Tag Archives: life

#thesearethemoments November’s Song

Yes, it is true. From my Family-Table-November Spotify playlist (see it to your right), I can’t get the song by Sara Evans off my mind. It may just end up being the song of the month for me. However, I really have no idea what the lyrics are, except:

These are the moments I thank God that I’m alive

These are the moments I’ll remember all my life

I have all I waited for – And I could not ask for more…

That’s all I know. And I am pretty sure it is a love song and probably a codependent love song where she is putting ALL her stock in one person for her happiness, which is a lot of pressure for said person.  Haha.

#thesearethemoments aspens and blue sky

Just another November the 8th…I’ve enjoyed 55 or so of them so far.

But, the words I do know, the ones above, which I bookend with lots ‘o humming and made-up-lyrics, are reminding me to look for the simple moments I should be grateful for, the little, everyday snippets of life that don’t seem to amount to much, but are the Jenga blocks that make up my ordinary living, and give structure and solidity to dreams.

I went to sleep last night to the sound of the sweetest November rain. It signals a change on its way from the sunny, amazingly beautiful fall weather we have been having. Snow is headed this direction, they say. But oh, the sound of that cleansing, whole, full-on rain. That was a good moment.

It morphed in to the brightest sunrise, blue skies and raindrops sparkling on the windows. The earth was rejoicing for the deep, refreshing drink. My Aspens are half empty now, but the way the remaining leaves dance against that Colorado-blue sky takes my breath away. It’s such a savory moment. I’m dining on it still, as I write.

#thesearethemoments Hunter and 4 freckled-lemonades

It was Grandparent’s Day at Hunter’s school yesterday. So I reciprocated by making it Hunter Day. :)

#thesearethemoments Hunter smiles

The waitress gave him another one to go! Ay-yi-yi!

The grand-boys are here (it was a sleepover): Gavin (11) and Hunter (10). I cannot believe how many dishes they generate in such a short time. Meals, snacks, snacks after snacks. Soda-pop glasses, hot-chocolate mugs. Candy wrappers piled on the coffee table (blame their grand-poppa, I tell you!) and some candy wrappers just found a spot on the floor beside the couches where my little men piled blankets and cushions for movie-watching, boy-flicks. And as I load my arms with the dishes and debris to head for the kitchen, I can’t help but sing it, I could not ask for more.

We all make bucket lists and have grand plans and create goals and make Pinterest boards of exotic places we want to see and things we wish to do. But I never even took my kids to Disney World. Can you even believe that? And I took French all through junior high and high school and I have never gone to Paris. These trips would have made for the most incredible memories, moments-of-a-lifetime, for sure.

But this morning, my cutie-pie grand-boys helped me move the sofa away from the wall and what did we find? Birthday gift-wrap wads. We have gift-wrap paper fights at the end of gift-opening, every birthday. All the kids go after Uncle Rocky with zeal, because he deserves it for always getting me right in the face! And there they were: remnants of a happy celebration past.

And there were 3 or 4 Hot Wheels behind the couch because Malakai is all about those cars these days and a few are bound to crash off the back of the furniture at the speed they are going. A few crayons were there because this house is about my children’s children being able to express themselves creatively. And some wayward gum balls from the gum ball machine that supplies the grandbebes when they are here were back there, too. Those are things I found behind the sofa. And I could not ask for more.

malakai chasing the red ball #thesearethemoments

Kai-Kai is a boy on the go.

When Dave squeezes the middle of the toothpaste tube because he likes to do that, I try to remember that he thinks I tighten it all up from the end just so he can. And when he leaves the bread on the counter right beside the bread basket instead of in it {which may or may not make me slightly crazy}, I know it is just one of the things I will always remember about him. I’ll remember that he loves me like crazy, that he pays too much for rib-eye steaks {“Wait until they are on sale, honey!“} because he knows I love them and I could eat steak everyday. I’ll always remember that he wants to close the bedroom windows through the winter, but he freezes all night because I need fresh air. These are the moments, ya know? And I could not ask for more.

#thesearethemoments Hunter Day

The baby who cries all night – means we have a baby to love, a little person to usher in to their destiny. Used diapers are a sign of health and life. Lots and lots of life. :)

The dirty dishes piling up in the sink, means we had food to eat. There are so many things in the fridge that I can’t decide what to have for breakfast.

The relationship that needs mending means we have people who mean enough to put forth the effort. We’re so lucky.

How on earth did we end up with this much laundry, except that we have so many clothes from which to choose? Leaf-blowers make tidy piles for us and a big truck comes and takes the autumn debris away, no-muss, no-fuss. Toys are scattered around the house because they don’t even fit in the designated boxes. Kids are loud, parties make messes, meal-making comes around three times a day, day after day. They are just mundane moments passing by. They are not glamorous, nor brag-worthy.

But they are surely divine – the things for which we can be grateful. Day in and day out, one foot in front of the other, faithfulness in the little things – I could not ask for more.

#thesearethemoments Gavin crashing

My life and times and seasons are soundtracked by songs and melodies. October was “Autumn Leaves,” feeling memories and melancholy drift by like the leaves of an old tree.

#thesearethemoments Hunter and Gavin

But November, November’s song is really less Sara Evans and more thankfulness, reflection, gratefulness for life, the things we’ll end up remembering with deep fondness. Maybe less about trips to Disney World. And more about all the candy wrappers we were privileged to scoop up and throw away.

NOTE: Ohmygoodness. I am just about to hit publish and in come my guys, Dave-the-husband, and Gav and Hunter, the first two of my nine beloved grandchildren.  They all three tracked mud all the way through the house. After I had vacuumed. Oh yes, they did! Haha. Oh my…

These days, these monotonous, wearisome, repetitive, routine and sometime tedious days: “These are the moments I thank God that I’m alive.” #thesearethemoments

What are yours? What makes you thank God you’re alive?

Thought-Collage Thursday // A Bountiful Bunch of Dis-jointed Reflections

I don’t even know what that title means.

In the back yard yesterday 1

In the back yard yesterday

Except, I do have thoughts. That is why – this blog.  But sometimes life is careening with such force and speed, the thoughts, the observations and ideas – well, they just zoom on by and I can only retain the barest interpretation of them.

Such is this week.


I get so romantic about the autumnal  season

In the back yard yesterday 2

Also the back yard yesterday. No kidding – I got to see all these colors including that Colorado blue sky!

I go out in the cool breeze of night and watch the leaves drifting down and start composing silly poetry in my head like this:

When the breeze picks up and the leaves fall down

And the Jack ‘O Lanterns are scowling all around town…

There is actually much more, and maybe one day I’ll share it with the grandbebes, but I’m no poet. I know it.  ;) So for today, we’ll leave it here. Bet you’re wondering what was going to happen, aren’t you?

In the back yard yesterday 3

Which leads me to this question: Would Dr. Seuss be able to find a publisher these days? I mean – he just made up words to make them rhyme.

See how random things just barrel through?


The song of the month: Autumn Leaves {of course}

I love the song. I first loved the song, as a child, when I heard Roger Williams piano version (my Grandma gave me his album). To find it had actual words, not that many years ago, was a bonus. It was originally in French (1945), and all the greats have recorded it. Jo Stafford (one of my favs) was first, but then Edith Piaf (who did both an English and a French version), Diana Krall (she makes all songs amazing), Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eric Clapton – they all have recorded it. Eva Cassidy, too.

In the back yard yesterday malakai not wanting to pose

Kai did not want to model

And I have spent the entire month of October singing it and plunking around on the keyboard playing it. Rocky told me to come to his office and he’d play the guitar and mix my voice (read: tune me up and make me sound good) in his studio. But who has time for that? Neither he nor I.


I get more wordy and gooey each autumn

I have been blogging since 2006, so you’d think by now I wouldn’t have a clue what all I have said. But I always do recall, each fall, that I get a little more, shall we say, descriptive, come autumn. I become quite melancholy and overcome with passion for the season.

i feel like


  • I ponder autumn red, quote Marilyn Monroe and dissertate on being a woman in the autumn of her life. {{see here}}
  • In “Delicious Autumn,” I quote George Eliot and tumble head-over-heels into a sensory love affair with nostalgia – the sights, the smells, the tastes, the feels, the sounds of youth faded…while visiting my parents. Haha. {{see it here}}
  • I’ve often written about October being orange. But in looking back, I do also pay my respects to the reds of October. This one is an homage to red, to “a fully florid, cherry, sanguine scarlet.  A puce, a rufescent russet,  a bloody, blushing, gushing, infrared hot pink mixed with flaming chestnut and rubies and gleaming copper, all at once…shimmering and iridescent fuchsia, yet dense and heavy garnet, a ruby…bittersweet in both color and the evoking of raw autumn melancholy.” And etc! :)  {{see it here}}
  • Two years ago this very day, {{THIS}} was happening. The grandbebes and a little weather forecast.  I remember that light, those leaves…

kids in leaves 2012 10 23

Oh, there are many more fall, autumn, October posts. Some November, too. And miles of words down roads of the romance of the season. But I’ll let this part go with those few examples.


I voted.

Oh how I love getting to vote in the convenient  location of my home. And mailing it in…wait, did I remember to mail it? I will say that I wish I could change one of my amendment-issue votes because I researched a bit more later and I think I may have been…*w*r*o*n*g*!??

That is (1) highly unusual, and (2) growth for me…to think that I maybe/might have been/possibly was/super-small chance that I was ever-so-slightly wrong, but instead of demanding a fresh ballot, I’m just going with the flow. It is what it is. And really, in light of SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE VOTING WRONG ALL THE TIME, this one minor issue is of little consequence.  Just kidding…about other people’s votes. Maybe.

So now, if all the political ads would kindly remove themselves from my presence. Thank-you very much.


Loved her book!

Oh, and I won’t tell you how I voted. No. You couldn’t guess if you tried because I am an independent. Do not try to fence me in!

BUT if she wants to hire me for her campaign, “Carly Fiorina for President!”  On women, 53% of voters: “We are not a special-interest, single-issue constituency. We are half the country.” up-project.org


I was in the country the other day

In the back yard yesterday 5

The burning bushes are on fire!

The cows were mooing and a tractor was motoring by. The smell of manure was in the air and a pretty gray cat with grass-green eyes came by to say hi {totally unaware that I am not a cat person, apparently}.  The sun was sweet and you could see miles of mountains from there. And even though life was happening all around and “town” was just 3 miles away, it was quiet. So quiet. I think I was made for the country.


A {Country Baby} came to see me.


Sawyer with Guini and Gemma

Two of them in fact, with their parents. Sawyer and Wryder were here visiting from Holyoke. That is country. The term Country Baby comes from one of my fav old movies, Baby Boom, with Diane Keaton. Do you remember that movie? I think that is a good movie to watch near the end of October.


Arsenic and Old Lace

arsenic cary grant

And always-always-always try to view Cary Grant in Arsenic and Old Lace near Halloween. Because. Cary Grant. He is hilarious in it and scary-good-looking!

It s such a great old black and white flick!


I miss my mom over there in Hoosier-land.

me and mom oct 6

I have been so busy I haven’t had a chance to tell you a million little details about my time in NW Indiana recently (in Chicago-land). It was so windy the last day there, but I held on to my mamala for dear life. In this photo I was thinking, “Oh I love her and I will miss her.” And I was so right. On both counts.


Since the Cardinals did not make the World Series, we are for the Kansas City Royals.


Got it? OK!

I love baseball. I miss my dad, too, because we watched a lot of baseball while I was there. But he can’t take seeing his teams lose, so we missed some great comebacks. Oh, pops.  ;) Cardinals forever, anyway!


I threw caution to the wind and listed my Jeanie-green ornate, Baroque, Italianate, solid wood, custom-built green coffee table on Craigslist.


I think I am changing my mind. Because, I mean – even the paint was custom-mixed for ME, to match a sliver of a piece of one of the grandbebe’s art pieces. I don’t know if I can let it go?



A thought about relationships…

Tara brought me a bouquet of flowers just before my birthday, more than 2 weeks ago. It was a huge bouquet of purple lilies, hydrangea, lavender statice, various mums and Gerber daisies.  Stormie brought me a big mums-filled bouquet a couple of days later, as seen on the coffee table, above (those fall mums will go on forever!).

purple bouquet, day 17

At day 17, the purple bouquet from Tara – a third of its original size, yet still lovely.

I have never been one of those women who needs her husband to bring her flowers, though I enjoy the surprise of them, like anyone. I get joy from growing things in the ground.

But both of these bouquets made me so happy and are still bringing me a smiles, light, bright joyful remembrances of warm thoughts and pure love shown towards me.

And while a fresh bouquet is glorious, people often throw the whole thing away when a few of the buds begin to age or drop. But you miss something when you do that. There is still so much beauty there. Yes, the “fussier” parts of the bouquet are long gone. But in just the minute or so it takes me daily to tend to the arrangement, to remove drooping leaves or a dead-headed flower, then to snip the ends and add fresh water, in less than a minute, I have revived the bouquet. It looks a little different each time, some of the filler going away, but its beauty remains and I get to enjoy them much longer.

It is the same with the people we love and the relationships that mean something. Even if things are different now than they once were, a love or friendship worth having is worth tending regularly.

You could just let it go to waste, throwing away wilting expectations and brushing off the dust of disappointment. But you could also decide to spend just a few minutes tending and repairing, loving and caring. And in a very short time you might be made glad by the beauty of it again. Maybe it won’t look like what it once did, as busy and full, but that is OK, too, I think.

Love with all you’ve got while you can.


There are so many leaves falling in this post, you may have to rake now.

I shall bring this to  close (I’m a preacher’s daughter and that’s what they all say), but of course, you NEED an autumn quote, yes? Then this, from F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Life starts all over again, when it gets crisp in the fall.” Remember, I told you? October is the new January!

life starts again

Happy Autumn and Magical Thursday to you!

See? Too many words! I just cannot stop myself…


Music on a Monday // Home Sweet Homes

My TOP TEN songs about house and home.

This playlist is a huge category.  There are soooooo many songs about hearth and home or houses and hometowns.  Quite overwhelming, actually.  I had to leave off another 8 or 9 that I really liked (like “Lucky” Jason Mraz and Colbie Callait – to be used on a future list)  just because I was determined to keep this list at 10.  There is a playlist from YouTube at the end of this blog that includes each of the songs I have written about here.

I’m a home-grown, home-loving, home-girl.  I don’t necessarily mean a house, either.  I mean home the feeling, home the peopleHome.  Sweet home.

LORD, it seems You have been my home forever, from ‘once upon a time,’ to ‘happily ever after,’ (from before the mountains were formed until time is no more), You are God and You have been my God and my home.  Psalm 90.1-2, my paraphrase

Check out my top ten songs and why they made the cut.

#1  Back Home Again, John Denver

Long story, told as sparingly as possible.  The rest are shorter.

Why do I love this song?  There is a whole family story.  I cannot capture it here, but suffice it to say that my brother Joe (yes, that Joe), ran away from home.  My dad had accepted a church far, far away from any home we’d ever known and there was some culture shock and he was a HS freshman and of course, we showed up mid-year, so it is hard.

It tore our family up – days of Joe just missing.  But after the better part of a week, he was found and the police were putting him on a plane and my parents drove to New Orleans to get him and he wasn’t there.  The airline said he hadn’t boarded.   We all mourned even more.  My mom was sick with sorrow.  We assumed he ran again after the police delivered him to the airport.  There was a heavy darkness at our house.

Then a phone call: the flight he’d been on was cancelled – he arrived late (airlines can be dumb).  We all climbed in the Ford Station Wagon and went to get him.  What a relief.  There was much love and my dad took us to a really nice steak house and we feasted on the fatted calf, so to speak.  The son had come home.

It was nearing midnight, I think, as we drove back to Robert, Louisiana, past our school-night bedtime.  The excitement was quieting down and we were just so happy he was there.  The family was settled in listening to the radio, still, as the car hummed along.  Just as we pulled in to the driveway, John Denver’s voice filled the car

There’s a storm across the valley, clouds are rollin’ in

the afternoon is heavy on your shoulders.

There’s a truck out on the four lane, a mile or more away

the whinin’ of his wheels just makes it colder.

He’s an hour away from ridin’ on your prayers up in the sky

and ten days on the road are barely gone.

There’s a fire softly burning; supper’s on the stove

but it’s the light in your eyes that makes him warm.

My dad put the car in park, but none of us moved, not a muscle.  We all sensed the holiness of the moment, the serendipity of this particular song at this distinct second in time…and we just sat there…in the driveway…in the late night – listening, knowing somehow God was blessing the boy coming home.  We listened to every single word and note of that song, almost afraid to even breathe…

It’s the sweetest thing I know of, just spending time with you

it’s the little things that make a house a home.

Like a fire softly burning and supper on the stove.

And the light in your eyes that makes me warm.


Hey, it’s good to be back home again

Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend

Yes, ‘n, hey it’s good to be back home again.

It was a moment barely spoken of for years, for it was too precious.  And it was this monumental transcendent time-fragment we’ll never forget.  Because for all of the fear and sadness and rejoicing those days had brought, that moment became the time we knew we were together, all those miles from our kin and the life we’d known before, and we were home.

And the brother I loved was safe.  My little Joey.

So how could I not love this song?  It’s my number one song about home.

#2  The House that Built Me, Miranda Lambert

This was the Country Music Awards song of the Year in 2011, I believe, maybe 2010.  Such a great song.  It is the story of adult going back to the house she grew up in and asking the owner to let her come inside to look around.  She calls it “the house that built me” because of all the memories of her experiences growing up there.  It immediately, when I heard it, reminded me of 1723 York Street, an address which, if you read this blog, you’ll recognize {the house of my carefree-childhood memories}. A quick search and you will see the address shows up regularly here…I wonder how many times?  :)

And I have always wanted to go back there, to my house-that-built-me and see if I could go through it.  And if the owners now ever stumble on this blog – I hope they won’t think I am crazy.  I hope they’ll just watch the Miranda Lambert video and be able to understand that many-many-many years ago, I was a little girl there, and the memories are sweet and fine.  O, the projects I planned and the dreams I dreamed and adventures I experienced there

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it

This brokenness in me might start healing…

If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave

Won’t take nothing but a memory from the house that built me.

#3  Home is Wherever I’m with You, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

This song is so fun-gritty, backwoods-country-AND-modern and did-I-mention: fun.  The sentiment is that “home” is where your “people” are, the ones you love the most, not so much a location and street address.  And that is a true thing!  Cute-cute-cute!

#4  Who Says You Can’t Go Home, Bon Jovi

Well Bon Jovi is a great rocker who wrote and performed this song, which highlighted the work of Habitat for Humanity.  I like him a lot.  Crank it up and roll down the windows and sing loud while you are enjoying your neighborhood.  You can go home again!

#5  I’ll Be Home for Christmas, The Carpenters

Everybody and their dog has performed this classic Christmas number.  This song, written about a WWII soldier coming home from war for Christmas, was first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943.  But then the likes of Amy Grant, Anne Murray and Andy Williams recorded it, too.  Other covers were made by the Beach Boys, Smokey Robinson, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Brad Paisley.  Neil Diamond, Kenny Chesney and Elvis sang it, too.  Hundreds of people have recorded the song and it is a lovely,melancholy tune recalling, with great affection, the beauty of “home.”  It speaks of a longing, a homesickness, that resonates for all of us when we just wish we could be with the people we love, in a place we’re together.

Dave and I were talking about the renditions we heard most growing up.  And though I feel like I heard the Johnny Mathis version a lot, we determined The Carpenters was the primary version we grew up with, that Karen’s haunting voice was the smooth sound that made this song relevant in the 1970s and beyond.  She interpreted well and as far as songs about home, this one has to be in the mix because, Christmas or not – sometimes dreaming and remembering is the only way we actually get to be with our families, our loves.

#6  Home, Phillip Phillips

Phillip Phillips won 2012 American Idol.  He was good and my pick from early on.  He is very earthy and young, but also sort of timeless and seasoned and when the 2 finalists got to pick a song they’d release in case they won and I saw him perform this song, I was like, “O-my-gosh he will positively win this!”  He just killed this song.  In a good way.

And you know how sometimes when you first hear a song it takes a while to grow on you?  This song was not like that. I loved it immediately!  It speaks of some one making a place for you, a home, a safe place.  LOVE it.

Hold on, to me as we go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And although this wave is stringing us along

Just know you’re not alone

Cause i’m going to make this place your home


Settle down, it’ll all be clear

Don’t pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found


Just know you’re not alone

Cause i’m going to make this place your home

#7  Green, Green Grass of Home, Tom Jones

It was the 1960s…and this song just sucked me in. I couldn’t seem to hear it enough back then and the surprise ending got me every. single. time.  Tragic.

#8  Home, Michael Buble

Just smooth and sweet, sung by the super-suave crooner of the day.  He is on the road (trying to write her letters) and and he is missing his love and he just wants to get on the plane and go home.


#9  House of Love, Amy Grant and Vince Gill

They sang this in 1994 way before they married and I do not really understand the official video (the little house thing?), but I just enjoy this hope-filled song.  I had a friend going through a break-up when this was on the charts and this was the song we prayed through.  And it is a fun song to sing and “the lights are coming on in the house of love.”  And they did for my friend!

#10  Taking You Home, Don Henley

The gravely-soulful drummer-boy of the Eagles.  “Take my hand, love, I’m taking you home, Taking you home.”

Come on.  Let’s go home.  :)

Embedded // the WHOLE playlist, in no particular order:

“For me, home is the coming together of my past memories and experiences, of my love for my children, husband and friends;…my optimism tangibly expressed in life-enhacing ways, room by room…” –Alexandra Stoddard

If I could cha-a-ange the world

I “re-pinned” this when I saw it on Pinterest.*  One of my first-ever pins, actually…

I believe in personal responsibility.  So, it rings true to me that if you aren’t liking something, you should change it.  If you can.

But there are things in my life I can’t change.  I would if I could, but I can’t.

Because they involve outside influences and other people and situations over which I have little to no control.

Judge Judy says to a trouble-making kid, “I’d personally throw you in jail if I were in charge of the whole world, but I’m not.  I am only in charge of this little piece of the universe.”

My universe is way smaller than Judge Judy’s.

Some people say they would never change anything in life because it got-them-where-they-are-today-and-blah-blah-blah and I like how that sounds, but I seriously would change some things.  And it isn’t about not being grateful for the life I have.

I have messed up my own life sometimes. But God is faithful, even and especially to me.  Forgiveness is available and promised, but sometimes the consequences of my own stupidity remain.  Sometimes the reverberations of some one else’s actions have affected my life.  And I wouldn’t have chosen it.  And some questions will never be answered in my lifetime.

Sometimes, you have changed everything you know to change.  You have made amends, you have tried to make the best of bad situations.  You have spoken the truth in {because of} deep love, you have repented and changed your ways, you have walked the lined and you acted uprightly.  Sometimes you have changed all you can, but you can’t change everything.

I am in charge of such a small piece of the universe.  I can’t change the past nor the things some one has said, but I can live in the now and speak blessing anyway.  I can’t change my age, the passing of time nor the weather, but I can think on whatever things are good, and pure and lovely and I can embrace the seasons and I can pray.  Life is a surprise…

And there are things I’d change if I could.

If I could reach the stars

Pull one down for you

Shine it on my heart

So you could see the truth

If I could change the world,  I would be the sunlight in your universe…*

In spite of anything and everything, though, I hold on to an unchanging God, ever faithful,  who “makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.”    2 Cor. 3.18 NLT

If I can be changed, it’ll be worth it.

NOTE TO SELF: Remember, though, that happiness falls so far below living what God intended, living the life I was made for, both whole and holy.  Being “happy” is temporary compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord.

*Eric Clapton, “If I Could Change the World”

Fifteen ~ A Lesson in Life

If everyone would just do things the way I think they should be done in the order they should done, the way I would do them and exactly the time I think it should all happen – how beautiful this world would be.

I jest – sort of.  But the truth is, even I can’t make my own ways work perfectly all the time.  I could if I were the only person in the universe, but the fact that there are others I live with, love, work with, socialize among and co-exist with, well, that changes the whole ballgame.

The Fifteen-Puzzle at Grandma Baker’s house

I actually never heard it called a Fifteen-Puzzle, but that’s what Restoration Hardware calls it (above). They were just little red-plastic squares with white movable numbered tiles and I probably had at least a dozen of these over the years.  And I most associate this puzzle with being at my Grandma’s house on York Street in Des Moines in the mid-1960s.

She had a few of these around and the cousins and I would play with them until we solved them.  Or not.  I recall so wanting to finish it every time – always starting with great-great hope, but being aggravated  by it, too.  The numbers would be mixed up and you had to move, one space at a time, to try to get them all back in order.  I always hated the times I would have the whole thing almost right, but would have to undo other things I had done (that were already in the perfect spot!) to put a stray number in and it would end up messing up 3 or 4 tiles and take me an extra 16 moves – for just that one numbered-tile.  Grrrrrr….

I had one like this, which I found on ebay.  The tiles were glow-in-the-dark for playing after lights out! {source unknown}

The sliding tile puzzle as a metaphor for life.

The pieces have restraints, connections, they must stay on the board.  They “rub elbows” with other pieces.  And even when you know you want to get the number {two} from the bottom row second from the last block to the top row in the number {two} position, you can only slide it up or over one square at a time.  Maybe you slid it up, but then you have to move the one beside it to the right and down to make space for the one above that to go to the right and down  so you can keep moving the {2} tile up.  Every movement you want to make {the most sensible and obvious move} will inevitably involve lots of other moves to get it there, some that even seem counter-productive.  And, {gasp}, there are even times you have to move backwards, actually undo progress, to make the path ready.

But eventually, you keep at it and it works and it is {whew!} finished.

In life, in love, in relationships – you decide a plan and you can see exactly how it should go, but there are conversations to have, misunderstandings to overcome, celebrations to dance at, roses to stop to smell, there is give and take, and many times concessions to make for the sake of peace.  Some days it’s two steps forward and one step back.  But other days it may ever be harder.  Eye on the prize, though, we just keep going.  We rub each other wrong, we bump elbows and move a little spastically by accident.

In the end, we get there.  Everything lines up, everything is where it should be.  Deep breath of satisfaction – we did it.  We solved it together.  A good moment in time.

Then some crazy kid picks it up and scrambles the numbers again.  *sigh.

Note to self: Gotta get some of these for the grand-boys and maybe Guini.  It is time they experience this puzzle.

Past is Prologue

“The Past is Prologue”  Memory vs. Nostalgia

Some days I get really nostalgic with an actual sort of hunger and bittersweet longing for a person or thing from the past; usually feeling homesick for a place or a time in a sort of regretful kind of way.

Some days I am full of memories and just so grateful for the rich, full remembrances of life. 

Nostalgia makes me yearn, melancholy raring its powerful head, makes me wish for do-overs from earlier times, or for the gift of just going back and seeing things again, the way they once were, but with the wisdom of the years, with understanding so I’d not have missed anything important.

But memories“light the corners of my mind” like Barbra so beautifully sang way back when and are the things on which everything now is built.  They are the building blocks of my present and have added the depth and dimension that cause intricate color patterns that weave in and out of all I have seen and am and will be.  They are epic backstory, the altar of remembrance and the reminder that the story isn’t over.  It is just in the middle somewhere…

“Where are you from or where did you spend most of your growing up years?” was the question. 

Darla and Rachel, Joan and Sherri and I were getting better acquainted.   Such a simple question causes a waterfall of thoughts on the topic.  I have so many short, pat answers I have given over the years. 

I sometimes say, “I am an Iowa girl,”because I was born there and we lived in three different cities where my dad pastored churches in Iowa and then after marrying, Dave and I led a church in a fourth city in the Corn state. 

The house on 1723 York Street, Des Moines

Other times I claim the “near Chicago” as my “home,” because we lived in that little piece of northwest Indiana that ispart of the greater-Chicago-metro area and is actually in Chicago’s time-zone (as opposed to the rest of Indiana) and it is where the Moslanders (Ross-the-Boss, Mrs Moss and all the little Landers) ended up together before we all started leaving home. 

There were the short years in Louisiana… 

But my parents moved…have moved several times since, to different ministries in various cities and states and wherever they go becomes “home.”  I always feel a bit unsettled when they move until I see pictures of the house and google the street and get to go visit.  I need to know where they are.  I need to know where the boxes (the very few that are left) which are holding the photographic proof of our journeys and my life, are being stored. 

So a simple question like,  “Where are you from?” throws me into a few-seconds of a spin, trying to decide how to answer accurately, but without boring them with the tedious details of a dozen different houses and 11 schools during my lifetime, of 12 different communities, some more than once, of living as far north as Minot, North Dakota and as far south as Robert, Louisiana – two locations which were, indeed, worlds apart. 

Where am I from?

And in a nostalgic mood, I get all tender, feeling I am from nowhere.  But in days of remembrance, in times I am grasping what Shakespeare meant when he said, “The past is prologue,” meaning it has all just been preparation for where I am now, all setting up the real story of today, I am grateful for adventures and places, for the people and times I wouldn’t trade.

I look at Darla and Rachael, Joan and Sherri, kind faces waiting to hear a geographical clue to my existence.

“I am not really from any place,” I tell them. I am from a story and I am in the middle of it now.”  Home is where my heart is – and there is a little of my heart in lots of places, or maybe the places are here with my in my heart.  And I am full of wonderful memories of how I arrived here, interesting people who were kind enough along the way to notice my existence and deposit something rich, funny, happy, sad, meaningful or silly treasure into my life.

The older I get, the more I realize the things of value that have been given to me and I get a strong desire to walk where I once walked and look people in the face and say, “I didn’t know it at the time – when we were just ‘passing through’ so I maybe kept a wall between us, but you were part of God’s plan, a gift {even maybe a disruption} for me straight  from Him.” And I’d like to tell people thank-you and kiss them on the cheek and apologize that I just didn’t know.  I didn’t know they were so integral to my story.  I thought I was sometimes too focused on trying to get somewhere, trying to find home/destiny/purpose.  But I see it now.  They were that for me right in that moment.  They were my home.


Dear little Jeanie: why so serious?  God has good stuff planned for you ahead.  So enjoy today.

This kind of treasure is unavailable to the 20-year old. It is gained only by getting older and by understanding the past as prologue to whatever richness I now live in – past is part of it all.  And really just the beginning…



Doesn’t always go like you wish it would.

Can be extremely complicated, messy, broken. 

It can hurt.  Old crap can follow you around for years.

Sometimes life can take so much cold, dark effort.

Then winter fades into the fresh, green hope of a bud.

A surge of energy, breakthrough.

Life.  It can surprise you.

It begins again as if winter had never happened.



“You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up; let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it.”  Psalm 47.8 NIV

March in Denver came in like a 70-degree lamb, but appears to be roaring out like a hungry, crazed lion.  The promised rains are delayed, but howling winds whip up dirt clouds in these dry parts like nobody’s business.

image from freephoto.com


“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life.”  Proverbs 3.12

The new President of the United States, Barack Obama, came to us with great excitement and a lot of fanfare this week.  His speech was amazing; the whole inauguration, very inspiring.  Everything feels exciting and new.  The word “hope” echoes from the hallways these days, as President Obama has energetically taken the bull by the horns these past few days.


A few minutes ago, without the media blitz characterizing the rest of this week and one day after the anniversery of Roe vs. Wade, the President ended the Bush administration’s ban on giving federal money to international groups that provide abortions.

“A White House spokesman, Bill Burton, said Obama signed an executive order on the ban, without coverage by the media, late Friday afternoon. That was in contrast to the midday signings with fanfare of executive orders on other subjects earlier in the week.”

See the article here:


I was hoping he wouldn’t make one of his first orders of business to devalue human life (I wrote about this earlier – the right for life and how weird it is that we will save every kind of living thing, but a human life).  Hope, for me, is certainly diluted, somewhat deferred.

Praying for the president…J

Fall Frost

I think we had an actual, true frost today.  I know it was 58 degrees in my kitchen when I started up the coffee pot.  And no, I will not turn on the heat, yet.  I am a die-hard.  Can I make it to November?  This is the question. 

Most of the plants seem to be perking back up, even though I have done nothing to save them.  Even the zucchini, whose leaves froze and look soggy, dark and droopy, are boasting some bright new flowers in response to the returning sunlight – after 3 very overcast days.

I am studying and preparing for the Leaving a Legacy Intensive kick-off this weekend, but keep getting distracted by 3, small adorable orange moths of some sort.  Though they are probably depositing some evil larvae all over the garden as we speak, I think I will call them butterflies because they are delightful as they frolic,  alternately swooping and circling and tag-playing, with sunning themselves on the patio and garden rocks  Try as I might, and though I swear I have seen them all in the view-finder at once repeatedly, I cannot seem to get the camera to click quickly enough to capture all three, though they are dancing and prancing about just inches from me here near the glass doors.

Yes, the garden is slowly, but surely shutting down for the year, but it makes each plant that is still showing all the more ravishing, makes me more grateful.  Why, the petunias are practically haughty today, all purple and abundant, flowering with gusto, unaffected by the cold – perhaps even encouraged by it?



Today I am praising God for: the return of the sun…hot coffee (and decaf for when I have reached my limit)…the 3 fanciful orange “butterflies” performing gleefully outside my window…the grape tomatoes, packed with flavor, my morning snack…the love of a good man: my husband, my friend, my lover-the one who talks me off the ledges…my family, both the one I came from and the one I am getting to create, still…e-mails in “secret code” from grandkids…people who know how to pray…the sweet Presence of God, who joins me on the first sound of a song……First frost-warm home…the wisdom of the Word (I am in Proverbs today!).  And the temp in my kitchen has reached 63 degrees.  I am thankful!

Blessings in all things to you and yours!…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  So glad I didn’t get in a hurry to uproot the sagging sunflowers (see photo here).  Yesterday they were the host to a couple of amazingly beautiful bluejays and I got to watch!  What would I have missed by stripping them away before their whole work was through?  Get back to Legacy notes…

Pictured, top, left to right: the orange “butterflies” sunning themselves on rock and concrete.  Bottom, left to right: the first two were taken through the window on the Dahlia plant that is apparently enthralling the little “flutterbies.”  Finally, the mum, quiet the summer through, has now exploded into this happy hello in its off-the-beaten-path locale.  I snapped  it chasing butterflies.

UPDATE  10.14.08 – I have been informed that my 3 little orange “moths” were actually baby Monarch Butterflies.  I didn’t know Monarchs were ever this small?  I hope they keep visiting!

I’ve Been Around the Block a Few Times


I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday.   I’ve been, as they say, around the block a few times and here are a  some things I know:

  • If it is going to rain only one day this week-it will be the day they throw the Penny Saver in the driveway.
  • You spend a lot of years pursuing the Presence, thinking God is elusive and even at times withholding Himself because you’re in some kind of unconfessed sin or that you just are not measuring up.   Then you find out you had it all wrong: He has been pursuing YOU!
  • “One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.”   So said E. B. White.
  • A scoured and polished kitchen sink will go looking for dirty dishes.
  • If some one says, “Smell this,”   don’t.
  • If some one begins a sentence with, “No offense, but…”, brace yourself,  they are about to offend.
  • If that boy is right for my daughter, God will tell me.   Believe it, girls.
  • People are way less enthusiastic about receiving my advice than I am  in giving  it.
  • The life you lead is the life you’ll someday leave – with your friends and family and specifically your children.   So make it a good one.   Live with the end in mind – leave the right legacy.
  • “From the cradle to the grave – clean underwear comes first.”   I read that in the comics once and it rings true.
  • There IS a peace that passes understanding!   That always surprises me.
  • And – there IS a right way to place the toilet paper roll – my way.

This is gold, people, pure gold!   Most of it is really, truly and actually stuff I think and say.   Ha!   I won’t  claim any of it is original, though, because everytime I think I am posting some super-original thing, I google it and find out some one else had it before me.   Bother.

Just wanting to share the wealth…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:   Devote time to learning the secret to marrying fabulous shoes (think high-high heels)  AND pain-free feet.   This may be my ticket to wealth!

pictured: me in my cousin’s tree, age 4  – at their house where there was no indoor plumbing – YES!   I am that old; me more recently, a bit worn out from having circled the block so many times – with the 5 amazings; google image of proper toilet paper installation.