Under Siege in the Garden


Aphids. Hundreds, thousands…maybe millions (naturally I would not exaggerate about something as important as this).

So aggravating.

I went out to harvest a large bunch of the greenest kale leaves for stir-frying with garlic. Sounded like a great breakfast. But, what is this? Some powdery weirdness that…what? Is it moving?

Yes. the underside of the kale – the whole big plant, covered in aphids and their eggy-spawn.

aphid infestation

This is a stock image. My infestation was worse, of course! ;)

I had to destroy that plant and some of the spinach, too.

But not worry.

Little does the poor, unsuspecting state legislator sitting near Dave at the downtown government building cafeteria know that just inches away, in a little brown bag, are 1000 Ninja-Ladybugs. They are on their way to my garden to feast on aphids.  From Paulino’s.

ladybug eats aphid oh yes!

Let the games begin!

Whitehouse Withdrawals

There will be no whitewash in the White House.
Richard Milhous Nixon Statement on the Watergate affair, 17 Apr.

I must confess, I have been on a political-White House-West Wing-Washington DC-campaigning-democratic-republican TV show kick! Netflix has three incredible shows available right now. And I am just finishing up my third series this year.


Gah! I love them. But for different reasons.

House of Cards

house of cards

First, I watched House of Cards. 2013-2014. It is disturbing on so many levels. Ay-yi-yi. The very first scene was just terrible and a perfect introduction to the whole show, but I could not look away. It’s a political drama (though I might characterize it as more of a thriller, honestly) starring Kevin Spacey as a power-mongering, manipulative, controlling politician with a wife to match played by Robin Wright. These characters pretty much want to make you flee America and renounce your citizenship.

It is so awful and so good. Oh my. If you’re queasy or very anti-R-ratings, this is not the show for you.

The West Wing

west wing

Then, there is the award-winning, critically-acclaimed, The West Wing (1999-2006). It’s 7 seasons of looking into the lives of the west wing staffers at the white house. It got almost 200 nominations for awards over the years and won almost 100. The characters are so well developed you feel like you know them and can respect them even when your opinion differs.  I actually learned a lot from this show about the ways our government works – things I should have been learning in school, but somehow didn’t.

It’s a great show and even though it started in 1999 and technology has advanced rapidly since, they somehow managed to create a very timeless setting, with contemporary story-lines and ongoing issues that face us. If you’re an intelligent, thinking American citizen, you’ll like this show and your belief in democracy will be strengthened.

Final episode, final season, you cannot help it, “Bravo! Bravo” Really good!



Finally, I am just about to finish the 3rd season of Scandal (2012-ongoing) starring Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a “fixer.” She runs a crisis management firm and Washington DC is portrayed as a very (very) naughty place. And wow-oh-wow. Tantalizing. Engaging. Seductive. Even though it is network fare, I’d say it deserves an R rating, too.

A few of the characters are pretty cartoonish and obvious and the story moves so quickly that character development is choppy and contrived at times with flashbacks, flash forwards and maybe even a few flash sideways. :) Just kidding. But regardless, very compelling watching. Olivia Pope is quite cool wearing white and the show sucks you in, naughtiness or not.

Sigh, now what? I am going to go on presidential withdrawals.

I may have to resort to watching one of my favorite Washington-presidential type movies:

  • Mr Smith Goes to Washington 1939. So idealistic. And I still believe we can be, contrary to what the current TV series portray. I want to believe Jimmy Stewart exists and can bring our great country together for the good of the people – yes, we the people! Oh say can you seeeeeee?
  • Dave 1993. Idealistic again. And romantic. How one good-hearted citizen can change the course of a presidency when the top dog is a sorry _____. Plus cute and romantic.
  • The American President 1995. This movie may have sort of been the precursor for The West Wing? Did I hear that somewhere? It’s smart. It’s well cast. It’s thoughtful. I enjoy it.

President Andrew Shepherd: What I did tonight was not about political gain.

Leon Kodak: Yes sir. But it can be, sir. What you did tonight was very Presidential.

President Andrew Shepherd: Leon, somewhere in Libya right now, a janitor’s working the night shift at Libyan Intelligence Headquarters. He’s going about doing his job… because he has no idea, in about an hour he’s going to die in a massive explosion. He’s just going about his job, because he has no idea that about an hour ago I gave an order to have him killed. You’ve just seen me do the least Presidential thing I do.

What am I going to do, people???

What am I going to do?

My Birthday Wishes for the Treasured & Deeply Beloved S-I-L, Dave

dp guitar

To celebrate the anniversary of your birth, I have words…

Of course, I do. Many words. Still, some 12 years since we met, I am so grateful you married our daughter and became a son to us. She wasn’t the only deliriously happy person about that, you know. You were an answer to prayers and a fulfillment of hope and Tara’s dream come true.  :)

If for no other reason than that you chose my firstborn and love her so deeply (and have blessed us with two spectacular grandsons), I’d think you were extraordinarily smart and wonderful.

dp with tara

But there are many reasons I love and admire you and my heart is tender towards you.

There have been incredible times since you became one of us, since the early days when we could suddenly be in the room with you: you, so well-liked, so sought after and admired and we could know, beaming with pride, he’s one of ours. You married the beautiful Tara and got the bunch of us, foibles and frailties and all. As mother-in-laws go, too many times, I haven’t been the one I had planned I’d be and for that, I apologize. I hope for all the times I have failed to encourage and bless you and for all the times I may still let you down in this winding path called life, you can find it possible to forgive me.

But I hope you do realize that I love and admire you and my heart is tender towards you.

Thinking about you turning 33 has had me reminiscing {of course}.

dp kickball

Three sweet memories on your 33rd birthday

1//  I remember years ago, when your hair was longer, some person(s) started referring to you as a surfer-dude, which was a totally erroneous label just because you have the ability to adapt immediately to culturally distinct people groups, one after the other, rather effortlessly. But was a silly summation.

Because, like Paul the Apostle, you can be Greek to the Greeks and a Roman to the Romans, skater to the skaters, or mighty man of prayer among the intercessors. You are fluent in joy-speak and compassion-mixed-with-mercy is a native tongue for you.  Because you’re able to adapt and flow as easily among Christian-magazine-produced minister’s meetings as you are with well-known rockers-saved-by-grace backstage at festivals, an old-timer mistakes you for merely a surfer-dude, with no offense to surfer-dudes.

It may have never bothered you a bit, but it irked me that you might be boxed in.

Because the point was and is – the apostolic anointing, the call. You fit. You have what it takes to be part of many groups and streams and situations. I so very much admire your courage and ability in this.

dp baseball

2//  I was also remembering a late summer night in 2006 in a barn east of Brighton. It was a night of ordination, really, doors open wide and the warmth of God’s smile permeating the atmosphere. The sun dropped slowly giving way to twinkling stars signifying God’s good pleasure as rich worship rose heavenward. I watched as you and Tara, in almost a second wedding ceremony of sorts, the sacredness so palpable, became wholly united (one voice, one heart, one mission), stepping out from the safe into the holy wild. Worship and the Word Movement revealed.

And those of us in that barn that night, the small group of us privileged to stand on that holy straw-strewn ground, were witnesses to divine oil poured out from heaven. We were the yes and amen as we watched this man and this woman courageously say YES with everything they had and we stood in agreement and echoed from our hearts,  yes, so be it, Lord.

You had already gathered the familia around your table a month earlier and we’d spoken blessing and prayed over you, then, for this movement-to-be. But the barn night, it was a night of nights, as we all watched you emerge, your voices blended, such power pulled from deep places of humility. You could practically hear a thunderous “This is my beloved Dave and Tara, in whom I am well-pleased.”

It was one of the most amazing and powerful nights I’ll live, I guess. I was so honored to get to be there, watching, pondering, treasuring the beauty of God’s call on you both, as one. So grateful I got to witness the birth of something of this magnitude, so full of favor.

Philippians 1:3-6 – “I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers…I always pray with joy…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

dp and hunter

3//  Then there was this festival we did together.

Man, those years meant so very much to me. In case I ever forgot to tell you or if time and circumstance has obscured the telling, thank-you for letting me be a part. I mean – God gave me something to share there, but how many men would be brave enough to let their mother-in-law be that close, anyway?

I love how God prepared me ahead of time {I still love the memory of the surprise of it} and you had the discernment to recognize and receive that and welcome me there. I will ever be grateful for that. It was the time of my life.

A blessing for you as we celebrate your life and look ahead this year…

And now, let me bless you and pray over you a little and impart some things I want you to remember. Is that ok? Let me assure you: I have asked God to edit me and I promise to do my best on letting Him! ;)

 “Dave, may the Lord bless and KEEP you. May He make His face SHINE upon you and BE GRACIOUS to you; may the Lord turn His face toward you and give you PEACE.” (Numbers 6:24-26).

I bless your life, David Michael Powers. I bless the days He has planned for you and I thank God we get to be included in your fascinating so-many-cool-things-to-come story. How very wonderful for us! I bless the days we have known you so far {of course I do!} and all the ones we have left!  You were uniquely crafted and specifically designed for God’s great purposes in these particular days on the earth. And to be in our familia. Now that is the coolest part!

I know God rejoiced when He was fashioning you in the secret place, and could not wait to celebrate and boast when you were born. Your parents both beam with delight when they are around you. I know they are soaking in the love of God in you, on you and through you! So I bless you to know {really know} the height, depth and breadth of His intense love for you – not for what you do or have done {as fantastic as it all is and will be}, but for who you are, as a man in his image and after His heart.

dp with tara

I bless your marriage to my lovely Tara-girl. She is the best thing I could ever give you. And we did so gladly present her to you at the front of that church as the setting sunbeams blazed through stained-glass windows but couldn’t hope to match the bright light of love passing between the two of you! There was not hesitation on our part in seeing her be joined to you, become one with you.

We raised Tara to be your wife, to love you, to walk in covenant with you. And we stood as witnesses that day to your marriage union and so we continue now to bless and pray protection over your marriage. We recognize what God has joined together and we pray that you are ever increased in love and oneness and laughter and mystery and discovery and romance and passion and friendship and rest.  I pray that the wife of your youth will bring you joy and delight all the days of your life.

I bless you as a dad to the two magnificent grandsons you brought into my life {and God bless Hunter and Malakai!}. I pray that if there is any special grace or anointing or gift or heavenly blessing on my family of origin or me, that it be poured out on you and Tara and that through you it would be generationally passed on to Hunter-Magoo and Kai-Kai. Just the good stuff, though!  :)

May each of your beautiful boys provide the opportunity for you to impart and teach and discipline and love and advise and find understanding about God’s heart towards you. And I pray you’ll have the wisdom to know how to bring them up, individually, to become the men God created them to be and that your ministry in your household will remain foremost in your heart.

And is it ok to say I am praying for increase and another blessed bundle of sweetness for you, too? Well, I am. Please do not refuse the gift of God in this area, and in fact: work for it!  ;)

dp with his sons

Worship. I bless your song, your music, your worship. I bless the psalmist in you that brings pleasure to the Father and Peace into the room.  Your song opens many doors to many rooms and the song of the Lord, well, it is enemy-defeating, battle-winning treasure.

Word. I bless your leadership and pray you’ll be bold and humble and settled. I pray you’ll complete the things God started in you and through you. You have influence through your words of understanding. I remember seeing a glimpse in February 2003 and saying, “One day I’ll say ‘I knew him when..’” These are those days and I bless the work of your hands, the words of your mouth, and I pray that all the things you do and say in His name will bring God all the glory.

Movement. I bless you as a man of God, a man’s man, strong enough to be gentle. You have everything you need for the next step, the next rooms, everything. Hebrews 13:20-21 – “May the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Finally ~ May you live securely and have full supply (full!). And may you be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God (can you even fathom what that will look like?). I pray your joy is full as you walk the steps God has ordered for you, that you are satisfied and content. But also challenged and surprised!

I pray these things with abandon, I bless you with all I have which is so limited, but also by all He is and all His promises, which are so limitless.

2 Timothy 2:1 – “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

And the birthday guy sings…

He’s one of my all-time favorites. Ever!

I started cautiously liking you from the time we met (May 2002, Could he be for real, I wondered?). Then, very quickly, my admiration grew and I loved you deeply. I still do and my heart is very tender towards you. Always will be. On the occasion of the celebration of your birth {Happy Birthday!}, just wanted to say so. {mom}

Thought-Collage Thursday // Futuristic

It’s tedious, sometimes…

  • Tying tiny bits of acrylic twine on posts, these insignificant sinews which will give strength to young tomato plants…
  • Pulling purslane seedlings which seem to be reproducing at a Trouble-with-Tribbles* rate in the rich soil of my square foot garden (they are edible, should you find yourself lost in Colorado in the future)…
  • Tending and coaxing grass to grow  where I want it to be {in this semi-arid region}, then pulling and prying the obstinate stuff from where it most certainly does not belong…

But I push through the mundane. I keep going anyway, because I get fresh air and physically taxed and those things are good for me. But the real reason, the raison d’être is that there is a hope and a future and tomatoes, for crying out loud. People-you KNOW I love tomatoes – it’s going to happen! I’m working it now, doing menial tasks regularly because I know something wonderful is out there ahead of me!


The radishes are plentiful right now, 3 varieties

*The Trouble with Tribbles was an episode of Star Trek back in the 1960s. I am not, nor have I ever been a Trekker or Trekkie or a closet Gene Roddenberry fan. But I may or may not be married to one and I may or may not have seen this episode a few times. I really did like how Uhura rocked those futuristic mini-skirts, though and I am wondering, now that we are actually here, in the future, where is my Star Trek dress?

I am reading poetry. To myself. Aloud.

Is that the weirdest thing you have ever heard? It is pretty weird. But it makes me think. I have to decipher and climb into the words and wrap myself in phrases to try to really understand. Poets astonish me, really.


So, I am reading Wendell Berry and I feel like, concerning writing about growing things and the garden and nature, I should probably just shut up. He. is. amazing. I just shake my head and go speechless.

A Timbered Choir

Of poets…

amy jo Becker haiku 90-degrees

Amy Jo, one of my besties, is doing a Haiku series lately with photos of her daughters and they make me laugh. She is a creative, through and through. What treasure these girls will have for their whole lives: everyday life and walks and playtime recorded with warmth and humor by their mommy.

haiku amy jo becker impasse

haiku amy jo becker escalator

My mom and my firstborn


Two beauty queens

Three of my grand-girlies

amelie belle, guini and averi

I mean – I know I am their Nonna and all that, but how cute and super-sweet are these little women? Taking after their mommas.  :)

The Belle

amelie in her neon skirt

Shivering and wrapped tightly in a blanket following an evening swim in the pool, to her Auntie Steph’s inquiry of how-are-you-doing-Amelie? “Not – great,” came the sage, life-worn 4-year-year-old reply. She woos us with her perspective and wry delivery.  And her neon. :)

#tbt #Throwback Thursday

The hallway of black and whites, the people and faces from which Dave and I came.


I love good memories. I lost a lot of my memories once, important ones. And with them some perspective. But maybe I lost some that were too weighty, anyway. And I may be better for it. Not sure. I don’t remember. ;)

But I was thinking of starting #tff, or #Think-Forward Friday. Because we shouldn’t wait until New Years to be thinking about what we want to change or do better or accomplish or be. Making a really wonderful memory, one that will be worth using in a #tbt post might take some forethought. Maybe it’s a good idea to actively make memories you’ll eventually want to keep, but to spend more time really making them than just keeping them?

“I’ve been thinking I’ll follow love’s lead and find some capers worth doing, ones so saturated with whimsy they have to be wrung out like a wet towel to be understood fully. I think I’ll also have a dinghy that I tie to the back of my imaginary boat. I was toying with naming it The End. But I think I’ll name it Get In instead, because I used to think I needed to record stories, but now I think I just need to engage them.” ~Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

Fearless for the future


 The question, via Twitter

max lucado twitter


Let grace happen? Could change everything.

Happy Thursday, friends and familia.

Happy Birthday to Dessy

June 13, 1983 was this amazing day…

So, this may be the latest I have ever been in posting a birthday blog, but the added days have only made me ever more grateful for you, the day you were born and all the days since…

dessa at tea

I know, I know – I am always reminiscing about the days you kiddos were born and how those sacred, over-the-top-amazing moments changed my life forever. Maybe I see them through rose-colored glasses, but your arrivals were, to me, so monumental, so divinely, lightening-bolt powerful. Well, I mean they were like day six in the garden of Eden, the day God made man in His image. That’s a pretty big deal, I’d say.

And you own June, Tre-Tre. You own June days and purple irises and rose bushes in full bloom. You are the sound of cheering at church ball games and yellow layettes and a handmade diaper bag in dotted-swiss, Easter green, embroidered by Grandma with love. You are a hot summer and a headful of black hair with big, lacy barrettes that had plenty to hang on to. You are the baby girl who arrived to two of the sweetest, giggliest big sisters who mentioned you in their nightly prayers, calling you Twe-dessa-Christina (even though it should have been Tredessa Christine).

Dessa studio 818

You were born in to love, a mommy and daddy who were still newlyweds, madly in love with each other and church life and our three little girls and afternoons splashing in the backyard wading pool while the radio played, “Never gonna let you go...”

You just slipped in unobtrusively and cuddled into a little corner of our lives and hearts and then we were 5, our little tribe.  And 1983 is so special in my heart for your arrival. And June became a month I revere and romanticize for your birth. And you, my little mystery, were heaven-sent, without a doubt.

dessa and ryan

Happy Birthday to Tredessa Christine, my 3rd baby and the centerpiece of the little Rhoades familia.

Hey, Dessy-Pooh, you are an extraordinary woman, you are! I am still thanking God He sent you to us, He formed you and fashioned you in very interesting and distinct ways. You possess such strength, such deep-rooted fortitude, I’d put money on you over a tornado any day. Best of luck to the winds and waves that try to defy you, one who so deeply understands her place in God’s heart. They’d just as soon die down and whimper away than try to quench the fiery wall that is Dessa. Seriously.

Dessa and Eva right after birth

Intrigue and espionage, power and war

You, my sweet (hasn’t the whole family always known?), could run America with your brain and mighty valorous heart, the wisdom of God and your anointed insight! The FBI or the CIA would be in good hands with you at the helm, if you decided against a bid for the White House, that is. :)  I leave nothing outside the realm of possibility, for you, an Esther, a Rebekah, a Deborah, for sure – you are a viable leadership option for the healing of this nation in the hands of God. I for sure BELIVE that! Now if you can somehow miraculously do it without becoming a politician…

But that is the thing. You could and you will do amazing things in your life (because you have already started and accomplished so much), but your strength is that you are willing and always content to wait on God’s timing in your life, for your life.  So few of us have mastered that or want to. The vision that speaks of the end (Habakkuk 2.3): Give it to me now, we demand. But not you, Dessy, you wait with a twinkle in your eye, a knowing in your heart, a calm spirit and determination in your step.

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” Hab. 2.2-3

And you have a wisdom beyond your years and haven’t you used it to challenge my imprisonments, to bring enlightenment and yes, even some correction to your ol’ momma? You have. I will answer that for you, you little booger.  ;)  And I take it from you.

But what else could I do from a daughter who has repeatedly, intentionally received the counsel of her mom and chosen to accept all God had for her through even me for her own life? I love that you know we were paired by God on purpose and that you have searched for the treasure in it, even when it has been hard to find at times! I appreciate you giving me credit for many of your wonderful attributes even though I know you far surpass me in most everything you put your hand to…perhaps just – everything!

I love that you still look for the things you can learn from me and call for baby advice when, like your sisters, you are a completely incredible mommy, so much smarter and better equipped at it than  I ever was, but still, you ask me, “What did you do when...” and “How did you handle..?” And the years roll back – back – back and I am in 1983 again and just so grateful to God for the blessing of you that June day you were presented to me from Creator and for the blessing of you now.

Dessa and Stormie

So, let me speak this blessing and prayer over you as we celebrate the day you came and the life you are leading, woman of God, devoted daughter, admirable human being:

God make you righteous and strong and able. May your Creator deal with you as He does with the Daughter of Zion in His Word. His patience and loving care for His people is sure and He considers it an affront to Himself when the enemy threatens His royal offspring. And so I remind Him daily to guard and protect you the same way.

May God bless you and watch over you and keep you.

I pray that not only will He see you and notice you and hear you, but that you will know He does. I pray that not only will He hear your prayers and hear your heart’s cry and answer you in days of trouble, but that you will never forget to call out to Him.

You are quiet and not given to voicing every little thing, but at the faintest whisper from your lips, I pray God is watching and will attend to you, as He promised. May He bless you, spirit, soul, body, in fruitfulness, mothering, love and marriage, may He bless you.

I pray that you will prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers. I bless you on the occasion of the celebration of your birth and life with the blessing of God and His watchfulness over you.

May God shine His face toward you and show you favor and great grace.

I know your light and life make God smile. They make me smile. So, I pray that the warmth and power of His outrageous love for you and Ryan and Evangeline and all the little Faalands-to-come will just radiate like fire in you, through you, around you and for you.

Write words that will change everything, Dess. Soak in the Word of God for all you’re worth and love it and live it and stand on it for your home and marriage and life and mommying and calling and walk worthy because you are {in Him}. Bring order to chaos,  spread numbers on sheets and make accounts whole and holy (those things you do so very well) . Speak out what God tells you because your words bring life to the lifeless, hope to the hopeless, and courage for the battle.

May God be favorably disposed towards you, and may He grant you peace.

I pray God just face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball gives you His absolute approval and you have the courage and grace to just receive it and soak it in. So that all those dreams you and Ryan have –  dreaming of ways you can support the things of the Kingdom, all the plans and aspirations that are bubbling up in both of you to change the world and make a place for the Presence – may you be courageous and bold and strong and take hold of them.

{Remember the little girl whose favorite worship song for many years was “Be bold, be strong, for the Lord thy God is with you! I am not afraid, I am not dismayed, for I’m walking in faith and victory, yes…”? I do! I believe her battle cry took root!}

And may you live in peace, peace with God and with man and may your household be a place of rest and joy, refreshment and grace.

Dessa, steampunk photo shoot for work

Beloved daughter, treasured friend~

I couldn’t have dreamed you up. You are beyond anything I could have asked for or even thought a daughter should be. You have been a delight since I first laid eyes on you in Kokomo 31 years ago. You’re a peacemaker, a thoughtful friend and an honoring daughter. May you receive and reap the full benefit of all you have given and sown to be so. I love you truly, madly, deeply, my darling daughter, my girl-child.  {With love from your oh-so-thankful mom}   

Thought-Collage-Thursday // Here’s What’s Up!

How great is this video?

Summer is like

…sweet red radishes, bright orange gardening flip-flops and the greenest grass that grows by the minute. Summer is vibrant color.

…the sound of my grandbebes splashing in the pool, the deep conversations they have while drying out and warming up on the trampoline, then back into the pool, splashing, giggling, threatening to “tell”  for being splashed more than they might have just done the splashing…and laughing some more. Summer is for kids.

…the first tomato sighting, the square foot garden neatly planted with each square full of tiny veggies, in ones, 2s, 4s, 9s or 16s - before it suddenly erupts into wild fruitfulness and a bounty that is hard to contain but oh-so-delicious! Summer finds me happily puttering about the garden whenever I can get there!

…the Coppertone-SPF 30 scent of youth and a sun that lingers long in the sky, which I love. And the sting in my eyes as tanning lotion melts down my face while I work outside, which I do not at all care for. But summer smells like Coppertone and Johnson’s Baby Oil, as it should. And maybe a spritz of Love Spell.

…Hot, sunny days, thunderous rainstorms to cool the evenings. The world gets soaked good and proper, then the sun comes out and “dries up all the rain.”

Magic Radio Online (365) Playing your favorite Soft Rock Hits, Groovy Mellow Oldies, Lite Pop Favorites, Timeless Love Songs and Classic Motown Hits!” The most sing-able set list since these songs came out the first time, and yes, folks – I was there.  ;)

…corn on the cob, potato salad, firing up the grill, playing corn hole, and lemonade. Summer is so tasty.

Summer is like 100 days worth of Saturdays and Sundays all in a row – if we do it right.


I did finish the book and it was better than I even thought it was going to be

rob s book

And I wholeheartedly recommend it for some fantastic reading (because otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it at all, which you know). And I am going to be reading more Rob Sheffield. Because he can write about music like nobody’s business. I love that.

rob sheffield set it free

 All-beef hot dogs, please


That is what Guini requested when she could have chosen any meal on a visit here. “All beef hot dogs, and please pass the jalapeños.” She is my own little spice girl.

Oh just hanging with the wildlife

me in estes

It is, after all, Colorado!

#tbt Throw-back Thursday

June 2011: Gavin’s 8th birthday. We made him a Donut Volcano Cake. It was fun. The boys were so little. The wall was so red.


So, here is what’s up

Family party this weekend. Pool is up. Maybe an after dark movie outside on the big screen. Company from Las Vegas and Estes and all nine grandbebes within my reach. How blessed am I?

No matter what – you’ve got my love to lean on, darlin’

That’s what’s up!

Hope your week is going really well!thursday



Happy Father’s Day, A. Ross Moslander

I am not suppose to tell you

That his name is Alva Ross, pronounced “Al’ vee Ross” and now that I have let the cat out of the bag, I must ask for your total cooperation in never mentioning it to him.

Jeanie and her dad

I was almost 2. He was 22. Des Moines, 1961

My dad was named for a dad he never knew, a very young man tragically killed in a car accident when my dad’s mom was 6 months pregnant (and 2 little girls at home). He was born into adversity.

We struggled to know each other, understand each other during the years of his workaholism, perfectionism…then mine {we end up being what we judge, people} and I regret the time lost, but I truly treasure him as a close friend and mentor now. I admire him for being 75 and still crying out to God to transform him, lead him, guide him. I plan to be like him in that, too.  And mostly, I am loving the restoration of the years the enemy tries to steal as I am learning to be his daughter, his little girl,  and he is learning to be my daddy.

1961 before joe was born

On relationships: It s good to pursue the great gifts God intended because He is able to rewrite the whole story, even if it gets interrupted or broken by enemy tactics {or our own stupidity}.  Dads and daughters (dads and sons, too) have much to share on the journey toward being whole and holy. Writing it off would have been such a loss.


I arrived for a visit so late my dad didn’t see me until breakfast, at which time his first words were, “Jeanie – why is your hair so dark?” Haha. Dads. Gotta love ‘em.

I love my dad!

“God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.”  Psalm 18.24 The Message

Then there is Dave {the father of my children}

Happy Father’s Day to the man I entrusted with our 5 incredible children. You were born to be a daddy and even though you’ll be the first to say you didn’t do everything right, I can attest that you tried. And I can vouch for the times you re-adjusted your sails and changed your mind and your tactics and that you are still looking for ways to bless and father our bunch.

Fathers Day 1987b

And I hope the kids all know those morning blessings are not just idle words, they are deeply meant, spoken with the authority of a God-appointed and anointed dad and he means business. Please don’t ever take that lightly. You should say everyday, “I receive my dad’s blessing spoken over my life today.” You cannot go wrong receiving what he still has to offer, even though you are grown. And if you need to know how much he really loves you, let’s talk!

And Happy Father’s Day to Tristan, DP, Rocky and Ryan!

You are the daddies God chose to raise our grand-est loves, the 9 for whom our hearts pound with furious love and devotion.

But they are yours, these nine grandbebes, your heritage, the fruit of your love and marriage. And we are in 100% agreement that God has given these children good, really good daddies.


You are all men to be admired and I wish all children could be fathered through this life as well. Thank-you for being the courageous men you are and for carefully and intentionally raising, disciplining, teaching, playing, understanding and covering with love these granchildren we know and the ones to come.

My grandchildren are blessed, so blessed.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men who have loved a child enough to keep trying even when it wasn’t easy.

There aren’t enough good examples out there. Hope you had one or got to be one. And remember~

It’s never too late to be the family God meant for you to be.

So keep on fathering.

#tbt Throwback Thursday // Everett Allison

Everett Allison, my grandpa.

grandpa everett allison at 80

This is a picture of him at the age of 80. Just up on top of his 2-story home near the Lake of the Ozarks, checking something on the roof and acting goofy about it.

But that was just hamming for the camera. He was anything but goofy for real. Handsome, very affectionate and loving, constantly speaking sweet words and kind wishes and showing us how a man should love a woman (I’ve written about him and my grandma HERE, with a short video about their “Epic Love”). He was strong, he was authoritative, and I saw even my dad “behave” around his father-in-law.

He was always dressed (with a few buttons left undone) and shirt tucked in, he always had a great tan from being outdoors all the time and his hair remained jet black almost until he died at 88 or 89. He was a handsome, wonderful man and incredible dad to my mamala. And the only person in the whole wide world who called me Debbie-Jean.

I think of him often and still hold him as one of the greatest fathers (and grandfathers) of all time.

God Created June

Spring, being a tough act to follow, God created June.” ~Al Bernstein

yard flowers peonies, scented geranium, and russian sage

Happiness in the house::Just some yard trimmings: Peonies, Scented Geraniums, and Russian Sage. Even the fading blossoms are magical in June…   

Rascal Flatts even sang about June: Words I Couldn’t Say

In a book in a box in the closet / In a line in a song I once heard / In a moment on a front porch late one June / In a breath inside a whisper beneath the moon…”

June makes me romantic and hopeful. June is for falling in love. The Blue Hour holds tight to the June sky for all it’s worth, the sun regretting the end of such a perfect day. Dogs bark in the distance, neighbors scuffle by, safe under soft-blue June skies. Flowers tease then bloom in wild profusion, scented and heady, and oh-so-glorious. Every June I feel a little intoxicated by the power of the garden renewed, the soil, the sun, the heat, the long days that twinkle into sweet nights where you drive with the windows down and sing the love songs of youth. I do love me some June.

And how about my newest garden-girl?

eva garden girl

She loves grass and I love her!



That Summer

by Sam Hogin, Phil Barnhart, Sunny Russ (performed by Lisa Brokop)

Love was alive on the telephone line
Honeysuckle hangin’ in the hot sunshine
Dust piled up on my daddy’s combine
That boy, that girl, that summer
Thirsty for somethin’, they didn’t know what
Tried to control it but they couldn’t stop
She was his rose, and he was her rock
That moon, that kiss, that summer
June and July and an August to remember
Ninety miles an hour straight into September
Memory still warms me in the dead of winter
Of love so true that summer
Two kids from Kansas on a yellow brick road
Watchin’ the world through a magic window
There wasn’t anyplace they couldn’t go
That hope, that dream, that summer
June and July and an August to remember
Ninety miles an hour straight into September
Memory still warms me in the dead of winter
Of love so true that summer
June and July and an August to remember
Ninety miles an hour straight into September
Memory still warms me in the dead of winter
Of love so true that summer, that summer
Love was alive on the telephone line, that summer

I hope everyone had one of these.  ;)

June. That is all.

Thought Collage Thursday // Mix Tape

Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield

I am enthused about a book right now.

rob sheffield every tape tells a story

The Back Cover:

Mix tapes: Stick one into a deck and you’re  transported to another time in your life. For Rob Sheffield, author of Turn Around Bright Eyes that time was one of miraculous love and unbearable grief. A time that spanned seven years, it started when he met the girl of his dreams, and ended when he watched her die in his arms.

Using the listings of fifteen of his favorite mix tapes, Rob shows that the power of music to build a bridge between people is stronger than death. You’ll read these words, perhaps surprisingly, with joy in your heart and a song in your head—the one that comes to mind when you think of the love of your life.

You can’t get the book at the library right now. Because some one else has it.  ;)

He is a lots-of-fun-words {funnier observations} kind of writer, so highly quotable.  I melted to the floor when I saw that he used “epiphanic” twice (so far, I am not done reading yet) because no one I know {except me, see here in 2010 and here in 2008} uses that word (is it a word? WordPress does not think so…) and I was SO happy. I mean – I am a blogging-Nonna, a plain ol’ person. He is a BEST-SELLING AUTHOR! And we used the same word. Yeah-I am getting carried away.

But suffice it to say I love his words and the way he stacks them and strings them and draws me right into sound of the life he describes. And his words about music and song, emotion and relationship, and just life, really - ohmygoodness! LOVE.

Some of the mixes he shares, I am like, “Oh yes – best music ever.” Others, I have no idea and nor would I, as, whilst he was living and listening and loving it, I was this very serious pastor’s wife with very small children’s whose ears would had to have been covered to listen to it. A lot of 90s rock, alternative, f-word stuff.  But, ya know. Still loving the story!

rob sheffield i'm a mix tape

One Amazon reviewer  of this book spoke of people who had never made a mix tape for some one, people for whom music is just background noise. He referenced them as  people having no soul. I am inclined to agree.

So, if you love songs, if there is a tune for every person, place or thing in your life, nearby or loosely associated, a melodic memory groove in any way, shape or form and if you have indeed made or been the recipient of a mix tape: READ Rob Sheffield’s book!!!

rob sheffield when we die


I wish I could have these very business cards.  They are at Moo.com and are a variety of cassette images on one side, and the back is fashioned to look just like the enclosure card! They call them, “I made you a mix tape.” LOVE!

I wish I were a singer or managing singers or some wildly important industry-type or something fabulous like that so having these would totally make sense! I. Love. Them!

i made you a mixtape moo.com


Answer: Because a song stays with you, cutting a path to remembrance  deep in your heart and soul in a way you will never forget.

[Hum Jeopardy song here...]

Question: Why did God communicate His very important message to the children of Israel through Moses and Aaron by song?

Deuteronomy 32 //  Moses…spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people. When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day…They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.”


Would you even be surprised to know…

  • That I have cassette-tape gift wrap on hand for special occasions?
  • That I still make mix tapes all the time via Youtube and Spotify??? It is so much easier now to go to YouTube and make a playlist of Patridge Family songs {don’t judge me} or even a Motown mix, or Billie Holiday. As kids, making a mix tape meant listening to the radio and waiting until you heard the song you loved coming on, then pushing record as fast as possible. It also meant that if your mom came in and said to clean your room while you were recording – you’d forever hear that, too.
  • That 1974 is one of my all-time favorite years for music (because I was in love with love and love runs as a certain theme through the top 100 that year, as it does most years) and coincidentally is the same year I got my first cassette recorder? Oh. blessed cassettes, how I loved thee. Before that, I was using a miniature reel-to-reel. Yes, they had those in the olden days.
  • That I have an entire folder in my laptop pictures file devoted to images of old cassettes and that I have 32 drafts of songs I plan to write about on this very blog and have used said images for those posts?

bill withers

Probably not a bit surprised, are you? Reading this Rob Sheffield book has just confirmed to me that my zealous love of song and ability to recall every detail of the circumstance during which the song became important to my very existence is, well, maybe not normal, but certainly…acceptable.

And now, of course, I just put together a little mixed tape for you. I call it 1974, which was a very good year!

I am sure I will add to it, but for now, it has 53 songs for a nice 3 hour and 9 minute listening experience.

What? You don’t have Spotify yet? RUN, don’t walk – go get it. It’s like having all of iTunes available to you – for FREE!

#tbt Throw back Thursday

Me (and my little brother, Tim) in 1974, of course.

Tim and me in 1974
Worship Leading-also a mix tape

And while we’re on the topic – it occurs to me that putting together a worship set for a Sunday morning service is sort of putting together a mix tape experience, right? A little Matt Redman, a little Chris Tomlin, some Hillsong and a good dose of Jesus Culture. Bam!

And what the heck – family is a mix-tape, too, right?

If, as Wikipedia describes it, a mix tape is a name given to a compilation of songs recorded onto any audio format, then, I count my family. They are my song of life and they are most certainly an audio-audible, boisterously loud-with-the-sounds-of-living lovely recording.

mi familia - easter

Yes, if love is a mix tape, then family is a mix tape, too and the titles and artists are as follows: my Dave;Tara and Dp, Hunter and Malakai; Stephanie and Tris, Gavin, Guini and Gemma May; Tredessa and Ryan and baby Evangeline; Rocky and Jovan, Averi, Amelie Belle and baby Bailey; Stormie; my parents, my siblings, my nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles and grandparents and  great-nieces and great-nephews and all the people I came from and all those who are still to be -  we are a pretty amazing mix, I think.  :)

It’s Thursday. I love Thursdays.

Estes Park at Lori's off the deck

I will be exactly where this picture was taken, oh yes!

We have made it people – the pool is up for the season and another weekend is in sight! I shall be in Estes Park for three days with some of the most fantastically beautiful women on the planet (5 friends, 1 niece, 2 great-nieces and a sister-in-law). I hope I soak in a little bit of each them and come home a more wonderful person than ever. It could happen.  :)

Seen on Pinterest

And very good advice. You are enough. Not just because I say so – but because God made you so uniquely, wonderfully, creatively and awesomely in His very image. That HAS to be good. So, kick insecurity to the curb!


Happy Thursday, everybody!