Gifts · Gratitude Friday · Healing · life happens... · Quiet Pleasures · Seasons · Struggles · The Journey

It’s Raining Again…

Rain. Sometimes we love it and sometimes we hate it. It truly depends on the time of year and how long it lasts. This summer has been hot and dry. The pretty green has begun to take on the hot, dry faded look. The blue sky is less blue, the grass has that “not enough water” look, and the air never seems to cool down.

Enter a summer storm! Ahhhhh, refreshment! The rain began last evening. It was heavenly to go to bed with the sound of a soft summer rain falling outside the window. Needing to use the blanket to cover up as I slept was a little slice of heaven. Waking to the continuous sound of rain… comforting. The sounds, the feel, the smell, the chill… they all evoke emotions and memories in me. So, I’ve spent a bit of time this morning reflecting on those.

The first thing I thought of as I awoke this morning was the sound of the rain. Suddenly, I was at camp, laying in my sleeping bag on my cot, trying to keep warm as the rain fell outside our shelter. Then I was at the lake. Laying in the middle bedroom on the bunk bed, listening to the rain outside, hitting the leaves as it fell. Every other sound seems to disappear as the rain takes the forefront. For a moment, I was transported back in time to a place and a memory that make me smile.

As I bundled up and sat on the patio with my coffee and iPad, I thought about another sweet rain memory. The Lake! I loved a rainy day at the lake! There is nothing cooler than swimming in the rain! The water seems so warm compared to the air temperature! The surface of the lake seemed to be calmer on a rainy day. After swimming, we would get out and change into warm, snuggly clothes and then hang out in the cabin… fire in the fireplace, hot chocolate and games. Hours and hours of card and board games! Popcorn was usually on the menu, as well! I recall one weekend when we headed to the lake, my parents knowing it was going to be rainy both days, bought us brand new color books! As a young girl, there was nothing cooler! Mine was Cinderella! The sound of the rain on the cabin roof was so comforting and tranquil as we colored and enjoyed quiet family time.

A rainy day at camp was really a nice reprieve… if it was only for a day or so! Garbage bag hikes through the wet forest! A fire in the dining hall fireplace! Hot chocolate as a treat after the rain hike! Grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch! And the best part of all…. a canoe ride down the bay on the calm lake with a gentle falling rain… serenading the residents along the shore as we paddled along. I can close my eyes and remember like it was yesterday!

I love the rain because it seems to clear things out. My car that looked very dirty yesterday, looks clean today! The grass is a bit greener! The air feels fresh and clear. The leaves don’t have that dry, dusty look to them. The plants are singing a resounding “thank you” to the heavens for the extra bit of nourishment and reprieve from the heat. It’s like God is pouring an extra portion of grace on all of us… healing grace, gentle grace, loving grace, unearned grace, epic grace. And with no strings attached.

I’ll take it! A gift that requires nothing in return, yet gives us so much. Refreshing… grace-filled rain.


Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
And I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see so clearly

And Hallelujah, grace like rain
Falls down on me
And Hallelujah, all my stains
Are washed away, they’re washed away.
(Todd Agnew – Grace Like Rain)



Healing · Humor · Lessons Learned · life happens... · Quiet Pleasures · Seasons · Struggles · The Journey

Everything I’ve Learned…

In a matter of days, I will have been on this earth 50 years. There was a time in my life when I thought 50 was really old. Well, today I’m rethinking that a bit! I was recently told that the 40’s are the old age of your youth and 50’s the youth of your old age. Interesting perspective. So, I guess I’m young again!

Since I’ve most likely lived over half my life already, I’ve decided that I needed to record some of the lessons and “profound” ideas that I’ve learned thus far. So, here is a snippet of my random list in no particular order of importance or thought process. Remember… I’m almost 50!

1. When you get a new box of Crayola Crayons, once you begin using them they will never be the same again, no matter how you sharpen them.

2. When you decide to cheat in 6th grade SRA because everyone else is doing it, you WILL get caught.

3. When living in a large family, eat fast or starve!

4. Life is hard… no one ever said it was going to be easy.

5. If you lose your skate key, you are either out of luck and can’t skate or you are stuck in your skates indefinitely.

6. Trikes are best ridden on flat surfaces, not down steep hills.

7. Everything is better when you have a clean drawer of underwear and a full tank of gas.

8. When given tasks that you don’t want to do, complaining about them and putting them off does not make them any easier or more enjoyable.

9. Trying to be cool does not make life easier.

10. If you bug your mom long enough and make up songs to remind her of what you want, you will eventually win… usually.

11. Friends are amazing. Some will be in your life for a short time and others will stick around for a very very long time. Either way, friends are a blessing and a gift.

12. Sometimes we don’t know what we had until it’s gone.

13. Never say “never.”

14. Everything we say and do has an effect on the stakeholders in our lives in some capacity.

15. Over-thinking things does not always yield the best results. For that matter, neither does NOT thinking things over at all!

16. If you are having trouble getting your glass to be half full, maybe you should scale back and get a smaller glass.

17. If you really like a boy in high school, perhaps it’s best NOT to walk by him in the Commons hoping he will notice you as you trip in your clogs and go down to your knees.

18. If you really love someone, don’t give up… you never know when they might just come out to the mailbox at the perfect moment!

19. Life was much simpler before caller ID, pagers and cell phones.

20. Holding car keys in the grocery store before you have your license DOES make you look cool.

21. Loving another person does not guarantee happiness.

22. Loving is difficult and some days it is a choice.

23. We were all young once…

24. Life without God… there are no words.

25. Today, I am as old as I’ve ever been… just sayin’.

I think this list of things I’ve learned over my almost 50 years could go on and on. Each moment in time brings new life. We are constantly learning lessons – some more difficult than others. We must embrace each of the moments we are given and choose to make the best of them. I believe that in every situation there is something good and right, even if it takes a bit longer to find it.

Some lessons we learn are meant just for us. Others are meant to share. My list is just a glimpse of the crazy, hard, amazing, happy, meaningful and purposeful life that I’ve lived thus far. Even though I’ve grumbled and complained along the way, I would not change any of it for the world!




Generations · Lessons Learned · Questions to Ponder · Quiet Pleasures · Struggles · The Journey · Uncategorized

Ready to fly…

This past week as has been one of deep sadness, turmoil and grief over lost and broken relationships, people hurting as a result of sin, and the effects of just being worn to the bone, both physically and emotionally. Early morning has been my refuge. Sitting in the quiet kitchen with my prayer shawl (a sweet hand-made gift from my sister, Megan) and cup of coffee, waiting for the sun to come up and the birds to awaken… all the while praying relentlessly. My heart has been heavy for my own hurts and losses, as well as for the needs of others in my life and community. I guess that is what happens when I ask God to ‘break my heart for the things that break Yours’ and He answers…

20130525-115821.jpgAs the days would begin to awaken, so would the birds on our patio. We recently became the proud grandparents of some grandbirds. It’s been fascinating to watch the life of these little creatures begin. Watching the birds has caused me to think about people and how we deal with our ‘baby birds.’

When birds are born, they are very needy. The parents take turns flying to and from the nest with food. Each time they are near, you can hear the babies begin wildly chirping. At times you can see the little orange beaks peeking out of the whole in the birdhouse. Momma or Papa leaves and they calm down. This goes on for several weeks.

As the birds get older, the parents stay away more and mom seems to go in the nest less. That was my cue that they might just be ready to leave the nest and fly. Thursday morning, I was able to witness one of the babies come out of the nest and then eventually fly away. It was really fascinating to watch.

This circle of life made me begin to think about the human race and how we are raising our children. I can see from watching the birds that they are raising their ‘kids’ to get out of the nest and fly. Everything they do is preparing them for independence. Are we raising our kids to be independent and ready? Or are we protecting them too much… doing too much for them?

I watched the first bird come out of the nest and sit on the string of bistro lights hanging near the birdhouse. He/she sat there for some time. When I tried to sneak out onto the patio to take a picture, they flew up into the nearby patio cover. There they sat, not quite ready to fly. By the time I came out ready to leave for work, they were gone and the momma was trying to get the second baby out of the nest.

As an educator, I see hundreds of ‘baby birds’ each day. Some seem independent and on their way to future of self-sufficiency and success. Others make my heart hurt. They don’t have the parents caring for them in a way that will produce happy, healthy adults. They live in nests with great turmoil and strife. Inconsistent parenting or no parenting at all cause these kids to lack what it takes to feel confident and secure about their future. When it is time for them to leave the nest and fly, they won’t be equipped and ready. Storms come and they aren’t able to handle them in a strong, productive way. While they want to be independent and strong, the lack of care and feeding in their lives cause them to act out. What they really want is schedules, rules and boundaries… even though they act as if they don’t.

It’s what we all want to some degree. Knowing that mom or day will fly to that nest with food and care at just the right moment. Knowing that when it’s time to leave the nest, they will have support and encouragement… and be ready.

We can learn a lot about parenting from the birds. God was so detailed and articulate when he created the earth and all of its’ inhabitants. While we are the dominant beings on this earth, we sure can learn a lot from all creatures great and small.

This morning, momma and papa are preparing the nest for the next babies. Papa has been relentlessly pursuing momma this week in between getting the kids ready to fly! I anticipate a new batch of grandbirds anytime soon! Thank you, Lord, that something so simple as the birds on my patio can bring me such peace and comfort… and help me to put life into perspective… at just the right time.


IMG_0054 IMG_0057 IMG_0060


A Month in Pictures · Creative Eclectic · Fun · Gifts · Quiet Pleasures · The Journey

My Passion Favorites…

This past year I attempted to post a picture a day for 365 days.  While I was not anywhere near successful, it was a fun adventure and one I might try again!  Photography has become a passion and creative outlet.  Here are a few of my favorites from my 365 Album.

560284_3418198688598_1149232254_n 205281_3574297070960_1966346817_n 301713_3623960792522_919024495_n 305570_3355601883717_1145168952_n 380251_3539127911753_2141968743_n 391265_3676754272326_498710360_n 422641_3958505555932_609159646_n 482957_3120916416727_385460550_n 523904_3726075305321_99307712_n 525070_3539123911653_1312240741_n 526809_3596848674736_894495379_n 534382_3532991478346_794261632_n 543665_3373453329992_384536080_n 551132_3459819009080_1712314475_n 559644_3450334291968_249229267_n 576371_3472321361631_795024529_n 579758_3467092270907_90942520_n IMG_0003May each of you pursue your passions in 2013.

Happy New Year!

Gifts · Quiet Pleasures

It’s the Little Things That Count…

I have a confession!  FB, which I love and am a mildly addicted to, has really been a bit of a downer for me this summer.  Daily, I am seeing posts from friends that are on fabulous vacations – some big and some just away at the lake.  I’m envious.  I’m jealous.  I’m wishing I were anywhere but here.

The past 24 hours or so have been a bit of a wake up call for me.  I’ve been praying for a little girl named Joss in Florida who had the left side of her brain removed in order to keep  from having seizures.  I’ve been following her mom’s blog and her most recent one really put things back into perspective for me.  She is not out enjoying fun summer adventures, but sitting in a Children’s Hospital watching her little miracle get better and better with each passing hour.  The second wake up call was finding out that a former student was killed in the movie theater shooting in CO.  He was out for a fun midnight showing of a popular movie and in an instant his life was taken.

While I’ve been lamenting our lack of vacation or getting away this summer, I realize that right in front of me is a wonderful opportunity to savor life as it happens…. because we never know when it will be taken from us.  Today our afternoon has been spent on the patio, enjoying the summer weather.  My husband has been working on his paperwork and I have been flitting around, taking pictures and playing on the computer.  Just sharing the same space with him in a place we both love to be is a huge gift and blessing.  We are not on a beach or exotic vacation, but home enjoying each other – even as we do different tasks.  The blessings come in the little things.  The “I love you” he sent across the porch out of the blue… the robin playing in the sprinkler… my tomatoes that have finally made a presence in the garden… the rhubarb that is almost ready to cut… the butterfly flitting around in the afternoon sun… an occasional quick conversation between us as he works and I play… the little things.

I’m remembering 10 years ago when I spent a month in the ICU in Reno at the bedside of my stepdaughter.  She was in a coma and we were waiting for her to emerge and get her life back.  Suddenly, the big things in life seemed so small.  It was the little things that we hung on to.  Her vital signs evening out… her temperature coming down from a high fever..  a movement that she had not made before.  We rejoiced in the little things… the ordinary things.  We weren’t “living the dream” and at that time it did not matter.

As I ponder that time 10 years ago and the events of the past few days, I’m humbled back into a space and place of being grateful for the little things.  This summer we won’t be heading to Hawaii or even the lake, but we will get to spend each day enjoying the amazing life that God has given us.  We have a fabulous old home, healthy teenage kids and each other.  We both get out of bed in the morning and are able to go about our days.  Soon my days of leisure will be over and I will jump on the hamster wheel again.  Instead of sitting here licking my wounds because I’m not at the lake or on an exciting vacation, I need to look around at the little things and rejoice.  In the grand scheme of things… it’s the little things that count.

If you are interested in following the blog of little Joss, here is the link.  It’s quite a miracle!

Questions to Ponder · Quiet Pleasures · The Journey · Uncategorized

The Sabbath…

Our weeks are filled with work and busyness and… well, too much!  I often hear people say that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done.  By the time the weekend comes along, we are exhausted and need to rest and revive ourselves spiritually, emotionally and physically,  so we can do it all again the next week.  It feels as if we are running on a giant hamster wheel!

Today I managed to do some things that nurtured my soul.  I had the awesome privilege of directing three godly men in a drama presented before the powerful message  in the Extravagant Love Series at Eastpoint Church!  I came away certain that no matter what I do to mess up in this crazy world, I have a Father in Heaven who loves and forgives me… endlessly.  I put some things in His hands this morning that I needed to leave behind.

My afternoon was filled with lunch with my Love, taking pictures of our wacky birds, and then getting my hands dirty in our garden.  A friend joined me and began teaching me all about organic gardening.  My husband then invited me on a walk!   All of these things nurtured my soul and gave me some fuel to get through the last week of school.

I’ve decided that it is imperative to find those things in life that afford me to take care of myself and keep life in it’s proper perspective.  It’s taken me some time to figure out what really fills me up.  Here is my list…


 My Love






Now that I’ve really figured out what brings calm to my world, I need to make it a priority to take time to do them.  Balancing what we have to do with what we want/need to do is an important charge in our lives.  What brings you to a calm place and restores your soul?  Are you taking time to indulge in these things?  I’d love to hear from you!

Gratitude Friday · Quiet Pleasures · Seasons

Gratitude Friday…

I am sitting here on Snow Day #2!  Vacation has officially begun early!  After the 30 hours of snow stopped falling, we were able to get out and begin the clean up.  We spent several hours outside shoveling up our block so that we could have a path to safely walk.  We measured over 2 feel of snow at our house!  Amazing!  It snowed last night and is lightly snowing right now.  There is more shoveling to be done, but man oh man, my back hurts!  Another big storm is expected this weekend.  

As I sit here and look outside at the winter wonderland, I am reminded of all that I have to be grateful for on this gratitude Friday before Christmas…

The freedom we have to worship and celebrate that which we love and believe.  The nativity ornament, for me, sums up why we are here on this earth – to love those around us as Christ loves us.

The many sacred symbols of the season.  I love the peace and serenity of the Christmas tree and the beautiful things we hang to remind us of what is good and right.  
Brian… the love of my life!  Together, we make the ordinary things in life extraordinary!  This latest storm has afforded us the gift to be home together – shoveling, laughing, praying, cooking and stopping long enough to really appreciate the simple things in life!  

Simple thoughts… simple post… simple gratitude…

Happy Gratitude Friday!
Quiet Pleasures

Quiet Pleasure…

I recently read the book Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. She goes through a divorce and decides to take a year to eat, pray and love. Her first stop is Italy where her goal is to learn the language, eat and find pleasure. Wow – a girl after my own heart! Elizabeth talks about Americans being unable to find quiet pleasure. We all work too much! Hmmmmm – she has found me out!

“Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajama’s eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exacttely the same as pleasure!). Americans don’t reallly know how to do nothing.” We ask ourselves if we really deserve this pleasure and have we earned this happiness? I am sure you are all thinking… heck ya!

Well, I spent some time really thinking about this and asked myself some questions:

  • How do I define pleasure?
  • What would bring me pleasure right now?
  • With nobody else’s agenda – no other obligations – what would I most want to do?

I am amazed at how difficult it was for me to answer those questions. I am a pleaser/peacemaker, so I spend my time making sure you are happy and content. It took some time, but I was able to come up with a small list of things that bring me quiet pleasure. Maybe I should call them “simple pleasures:

  • people – talking, laughing, sharing, crying together
  • books – loosing myself in someone else’s life (hmmm – could that be because I don’t know how to enjoy my own life?)
  • quilting
  • sharing food with others – either out or cooking at home
  • quiet conversations
  • sitting next to a mountain lake (I have a very special one in mind)
  • being anywhere with beautiful scenery and it is quiet
  • journaling/writing – I would like to write a book… hey, maybe I will start a blog!
  • intimacy – quiet, tender, gentle… TMI? 🙂

The picture above is one of my quiet pleasures – a good book, a Mike’s Hard Cranberry Lemonade, and a porch! So, what are your “quiet/simple pleasures?” Am I alone in my inability to really know what I want out of life and what brings me pleasure? I’m not so sure…