where’s waldo

Here’s the cover of the yearbook from our senior year in college. That’s quite a crowd for a football game at our Alma Mater, not known for talented teams or loyal fans.

Somewhere in this group are my husband and me, just dating at the time.  I have looked and searched but can’t quite spot us.  Yet.  I’ll keep looking.

What is odd is that, in my examination, I found so many people that I remembered.  I might not recognize them today, forty years later. But names that haven’t crossed my mind in YEARS came into my thoughts. Connections and memories were vivid.

Perhaps it is true that our minds are like filing cabinets – or computer files – and that they are full of an amazing amount of information.  It is just sometimes hard (or impossible?) to find the right folder when you are looking for it.

But I’m determined to find our faces in this crowd.

… seek and you will find…    Matthew 7:7


the morning’s remains

of air heavy with moisture

blanketing the ground

what tales could be told

of nighttime’s activities

unseen in the mist

… but mist came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Genesis 2:6


birthday girl

Who knew?

Oh, friends did tell me that grandchildren are the most wonderful joys.  And I believed them.

But I never really longed for a grandchild. I just thought, “When the time comes, that will be fine.”

And then the time came.

And things have NEVER been the same.

Wonderful joy indeed. We are so profoundly thankful.

Our first grandchild, sweet Madison, captured our hearts from the beginning –

  • her trusting innocence,
  • her beautiful smile,
  • her loving heart,
  • her bubbly giggles,
  • her inquisitive mind,
  • her old soul,
  • her sparkling joy.

Madison is four years old today! (How can time go so fast?)

We love you, precious one!

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement…  Philemon 1:7



making things work

Our family is blessed to live in a wonderful town that mixes an appreciation for its history with a vision for future possibilities.

Franklin, Tennessee’s downtown area is known for being a model Main Street that has preserved its past well.

Yet we also have a regional mall, countless thriving businesses, and several corporate headquarters.

And there are still many areas that retain their rural roots, even close to town.

So it is no wonder that our county is one of the fastest growing places in the country.  Everyone wants to live in a place like this!

Today I had a glimpse of another part of Franklin. A very good part. I had to take my car in for some repairs, and as I traveled to the body shop right after dawn this the morning, I saw evidence of what keeps this city going.  Traveling down those back streets I saw the real pulse of this place – a  wide variety of shops and warehouses that provide services for residential and commercial users. People up and going early, preparing for a busy day. Ready to do what needs to be done to make sure things are functioning as they should. And also making progress towards the future.

I remain so thankful that they are here, and working hard at making things perform as they should. But sadly, many of these employees can’t afford to live here. This amazing community has priced them right out of the housing market. What a shame.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you… Matthew 7:12



Our home is undergoing a renovation. It is getting an expanded kitchen, open doorways, a bigger bath, sturdier stair rails, darker finish on the floors, lighter paint, an open deck, updated lighting, an upstairs laundry room, and some new furnishings.

A new, fresh look for a place we hold dear.

Right now we continue to clean layers of drywall and sanded floor dust as we wait for completion.  The new floors are covered with RAMboard to prevent scratches as the work continues.  So it is hard to get a feel for the final “look” because all the areas and pieces haven’t been shown together yet.  Ugh.  I am ready to see it all complete and use those spaces again.

And underneath it all, new beauty is there. Waiting to be uncovered.


This month I am attempting to write every day. I am searching for inspiration, truth, loveliness, insight, memories, connections, humor, tenderness, relevance, and just the right words.

A return to capturing the meaningfulness of this life I have been given.

Right now my thoughts are clouded with dust, delays, broken pieces, overloaded electrical breakers, decisions about paint colors, unfinished HVAC work, the wrong mortar color on bricking, and a clouded view of a finish date. Ugh.  I am ready to look beyond myself and my house.

And underneath it all, new words are there.  Waiting to be written.

 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:         now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.         I Corinthians 13:12


My precious Aunt Rosie turns 95 today.  She is my mother’s sister, and like a mother to me since my mom died 15 years ago.

Rosalie Lankford Beck is a dedicated mother, grandmother to two, and great grandmother to 5 (soon to be 6).  She’s an excellent seamstress, a talented cook, a crocheter, a cross-stitcher, a gardener, a reader, a loyal friend, and a treasure to us all.

My daughter chose to name her first child, our first grandchild, after Aunt Rosie. She turns four next week.

Madison Rosalie Hart is a dancer, a dreamer, an artist, and a tenderhearted soul. She is a little princess, a hugger, a curious questioner, a sprite, a beauty, a dog lover, and pure joy to our family.

Thank you, Lord, for these two precious Rosalies in my life.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. Philippians 1:3



The presence of ability

is evident from the very beginning,

and resonates far beyond the completion.


It’s in each inspiration,

each choice,

each effort,

each detail.


The lack shows in every shortcut,

every mistake,

every disconnect,

every disappointment.


Quality is born

of dedication and passion,

motivation and discipline.


Expertise is quiet, and solid,

long lasting, and true.


Craftsmanship is proud and competent,

the essence of a job well done.


His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  Matthew 25:21

a new lens

Our town is picturesque, and it isn’t unusual to see photos or paintings of familiar spaces here.  Sometimes you may see the artist at work, like Greg Barnes of Plein Air Painters of the Southeast.

I see lots of “wow” sights here.  Beautiful sky, lovely scene, interesting slant of sunlight.  A great place to create a work of art. If you have the talent.

This man obviously does. Perfect perspective, lively colors, gorgeous contrast of light and shadow! Is he using pastels?  Wow!

Look closer at only his art:

As carefully as he has recreated this scene, he has also added an almost “wistful” quality to it.  I do enjoy walking the sidewalks of our downtown.  I’d like to walk down the street he portrays, too, and see it through his new lens.

How many are your works, LordIn wisdom you made them all.  Psalm 104:24

hats off

One of my high school classmates is a published author (Yay!) so we went to her book signing on Sunday afternoon.

A woman there was wearing a wide brimmed pink hat. Whenever I see someone in a hat, I think of my mother.  She not only wore hats regularly, but was a milliner – a hat maker – for many years.

My mother’s hats were always color and shape coordinated to the outfit she was wearing. She knew the best design for her body type, and she had a way of using coordinating trims and accessories to make her hats “just right.”  She wore them as her statement of high style!

You don’t see many women wearing hats today. There are certain activities where hats are expected – horse events such as the Kentucky Derby and Nashville’s Steeplechase – but generally hats are not part of today’s fashion statements.

I wonder if women today – like the woman I saw Sunday – wear hats to draw attention to themselves.  To be just a little bit different from the rest. To set themselves apart from the crowd. To be noticed.

Maybe that was part of my mother’s thinking as well.

Hats Off to hat wearers everywhere!

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  Matthew 6:28-29


Have you read the new book, Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens?

Here’s some of what Amazon has to say about it:

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast.  But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

I am in the midst of enjoying it now.

The interesting title is taken from this passage:

It is hard to imagine a life of such isolation.  And the thought of her hiding away out in the wild because the “townspeople” are so cruel to her. The author does an incredible job of describing the beauty of nature – and also the ache of loneliness felt by this precious child who has been alone for so long.

At one point Kya is finally learning to read at age 15, and we read this:

I want to find and use those words that hold so much. Words that speak to the heart.

Gentle words bring life and health…  Proverbs 15:4

feels like home

Well, it isn’t pretty but our furniture is back in the house.

As part of our remodeling project, we have had our floors refinished. Fortunately, our furniture fit in the garage. (The bigger pieces, anyway. The smaller things like chairs and end tables, we took upstairs. Many trips upstairs…)

Now the bigger pieces have been moved back in. The walls are not painted yet, so the furniture is in the middle of the rooms, but it is so nice to see it there. Now it is starting to feel like home again.

This reminds me of my husband’s precious grandmother. Several years ago, because of weakness from congestive heart failure, she had to be admitted to a nursing home. Thanks to the excellent care she received and answers to prayer, she was able to transfer to an assisted living facility. My husband and I brought several items from her home to furnish her room – a chest full of pictures and memories, her rocking chair, her recliner.

Her reaction was beautiful. She was filled with such joy to have these familiar pieces around her. Objects she thought she would never see again. She had already given away most of her possessions to family members and friends, but these special belongings meant so much to her.

We, on the other hand, knew our furniture would come “home.” It just feels good to have our things back where they belong.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.  Hebrews 13:5


There have been a lot of workers doing various jobs in our home during our remodeling project.

It seems there are no longer any “jack of all trades.” Instead, everyone specializes in a specific area or skill set.  That could be a good thing, because sometimes the “jack of all trades” was also a “master of none.”

If someone comes to your home to do electrical work, he may or may not clean up his mess.  He is not responsible for that.

If an HVAC installer comes to put in floor vents, he might knock a pipe loose and cause a leak.  But that is not his problem.  Call a plumber.

Each worker may be very good in the area he specializes in, but who ties it all together?

And some of these people, as skilled as they are, might never go further because they have fractious personalities and can’t seem to settle down.

This is merely an observation into a world I usually don’t see.  Just a different way of life.  Not a criticism, but a pondering on how the changing ways of the world have affected the way we all do business.

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

show off

It continues to be hot in our neck of the woods, even though it is September AND past Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer.

Although there are signs indicating the imminent change of seasons if one chooses to see them, we are still enveloped in lots (and lots) of green.  Everywhere.

Yet as I was stopped at a busy intersection today I glanced out the side window of my car and saw this:

Anxious for cooler weather, this sumac was showing its true colors – already. Just a little ahead of the rest.

Thankfully one thing never changes.

The earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. Psalm 33:5

drifting along

It has begun.  Bit by bit, leaf by falling leaf, summer is making plans to migrate to warmer places. Even in this stifling 90+ degree heat, there are signs.

When a welcomed gust of air breezes by these days, it often carries a few yellow or brown leaves along its track. At the lake, those leaves often find their way to the water.

What a fun ride they have for a time – dancing along the waves, slipping apart and sliding back together. Often they end up making a trail through the deep green waters. Sometimes far from shore, but in a line, as if they have a path to follow and a destiny to fulfill.

What brings them together?

  • Winds of chance?
  • Wakes from boats?
  • A general fondness for one another?
  • Or one last gathering before they are gone?

I look for them across the lake. I know there will be many more in the days ahead.

Even as summer winds down, this makes me smile and look ahead with anticipation.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

seasons change

Labor Day – the unofficial end of summer.  Meteorological autumn comes in a few weeks, but it is now time to put away those white pants and look forward to cooler weather.

The signs are everywhere:

  • yellowing leaves in the trees,
  • tall grasses bloomed out and fading in color,
  • maroon colored pods on the sumac,
  • crops ripening,
  • green nuts turning brown,
  • gold and purple wildflowers along the road,
  • slanted sun rays,
  • just “something in the air.”

The air is NOT cooler just yet – it’s very hot and muggy due to tropical storm Gordon traveling north.  But it will come!

Once upon a time I encouraged my students to memorize a short poem each week and this was one of them – one of my favorites:


A road like brown ribbon
A sky that is blue
A forest of green
With that sky peeping through.
Asters, deep purple,
A grasshopper’s call,
Today it is summer,
Tomorrow is fall.

by Edwina Fallis


To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1



Happy Labor Day!

As we celebrated the long weekend at the lake, we were surprised to see workers on the bridge-upgrading project there on Labor Day.  Elsewhere, stores were open, offering sales and discounts to lure shoppers. Hopefully those who had to work today will get time off in the near future.

An old saying advises, “Do what you love and you’ll never have to ‘work’ a day in your life.” Whatever it may be that our vocation, or our chores, or our to-do lists demand, it is easier to face those things with a willing spirit.  Colossians 3:23 says, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…

Today is a day to celebrate a job well done, to be thankful for those goods and services we enjoy that are provided by others, and to rest, in order to prepare for more work (and joy) to come.

waiting out the storm

Yesterday we took a ride in our pontoon.  As we left our cove and went out into the main part of the lake, my husband looked behind us and said, “That looks like rain.”

He tends to see things through Eeyore eyes, focusing on the negative, so I jokingly said, “Well, we better turn around and go back to the dock.”

But we went on ahead into sunny skies and sparkling water.  Our ride was cooled by pleasant breezes, and we were far from alone on this busy Labor Day weekend at the lake.  We watched skiers and wake boarders, and saw progress on new houses being built, and thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of freedom that comes from being on the water.

As we turned around to head back towards home, we saw this.

Yes indeed, it did look like rain.

We were fortunate.  My husband found a cove to shelter in with a few other boats.  Although the wind shifted towards us, we remained on the edge of the storm and had only light rain, with the thunder and lightning remaining in the distance.

As we waited, we were vigilant, and prayerful, and sorry that we hadn’t paid more attention to the weather we joked about earlier.

This is so true of what we do with other storms of life.  After ignoring the signs of coming troubles, we tense up, stay on guard, and ask the Lord to deliver us.

Thankfully He hears our prayers.  God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

a personal daily writing challenge

We humans are funny folks.

So often we know the things we should do that are good for us – almost always, in fact – and yet we still resist.  Even when we know the end result is worth it.

The Bible has a bit to say about that in Romans 7:19 –

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

So I may not be alone, but I am guilty!  I know what things are good for me, what activities enrich my being, and what is right and good and true.  And yet, those things often go undone.

But more importantly I am hoping to make some changes. I am trying to walk regularly.   I am attempting to eat more healthily.  I want to do a better job of checking on family and friends.  And it is time to start writing again.

Each year, as I complete the March Writing Challenge, I realize that writing adds so much to my life. I decide that I’ll do it again for the month of September, halfway through the year.  It never happens.  Until now.  I hope I can make it work.

As I (finally) opened WordPress and read my last post from way back in April, I smiled to see that I was already missing writing then, and I truly miss it now.   I mentioned in that post that we had started a remodeling project.  It continues today.  It has taken up too much of my thoughts and my time, and has turned my viewing lens inward.

It is time for that remodeling to be complete.  And it is way past time to look outward again.

Writing begins with noticing, and goes on into pondering and planning, and then seeks insight.  It is time, again, to put all of that back in my life.

More to come…