Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Still Teaching

Yesterday I posted about my dad teaching me about gardening when I was a child. Today I find myself teaching my granddaughter. When my children were little, I taught them the names of every insect, bird, and mammal. As soon as they were able to walk, I took them outside and showed them animal tracks, bird nests, eggs, even dead animals - yes, death is also a teachable moment. Once they learned these things, we learned to identify the sounds - bird calls, coyote, wolf, cicada, fox, etc.

My children are all grown. Now my granddaughter spends part of her days with me. The first day I took her outside and we went down to the beach to explore. Now she wants to do this every day. So we look for animal tracks in the sand. After we identify a track, she walks all over it and obliterates it.  In all the years I've been doing this activity, none of my children have done that. I find it interesting. Kind of reminds me of the way a dog will lift his leg over the spot where another dog has been. 

Alice OWNS the beach! Look out world...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Making Love In My Kitchen: Words of Wisdom

Making Love In My Kitchen: Words of Wisdom: My dad scared me pretty much my whole childhood. He was a hard worker, he provided for the family, but he was unpredictable, and we never k...

Words of Wisdom

My dad scared me pretty much my whole childhood. He was a hard worker, he provided for the family, but he was unpredictable, and we never knew what would happen.  We moved to the lake when I was 5 or 6. I remember him taking me fishing, but he had no patience for it, or with taking me or my brother along. He purchased the back lots across the road from the lake house and began gardening when I was about 6 or 7. At first he didn’t have much success. But then he began to study organic gardening and gradually his garden became more prolific and larger every year. The moments when he was at peace seemed to be when he was gardening. It became his lifelong hobby.

Sometimes I would wander down to the garden. My dad was always calm and relaxed when he was working the soil. He always had something to teach me, whether it was how to plant seeds, how to pinch suckers off the tomato plants, or how to wrap a strip of cardboard around transplants to deter cutworms. He never ran out of teachable moments and he was a walking encyclopedia of organic gardening. I was drawn to gardening forever after, I think, just because this was the only positive connection I had with him. For these moments we spent, bent down, heads together, peering at the dirt were like a balm. For a brief period, I could forget about the heart-pounding moments that I dreaded for so many of my days and nights. He was a different person, smiling, eager to share what he knew with me. This is what I wanted my dad to be like all of the time.

Perhaps that’s why even to this day, gardening, for me, is not about the end product. It’s about the process, the doing, and teaching. Most often, it is teaching. I find myself sharing gardening tips with my daughter or my husband.  He asks me how I know, and I feel slightly surprised, realizing that up until that very moment, I had forgotten that I even had that knowledge tucked away in my brain. It just bubbles up to the surface on occasion. I like to think of it as a gift from my dad. Now that he is gone, it feels good to be able to accept these nice surprises from him. I am more and more able to remember the garden and less and less able to remember the fear.

Waiting for those words of wisdom.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Plan

Today I pulled out this coffee mug for my morning cup of joe. It was a gift from my daughter-in-law, Holly, several years ago. It makes me happy just looking at it. But I never really thought too much about the scripture reference. So today I decided to look it up:

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end."

As soon as I read the words, I was shocked to feel tears running down my cheeks. And yet, instantaneously, I knew why. It is exquisite and sad at the same time.

He has a plan. But we can't know it. Yet.

I'm feeling melancholy today because it is just a year since my mother died. I miss her more now than I did just after it happened. Why is that? I don't get it, but there it is.

I read the next line:

"I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor - it is the gift of God."

Now I'm feeling a bit of joy here, how about you? Even as God puts limitations on our lives, He does want us to enjoy the fruits of our labors, meaning our families and the food and drink and homes that we obtain through our work here on earth.

My daughter Megan was visiting me last evening and we were discussing how much we love our morning cup of coffee - it is truly sometimes the best part of the morning - we really look forward to that first cup! We joked about it a little, but it really is all the little things that make your day, isn't it?

Very few of us experience huge windfalls such as Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes, winning the lottery, etc. Being successful is really in cultivating an appreciation for the life you have, the little things that bring you pleasure where you are right now.

On to more upbeat posts in the near future: we're doing a partial remodel in the kitchen, and I'll share a few pictures. I've shared a few already on Facebook, but we are not finished.

Looks like Summer is here!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Today marks the anniversary of my brother's death. Six years ago he made the choice to end his life. My whole family was never the same after. I can't speak for everyone else, but I suspect I'm not the only one who still wonders why.  I don't think my mother ever really recovered from the total, shockingly raw, agonizing pain. There just aren't enough adjectives to describe how a mother must feel. When I try to imagine it I have to give up after a few moments because I just can't even deal with it in a safe, artificial context.  I do know that a mother's love knows no bounds. It doesn't matter what her son/daughter does in life, she will love him/her unconditionally, beyond death, beyond eternity.

However, the beauty of the human heart is that it does heal. And after several years, the good memories begin to crowd out the bad. Over the past couple of years I have found myself recounting fond memories to my children of David and me in our childhood years. I tell them how we played and of the hours we spent swimming in the lake (literally hours!). And I let them know that we stayed outdoors from morning until dark, coming inside only to grab a sandwich for lunch, which we often had to eat outside because we were dripping wet. And how our favorite games were building roads in the dirt with sticks and stones and driving just a couple of matchbox cars around for hours. What a life! I'm pleasantly surprised to see how interested my grown children are to hear these stories.

David and me.

When I think of Dave now, I always see him perched on the bar stool in Mom's kitchen. That's where we all were, all of the time.  Hanging out around the kitchen counter. Just like it is now in my house, with my kids. And so it goes...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Moving Right Along...

Ok, so I've managed to check something off my Resolutions list - cleaning the workshop.  Just as a reminder, here is the before:

You can't even see the floor and it was nearly impossible to get through here.

                                                And here is the after:

 I'm feelin' pretty good about this, so I want to keep the momentum going. I'm presently working on organizing the storage room.

It was a wonderful holiday season here in our household - lots of company, lots of food and fun. I hope it was the same for you. Now we have to tough out the cold, dreary months of January through March here in the North, so I guess it's a good time to take care of these inside projects. We're going to do a little remod in my kitchen - pretty excited about that. I'll be posting the progress.

I'll leave you with the photo we put on our Christmas card this year. Think warm sand and sun!

Six of the eight grands - the two babies were up on the deck with their mamas :)

Friday, January 1, 2016


I never make New Year's Resolutions. Until now. And I'm going all out this year. So here goes:

1.  I'm going to start by blogging again. I quit because I was having issues with my blog. I moved over to wordpress because I had been told it was more sophisticated. Big mistake. I didn't like it. It didn't allow me the freedom to do the things I wanted it to do. I finally learned how to basically pick up and move everything back over to blogger. Hopefully I have it figured out now, because I really don't want to start over. I like the title and background. And it takes a long time to find a new name for a blog - there are literally millions out there, and every name you can think of is already in use.

2.  I'm going to write every day. It may only be a couple of lines, but if I say it out loud, maybe it will happen.

3.  I'm going to clean the workshop. That's a scary one. The guys are the only ones who use it and it's pretty awful. But I'd like to be able to use it once in a while for a picture framing project, or a painting project, so if I want it cleaned, well, you know how that goes...

4.  I'm going to organize the storage room. Another scary one, and that one is my own fault. It was actually pretty organized at one point, but we sold the ranch this past summer, and everything that we had stored up there ended up being thrown into storage here and now it's time to take care of it. I  DON'T WANT TO DO THIS!!! So I have to write it down somewhere in order to be accountable.

Everyone always posts perfect pictures on their blogs that make me feel like a failure in my life, how about you? Just to make you-all feel better, I'm posting 'before' pictures of my 'to-do' projects.
This is the workshop.

This is one half of the storage room.

So there you have it. What a mess! Don't you feel better now?
  Anybody else pledging New Year's Resolutions? It seems to be a thing of the past. But it's kind of like dieting. I hear people saying there's no point in dieting because they know they won't stick to it. Well then, yep, you've defeated yourself before you've even started. So, I'm going to aim high and if I'm lucky, I'll achieve half of what I set out to do :)

Happy New Year!