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!

May 11, 2016

Misty mornings

After all of yesterday's rain, this morning's mist prompted different replies from my husband and me.  I looked out the window and said "ooh, it's an Indiana morning" and at the same time from the kitchen he called out "looks like a Pennsylvania morning outside".  That lovely, almost ethereal morning mist never fails to delight us and remind us of our childhood homes.  My most immediate concern was my poor lilac bushes - they only truly opened on Monday and yesterday's rain was heavy and lasted all day.  They look a little weather beaten but at least the blooms are still on...I was afraid I might have a one-day wonder this spring!

What's not to love about lilacs?  I delight in their beauty, their scent, their willingness to show up year after year and bring spring glory with them, and most of all, in the sweet, sweet memories I have of my father bringing home armfuls of them to my mother each spring.  In a word, they personify love.

We had an amazing celebratory weekend!  Our daughter graduated summa cum laude with her master's degree in Criminal Justice, with an additional certification in Victim Advocacy.  Her ceremony was on Friday night, and we then hosted a reception for family and friends on Saturday afternoon.

We were all so touched at the effort family and friends made to come and celebrate with us - my brother and nephew drove from South Dakota, and many folks drove two or three hours to join us.  We felt so blessed to have so many people want to share in our daughter's happy day!  And if that wasn't enough reason to celebrate, she found out yesterday that the Runaway & Homeless Youth Services team that she has served on for the past two years just won the state's Governor's Service Award!  We are so very proud of this beautiful, smart, capable and caring young woman.

I had fun decorating her reception with sayings that fit her to a "t"!
We followed Saturday's happiness by gathering on Mother's Day to celebrate our son's birthday...

And of course Miss Lily made an appearance...

And I felt incredibly blessed to be surrounded by those I love more than life itself.  

As the happy weekend came to a close, the lyrics of an old familiar hymn were running through my mind:

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

And along with counting our blessings let's remember that...