Tuesday, April 30, 2013

(in)courage (in)real life

"Life is a patchwork of the meaningful things we keep with us - memories, moments, and connections that serve as daily reminders of where we've come from and who our loving Heavenly Father says we are in Jesus...[it] celebrates the way God, in His generous grace, sews together every beautiful bit of our lives to form one masterpiece creation after another."

Many of the bloggers that inspire me are part of the (in)courage team. On Saturday, 6,000 women from all over the country - the world! - met at local bloggers' homes (in) real life to meet and connect and learn and grow together. A wide range of ages laughed and chatted, shared  ideas and smiled, making connections that transcended the details of our busy lives. Some of us were writers, some were blog readers, others were connected by friendships.

What we had in common was love. Love for family. Love in friendships. Love to the Lord. This colorful, cozy quilt of gals, stitched together with laughter and love, created a real life way to share and (in)courage each other.

Dayspring generously shared gifts of inspiration for each of us. I received this watering can, the creative quote shared above is from the tag.

(in)real life

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Yours Is the Day

"Yours is the day, Yours also the night;
You have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
You have made summer and winter."

Psalm 74: 16-17 ESV

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Written in Stone

Our daughter saw this idea on Pinterest - she keeps me current on all the cool ideas. Last time she visited, we painted these rock markers for our vegetable gardens. Painting the words didn't work out so well, so we used a Sharpie. The clear spray coat to seal them smeared the marker. Oops.  We tried clear fingernail polish - worked great!

And yes, if you are wondering, that is snow. A fresh deposit today. I am thinking gardens, and it snows. Yesterday we ate lunch out on the deck in the warm sunshine. This morning, twenty-four degrees with snow. 
My seedlings will have to wait. Much too cold out there for their little toes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bountiful Baskets

We first heard of Bountiful Baskets from our son and his wife who live in Arizona. When we lived in California we didn't have one near us, but here in Colorado we do. We log in on Monday or Tuesday, order the type of baskets we want, then go to a nearby drop-off point to pick them up on Saturday. This week, we picked up their conventional basket (a mix of fruits and vegetables), their combination bread pack (nine grain loaves, English muffin loaves, and sourdough), and an Asian vegie bag which had bok choy, napa cabbage, ginger, garlic, green onions, snap peas and beet greens). An organic basket is an option. Some weeks they offer an Italian or a Mexican vegie theme bag. They also offer a large bag of granola I hear is really good, and a variety of fruits or vegies depending on what they can purchase in bulk: strawberries, carrots, oranges, apples or seasonal produce.

 Check out www.bountifulbaskets.org to see if they have a group in your area. Their blog offers recipes for produce that may not be familiar or different ways to fix the food. I like the surprise and the adventure of identifying and trying new things, exploring new recipes. I now know how to cook leeks several ways, and I know what bok choy looks like. Variety is a good thing with food. Good to get out of our familiar ruts and attempt a different recipe, be creative and stretch our taste muscles. When the guys pick something up out of the basket and ask, "What is this?" I know we have a taste adventure ahead.

We'll be having stir-fry for dinner tonight.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Everlasting Love

"As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from
everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him..."

Psalm 103: 15-17 ESV

Friday, April 19, 2013


This weekend is the Jumping Tandem retreat. I prayed to go. The Lord said, "No." So, I prayed some more, asking, "Maybe?" Still, the answer, "No."

The mental jump to the point of acceptance feels, sometimes, like a wild leap into the unknown.

But there is still a further jump to make. The jump to gratefulness. The wild leap of joy, like the kids competing to see who can make the biggest cannonball splash, into the pool of joy. That is where I sit on the sidelines, my towel tucked around me, not going into the water, not even my toes. I hide, I step aside, I watch others take the step.

A mental jump. A choice. To stretch the edges of my mouth, just a little, and then, to smile. To take a deep breath and relax into the pleasure of joy. To get splashed by the drops of others' joy as they jump in.

Acceptance. When the edges of life aren't sewed up the way I would like them to be.

Gratefulness. Joy. When the seams of my days unravel and fray. I make the choice to jump in to the day I am given. And maybe splash others when I do, here, from where I am.

Five Minute Fridays
Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bloom, Anytime

Isn't amaryllis a Christmas season flower? Guess no one told my blossom that. The pot was tucked away in our basement with some of the other plants, wintering over in the cool, dark corner. Its bud poked up out of dried out, ignored soil, a gift, a surprise of color.

This bright shout of red burst out at a time when the tease of warm days teeter-tottered with freezing temperatures. A glimpse of spring. Or is it a look backward to the cozy depths of winter?

The red lipstick smile from this blossom speaks its message: Bloom. Anytime. Anywhere. In spite of the season. Just bloom. And smile.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Seedlings and Hope

Traveling Light, for me, is about carrying today with an open hand.

Planting seeds for tomorrow, yes, part of today's work.

Look forward to tomorrow.

Live today. With a light footstep, walking lightly.

Which means I have to speak gently with the son who pushed all my buttons this morning and our words got all tangled and messy.

Which means I want to take today slowly, one limping, faltering step at a time.

Which means I plant seeds and water and keep the florescent light close over them, even if the chill of snow is predicted to fall tonight.

And I attempt to step quietly through the day, my hand open to today's work and tomorrow's hope.
Seedlings in the basement

Saturday, April 13, 2013

For All

"When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."

Acts 11: 18

"For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

Matthew 5: 45

His gifts are to all, for all. Deep gratefulness, to Him.

Thanks H, for the top photo

Friday, April 12, 2013

Want to Hunt for Treasure?

Drive to the end of Purcel. As you pull in, park on the right side of the parking lot.

 From the last big boulder on the right, step off thirty paces toward the north across the field. Under a juniper tree, you will find a SPOR. Look under the SPOR. I asked, "What is a SPOR?" Sounded risky to me. Our daughter-in-law googled it - a Suspicious Pile Of Rocks.

One of the girls stepped on a cactus and she had to sit down and pull off her shoe to pull out the spine. Somehow I managed to get cactus prickles in the elbow of my jacket and had to pull those out (there were still some in my sleeve several days later). The first direction we headed was off, so the kids spread out down the canyon to explore. We had to call them back. It couldn't be that far. We re-traced to the parking lot and tried again.
the SPOR

What are we doing? Letterboxing. Have you heard of it? It is a form of friendly treasure hunt, begun in England in 1854, now with boxes in the United States and around the world. On the website, www.letterboxing.org/, you put in the location near your home or anywhere as you travel to find nearby locations. Another website is www.atlasquest.com/. Directions are given to find the letterbox. The letterbox is usually a plastic container to withstand the weather, which holds a log book, a stamp and a stamp pad. You take along your personal log book, stamp and pad (a marker also works to ink the stamp). Their stamp is stamped into your log book along with the date, location and any comments. Your stamp is stamped into their log book, with a comment if you want. Then, you seal it all back up and discreetly re-hide it for the next letterboxer. Some searchers hand make their stamps, coming up with a code name. Others find a stamp that reflects something of their personality or interests.

Over spring break, when our son and daughter-in-law and two grandchildren were visiting from out of state, we searched for several letterboxes in our area. Before, when they lived in Houston, they searched many letterboxes and discovered interesting, pretty places and parks that they returned to other times for family outings.

This letterbox was a similar discovery, a place we didn't know existed, a beautiful spot overlooking the reservoir. On the other side of the parking lot is a 9-11 memorial. We walked out to the point to take photos of the sunset and appreciate the scenery. Another trail drops off the backside of the hill. We will have to go back again to see where that leads.
Another website is kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/peopleplaces/letterboxing/

A different version of letterboxing is geocaching. For that, you need a GPS or a smart phone. The actual coordinates are given, look up www.geocaching.com

No actual treasure is found, at least by the common meaning of "treasure." The treasure is the fun of the search, in the time together, in memories made, and in the discovery of new places. Do you have any in your area?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tootsie Rolls

I had a longer post planned for today, but it will have to wait. While I was out front weeding and picking up trash from the high winds we had in the recent storm, I found this tootsie roll wrapper. It reminded me of one of our classic family stories.

At that time, we did our grocery shopping in three week marathons. We went to three different stores: a regular grocery store, Trader Joe's (at that time, they were just a local store - now you probably all know what they are), and a bulk type store. At the bulk store, one of the boys, with his own money (because I would never buy it for him) bought a huge package of tootsie rolls. Huge, maybe two pounds of them. Ugh.

When we got home, we relayed all the grocery bags to the table and the kitchen floor. For the next half hour or so I worked to find places for all the too big bags and multiples of everything. The kids had scattered.

From the boys' bedroom, I hear, "Mom, I have a stomach ache." I walked back to the bedroom. On the top bunk, he sat next to a pile - no, a foot high mountain, of empty tootsie roll wrappers. I was speechless. All the wrappers were scrunched and empty. There was no way he could have eaten all of those. It had only been a few minutes. But he held his stomach and groaned.

I don't remember exactly what happened next. Whether I said anything, or just stood there dazed, I'm not sure. Laughter came from the other room, and they all came in. He grinned and showed me a zip-lock bag of all the unwrapped tootsie rolls. While I was busy in the kitchen, they had all quietly worked together to unwrap them and make the paper mountain. They thought it was hysterical. Yes, it was funny. In hindsight. And I didn't have to make him throw it all up. Which might have served him right. Instead, we all laughed, enjoyed the joke on mom, and shared a few tootsie rolls.

He has a son of his own, now. And I just chuckle.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

These Hands

We have a new grandson!

These hands

  • will hold a hammer
  • will reach out and ask
  • will cuddle close
  • will clap
  • will grasp a cheerio
  • will stroke his mom's cheek
  • will shake a toy
  • will learn how to write
  • will wave bye-bye
  • will hold a tight grip to his parents' hands
  • will toss a ball
  • will run those fingers through the dog's hair
  • will play in the dirt
  • will hold a chubby crayon
  • will vroom vroom a toy car across the floor
  • will turn the pages of a book
  • will point his finger
  • will count: one, two, three, four, five
  • will....
These hands, so full of rich possibilities and potential.
This list could go on and on. What other things do you think of baby hands doing?