Category Archives: 6 Looking Back // Memories!

I’m at that age where you have lots and lots of memories. When I am waxing melancholy…

The three-inch universe

old baseball and quote
I grew up with Cardinal red pulsing through my veins.  The St. Louis Cardinals mean summer and October baseball.

They are in the World Series again.  The sky was bluer than blue today.  The leaves on the trees were at the zenith of their dazzling autumn colors in the briliant light of the blazing sun.

And the Cards are up 2-1 in the series.  Tonights’ win was weird (on an obstruction call), but we’ll take it.

WIN, St. Louis, win!


Bo-Bear Turned 29 on the 29th

Happy Birthday to Rocky Rhoades, who turned 29 on September the 29th

My son – I am so pleased with you. rocky and jovan

I have told you the story of your birth so many times, haven’t I?  You arrived early and the doctor had told me not to leave town in case that happened, but I left town and I was so stressed out because I don’t like to get caught breaking the rules.  And Tara just reminded me the other night how stressed she was, too, as a 5-year old, because we started on our trip, got halfway there, went home, and then decided to go anyway…and barely walked into the grandparent’s house before it was time for me to zoom right on over to the hospital.  Well,  I mean, I had planned to make it home so the doctor wouldn’t be any-the-wiser, but you were like, NOW! ~which is so still you.   :)

And I have told you that you surprised me beyond anything I could have imagined.  I could not believe I got the boy, THE boy I secretly hoped for even though in reality I was totally FINE with having a girl.  I already had 3 girls, one more made such sense for balance and symmetry.  Omygoodness – the words, “You have a boy” sent me into delirious happiness.

rocky baby

You looked directly at me, your eyes blinked in slow-motion and it knocked the breath from my body.   I was dizzy in love, unable to even think about sleep that night, all night, as an oxytocin and dopamine cocktail surged through my veins as if it were coming directly through the IV drip.  I had a boy…my very own baby boy!

And you may not realize it, but every time I ever see you, even now, I am thinking the same thing: THAT is MY boy!

rocky at easter

I am so proud of you, Rock, not only for the man you are, but for the man you are becoming more and more everyday.  This whole flood thing has been a devastation in some ways and an aggravation, for certain, in the life of your family, your ministry.  There was loss that probably feels overwhelming and unbearable (as $40-50,000 plus time and effort and re-building will be).  I know you look forward to getting your wife and baby girls back home, safe and sound.  And then you’ll look and see the possibly long-haul ahead for replacing all the instruments and computers and sound equipment and the studio you’d spent time assembling ~ lots of time and money and hard work ahead.

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For …this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God.. .  2 Corinthians 6.10-12

But it will come back to you.  The things you have sown will take root and grow.  And I have watched you and Jovan these past few years grow in grace and grow in giving and giving selflessly and giving big and making the conscious decision to live a life of giving and whenever it has been in your power to do so, you have given away anything and everything you could.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows…whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6.7-8

And God isn’t unaware.  He’ll see to it that the seeds of kindness and giving that you have already sown will grow and flourish and you’ll reap all that you have sown.  Even when you didn’t know you’d need it – you were planting, you were dropping the seeds of compassion and kindness and generosity into the ground – and what you couldn’t see was that God wasn’t surprised by this thing that happened to your house, your home and belongings and He was smiling, I just know it, because He knew you were already doing what needed done – before it needed done.  God knew you were planting for a harvest of big-time reaping, financially!

rocky and family

“The Lord then said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.'”  Genesis 7.1

For Noah, for all mankind, the flood was a line in the sand.  It was a before and after.  It was : things used to be like that, then there was the flood, and now they are  like this.  The flood was an ending AND a beginning.  Things were lost in the flood, but the promises of God are found there, too.  Not just for an ark builder for thousands of years ago, but for a worshiper/songwriter right now, in Frederick, CO – man who leads his family and wants to write songs that literally bring healing.

Of course certain things had to die and float away for a dream, a calling, a vision like that.  But it is all just so you’ll never forget that the LORD is the promise-keeper and you didn’t do it by yourself, because you couldn’t have.  How many times have you told me, since you were 18 or 19, “God won’t share His glory.”  You have pointed out highly celebrated, gifted musicians and singers and recognized the call of God on their lives,  but watched as they held it for themselves.  That is not the standard you are living by and this flood is just a yes and amen to deep-down determinations you have already made to give God all, everything that is His and His alone – you have already said it.  The flood is a checkpoint – do you mean it, Rock-man?  And I know you do and I know the healing songs are going to pour out from here, like flood waters for the glory of the LORD.

But [the time is coming when] the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord just as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2.14

rocky and jovanie

Do you know what I think?

I believe, and I actually know this to be true because I have known you every second of these 29 years+ and you have made me cry and worry and laugh like nobody’s business and also so very proud because you are forthright and honest and talented and thoughtful and honoring and you love your mommy.  So this is what I think:

No one is more beautiful or handsome than my boy, my Rocky ~ from the inside out.


“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

This is the post-flood promise of God!  On the occasion of your 29th birthday.  It is coming back to you, all of it and more!  I love you!

NOTE:  Rocky and Jovan got flooded out during the Colorado rains in September.  I have written a little about it here and here.  You can learn more about helping them re-build {HERE}!

I want to be in charge

Once Joe was born, I only remember my mom saying, “Jeanie, you’re in charge…”

Now I am sure my mom’s admonition to me, born first of 5 kids, was just a  simple thing like, “You’re in charge of carrying the diaper bag or baby Joe’s bottle.”  But all I heard was that I was in charge…the rest becomes hazy and glittery and fades into rainbows and blue skies like a dream…  :)

So, from my earliest recollections, I always just wanted to run things: create very involved events for my siblings and neighborhood friends.  Be. in. charge.

me and nancy the neighbor girl

This was Nancy’s house, but oh, I can see the scheming and planning going on in my head during this little tea-party soiree.  I had just turned 7.  Nancy was 8.

I organized the neighbor kids

When the big Drake Relays were going on, an annual gigantic track and field competition in Des Moines at Drake University, I spent hours and hours over the course of a week creating ribbons for the winners and clipboard sign-ups for a Drake Relay event on my own block.  Each neighborhood kid could sign up for three, but only three events – to encourage them to really excel at their chosen category.  Then I required they attend practices to improve their skills before the actual event.  Much jealousy ensued and everyone wanted first-place ribbons.  Kids in the 1960s, I tell ya.

drake relays 1960s

I innately understood that funds were necessary

When my best-friend-across-the-alley, Nancy, told me about how her Catholic school was doing a paper drive to get money, a lightbulb: What?  You can collect old newspapers and magazines and get money for them?  Well, then – we MUST have our own club and collect for our purposes.  I wheeled the lunky 1950s baby buggy my mom had used with all 5 of us – not new when she started (back when there weren’t second cars in families so you might actually have to walk a ways to a store and needed a living-room sized “vehicle” to transport your Gerber-food fat baby) out of the garage and off we went.

We actually found neighbors with a whole basement full of Look and Life magazines (think Twiggy on the front!) and newspapers and they said we could have them.  We figured it would be about 50 buggies’ worth to get them all.  Our plan was foiled, though, when I approached the house with my very first full buggy and my mom incredulously asked “Where do you plan to keep those?!”  She then forbade me to go back and the buggy had to be put away.    I hadn’t really thought about needing a permit from the governing authorities (my parents).

Event leading is a process.  *sigh.

baby buggy

I always had an idea up my sleeve

Fundraising was always in my sights, though.  After a trip to the Des Moines River to “fish,” (the one and only time my dad ever took me because he was so perturbed that I had no interest in the pole or the bait, the fish or sitting quietly as long as there were shells and sparkly rocks to collect and woods to investigate), as soon as I got home, the across-the-alley neighbor girl and I carefully displayed all the natural treasures I’d found at the river in an egg carton and sold them door-to-door for 10-cents each.    We quickly gave up sales, which can be very trying on little girls, when the really old lady in the tiny house across the way said she had all the shells and sparkly rocks she needed for now, but had been hoping we’d stop by because she had a couple of 50-cent pieces she couldn’t use and had wanted to give us each one.  Off to the candy store we went.

Penny candy was already inflated to  2-cents each by this time and I am sure I was telling my friend how she should spend her 50-cent piece for best value, so I still want credit for running something.

There was a backyard circus

I organized various shows, over time, once a backyard circus (which vexed me when my dog refused to jump through my hula-hoop and I hadn’t even lit the flames yet).   Also, the neighbor kids balked at having to pay 10-cents per ticket (I had purchased a partial roll of red raffle tickets at a yard sale nearby and they were as valuable to my scheming mind as gold) just because they were performing in the circus in one act or another.  but still, I put my all into it.

I felt called to lead a choir

I led “Jeanie Moslander and the Voices of Praise,” wearing an Indian-print blanket as a choir robe, based very closely on Nancy Harmon and the Victory Voices, with one slight difference: I didn’t actually have a choir.  I was the choir.  I was loud enough to be heard two blocks down as I “played” my headboard as if it were a Hammond Organ – and oh, how I made that thing sing!    I bet if any of the York Street neighbors  in Des Moines  are still alive, they haven’t yet gotten over the sound of a stick-skinny 8-year old preacher’s daughter singing “He washed My Eyes with Tears that I Might See” at the top of her lungs with her Hammond Organ fills and runs just permeating the neighborhood air.  No sir, that is not something you can really ever forget.

nancy harmon and the victory voices 1960s

nancy harmon and the victory voices

I never strayed from my first love: running church services

Besides early altar calls for sinful neighbor kids on the cellar door in the backyard when I was 4, on many occasions, I am proud to say – I organized very lively and revivalistic services for all of the church kids in our basement while our parents visited upstairs.  We actually had donated theater seating and an antique pulpit down there.  Many great testimonies came from those holiness-Pentecostal meetings, not to mention the shouting and devil-rebuking.  We were a very demonstrative bunch.

They have that?

This is why, I am pretty sure, when The Love Boat series started airing when I was in high school, I was in awe: there really are jobs where you can plan what everyone else should be doing while you get to carry a clipboard around!  Julie McCoy was an activities director on a cruise line and it seemed oh-so-glam!  I was just sure it was my life’s call…for at least a year or two.

love boat costumes

As I try to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life (I hope I still get to try lots of new things), knowwwww  I

(1) want to be in charge;

(2) will need a clipboard (or an iPad, whichever);

(3) will desperately need and follow after the Holy Spirit;

(4) am hoping I can sing sometimes, with a microphone and a choir, please (organ optional);

and basically

(5) want to make help people have a great (organized) time doing something worthwhile/purposeful/eternal and memorable!

Let’s have some fun, doggonit!  Line up here…



Labor Day

This actually has nothing to do with Labor Day, except that these were my labor-days.  I was just trying to remember, and…


My first official labor contraction with Tara was 5:55 am.  I got to the hospital at 6:45 pm (after a day of hanging out with my mom), was wheeled upstairs and Tara was born at 7:16 pm.  So 13 hours and 21 minutes total labor, but only 31 minutes of it at the hospital.


With Stephanie, I think I was sort of in labor while I was sleeping, but since I was sleeping and she wasn’t due for another 5 1/2 or 6 weeks, I wasn’t even noticing.  There were other circumstances, but suffice it say the doctor told us to come to the hospital  because I wasn’t really in active labor, but maybe I was…and I think we got there around 11 am.  She was born at 2:10 in the afternoon.  So, I guess I was in labor for at least 10 hours (but not really) and only about 3 hours and 10 minutes at the hospital.


Tredessa was so late.  They decided to induce.  I arrived at the hospital around 4 pm to get ready for it, but I had gone into very mild labor around noon, while eating nachos at the Target snack bar.  So, while they decided what to do, Dave and I played Scrabble waiting for the doctor to arrive.  I was winning, but our game got interrupted when she suddenly decided to arrive…and the doctor almost didn’t!  She was born at 7:40 pm.  So about 7 hours and 40 minutes of labor, 3 hours and 40 minutes of it in the hospital.  Dang, I wanted to finish that game!

David II

Rocky.  Oh boy, for real!  We were suppose to be leaving town, but I knew the doctor wouldn’t be happy.  But we were in the car on the way, at around 11 am, I was like, Oh-I’m in labor.  We stopped for lunch and it seemed to stop.  We started to go again and it started again.  We turned around and went home.  We took a nap and there was no active labor at all.  I thought I was just freaking myself out.  So we said to each other, “Let’s throw caution to the wind.”  Famous last words.

We were 2 hours into our journey at around 5:30 pm when I realized I was having steady 10-minutes-apart labor contractions.  Ay-yi-yi.  But I tried to tell myself I was just doing it to myself again.  We arrived in Gary, IN to see my parents.  I grabbed a clock and got into a quiet place to figure it out.  They were solid, true contractions.  Soooooooo…..I decided to get back in the car and drive the three hours home quickly so the doctor wouldn’t know I’d left town (am I a people-pleaser, or what?).  My parents graciously offered to keep the three girls and we left their house around 7 pm – planning to make it to Kokomo.  Just before we actually left the metro-area, just about to hit the interstate towards Kokomo, I was feeling freaked out and there was a hospital.  I decided – Hey, let’s just run in there and if they tell me I am not even in labor, I can just calm the heck down and get on with life.  Let’s just check for the sake of argument.  They checked.  I was dilated to 6 at 7:30 when we got there and  when I told them I needed to leave immediately to get back to Kokomo, pretty sure they were signaling security in case I actually tried to leave.  Rocky was born at 9:28 pm.  We’d have had him on the side of the road if we’d tried to make it home.

So, a total of very sporadic labor of around 11 1/2 hours, but only about 2 hours at the hospital.


Finally.  I got this thing, people.  She was also (like Dessa) verrrrrry late.  But I woke up, boom!  6 am – in labor!  The neighbors took the other 4 kids and actually lived across the street from the hospital, so I was there in just a few minutes.  She was born at 10 am straight up.  So 4 hours of labor, maybe 3 1/2 of it at the hospital.

Two lucky things for me:

  1. I never had to do a birth in the middle of the night after a long day.  I always got my sleep.  Was I lucky, or what? maybe God was sparing everyone around me?  I don’t know.
  2. And – I obviously preferred laboring anywhere but at the hospital, if at all possible.  At least 75% of my laboring was done on my own terms: not in the hospital, which I highly recommend to you current baby-bearers!  Really!

But make no mistake – it was L A B O R !!!  Hard labor.   Oh, I love good, hard work!  I do!

Music on a Monday // Back-to-School Songs

Where-oh-where did the summer go???

It is gone toooooooo fast.  There were so many more little pool parties and popsicle treats to enjoy with the grandbebes.  Of the 8, the first 5 are all in school now, again (or for the first time).

hunter third

Hunter walking in to 3rd grade…Tara posted this, she has homeschooled him until now.  Big change!

hunter at school

Gavin is a 5th grader, which makes him a full-fledged “middle-schooler” with a locker!  My little man is growing up on me!  Guinivere and Hunter are in third grade this year and Gemma goes all day now, a first grader.  Averi is an official school girl, she is in Kindergarten and I sure miss having pre-school with her!

averi school

Hearing my daughters plan and talk about all the school supplies lists and routines and buying new clothes and uniforms and having to get kids to bed because it’s a school night now got me thinking of all the music that has been written about school over the years.  There must be thousands of songs, but I thought I’d pick my favorites for a BACK-TO-SCHOOL TOP TEN playlist  (not in order of my love for them, just as they came to me)~

  1. To Sir with Love, Lulu // This song is from a movie with the same name (starring Sidney Poitier in 1967) and I have loved it since I saw it as a child.  It’s pouffy hair and frosted lipstick, dark eyeliner and blue-eyeshadow.  It is all the strong feelings a young girl has, poured out in song.  LOVE!
  2. My Eyes Adored You, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons // If you could have known the 1974 me, the one who was in love with love, for whom each and every song had profound meaning…well, yea.  Then you’d know that the junior-high me was in love with this song and daydreaming about some boy who would someday say, “I loved you way back when….”  Haha.  Such a pretty and sweet song, though, really.
  3. Coat of Many Colors, Dottie Parton // You have to listen to this one to see how many words that woman can get into a song.  And it actually charted, in part, I think, because everyone can relate to being made fun of in school over something or another.  Kids at school can be cruel.  My mom made me a dress from old kitchen curtains once.  I still haven’t written a song about it, though.
  4. I Wish, Stevie Wonder // Part of my Hammond High School, fish-out-of-water, Iowa girl in Louisiana story soundtrack, is characterized by the Songs in the Key of Life 2-album set by Stevie Wonder.  Still one of my favorites, this song was fun. to. sing!  I was going to school with the boy in the song, I am certain of it!
  5. Harper Valley PTA, Jeanne C. Riley // As story songs go, this has got to be one of the best!  I was in 3rd grade and couldn’t get enough of hearing it.  That was one sexy mama!
  6. Spiders and Snakes, Jim Stafford // Um, yes – the boys I knew during junior high were at about this level.
  7. Check Yes or No, George Strait // Do you like me?  Check yes, or no….Aw, sweet.  A little country tune about 3rd grade love that lasts!
  8. Crayola Doesn’t Make a Color for Your Eyes, Kristen Andreassen // I just happened across this one a few years ago and like to sing it to my grandbebes.  The video takes place in a 2nd grade school room.  It is a happy tune and so appropriate for going back to school!
  9. Teacher’s Pet  (Doris Day) // So, in light of all the weird student-teacher relationships that hit the news these days, a bit of the innocence of this song is gone, long gone!  And while the original movie (Teacher’s Pet, 1958) with Doris Day and Clark Gable was sweet, the Waiting for Guffman movie (1996) audition scene with Parker Posie hilariously takes this song down the slippery slope of ickiness.  But it sure is memorable.  I have included Doris, whose uprightness and purity in the singing are unquestionable!
  10. ABC, The Jackson 5 // The very first song on my iTunes song list, I can actually remember where I was sitting in my 4th grade class on bring-a-record day at Wallace Elementary School in Des Moines the first time I heard this glory.  The sun was shining through the windows, a whole new world was opening up to me – this Michael Jackson had dawned – oh my goodness, it was historic – LOVE!!!

8 Songs that didn’t quite make my cut:  Back to School Again, from Grease 2 because I really liked Grease, the first movie, better;  Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd because even as a teenager when it was charting, I felt a pang of weirdness at the blatant rebelliousness of it.  I was trying to conquer rebellion, conquer it!;  Getting Better, The Beatles, and again, a little rebellious and also that psychedelic sound that I think you had to be high to really appreciate, and I wasn’t; See You in September by The Happenings is a very classic song, but it didn’t make the list because it’s a little too easy listening for even me, :) ; Graduation Day, The Beach Boys because it is about graduating from school, not going back to school;  Class of ’57 by The Statler Brothers which I have actually always loved because it is the year my mom graduated, but it is more about graduation, too;  Schoolboy Crush, Cliff Richard and the Drifters because even though I love Cliff Richard, doo-wop isn’t my thing; Teach Me Tonight by Etta James or lots of other artists who have recorded it because I have pictures of my grandbebes in this post!  Too sultry!  School of Rock by Jack Black is an awesome song, but had to get cut because I was keeping my list at 10!  I love watching the movie with my grands, though because he is cute and hilarious and kids get him – I guess because he is a big kid.  The giggling is contagious!

kelley school 2

The K-kids, first day of school

There you have it.  GET SPOTIFY to hear them all!!!

There are SO many songs.  Which school-themed songs did I miss?  Which ones belonged on my list?  Is everyone back to school at your house?

kelley school

The Amen Corner

It is by grace we are saved…but oh the ways we try to make make grace even better! {{insert *wry-and-weary-half-smile}}

I grew up in church where “talking back” to the pastor as he preached was not only welcomed, if there weren’t enough people doing it, the pastor might chide:

“Can I get an ‘amen’?”  or

“It’s getting awfully quiet in here.  Somebody say ‘Amen or Oh, me.'”

“Amen” is supposed to be sort of a wonderful, “Yes!  So be it, Lord!”  Oh, if only that were the only way we church-peeps used it.  *sigh…

Even as a really young girl, I noticed that an awful lot of the people saying “Amen!” were sort of the least joyful, meanie-face-type of Christians.

AMEN the amen corner

Doesn’t this awesome photo just remind you of the fire and brimstone preacher in “Cold Comfort Farm” screaming out “There’ll be no butter in hell, I tell ya!!”???  If it doesn’t, you must watch the movie.  Then it will.

If the preaching was against gossiping or people not going to church, there’d be this “amen section” of people you didn’t want to cross.  The preacher would wind up, powerfully make his proclamation and then the sourest faces in the front three rows of pews would raise their determined noses into the air and shout “Amen!  Amen!!!” with pretty much the same fervor as two guys chest-bumping in victory and grunting loudly at a football game where their team just scored a touchdown.

Even at 5 or 6 years old, I could tell, that with at least some of those people, they felt they were past reproach and in an exclusive club, telling-it-like-it-is, above whatever the sin of the day was.  {{Did I mention I began my judgementalism early?}}  Anyway – some people seemed less about ‘amening’ the truth of the Word of God or even being an encouragement to the pastor that he was right-on than in making sure other people in here better hear this ‘cuz they need it!!!  The problem with this method of “helpful discipleship” is that no one in the sanctuary is quite sure who the recipient/or group of recipients was to be, so the enemy-of-our-souls sorta uses it to crush everybody there with accusation.  Poo.

amen outdoor church

When I got old enough to want to amen something, I knew down deep that I jumped pretty harshly on sermon points that, in reality, exposed my own weaknesses – but not at myself {because there was this view-blocking log in my eye} – more at other people who had them too {people with those little specs Jesus talked about}.  Maybe amening loudly would make everyone else think I was way above it.  If I nodded my head and looked all pious – everyone else would know I had conquered and was above them spiritually speaking.  {{Right.}}

Amen prepare to meet god

These days, most churches don’t have a real old fashioned out-loud-amen section.  But a quick scan of Facebook the past few weeks and I have seen actual posts, not limited to, but including these:

News Flash: The earth revolves around the sun.  This might upset people who think the world still revolves around them.

I’m not judging you, God is.

I’m currently correcting some crap problems in my life.  If you don’t hear from me, you’re probably one of them.

It’s a Facebook status, not a diary.  Learn the difference.

Oh, it’s snowing outside.  I better update my Facebook status for all my friends who don’t have windows.

If you don’t like the life I am leading then quit reading my posts.

If you are a Republican {or Democrat, or Christian, or not a Christian, or any number of possible labels} we aren’t friends.  I will be unfriending you.

The mean-spirited Amen-section is alive and well.  On internet profiles everywhere (and I am sure, sometimes even on this blog, true confessions).  And oh, don’t you just KNOW each of those comments is directed at somebody specific?  But since we don’t know who, 127 people will run for cover.

We have seen the enemy – it is us {church-peeps}.

Thank-You, Lord, that we are growing in grace and learning to say Amen!  So be it! to You, to Your Word, to Your ways.  Thank-you for churches that let us participate with shouts of hallelujah and applause becuase we are so grateful we cannot contain it.  May we keep learning and keep growing in grace.  AMEN!  And the Amen-corner said “~~~~”

Can I get a witness?

NOTE TO READERS:  I actually grew up in the 60s and 70s and not in sepia-tone.  We actually had colored photos and didn’t dress like pilgrims or Civil War-era people.  Just FYI.

The one I miss

Text abbreviations, initialisms, good-old-fashioned acronyms and your basic internet slang is a “language” growing by leaps and bounds.  Net Lingo boasts having the longest list of cyber abbreviations {{HERE}}.

While I much prefer fully written words, the 140-character limit Twitter has imposed does cause, even me, a total word lover, to use the occasional j/k or btw, and of course, I freely distribute xxx & ooos.

But the abbreviation I miss most?  The one that is so much more than a mindless acronym because you can actually physically give and receive it, the one you can really share? ~ ~ ~ ~

SWAK //  Sealed with a kiss.

sealed with a kiss

Lip-prints are optional.  But you can write a letter, send it through the old-fashioned USPS in the mail with a stamp and you can actually seal it with a kiss (or as some jaded individuals have said SWALCAKDS, sealed-with-a-lick-cuz-a-kiss-don’t-stick, ick) and the receiver can get it and kiss the envelope, too.

There!  A shared kiss.

It’s the one I miss since no one sends letters anymore.

Meanwhile, I’ll be @*$ keeping up on everybody’s #posts & #txts, ROFL & responding IMHO with YOLO-type wisdom & IDN, HAGD, if that’s COO w/u. XOXO

Mel is the Man!

You will never need another gardening book.

mel bartholomew

Just this one and Google (for searching anything you can dream up).  The image above is from Amazon, of course.

Mel.  :)


Mel Bartholomew is the father of smart gardening. And how you can grow more veggies in less space with way less work and we all need to know these things!

I hated vegetable gardening as a kid.  Can you believe that?

But one day, I decided that I had had enough of grocery store tomatoes.  I couldn’t quit thinking of summers at my Aunt Rosie’s.  Her redwood-stained picnic table was loaded daily with her freshest picks from the garden.  We ate corn on the cob, green beans cooked with bacon and juicy hamburgers.  But the piece de resistance was the tomato.  The tomato in her garden was the queen.  She cut huge slabs of beefsteak tomatoes, red through and through and passed the platter, then the salt.  And the tingling, tart-sweet explosion on your tongue – well, you had to be there.

So when my kids were all teenagers, I became a gardener.  I decided to grow tomatoes and green beans and baby zucchini, plucked and grilled while tiny and delectable instead of waiting for them to become brick bats and then running out of friends and relatives to pawn them on.  I decided to be a gardener.

And glory be, I found THIS book at the library.

square foot gardening

This was Mel’s original Square Foot Gardening book

I shudder to think what my experience may have been had it not been for Mel Bartholomew.  Because even though I had actually checked about 16 gardening books out at once,his message sounded truer than any of the others, logical, just made sense.  It was simple and doable and I took 37.42 pages of notes on his book.

square foot garden

An I had THE MOST amazing garden.  I had a huge yard back then and threw garden boxes in all over the place.  I even had room for more than 20 tomato plants.  I had harvest coming out my ears of everything I grew: okra, swiss chard, lettuces, peppers of every color, 4 or 5 types of radish, corn, mini-corn, watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries and grapes – everything you could imagine – but mostly, tomatoes.

aunt rosie

My Aunt Rosie, right

My Aunt Rosie and I talked on the phone a lot that year and exchanged letters excitedly sharing that day’s harvest, “Well, today I got about 16 beefsteak tomatoes, a bowl full of cherry and half a basket of plum.  The parsley and basil are running wild.  I have a large pot of green beans on the stove for dinner.”  We loved sharing the great good news of the garden.

Square-Foot Gardening – Grow More in Less Space

I checked Mel’s book out regularly for the first few years, each January.  Imagine my delight when I walked in to the library annual book sale a few years down the road and there it was for 10-cents.  How truly fortuitous. I have THE orginal book from which I was first inspired to garden and LOVE it!

square foot garden

And now Mel has made it even easier. I got his newer book just last summer.  The charts, wisdom, the inspiration, the cheering on – all of it.  THE only book you’ll ever really need.  But I am keeping both of mine!  :)

SFG!  All the way.  Check it out.


32 years – some snapshots

Happy Anniversary to a man I so don’t deserve, but thank God for everyday.

What was I thinking 32 years ago today, at exactly 8:05 pm, just before I married Dave, as Sharon was spraying my hair into place?

what i was thinking just before i walked down the aisle

Relief…we got through the wedding ceremony so we could tear into the next 32

years of crazy-beautiful-strange-and-sweet LIFE!

better to marry A {very} few of our stats:

kiss that sealed the deal

Love can last.  It can grow.

We were like newlyweds for the first 25 years or so.  Then we found out, like so many have, that marriage and deep love is fragile.  Our vows said “I choose you this day…” but we couldn’t even have grasped what that choice would actually mean.

Today you wrote to me:

Until you’ve laughed and learned and loved and listened; year upon year upon year… Until you’ve wiped hot tears off the cheek of the one you love, until you’ve been through the agony and wonder of childbirth, until you’ve walked through the fires of hell side by side, hand in hand, heart in heart, until you’ve stared death in the face (both spiritually and literally) and said, not today; then you don’t really know what 32 years together can bring.

Now we know what that choice means.  And still we choose.  I love you.  You.

32 years of marriage
32 years of marriage

I am able to shock the grand-girl

Averi & Amelie are here for a few days while mommy and daddy & baby Bailey are doing ministry at a Dare2Share Conference in Lakewood at Colorado Christian University.

We were talking about how many days it was until Averi would be starting Kindergarten.  She asked me how many days it was since I was in Kindergarten.  Thousands, Averikins.  Thousands and thousands of days.

1st Day of Kindergarten

Then I said, “Hey-do you want to see a picture of me on my first day of kindergarten when I was 5 just like you?”

Yes!” she was excited.  “Do you have a video of it?”

No,” I explained.  “Some people did have old movie cameras when I was little, but back then nobody could do videos like now.  There wasn’t even YouTube or anything.”

Her eyes widened, she shook her head and became incredulous?  “What?! How did your mom do videos of you then?  That is so weird, Nonna.”  Her eyebrows were drawn together, her jaw dropped open in shock.

I am the antique, vintage, old-model relic to her.  But she loves me anyway.  I guess I recall having that same reaction to my Grandma Allison telling me her grandfather was a circuit preacher who went town to town by horseback.  No car??!  I thought.  Amazing.  Hard to believe people could live like that.

Meanwhile, my grandkids cannot comprehend not having smart phones.  Gavin is going to teach me how to do special movie effects soon, a little trick he mastered on his iPod.  They are speeding right past me.

averi as a baby

Averi wanted to look at her baby pictures on my computer today after looking at the vintage Jeanie-in-Kindergarten pic.  She wanted to use to make one “so cute.”  I showed her a few things and then she took over.  At 5, she is able to navigate re-sizing the images and even changing the colors.  She did this herself with just a little prompting from me, then finished it and said, “Please put this on my mom’s Facebook and tell her ‘This is my picture and this is my blog.'”  I didn’t even know she had a blog.  :)

Averi – the soon-to-be Kindergartener…Oh yes.  I took this gorgeous picture…but I mean, the subject is divine!

When we hit save on the baby picture she had filled with birds and animals, she exclaimed, “Now THAT’S what I’M talking about!”