lake life

The weekend was filled with so much energy! Our family was all together at the lake – celebrating being together and ushering in the unofficial start of summer.

We took “scooter” rides, played in the blow-up pool, used squirt guns, threw balls, raced toy trucks, enjoyed boat rides, chased each other around, played Qwirkle, ate yummy food, read stories, watched cartoons, discussed current events, and laughed a lot.

A slower pace helped us recharge our batteries for a return to the real world.

Our children’s families left a day or two ago, and my husband and I remained for a few chores and a little cleanup. It has been much quieter since they have been gone. We miss them!

But there’s still life at the lake.

On our boat ride we saw geese and herons. From the scooter we spotted squirrels and deer. The call of an owl echoed through the cove. In our own yard we have spotted an armadillo, a big fat toad, several lizards – and a skunk!

And tonight we were thrilled to see the first fireflies of the season.

I’m so thankful for summer at the lake!



book women

I was moved by The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson and was able to write about the connections it brought to mind. So I am excited that it will be the book we discuss at our book club this week.  Unfortunately we are meeting through Zoom – we postponed this book from last month, and still can’t gather in groups of more than 10, so we will make do. It will be nice to “see” everyone again.

The leader has given each of us a question to ask, so all can participate (such a good idea on her part – everyone getting to speak can be difficult with a large group online). The questioner can also answer the question if she would like, or let the group respond.  My question is this: How has a librarian or booklover impacted your life?

I will give my response at our meeting, but only briefly, because I’ll also be anxious to hear what others have to say as well.  However, this question has brought many thoughts to mind, so I’m sharing my complete answer here.

I’m sure my parents read to me when I was young, but I don’t have any memories of that.  I do have some old Golden Books from my childhood, so I know books were present. I also remember going to the old East Nashville Carnegie Library, but I don’t recall the librarians there.

My first “book woman” influencer (that I remember) was my fourth grade teacher, Evelyn Burns. Her classroom walls were literally lined with books.  She read to us, put us in groups to read and share books together, taught us how to use the library to find books we liked, and required us to do fun projects that evolved around books.  Thank you, Mrs. Burns!

Again, as a student, I don’t remember any school librarian having a big influence on me, but I had high school teachers that broadened my horizons in books.  Sarah Stamps never helped me fully see all the analyses of English literature (she tried!), but she did instill a deep appreciation of literature, even those English works written in faraway times and places. Because Mrs. Stamps was enchanted with these books and poems, she helped me love them too. Thank you, Mrs. Stamps!

In my college Children’s Literature class, Dr. Elinor Ross brought classic works written for children into my young adult mindset, and helped me see them with new eyes. And I discovered SO MANY great books! I have been a devotee of children’s literature ever since. The class project where I cataloged books and their themes was helpful to me as I began my teaching career. Thank you, Dr. Ross!

During my career I worked at six different schools and with ten different school librarians, and each one helped me help my students learn to love books. They each possessed different levels of enthusiasm and exhibited various methods of presentation, but I am grateful for each one. Children learned to appreciate the magic of the written word through their efforts, and so did I. Thank you, Brenda, Dolores, Nancy, Karen, Thresa, Teresa, Rachel, Alice, Amanda, and Heather!

The most important and meaningful book of all – the Bible – holds new information and lessons each time I read it.  When I participate in a Bible study group, I can read the Bible, read the study text, answer the questions, and pray – and STILL get more insight when our group meets together and discusses the lesson. I have been blessed with good teachers and leaders of Bible study throughout my life. Thank you, Yvonne, Beth, Vicky, Lisa, and Nancy – just to name a few!

Book Clubs have been a part of my life for a long time.  I have read books I wouldn’t have chosen myself, and I have finished books I might have abandoned if left to my own choices. (And most of the time I have been glad I did!) Now whenever I read any book, I feel like it’s not complete until I discuss it with someone. I am grateful to the organizers of these groups for bringing together readers to discuss what we read – and more importantly, to discuss life!  Thank you Peggy, Marcia, Ellen, and Mary Kay!

Sometimes it is those one-on-one conversations that mean the most. One of my colleagues and I learned together about balanced literacy and critical thinking – she as a classroom teacher and I as a reading specialist.  We would share insights and discoveries along the way.   I remember how we inferred about illustrations in the Sarah Stewart book, The Journey. When my friend moved into the reading specialist role at a different school we continued to meet and discuss – books, lessons, and life.  These breakfasts continue to this day. Thank you, Kim!

So many book women have made a difference in my life. I am thankful for each and every one.


The weather has taken a turn. It is so cold outside today – cloudy, blustery, misty rain mixed with showers.

Quite a change from just a few days ago.

It’s a tough transition from winter to spring.  That’s why we sometimes move two steps forward toward summer, and then three steps back into winter. Those cold snaps have names, and right now we are in the midst of Blackberry Winter. How do I know? Because I have listened to and learned from the folklore and old wives’ tales. And – the blackberry bushes are blooming.

They are so pretty and so noticeable this time of year.  But when summer comes, the fruit is hidden away.

I’d like to take a walk with my granddaughter right now and take a bit of brightly colored yarn. We can tie little bows on these blooming branches. Then when summer comes, and taking a walk in the humidity is like swimming through thick soup, we can go back and find those bows and see what has become of these blossoms of Blackberry Winter.

Wouldn’t that be fun!  I will go now and look for that yarn…


In addition to the powerful, devastating tornadoes on March 3, and the continuing soul-wrenching COVID pandemic, the Nashville area has just had another round of strong storms come through on May 3 and May 4 (yes, back-to-back evenings).  Winds up to 70 mph! Power was out for 130,000 in Nashville alone – plus 40,000 in the neighboring county where I live – and countless more in surrounding areas. They say it might take two weeks for some to be restored.

The straight-line winds did tremendous damage to so many trees in the area:

Yes, some branches and trunks snapped in two, like in the last picture, but all the other trees in these pictures have one thing in common – their roots were not durable.

Some of the roots weren’t deep enough, or sturdy enough, to stay in the ground under the extreme pressure of the wind. Other trees broke off at the ground line – the connection between roots and trunk just wasn’t resilient or solid enough to hold tight in the raging squall.


We all, like trees, face storms in our lives – uncertain times where we need strong roots to protect us and keep us grounded. And we need to keep our relationship to those roots in tact. That is what will see us through hard times.

How strong are YOUR roots?

I am thankful for the roots of faith in my life.  Mine were planted by my parents, watered by caring friends, and tested by trials. These roots are available to all – but again, like trees, some people have roots that are stronger than others.

Our roots must have something to hold on to. So most importantly I am grateful for our Father, God, the surest foundation for us all.  His Almighty Strength is more powerful than any trial, and that’s what I choose to grasp. He is always there, in quiet and supportive ways. He can carry us through and past all the tribulations we face.

In the Bible, Paul said, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power.” (Ephesians 3:17-18).

May we all grow our roots to be strong and deep, planted in God’s love.