September 20, 2016

...all the wonderful things

How do I start a post after two solid months off?  Perhaps something along the lines of "How I Spent My Summer Vacation"?  I never intended to go so long without a blog post, but sometimes life just happens and all you can do is buckle up and go along for the ride. In early July I had been receiving strange auto-upgrade notifications on my computer about Windows 10.  I wasn't interested in the free upgrade, so continued to hit the "no thanks" button at the bottom of the screen.  And then one morning, out of the blue, I opened my computer and discovered that it had ON ITS OWN decided to make the upgrade anyway.  That slightly freaked me out - not sure I want my computer exercising independent thought - but that was quickly followed by irritation when I discovered that nothing, and I do mean nothing, was now working correctly.  In short, it fried my computer.  I am now the proud owner of a new laptop, because in the end it made more sense to upgrade than repair an older computer.  I'm now having to get used to the Windows 10 format, but so far everything is working splendidly and I am now ready to write some fall blogs.

But before I launch into fall reveries (I know I've mentioned once or twice that it is my favorite season) I should probably catch up on all the comings and goings of the summer.  How did I spend my summer "vacation"?  Doing all sorts of fun things on the weekends, sandwiched with a rather hectic time at work.  My assistant moved to a different position within our organization, and replacing her as taken far longer than I had hoped.  As a result I've been trying to handle two crazy-busy work loads for the last two months, so even if I had had a working computer I'm not sure how much creative energy I would have had in July and August anyway.

A few highlights:  watching our new granddaughter, Madison, grow and start revealing her personality to us.  Oh my, I know I say it often, but being a grandmother really is the best thing since sliced bread. 

I've loved spending time with both the girls this summer, watching Lily blossom into the sweetest two year old I've ever met.  

There is nothing sweeter than a having a grandchild curled up on your lap while you read Goodnight Moon to her...once, then twice, and then a third time.  And each time we count the bears...there's Grandpa Bear, there's Grandma Bear and there's Lily Bear. And, of course, we must eat from the bowl of mush that makes it way onto each and every page.  Yum, yum, yum!

Image result for three bears from goodnight moon

I have so many stories and pictures and new poets and poems that I can't wait to share with you, but before my eagerness runs away with itself (like the dish and the spoon in Good Night Moon?) perhaps I should first listen to Mary Oliver and learn a little more about patience...


What is the good life now?  Why,
look here, consider
the moon's white crescent

rounding, slowly, over
the half month to still another
perfect circle ---

the shining eye
that lightens the hills,
that lays down the shadows

of the branches of the trees,
that summons the flowers
to open their sleepy faces and look up

into the heavens.
I used to hurry everywhere,
and leaped over the running creeks.

There wasn't 
time enough for all the wonderful things
I could think of to do 

in a single day.  Patience
comes to the bones
before it takes root in the heart

as another good idea.
I say this
as I stand in the woods
and study the patterns of the moon shadows,
or stroll down into the waters

that now, late summer, have also 
caught the fever, and hardly move
from one eternity to another.

Oliver asks us each of us -  what is the good life?  My answer today would be that it is having friends like you.  A heartfelt thank you to each reader who reached out and let me know my posts were missed!  I'm so happy to be "back in business" and I'm looking forward to sharing more adventures in this crazy ride we call life. 

July 8, 2016

Dear friends,

My computer has developed a strong dislike to the internet after moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10.  I have so much to share - so many photos and reflections from this summer, but I am temporarily without means to share my blog with all of you.  I hope to find a solution early next week, so please check back soon and hopefully I will be back up with new poems for your enjoyment.

In the meantime, please join me in prayers of comfort and grace for all the families who are grieving this morning - the families of the men shot by police in LA and TX as well as all the families of the slain Dallas police officers.  My heart is breaking over the senseless tragedy of so many wonderful lives snuffed out needlessly and heartlessly.

The greatest thing you'll ever learn 
Is just to love and be loved in return
~ Nat King Cole, lyrics from Nature Boy

June 16, 2016

I'm continuing the alphabet theme today, but I seem to be stuck on the letter B for a little bit longer!
In the past few weeks B has stood for Birthday girl (our sweet Miss Lily turned two), Blankie (finished in the nick of time for Miss Madison's arrival!) and of course Beautiful Baby (welcome to the world, Madison!!).  This time B has a starring role in another Birthday, this time my lovely daughter's birthday which we celebrated amidst the Beauty of northern Wisconsin...

We finished our lovely day in Door County with a Bonfire and star gazing, while telling mildly scary stories around the campfire...

I am always so excited to walk through the quiet campground late at night for some serious star gazing!  

But today B also stands for something a little off the camping topic...B represents BOLD.  

As in hello, really short hair! My husband can attest to the fact that I never seem to have the same style for long, always changing things up with my hair.  After my daughter's wedding two years ago I just kind of kept growing my hair, with wild fantasies of classy updo's...sleek french twists and the wildly popular messy buns dancing like visions of sugarplums in my head.  But the sad reality is that my hair is way too thick (I know, I shouldn't complain!!) to stay on the top of my head for more than five minutes - no matter what I or my hairstylist did it simply came undone and I ended up the ponytail girl...

 ponytail after ponytail...

after ponytail!!

The ponytail, while certainly an easy-peasy style to maintain, never conveyed the mildly sassy, pizzazzy way I feel inside.  And the addition of reading glasses at work didn't help...

It was time for a change, so operating on the Go BOLD or Go Home theory, I scheduled an appointment.  Here I am in my car before the appointment...

 and here I am after the appointment!!  What do you think?

And just so you know, this post today was way outside my comfort zone.  I am notoriously camera shy and much prefer to be the one behind the camera, not in front!  You will probably never again see so many photos of me at once, but if I'm talking about being BOLD I guess it has to start with me!  Mary Oliver knew a thing or two about boldness as well, and I hope you enjoy her poem, Cobb Creek.  Let's all have fun making a beautiful splash today!

June 15, 2016

Last weekend marked our tenth year of traveling north to Door County, Wisconsin.  When life gets to be too much hurrying and scurrying and fretting, the solace of the north woods calms my soul and refreshes my spirit.  Time spent with my husband, daughter and son-in-law laughing, telling stories around the campfire and relaxing in the moment reminded me how precious our lives are.  Coming home Sunday afternoon we heard the horrific story unfolding in Orlando, and once again I found myself praying for families who have lost loved ones to gun violence.  The tragedy reminds me to never take a day for granted - to never miss an opportunity to say I love you to those that mean so much to me.  To not forget to live in the NOW, as there are never any guarantees for tomorrow.  

I Wake Close to Morning
~~Mary Oliver

Why do people keep asking to see
God's identity papers
when the darkness opening into morning
is more than enough?

Certainly any god might turn away in disgust.
Think of Sheba approaching
the kingdom of Solomon.

Do you think she had to ask,
"Is this the place?"

I pray for peace - for the families affected by the tragedy in Orlando, for those who are in pain, for those who face today knowing it is the last day on earth for a loved one.  May we all remember to not grow indifferent to the beauty of life.  

June 1, 2016

B is for...

  My life is filled to the brim with beauty and loveliness.  This last week has brought so much joy to our family, starting with...

Birthday Girl
 Our effervescent, ever loving Lily celebrated her second birthday!

Baby Blanket
Lily "helped me" finish this blanket.  I chose green for this blanket - a second child needs an extra dose of color, right?

Beautiful Baby.  
And speaking of baby blankets and a second child, please let me introduce you to my lovely and sweet new grand-daughter, Madison Marie.  Today she is one week old!

 Big Sister
And of course the letter B also stands for Lily's new role as Big Sister.  

Have fun introducing this beautiful world to Madison, Lily!   

Phil said the lyrics of Stevie Wonder's song were running through his mind as he held Madison for the first time.  I couldn't agree more!

Isn't she lovely
Isn't she wonderful
Isn't she precious
Less than one minute old
I never thought through love we'd be
Making one as lovely as she
But isn't she lovely made from love
Isn't she pretty
Truly the angel's best
Boy, I'm so happy
We have been heaven blessed
I can't believe what God has done
Through us he's given life to one
But isn't she lovely made from love

May your day also be filled with love and beauty.
Happy June first!

May 23, 2016


The special week has arrived!!  In a few short days, we'll know whether grandchild number two will be a special little boy...

or a special little girl! Since my son and daughter-in-law have chosen to not find out the baby's gender, or given even a teeny tiny hint of what names they are considering, it's all going to be a BIG REVEAL!  (I think I've watched a tad too much HGTV lately...)

But before the baby arrives, first we had to celebrate Miss Lily's second birthday with a fun gathering of family and friends over the weekend...

she's got candle blowing mastered! 

She also knows how to make her grandparents' hearts melt...

Sunday I finally had a chance to get out in my garden and tackle weeding and mulching.  My back and legs are not thanking me this morning, but the effort was soooo worth it!  The lilacs have faded, but the peonies are promising to bloom soon...

 and the irises are just starting to open up.  I love their fragrance!

I put a "peony" border in my small side garden - what do you think?!  I'd been waiting for a chance to try one of these plate borders, and when I found this set of peony plates at Goodwill I knew exactly where they should go!

The white plate garden decoration is from my daughter and check out my new teapot and teacups wind chime!

It was finally time to bring the gazing ball out, and even though it's newly planted the scent of lavender is already wafting through the garden.

The view from my deck glider at the end of a lovely weekend...truly, it doesn't get much better than this!  I sat and listened to the birds sing their little hearts out, and thought of Emily Dickinson's Sabbath poem.

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I, just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along.
Have a lovely day, my friends!! 

May 19, 2016

morning has broken...

Good morning!  Here's a short quiz to get our brains going this morning.  What does purple plus green plus blue equal?  (Hint:  you don't need to check the color wheel for the answer)

 Blue sky, green leaves and purple lilacs = pure bliss

Morning has broken like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing,
Praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the world.

 I can't get enough of my lilacs - they are so beautiful and their sweet fragrance fills the air. 

But their beauty is, sadly, ephemeral.  By next week they will only be a memory, but fortunately my garden provides more than one pleasant memory...more loveliness is on the way!

the peonies buds are promising a bumper crop of pink loveliness!

they remind me of lovely pink ballerinas swaying to the music

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass.

while my iris buds stand at attention, saluting the sun...

and in the front yard, the sun shines brightly on Miss Lily's lilies of the valley...

Mine is the sunlight,
Mine is the morning,
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise ev'ry morning,
God's recreation of the new day.

Have a beautiful day!