Saturday, November 21, 2009


My blog friend, Jill, lives in Alaska. She is a athletic adventurer who snowshoes, rides her bike on snow in grueling marathons, hikes, takes gorgeous photos, and writes. An amazing young person.

This photo takes my breath away. I'm borrowing it from Jill for my little blog scrapbook.

Inspiration takes many forms. This is just one.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Realizing Love

Sometimes a person just needs to make chocolate chip cookies.

With nuts.

With oatmeal.

With coconut.

When alone, Carly Simon on the stereo, pup curled on the kitchen rug.

No need to eat any. Strange. Sampled the dough of course, just to be sure it was right, wink wink.

It was.

And I have six dozen cookies less a few the daughters ate upon their arrival home from teaching children science at a daycare center.

Kept a few out for the working man's return. How I love hearing him return!

But most - the best - are stashed away for the sons this weekend.

Yes, when I make cookies for my people it is as though they are right there in the room with me. My love goes into the treats.

Cookies and love.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Story Teller and the Story

To open one's heart and mind to new things is truly important, this I know. Expansion results, personal growth, understanding.

Openness must be limited, however, or integrity is compromised. To open without reservation or discernment, without conservation of what has already been discovered, to let known context slip away in a flurry of untested ideas can lead to disintegration, confusion, uncertainty. Rebuilding is then necessary.

Better to be conservative in one's acceptance of new ideas and rejection of old. To swoop up others' notions like prairie wildflowers can lead to mistakes. Oops, there's poison ivy in there. Not good. Healing must ensue. To indiscriminately discard a considered philosophy is foolish.

Better to take the time to look things over carefully, honestly yes, slowly, steadily. Mistakes can be avoided. To replace one incorrect conclusion for another is pointless when it's the truth one is after. Worse to replace a truth with an untruth to achieve peaceful 'compromise', 'understanding,' or an unhealthy 'tolerance.'

True understanding comes from knowledge and knowledge from study, from listening and observing. Honesty requires that a person accept what is discovered whether comfortable or not. Truth is truth. Thankfully, it seems to be introduced in easy to swallow portions most of the time. A little more...a little more...and still a little more, building on the base.

When introduced to frightening, discouraging, repulsive information, hearts can break. But if true, better to have an aching heart than blithely skip and grin through self-concocted or ill-taught marshmallow fantasies.

Life hurts.

For the receptive, God's timely balms often bring comfort to the darkest of hurts.

For these hurts and comforts I praise and worship the Creator. Because I trust that life really is working for my good, the good of others but more importantly it ultimately works for God's purposes.

After all, it's not about me - or you - its about the Storyteller and the Story.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Enriching vs Defining

Our endeavors and achievements should enrich rather than define us.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Right Hand Turn

Sometimes a couple has to take a right hand turn, veering bravely off the left-turn only, oval-shaped runners' track of life.

Tom and I took a right hand turn the other day, hand in hand, wandering like explorers letting the road reveal its merriment. It began with a hidden pathway off the beach, steps that led to a cheerful, narrow cobblestone street.

A glass artwork gallery greeted us, beckoning. We entered.

Inspired by creativity, hand in hand, the adventure continued. Out to the street, upwards on cobblestones, is that music we hear? Irish music? A quaint pub!

Friendly people, refreshment, ready for more roaming.

Full circle, our path returned us to the beach on this stormy day. Who says a gray beach isn't beautiful? Cozy. A silver, salt-breezed blanket wrapping a soul in reassurance.

Reminders...people notice, people care, people express.

A spontaneously taken, fulfilling right hand turn invigorates a long-time marriage. More right hand turns, less worrying about what 'the world' expects.

Another goofy self-portrait, sealed with a kiss, hold my hand, Tom. We're going to make it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


"...People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't you will leak away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments." ~~ Elizabeth Gilbert
A rather idealistic quote, yet there is truth in it. Especially the concept that happiness is man-made not some magical, mystical turn of fortune. There are times when we glorious yet flawed humans - in maintaining our balance - spiral downward for awhile. These times only increase the intensity of happier moments. And it's in the suffering that wisdom is found. But one mustn't allow the suffering to continue past is usefulness - by wallowing once the darkness has passed - but instead summon effort toward restoring the happier state. And not just for our own comfort.
"...I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people." ~~ Elizabeth Gilbert
It's taken me awhile to figure this out. Still new at it.

Slow learner, late bloomer, not complaining.

Currently happy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fighting to Let Go

The Horse Whisperer is a favorite movie of mine. For many reasons.

Today the film comes to mind as I struggle to let go, to pry my fingers up, to allow my mind to find strength through relaxing, to do the gritty impossible by becoming gentle, trusting outside forces, to willingly sink into life as into a comfortable sofa at the end of a tiring day.

Why is it so hard to relax? To quit straining? To loosen up? To see that not everything requires my management, that, in fact, the time for my firm hand on some things has past? That I've done all I can, that freedom awaits if I'd just accept it? A gift. New beginnings. Forward movement.

And if I refuse? The knotted ropes I've created which bind me head-to-toe only tighten with the struggle. To believe that it is in energy's cessation that the ropes drop away seems ridiculous, yet, in this particular instance it is so. Required is a different sort of energy, quiet energy, flowing, centered, mindful, trusting, wise, light, peaceful, inclusive, faithful, experienced, awake, confident, and in a winning way, resigned.

How can it be so difficult to NOT and so easy to STRAIN?

Understanding is the beginning of wisdom. And therein lies the answer. Acknowledgement of a problem is the beginning of solution. I'm on the right path.

Now, relax little fingers, we'll land in a safe place, a new safe place.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Refreshment and the stirrings of energy, inspiration, and happiness again in my fatigued mind, heart, and body.

There is hope.

Sunshine. Summerish breezes. Growing garden. Multiple blooming flowers. Strawberries with whipped cream. Contagious teenage laughter - howls of it. Kisses, hugs, understanding eyes of a man who puts up with oh, so much.

Inner silence. Peace.

Mindful conclusions, settlement.

Cool kept on the outside while the battle raged around.


Rest. Healing begins.

A new day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


"If you knew each day that you could relax in Mother's arms and be nurtured and rocked to health and vitality, wouldn't you do it? This is the nature of letting go." ~~ Tom Crum
One finger at a time. As in a slow-motion dream I release lies and pain.

It will be accomplished. A shift has occurred. In my sight. In my thinking. In my heart. Light bulb moment. Illusion gives way to reality, yes, a straightened, relaxed finger at a time. She and she gripped in darkness or is it that I have stepped into the light?

Irreconcilable differences.

Growing pains.

Cast off that which hinders - sad sad mourn - self-preservation.

Separation the only path to freedom, to life regained.

Sacred cauterization.

Searing pain - and soon, healing.

Cool, fresh health.

Let it be.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mean Girls

Again it happened. It happens annually. Callous women in my life do this thing which leaves me sucker-punched because I forget - and forgive - and forget. So it catches me in the ribs, then behind the neck, and down I go.

Salty tears blanket my face. I ask Tom, "Why?" Poor man. He cannot know the answer. And he knows I will never say anything to the malicious women who take pleasure in hurting me.

What they don't know, though, is that every time they play their cruel game I become a bit stronger as I seek solace. Tenaciously. Platitudes don't cut it: "You shouldn't be upset, you have God!" "Everything happens for a reason." "The battle is the Lord's."

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

I am upset because I have God and I know that this is an evil - dressed in church clothes - perpetrated by women who claim to be His children. It will never sit well with me. I'm looking for tables to overturn.

Happens for a reason? Does that mean just sit there? Sometimes. But maybe the reason is for me to see a blind spot of my own, to pursue the removal of it, to learn something about myself, about God, about the order of things, and thus to grow. At any rate it is not comforting to be told there's a reason. Of course there's a reason - there was a reason for the cross, too, and Jesus didn't just sit there with a stupid look on his face and call it 'faith'. He grappled and wept. Often grappling and weeping are called for. (Not that any of my so-called trials can begin to compare with Jesus'.)

Lord's battle, yes, but who does the fighting for me? Aren't I supposed to fight the good fight, run the race, fear and tremble my way to the finish line? Yes, there is an internal restfulness in knowing that ultimately all is well with my soul. But please don't tell me whose battle it is, I know full well; I'm in the middle of the battlefield. Look! Wounds! Blood! Arrows aplenty sticking out of my back! The battle may be the Lord's but it's obvious I am to participate.

So I continue the search. Tears dry up quicker these days. More arrows with which to defend fill my quiver, more understanding in my heart - I, too, offend obliviously and not - and truer compassion are the products of fighting this battle. Would I rather not fight, foregoing insight? Yesterday - in the midst of the pain I would have answered affirmatively. Today, the answer is 'no'. The inherent truth of the lesson impels me.

In the meantime I take solace in these words of Don Miguel Ruiz:
"If others say one thing, but do another, you are lying to yourself if you don't listen to their actions. But if you are truthful with yourself, you will save yourself a lot of emotional pain. Telling yourself the truth about it may hurt, but you don't need to be attached to the pain.

If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn't walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal."

[Emphases mine]
In the words of John Lennon:
"And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain,
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders.
For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thanks, Deanna

"Socrates was a loafer who cared for neither world history nor astronomy. But he had plenty of time and enough eccentricity to be concerned about the merely human, a concern that, strangely enough, is considered an eccentricity among human beings."

~~Soren Kierkegaard
Me. Pondering by the nearly full moon. Found this on Deanna's blog. Perfect.


Why is it considered unconventional and slightly strange - eccentric - to be concerned about the merely human? When we are all...human?

Well, it just is, I guess.

A couple thousand years ago...and now.

Head shaking.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Slight Turning of the Head to Catch It

"It is worth our while to perceive that the final reason for Rome's defeat was the failure of mind and spirit to rise to a new and great opportunity, to meet the challenge of new and great events. Material development outstripped human development; the Dark Ages took possession of Europe, and classical antiquity ended."

~~Edith Hamiltion, The Roman Way

Look around and tell me it isn't so that material development has outstripped human development.


And it's happened before.

Will we, as a nation and as a people, follow the past into the same blind alley or will we comprehend the lesson in time? Is there time? Or is it too late?
"(Rome's) first necessity was for intellectual and spiritual insight, for wisdom...A narrow selfishness kept men blind..."
~~ Edith Hamilton
I believe in the power of the human spirit especially the spirit touched by the eternal God. I believe he has written past and future. All goes according to plan. And I believe we each have freedom to choose what kind of people we will be from within, our character, our values, our determinations, the use of our minds, hearts, and spirits for good or waste. And I believe that a trip out and about reveals that too many of us - believers and unbelievers alike - are choosing to waste our lives lining up and following the masses, doing as we're told even if we may gripe about it. Too many of us let others think for us, choose what we eat, what we buy, how we live. Even what we believe.

But I am heartened for I have witnessed awakenings even as the shallow material realm blares and blasts continually, ever closer, ever louder, ever harder to shut out. There are those who catch the still small voice on the breeze, who step out of line to carefully listen, who turn and follow the voice of the Shephard, the one who leads to Truth. There are those compelled to push against the current of hypnotized humanity, a few who hear enough, see enough to know that there, over there is a real thing, a true thing, a truth worth vigorously seeking.

Life turns on its head. Illusion dissipates. Priority changes. Understanding increases.

Ah, this is life. Life!

Hold on, you few, hold on with all you've got!

And press on.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Marvelous Human Bodies

Circling our homefront early Sunday morning were marathon runners by the thousands. Mile 12 - 13 wrapped around our very neighborhood, the halfway point in the annual Eugene Marathon.

Tom, Sammy, and I were there to greet the athletes, cheering them on as they ran past our park and along our blossoming streets. An amazing feat of many feet running on hard surfaces, jarring, jarring, on and on.

Some runners playfully bayed at Sam trying to get him to howl. Some smiled at me as I photographed and told them they inspired me. Most were 'in the zone' focused on getting through. Some were sweat drenched, splotchy faced, shuffling along looking as I must have during the transition phase of childbirth - near panic, wild-eyed with thoughts of 'what in the world have I done and get me out of here!' One guy's tongue actually lolled out of his mouth. I didn't take his picture. I saluted him with admiration in my heart because he was accomplishing something I could not do right now, and he kept going. Good for him!

This digital clock marked the actual Halfway Point. Lots of encouraging cheers from the sidelines and smiling, pleased faces on the runners.

This little girl told her daddy that she wanted to give water to the runners and would he help her. 'You bet!' He and his wife filled containers of water, bundled up the little girl and her tiny siblings - still in jammies - and set up a little watering station. She was a very serious child and a source of refreshment for many a runner.

Witnessing this awesome display of commitment, strength, training, and perseverance during a beautiful - albeit drizzly - spring morning left Tom and me energized for church and a surprise visit from Ben and Sarah. A very pleasant day!

The human body is an amazing thing. Truly amazing! And the human spirit of compassion and kindness even more so.

(Sammy curled up in his bed and slept for a good long time afterwards! A dog's life, you know.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Another Mike Quote

"Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young."~~~Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Sunday, April 19, 2009


External - beautiful, smooth, textured, sophisticated, confident, or ragged, ungainly, rough, plain.

Internal - a mystery to most, often even to the very object (or person) itself, but it can be known.

Slice kiwi open. Green, black specks, juicy, sweet, star-burst patterned deliciousness.

Or simply turn tulip and see the crucial heart of the matter.


According to Dr. Jack Crabtree: “The virtue of enlightened self-acceptance, a self acceptance based on an accurate understanding of who one really is, a self-acceptance which results in a humble and settled contentment with and pursuit of one’s destined role in human existence.”

I'm still learning about and accepting that which lies deep within. And without.

"God doesn't make junk."

I am a marvelous work of creation and that is why my evil is such a tragedy.

It's complicated.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Leftovers

Easter Dinner leftovers are good.

Really good.

The girls call on their way home from French.

"What's for dinner, Mama? We're starving!"

"It'll be ready when you arrive."

To the fridge I go. Out come three foil-wrapped potatoes, two fat slices of rotisserie Rosemary Garlic Pork Loin (Sammy starts to beg), and seven crisp asparagus spears leftover from the bunches purchased for the feast.

Saute pan. Chunks of potato and pork dropped into bubbling butter. Add the snapped and chopped asparagus. A little kosher salt and pepper. Stir and stir and home are the girls.

"It's done! Change your clothes if you want, and wash up."

Hash scooped carefully slides onto little, pretty plates. Apple slices garnish. Welcoming hands receive the easy, hearty food with sighing lungs and smiling lips.

Yes. Easter leftovers are good.

And so are pleasant daughters!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Home Grown

"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.

~~~James Openheim

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mojito Chicken

Dark rum. Mint. Limes. Orange Juice. Garlic. Herbs and Spices. White Wine Vinegar. Chicken.

And more.

The process of putting together Mojito Chicken is not just cooking, not just creating, it's sensual.

When it's done right - with passion.

Aroma. Flavor. Color. Texture. Blended in harmony.

Fresh ingredients.

Fresh chicken rubbed with dry spices and herbs then marinated bursts with pungent fragrance. Muy bueno!

Ah, but why stop there? Soak these crazy kids overnight in rum, white wine vinegar, the juice of oranges and limes, garlic, and olive oil and the mingling and mischief increase.

Brown the chicken in coconut oil.

Bake it for awhile, glaze and broil it then serve it up with plenty of limes and warm glaze.

Spicy and tangy Mojito Chicken is more than a meal. It's an event...

...and a chance to spend time with family chatting, eating, and lingering over the goodness of life.