Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I write day after day because I discover extraordinary lessons from ordinary life experiences. I record my visual portraits of everyday life filled with something sacred in hopes that my reflections might bring an insight that blesses my readers.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Summer flitting

Today I frolicked in the sunshine and kept focusing on things that flit . For example, a beautiful monarch butterfly fed from my purple flocks. It was a lovely sight indeed, but just then a bright red cardinal landed on my chimes. It was surreal because it appeared that he was a chime ringer early in the day. As I walked out to water my secret garden, a sweet little hummer buzzed by me. He actually lit on a red bud limb and watched the arc from the water hose. I slowly moved the sprinkling water near him , and he would hover over it. We played this game for about five minutes. It was a special nature treat. Hummingbirds are small in size but big in attitude .

Let me share a little story. When Denny and I were in Alaska, we went on a helicopter to see a glacier. When we landed, I marveled at the expanse of blue ice and snow everywhere. The snow covered land was barren, just white land for as far as I could see. I looked down in a ravine , and it was just more ice and more ice. The blue sky contrasted dramatically against the white snow. As I was walking around, I heard a familiar buzz. I thought I must be confused since I am accused of being in that state often. However, there by the helicopter wing were two tiny humming birds. We were miles and miles away from nothing and so were they. I heard a nudging from the Lord that morning. He said,"Never underestimate what I can do." Those little hummers gave me hope and faith that what seemed impossible to me could be so easily accomplished by the Creator. Each time I see a hummingbird, I remember that special miracle moment. Today was no different. My faith is resurrected each time I see one.

I was a bit like the butterflies, bees, and hummer today. I just flitted from one task to the next. I admired the beautiful August lilies, the ever blooming hydrangeas, the purple holly hocks, and smelled the sweet aroma of my lavender. Nothing is more pleasant than a morning garden walk.

I really wish I could fly like my little friends. But, I am content to appreciate the many wonders of nature and reflect on its beauty and meaning in my life. Ahhh, summer days are heart memories to be recalled on a cold, gray winter day.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Happy Sunday

Today is Sunday. I love Sundays! I cherish prayer time and Matt Carder's teaching at church. He is a young man with so much wisdom. After church, we often drive to Fort Wayne to see the grand babies. Today, when we parked in front of their narrow street, we saw Ava riding her little bike. She was moving like the wind. She has learned to ride quickly and smiled from ear to ear when she saw us. She squeeled with delight at our presence. There is nothing like a child's smile and encompassing hug . I just feel loved from head to toe. Even little Ellie was smiling from her front porch seat. She seemed to recognize that Dza Dza and MiMi were family too. Den danced with Ava, and I rocked and sang to Ellis pausing to cover her chubby cheeks with kisses. We spent the afternoon playing with the girls.

Ava and I always play house. I have to be the little sister and she is mama. She uses such a soft and tender voice to tell me to pick up my clothes, make pink icing, and take a nap. I try to rebel a little but she patiently states, " Now, MiMi , I keep having these talks with you. When I ask you to take a nap, that's what you should do." Her eyes are intense and her words exact. I am amazed how much she has learned in three and a half years. Often Ava puts me in quiet time. She says I need to think about being a good girl. I announce, " I am a good girl." She responds, " You have been naughty, and it is time to think about how to be good."

I am amused because I have considered how I could be good all my life. Her daddy once told me, " A boy can only be good so long, Mommy. and then a little bad squeaks in." I knew there was wisdom and realism in that statement. The same applies today when I weaken and eat that frosted malt. Perhaps I just don't feel like putting the dishes away or making the bed. I just walk away hoping a magic fairy will appear and do all my chores. Then, in my quiet time, I think about how God forgives me for all sins, big and small. I consider how to live my life better and serve others in new ways. I consider my weaknesses and how when I operate in them, Christ stands strong and guides me through the unknown. I consider all the suffering in our world. It makes me heavy and I am sad. However, I know that I must go on today. I must deliver God's joy to others. I must reach out and make a difference to my neighbor, my friends, and my family. I know that I am very blessed ,and my heavenly Father understands that I can't be disciplined every hour every day.

Adam calls on Sundays from Seattle. He shares his week and weekend with his dad and me. He talks of his new love, Annie. and what great times they have had together. He tells us of his new challenges and what excitement he feels in reaching new goals in his EPA career. It is his chapter summary for the week. We listen to his problems and their resolves. I wish I could feel his hugs on Sunday, but I have learned to appreciate Sunday phone calls.

So, Sundays are a blessing from morn to evening. For this I am very grateful. I savor this day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Impressionism era

Today I went to my impressionistic oil painting class. I have been learning to use oils and the Monet style of painting for a couple of months. I don't feel like Monet. My paintings don't look like Monet's, but I am coming along slowly.

My teacher is Susie. She is an upbeat gal who loves art. She repeats patiently all the painting rules, things that work, things that don't work over and over. I have always considered myself bright and creative. These classes have humbled me. I can't retain these simple rules or make the paint brush shape the image I desire. For example, I dab instead of use controlled brush strokes. I like a color and use it excessively destroying the balance of the values. I labor at painting not in detail. Details don't matter; yet, they do. "Paint dark to light, " she reminds me. Then, she tells me I need to place some light to keep the hues balanced. Oh, my, it is a lot to retain and practice. It is enjoyable but difficult. It takes as much concentration as writing. We all know that takes zoning in and staying in the now. Painting reminds me of writing because sometimes I keep putting off making time for it. I know it is going to involve my whole being , my mind, even my spirit. If I have to be interrupted, I would rather not begin.

Each decade of my life I have tried to learn something new. My extra curricular activities have been varied but so entertaining. For example, in my twenties I learned how to sew and make my clothes and design matching outfits for my boys. Because of my obsessive nature, I purchased yards and yards of wonderful fabric. In a fabric store, I became a glutton. Ideas for new dress designs danced in my mind. I sewed in the evenings, during the day, and often way into the night.

In my thirties, I focused on learning the Bible. I delved into the studies with great intensity. I utilized my language background to study Greek and Latin translations. It was a most productive period in my life and served my soul well.

In my forties I learned ballet. I was quite awkward but I loved it. I even had ballet bars put in my study , so I could practice each night. To my husband's dismay, I performed in a recital at the school where he was an administrator.

In my fifties I began going to more writers' workshops and groups and developed my writing skills. This is the same era that I became a stamp artist and a scrapbook creator. Out went the ballet bars and in came wonderful cabinets with little drawers to hold my 3000 stamps I had accumulated. I loved stamping in the wee hours of the morning creating collages, cards, and scrapbook designs.

Now, in my sixties I am learning to paint. Last winter my sister taught me how to use acrylics. I have played with my watercolors on cold nights when going out in the snow and ice were just too much of a challenge. Now, I am working with oils.

Each discipline has taught me something about art and literature. I suppose my thirty three years of teaching English influenced my choices. All have been a part of God's creative spirit. I have been mesmerized by each challenge. I crave knowledge and discover new ways to learn each day. I have not mastered any of these activities but immensely enjoyed learning and practicing them. Sewing has fallen by the wayside as has ballet. However, I do ballet exercises in water aerobics and remember my hours at the ballet bar. Writing is part of each day as is studying God's word. Stamping, scrapping, and painting are a part of each week. So, I suppose these have had a permanent effect on the quality of my life's journey. Each new art project is so exciting to me. Every morning epiphany from God's teaching creates in me a new passion for life and reaching out to others. I am eager to see what new specialty I will embrace in my seventies.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Today , I am waiting for my grand babies to arrive. Now, they only live one hour away, but I always am so eager to see their smiles, feel their hugs, and kiss those chubby cheeks of Ellis. As I wait, I think of all the time in our lives we spend waiting. None of us find it relaxing or stimulating. We are not designed to wait , but it is a part of our daily lives.

Sometimes, we are waiting on a spouse. This can bring up anxious moments when we are wondering, "Is he OK? Has he been in a wreck? Where is he?" This is probably the only time the fellow gets an open the door greeting. He is kissed and welcomed. Another waiting scenario might bring him a very different greeting. If the dinner is cold or the company has arrived, a greeting might be in my mean voice through gritted teeth, "Thanks a lot for calling. " This may be the only words he hears from me all night.

Then, there is the nine months of waiting for the creation inside of me to make entry into the world. This waiting is filled with anticipation. Will the baby be a boy or a girl? Will he be healthy? Will he look like dad's side or mine? Will he be bright and clever? Will I be able to handle all those night feedings? Will I be a good mom? Can I afford to send him to school in eighteen years? It really takes nine months to ponder and decide on little munchkin's being. Meanwhile, I can feel life within. This makes waiting easier because I know someone is in their kicking and developing into the child of my dreams.

When I sit with a dying family member, I realize a long and labored wait. It is the most difficult kind of waiting because the loved one is leaving. I don't want them to leave, but I don't want them to linger and suffer . This waiting is so difficult because I am unsure of how long the process of stepping over to another life will take. Will dying take nine months ? It takes nine months for a life to incubate and grow into a breathing person. Will dying be a little less life day by day or will death come suddenly and catch me unaware?

Today's meditations on waiting remind me that there are lessons learned in waiting , but many times there is suffering too. As my sweet grand daughter Ava says, " That's just the way it is Mimi; that's just the way it is."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Glory of the sun swept day

I have a secret garden. It is by a purple plum tree that creates a canape over my glider. I planted a shadow garden beside the glider , so as I gently swing, I have a lovely view of hostas, blue bells, white violets, Japanese painted ferns, and coral bells. I never tire of sitting under my tree . It is a sanctuary in the middle of the suburb. The coolness caresses me, and sweet scents of perfumed flowers drift by me. No one can see me sitting tucked away in my secret garden. However, I can see my neighbors clearly. I watch how they busy their days.

How many of us create a quiet place? We seem to innately yearn to be alone for comfort and strength. "Open my eyes to divine teachings from earthly wonders, " I ask. As I look at the expanse of the blue heavens, I have clarity of mind. My earth born cares just yield to the joys of my heavenly communion . The Lord meets with me in my secret place. I gather His grace from the soft and gentle breezes of the surrounding shade trees. As I peep through the vine covered trellis, I feel His presence. I feel very blessed to have him spend time with me. He sees me always when others cannot. He hears my heart and feels my warm tears fall on his scarred feet. The greens of the garden remind me of the everlasting life He has given me. I am in the glory of a sun swept day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's a long day's night

Here I am at two a.m. writing. I just can't sleep, so I decided to blog. I worked too hard today. Have you done that? Your body is too tired to sleep. I don't understand why if you dig ferns, paint pictures, clean cupboards, and water your garden, why my body doesn't want to rest. Yes, today was productive. I moved from task to task like when I was in my thirties. I loved having energy and motivation today. It is strange why I think I have so many task to do. I am retired you know. My body and mind doesn't know that.

I am working for YOC on a mentoring program. I am trying to match mentors and mentorees this week. Tomorrow is my day of calls and connections. I hope I am awake to be successful.
I am tutoring foreign exchange students who need a little language boost. I am trying to write and get something published. In the midst of this work, I am having lots of company this weekend. The munchkins are coming as well as their mom and dad. Then, I have a dinner for my prayer group on Sunday after the kids leave. So, there are household chores like clean sheets, dusting , and cleaning that must be done. I suddenly decided I have to dig out all the ferns in my north side gardens because they look messy. I have new flowers to plant in there and summer is almost over. I have planted all summer. I got a late start and now it is an obsession with me. Plant, transplant, plant some more. I need garden therapy.

I love my life. I complain about always being busy. There is just not another way to live. I embrace the morning with my Lord Jesus. Then, I am off running. Apparently, today I overdid the running pace and now I must lay me down to sleep.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shaping children

Today was a warm and sunny August day. I cherish each new morning. The day brings so many surprise visitors and challenges. One challenge I read on face book was a young mom sharing that she felt guilty because she couldn't keep her house clean , her baby entertained, and her ministry work in balance. She worried because she left her house messy some days.

I remember when I was a young mom I felt that same guilt. Sometimes it wasn't guilt; I just couldn't understand how others kept their house so clean . I didn't have time to read parenting books because I was trying to fix dinner for my husband and kids. I didn't ever get a job completed because the boys had a question, a problem, an issue. I loved playing with them, so I would sit down and play legos or cars or best of all help them hunt worms and snakes outside. All of a sudden, the door bell would ring and there stood my neighbor. She had her makeup on , her blouse ironed, and I knew her house was spotless. I hated inviting her in because there were toys all over and dirty dishes. She didn't seem to care I was messy. She would chat a while and ask if I had seen her boys. Of course, they were usually in our backyard or playhouse. They loved to play in my son's room because they didn't have to put everything away immediately. Consequently, my boys always had extra playmates and a messy room. I made extra lunches and brownies. I stopped to share a craft with them. Then, it was dinner time. I remember clearly not feeling organized or a good home maker.

In retrospect, I realize I truly was a home maker. I made a home where kids liked to play and create. I made healthy snacks they enjoyed , and I would help them scoop up toys into shelves and toy boxes just before dad came home. No, my house wasn't spotless until right before company was coming. I would clean like a mad woman making everything shine and be in place. That was my way of keeping house. I played with our boys and cooked great dinners. I kept the laundry up and made pretty gardens. We went on walks in the woods, we found lonely turtles, we enjoyed watching the clouds. When they were babes, I spent most of my day rocking and singing to them. Nursing my infant was far more important than vacuuming.

I don't regret one day of playing with them. I do regret the times I said, " I 'll be out later. I have to get this work done first." I don't regret teaching them to love to read by reading to them by the hour. I do regret that somedays I used my mean voice to get them to clean their rooms. I told them ,"We have to clean it up at least once a week. " I don't regret our bike rides together. I do regret that I didn't learn to ski with them. I don't regret that we spent grocery money on paints, paper, and paper plane books. I do regret that I didn't hold them longer each time I hugged them.

So, I would say to young moms, houses will always need attending. There will be time later to keep everything in place. Now is the time to tend your young impressionable babe. He will remember warm, sunny August days as times of swinging, swimming, and playing ball with you. You will have shaped his heart, his mind , and his spirit. Who really cares how you shaped your living room pillows?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Too many blessings?

Today as I gaze out my front room window, I admire my well planned garden. My planting, shoveling, watering,and fertilizing is worth each day's effort. As I view the creamy allysum edging the curves of the sidewalk like dainty lace, I know why I have chosen to plant them for over thirty years. Their sweet smell drifts throughout the walk welcoming my guest. They are my favorite annual.

As my eyes slowly search for new growth and blossoms, I see the pink begonias confluent with the tall deep blue annuals adjacent to the fountain. I painted the fountain terra cotta this summer to highlight its Aztec design. Just as I was admiring the new color, a bright red cardinal, flew under the fountain to wet his feathers. I laugh as he shakes off the water and preens his feathers. He needs a cool bath on this sweltering summer day.

Next, comes Mr. Hummer to gather the nectar from the peach salvia blossoms. He flits from stem to stem checking that he doesn't miss any of the sweet nourishment. He is amazingly small and so fast. No wonder so many neighbors put out red feeders in hopes of attracting hummingbirds. They delight the eye and entertain us all.

It is because of summer mornings like these, I toil and plant each year. God's blessings are abundant and bring me such joy. Even though I say each year that I am cutting back, I remember mornings like today and plant more fervently each year.