought it obvious to start with my favorite author...CS Lewis.  I love this quote (in the picture).    We all have dreams.  Do we dare to run after them?   I may fall on my face with this writing dream, but I am having fun so far!  Had I not tried, I would not have met the most wonderful people that God has put in my path.  They are incredible writers.  I am learning so much from them.   These pictures are from a pub in Oxford, England called the Eagle and Child.  This is where CS Lewis met with his friends known as "The Inklings."  As the plaque describes...this group met and discussed the books they were writing.  I am blessed to have my own "Inkling" group.  They are called MN NICE.  A group of amazing and extremely talented people who are taking me under their wing, of which I am so grateful. 
The link if you care to take a look 
10 facts about  CS Lewis:

Born Clive Staples Lewis on November 29, 1898
Brother : Warren Hamilton Lewis, his best friend
Mother died of cancer when he was 9 years old
Wrote many books, including the Screwtape Letters and the Chronicles of Narnia
Attended Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry, England
Married Joy Davidman in 1956
Joy died 4 years later from cancer
The movie "Shadowlands" is about their life
CS Lewis died the same day as President JFK...Nov. 22, 1963
On Nov. 22 of this year, CS Lewis will be honored in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey.  It will mark the 50 year anniversary of his death. 


Saturday, October 19, 2013

A different kind of "mouse"

That small little rodent.  You know the one.  BB looking eyes, disgusting tail, taunting us by leaving its "gifts" letting us know there is still a menace  in the area.  It all is enough to send me  screaming for the exits, never to return until all the cracks and holes are completely filled in, leaving absolutely no possibility of vulnerability whatsoever. 

Mouse, computers, blogs, viruses, face book, twitter, screens, UGH.  All these words petrify me.  Make a chill go up and down my spine.  I much prefer to handwrite a letter or talk on the phone to communicate with friends and family.  Many have asked, "when are you going to get on face book?"
Recently, I was reading a blog post (yep, I do go on the computer.  I know how to even turn one on!)  After all, I do have this blog site...Anyway....this person basically was saying that "like it or not, social media is here to stay.  If you are not on board, you will go away like the VHS tape."  OUCH!  Reality bites hard sometimes! 
What I am trying to communicate is that yes, I get it! 
I love to write and realize I need to be on social media!  It will happen....soon. 
I now have a domain site.  I even know what that means! 
I have someone helping me put a more desirable blog site together,  and will soon open up a face book page.

It is not up yet, but my site will be

I am a little...ok a lot....nervous about plugging in.  There is so much to learn.  BUT I am getting excited.  Just like going somewhere you have never been before,  and wonder what it will be like.  Will it be safe?, will I get lost?,  will I get burned?...the risks are, and will always be there. 
There will always be a "mouse" to make me scream and want to head for the hills.   

I love this quote by St Augustine---"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page."
I don't want to read just one page.  I want the whole book.

Enjoying the fall colors has inspired me.  Each bend in the road brings more brilliance.  The bushes  are ablaze with reds and oranges.  The trees are glowing with glorious bursts of  intense color.  There is a season for everything. 
It is time for me to get out there and enjoy what nature, and life, has to offer...even if a mouse gets in the way once in awhile.   

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


What a creepy feeling. 
Here I am minding my own business when out of the corner of my eye, there it is. 
Its little bb looking eyes staring at me, daring me to catch it. 
"Oh, don't worry you little rodent, I wouldn't touch you with a ten foot pole."
I don't know what is more creepy...the eyes or that long disgusting tail. 

It ran around my den, turning at each corner of the room.  It hid behind my bookshelf.  Ugh...the thought of that thing behind there is making my skin crawl. 
I YELL for my husband.  You would think something earth shattering happened.  To me, it did. 
This menacing little creature just wrecked my evening. 
I wasn't planning on playing mouse trap for the evening.  Right now, I would definitely settle for the children's game...hands down. 
Nor do I like the fact that now I have to disinfect  my den!
My husband shut the door and somehow (don't want to know) got the mouse.  He opened the door with a piece of paper between his finger and the tail of that nasty varmint.  Ick. 

He said to me, "you know that if there is one, there is more."
Great.  There goes sleep tonight. 

Bring on the mouse traps.  Tis the time of year. 


Saturday, September 21, 2013


Anticipation was getting the best of me so I had to make a phone call.
My order was taking too long. 

They normally send  my labels and other things I simply can't live without, in an efficient manner.    
It had been over a month. 

Making the phone call, I kindly stated that my order had not been received.   
"Kind" is not the word I would describe of the person on the other end of the line. 
I told of the fact that my bank statement told of my check being cashed, as she told me that simply could not be the case because I hadn't placed an order in months...hmmmm.

"I need to put you on hold," was quickly barked at me and before I knew it,  I was listening to elevator music interrupted every minute with the recorded message:  "we are experiencing more than normal traffic on our lines.  Someone will be with you momentarily."

After several moments and drifting somewhat into a haze due to the music being funneled into my ear, another voice appeared. 
No, "how are you? how can I help you?"  Just right to the facts maam. 
"I will need the date you say your bank cashed this check, your check number, and the amount."

Thank goodness for a fast wifi at my home!  I clicked it right away and gave the information.  I also stated that "there was a number on my check and would you like that."
As soon as I gave her that number, the voice changed.  Just like magic.  And instantaneously!  Wow.
She had to tell me that my order was in someone else's hands in Colorado.  Labels (pretty cute ones at that), and also some cards. 
Cards that the poor lady had to tell me were no longer available.

My dilemma. 
I could get nasty.

After all, they were late with my order, basically accused me that I could not have possibly even sent them an order, and now I am told that someone in Colorado has my cute labels with MY address on them...who would want that?...AND this person also got those cute cards that are no longer in stock!
I could ask for it all free for all the inconvenience.
Who knows what kind of day this person was having.  By the volume of phone calls, it was probably not a stellar day.  I could hear it in her voice that she was just waiting for me to start spewing obscenities her way,  and vomiting out ways that the company had failed. 

So, BETTER idea. 
Be nicer than I had to be. 
I chose a different set of cards...not near as good as the ones I had ordered...sigh...but they would do. 
I was told that this order would be rushed. 

I received this order yesterday. 
It was what I had ordered.  Nothing less, nothing more. 
But, I was reminded again of that person I had spoken to and hoped and prayed she was having a good day. 
I had a great memory too.  I could go about my day knowing that I did not contribute to that woman having a bad day.  Actually I hope I made it better by affirming to her that yes, the order was wrong, but it was indeed that..."just an order."  Labels and cards.  Is it worth getting bent out of shape for?

I think not.   




Monday, September 9, 2013


Had my eyes checked today.
It was my first time.
No good excuse.  Just never have gone in.

We walked into the building and to the nearest elevator.  A gentleman waited with Dale and I.  Funny how we are creatures of habit and walk into the elevator, turn, and face the doors. No talking, just looking at the doors in front of us, as if staring at them is going to make them open faster.  Kind of like waiting for water to boil.
Relieved, the doors open.  The gentleman states, "After you," to me.  Chivalry is still alive!

Entering the office, we are greeted by the front desk lady..."patient administrator."  I guess that sounds more professional than my label.
After giving insurance info and filling out forms, it was time for the visit.
Following the nurse into the exam room, questions were answered and the room went dim.
I was asked to read the line that i could most identify.  My perfection ways went into high gear and i was determined to read the most teensy line.
"Did i get it?"
"You did good," was her reply.
She proceeds to tell me that my eyes are going to be dilated for a few hours.
"What does that mean," was my query.

"The lights will be extra bright and going outside will be a challenge for your eyes," she stated.

"So, why is it that i am doing this?" i curiously asked.
"The dr needs to look in your eyes."
She then tells me, "I have to put these drops in your eyes now."
"What drops?" "and will it hurt my eyes?" I was getting panicked.

Made me think of patients in our office and their look of terror  when told they have decay on their tooth.
Teeth are one thing, but wow, these are my eyes.  I only have 2.  We have 32 teeth...28 if wisdom teeth are gone.
2 eyes.  These wonderfully made organs help me see. SEE.  That wonderful sense to gaze into my husband's eyes, and behold my children's faces, and spot eagles soaring in the skies, and be a leaf peeper in this brilliant, autumn season with the colors ablaze.

Whether i liked it or not, the drops were going in.    "Keep blinking, the sting will go away faster." I blinked as fast as a bird flaps its wings.
Soon the brightness intensified.  I had to wear sunglasses inside.  The dr soon entered.  I could barely see his face.
He ran some tests, and told me my vision was excellent...Really?  Not by side of things!
He did tell me that readers were in my future...the future is now buddy!  "I already have them."  I told him.

The miracle of sight.  I get to read and behold this great creation.  May i never again take that for granted.    

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"There's no place like home"

Turns out there was some validity in this mother's worries for her child being gone for 3 months in the last frontier land of Alaska.

As the stories unfold, I marvel at the protection of my son through the prayers to our Heavenly Father. He says, "there simply is no other explanation as to why I didn't, in the very least, get hurt."  

I skipped to the area in the airport where I would first lay eyes on him.  Dale kept his distance as I am not sure he wanted to be associated with me...I may have been carrying a certain bright yellow sign indicating the return of a certain SWEET BOY!

He did start smiling...I saw he came down the escalator.  He really did head straight into my arms.  I am not sure he wanted to claim me as I was jumping up and down, (with the sign mind you!...) declaring how much I missed him and just how happy I was to see him.
Hmmm...i think that was obvious!

"wow mom" was all he really said!

To baggage we went.  I don't recall him even getting his bags.  I just kept gazing at his new look.  He told me he was scruffy.
It won't last.  He wants it gone.
We walked through the airport, out in to the heat.  He had a long sleeved shirt on.  He came from 62 degrees.  "It's pretty hot here" as we stepped through the automatic doors.

What a blissful ride home, first stopping at Chipotle for him.  I have been intently hanging on his every word ever since!  The pictures take our breath away.

He is different.  More mature.  More insightful at what it means to "Carpe diem."
He made great friends, great connections, did great networking.    

Gotta run.  I just heard the sweetest words...."Hey mom...."

Monday, August 26, 2013

Susan Branch

I have found bliss.

I have been "traveling" to England on these hot days in August.

There is this whimsical website that if you love watercolor and writing and art and Martha's Vineyard and England...well, you must go to this website.

Just go!

I am reading this new book by Susan Branch.  It is to the right on her website.
It is called....

A FINE ROMANCE.  Falling in Love with the English Countryside.

I give myself an hour each day just to "walk" with the author through her trip to England.  It is her diary of her time there.  Lovely.  Just lovely.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Just a few more days

May 30 seems ages ago.

I have seen more photos and programs of grizzly bear and moose than I ever have before...
OR, is it just that I am much more conscious of those animals right now?

I think thats it!

We have had few conversations with our son throughout these months.  Alaska seems a million miles away.  No cellphone coverage, no internet, no nothing!  Just a few calls from the sat phone.

I heard his voice the other night.  We were booking a flight back to the lower 48.
He said, "be prepared.  I am scruffy and in need of a "real" hot shower."
I can't wait to watch him come through the airport and straight into my arms!  Hmmmm...that better happen!
I will smell him (just like I did when he was a baby!) and hug him and try not to squeeze him too much.  Sigh.

The countdown has begun.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


My son always had his answer.

Whenever anyone would ask him if he had a girlfriend, he would simply say, "Yep, she just doesn't know it yet!"

The beautiful Alyssa Hagen.

We fondly treasure the memory of this dear child of Doug and Cindy.

We remember.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wedding Anniversary

This is the year of weddings.  We have many to help celebrate.  Some we can make, others we toast from afar.
Today is our 25th.  Silver Anniversary.  Back in the day, I would go to these celebrations and wonder how they lasted that long, and the people seemed old to me.  25 years is a long time.  A long time to endure the snoring, and squeezing the toothpaste in the middle, and putting the toilet paper under instead of over..... AAaah marriage.  It has been a great thing for us!

Dale and I have discussed a lot about our day over these past weeks.

It was a hot day.  We were in love...didn't care what the weather was!  (still in love by the way!)
There were many to help us celebrate.
My dress was $190.  Most expensive thing about the day!  I wonder if i can still fit in it?
We had our reception in the church parlor. has a certain ring to it doesn't it?
My mother in law and her group of friends catered the food.  They made it all.  Can you even imagine that?
The cake was made by her too.  We "helped."  
We sure look goofy in some of the pictures.  It was still the 80s!
Poofy hair, mustache, silk flowers.  The cost of the whole day was seriously less than $1000.

We have had significant loss in those 25 years...all grandparents, all parents.  BUT...we have gained MUCH.  We have 2 awesome kids that weren't there to begin with, and now, we have them!

Kayla gave us a list today.
"25 reasons why I love you both and why I'm proud you are my parents. "
Won't list all 25, but here is a sample:

"you support mine and Mark's dreams and accept our faults."
"Mr Bean is someone that will make us all laugh no matter what the circumstance."  Gotta love Mr. Bean!
"advice from the both of you is always the best kind."  Boy..we have her snowed!!

We are blessed with health, and these 2 kids, and great friends and family.  We are eagerly anticipating what the next 25 will bring.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


There is this delectable corner of the world where all is tranquil.  Acres upon acre of the ripest, bluest, most oversized blueberries you have ever seen.
It is my annual visit to the patch.  It is a ritual I gladly perform this time every year.
Well, maybe not gladly.
I arise at 4:00 leave at my designated 4:30 a.m. departure.  
Friends have come with for the first time stating that "this better be worth it Gail"
I assure them they will not be disappointed.
Off we go, tea in tow, awake from our slumber, asking ourselves, "this really is worth it, isn't it?" Driving in the dark down the interstate, we coast down the road, only to come to an abrupt stomping of my brake to avoid the collision of a deer and my windshield!  Whew!  Impact averted.  Awake now, the rest of the drive was uneventful.
My anticipation is palpable as I turn off the interstate, and start to follow the signs to our destination....Cains Orchards.  We have now been driving for one hour and 45 minutes!  Many think me nuts to drive "all that way" for blueberries.  Awe, but these blueberries are golden.  The best ever.  No grocery store could ever match their size and freshness.  They are huge!  Almost the size of a quarter!  And taste...all i can say is YUM!
So, we get there, winding our way through the dirt roads to the picturesque valley ahead of us.  The cars have already starting converging, my friends in awe at the gathering of people already here before us.  It is jaw dropping just to see it.
 "Where do we park?  Where do we pick?,"  my patch struck friends beseech me.  I simply reply, "i know what to do!"  So off we park and gather our belts and buckets and get into the patch before the bell rings!  Yep...the best way to pick is with two hands.  You tie the bucket around the belt which then goes around your waist.  Looks pretty dorky, but everyone does it!   Genius!
 Awe, the bell.  The old fashioned sound that resonates throughout the patch, letting pickers know that the plucking has now commenced.  It is 7:00 a.m.  Cannot pick before that bell rings...not ever...ever!    Laughter and the sounds of blueberries banging the bottoms of buckets as hands feverishly stockpile the golden nuggets two, sometimes three at a time into their possession.  "I can't believe how big these are" states an enthusiastic elderly  man.  "I got some" were the excited sounds from a child.  I couldn't help but think of what this will be like to bring a grandchild here sometime in the way off future.  It is great to hear the grandson with his grandmother sharing in this delightful memory.
It doesn't take long, and a bucket is filled.  After a couple of hours, the buckets are brimming and it is time to pay.  The lines are long, but they have this part of the process down pat.  It is a well oiled machine.  Quickly we get through the line, our stomaches full with the healthy can eat all you want while picking!  Irresistable.  We meander our way through the crowds, fill up the trunk and are on our way back home ready to freeze these babies to enjoy throughout the winter months.  It is worth every minute of lost sleep!

Enjoy the video of this wonderful region of WI.  Go if you can.  It is a great adventure.                  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

travel by car

Road trips can be educational.
They can make you delusional as well.

Educational in the sense that we can stop along the route and get out and view historical sites and see the scenic overlooks around each bend in the road.

Delusional in the sense that driving is such a great idea compared to flying.

Driving  hour upon hour, staring at the blacktopped, seemingly endless road in front of us, our eyes becoming hypnotized by the yellow stripes passing by second after second.  
No longer is the food in the cooler sounding palatable.  It is going to be a long ride home.

It's about 1/2 an hour into the drive, and we get bored.  So we eat.  The crackers are stale and the pop is warm.
The nearest exit baits us with the fast food picks.
The original recipe grabs us and we order all things abominable for our nutritional intake,  complete with the colossal soft drink.
With utensils in tow, we do the in the car!
Spills ensue, along with food crumbs falling between the seats, but we are saving time by not eating inside!
The delusion continues..

It doesn't take long and the colossal soft drink has worked through the pipes and it is time to find a rest stop.  The sign blinks rest stop in 2 miles.  Whew!  We can wait 2 miles.  Upon reaching the coveted stop, the signs reads...REST STOP CLOSED.
Closed?  Yep.  The delusion lingers!
Bemoaning our dilemma, we look ahead and see a gigantic sign...TRUCK STOP.
We wonder..should we?  could we?

The drive is now in its about 5th hour.  The car is now a fast food pit, complete with smells and uneaten french fries.
We have played all the games, including looking for the license plate from farthest away;  guessing what is in the fields...  arguing over whether it is beans or barley;
Counting the deer; memorizing the names of all the gas stations and fast food places that can be found on an interstate.
We resort to laughing at the traffic that is backed up for miles on the other side of the road, only to eat those words as traffic snarls in front of us.
We take turns about every 1/2 hour driving, as the nod of the head is our clue we can't stay awake!
We vow to never drive this far again...ever...again.
Hmmmm....time will tell.    


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dr Tom Crist

On a continual basis we in the dental field hear, "I hate going to the dentist."
Without exception, the next line is "have you seen the movie Marathon Man?"

The life of a dentist is not easy.
A scene from Finding Nemo states, "the human mouth is a disgusting place!"
The movie Castaway...two words...ICE SKATE.  You get the picture.

We realize it is hard being a patient.  Women tell us all the time that they "would rather give birth than go to the dentist."  Now that is quite a metaphor.

Tom was asked at his recent retirement party "why did you become a dentist?"
He explained the blessings of flexibility and the responsibilities of having your own practice.  We laughed as he said, "you try working with 12 women on a day to day basis.  Believe me it is not easy.  That is a lot of estrogen!  I never knew from room to room if I was walking into a freezer or an oven.!!"
We have fans and electric heaters going continually.  Really!
He finally had to put a lock on the thermostat.  True story.

I was most impressed by his narration of what he can do because of his abilities.  His gift of dentistry has brought relief to children around the globe in orphanages.  Children terrified by their tooth pain, and by his gentle spirit, solace and hugs ensue because of his care.  It is not about how much money he can make.  It never has been.
"To whom much is given, much is expected."
Tom has been given much.  He is a husband, father, grandfather "papa", boss, friend, brother, son, colleague,  served our country early on in his career with the Air Force.  He is a man of great wisdom and integrity and is full of character.  He has given  us a great example of how to give back.  So full of humility.  Humble.  That is him.
I will miss our bantering.  We laughed a lot.  He is off to his next chapter.  More dental volunteering.  He works on a mobile unit now.  We all hope to join him from time to time.
Happy retirement Tom.          

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Vince Flynn

Vince Flynn


The dash.  That space in between.

Vince Flynn used that dash excellently.

What impressed me the most about this internationally acclaimed author was his perseverance.

He wanted to be an author and he went after that dream.  He was rejected over 60 times.  I don't want to be rejected once, let alone 60!  I read that he kept every one of those rejection letters.  Me...I would probably burn at a time!
He stayed the course.  He just kept dreaming the dream and one day it happened.
He wrote 14 books and was working on number 15 while he was sick.  Political thrillers.  Intense, page turning drama.  He was a gifted writer.

Humble.  That was him too.  He was read by presidents and kings, and yet by many accounts, he was just that...humble.  He loved his wife.  I read that he flashed his ring at book signings a lot!  Handsome indeed.
He loved his children and he loved his faith.
His motto was "keep the faith."
He was a great friend.  And he was young.  He obviously fulfilled his purpose.  What a legacy.

Lived out his faith.
A man who loved his wife.
Loved his children.  
Great son
Great brother
No regrets

What an inspiration.

Who inspires you?    

Monday, June 17, 2013


Goldilocks meandered her way through the woods, and found a cottage that was just too tempting to pass by.  She unlatched the front  door and peered inside.  Seeing that noone was home, she stepped forward and pushed the door shut behind her.
Inhaling food, she realized just how ravenous she was and headed for the table.  Sampling each bowl, she settled for the one that was "just right."
With a full tummy, it was time to just sit.  She again tried each seat, and found the one that was "just right."
Rocking back and forth, she was content...up until she rocked too much, and broke the chair!
Tired, she made her way up the stairs to the bedroom.  There she found 3 beds to try out.  The first being too high, the 2nd, too soft, and the 3rd...yep..."just right."
The 3 bears came home from their walk only to find their cottage broke into.  Food had been eaten, chairs had been broken, and beds had been disheveled.
Goldilocks awoke, and jumped out the window, vowing to never go into those woods again!

Another version:

The "my son is in Alaska, and his lodge got broken into" version!

Having just experienced Mt. McKinley in all its glory from the air, life is looking like it is going to be pretty sweet for the next 3 months.  The woods are vast and he can see for miles and miles from the plane.  The sights are awe-inspiring.  THe plane lands smoothly on the airfield..(this mother is thankful.)  All seems well.  The propellor stops, and the unloading begins.

This time it is the bears meandering through the woods, finding a lodge that was just too tempting to pass by!
Clawing and bearing down the doors (sorry...had to put that pun in!) they are in!
Goldilocks broke the chair.  The boys all hoped it was just a chair!  Nope...the bears had a picnic in the lodge!
Broke lots of things, ate lots of food, and left lots of  samples to show just how much food they ate!  To say the least, it was a mess!
Unlike Goldilocks, they were not there when they got there, but decided to show up that night just to say hello!
One got up on his hind legs and showed off his least 7 feet!

This was not the way I envisioned the start of Mark's summer to go.  Already seeing 5 bears within hours of getting to the lodge is not what a mother likes to hear!
We got this unexpected, but wonderful, phone call from him.  He was using the satellite phone from the lodge to call on Father's Day.  I was so excited when I heard his voice.  Then he told us this tale.
He seemed to be more bothered by the mosquitoes then the bears!
The adventures begin.
From this end of things, it will be a long summer!


Saturday, June 15, 2013


Speaking another language expands your outlook on the world around you.  
Last night we immersed ourselves in the folklore of Germany.  
Vacating the continent by plane wasn't necessary.  We simply transported ourselves by car to the Winzer Stube German restaurant in Hudson, WI. 
There we engrossed ourselves in all things German.

Our eyes  adjusted quickly as we strolled into the dimly lit stube.  Just the right amount of light for the ambiance of this spot.  
Our senses were awakened with the smells of German fare wafting past our noses, and the sounds of merriment being heard throughout the establishment.  A sociable hostess greeted us, and escorted us to our table nestled in the back corner, where we were in full view of all that this night had to offer.  Our friends soon joined us.  The table was covered in a red checked tablecloth with a lamp that gave us just the amount of light we needed to peruse the menu.  
Soon our waitress introduced herself in German, which was an invitation for our friend to launch into a lively dialect between the two of them conversing in a language that only they knew.  It was captivating to sit there and listen, but not be a part of, this obvious delightful communication between two people who immediately bonded because of a shared knowledge in a language.  
Drinks were first.  I stuck with my no risk choice...tea!  I am so english!
The rest drank in the spirits of Germany.  I sipped each of their picks.  The beers...too dark, but the wine was adequate.  
After much contemplation, we settled on our selection of cuisine for the evening.  Most meals consisted of red and white cabbage and spatzle.  Mine was called Rinder Rouladen "mutters Rezept"  
Translation:  beef roll ups with mustard, pickle, bacon and onions.   
It was quite tasty.  
Throughout the evening we kept hearing an accordion.  The sound was jovial and added to the mirth of the evening.  Soon the maker of this joyful noise made his way to our table and serenaded us with his rendition of "roll out the barrel."  Clapping and hilarity ensued.  He was dressed in suspenders, knickers, and a distinct green hat.  His face brightly clarified his delight in sharing his gift of musical talent with strangers young and old, ready to sing along to familiar tunes from days gone by.  
The evening flew by.  Oh the enjoyment of the senses we had this night.  Dessert was an apple struedel that was out of this world.  
Germany.  A visit that must be on our bucket list.  Maybe Oktoberfest?  Kringle Mart?  Oh the possibilities.      

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Airports sure can run the broad spectrum of emotions.

Such total elation when seeing a loved one for the first time in weeks, or perhaps months, in the baggage claim area...thank you 9/11.  Just doesn't have near the affect of greeting them as they walk down the jet bridge.  Nonetheless, such excitement comes from the anticipation of seeing the twinkle in their eye.
No texting or facebook can compare to the face to face, warm embrace of that loved one.

Today I experienced the other side of the emotion...I play this one well.
Just ask my son.
 The nervous, irrational, "plane is going down," "I am going to miss you so much," "I will write to you every day," "you forgot to hug me" (not really...I have been hugging him all week! know...the mother emotion!

After a morning that was extremely, did I write EXTREMELY, stressful...he got on the plane.  Not before running through the parking ramp, up the elevators to the check in area with his bags, begging the attendants to hold the plane...really...I begged!
Sweating profusely , trying not to curse when the attendant asked, "did you know that you are cutting this a bit too close?"
"Really lady?  We tried to do this!  We just love to see if we can induce a heart attack, and of all places, right here in the airport!"
After getting rid of the bags, then we flew to security, where this was the end of the line for me.  No time for hugs or goodbyes, just prayers to get through quick.  By the skin of his teeth, he made it. was not a stellar day.   Maybe I will laugh about it tomorrow.  I hope so, because it actually is a pretty good story.  Can't make this stuff up!
Today I love technology.  I got to talk to him a few times on the phone.  I am grateful because for the next 3 months, technology is no more.
He thought it would be inviting to go live among the bears in Alaska for the summer.  The whole summer.
Did I say the whole summer?  Yep...the whole summer.
He will be a fishing guide up there in the Last Frontier.

If you so desire, his home away from

I can't wait for the face to face reunion.
I will be ok...really.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Zach Sobiech

May 20, 2013

As the storms declared their power and all encompassing control of where the damage will come to rest last night, a family grappled their own storm.
Today the sun glows brilliantly.  A complete contrast to the ominous, threatening winds and rains of last evening.

As we assess the damage around our yard this morning...minor, but still needing the help of our insurance heart is heavy for the Sobiech family as their dear one has passed away.
The weather storms have caused considerable damage in our geographical area of the country, but more importantly, the physical storm of cancer has taken the life of a incredible young man far too young to die.  

I have gotten to know this family only through the words of their caring bridge site.  Zach taught many how to live.  What a legacy he leaves his family.  How proud they must all be.

May God wrap his loving arms around this family and grant them peace.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Swinging is perhaps one of my favorite pastimes.

Just last night I went for a walk and went past the grade school.
The playground was calling me..."you know you want to."

The swing.  A playground favorite.  With the pump of my legs, swaying back and forth, I would be sky high in no time.

 I hastily made my way through the school yard,  heading for the chain linked seat that would send my body soaring into nostalgia.   I couldn't help but weigh my options.  Would I swing and eventually stop pumping my legs and let the seat come to stop on its own, OR impel my body off the swing while in mid air?   The instant I thought of it, in a flash I thought...hmmmm , better not do the latter.  There are mothers on site.  They would not appreciate the example.  

Mothers....where there are mothers there are kids.

One in particular.    
One little pip-squeak.  One little runny nosed, dirty faced, redhaired boy headed straight for the treasured seat, the only seat, MY SEAT, there for his taking.  Just steps ahead of me, I made my move.  
I was older and faster and bigger than he.  I could run circles around that little man.  Victory was mine.  That seat, at the moment, was gold.
As I approached the swing, I saw it.  The look.  
The thrill of what this simple piece of playground fun does to anyone who plants their bottom on the seat and works their legs to achieve the wind in their face as they sail back and forth through the air.

The look I couldn't deny. 
I no longer could be the selfish one.   
He looked and me and simply said, "can you push me?"
I was more than happy to oblige.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Worth your time

Last night I clicked into my emails and this was there waiting for me to view.  I cried.  I think you may too.
It was a good cry.
22 minutes of your time well spent.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013


No, the date on my camera is not wrong.  It is indeed April 23.
I woke this morning to this!  At first I thought, "you have got to be kidding me!"
But as I looked out the window and saw lots of birds feasting on our feeders, I was immediately in wonder.  The beauty of all this white stuff this late in the season captivated me.  I slipped on my boots ( perhaps for the last time this season? ) and tromped through the drifts and the piles the snow had made throughout the night.
The tree limbs were hovering close to the ground, the weight of the snow testing their will.
At some places in the yard, the snow was deep enough to make its way inside my boots!
Eat your heart out West Coast!  You have the sand, and we've got the snow!
Throughout the morning I could hear icicles dripping,  no match for the sun's rays beaming in on them, as if to say, "Jack Frost your time to leave has come."
The weatherman states 60s for the weekend.  I'll believe it when I see it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Afternoon Tea

Antique tablecloths spread across round tables with fine china and cloth napkins, set in circular fashion  to greet its eager guests for an afternoon of gaiety and laughter.
Women came dressed in their finest.  Black dresses, pearls, gloves, furs, and hats.
Oh the hats.
(Yep, that's me in the yellow hat!)
Colors of every kind.  Some with netting, others with feathers.  There were red hat society ladies in their distinct red and purple apparel.
Vintage was in vogue.

Each table tried to out do the other with their own designs.  My friends and I (all 8 of us)  went for the silver platter, black gloves, Downton Abbey theme.  We, regrettably did not win, but hope to still make it front page in one of the area newspapers!  I will keep you updated if we do!
There was food to be eaten, and tea to be drank, and prizes to be won, and lessons to be learned.  The speaker communicated so eloquently the importance of change.  Change in life is good.  We need to move out of our comfort zone.  What are our goals?
She then spoke of the Daffodil Principle.  I had not heard of this so I intently listened.
There is such a real place in California that bursts of thousands of daffodils.  All because one woman planted each one, bulb by bulb.  One at a time.  This place inspires all who go.  Anything is possible.
What is stopping you from your goal?  "Our thoughts confine or make us"
I encourage you to look up...The Daffodil Principle.

This Afternoon Tea brought such glorious sunshine on an otherwise gloomy day.  I am grateful for such fun friends and just this opportunity to enjoy a few of my favorite things!
Hope your Sunday was just as fun.