Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Higgledy-piggledy is a British term for confusion, disorder, or jumbled. I first saw the term used to describe a cottage garden, the flowers spilling on to the walkway, the overflow blooms billowing over and above and beyond any fence or boundary. I love that look in a garden: full and breezy, happy and jumbled, colorful and loose. An uncontrolled jubilation of flowers and leaves and fruit and vegetables is my ideal garden.

Here, in our new house, I brought along a few of my pots of flowers. I have yet to plant anything in the ground, partly because it has been so hot, and partly because we have been working inside the house (in the air conditioning) to put things in order.

Someday, I would like to paint a wooden garden sign with the words,
I can picture the sign in my garden, tucked in among the flowers, partly buried in the abundance of blooms, half hidden by leaves.

Life can be higgledy-piggledy. Started projects, unfinished. Piles grow, dust scatters, stuff spreads. The work of pruning and weeding and cleaning, inside and outside, is on-going, unfinished.

The art, it seems, is finding the beauty and fun in the overflow. Just as I thrive in a full, rich garden, I can appreciate the clutter of our home. Because it means people live here. Love here. Work here. Learn here. Our house may appear higgledy-piggledy to some. I see photos of perfectly cleared off kitchen counters, immaculate floors, sparkling windows. Those are goals for me, good goals.

Here, as life is today, we live higgledy-piggledy. Imperfect. But beautiful. Higgledy-piggledy sounds so much better than imperfect. It brings out the fun side of less-than-perfect. Will your week be a bit of higgledy-piggledy?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Journal of Mercies

"Frances Ridley Havergal kept a journal of mercies. She had a record book, and she crowded it with her remembrances of God's goodness. She was always on the lookout for the tokens of the Lord's grace and bounty, and she found them everywhere....
Many a complaining life would be changed into music and song by a journal of mercies. Many a fear can be dispersed by a ready remembrance. Memory can be the handmaid of hope. Yesterday's blessing can kindle the courage of today...We are to harness the strength of their experiences to the tasks and burdens of today; and in the remembrance of God's providences we shall march through our difficulties with singing."
                                                                         -John Henry Jowett
                                                                          My Daily Meditations 

joining Deidra and others for a quiet Sunday

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beyond and Back

Today's Five Minute Friday (with the gypsymama) word is Beyond. A bunch of us, writing free and easy, for five minutes, sparking the light of the words onto the screen, attempting to see, allowing the light to reveal a piece of truth into our days.

Go Beyond.

Today's post from Danielle LaPorte, her truthbomb #74.
"Go through your wish list and next to each want think about where you already have that quality or experience in your life."

This is like taking the binoculars, turning them around, and looking at myself through the end that makes everything look tiny instead of magnified. Shrunk, instead of amplified. Here instead of out there.

Rather than seeing across the valley, beyond the distance into the details, looking within. Finding, in the here and now, the truth of what is. Rather than looking out there for something that isn't, finding what is here.

And being grateful for it. Seeing the beauty of it. If I took those binoculars, settled them on all that is here - wow, what a view! The best view isn't out there, somewhere, in the distance, it is here. Here, at home, with these guys, living out this situation, here, today, with faith and love and joy.

The beyond, it is here.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, July 26, 2012


This YouTube video, synced to Kelly Clarkson's song, "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger," was put together by the nurses at the Seattle Children's Hospital. Makes me cry every time I see it. You may have seen this before, but it is worth another look. To see their smiles, their hearts, their eyes, touches my heart. I hope it touches yours, too.

I wrote this short story after our son's short visit to the hospital, thinking of the kids who would not be going home as quickly as he did. For them, life looks different, very different, and this video picks up a little bit of that. And, again, it makes me especially grateful for those who work with these unique children, their talents and their hearts are beautiful.

     Terry walked the two blocks to her flute teacher’s house, her flute case banging against her leg, squeaking with each swing. Squeak, bang, squeak bang. She changed hands, feeling self-conscious about the noise. Bang, squeak, bang, squeak on the other leg. Maybe some Wd40 from the garage would fix it. She held the case out so it didn’t hit her leg. Then, it was just squeak, squeak, squeak with each step. Oh well, at least she didn’t have to walk very far.
     Cara answered the door, asking her in, and to wait a minute while she finished up in the kitchen. Terry stood in the living room, looking around. She liked Cara’s house. It was simple and comfortable and relaxed. She always had a vase of fresh flowers, and a couple of books out on the coffee table. The books changed every week, like she actually read them, not just decorated with them. That made her realize, and she looked around. No television, or DVD player. She wondered why she hadn’t noticed that before.
     When Cara returned, Terry asked her, “No TV?”
     “I have a small one down in that cupboard, with a DVD player I pull out when I want to watch a movie or catch a program. In general, though, no, I don’t watch anything. There are too many interesting books to read, too much good music to listen to, students I give lessons to, and time I would rather take a walk or work at the hospital.”
     “I didn’t know you worked at the hospital. Guess I thought you just taught flute all day long.”
     “Both are part time jobs. At the hospital, I volunteer, so guess that’s not really even a job. But I’m there three days a week, working with the kids on the pediatric floor, helping in the play room, and coordinating the stuff they do to entertain those who are able.”
     “Hospitals are creepy places.”
     “They can be sad, depressing places. But they can also be exciting, interesting places when you get to know the kids there, the ones who have to come in for frequent treatments, or the ones who end up staying awhile. They are amazing people.”
     “Yes. Their courage, their strength, their joy is amazing. Under circumstances most of us couldn’t imagine, they reveal how beautiful and powerful a person can be.”
     “I don’t think I’d be either of those if I had to go to the hospital.”
     “No, none of us would choose that, of course. But, when times are hard, when you have to be strong, those kids prove you can be.”
     “What did you say you did there?”
     “They have a room set aside for books, games, DVD’s, and toys for the smaller kids, too. They can spend time in there if they are able, to get them out of their beds, think about something else for awhile. I read to them, or play with them, or just talk to them. Often, that is what they want the most, just someone to talk with them. Other people come in to the hospital and go room to room to visit. Some, with dogs the kids can pet, some with musical instruments, one group does little impromptu acting for them, to make them laugh. They are really funny, they always make me laugh, too.”
     Terry thought about her irritation with her squeaky flute case.  A minor, fixable problem. “Maybe I could come with you some time, to help out a little?”
     “I would love that. The kids would, too. There are a couple of teen girls that come in for treatment. You could meet them, talk with them. When would you like to come?”

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shoe Secret Idea

This is going to sound a little weird. Maybe a lot weird.

Do you love the look of wearing flats with no socks, but your feet or shoes get all smelly stinky? Mine do. (Is this too much information?)

I tried nylon no-show stockings. They show.

I tried toe socks. They worked well with clogs or mules, but not flats. The TSA agent at the airport asked me, straight-faced, if I found a half price sale on socks.

I tried no socks, but can't get past the smelly stinky.

I tried ankle socks. They just look funky with flats.

I saw somewhere on one of my random browsings on-line, to tuck used dryer sheets in shoes to keep them smelling fresh. Hmmm, wonder how that would work if I wore them?

I tried this, and strange as it sounds, it really works. I tuck the dryer sheet around my toes, and slip on the shoes. No show. I have worn them all day. It may sound uncomfortable, but it is not. And, best, at the end of the day, the sockless sock goes into the trash. No washing, no lost sockies. No stinky smelly. And, with all the laundry we do, there is a "fresh" supply of these little gems. Instead of throwing them into the trash by the dryer, I stick them in my shoes in the closet until the next wearing, and then they go to the trash.

What do you think? Will you give it a try? Plenty of hot weather ahead to go without socks!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Time Sensitive

The title that came up in my email box included the phrase, "Time Sensitive." I get it. This one is urgent. Needs immediate attention. Read me first. Take action. This is critical. Do not ignore.

I confess. I skimmed it, then ignored it. Sorry.

We all have to make choices with our time. Time sensitive is a phrase that should explain all our days. Everything we do should be time sensitive. Aware of how we use our time. Attentive to the moments fleeting past us. Absorbed in the beauty of today. Alert to the needs of those around us.

If you are still with me, still reading, I am not talking about super productivity, working, filling every minute of the hours of the day. Clean the bathroom, and enjoy the smell of clean, the wiped down counters. Weed the garden, and cut a flower to appreciate in a jar next to the kitchen sink. Scrub the sink, and admire the shine. Read a book to the child, and snuggle and talk and giggle. Take the time to thrive.

Perhaps this is a secret to mastering time and not be mastered by it. Enjoy. Appreciate. Be awake to the beauty and the joy of all that is around you, from the sky above to the blooms below to the faces you see.

I want to be time sensitive. To the things that really matter.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Consider the Ant

"Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Consider her ways and be wise.
Which, having no chief, officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest."

Proverbs 6:6-8
Joining with Deidra and others for a quiet Sunday
(although the ants are still out there working today)

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Saturday is my unofficial day for posting a quote. One that has been mulling around in my mind, one that I would like to have great words of wisdom to add to, but the quote says it all - better than anything I can add to myself. Like I'm rambling on about right now.

This is from Louis L'Amour's A Memoir, Education of a Wandering Man. He intended to write an autobiography, but he was working on this book when he died. It became the life story he left behind.

They all had dignity, a certain serenity and pride that was theirs completely. They might be poor, they might be eking out at the last a precarious living, but they had dignity.
They knew where they had been and what they had seen and done, and were content. Something was theirs, something within themselves that neither time passing nor man nor hard times could take from them."

May we all find this dignity in our own lives.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Enough is Enough

Five Minute Fridays - time to write fast and furious and for fun. Timer ticking, words flowing, computer keys clicking, thoughts flying. Five minutes, with www.lisajobaker.com.. Today's topic, Enough.

Ready, Go!

Plenty enough to go around. Yet, so many do not have enough. And often, I think I don't have enough. If I had just a little bit more of [whatever] it would be enough.
Enough of what?
What is it that would make it all enough? We make Christmas lists, or birthday lists, or browse through a catalog looking at the things we "need." Then we get them, and they are not enough.

Enough. Satisfied. Content. Peace.

I am reading The Prosperous Heart, by Julia Cameron. Again, and again, I fall into the trap of thinking enough is about things or money. It is not. I am learning, it is about a contented, peaceful satisfaction. In enough. It is about the joy of making choices that create a deep, rich fullness of life.

That is enough.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Story Is Revelatory

Today, we sat for three hours at the motor vehicle department, waiting, waiting, waiting. The number we pulled from the little machine dispenser was 73. The digital sign said 15 when we walked in. I was hoping that in moving to a smaller town in a less populous state, the process would be easier. It was easy, once we got to the desk. Just took a long time.

While we sat and waited, I read Madeleine L'Engle {Herself}, a variety of selections and quotes from some of her books and talks.

Her excerpt, "Story Is Revelatory," answered a question I asked yesterday.

"Your point of view as a human being is going to come over in your work whether you know it or not. There's no way you can hide it. So if you are a Christian, your work is going to be Christian. There's no way you can hide that. If you're not, you can talk about Jesus all you like and it's not going to be Christian. If you are someone who cares about human beings, that's going to come over in your work. If you are indifferent to the fate of other people, that's also going to show."
"You cannot hide yourself, and that's a very scary thing--particularly true, oddly enough, in fiction. Sometimes in nonfiction you can hide yourself behind statistics and facts, but in fiction you are writing story, and story is revelatory. One of the wonderful things that comes out of story is that you not only find out more about your characters, ultimately your are helping to write your own story."

Very pleasant, to sit in the motor vehicles office and have a personal conversation with Madeleine L'Engle. She was there to reassure me, in the process of writing, whether it is personal to me or with imaginary characters, my story will be developed, too.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I missed the Five Minute Fridays fun writing for a few weeks, disconnected during our move. On July sixth, her topic was, "story." We didn't get our internet up and running until the seventh, then I had two weeks worth of emails and blog posts to read. Oh my. Still not caught up.

Last week, on the thirteenth, LisaJo was on vacation and didn't post a word for her Five Minute Fridays. I hope she had a pleasant, relaxing, connected-with-family time. And, that she'll be back for this week's Friday Five.

I'm still stuck on "story," anyway. Story is fascinating, one that goes way beyond a five minute quick write. One I am barely beginning to understand.

What is my story?
What is your story?
How do you live a good story?

A good story, one we enjoy reading, is about character, a situation, and how each affects the other.

Who is my character?
Who is your character?
What is my situation?
What is your situation?

As a writer, I create a situation, I create characters, and tell a story about them. How they respond, how they grow, how they change. And, how they change their situation, their world, or the characters around them. Imagined, created.

Fiction can be easier to create than my own story. Perhaps that is why it is so pleasant to spend an afternoon absorbed in reading someone else's story. In a span of pages, the story is created, confronted, and resolved.

Meanwhile, my own story goes on, daily. Confronted with challenges, searching for solutions, reaching for resolution. Will this conflict ever be resolved? Sometimes a solution seems vague, distant, nebulous, confused.

When I write a story, it is a small, little piece of a character's life. A short scene pulled out from their years.

My story? It is hard to isolate one situation. Hard to focus on one scene. The situations, the people are all inter-related, overlapped, muddled together. A blur. I would rather write someone else's story than face my own mess head on. Rather than face the changes and growth I need.

The question, then, when I write, am I hiding from myself, or am I learning and growing as other characters learn and grow? I like to think I am learning and growing with them. Adventures or risks I could never take myself, can be ventured alongside a character. As a character deepens and understands, I can understand, too.

It was interesting to read some of the other posts from the sixth, the one hundred and ninety-four five minute interpretations of "story." I have not read them all. Here are some quotes from the ones I have read:

"Are you the villain, or the hero in your story?" (transitional-woman.blogspot.com)

:...being a mother required a wild trust and a brave faith...my so much more than ordinary story." (lisajobaker.com)

"Stories swirl in and around this house...I see, maybe for the first time. I see deep. That everything I see has a story. Everything...Everything can be traced back to story upon story. To the beginning of the story. Genesis 1." (sandraheskaking.com)

Another gypsy mama post, February 22, 2012. "To write is to give. To be flat out, all out generous with your story. To wrap up your words, your life, your failings, your most miserable moments and your wild and wonderful discoveries and give them to somebody else. To share them with someone, to encourage someone, to re-gift what have been the hardest parts of your story in ways that make other people feel they are not alone."

I write. Some of my story. Some of created, imagined stories. I write to learn, to grow, to know that I am not alone, that others laugh and struggle and share. All of us, in this thing called life, with its glorious, wild, inspired moments, and its heart-wrenching, painful, befuddled moments, together.

Friday morning, I spent a couple of hours with two of our grandchildren. Now that we live closer, we'll be able to sneak in little visits here and there. Delightful. We played together. What did we play? Stories. We drove little cars around his rug mat, deciding who would be paired with whom, what their job would be, what house they would live in. We played Doctor Duck, the story of her enormous-eyed yellow stuffed duck who had to doctor the injuries from jumping off the edge of the bed, everything from broken bones to scratched tummies to smashed eyes. Doctor Duck could fix it all. We played alien attack, fending off the [whatever-they-were] coming at us [almost] faster than we could handle it. Stories. We laughed and giggled and fought and played side-by-side.

Story. I'll tell you pieces of mine, here, as I write and think and play at this keyboard.

What is your story?

Saturday, July 14, 2012


"Lose your fears, but never your hope."

-Ann Voskamp

Joining Deidra and others for quiet Sunday worship

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Let Go

This image, a Mary Engelbreit illustration, sat front and center on my desk during our move.
Her suitcase, its contents spilling out behind her, is tossed away.
She looks ahead, forward.
New adventures.
New scenery.
Her priority is not the stuff.
She is moving on.

A key to letting it go is moving on to something else.
Not to hold on to the stuff or the situation.
Go through the door.
Grab your walking stick and GO!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Scrambled Eggs

With a hard bang, crack the shell on the counter. Pop the shell open  so the insides ooze out in to the bowl.

Change comes hard, with pain, moving me out of my comfort zone, breaking me away from what has been familiar and pleasant.

Throw away the shell. Or, toss it in the compost where it can revert to a dark, moist, earthy loam.

Cast the stuff aside, get rid of what was just a shell, just a cover over the stuff I really want or need. The process of moving forces a re-evaluation of everything I own. All of the stuff that was our home comes under scrutiny.

Mix the sunny yokes with the slimy whites, stirring with speed and quick motions. Whipped. Around and around, against the edges of the bowl, thrown back and forth until they become a foamy white.

During a move, my insides are out there for everyone to see. Those deep and dark corners with all their dust and clutter and never-cleaned spots are revealed for all to see. Hidden, normally untouched, all of it is tossed or boxed and opened to the light of day. The areas I had hid, unwilling to deal with, become urgent matters that have to be faced. Ugh, like the slimy egg whites, changed to a usable substance. Or tossed.

Heat butter or oil in the frying pan until it sizzles and pops. Maybe add some chopped onion for flavor.

Tension and  pressure are the heat that reveal who we are and opens our insides, turns us inside out.

Tilt the bowl and slide the eggs into the hot pan.

Into the heat. A move to a new house, a new state, throws me right into the sizzling frying pan.

Let it sit a moment or two, then stir. Gently, but stir, until the liquid solidifies into yellow lumps of delicious warmth.

Mixed up, confused, lost. Where did I put that [whatever]? Disoriented, not sure what state I am in. But, the new house becomes something better, beautiful, pleasant, happy. Together, here.

For me, scrambled eggs are a comfort food, a reminder of the breakfasts my mom would cook for us before she sent us out into the world. Her way of saying, "I care."

Add a little cheese for color, for extra flavor.

We are moved, comfortable. We sit at our old table in the new dining room, together, enjoying the rewards of hard work, fresh memories of our family working together, laughing together, accomplishing an adventure together - the miles traveled together on the road, the heavy loads lifted and moved, together. I am blessed, and grateful.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

He Who Forms, Creates, Declares, Makes, and Treads

"For behold, He who forms mountains
And creates the wind
And declares to man what are his thoughts,
He who makes dawn into darkness
And treads on the high places of the earth,
The Lord God of hosts is His name." 

Amos 4:13
Joining Deidra and others for a quiet Sunday

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Heart of Traveling Lighter

The heart of traveling lighter
        is traveling with a
              light heart.

I write about traveling lighter.
Not because I am "there," (just ask our kids who helped us pack it all up at one end, and unpack it on the other end).

I write because it is my journey, my direction, my destination, the road map I follow as I go.

I have learned traveling lighter is not just about the stuff, the things that weigh me down.

It is more about my heart. The fear, the worry, the cares of this life.

A light heart takes the fear and translates it into Trust.

A light heart takes the worry and translates it into the abundance of Love.

A light heart takes the cares of this life and translates them into speaking Grace, saying words of gratefulness.

A light heart, free (some of the time, anyway - attempting to be), free from fear and worry and not burdened by stuff, travels lighter.