eyes to see

Long ago my students read a story each year called “The Day Nothing Happened.” It was a tale of two children in the Arctic, walking across the frozen tundra, bemoaning the fact that they lived in such a ho-hum place where nothing ever happened. The subplot, however, was  a recounting of several animals and their adventures that the children passed on their walk, some in struggles for survival. Yet the boy and girl saw none of that. It was a good lesson for us to keep our eyes open for things around us that could be easily overlooked.

arctic tracks

Our son and daughter-in-law  lived with us for several months while their house was being built. She liked watching for the albino squirrels that live in our neighborhood (we have two). Last Sunday on our way home from church she asked about them and I told her I hadn’t seen them in quite some time. I had heard that people had seen some in the park down the street and I told her they might have taken up residence there. Just as we were about to pull in our driveway, she said, “There is one of them!” Sure enough it was in the yard across the street. They have probably been present often, but like the Arctic children in the story, I have failed to notice them.


The best thing about the March writing challenge is that it causes me to keep my eyes open and my mind aware of things in my life worth noting. This year I have written 31 entries, but didn’t get them all  posted on time each day. Still I feel like I have succeeded because once again this month of writing has opened my mind to possibilities. Many thanks to Two(+)Writing Teachers for sponsoring the March Writing Challenge again this year.

orange-SOL Challenge

May we all continue to have eyes to see…


where do they go?

bringing life into longed-for view

turning bare branches into clouds

then… making snowfalls on windy days

petals from the blooming trees

where do they go?


soft and small and delicate

deep dimples and precious pats

then… stretching, slimming, learning skills

baby feet and hands

where do they go?


understanding someone else completely

thinking each other’s thoughts

then… spending long days in hospital stays

years of married life together

where do they go?



step one

I am a procrastinator of the highest order and I am NOT proud of it. I hope that admitting my problem the first step towards a remedy and cure.

  • Sometimes I put off things simply because they are things I don’t want to do.
  • Sometimes it is because I don’t feel capable of doing them well – yes, I am a perfectionist too.
  • And sometimes I don’t do things in a timely manner because I run out of time – I plan too much and aim to high.

Yet I continue to be a list maker and I derive much satisfaction from crossing things off that list.

Yes! What a good feeling to get things done!

But I often do certain things and “hold on to” other things on my list that I am procrastinating finishing. These tasks appear day after day on the daily list. So even though I am completing some items and feeling good about that, this masks the fact that I am still putting off other undesirable jobs. Ugh.

So that’s my admission. Now… I need to get to work on some things that MUST be done!

Easter blessings

Every year on Good Friday I am reminded of what my mother used to say: “It’s Friday… but Sunday’s coming!”

My 95 year old uncle has been in the hospital for the past two weeks. He went in having difficulty breathing due to fluid build up on his very damaged heart. After that was addressed and my aunt was preparing to take him home via a stay in the local Life Care nursing facility, it was determined that he had a kink in his intestine and needed surgery. At age 95 with a very bad heart!  But there was really no other way. In the moments before they took him, the family said all the things you say when you are not sure that you will see someone again. But he came through the surgery splendidly and has healed from that remarkably well.

Last week the fluid built up around his heart again, and he was transferred in the middle of the night to ICU. Once again, the fluid was reduced, yet he continues to have trouble sleeping and refuses to eat. But somehow he is getting stronger every day, going for (short) walks and using his iPad to check on current events.

This morning as we sat down in church I received my morning phone call from my aunt. Standing out in the vestibule I rejoiced to hear that the night had been a good one, he was having pancakes for breakfast, and he was moving to a “regular” room today from ICU. Hallelujah!

My uncle has a long way to go and a new lifestyle to adjust to. My aunt knows each moment is precious because the next ones are not (not ever) guaranteed. But today was a small Easter miracle for our family, and we are thankful.



young again

Today we were invited to join our daughter and son-in-law at their church for the annual Easter egg hunt. It would be our granddaughter’s first year to participate in this exciting activity. We have been practicing at home on Nan Day:


So the big day came and the weather was perfect. And I have NEVER seen such a turn-out for an Easter egg hunt!  There were pony rides and a duck pond and face painting and loud music and donuts!

It was a happy experience for all – except for maybe the overwhelming atmosphere for the quiet child, or the lining up at the ropes and then having to wait before stepping out and getting the eggs.

But she ended up with a few eggs in her basket and the eagerness to see what other fun things were waiting.


And my husband and I felt young again amidst all that spring growth and new life and blessings from God.


As a member of a book club (actually two book clubs) I do try to read the book(s) each month. It is not a drain on my time – I consider it moments well spent as it keeps me thinking about things outside my small little world.

Sometimes the books we choose do not “speak to me.” Even so, I try my best to finish them, so I can join in the discussion with the bigger picture in mind. And sometimes if I keep reading, things do get better. As long as a book has a good ending, I feel better about the commitment I have made to read it.

Just yesterday I finished our current read. It was partly historical fiction, my favorite genre, and I did learn some things about people and places that I had no clue about, so I will give it that. But in the long run,  these disturbing events and characters were not ones I wanted to know more about. I had to make myself finish. And it was a long book, so that took quite a while. And all along the way I kept thinking of the better ways I could be spending that time.

As I get older I may be becoming even more of a Pollyanna and wishing for only good in the world. But there are enough frightening  and disturbing events covered in the news. Is it too much to ask for the books I read – and the time that I invest- to be more uplifting?

Hopefully I can get my grumpies out and we can have a positive discussion about this at our book club meeting next week!


night to fall, dawn to break,

winds to blow, rain to come,

clouds to scoot across the sky,

birds to take flight,

stillness falls:

surface to ripple from beneath –

eye to see, ear to hear,

first breath, last sigh,

path to open, door to close,

mind to open, heart to break:

stone to roll, clouds to part,

fear to flee, love to stay.



acting my age

Last weekend I met with a group of childhood friends to plan a reunion of the youth group – the kids I grew up with – at my church. We are all around age 60 now, which is incredibly hard for me to believe. Especially when I consider the people I haven’t kept up with, who are still teenagers in my mind. In reality they are adults heading out of “middle age,” and they have children and grandchildren- just like me. The saddest realization is that several have died – many without my knowledge of their passing.

So I have been reminded that I am old. Hmmm….

I participate in a Bible study at my church. The members are so wise, and so welcoming! Being a part of this group is such a blessing. The group has met for 15-20 years, but I was just able to join after I retired two years ago. Many of the ladies are older than I am, and almost all of them have been coming longer than I have. So in their eyes, (or maybe just in my thinking), I seem younger, less experienced, with much more to learn about relationships and about life.

So I have been reminded that I am young.  Hmmm….

I guess I am at that part of my life where I am straddling that divide between old and young. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly the best way to “act my age.” But I’ll keep trying the best I can.


Last November I started to write thirty days of thankfulness. True to form (for me) I got sidetracked and ended up competing that journey just yesterday as part of the 2016 Slice of Life Story Challenge. Yesterday was “giving thanks #30,” and although I could probably go on forever with things to be thankful for, I decided to follow my original plan for thirty (albeit nonconsecutive) days.

Writing in March has been an important part of my life for the last five years, and this year is no exception. It has been a change this year (so far) not to have to scratch my head each day to know what to write. (Yes, I had already made a list of thirty things after the first five or six that I started with.) But even though I knew my topic each day, I still had to labor over the right words. And the hardest one to write was the post I did yesterday, knowing it was the end. Not the end of being grateful, of course, but still, it was hard to choose the last thing of which I would write about being appreciative.

My choices included things great and small, but more importantly, the writing ingrained in me a spirit of thankfulness. Already today I have thanked God for many of His blessings He has chosen to send my way. Living life with a focus on what to be thankful for, rather than what to wish for, is making a positive difference in my outlook.

I am so thankful for those days – and likewise for thankful days to come.

giving thanks #30

Daily thankfulness is good for the soul.

Color enchants me, and boosts my spirits. Certain colors evoke definite feelings in me, and I smile to see happy colors singing aloud together, or subdued colors making a quiet statement. The colors of nature resonate deep within me, and my favorite hues are (and always have been) blue, green, and yellow.  But I am not gifted in choosing color. I just know what is right and true when I see it.

Music lifts my moods, or makes me smile, or adds depth to my serious thoughts. A beautiful voice is like a beacon to me, and the melody and harmony of tunes stir my soul. Yet I am not a singer (oh no, not at all) nor do I play any instruments. I just love the language that music sends forth into my world.

My allergic nose misses out on enjoying many vibrant smells in this world, even the fragrant ones, because of its sensitivity. But I do love to breathe deeply of freshly baked bread, or holiday cinnamon, or tuberoses, or a clean soft scent. I just feel the comfort in things that smell wholesome and good.

The world has so many gifts to offer us daily – and even though I can’t create or manage these gifts the way I might like, I can enjoy them to the fullest and allow them to fill my life with honorable, beautiful, and higher things.

I am so thankful.

on this day

Every year on this day I write about my mother because it would be her birthday. (This year she would have been 95.) My mother was and is so many things to me that I have only scratched the surface with my writings about her. But today I was reminded that others loved her too.

I have been meeting with some friends to plan a reunion of our youth group at church from the days long ago when we were young. When we met today I was reminded how much Mama meant to so many – one friend rented her wedding dress from her (as many others did), another told about my dad flying a plane over Mama’s house when they were “courting” and calling out her name. Others talked about how quiet my dad always was – because my mother talked so much he couldn’t get a word in edgewise. All so true. My mother loved the people she came across in her life’s journey, and everything else about this life she lived.

Another story told today was about a friend losing her first born son in an accident when he was eighteen. My mother was at this friend’s mother’s house in the time before the services. It was there my friend showed my mother her son’s picture, wishing so deeply that he were still here. My mother said, “He is in such a beautiful place now, even if he had a choice, he wouldn’t choose to come back here.” My friend said that was such a comfort to her then, and also many times as the years have gone by.

That sentiment has comforted me as well. My mother is having the best time in heaven, I am so very sure. She died in the week before Easter thirteen years ago, and we were sure that when she was in heaven for her first Easter, she was making sure that everyone had their Easter bonnet and finery arranged just so – just as she did each year here on earth. She never knew the spouses of our children or our precious granddaughter. But I know she would never choose to come back here because she is in such a beautiful place. Knowing I will see her again one day makes my heart smile.


giving thanks #29

Daily thankfulness is good for the soul.

As I was growing up I was surrounded by coffee drinkers in my family. And I married a man who drinks far too much of it.  I always thought coffee smelled so delicious, but when I tried drinking it, the taste wasn’t a match to the aroma, and the aftertaste it left in my mouth made me wonder what people really saw in drinking coffee.  Then about ten years ago I was introduced to those vanilla lattes and caramel macchiatos, and I gradually became another of the many coffee drinkers in this world.  I don’t always order specialty drinks anymore, but I don’t think I will ever be able to drink it black. Vanilla flavored creamer is a wonderful thing.

So I am thankful for coffee, but even more so for my daily activities that coffee drinking has become a part of.  Often I read the newspaper or my devotional when I drink coffee in the mornings at home. And many times I meet a friend for “coffee,” but it is really the visit and conversation that energizes my spirit.  Sometimes a cup of coffee provides the time needed to slow down and think through things before charging forward.  And a cup to travel with as we leave on a trip makes the anticipation of the journey even more satisfying.

Coffee often has a way of bringing people together, and drawing out the dreams, plans, and friendships in us.

I am so thankful.

giving thanks #28

Daily thankfulness is good for the soul.

Chocolate is…  just.   so.   good.   It tastes yummy in cakes and pies and cookies.  It is good to drink whether it is hot or cold.  It has delicious partner flavors  that go well together with it – peanut butter, vanilla crème, cherry or raspberry, and mint. It add flavor and deliciousness to all kinds of snacks: marshmallows, rice krispies, peanuts, raisins, pretzels, and yes, even bacon.

If I had to pick one food that is my very favorite, that I couldn’t imagine never tasting again, one that makes me feel good every time I eat it, this food would be chocolate chip cookies. Preferably warm and soft, just from the oven, with melty chocolate chips. But I also like them just a bit crunchy and crumbly, too. I am really not too picky, as long as the chocolate itself is tasty. The main trouble I have with them is I just can’t stop eating them.  Oh, so good!

Chocolate chip cookies can add a bit of nurturing and love to any meal – and a smile to any day.

I am so thankful.

giving thanks #27

Daily thankfulness is good for the soul.

Right now the trees are budding out with tiny green shoots of new life and the long-awaited return of growth. Those that haven’t yet popped out are almost trembling with the promise of what’s soon to come, waiting just beneath the bark.

Trees fascinate me. They root us to the land, and they point us to the sky. Trees are so large and mighty, yet are so welcoming and inviting. Each season makes them a work of art: the bursting of new growth in the spring, the cooling canopy of shade in the summer,  the glorious riot of colors in the fall, and the sturdy design of bare branches in the winter. They shelter wildlife and nurture new plant life. They outlive many of us and yet remind us of the precarious balance of nature.


A tree is a work of art fashioned by God’s hand, each one unique and individual.  All point to us to their creator and remind us of His good gifts to earth.

I am so thankful.


giving thanks #26

Daily thankfulness is good for the soul.

The beach, to me, is a special place. When I go there, it is as if it washes away the everyday from my existence and the mundane from my thinking. The scenery, the smells, the brightness, and the openness are all so different from my usual frame of reference that it allows me to be rejuvenated every time I visit.

When I was a child, my family took a week-long trip to the beach every year. Then there was a stretch of about 15 years where there were only brief moments spent near the sand and the sea. When my husband and I, along with our children, made our first week-long family trip to the beach, which we have repeated every year since, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of senses and memories that came rushing back to me. I loved the cleansing benefits of the sand scrubbing my skin, the joyful feeling of the sun and the wind warming and cooling me at the same time, the smell of salt-crusted yet clean air, and the taste of the fresh catch from the sea. Right now I can hear the flapping of umbrellas and flags in the constant breeze and see the contrast of the bright colors of towels and swimsuits against the sugar-sand beaches.  I long for this when I am away, and I am thrilled by it every time we return.


Is there anything more beautiful than the beach at sunset, with its wide expanse of pastel tinted sky and its golden spectacle of the sun and clouds sinking into the foamy turquoise waters?

I am so thankful.

giving thanks #25

Daily thankfulness is good for the soul.

Sparkling stars in the night sky fill me with awe. I am taken by their beauty and their consistency, and mesmerized by their existence. They make me appreciate the beauty in their simplicity and make me ponder their location and their power.

A powerfully moving song in Les Miserables describes the wonder of stars:

In your multitudes
Scarce to be counted
Filling the darkness
With order and light
You are the sentinels
Silent and sure
Keeping watch in the night.

The well-known children’s song also expresses my fascination with stars:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.


So many, so mighty, so consistent, so comforting.

I am so thankful.

giving thanks #24

Daily thankfulness is good for the soul.

Even though I sincerely sang the praises of spring yesterday, I do have to admit that fall is my favorite season. It is a time for striving and straining to cease, and for true colors to show through. The colors entrance me, the low lying rays of the sun envelope me, and the crisp air invigorates me. I have always loved fall the best.

I know some people get sad in the fall, thinking it is a time of endings and of death. But I know spring will come again, and so autumn becomes a pause, a regrouping, a strengthening for me. The list of fall favorites goes on and on – football, turning leaves, campfires and s’mores, sweaters, hayrides, hot chocolate, and scarecrows, to name but a few. There is so much joy in being able to take time to savor all the good that remains once the big production of summer and harvest is finished.

autumn tall trees

Fall sings a song of blue skies, golden sun, and brilliant trees.

I am so thankful.

giving thanks #23

Daily thankfulness is good for the soul.

Hallelujah! It is (almost) spring and the world of nature sings its joyful song loud and clear each day!

There are so many things about spring that are purely delightful, and I have previously written about many of them – the air, the buds, the greening, the birds, the rain, the temperature changes, and the wonder of it all. Most especially wonderful about this season is the fact that the world gets a do-over every year in spring.  All the leftover remains of fall are deteriorated, all the drabness of winter goes away, and all the new life bursts forth in small but ever-growing ways. Mistakes and regrets can be left behind, and plans for better days ahead materialize on their own in our awakening minds. Spring is a chance to feel the sun’s warmth again, to breathe deeply of freshened air, to celebrate the return of determined seeds of new life.

It is a joy for me to add brighter colors back into my wardrobe this time of year, and to put the heavier coats into the back of my closet.  I love seeing the changes from day to day in the trees and flowers and grass. I often wonder how we came to be so blessed to have this to look forward to after a long season of cold and doubt. But spring brings hope, and rejoicing, and belief. How could Easter come in any other season?

I am so thankful.

giving thanks #22

Daily thankfulness is good for the soul. 

As I understand it, God’s glory is the manifestation of His being, giving us a recognition of His presence.  His radiant glory is best seen in His Son, Jesus. (Hebrews 1:3)  However, we cannot look at God Himself, as He is too bright, too powerful, too much for us to see and live.  So I am thankful for the visions and glimpses of His glory that He does provide for us to experience.

When I look at sunlight reflected on the water, I am reminded of God’s glory.  It is beautiful with its brilliance, alive with its rhythm and flow, comforting with its peace and assurance, and inspiring with its energy and movement. Just as it is a reflection of the true source of light, the sun, it reminds me of the true seat of glory, God Himself.  And when too much of it gathers in one spot, its radiance is impossible to look at directly.  Always, my heart stills and my soul fills when I am surrounded by this light.


It has taken me many years to even begin to understand the might and power of God.  His Light is too much for me to fully take in, but the glimpses of His glory that He sends my way remind me of His infinite love.

I am so thankful.