December 04, 2012

Joy at Christmas:: a birthday

I'm so happy to have the cake 
and the plate
 and the kiddo who wants to decorate
 even when she's called out of bed

as we celebrate 
one we love so very dearly

before and through the Christmas holiday


We continue to celebrate the day you were born my Dear.

December 02, 2012

Joy at Christmas:: the pomegranate

I do love the sweet and tart beads of fruit peeking out of the beautiful pomegranate.

Perfect in a kale salad.

Perfect on the plate.

And a long-standing family tradition. I can recall purple fingers for days when I was a kid.

My 85 year old mom loves this new technique and seeds every one from her tree. Then she shares them with her pastor! Mom, bring them by!

December 01, 2012

Joys of Christmas:: My neighbor's tree

It's very sweet that my neighbor has his tree up early and the lights on for my enjoyment at 6 AM. He had it up the day after Thanksgiving and asked how I liked it. He let me know that he's aware that I'm up early and thought he might send me Christmas wishes every morning.

That's a kindness I wouldn't have asked for.

November 30, 2012

Giving Thanks - November 30:: Gratitude

Many days this November, my gratitude list was long. My focus on Thanksgiving and giving Thanks shifted to a much greater awareness of what's around me and all I'm thankful for. Some surprising shifts included me being asked to sub in my daughter's advisement class where I shared the origins of the Mayflower's arrival and pilgrim's quest for our country, a great awareness of how bless I am to have the mom I have as she recovers from a broken arm in our home, and an enhanced dedication to the wonders of a winter garden. The list goes on.

So thanks Shannon at A Free-Spirit Life. I'm always joyful when I join your adventures.

November 29, 2012

November 29 - Giving Thanks:: the Kale Rose

And, as a garden lover, I will say, I'm always grateful for the plant someone else started. I will love these well as an addition to my front garden, welcoming friends; and to the life of my just-started Potager garden. (Can you hear the delight?)

November 28, 2012

Giving thanks - November 28:: a patch of dirt and a few seeds

There is much to be thankful for in a patch of dirt.
And in this case, Sweet Pea seeds.

A Thanksgiving weekend tradition celebrated at dark:30 on a Wednesday after morning.

November 27, 2012

Giving Thanks - November 27:: A chill

There is a beauty in the beckoning of a winter morning. And though it is still fall, my heart leaps to think of the crisp and cold mornings, the dew or frost that will be coming. I give thanks for the design and beauty in the changing of the seasons.

November 18, 2012

Giving Thanks - November 18:: A date

Today I have thanks for my Dear, who took me on a date to one of our favorite small concert venues, McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. McCabe's has been around forever. They sell and maintain guitars and other instruments and, in the big sales room -- always ceiling to floor with guitars, is a small concert hall.

Over the years, my husband has seen lots of acts in the room, Marshall Crenshaw, Dirk Hamilton, John Stewart (the singer), Dave Alvin, The Bobs, Rosanne Cash, Peter Case, to name a few. (Here's the list of every artist who's played there.)

When our kiddos were little we saw Peter Himmelman a few times, during his Fabulous Plum period. (Who wouldn't love the guy who wrote and performs, "A World Where You Only Eat Candy" or "I Don't Like to Share"?)

Last night we went to see a female giant of folk, Jennifer Warnes. Her voice is beautiful, and hearing her in a small venue with just three guitars and her, was lovely. We sat in the back, counted the gray heads in the room and thought about everyone she ever sang with. Leonard Cohen helped make her famous, but beyond her spot as a soloist, she's joined with Jackson Brown, Bruce Springsteen and Bonnie Raitt. I should mention that Oscar for the Officer and A Gentleman song, Love Lifts Us Up with Joe Cocker.

It's interesting that there are people, I'm sure, who go to walk a bit down memory lane, baby boomers do that with a sense that the days aren't really that far behind. She honored the idea by offering a little set within the set to satisfy the desire for the old music. But she also brought lots of new ideas and versions for us to take in.

It was a fun night. It's almost always fun to go, to see, to hear. And, I got a Saturday night date in the rain out of it. Thanks Dear.

November 17, 2012

Giving Thanks - November 17:: A surprise!

I must say, I don't often win things, but here's some fun. I was reading Beth Moore's blog a while ago and entered her autumn giveaway.

Then weeks later a sweet email came saying, "Hi Friend! I don't if you know this, but you won the 3rd prize in our giveaway..." I was so surprised and I'll be so happy when the box arrives and I can deck my Thanksgiving halls with the darling pillow, etc.

How about that?

I'm thankful for the unforeseen surprise!

How about you? How is all this gratitude effecting your life?

November 16, 2012

Giving Thanks - November 16:: Brita for Inspiration

In the next town there's a beautiful garden store -- Brita's Old Town Gardens.

It's the store that inspires me to go beyond and seek new plantings and to love a mish mash of colors and always add this and that. (As long as they get the right sun and the right kind of soil.)

I doubt that Brita, a beautiful tall woman with joy exuding as she strolls the garden looking for just what you need, would remember our first meeting. I do. We'd moved into our first home. I knew a bit about gardening, but knew I wanted to know more. And there I was with a flower bed right in front of my living room window. All shade. I was determined to have flowers.

Brita helped find to helitropes and bleeding hearts.

I went to visit her this morning with a couple of tasks. First we had to pick a rose for a climbing wall, then, part shade flowers for beds to live with rooty birches. But the most fun was when I mentioned the Potager garden.

I have a very eclectic garden on the way there now, roses and strawberries and lavender.  But I'm ready to dive in with sweet peas and lettuces and cabbage, and, and, and. Her eyes lit up as we gathered from her stock and toured the lanes of her store grabbing the thymes, and mint and pansies and chard. She heard my love for the white rose next to the lavender, but not just for the color, for the uses and fragrances. She's the gardening friend, but really, the shopkeeper with zest and knowledge for what the garden can be.

I'm enthused about the next steps.

The best inspiration in film is Meryl Streep's potager in It's Complicated. Mine isn't quite this big and won't have the perfect rows, oh, and I don't look like Meryl Streep, nor am I married to Alec Baldwin - but you can believe the colors and joy of the mixture will be there. I love, love, love the tomatoes working up the frameworks. Tomatoes will have to wait while Sweet Peas meander up in mean time.

So, here's my Thanksgiving today: to Brita whose sea blue eyes sparkle and whose ideas breathe breeze into my project. And for the stylist who designed Ms. Streep's garden. To Alec Baldwin for standing there. And for my own Dear Husband, who keeps saying, "I'm glad your doing just what you want there, Dear."

I'm inspired and so grateful for the ones who join in.

November 15, 2012

Giving thanks - November 15:: A Time To Remember

I'm so thankful for this book and it's telling of the Pilgrim's true story. I got to share parts of it with my daughter's advisement class twice in the last two weeks. (I'm thankful for that too.) Through the book I'm reminded that it's impossible to be grateful and resentful at the same time.

I'm choosing the grace of gratitude.

November 14, 2012

Giving thanks -- November 14:: The Keenager Luncheon

Another sweet outgrowth of my mom's broken arm and recovery is that I get to be the designated driver. As such I was invited yesterday to her senior group's Thanksgiving luncheon at church. It was fun and certainly yummy.  Chicken and ambrosia salad and a beautiful ice cream Napolean for dessert.

There was lots of good conversation and coffee and then the sharing of Thanksgiving thoughts. The group, mostly women, had converged to celebrate the holiday but also to say goodbye to one of our younger pastors. He feels called to leave our church and to plant a church in an area of the city where there is no vibrant church, in the less-than-vibrant part of town. So, he's leaving without much more than direction to go. No house, no building, just go.

There was lots of honoring and love and encouragement all around. And for me, an observation: I'm so grateful to be in the midst of people who can be pained by another's decision and still provide support and love and grace.

Oh yes, I am grateful.

November 13, 2012

Giving Thanks - November 13:: a best friend

I often say thank you to our friend and dog walker, Mary Ellen. (That's her dog, Scout, on the left and my guy on the right.) One day, while walking with Max, Mary Ellen wondered if he might be up for meeting her Scout. (We carefully joke that he's a miniature short-haired St. Bernard. More likely a pit and boxer mix, well-mixed with grace and calm.) She carefully worked out the idea of them meeting, the where, the when and executed her plan. An immediate friendship began and now, they qualify as best friends.

Max has the occasional overnight stay at Scout's when we travel. They walk a few days a week and when they've been separated for a weekend the initial returning greeting is loud and sweet. There are kisses and whines and bounding joy. Especially from the big dog. Scout is a bit more stoic in his nature.

When the walk is through, Mary Ellen always gives the dogs one of Max's treats. This is fine by Max, especially because Scout doesn't quite care for our treats. He takes his anyway and finds a place to leave it for Max -- near his bed or under our dining room table (Max's condo).

Scout had a rough patch a while back and needed surgery and recovery time. Max still walked, but his days were clearly missing something. You have to wonder if a dog's longing of the heart isn't much like ours. That insatiable yearning just to have the other near. There was a distinct quietness in our homecoming receptions each day during this time.

Then Scout returned. Max bobbed and danced with joy "telling" us about the reunion. My daughter thought he would have made a banner, if he had the thumbs. All of life fell happily back into place.

And this is where I'm reminded to be oh-so-grateful, for the friendship. The one between dog and man and also dog and dog. It reminds me of how we were created, for community, communion, and oneness with the other. Be it God, man or a poochy.

November 11, 2012

Giving Thanks, November 11:: Thank you for a bon bon

Those are shards of sea salt on the top of that bon bon.

Dark chocolate shell, dark chocolate truffle inside with a small stream of caramel and, the sea salt.

This lovely sweet came in the sweetest way.

My, now 85 year old mom was walking through the new grocery store in our neighborhood with me. We'd had lunch with the family and when my husband and daughter left to go home for Sunday naps, we continued to meander and chat.

She's been staying at our home, recovering from a broken arm and the surgery that followed. She's right handed, her right arm is broken and we're all repairing and recouping with her. It's been delightful. Serving and loving and being loved quite well in return.

So as we walked and looked she stopped me and said, "Hey, what do you think if we splurged and had a bon bon a piece from the fancy candy counter at the front of the store. My treat." I felt like I did when she let me go to the candy counter at Penney's when I was 9 to get Cinnamon Bears, only more delighted, because I'm not 9 and this is serious candy. I reached into my purse for something and heard, "Don't get your wallet out dear, I have money and this is my treat. Come on."

We did. I picked the morsel above and she opted for the darkest dark chocolate truffle I've seen. We brought them home and managed to wait to eat them until we'd had long Sunday afternoon lounging naps and two cups of Earl Grey tea had steeped to perfection.

Then, the two of us sat on the couch and savored. The flavors of then and now and the rich sense of love that flows when we're doing for one another.

Thank you. I think I'll treasure that bon bon for a very long time.

November 06, 2012

Thank you:: November 6 - Vote

I'm so grateful for the change, the opportunity, the right to vote.

I'll be there long before the polls close.

With gratitude and thanks to those who fought for our right to democracy.

November 01, 2012

Giving Thanks:: November 1 - Mom

Today I'm so grateful for my mom.

Two weeks ago she landed flat on the ground on my front porch.
She broke her arm, went to the hospital. Stayed a couple of days. Had surgery and now, she's hanging out at my house.

Oh, there has been pain. And some suffering the indignities of having a broken right arm.

But there has been joy. Plenty of it.

My husband. My kids. My dog.

We're all in.

Enjoying the gal.

Thanks Mom for being here.

October 17, 2012

CReATE Studio Fun!

If you're going to celebrate with pumpkins, take a little inspiration from my friend Jemma who owns a fantastic creative space called CReAte STUDIO.
It's in Westlake Village, California. Full of fun and inspiration and things to, well, create!

The space was inspired by a trip to a children's museum where Jemma and her girls had fun in the craft zone. It was on her mind, from that moment on, that kids (and parents) need a place like this, to use all manner of recyclables to make art. Being the get-it-done gal she is, Jemma started her studio business not long after. Her sight has lots of fab kid creations and shows some beautiful Women's Night art, too.

Her Etsy shop is all about a CReATE it yourself project. Go see!

What are you creating?

September 29, 2012

I know!

Well, where have you been?

I've been off making decisions:

1)  I won't work with landscapers who won't provide drawings and spend the time with me to talk through the details. (There's a backstory about a well-spoken creative guy who, when bidding to fix our tree root problems, suggested a cut out in our bricked flower bed to create a sitting area. The dot, dot, dot is that after his "team" did the work and then immediately took it out, so I would stop screaming and crying, our long time and trusted friend and masonry artist, came to my rescue. When the space is complete, I will share pics.)

2) I will, after #1, remember that when something is done wrong, and you're paying for it, you should be sure that it's done right. I will always remember not to let my thoughts run wild with, "It's my fault. I should have made him give me more detail. I should have been here when they were putting tiles in without grout and cut them into tiny squares when the email said 24 inches." And I will listen to my husband, and thank God for him, when he says he's going to be sure I have what I asked for.

3) Time spent with this doggy is all good. This is him, literally, cheering when I came in from moving the car yesterday morning. He reads feet and noticed I wasn't wearing shoes. A clue that work was out and time together was in. Happy, talking guy.

4) Writing morning pages is essential and so is time in the Word.
I have to get up at 5:00.

5) Loving what you have is good. (I have more than I need anyway.)

6) Mason jars are a very fun rage right now and dinners with loads of Mason Jars with candles are full of retro-cheer.  Picture credit: Diane Jensen, New Parent Welcome Dinner 2012.

7) I won't be buying any new votive holders this Fall-into-Christmas season. Even the ones calling out my name at Anthropology.

Not this.

Or this.

Or (so sadly) this.

I have a drawer -full. Oh! and all those Mason Jars.

8) Pastor's don't always stay at churches. But God never leaves and neither does His Spirit, when we graciously ask Him in. I need to keep my searching eyes on what God is doing more than who is doing.

9) I'm going to see more movies. Movie dates with my boyfriend are essential. So are dates with my husband. He's been both for 20 over years.

10) I will enjoy caught-up sighs when they come. (See #9.)

July 21, 2012

Persistence & Determination

This, is a tale of persistence. It begins long ago with a quote from Calvin Coolidge shared by my beloved Uncle Jimmie.

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

Interestingly, my daughter was born with more than a small dose of persistence. Somewhere during her first couple of years, my Dear and I noted how, when fixed on an idea or desire, our little gal would get what she was after. The first real notice of this was when sitting in my lap at the dinner table, she grabbed for and got the glass of water I held and drank from the glass. Way before I expected this. We watched it time after time with reaching, crawling, standing, walking, climbing, etc. And oh yes, it was a key factor in the two and three years. At some point we laughed that she was born in two and a half hours (!) because she wanted to be born. Now. With this persistence comes a strong will. So you can imagine, that occasionally we're challenged, as we all are and should be as parents, to channel this trait in the right direction. (Far too often, I've found myself a wall rather than a guide to a better pathway. But, I'm growing too.)

Well, God blesses us with maturity, doesn't He? Our gal, the determined one, woke up somewhere around the end of winter and took on math like it was a hill to be climbed. She practiced homework with laser focus. When she found a snag, she asked for a tutor. Her grades went directly to A's or 100% almost all the time and she found herself the only one in class who got every answer correct on the final test of the year. Right around May she started telling me about a pre-Algebra class at the local all girls Catholic high school. About a week after she first told me, she handed me a stack of paper and asked that I sign her up.

Really? Summer school? What about this week away at camp and that week driving to visit friends? What about all the sports camps at school in June and July? Summer school? In uniforms? Doing math?

Well, this girl saw that she could take pre-Algebra in four weeks and move up to Algebra where she wants to be. So she did it. She got up every morning at 6:30. Put on her school uniform, went to class, did her homework, studied the lessons and pulled the highest grade in the class. On the last day, she took her own school's math placement test and was offered that chair in Algebra.

There's a lesson here for me (and maybe for all of us). Something worth attaining is worth working for. I think about the adage that a job worth doing is worth doing well, and other similar thoughts. But the thing I think about most here (right after I well up with happiness and some mommie-pride) is what my Uncle Jim shared over and over:

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. 
He would know. He set the goal to retire at 40 and got there at 41. 

Wait, maybe all this should be about genetics.

Happy Math my sweet girl! We couldn't be happier for you.

July 16, 2012

Nora Ephron

My neighbor John called me a day or so ago to say his peaches are ripening. I need to get a basket and harvest. He mentioned that I might like to make, well, a peach pie. (He's a fruit pie kind of guy.)

It made me think again of Nora Ephron and our loss with her passing.

So in honor of the funny, brilliant and giving woman and her cooking influence, here are a couple of yummy gifts which will live on:

Nora Ephron's Peach Pie

Nora Ephron's Dijon Vinaigrette

To Nora!

July 14, 2012

And then, you remember.

And all it took was a day at the beach. 

This is the day I've spent thanking God profusely for my daughter's persistence. We'd Mapquested a couple of places and left for errands, a cinnamon roll and a surprise journey. We ended up cruising and cruising for a parking space at the beach. Even though the board was in the car, we turned into the lot on the thought she'd show me where she'd spent the day earlier in the week. Really, she wanted to repeat the fun she'd had at Beach Day with her youth group pals, boogie boarding for hours on end.

I wanted to be free and go after those ideas we'd mapped (see the problem...).

                                                                                                                          Finally, all she had to say was, "can we go around just once again? I had so much fun and I really want you to come watch me on the boogie board." We found a spot. We walked to the right lifeguard station and there, amid the June Gloom (in July), the people and the plan, I got the thing I love so much right there, the beach. The expanse of the sea, my place in the sun, and of course, 
birds and seashells.

Oh, and one very happy boogie boarding girl.

July 09, 2012

Time away

Do you ever just fade a bit?

I notice that when the busyness of what I have to do demands more of me that I expect, I leave a little. I step away from the things that might be essentially me. Things like quiet and words. I press on. Work hard. Keep going. But I do it out of resources that are replenished by other processes. Not by consuming so much. I think it has little to do with the mindless consuming I can meander through. But I seem to be refreshed in the flashing of fingers on the keyboard or the squiggles that come from my pen in morning pages.

I like coming back into focus.
And taking on the wild things that are, of course, a part of life.
Wild and busy things.

Ah, what grace is found in language.
Even and most probably the unspoken.

July 02, 2012


Somewhere, I saw and saved this wonderful list of 100 books other than 50 Shades.

Where all the books? I've been living a sad fictionless life and I see the light at the end of the tunnel right now. So tonight I'm actually starting the Marisa De Los Santos book resting on my nightstand. We've had a busy second half of the school year and relaxing and reading just got in the way of volleyball and driving and work and meetings and Bible Study and all else that fits tightly onto my list of things to do. But now my part-time job will become truly that. I'll go to work for a few hours a day and come home and live the life of someone who actually inhabits the life and home they chose. Ahh.

After Marisa, I'll start down the Classic Fiction trail.

And you?

June 30, 2012

Another house full of teenagers.

This time, it's four sophomore boys, good friends, making sure each other is caught up on the Batman series, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before The Dark Knight Rises comes to theatres near us all.

They're waiting for dinner in the middle of the first film and the conversation drifting through the patio window and into the kitchen is pure boy, pure friend and funny. Mine is such a movie buff he's got them all memorizing things he thinks they'll need to know soon. One is astute at pointing out juxtaposition, etc. One has a sunburn and the other is recouping from knee surgery.

I couldn't be happier to be the mom on call for the overnight. I'll make sure they have fruit with their Dinner-on-a-bread-slice, but that will be the only imposition. Personally, I'm not too fond of The Dark Knight. I went along to see it, because I do that, but it was for me, a truly disturbing movie. I agree that Nolan is a brilliant director, but the anarchy and reasonless terror is more than I care to stand. I've heard over and over about how perfect the late Heath Ledger was at the Joker but I wish it weren't the last performance he left for us.

The night comes on the heels of a sweet family video night. The one where my Dear and the boy and I spent two weeks in Pebble Beach at my Aunt Nancy's while she was in Britain. My guy was little, just 9 months old, crawling, standing and bouncing, and laughing lots. At one point I look to camera as my husband documents and say something about being the most blessed girl on the planet, while the little man sleeps in my arms. Just before bed my son and I met in the kitchen and he asked, in jest, "so how blessed do you feel now Mama?" We laughed and I said, "Just the same. The most blessed. Or maybe, a little more." 

I know him now as a young man and couldn't be more happy to be this mom.

April 20, 2012

A house of teenagers.

My sweet girlie, the one I was born to raise had her big day yesterday. She was up and dressed and ready for presents before 7 am and she was well celebrated. Her school went on a field trip to a landfill, not in her honor, but a field trip is cause for celebration, where ever you go! And she got the gift she was asking for.

So some 13 years later, I feel it. Those words ring: it goes so fast.

The little bundle in my arms is now almost as tall as me, wearing mascara, noticing everything and bringing her beautiful perspective to all we do.

I am blessed. And glad to be on this part of the adventure.

March 21, 2012

Oh Happy, Happy Birthday Madeline!

A short 16 years ago the first born of the next generation came along. My sister's first baby, Madeline was born.

She stole my heart away from anything but her sweet shape and face, her laugh, her being. And made me quite excited about the little one I was carrying.

I begged her mama to bring her to lunch over and over just so I could hold her and look at her beautiful smile.

I adore her today and celebrate this lovely, athletic, bright star in my world.

Happy Birthday Madeline!

March 07, 2012

Read. Read. Read.

It's been a while since I've read a book I wanted to read through the night. I'm so happy to be enjoying THE PARIS WIFE. McLain is a perfectly wonderful storyteller. I feel like I'm right there with Ernest and Hadley in Chicago. In St. Louis. And I can't wait to go where next we go.

I recommend it already.

What are you reading?

March 06, 2012

The phone stack

This is not my idea.

And I love it.

Parenting is a great job, but it isn't an easy job and with the rapid pace of changing technology, I'm working on guiding principles and good tactics at the same time. I work in analogies. So, if we didn't answer the phone during dinner before, the phone of the teen man doesn't belong near the dinner table. Check.

But then there's the restaurant meal, where different people have different levels of commitment to the party they attend. I don't really appreciate the phone checking and I don't want to do it. So Sunday when my eldest and I could steal away for a lunch, in a booth, in a restaurant, (ah! time alone with my boy) we picked up this idea:
the phone stack.

The phones piled upside down on top of each other and when they rang, they rang. We agreed that the first one to touch the phone had to pick up the check. They were out of order, away from touch, no sharing of YouTube videos, etc.

Lunch was delightful. And I gladly paid, just because I'm the mom.

March 04, 2012

Oh! The Birdies

How could I have ever left this darling mug sitting on the Etsy shelf?
Catherine Reece's Etsy shop is a recent find. 
Whimsical pottery and a watercolor or two. 
You might need to go visit. 
I'm certainly glad I did!

BTW: Later in March, the ladies over at What Am I Cooking are focusing on coffee. We're planning on a fun time. Plan to join in?

March 03, 2012

Oh no, two.

Pinterest is so very much fun, but maybe, not worth it. If you're concerned at all, read this.

February 29, 2012

counterfeit for my sister

This is for you Marg. I like it and I agree.
I especially like the flip out on part. I love 'em and they aren't getting off easy!
Ta da.

February 21, 2012

Counterfeit blogging

I think that's what I'll call it.
Pinning something I found on Pinterest.
Counterfeit blogging, it is.

I'd so much prefer sharing the observation.

And today, I'm observing this gorgeous golden sunlight out my window streaking and speckling the Pepper Tree. Green and red. And golden light and dark.

What I can't see from here is the new Ginko Tree our neighborhood association planted for us after the death of our 40+ year old Carob Tree. We had remorse at the removal. Then the stump grinding. We sat in the house and talked about the replacement. We stood outside and marveled at all the space. We missed the big curly leafed branches we loved just out our window. While we talked about it, Ginko? Redbud? Another Pepper Tree? Someone had a plan and executed it.

So the new Ginko stands. Not tall, yet. Ready to grow into the tree we love just out the transom windows.

Perhaps tomorrow in my true blogger mode, a picture of this gift.

February 18, 2012

Yes, Blessed.

I love the idea of joining in. And having these words written on my own heart. You can too, with Ann, at A Holy Experience.

January 25, 2012

Where do they go?

This might be the most delightful idea I've ever seen.
And I have the clothespins.

January 24, 2012

All I really want

is for my kids to know that each of them is, in fact, my favorite.
And they are.

January 23, 2012

A profound sadness

Sometimes, doing the right thing doesn't go so very well and you end up with the wrong outcome.  We found ourselves, as a family, involved in just this yesterday afternoon as we tried to help a stray dog find his home.

Friends comfort me that this occurrence is a good life lesson. I don't know. I do know that we're all shaken and my youngest, who had her eyes glued to the dog is broken in heart and in spirit right now. I also know that it's my job to teach her to be OK with being sad and not to "forget about it and be happy." Until she's ready.

Parenting doesn't offer a door out of the tough situations.

January 19, 2012

...a little sadness in our lives...

This guy is my pal. A big, noble German Shepherd who never grew to be as big as his feet portended.

He lost his best friend this week. The dog we called his uncle, Andrew, was sent off to the doggy fields of doggy heaven. He was failing badly in a battle with a couple of cancers and when he could no longer move or get a good breath, my mom, his person, had to make the hard decision to let him go.

All of us were taken by Andrew. His love was huge and he had an uncanny ability to understand and respond to hundreds of words, which allowed him access to places and people a lot of dogs would never see or know. He went to church with Mom all the time. Not just on Sunday, but to her after school ministry program where he helped teach 4th graders, who would sit quietly and wait for their turn to pet or hug him, to her seniors group and to the massive week called VBS where over 300 kids gather.

I get that choking tear each time I think about the hundreds of kids who knew my mom and called her "Grama" because of how the two of them, Grama and Andrew, traveled, worked and loved as a team.

Andrew was not spared the humility of dressing up for every holiday and each "crazy day" at Vacation Bible School. He attended every Keenagers meeting to get treats and give kisses, especially when it involved the ladies. He visited an ailing friend from the group when at 98 she was failing in her senior citizen home. He sat at her side, she with her hand on him, knowing deep inside that he was there for her. She later told him so.

Our boy waited at the window any time we uttered the happy words, "Go watch for Grama and Andrew." The two dogs would nuzzle and sniff and run to the yard for what in earlier years was hard play and in recent years was just a walk around. My Max would try to get some tug of war or chase going, but Andrew wasn't really up for too much of that. He didn't make it here at Christmastime. He'd begun to refuse the ramp Mom bought for the backseat of her car. Falling once when his skinny leg missed the platform was enough for him. So, the longer goodbye started a couple of months ago.

Mom's house is quiet for a while. There's another companion dog in the wings, but she needs a while to restore and to grieve her best pal (we're with her). She's going to miss the dog who got her up if she was thinking about sleeping in, and went to bed at 10:30 with or without her. Who walked the grocery store and went to church. The one who picked up anything she dropped, got his leash, put his head down to pray when others were doing so and just gave such an expression of love to those who really needed it.

We'll all miss him, this one of kind guy and we're holding our own pooch a little closer today as we recognize what a blessing it is to share our lives with a dog.

January 11, 2012


I know their named after Mr. Bacon, but it just makes me giggle. Like all you need is a tomato and maybe some toast?

January 10, 2012


Yes, maybe we should be discussing budgeting.  Budgeting all of it, time, money, space, life -- and all with the hope of creating margins. My friend Barb posted this regarding the Congressional Budget:

Sure I concur, we need to change this now.
And I have to admit that I can make some changes too.

How's your budgeting done?

January 07, 2012

The last bits of Christmas

We're on the last leg today. The tree is gone, the ornaments careful nestled into tissue and to their nooks and crannies in boxes. Today the house lights will come down* and I'll finally gather and sort all the things that need to be in the big gift wrap box and away it will go until next year. (Perhaps next year I'll share all the things I love gathering for gift wrapping purposes.)

I love beautiful ribbon and well considered wrapping and tags. This year I found the most beautiful tags at Blossom & Twig on Etsy.


This pretty red bird,

and this fellow with his crown. 

Oh! And these three:

God Bless Us

I purchased a few for next year and look forward to using them. When they arrived in the crafted envelope I was excited and even more excited to find such gracious packaging inside -- I felt like I'd received a gift rather than receiving a purchase.

So before the Lovely Season of Christmas, it's joy, it's busyness and the brilliant Spirit we celebrate is behind us, I say go and gather for next year.

Me? I shall do as Charles Dickens and "honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."

*My neighbor John, who left for Thailand with friends with his Christmas lights on a timer and doesn't come home until Monday will win the leaving-the-lights-on-longest competition this year!

January 04, 2012

She can shoot

My youngest has taken to shooting.

And she seems to have the composition gene.


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