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

bh 2

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!

Score!

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…

*tear*

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

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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???

A-Ross-Moslander-Norma-Jean-Allison-Wedding-1

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

Woof-woof.

doggie

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.

Finally…

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.

Ruh-Roh

This was our photo goal:

barb and dog

{Source}

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!

Wheels of Love Go ‘Round*

Mi Familia…

Happy 57th Anniversary, Mom and Dad

Wheels of love go ’round
Love go ’round
Love go ’round
A joyful sound*

ross and norma moslander august 2014

Ross and Norma Moslander (also known as my mamala and pappasan), married August 24, 1957. They are my parents, the two people I adore and most admire in the universe. Like most kids, I suppose, there were so many things I was going to do differently as a parent. Then I didn’t. Or I did and found out their way was better, anyway. They are both amazing and flawed, both extraordinary and just plain human. But their trajectory has always been headed towards heaven, walking with Jesus, being guided by the Holy Spirit and the closer they get to their goal, the more perfect they become.

My mom thanks me each Mother’s Day and on my birthday for making her a mommy – everything she had ever wanted. I love them! And I’m so blessed to have them as mine!

He ain’t got a penny 
For Cotton Jenny to spend
But then
Wheels go ’round*

Another grandbebe is on the way!

eva 8 months plus sibling announcement

That’s right: you heard me. GRANDbebe #10 is due at the end of February 2015. He or she will be Tredessa and Ryan’s second child. Eight-month-old, Evangeline Lilly made the announcement at church wearing a shirt that said, “Only Child, expires February 2015.”

eva's announcement 1

Singing through the Decades

Tara (my firstborn) and her husband Dave are back with a concert follow-up to the wildly successful, sold-out show they did for Valentine’s Day at the Mad Cap Theater in Westminster.

This concert is called Decades, where, rumor has it, they will sing some of the best love songs from various , you guessed it, decades in the past. They are pulling out some of my favorites and I don’t know if I am suppose to tell, but one is a very sexy version of “Let’s Stay Together,” and **maybe-maybe-maybe** even “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” one of my mom’s all-time fav songs (she wants me to make a video of pictures of my dad and add that song as a soundtrack – how cute is that???).

dave and tara powers decades concert poster

Anyway – the concert is at the historic Armory Center for Performing Arts up north and you can get tickets at  dtp.eventbrite.com. It WILL be sold out, so buy early. I get a pass ‘cuz I am their mom! :)

Rocky @Rez.org & other places

rocky rhoades big tent revival

Rocky just started a new phase of life and ministry at Resurrection Fellowship in Loveland. He’ll be leading worship a couple of weekends a month and engineering sound in a super-cool exposed brick office with a full-blown recording set-up. He is a little bit in heaven.

He just got back from The Big Tent Revival in Butte, MT where he led worship and just a day before  that from a Rez trip to Lake Providence, Louisiana where they were raising money for a ball field there and he was thrilled to get to meet Uncle Si and some other Duck-Dynasty family. This was an explanation of the event CLICK HERE. I think there were follow-up news stories, but I live in Colorado, people.

rocky rhoades at the big tent revival butte, mt

Image from The Big Tent Revival, Photographer Tom Curry, copyrighted

Jovan is going to home school Averi this year as they transition, prepare to sell their house and move to Loveland (which, while only 45 miles from us, will still make them seem quite a ways away compared to now, which has been 15 miles). They are having an exciting year.

Stormie was at The Big Tent Revival, too

Crazy girl plays bass and sings. She uses her vacation time to travel wherever she is invited to glorify God. We like her very much!

stormie rhoades at big tent revival butte, mt

Image from The Big Tent Revival, Photographer Tom Curry, copyrighted

You have been following Beat a Day, haven’t you? You haven’t??? What?!

Stephanie and Tristan are movers and shakers and are always doing something new that wows all of us. And they are both wildly popular on Instagram. Is that such a mom thing to say? It is! :) But it is still true! Steph is an extraordinary photo stylist, see here.

stephanie_may on instagram

Tristan started posting a 15-second “Beat a Day” drum vids to Instagram {he is the BEST drummer in the world}} and everybody is talking about it! You MUST check it out!  :)  You totally have to watch the 100th beat that has exactly 100 hots played at  100 beats per minute! So cool! Also lots of beats at TristanKelley.com

So-this is just a little bit of what is happening with my people around here -

All the result of Ross and Norma saying I do 57 years ago this week!

*”Wheels of love go ’round” are lyrics from the song, “Cotton Jenny” written by Gordon Lightfoot. But it was the first song I ever heard by Anne Murray. I was 12. I loved her low voice and I still sing this song around the house! A lot!

 

“We get a happy feeling when we’re singing a song!”*

The title, of course, is from The Partridge Family theme song, “Come On, Get Happy,”* a true classic if ever there was one!

come on get happy

I’ve decided to introduce my granddaughters to the old TV show and Gemma just got to see the first three episodes last night. Tonight is Guini’s turn.

946d6f496fba7fef8090952f0b5c3512

Sometimes you hop on Pinterest and find a theme. Pinterest has provided all of today’s great graphics! Music, songs – ahhhhhh, yes!

10547599_764793883563776_7697551498404617937_n

A chart explaining it all is so helpful.

alone with my music

It’s true.

Plus

Hey – in other music news, Spectacle: Elvis Costello with… {season one} is available on Netflix. Love Elvis, love executive producer, Elton John (who is guest on the first show). It’s a talk show with some of the best musical artists in the universe. “Talk and roll, rhythm and muse,” one promo tags it.

I just watched the episode where Elton John interviewed Elvis’s wife, the AMAZING Diana Krall (her vocal styling and interpretation is perfection and her piano playing – I nearly faint). The three of them on one show? It’s like a rich dessert! My moonlight indulgence while Dave is protecting the State of Colorado – extremely good music with a myriad of fantastically creative artists and the spontaneous performances that happen when they’re onstage telling their stories. So good. SO good!

Lastly, I just became the proud owner of a stash of Andy Williams (6), Perry Como (1) and George Maharis (1) albums for my collection. So retro, modern and beautiful. I also scored a couple of jazz albums I want to listen to soon.

The slight crackle of the needle on the vinyl, the spinning record and smooth love songs – instant transportation waaaaaaaay back in time!

Songs. :)

The Holy Wild

Even in the most suburban of lots, house-bound on every side, a mere speck in the greater-metro area landscape – there are things happening we I too rarely take time to notice.

Psalm 66.4 “All the earth bows down to you;
    they sing praise to you,
    they sing the praises of your name.”

What is this thing, that the older I get the less interested I am in man-made paraphernalia and the more fascinating I find unfettered creation, its endless variations and complete autonomy? How have we come to live so that nature, seeing the Creator in His most beautifully expressed perfection, just enjoying the world God has made –  is confined to the 2 week vacation we have planned somewhere “away from from it all”  or the occasional hike up a mountain and then we are back to car motors and concrete, air-conditioned homes and a tidy, boxed little version of this vast universe?

Created {creative} life is actively engaged and fully alive and we can participate, but we spend an awful lot of time looking at handheld devices, staring at blue-glowing screens, don’t we? holy wild aspen leaves

Aspen leaves shimmer as the sun breaks over the rooftops…

Takes one to know one

I feel land-locked. I have the sliver of a backyard that I actually do work to make enjoyable and as “natural” as possible, suburbia be darned. But I do have to think of the HOA…When I’ve lived in a small town, I have longed for the city lights and easy shopping excursions. But when that is the reality, I yearn for a pastoral setting with chickens for eggs and goats for cheese and a horse, of course.  I guess I am hard to please. And I forget to just notice the miraculous wonder all around me each day.

After reading Wendell Berry earlier this summer {click here}, I knew I needed to just start to see what is happening in the little universe that is my backyard again. So much is going on, it turns out, when I am so unaware, just a few feet behind a picture window. Life is happening, life abundant.

Psalm 65.13  “The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain.     They all shout and sing for joy!”

This is a test.

I went out to be still and quietly observe in the early morning, then the evening. Here is what I saw…

In spite of my predetermined locations, plants go wild and grow where they wish. No-see-ums throw raucous parties, throwing caution to the wind by dashing in and out of sunlight –  knowing they can be seen in that instant, yet daring the birds to get them en masse. holy wild dappled morning light

Morning light dapples its way across the lawn

The sun slowly rises and though the shadow remains very still across the lawn, barely quivering Aspen leaves get caught in the beam-fall of bright morning light and gently shimmer against the dark green velvet background. All else is still, very still while the sacred dance is performed. All creation is at worship…

A black and translucent dragon-fly looped around me playfully at one point, daring me to give chase. Luckily my camera was nearby and when I wondered how I’d ever keep up, sweet thing just landed beside me on a rusty old milk can and smiled pretty for the picture. holy wild dragon fly When he bid farewell and flew to another part of the garden, I decided to walk over and check a patch of sun-scorched grass, which I generally am irritated over, but which I decided to go view with mercy, to determine if I should re-seed or wait for cooler days to revive it.

Lo and behold, there in the middle of the little patch was a baby Mourning Dove!

Two Mourning Doves have made a home for their growing family in my Austrian Pine. Even though they are much too large, they often try to check up on me by lighting on a narrow edge just outside my window. They keep quite busy in their comings and goings and home {nest} improvement projects. And now here, in the brown and greenish corner of my lawn sat a plump baby dove. I asked if she was OK and where her parents were and I saw her heart was palpitating wildly as she checked me out, too. She’d obviously been instructed by her mommy not to talk to strangers. Just beyond, behind some rocks was her younger brother, slightly smaller and much more trepidatious about my presence. holy wild mourning dove 1 I stretched out on my belly in the cool grass, still slightly damp from last night’s rain, and we just looked at each other for a bit. Not long later, mommy and daddy dove returned and the happy family cooed and much happy wing-whirling (the distinctive sound they make upon each arrival and departure) ensued. Family, together again. holy wild mourning dove 2 Mourning Doves, I have since learned, eat seeds only, which explains the choice of the scorched spot – where seeds of every kind get caught on their way by.

Psalm 96.12  “Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy…”

Isn’t life amazing?

I went to inspect a particular pepper plant that seems to have a nightly visitor who enjoys leaf-munching. I mean, it is there amongst a row of pepper plants, and yet, one by one, the leaves of said pepper plant have disappeared to the stem, munched right off. I am sure it is a cute furry something or another, but I have called a neighborhood watch by the nearby tomatoes and basil varieties and given the other peppers a scolding for not reporting this travesty. Thievery in the garden will not be tolerated!

Just then, a tiny toad hopped right onto my foot and then off again. It couldn’t have been more than an inch long and must have thought I was a statue or something. I reached down to see if I could catch him, for wouldn’t the grandbebes think he was delightful? And his hopping became very high and zig-zaggy. I’ve never seen a toad go so fast. Just as well, he’d have peed in my hand, no doubt. holy wild untended garden boxes

Square-foot gardening, my attempt at taming the wild

A few hours later, in the shade of the  Austrian Pine where the Mourning Doves live, where it comes together with mountain rock and the ever-spreading shiny-leafed Pachysandra, we spotted a very, very large spider (aren’t they always very large?) weaving a web for his nightly dinner. It had reddish diamond shapes on its back and worked quickly and efficiently, a 2 foot x 2 foot area.  A peek into the space beyond and you realize there is this whole life system happening and my presence is of absolutely no consequence, even though this is “my” yard.

How did God do this?!?

Romans 1.20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and divine nature…”

I decide I should take a quick look at my woefully neglected garden boxes and see the purslane remains abundant {taking seriously the command to be fruitful and multiply}. It’s a weed because I didn’t invite it there, but it is also a sign and reminder that if I did nothing in the garden at all, if the world went crazy and the stores shut down and food was scarce, there are edible things in the back yard. I could live without starving off the purslane alone. Now add in the sneaky dandelions that plant themselves in established gardens and emerge strong for the feedings and my ongoing war with those resilient garlic chives, I could subsist on some very green and tasty stir-fries.

The setting suns each day are becoming more colorful, more brilliant and deep. And just as  you catch your breath from the painted skies in the west, a super-moon emerges and all over again, you’re in awe of this planet, this place God fashioned.

It’s 11 o’clock pm as I write this and the leftover brilliance of the super-moon is dazzlingly bright in the sky just outside my window. A cool breeze is rolling in and I have the urge to sing  “Somewhere Out There,” like I always have when the moons are big and full. What do you think the neighbors would say??? holy wild afternoon shade I’m just a speck. I’m a blade of grass. I am so lucky to get to drink in the air, enjoy dappled sunlight from my patio on quiet mornings, swing in the cool of the evening, listen to grandbebes splashing in the pool or zooming down the slide. And all around us, even here in this tiny, suburban slice of the globe, all of creation is revealing the invisible God, the Creator of all and all of His eternal power.

Leaves and weeds, grass and seeds, web-weaving spiders and gnats and beetles, ladybugs and dragon-flies, the birds of the air, my old dog…revelations of God, all!

I mean – wow! This is what is happening. Right here in my own backyard!

Know what’s lovely?

Just some of life’s goodness, odds and ends and blessings. A list.

1.

Ruby red grapefruit, all tart and tangy thrown into a bowl of brilliant, sweet, red watermelon for breakfast. Juicy, cold and delish! They make good bowl-fellows.

lovely

2.

Grand-girlies and bubbles. Or hopping into the pool and out again. Jump-jump-jumping on the trampoline. Swinging up in the air so high. Music and singing and more bubbles and chasing. Hair trains. Hair trains are wonderful.

hair-train (noun) // lining up like train cars to fix each others hair, first one direction, then the next; best when Nonna gets in on the action

lovely little grands

3.

Frozen with the grand-girls, too. Because they sing every song, with heart and soul. And if you haven’t seen Frozen yet, don’t watch it with Amelie. She likes to tell what’s about to happen before it happens. She does it to be nice, so you’re not surprised.  :)

4.

After dark trampoline jumping and singing the Frozen songs {again and again} at the top of your lungs. I hope the neighbors thought this was as great as I did.

lovelies

5.

10 o’clock pm water-bottle bowling.

lovely water bottle bowling

Here is how:

  1. Get 10 water bottles and remove the labels.
  2. Use food coloring to create various colors.
  3. Throw a glow stick into the bottle and screw the lid back on very tightly.  We used the glow-bracelets, which weren’t very bright. But I think glow sticks would probably be better.
  4. Arrange bottles in a “pyramid” shape. 1 bottle, then, 2, then 3, then 4. You know how bowling pins are arranged, right?
  5. Get a ball (we used a wooden croquet ball) for rolling.

Each player gets three rolls to knock them all down and keeps a tally of their own points (10 points per bottle down, a little math thrown in for good measure) and must show a little grace to a certain impetuous 4-year old {Amelie Belle} who may or may not choose to overhand throw the wooden balls with gusto, thereby winning every game with colorful, glowing water bottles scattered in her wake.

My camera couldn’t capture the prismatic fun after dark, but it was. Later the remnants, multi-hued water bottles, sparkled a reminder on a rainy afternoon:

lovely rainy remnants

6.

And tomatoes from the garden. It may be mid-August, but I am still utterly undone each time I cut in to one and taste this magnificent tang and sweet and depth and power of all of the summer rains and warm sunshine right there on my tongue. These garden tomatoes don’t even remotely seem related to the red things you buy in grocery stores or the anemic, transparent slices on a fast food sandwich. Not remotely the same.

These? These are all of heaven laser-beamed into a small fruit, the reward of a little sweat and patience, some love and desire culminating in the blood-red taste of life. The tomato.

lovely tomato

You knew I had to mention the tomato, right? Because they are lovely!

lovely eva

7.

Finally? You know what is really lovely? {{*** Y O U ***}}! Thank-you, my children, my friends, my familia – anyone who happens by, for reading through my silly lists and observations and indulging my zeal for my grandchildren and tomatoes. These are such small, inconsequential things to discuss in light of the horrendous crimes being committed against children around the world, the wars and rumors of wars, the complete dishonor/disdain against life and the Creator of life. But these simple things remind me of Him, anyway.

God, help us. Make us grateful and make us see the injustices and take action against them, for the love of the simple and abundant life You have allowed us. God, show us how...

Happy Birthday to the Lovely Guinivere!

Happy Birthday, Sweet-Guini!

guini , photo taken by steve stanton

Steve Stanton Photography 

Guinivere Eden arrived in the wee morning hours, the ones that still feel like night.

I was in some luxurious mountain hotel on a staff retreat and had barely gone to sleep in the room-sized bed when the call came: our first granddaughter would be arriving soon. Breathlessly I re-packed all the things I’d just unpacked. How exciting!

Zooming down the mountain and across the continental divide under a sky-full of stars we went. Down, down, down and straight to the hospital where, in the first light of a sunny, stunningly beautiful day we held her,  her blond hair glistening as it caught the morning rays, grandbebe #3. Third time was most definitely a charm!

I tell Guini now, nine years later, I’d zoom down the mountain and cross great divides for her again. Anytime.

guini and sibs for coffeeHer Indiana grandparents were on hand to help her celebrate turning 9 last week. Here she is with her older brother and younger sister, enjoying Starbucks.**

Guini is my “flower girl.” She doesn’t like tomatoes. Can you imagine that? MY granddaughter, flesh of my flesh and  she doesn’t like tomatoes! But early on, she zeroed in on flowers. Barely able to talk, we’d roam the yard and she’d stop at each variety and ask, “What’s this?” And I’d tell her and she’d try to repeat it – cutest thing ever.

So when she came for a visit and found some small flowers from the garden center I hadn’t planted yet and grabbed a small table to set up her very own flower shop, well, I knew then, like the Cowsills sang,

I saw her sitting in the rain
Raindrops falling on her
She didn’t seem to care
She sat there and smiled at me

And I knew (I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew)
She could make me happy (happy, happy)
Flowers in her hair, flowers everywhere

guini starting 3rd grade

I love the flower girl
Oh, I don’t know just why
She simply caught my eye
I love the flower girl she seemed so sweet and kind.
She crept into my mind.

How fitting for a girl whose middle name is “Eden,” a garden God Himself planted. I once made a video for Guini using that song (when she turned 5). See it {HERE}.

guini at the coffee table

She recently worked on this art project in my living room. Guini meticulously watercolored each carefully chosen hue…Every coffee table should be used for something this wonderful.**

She is content in spirit. Her soft smile is authentic – not one given to outrageous enthusiasm nor dramatic meltdowns, she is as sweet as she looks. She’s a little quieter than many of my adorable grands, but oh the rich tales she has to tell.

Her wry sense of humor is so keenly developed, her ornery way of seeing things sharper than the average 9-year-old. She aces her school work without breaking a sweat and is such an incredible big sister to Gemma and a girl who admires and finds her older brother, Gavin, to be the most hilarious friend ever.

guini cake decorating

She came over in June to help me do a ballerina cake for her little sister. I thought her little arms would tire, but she was all to happy to pipe some shell trim and makes stars. She did the whole thing!

Just recently I’ve become aware that I’m seeing glimpses of a young woman emerge. Giggling with cousins one minute, then having thoughtful conversations with me about what she wants to do with her life next, and a slight turn of her head and did I just see the grown up Guini? Time doesn’t just pass, time flies with the speed of light.

I sure do love you, Guinivere!

So of course I need to pray some blessings on you! These are things I pray for you and words I speak as gifts for you straight from heaven. Long after I am gone, you’ll always have them to come back to. If ever you need to know what your life is about and what is being put together in heaven for your benefit on earth, you can come back to this little altar of remembrance, by faith, and know that these things are yours, in Jesus’s Name! :) Amen? Amen!

“The LORD God planted a garden, eastward, in Eden…” Genesis 2

I just know Isaiah 58:11 in a scripture for you,The LORD will guide you always, He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your bones, and you’ll be like a well-watered garden. And like a spring of waters, whose waters just keep flowing” (paraphrased). Absolutely!

I pray your thoughtfulness and gentle spirit will be welcomed and received by good people who see you, really see you (and I hope I will always be one of those).

I pray that the fruitful garden of your life and love and joy will be shared by many and will feed and bless lots of people in this journey called life.  Just like so many of us right now even are!

I bless you with increased creativity and ability to see beauty in the simple and the simple in the complex and I really pray you will have great prosperity (enough for yourself and much to share) in doing something you completely love in life! I hope you do get to have that cupcake business, or raise horses, or have a flower shop. Whatever you want to do, Guini-Poo, I know God can bless it and make it go well for you!

AND I pray that your 4th grade year will be the most fantastic and fun school year of your life. I pray  that  the classroom you’ll spend so much time in will feel good and that the teacher will be fair; that you’ll have at least 5 favorite friends, people who are nice and encouraging and that you can be the same back. I pray that this school year will open your eyes to fascinating things and that there’ll be plenty of celebrations and festivities along the way.

I bless you, my sweet. I bless your heart and smile and your love and your kindness. I bless your awesome sense of humor and every single one of your freckles. I bless you when you come to see your Nonna and when you go home again. I bless you as a granddaughter and a girl who cares about other people. I bless your taste and I bless your style and I don’t ever want you to forget how much you are LOVED! I love you, girlie. And may this Happy-Birthday-blessing go on and on…

{{the Nonna!}}

**photos by her mommy www.maydae.com

A Look at Sunday Services

A long time ago in a far-away land, let’s just leave the specifics hanging, I led a worship team that was pretty “good.” We had some true musical talent on the team and since I am not referencing myself, I think it is OK to say so. We had a variety of instruments and some decent voices and we actually did this olden-days things called “harmonizing.” Now I am just being sarcastic. ;)

Anyway, we had a friend “in the pews” who couldn’t carry a tune to save her life, but oh my goodness, she was a worshipper, not just in church, but with her life. But during the musical worship on Sunday mornings, she unabashedly enjoyed herself – singing away like nobody’s business, smiling, clapping her hands, raising them – however her heart could find to show God the joy she felt because of how He rescued her.

Everyone loved her. Her enthusiasm and joy were contagious.

One Sunday evening I asked her if she would read a scripture passage as a call to worship and then she could just move to the side and back of the stage for the abbreviated worship time (before super-powers-evangelist would come and speak). She was thrilled to help.

I’m getting there, hold on…

The next day, we got “called in” about having an older, single woman, a heavy-set older, single woman on stage as part of the team. The visiting speaker felt she didn’t belong in front of people, and was sure we were going to deal a death blow to the church growth program if we weren’t more careful about who got on stage. He said I looked good. Gee, thanks. He said Dave looked good. He critiqued a few of our other people (our bass player needed to trim his beard closer), but said that whether we liked it or not, it would hinder the church and the growth if the people up front didn’t look a certain way – that we needed to be polished.

Flabbergasted, I said something about her heart – that as far as I could see, she’d done nothing unseemly, but probably actually contained some of her usual vibrancy as she stood waaaaaaaay off to the side and waaaaaaay back of the stage. I said we’d invited her because she drew people in to celebration.

He said he was sure she had a good heart, but that in the future I should only invite people who “looked successful,” who “looked right” to be up there with us.

He also said that we were sure lucky to be part of the staff and that if we ever left that church (could he see behind my eyes in that moment, could he see the wheels spinning?), God would be finished with us and would never use us again. Coupled with a sermon he’d preached about a church member who kept “coming against” him and who subsequently died in a car accident (the implication being that if you “come against the man of God,” and I think I may actually be quoting him here, there’ll be death to pay), we weren’t long for that place.

True story. Not sardonic, though or the least bit amusing. But hold on- I have a FUN video coming!!!

I will say this about that ridiculous and not uncommon-enough situation: God looks at the heart and our friend’s contribution to that service was received and God was welcomed and she didn’t have to weigh 110 and have glitter in her hair and be wearing a worship-team-color-coordinated outfit, which was all-too common back in the days of which I write.

Sad, though, how the more things change, the more they stay the same.  We just traded church-lady-clothed teams too heavy on the vocals for Cool. Capital intended.

Now for some lighthearted fun: the video…

We laugh because it’s funny. We squirm because it’s a little bit true. We thought we were different, but it turns out we’re just contemporvant.

But all in good fun. Hey, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at?

And note to the super-powers-evangelist who spoke the curse over me:  if you think that stupid toupee is fooling anyone…

33 Years in the Making

A really beautiful, fruitful garden takes time. It can’t happen overnight. It takes planning and planting and sunshine and rain. A fruitful garden must be tended…

33 Years in the Making

A marriage, a life, an enduring friendship, a love that lasts, a love that creates, a love that makes a place, a love that can still be silly, but wildly, seriously passionate, too. It takes 33 years to fall so hard, to break-up and make-up because there simply is no other there there. In good times, in bad…

It takes 33 years to have 5 kids and see them grow into human beings you find to be more fascinating than you can believe and to let them become, watching as bits and pieces of yourselves walk around the planet doing well – doing good, bringing glory to God by being who He made them to be. Thirty-three years.

It’s like a blip on the radar screen of time, but this time, our time, this love, our love, these days, our days – they have taken us 33 years to navigate, to tame, to experience, to taste, to  cry over, to hold close, to run from, to do badly and to do well.  In times of joy, and in times of sorrow…

It has taken us 33 years to get here.  I…take you…to be my…

our wedding day

And oh yes, there have been bouquets of flowers and you’ve heard more of my laughter than anyone on earth ever will. And there have been love songs and passionate kisses and just plain times of sweet satisfaction with the life we have lived as honorably as we could and with the children we have raised and their children, now, too.  For better…

But there have been agony and night seasons that sent friends fleeing for the hills and you have caught my tears and moved closer to bear my pain. And we have failed miserably sometimes as lovers, sometimes as parents, and as a family, and we’ve had to labor with intensity through great pain, harder than can be imagined, to repair the breeches, restore the losses. For worse…

It takes 33 years for this to be: for us to be us, for the children we raised to be the people they are, for 9 beautiful grandbebes to reward our fruitfulness with so much joy and delight. To have and to hold…

This blessed life was not built in a day, nor in the heated passion of our fall into deep love.  It has taken 33 years of rights and wrongs, and good and not-so-good, but overwhelmingly lovely, oh-so-very lovely, love-filled days to get here, with you. For in the times there was nothing else to do, we have lived on love.

It’s taken 33 years for me to have more than I ever hoped or dreamed and more than I deserved. You are my home. Please keep me. :)  For as long as we both shall live…

anniversary at peaceful valley

We are not of the “selfie” generation and it takes us 30 or so tries to get us both in the picture, centered and looking roughly the same direction. This was at Peaceful Valley in the Rocky Mountains last week.

Happy Anniversary to the father of my children, to my life, my love, my home, the man of my dreams, and my most trusted friend {a spot well-earned}. Thank-you for your faithfulness, your steadiness, your commitment to love even when it has been challenged, and for knowing who you are in Christ. You’re the strongest man I know.

“You are so handsome, my love,
pleasing beyond words!
The soft grass is our bed;
fragrant cedar branches are the beams of our house,
and pleasant smelling firs are the rafters.” Ecclesiastes 1.16-17 NLT

It took 33 years to create a home and garden so fine.

July 23, 1981 was a wonderful day to begin the work of love.

{Remember When}, a song <<< click on it

PS //  Oh, and – I know this is a long, serious blog post. I could just as easily have said: Dear Dave, I love your brown skin and strong arms. Plus your gorgeous hair and incredible lips. I love having your body in the bed next to me night after night and that you and me got to make this sweet family and still get to make out anytime we want. Happy Anniversary, lover. Signed, Me ;)