Geese for Breakfast

NW Indiana in September.

“There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.”
– Aldo Leopold

#NWIndiana #SeptemberMorn 1

I’m visiting the parentals in Chicago-land. Keeping up with my mamala who can actually, truly, for real talk to the animals (and they talk back to her) is a hoot. This morning she insisted I snap a couple of pics of the morning sun while we were enjoying our coffee. I got this one.

#NWIndiana #SeptemberMorn 2

And this one.

#NWIndiana #SeptemberMorn 3

Of course she made over them, how I’d captured the changing leaves and the light just right. Even though all I did was point, then shoot. She gives me credit for capturing the beauty.  And she assures me I could become a high-paid photographer if I wanted to.

She believes in me. *sniff

#SeptemberMorn #NWIndiana geese and mom 1

Then she noticed, as we were gawking at the morning sun through her back door, about 60 or so geese out on her back lawn, just in from the woods, where the trees meet the grass (“the line” as she calls it). She grabbed her camera and out she went to take pictures of them.

#SeptemberMorn #NWIndiana geese and mom 2 #SeptemberMorn #NWIndiana geese and mom 3

So I grabbed mine and out I went to get pictures of her.

#SeptemberMorn #NWIndiana geese and mom 4 #SeptemberMOrn #NWIndiana geese and mom 5

She circled around and whistled in their language while their leader squawked back at her.

a #Septembermorn #nwindiana

She’d get too close and the geese elders would quack out some instructions and the whole congregation of them would move a ways.

b #septembermorn #nwindiana

My mom got a little too bold so they meandered to the front yard complaining the entire way.

geese talking #septembermorn #nwindiana

geese #septembermorn #nwindiana geese mom talks #septembermorn #nwidiana

They continued feeding. And feeding. And feeding.

geese bossy #septembermorn #nwindiana

And I was thinking, I’d sure like to see them fly away.  But the difference between my mom and I is that she’ll just go enjoy them and watch and wait. However, my coffee was inside getting cold. I tried to communicate to my mom with wild arm swinging from across the lawn: Let’s charge this bunch and watch ‘em fly!


The geese were not fans of my arm swinging and I think they even interpreted its’ meaning, as 2 or 3 of them started talking very badly about us loudly enough for us to hear. Shameless.

geese disdain

Finally the leader squeaked and squawked and barked some orders. The geese split into two perfectly orderly groups at the instruction.

september morn 1 september morn south geese

Except for two in the middle. They popped their heads up from their morning forage. “What? Are we leaving,” the first asked? “Im not sure,” the second answered as they both looked back and forth not sure what the big deal was.

what's happening

The two groups lined up like little soldiers and got very still, while the two stragglers waddled toward one group with befuddlement. They were facing opposite directions and once each of the birds was in place, the lead gave out the call and just like that – boom! They took off, one group heading north, one heading south.

But I knew the truth. They were meeting at the rendevouz point. What? Did they think I couldn’t hear their plans?

Anyway – soon enough they took off. Back to my coffee.   :)

take-off 1 take-off 2 take-off 3 take-off 4 take-off 5 take-off 6

Just being silly with my sweet mamala.

“It is warm behind the driftwood now, for the wind has gone with the geese. So would I–if I were the wind.”
-Aldo Leopold

take-off 7


“Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television.”
?-Aldo Leopold

September is just one of the nicest months, isn’t it? I shall miss my sweet September morns.

Movies I have to see

Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me // In theaters October 24, 2014

I love Glen Campbell, people. LOVE him. He is leaving us, one memory at a time, suffering the ravages of that awful thief: Alzheimer’s Disease. I missed his “Good-bye Tour,” but heard it was amazing. Now I’ll get to see it closer up than I could have. And it will be so amazing and it will make me sad.

The Judge // In theaters October 10, 2014

The cast, my friends – THE CAST! Story seems engaging and these actors, all together in one movie? MUST SEE!  {Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio, Billy Bob Thornton, among others} 

And I can’t believe I am saying this: Left Behind // In theaters October 3, 2014

IF I can get my mom to go along (she has only been to one movie since she joined a church as a young girl in the 1950s and they told her movies were baaaaaaaad – but she misses them)!


This one came out on September 5th. Anyone seen it? Should I? The Identical

It does have Ray Liotta and a RECORD PLAYER!

Let me know. What else should I see???

Thought-Collage Thursday // Everything is Beautiful

*Everything is beautiful in its own way
Like the starry summer night or a snow-covered winters day

nate dirks quote beauty

If beauty just fades away, are all attempts to rectify it just hopeless endeavors?

I am like, 5-minutes from this particular age I cannot believe I am approaching. Soon I’ll be closer to my 60s than my 40s and when the heck did that happen?

So, I look at my split ends and these lines that just appear like the crackled sands in the Arizona desert around my eyes. My teeth are shifting and my current face shape has morphed into a form completely foreign to me. My metabolism, once so responsive to my outlandish demands, has betrayed me thoroughly.

If I could figure out how to do this aging thing gracefully, I would. But what the heck does that even mean? Does it mean just to go with the flow? I’ve always been too obstinate for that, yet I have never  had the desire to focus al lot of time on my looks or to spend copious amounts of each day fixing all things falling – and I sure don’t have the energy to start now!

But of course I want to be considered beautiful. I mean…Sometime. Before I die.

I would love to have that exotic gorgeousness of a Sophia Loren, or the classic sophistication of a Helen Mirren or a grace-filled quality like Blythe Danner – a beauty that just gets better with age. Granted, they started out very beautiful, but unlike so many women who seem to be chasing youth with plumpers, fillers, surgeon’s knives and soft-focus, there are these certain women, in spite of all the signs of their age, who are only more warmly burnished, more lovely, a beauty radiating from somewhere deep inside. Yeah – that! Please!

I’ve always heard that beauty fades. And that is that. And in our culture, youth = beauty, generally speaking. And now I am careening recklessly in a whole new direction. So what does it mean? Is all lost?

marie stopes quote on pinterest

In a book club, we’re reading Staci Eldredge, Becoming Myself – Embracing God’s Dream of You

Is it any wonder, as I ponder the seemingly unavoidable fading, I keep coming across beauty quotes on Pinterest and thoughts about it in books I am reading?


Staci Eldredge tells the story of a day she had her hair done and it was a good hair day.  She looked in the mirror and knew she looked pretty. Then she put on a “nicer” pair of jeans for a meeting she had coming up, a red top and some earrings. She says in the book it wasn’t her usual look, but she loved it. She was feeling it. Her friend stopped by and told her, “You are inhabiting your beauty!”

She realized that she had worn the jeans before, she’d worn that top, she’d worn the earrings, but something in her spirit had relaxed and she was embracing herself, her own loveliness. She was inhabiting her beauty.

I like that because it really speaks of everything God believes about us – that we are created in His beautiful image. Our part is just to inhabit, embrace our beauty.

Quote found in Becoming Myself: “Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.” – St. Augustine

In another chapter, she speaks of her type-A, driven mom, who, at 71 discovered how to inhabit her beauty though being ravaged by cancer. “Beauty will come,” Staci encourages us! Her mom began to loosen control and became softer and gentler. Staci says that through it, as her mom actually thanked God for the unexpected diagnosis, calling it the most “awesome, rewarding, and glorious time God has ever given me,” in her mom’s final months, the beauty that was always there began to come forth in her.

What? you mean it’s just hiding in here somewhere?!?  :)

“The Grand Canyon has been carved by water over years beyond counting into one of the most beautiful displays of nature in the world. My face, too, is being etched. My soul is being carved. Forces are at work sculpting me – my life, my views and my beliefs – honing and shaping and changing me. The process is sometimes painful and sometimes unnoticed, but the effect? Oh for the grace to see the effect as beautiful. To be able to see our lives, our bodies, our faces, our souls sculpted by time, our choices and the hand of our relentless, fierce and loving God as beautiful displays.”  -Staci Eldredge, Becoming Myself – Embracing God’s Dream of You

roald dahl quote on pinterestRoald Dahl quote


Diane Keaton book:  Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty


I recently picked up a couple of books by film actress Diane Keaton. She is just fantastic! I love her talent and the subtle, quirky details she brings to the characters she plays. She also directs and produces and SINGS (best part of the recent And So it Goes) and lots of other things.

Stormie says that she and I are Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore in Because I said So, which I think is TOTALLY inaccurate, since I would never traipse about in spiked heels whilst carrying one of my cakes. But I digress.

I didn’t know Diane could write, but she can! And I LOVED these thoughts:

“These old-as-dirt days have one advantage: I’ve learned to see beauty where I never saw it before. But only because my expectations are more realistic. My favorite part of my body is my eyes…because of what they can see. When I was in my twenties and thirties, I wanted my appearance to be more interesting than the beauty that surrounded me. It was a fool’s folly.

On my fifteenth birthday my dad told me I was becoming   pretty young lady. My mom said I had a pretty smile. One of my teacher’s complimented me on my pretty new dress. I was old enough to understand that pretty was a poor cousin to beautiful. Pretty was the stuff of being friendly but not being friends. Pretty was the right dress…Pretty was Sandra Dee, easy and light. Pretty fades. Beautiful was Natalie Wood, deep like the ocean…Beautiful makes you come back for more. It makes you ask questions. It’s vast, unknowable and magnificent. That’s part of its power.

…there is no beauty without pain. Beauty flourishes on sorrow. It’s enriched by the knowledge that life is fleeting, sometimes cruel, and often ends without resolution. That’s what makes beauty deep.”

So, I’ve concluded – I don’t think beauty does fade.

Following my vast  ;)  research on beauty:

Beauty doesn’t fade. Beauty deepens. The first glimpse of a small green tomato on a vine thrills, but doesn’t compare to the complex, intoxicating flavor of the deep red glory of the fruit toward its end. That depth cannot be purchased at the grocery store. Or in a bottle.

Beauty doesn’t fade. Pretty fades.

Pretty gets dull, becomes passé, begins to sag and will fall to the ground despite the use of expensive fixatives.

But beauty, the real stuff of it – the part that began inside anyway and is waiting for the right moment to explode to the surface, dazzling and bright, knocking the wind from bystanders, that beauty – it deepens in time. It seeps into the broken places of our hearts and minds and covers scar tissue and heals our soul and calms our spirit and strengthens our bones.

Once it has erupted in magnificence, even after it has splashed on bystanders and returned like the ocean tide to its giver, there will be no lack. Because it will settle deeply.

Beauty doesn’t fade. It deepens. And if the sorrows of life that etch and wound and change us end up revealing the treasure within, then there is actually hope!

*And everybody’s beautiful in their own way.
Under God’s heaven, the world’s gonna find the way.

 *Lyrics: Everything is Beautiful by Ray Stevens (Ray Stevens and Jake Hess both won Grammy Awards singing it)

Celebrating September Love

Happy 11th Anniversary, Dave & Tara!

dp and tp

Our firstborn daughter married the man of her dreams 11 years and two fantastic sons ago.  They are still acting like newlyweds and spreading the love around! In fact, in two days, they’ll be putting on a concert, Decades, featuring love songs from the 1940s – right on up through the present.  Deets can be found at And there will be food.* 

A sample…

Happy Anniversary, Dave and Tara. Thank-you for the 2 outrageously cute grand-boys, the love you are living and all the joy yet to be! So lucky God gave you to us! How can we ever thank Him enough?

hunter and kai sept 14

Hunter and Malakai after the candy store (taken by Aunt Stormie)

Happy 8th Anniversary, Rocky & Jovan!


Almost exactly one year ago, you lost so much in the floods that ravaged Colorado and you have been hard at work, tearing out, throwing away, cleaning up and re-building. And the number 8 in the Bible signifies new life, the old is passed away, new beginnings {all things are made new} and wow – that is SO right on for you two! God is just doing new-wonderful things in your life!

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The 3 little women with their beautiful mama

So glad Jovan started crushing on you when she was only 14, Rocky. So glad you fell for the woman she became. Thank-you for the three extraodinarily stunning little grand-girlies you have shared with us. So much life and love yet to experience and you’re doing it well!

anniversary 2


September is such a lovely month, isn’t it? Lovely and love-filled!

* The Comida Truck will be at the Decades Concert. So good food, too. Hope I see you there! :)

Happy Birthday, Tristan Kelley!

Happy Birthday to our first-ever son-in-law, {world-renowned drumming sensation}, the father of three of THE most amazing grandbebes in the world and handsome husband to our Stephanie!

tristan kelley dancing with his little girlHappy Birthday, Tristan. I love this photo (above). It’s one of my favorites ever of you (from Ryan and Tredessa’s wedding) because of what it says about who you are and how Guinivere is looking at you.

She is looking at her protector, her daddy, the first love of her life. She is looking at her place of safety and her guide in this journey, a man who will make sure she is cared for and fed, tucked in safely and has the freedom to live and love and make mistakes and learn.

It was a moment in time, a celebratory dance at a wedding, yes. But it was also a little girl who knows, really knows deep down, that she is seeing a man who is steady in his character, reliable in his love towards her and sacrificial in his living – making sure his family is covered.

She sees the one leading their dance and she sees a humble man whose strength is not loud and cocky, but whose giftings and abilities are exploding like fireworks, expanding, getting noticed and opening doors.  But in spite of his talents and notoriety, he will always be right there, close – twirling his little girl, loving his wife into deep beauty, fathering his children with dignity and respect.

That’s what I see when I look at that picture. I see what she sees.


And I also know, without looking at it, that you were a gift to our family and we still receive you as such. I know that you were the perfect man for Stephanie. I know that you are simply better than most of the men on the planet and your strength is rooted in love:: unshakeable, devoted, focused, whole and holy, and on-purpose love.

Thank-you for loving Stephanie like you do. Your love lights her up. Thank-you for having three children that simply thrill us and for trusting our time with them, our impact on their lives. Thank-you for accepting who we are and what we bring and honoring us there and for letting us be your “in-laws.” Because we know getting Stephanie was the goal, but **surprise** …she came with a bunch of us. Haha! And you have been a honoring son-in-love and we are so grateful. We are SO thankful you live close and loan us the grandbebes. Oh, how they have expanded out hearts! You GET POINTS for this! :)

Thanks to Cherie and Larry Kelley for the honor of getting to enjoy life and family with their son!

Larry & Cherie came for a visit this summer. It was so good to see them. Here they are with our mutual grands:

tristan's parents summer 2014

Thanks to Stephanie for marrying so well! We knew we raised her right! :)

tristan and family

Thanks to the many fans who love Tristan’s drumming for seeing a little of what we see!

You’ve proven to have good taste!

See the MY PLAYING part of his website {{HERE}} for lots more samples. Or check out

tristan kelley instagram

And thanks be to God for creating Tristan Kelley in the first place.

Much elation*jubilation*happy-dancing*applause here! Let the festivities continue!

And so I’d like to write a blessing, a decree for you, over you. And here is how I pray heaven’s blessing on you:

That you’ll always have enough:: enough resources to live well and bless others, enough time to accomplish all the things that interest you, and enough courage to raise those three children in troubled times. And may those children be the strongest, healthiest and most thoughtful people ever, leaders who change the landscape and bring peace and joy.

I pray your clients and students will receive everything possible thing from you freely, and that you are enriched by them, too. I bless you with the knowledge you need to impart and for you to be re-filled and fulfilled with all the goodness you have poured out (in business, in teaching) coming back to you!

I pray your family increases in love and that you walk in peace and rest on every side, but that when hard times come, you’ll be fierce and unflappable and know that you are strong enough, courageous enough and worthy of the respect so many of us carry for you (but none more than your Creator).

I bless the day you were born and the celebration of it. And I bless all your days to come. May they be amazing in every possible way!

We are so thankful for you. We love you so much. Happy Birthday (a day late). We are celebrating and rejoicing and grateful we know you and get to say you’re one of ours!  {mom}


The other sister

Oh, Victoria. {see Huffington Post article here}

I cringe. I think I know what you were saying or trying to say. And I hope it’s what I think: that we are blessed when we worship and when we obey God. I think you were trying to communicate that all of God’s promises are yes and amen, and that in Him we live and move and have our being and that the things He has called us to do and be bless His heart and make us whole and holy and happy and fulfilled by the very holiness of them. I think {hope} you meant to say that He has given us His joy so that our joy may be complete.

I really don’t believe, like many of our “extended family” in the Household of Faith seem to, that you meant to diminish our Father in heaven, or to say that anything less than loving the LORD our God with all our strength in every way possible (spirit, soul and body) is the standard by which we live.

“So [Jesus] answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”  Luke 10.27 NKJV

You weren’t actually meaning to say that we shouldn’t do this, though, right? You just meant that  in so doing, all we were created to do and be brings godly contentment, yes? And that God loves to see us happy and blessed, like in Psalm 1? Right?


Oh, my sister, dear Victoria. With a stage and audience so large, with our excitement at being able to speak to so many people, I bet a lot of us might have said something that wouldn’t hold theological water somewhere along the line. I’ve screwed up royally before. I just haven’t done it with 6 or 7 million viewers to catch me meandering with words.

I am choosing to believe the best of you because I really think Jesus would have us in a circle and be writing in the sand about now.

The mockery is inhumane. I’ve been misunderstood and it sucks. I have desperately needed understanding and been refused. So, though I cringed at the phrasing, I am not casting you out of the family. I am praying for you.

God bless you and keep you. And I pray He comforts you, too. And if there is correction to be done, just remember it is just a part of the narrative of your life, and not an indictment on your existence.

Hey, um, church? Dearest Household of Faith?

My dear, beloved familia~

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions…Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Galatians 6 NIV

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe she is heading the wrong direction. Either way, the second half of Jesus’s command (from the commandments, people) was to love our neighbor. So how about, if you cannot stand to believe she is actually our sister in the Lord who needs some covering and support right now, you at least treat her like a neighbor and pray her up? Like you would want people to do for you?

Songs for a Sunday // For I Know the Plans

A really old Kent Henry album

Spotify says this one is from 1994, so that’s 20 years ago – good heavens! Kent is my all-time favorite worship leader. He blazed a trail in worship revelation and leading 30-40 years ago, but he has never stopped, he just keeps worshiping and leading people in to the Presence, year after year, decade after decade.

There is so much great musical worship out there, many new songs (Kent’s latest release: HERE). But every now and then – it is good to remember and some songs hold up over time and remind you of the good God has done over many years. I can recall what He was doing in my life when I was listening to these songs…

High and Lifted Up, For I know the Plans, The Repaired of the Lord (a spontaneous song of encouragement and promise), Burn it Deep (the reprise) – those are my favorites.

The promise in Jeremiah

As it happens, I caught a live-stream service from Summit Christian Center in San Antonio last night. Pastor Rick Godwin preached, “Good News in a Terrible Place.” It was about the conditions in which God’s people found themselves when that beloved and often-quoted prophetic scripture Jeremiah 29.11 came.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29.11 NKJV)

God’s people were in exile. They were in Babylon, a godless place and they were going to be there a long time, as per, you know – the God of the universe.

Rick said the truth is, being in exile is a regular part of the human existence and the word of the Lord to us is  build houses and plant gardens and marry and live fully and dwell and increase in that place – in our Babylon, our place of exile. Because even there, especially there, God promises:  I won’t leave you, I won’t quit using you and I won’t quit working in your life the way I have planned. Get used to it. You may be in Babylon a long time. But even there, there in your exile,

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord… (Jeremiah 29.12-14)

So that passage wasn’t about being immediately rescued from a bad situation, but about God being there even in the situation – and using us in exile to bless the people and community and world around us!

god has a plan

So, take heart, friends and family. Exile doesn’t mean you’re washed up, used up, outside God’s will or out of His favor. It just means, He has put you {led you} in to the middle of a place (a Babylon) that needs His glory, His light and love to be shown and He will do that through you! This is good news in even the most terrible of places!

The sermon podcast should be available soon! HERE…update 9.10.14…click here for video OR Podcast here

“Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.”  - Tim Keller, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering


The Big Head

When I brought THIS PAINTING home from the Goodwill 10 years ago…

goodwill art on the wall

Those books have to go – who wants them? Paid $10  at Goodwill for this close to 5 foot x close to 4 foot art piece almost 10 years ago.

I did not know that there was going to be a “thing” with large-scale portraits in home decor…

[{.CLICK each photo for SOURCE.}]

bh 1

bh large portrait bh large scale art from houzz

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bh 4 bh 6 bh 7 bh 8 bh 9

It was common, while I was growing up, to be admonished not to get the big head. It meant not too think too highly of yourself, not to become too cocky or arrogant. Avoid pride!

bh 3

So, though I had spent a lifetime avoiding “getting the big head,” when I found that monochromatic painting of a very big head at a local Goodwill for ten dollars a few years ago, I was ecstatic!


bh the eyes

This is a pasted black and white collage of the details. Even now – love it!

I just loved it. But the rest of the family, well, let’s just say – no one else really had the same head-over-heels reaction I had. Dave rather endured it, I think.

It looked like it had been some sort of huge hotel painting that perhaps an art student painted over, frame and all?  I  wondered if perhaps it was a painting of one’s lover, only to be disposed of when they broke up, too painful to look at?

But the big headed-portrait caused quite the conversations among my people. Who was this person? A pretty woman with very short hair? Or a man without much of an Adam’s apple? No one was sure. But I liked the androgynous face. I just did.

bh my goodwill art

I tried it in several spots, ultimately hanging it in the library where only Stormie and Hunter and myself truly appreciated it for the thrift-store gold it was.

bh corner

It just never creeped me out, even though it was so large and so sort of undefinable.

When the grandbebes came to visit this summer, however, they started requesting I remove it from the wall (very heavy) or cover it with a sheet.  Well, people, I am first and foremost a Nonna as opposed to a Goodwill art collector.  ;)

bh eye

So, I had to let it go…


Ode to Ewan, oops it’s “Ioan” (as per Stormie)

Since Stormie, who had always called him “Ewan Ioan” said she wanted it if ever I should let it go {or die}, I bequeathed it to her and the wall is empty now – waiting for some other spectacular thing there. But I loved that thing and think I was quite cutting edge, design-wise…for at least 15 minutes! :)

Seen on Stormie’s Instagram the following day:

bh stormie's instagram 1

bh stormie's instagram 2

I can write an ode to almost anything, can’t I? Ha!

Do you have any large-faces on your walls?


Song for a Sunday // The Living Years

I was having this Technicolor dream the other morning –  vivid, rich hues (slightly cross-processed) and warm, strong light. The greens were deep, the reds were pure, the grass was soft. The world was right.

*”There’s a light in the window and the table’s set in splendor, some one’s standing by the open door…” – Dottie Rambo

morning at peaceful valley july 2014

In the dream, to my left was a big white house with a wraparound porch. The driveway and street were lined with cars, trunks open, families packing up to leave what had been a loving and happy gathering. All around were my kids and their families. There was much hugging and kissing, so much peace and satisfaction and love flowing like wild water down the mountain in spring. It was going to splash you, love was!

middle st. vrain at peaceful valley july 2014

I was on the front sidewalk playing with Kai, talking to him, singing him songs. Then I actually heard the sound of Rambo’s music coming from the direction of the house, like I would  have heard it from the hi-fi growing up:

*”I can see the family gathered, sweet faces all familiar…”

I asked Malakai, in my dream, “Kai-Kai, wanna dance with me? Let’s dance!” He was wearing a little light-blue suit with a bow tie, barefoot. He wrapped his arms around my neck (he’s only 1 1/2), me on my knees, and I held him tight and we were swaying, laughing.

It was one of those utterly perfect moments.

Inexplicably, in my dream, in this happy, joyous, loving, golden-light space, I looked up while Kai and I were dancing and there was my {Uncle Bill}, smiling at us from across the sidewalk. At the exact moment, I realized my {Aunt Rosie} was on the front porch talking away, hugging people good-bye, passing out travel sandwiches. And then I realized, it wasn’t just Dave and I and our children and theirs, but my parents were there, too and my siblings and nieces and nephews and people I’ve known across the years and loved.

I should mention, specifically, that both my Aunt Rosie (my dad’s older sister) and my Uncle Bill (married to my dad’s younger sister) passed away years ago. So having them so sharply present was this really sweet and surreal moment.

The Rambo’s song was still playing in my ears as I woke up:

*”I can see the crystal river, I must be near forever…”

I must have been near forever, and it was perfect there, in this dream.

kai and amelie july 2014


I am not sure what makes us dream the dreams we do, sometimes; not sure what brings a person or place or thing into such expressive clarity as we sleep. Mulling it over later, I realized it may well have been the result of both missing Kai (he has had a busy summer) and my brother Joe mentioning getting us all together for Thanksgiving this year, a feat of gargantuan proportions, if it could ever, even happen.

silly grands august 2014

But I am also working on the chronicles, the photo books and journals of our family’s lives. I have 33 years worth of pictures and keepsakes I am determined to date and organize. I am in a groove, currently. I pull out a photo box with one child’s name on it and sort them into the years of their living. Then I paste them on to pages with notes about the occasion and in an hour or two, I hold the evidence of one child or another of mine from birth to adulthood and it flies by so fast, my head spins. And yes, I cry sometimes, thinking, “Oh I wish I could have known how fast those fleeting days were going and slowed time down and held that little baby a little longer, cuddled that growing child, kissed those feet, tucked my daughters and son in to bed once more…”

I was a church-busy mommy in the 80s and 90s. And I can tell you that almost nothing else I ever did when my children were young has any meaning, comparatively. I hope that serves as caution to some one who is reading, to some one with babies who are wearing you out. They ARE the Important thing right now (I capitalized Important on purpose). Thirty years later, those grown children are all that matters. And you just hope you instilled what you really meant to instill somehow…

Geez, I didn’t know this was going to be so heavy. Sorry.

Today my parents are celebrating 57 years of marriage. They married at the age of 18 in 1957 and they have made it 57 years. And I can tell you that nothing is as important to them as family, either. They have invested so much of themselves in to churches and people and yet, I know I have a place reserved for me in their hearts. I know my well-being and life take precedence over the busyness of years gone by, God now restoring the years we may have lost along the way.

I am so blessed that I still have both of parents here.  I mean, I am going to be 55 soon – and I still have mom and dad. How fortunate is that???


So, this song, The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics, is the one I wanted to share on this beautiful Sunday. Because life gets busy. Life goes fast. I know when you’re young, you think there is so much more left ahead, and there is, but time doesn’t just fly these days. Time careens at breakneck speed, faster and faster and out of sight before you can get your bearings.

So, I look around and these are my living years. And they’re yours. And I have things to share and tell the people I love. I have conversations I don’t want to let slip by. I want my people to know I love them, even if and especially when we are not seeing eye to eye.

I want to spend my vitality on my children and theirs (thanks to Staci Eldredge for that terminology) and the people God has placed in my path ~ friends who have become family. I want to love and honor my parents for all I am worth because my perspective has been enlarged and as time slips away, so, too, do the demands I once wanted to impose relationally in my more self-absorbed youth.

The Living Years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

When else can we do these things? We can only do them now, in the days we have.

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4.14 nlt

“…people are like the grass.
    Their beauty fades as quickly
    as the flowers in a field.
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”  Isaiah 40.6-8 nlt

*Dottie Rambo song lyrics, I’ve Never Been this Homesick Before

Thought-Collage Thursday // What it’s all a-bow-wow-wowt



I don’t know why this cracked me up so much, but when I came across it a few weeks ago on Pinterest, I just fell in love with this cute pup! From Pinterest Everybody else is doing “phelfies!” Why shouldn’t he?

Bark. Bow-wow!

always dogs


Image seen on Pinterest

I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren’t certain we knew better. They fight for honor at the first challenge, make love with no moral restraint, and they do not for all their marvelous instincts appear to know about death. Being such wonderfully uncomplicated beings, they need us to do their worrying. ~George Bird Evans, Troubles with Bird Dogs

So true!

5 Dogs I’ve loved

1// Lady - she was in my home before I was. I have no idea what type was she was, but I just know she was always there – waiting for me when I was born. And she was part of our family. Then one day when I was 10, while I was playing at Nancy Lydon’s house, my mom called and told me to come home because Lady had been hit by a car. She was old and blind and deaf and just went and sat in the street. And somebody just drove over her. The end.

I sort of remember thinking I didn’t want to have to cry over a dog again. But I would – many more times.

2// Red - he was a mess. We had just left my beloved childhood home in Des Moines and moved to an acreage 180 miles away. And this big German Shepherd mix kept lurking nearby, scaring us, barking at us. But my mom, who can talk to the animals {for real}, kept pursuing and coaxing and talking sweet to him, convinced that he just needed her love. We learned he was from down the block and my mom believed there was abuse, plus Red looked to be starving.

Finally, mom gained his trust and we discovered that the owners had put rubber bands tightly around his neck, lots of them. His neck was bloody and matted and some if them had nearly grown in to his skin and she doted on that dog until little by little he let her remove the painful bands of abuse and cruelty and we kept him. From that second on, he was ours.

Red the dog with Danny & Tami

Red with my little brother, Danny, and little sister, Tami. 1971

I recall those neighbor kids at school saying we stole their dog, but they never bothered to come and get him back and they’d have had to cross my mom if they tried. Red was a good dog. And when my aunt lost him once while she was dog-sitting, I cried again. But he came home.

3// Duke - when we moved to Louisiana, we inherited Duke a family who had just moved away and left him. And we liked him a lot. I was a melancholy teenager and Duke was my best buddy on mild evenings, letting me rest my head on him as we looked at the stars and talked about the meaning of love.

A truck Duke loved to chase seemed to purposefully try to take him out and he was hurt badly and we thought he would die. I cried and cried and prayed and made vows to God. My mom nursed him and cared for him and prayed more than any of us and he recovered. Duke was a good dog.

But when we left Louisiana, we left him there. What on earth? We heard later that the neighbor shot him. And killed him. Booooo to that &^%$#.

4// Lady, Stephanie’s Christmas Cocker Spaniel - she was just so sweet (Lady II, to me). She was freshly weaned and the teeny one of the litter. But we knew when we saw her at the local pet store she would fit in to our family. The kids were all young, Steph was 7 1/2 that Christmas morning.  Lady (named for the star of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, obviously) just had the most pleasant, fun nature and loved us all.

One afternoon, some one at the door, another dog got riled and got Lady riled, too. And as the other dog took off, she darted after him and was hit by a passing car, killed instantly…

We only had her for 9 months, but she fit. She was right, you know? She was a part of us.

My heart was broken to bits. Don’t know if I’d ever cried so much. For days.


My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet. ~Edith Wharton

5// Sandy, the junk-yard mutt (also known as our faithful, family dog). But there have been none like Sandy to me. Good grief, she is going to shred my heart in to pieces when she goes. We were not ever going to do the dog thing again. The heartbreak of Lady II had settled it for me for life.

But Stephanie saw this abandoned dog running wild near the landfill close to DIA. Sandy was woolly and afraid and emotionally wounded and some ignorant person had just abandoned her. Stephanie mentioned maybe bringing her home and we were very ANTI about the possibility!

But one day Dave drove out to see Steph at her office and he ended up bringing this big, 40-pound, hairy, trembling, scared-of-her-own-shadow chewabacca-of-a-dog home.

That was 13 years and almost 4 months ago (she was fully grown so we don’t know how old she really is).  And oh the love she has given us so freely over these many years. She is devoted, loyal and totally a people person.

sandy in annie

Sandy got to “play Sandy” in a community theater production of Annie in 2010. She loves the stage.

Her hearing is going – at least for obeying orders, not so much when some one opens a bag of chips 3 rooms away. Her sight isn’t good – unless you drop a bite of something on the floor. She misbehaves and pretends to be surprised that she is being scolded. Some days her arthritis gets the best of her hips which makes her wobble when she walks, though that is generally balanced by the days she still thinks she is a pup and she runs and bounds and rolls and dances with glee.

She is showing some signs of doggie dementia – erratic eating habits, not recognizing us sometimes, pacing in the dark  – just not herself. *sniff, makes me sad

But then she is suddenly ok again and I become certain she’ll be fine forever and we’ll always have Sandy. One day I will experience life without so much dog hair to vacuum, but I will never be ready for Sandy to leave me. Not ever.


This was our photo goal:

barb and dog


Omygosh! Barbara Streisand is 72 and rocking the high-heel pumps. So…

This was all we could manage. Another day, perhaps. Ha!

me and sandy b & w

Some one desperately needs a their hair brushed (and the dog, too). Current.

Oh Sandy, you sweet, old dog, you. I love how you watch me from the corner of your eye when I have told you to look away while I eat. I love how you patrol the yard and make a ruckus at the hint of the first sprinkle, as if you can hold thunder and lightening at bay. I love how you chase the birds loudly one day, then share your water bowl the next while you just look at them inches away from your nose. They are not afraid of you at all. And you’re a bird-dog.  I love your big, brown, pouty eyes and how you know when I need a friend. Oh, pooch, you’re killing me.

You know there will be blogs, right? Many, many blogs about my heart breaking.  Because she is going to do that to me.

My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

The Dog Song

Needed something silly. Sandy-the-dog is napping with utter dereliction as I write and every home with a dog in it is just a little bit more alive, ya know?

Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

PS ~ I am babysitting my grand-dog, Tuppy-the-Puppy

tuppy the puppy

Her familia is in the Springs.  It’s the dog days of summer, for sure!