Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Jeez-oh-pete! I got that from a good friend and I liked it so much I decided to use....a lot!

So, jeez-oh-pete, I am so not a morning person! I mean, if I had may way I would not ever allow a 5:30 a.m. to exist....who thought of that!?! This is not something that is new to me. I have always been this way. I do like mornings. In fact, I love to lounge in bed in the wee hours of the dark when it's cool and quiet.

What I really hate about mornings is having to jump out of bed and rush to get to work. Just get up earlier you say. Well, the problem with that is that I dream my best dreams early, between 3 and 6 in the morning and I hate to let them go. What's a girl to do!?!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh My!

Chaos erupted in the background. I could hear the dog barking and the boys screaming even over the phone. My sister paused for a brief moment; said, “oh my,” and came right back to the conversation. I was amazed at how easily she was able to stay focused on our call. I, however, was somewhat distracted by the events happening around her. Since she has two boys ages 12 and 5 she seems to be able to roll with the punches and not get too overwhelmed by the exuberance and excitement.

Tonight in church we were surrounded by families with young children. The two boys on the end of our pew were noisy and active. The three children in front of us were in constant motion. Somewhere behind us was a child who cried throughout most of the service. The moms seemed adept at dealing with the children while still focusing on the service. My 13 year old niece leaned over and said, “I am not hearing much of the service with all the noise and activity.” I had to agree with her.

As Christians we are faced with similar circumstances. The noise and activity of the world is a constant. It seems there is no quiet anymore with 24 hour TV and radio. We are constantly bombarded by the chaos that this world offers.

Sometimes it is hard to filter out the cacophony and listen for what is important. We find ourselves distracted and focusing on whatever is the loudest. God doesn’t often yell louder than the world. He is a still, small voice in the chaos, but He is there waiting for us to come back to the conversation.

What we need to do is learn how to say, “Oh my” and get back to the conversation. We need to learn to filter out the boisterous world.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The View from Maude Miller's Window

This is the view from Maude Miller's cabin. Her cabin sits in the Grand Teton National Park. I must admit, that I wasn't really listening at the time the significance of Maude was being talked about at some point on our travels. So, I don't really know who Maude was or why her cabin is part of the tour in the Park. Having said that, now comes the disclaimer....this isn't a history lesson, it's a trip through my imagination. Won't you join me for the journey?

As I wandered through and around Maude's cabin I was awestruck by the simple beauty and entranced by thoughts of Maude's life. When I looked out this window and snapped the picture I imagined Maude waking up to the amazing sight of these mountains. When Maude peered out did she see the splendor of the world surrounding her or did she see that the wood pile was looking puny? It's coming on winter, you know, and they will need lots of wood to keep the cabin warm.  It's easy to overlook the spectacular around us when life presses in, it happens to everyone. Also, women who lived in cabins in the wild west were sensible and thought of matters such as wood even while enjoying gorgeousness.Was it easier back then to appreciate the world since they didn't have all the trappings like BlackBerries and IPads that keep our eyes on our lives?

Maybe Maude sat at her table in the early morning hours before her family arose. She would make some coffee, sit and stare out this window thinking about her blessings, her family, her To-Do list, her burdens. I wonder if Maude was a woman of faith? As she sat in the pre-dawn waiting for the sun to rise and shine it's light on those grand peaks did she pray to the Almighty God? Bring her petitions and troubles to the feet of the throne? Or did she ponder ways that she could handle her own problems?

As the sun rose and with it her husband I imagine she got up and poured his coffee. She put the eggs on and maybe, fried some bacon for him. He would need a good meal before he headed out to start his day. Maybe they would talk about the day ahead or maybe just be with each other. They probably had been married a long time and were comfortable in each other's presence whether they talked or not. Did they stand side-by-side at this window, hold hands, and dream of days to come? Were their daydreams interrupted by sleepy children wandering into the kitchen in search of breakfast before school. These children would have to walk to school to learn their ABC's and numbers. They would grow up to lead their own lives; to have cabins and families of their own.

Life wasn't easy in the time that Maude inhabited this world. Not easy, but in many ways simpler. Still, she was a woman just like me. Though many years separate us I imagine we struggle with some of the same issues. I don't think about having enough wood for the winter, but I do think about being able to pay the gas bill that fuels the furnace. I don't have a husband or children, but I think about my family and want to make sure they are happy and healthy. Maude and I are probably a lot alike despite our differences.

I imagined her reflection in the window looking back at me as I stood there and yes, I saw Maude.

 Can you see Maude through this window?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday, oh Wednesday!

Wednesday, oh Wednesday here you are once again and oh how happy that makes me today. You know, when you work a 9-5 Monday through Friday job Wednesday comes crashing in with bells and whistles. It is the harbinger of the coming weekend and oh, how we love that! In the months since I quit my corporate world job I had forgotten about the joy of Wednesdays. In the last week, though, I have been working a “regular” job to help out a local company with some collections. It’s not hard work, just a lot of details. The people in the office are a fun bunch and things are going well.

Still as I sit here on a Tuesday night watching the NCIS premiere while Kitty Boy is curled up asleep in one of the new storage bins I purchased yesterday, I can’t help but be excited that the weekend is almost upon us. Speaking of storage bins, my Wilson loves any kind of box that he can curl up in. I had a Corona box that the local Chinese place used to deliver my order a while back and W commandeered that box quicker than I can say, “My Wilson loves any kind of box that he can curl up in.” (It’s okay, I can make jumps like this ‘cause it’s my blog!) I have since given the Corona box to some neighborhood kids who were looking for a bed for their kitten. I guess that means I will be buying another storage bin so W can have his own and I can still get organized.

As I drove home this afternoon from the library where I had to renew my library card, because who knew it would expire, I was followed by a Pepto Bismol pink Mack truck. It was quite the exciting time. I thought I would share that tidbit because it made me smile :-)

Oh, hey, the other day I was visiting over at The Sweet Life, saw a great craft idea and since I have been feeling rather crafty lately and I love fall I had to give it a try. Alisa makes the most adorable toilet paper pumpkins. You can visit her tutorial to learn how to make your very own pumpkins. Check out mine…..

So, have you read bird by bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott? I bought it a while back at the recommendation of a fellow writer. I started reading it and enjoyed it, but got caught up in something else and haven’t finished it. Lately, it has come to the top of the stacks of books by my bed and I have been reading it the last few nights. I have to say, this book is a gem regardless of your inclination towards writing or not writing. Lamott has an honest, shoot from the hip writing style and much of her writing advice comes in the form of life advice.

One of the chapters I read last night is called "Writing a Present." Several of her books began as a way to get her thoughts and memories of another person for that person onto paper. She envisions them as presents. I was entranced by this chapter because one of the questions I struggle with as a writer is my purpose – am I writing to make the Best Seller List or is there a deeper purpose? Those around me know that I want to someday write a non-fiction book about my mom. That book is still unwritten because I have had trouble figuring out what I want to say and who am I targeting.

As I read last night I realized that I was given the gift of being very close to my mom in the last years of her life since I was one of her care givers. Some families fight over who has to take care of elderly parents, but ours is different. I truly believe that my siblings were here as much as their lives allowed and would have been here more if it were possible. But, they have different purposes in life and they had responsibilities to their families. Also, a lot of adult care givers feel bitter that they have to give up their own lives to take care of sick parents. I felt honored that my purpose was to be there for them. It wasn’t easy, but I have some incredibly beautiful memories of times spent with Mom that I wouldn’t trade for an unencumbered life. Those memories are my gift and they are something that I can share with my siblings and with the world.

I’m still not exactly sure where this book is going, but the seed has been planted and watered. It is taking root in my heart and in my mind. It is growing and someday, hopefully soon, you will be able to pluck it off the shelf of your local book store and allow me to share my present with you!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Don't Forget - Tomorrow is World Alzheimer's Day!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 21, is World Alzheimer’s Day. Tomorrow we remember those among us who suffer from Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body and other related dementias. According to the Alzheimer’s Association web site  35 million people are living with the effects of some form of dementia worldwide. This number is expected to continue to grow. Chances are that you have someone in your family or social circle that has dementia. If you don’t today, you may someday.

Dementia is often misunderstood. A friend asked me this weekend while on the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, “I don’t understand how losing your memory can kill you.” Well, dementia is not just about losing your memory. When you have dementia your brain cells die; they cease to function they way they are supposed to and that creates not only memory problems, but other physical problems. Education and awareness is a key goal for the Alzheimer’s Association and the Lewy Body Dementia Association

Education and awareness is what World Alzheimer’s Day is all about. It is a day for educating ourselves about dementia. It is also a day for speaking out about the need for more funding and more research.

Won’t you take a moment to visit the Alzheimer’s site and sign the petition to ask Congress to take this matter seriously? It takes just a few minutes to fill out the petition that can make a world of difference.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Catching Moondrops by Jennifer Erin Valent

Well folks, Jennifer has done it again. Her new book, Catching Moondrops (due out October 1, 2010) finishes the story of Jessilyn and Gemma with a bang. Jennifer and Tyndale House Publishers very generously provided me with an advance copy of Catching Moondrops to read and tell you all about.

This book did not let me down. It was a perfect ending to the story; although, it made me sad that there won’t be any more Calloway County books. True to her nature Jennifer handles this turbulent time of history with grace and dignity. This ending to the Calloway County series was a delight to read and is sure to encourage and entertain all who read it.

Jessilyn has finally grown up and Luke Talley is finally showing signs of interest. When a young black doctor comes to town and treats Miss Cleta tempers rise and violence once again comes to Calloway County. Jessilyn, still filled with a desire for justice, finds herself in the middle of things once again. For the first time she realizes that her heart can harbor as much hatred and anger as the heart of a Klansman.

So can Jessi overcome her hatred and anger? And, does she walk down the aisle to marry Luke? Well, you will just have to read the book to find the answers to these questions. Catching Moondrops is available for pre-order on both and

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


A couple friends and I spent Labor Day weekend in Jackson, WY and I have to tell you it currently is one of my favorite places. Have you been there? If not, you must go there, soon :-)

We were awestruck by the Grand Tetons. The buildings in the foreground are the Chapel of the Transfiguration.

We visited the General Store in Grand Teton National Park. Every morning the storekeepers bake fresh cookies on the old cook stove. We got there in time to enjoy a great Ginger Cookie and drink a Sasparilla!

We hiked along Jenny Lake.

We encountered wild life on the road and yes, three gals from Colorado in a little red Kia herded these buffalo safely across the road to get traffic moving again.

We ate at Bubba's - really good bar-b-que!

We witnessed a bull buck a cowboy and then lay down in the arena because he didn't want to go back to his pen.

Watched Old Faithful be faithful!

Walked the "boardwalk" at Midway Basin and witnessed the incredible colors created by the minerals and bacteria.

Amazed at the colors in Midway Basin!

Saw incredibly beautiful waterfalls!

And had dinner at the Lake Lodge while watching the snow. Yes, folks, snow on September 5!

The whole area was fabulous and there was so much to see it just couldn't all be fit into one long weekend.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Treasures in Heaven

This is a repost from another blog for which I used to write. I got behind on my writing and with being gone several times in the last week I just find myself scrambling to keep posting. Things are slowing down and I will be back to a more regular writing schedule in the coming weeks.

Treasures in Heaven

Have you heard the story about the man who was so enthralled with his wealth that he contacted God and asked if he could bring it to heaven with him? God told him it really wasn’t allowed, but the man insisted. He had worked hard all his life and he requested a special dispensation to bring at least one suitcase of stuff along when he died. Finally, God relented and okayed one suitcase.

Years later the man died and arrived at the pearly gates with a suitcase full of gold bricks. St. Peter very nicely told him he could not bring it in to heaven. The man asked him to call God and verify that it was okay. So St. Peter called up God and posed the question. God asked St. Peter to look in the suitcase and tell Him what this man deemed so important it had to come to heaven with him? St. Peter said, “Well, sir, his suitcase is full of road paving material.”

I heard this story several years ago and laughed. But it really isn’t a laughing matter when we begin to value the things of earth so highly. I am guilty of this myself. Today as I was driving to a meeting I was thinking about the closet in my office. It is stuffed and overflowing right now. My kitty cat loves to explore in there, but he gets lost and often causes stacks of stuff to slide with him riding the avalanche down to the floor. I have been meaning to clean out the closet for some time and just never seem to get to it.

Living in a small house means I have to try to be diligent in not accumulating too much stuff. I do that; accumulate stuff. I won’t call it treasure because a lot of it really is just stuff. I checked the Bible once, and it does encourage us to store up treasures. I didn’t find the words “office closet” in any of those verses; they all reference storing up treasures in heaven.

So, when the junk begins to overflow in my house I begin to go through and, as my mom always said, rid out. Ridding out isn’t easy. I, like many people, become attached to my stuff. I think, “I may need this someday, it could be important, as soon as I throw it out I will miss it.” Truth is that rarely ever happens. Once I get rid of stuff I forget about it. And life flows along smoothly until the next time my possessions threaten to take over. Then I start all over again. I hope that someday I learn enough to not accumulate, then I won’t have rid out.

As I drove today and thought about this I couldn’t help but dwell on the fact that my physical possessions aren’t the only things I store up. There are those non-tangible things that get stuffed away in the nooks and crannies of my heart, those things that God doesn’t want in heaven either. They definitely aren’t paving stones in heaven, rather stumbling stones here on earth.

Ridding out the closets of my life always gets me to thinking about the closets of my soul. There is a song called “Open Me Up” by Watermark, a Christian husband and wife duo, Nathan and Christy Nockels. In the song they sing asking the Lord to “come clean the shadows and closets of my soul.” My heart and soul needs that good cleaning on a regular basis.

I find it’s not any easier to rid out my soul than it is to rid out my closets. I cling tightly to things that have no purpose or value to me anymore, some never did. It’s easy as I store up those thoughts to think they serve some purpose and to believe I will need them some day, they might be important, as soon I as rid myself of it I will need it. Truth is I don’t and I am better off letting them go.

People talk of spring cleaning. My big cleaning tends to come in the fall. Since the weather will soon begin cooling down and the leaves will begin to change I am thinking of cleaning. It definitely is time for closet cleaning and soul cleaning.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Oh my!

I did a real daffy thing yesterday. I have been thinking about what to post on my Friday blog post all week. Yesterday I went to Bible study - the first one for this year. There are some great women in my small group and I am totally looking forward to getting into God's word and to get to know new people. I have been away from church for the last couple of years during the really tough times. It was dumb, but I pulled away from a lot of things in my life as stress built up. I wrote a few weeks ago about coming back to church and coming home and I have to tell you it still feels amazing.

Anyway, I digress. After Bible study the kitty cat and I took a cat nap because last weekend in Wyoming wore me out - more to come on that next week. When I got up I worked on some things for the upcoming Memory Walk and as I did I thought about my blog post. But, when I was done I just turned off my computer and went to bed with my book.  Yes, totally true story, just went to bed and didn't think of it until the wee hours of the morning.

So, sorry for not being prompt with my post. I have been trying very hard to work on the whole meeting writerly deadline thing and getting my blog posts done three days a week are something I am using to instill meeting a deadline in my brain!

I do want to tell you about the book I was reading. It is called Still Alice and is written by Lisa Genova. Alice is a Harvard professor in her 50's when she begins to forget things. Then she misses her period and thinks that maybe the whole thing is menopause. When her period returns and one day she finds herself  in the middle of Harvard Square and not knowing where she is, she decides it's time to see her doctor. After a series of tests and extensive medical history Alice is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease and her life changes.

This fiction story does a great job of bringing to light early onset dementia. Everyone thinks dementia is an old person's disease, but it is being seen in younger and younger people all the time.

I thought the book had a good message and did a good job of presenting Alzheimer's in a way that allows the reader to get a feel for what it is like to have dementia. Lisa tackles all of the aspects of dementia that complicate not only the patient's life, but also their family. I believe it was Nancy Reagan who once said that Alzheimer's is the long good-bye. So true that is. Little by little the person with dementia slips away and each day the loved ones have to learn to live with the changes.

While I felt this book was good at explaining the disease and portraying the symptoms, I was disappointed with the writing in the book. At times it was somewhat convoluted. Some of the conversations werehard to follow. And, I felt the book ended very abruptly without really wrapping up the story. It just kind of stopped. Despite these drawbacks I do recommend reading this book if you are interested in learning more about dementia.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

100 Moments in Time - Hazy

There is a wild fire burning west of Boulder Colorado right now. It has consumed about 7,000 acres so far. I took this picture from a car while riding down I-25. It was eerie, sad, and beautiful all at the same time as the sun blazed through the smoke.

#82 - Hazy

Friday, September 3, 2010


The blogmistress would like to announce that on account of the Labor Day weekend and the fact the blogmistress is tired of laboring at the moment this blog will be closed until next week. In my non-laboring I offer you some photos to keep your mind occupied :-)

Please enjoy a happy and safe weekend!