Friday, February 28, 2014

Ten things I learned in February

Today I'm linking up at Chatting at the Sky where we are sharing the things we learned in February. 

Here are ten things I learned this month in no particular order.

1. If you have a Valentine's Day date that is less than stellar and you find yourself getting a little disappointed when your expectations aren't met, look for the humor. During the evening I started noticing things that made me shake my head and giggle a little inside. I decided to write a little story about it. It made us think more humorously about the evening. Even my husband said it was funny.

2. Watching the Ellen show makes thirty minutes on the elliptical seem more like ten. I'm serious. There's nothing like laughing on the elliptical.

3. The movie Nebraska didn't do too much to glamorize my home country. Well, what can you really do with black and white? Although, Maine would probably still look beautiful in black and white. I recognized pivot sprinklers and corn fields in all directions. But, honestly, the movie mostly made Nebraska look depressing. It may be flat, but it really is beautiful farm country. In color.

4. Downton Abbey Season 4: {SPOILER ALERT TO THOSE WHO HAVE NOT WATCHED SEASON 4!}My synopsis is that it did end better than last season. However, I don't really like Rose all that much and she was in almost all episodes. I miss all the tension there used to be between Mary and Matthew, and none of her present suitors thrill me. However, I WILL watch it next season!

5. I am now classifying myself as a birder. My chair sits facing our front window and I've become obsessed with watching the birds that keep landing on our weeping cherry tree that is right at eye level. 

worth sharing again!

I've been sharing some of the pics I've been able to get of these little creatures on my blog this month. If you didn't know before, I LOVE birds.

6. Don't dawdle on museum exhibits that you don't really like. This month hubby and I went to the Eisenhower Presidential Museum in Abilene, KS. It was great, but there was a whole bunch of less interesting stuff at the beginning and it took forever to get through even though we didn't read everything in print. 

Come to find out, there was LOTS more to the museum and we ended up having to kind of rush through some better stuff at the end. Lesson learned.

7. The Nester posted a blog yesterday that changed my perspective. It is called The 1 Thing Every Home Needs and she suggests finding a space in your home that is no longer going to be a home for things.

I've struggled with clutter on surfaces my entire life, but yesterday, after reading her post, I cleared my table off for the first time in months. And, I truly enjoyed wiping it down with a damp cloth. Read her post. You'll be inspired.

8. I was equally inspired by Emily Freeman's post from Monday titled In Celebration of Slow. I'm not sure why, but I've often felt "less than" because I take a while to process things. I am a deep thinker and a slow processor. 

In this post, Emily gives our kind much needed perspective and permission to keep being the slow processors and thinkers that we are. I feel so liberated by her post. Thank you, Emily.

9. Writing a spiritual narrative of your life might stir up some stuff. Just a fair warning if you're thinking about writing one of these.

10. My favorite quote of the month:

"When we give our lives the gift of attention, our consciousness blossoms. Attention is an act of love, an act of connection. Like a child in a good home, our art responds to a nurturing atmosphere."

Julia Cameron in The Sound of Paper

I like the idea of giving my art a nurturing atmosphere.

Thanks for stopping by today! 

Blessings to you,

not just first world problems

Today is Friday. When a community of writers gathers to write on the same prompt. No backtracking. Writing for five minutes just for the fun of it for Five Minute Friday! Come on over to Lisa Jo Baker's blog to read what others are writing on the word: choose. Or, better yet, join in!


Sometimes I admit, I get overwhelmed with choices.

Which movie should we watch tonight? You pick this time.

What should we have for dinner?

What should I wear with my favorite jeans today?

I admit, these are all first world problems, but sometimes I just want someone else to do the choosing for once.

I forget that the choosing is an incredible privilege and responsibility. It is a gift from above.

Does the sun get to choose to rise or set? 
Do the clouds get to choose to produce rain? 
Do the crops choose to grow? 

Or, are all these things created with an innate ability to do those things at the command of the Creator?

I am also in awe of the responsibility I have to choose well.

I chose well in a husband.
I am so glad I chose to have children! {and that God has allowed me this privilege}
I chose to invite God into my life at a young age.

These are all choices I’m proud of. Choices that have served me well. Choices that are huge blessings.

Many choices I don’t think about even as I’m doing them. 

What tea to drink today? 

Will I choose to go to the grocery store, or make do with what I have in the fridge?

How will I choose to speak to my husband if he happens to come home in a different frame of mind than I’m expecting?

How will I choose to react, respond and live today?

I’m thankful to God for this awesome privilege and responsibility to choose.

May I do it well today.


Thanks for stopping by today, friend!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What really matters

I'm linking up today over at Holley Gerth's place for Coffee for Your Heart. Today, her prompt is "Who inspires you?" I'm also linking up at Three Word Wednesday.


I want to whisper in your ear, you inspire me.

You've been through some tough battles. You've fought long and hard and deep for goodness sake, and sometimes you wonder if anyone else notices.

Never mind that you already know God notices.

But, it would sure be nice if he would send someone with skin on to remind you that you matter and what you say and do really does matter.

And I'm here to tell you that it matters.

I see the way you position yourself outside the limelight, but with just enough light on your voice so that it's heard.

That is beautiful.

I see the way you ask meaningful questions out of genuine curiosity, even though many times they aren't reciprocated. At least not now.

Life can sometimes feel one-sided.

Can I tell you a secret?

Your words are making a difference. Your presence is making a difference. 

What you said there, in that brief exchange, was a seed.
Once you planted that seed, God the Master Gardener, will water and bring it to maturity.

Your positive words and encouragement mean more than you will ever know.

I promise, you will be rewarded someday for your selfless giving.

You inspire me.

Thanks for stopping by, friend!

Friday, February 21, 2014

if you feel small

Today is Friday. The day where hundreds of writers link up at Lisa Jo Baker's blog for five minutes of unedited writing. Just for the fun of it. Won't you join? Today's prompt is the word "small".

Both my husband and I are big dreamers. 

We keep looking for that next big thing that God is going to do in our lives. 

We’re both looking and hoping and dreaming to have a big impact for God in the last half of our lives. 

It’s almost a burning passion. It’s making us impatient. It feels like an urgency.

But, I know the truth.

I know it’s the small things that really matter.

Even if we might feel invisible and insignificant now, we aren’t. 

The small choices and decisions that we make on a moment by moment basis are what truly matter. 

It’s those that make the biggest impact.

It’s the hand that we grab to show compassion.
The phone call we decide to make even though we’re tired.
Opening the door to someone in need.
Contributing our time to those who need it.
Sharing a conversation and a meal with someone who might be lonely.

I want to keep noticing the small things. Especially if they are done with a loving heart.

I want to keep believing that the little ways I contribute

with my words
with my compassion
with love

will really be the things that matter in the long run.

I will probably still feel invisible, insignificant and unworthy at times.

And, maybe you will too.

Let's keep believing the truth.

And like the coin, the sheep and the birds,
we are worthy.

What we do is significant.

And we are deeply and completely loved by God.

{The coin, the sheep and the birds refer to places in the Bible where Jesus tells stories of these small things that are seemingly insignificant, but are worthy of His attention. See Luke 15:8 and Luke 15:4}

Thanks for stopping today, friend!
Blessings to you,

Sunday, February 16, 2014

How our date night turned Hollywood

My husband and I had a splendid Valentine's Day dinner. Not perfect. Nothing ever is. But, we had a fun night.

Instead of dwelling on the fact that our table was out in the middle of the room and we didn't get a booth, and that we didn't get to see the movie we wanted, I decided to find the humor in it all. This is a little humorous story about our evening. If you want to see the humor in life, you can probably find it. :)  


We are one of the lucky couples that are able to get in to this nice restaurant on Valentine’s Day.

I’m anticipating a great evening with the love of my life.
The restaurant he picked is one of my favorites and he knows it.

He’s doing this for me, he says.

With Frank Sinatra wafting from outdoor speakers as we walk up, I’m feeling like we are a couple straight out of a Hollywood love story. I can dream.

I’m thinking, this is romance at its finest.

 As soon as we sit down at our table, Carlos pulls a laminated card out of his apron and reads the specials in very halting English. I’m thinking, ordering will be interesting. I’m starting to worry that I won’t be able to figure out what he is saying. 

I’m thinking, this guy looks just like the endearing guy with the taco truck in the movie Turbo that we watched the other night. How did he become our server?

Carlos walks away and I survey the valentine’s dinner crowd. Pairs of people are hugging tables. We sit there and stare at our menus.  My husband hints to me that this would be a good time to play like we are in Date Night and guess the stories of the couples around us.

I chuckle to myself and don’t answer him. But, I secretly start eyeing people.

It’s not too difficult on a night like tonight. Couples dot pretty much every table in the restaurant.

There’s the guy sitting right behind my husband within my eye shot. He’s sitting there alone, except for a bunch of flowers in cellophane and a pink card on the table. He’s dressed in jeans and a v-neck, but looking kind of like Cary Grant. 

Was he going for the Cary Grant look on purpose, I wonder?  Moments later, his lady arrives. Cary Grant takes one look at her and bolts out of his chair. 

My date’s eyes rise above the top of my hair and he informs me, 

Yeah, he just got up and planted a big one on her. 

Of course, he means Cary Grant. To which I say something like, oh brother. 

The smooching between Cary Grant and his lady doesn’t stop with the big hello. I end up having a hard time focusing on my gourmet gluten free chicken pizza with leeks and goat cheese because of the kissing noises going on behind my chair.

Couple number two is in a cozy booth right in front of us. He is dressed to the nines in a navy blue military uniform adorned with lots of medals. He’s sitting directly across from his Ms. They remind me of Jeanie and Major Nelson from an old rerun of I Dream of Jeanie.

Only this gal isn’t dressed at all like Jeanie. And, she’s not smiling like Jeanie either. We weren’t quite sure why she wasn’t happy with her Major Nelson, but he sure looked nice, and as my husband quipped later, he was taking her out to a nice restaurant, wasn’t he?

My husband and I decide to bring out the cards we’ve gotten each other for the occassion. 
We’ve done this for probably twenty five Valentine’s Days.

Valentine’s dinner, bring cards and/or gifts to restaurant. It’s tradition.

At least so far.

I open my card first.

It feels like we are the only couple on an empty dance floor, only we're sitting at our table. We are sitting right underneath the disco ball. The disco ball is spinning slowly to Frank Sinatra, and I feel my face glowing pink.  It feels like Smoochie and Cary Grant and Jeanie and Major Nelson are all watching me open my card.

We both quickly read our canned Hallmark lines and I shove the cards back into my purse. So much for a romantic moment. This feels more like a sitcom.

As the dinner progresses, Carlos is proving his prowess as our waiter. He’s persistent with us, his people, throughout the evening. He’s trying to earn his wages. His boss will be proud.
My ears are straining to understand his halting English.

“Would you like to get flask that has three glasses of wine, you know, in case you want more wine?”
“Would you like another glass of wine?”
Then he says something about the dessert menu that I couldn’t quite understand.
Then I get the words “coffee”, “espresso”, and “it’s very good”, and I figured he was offering this to finish off our meal.

I say no thanks, so he says,
“Okay, I get check for you.”

I sincerely wonder at one point if we are going to be able to leave.

Next stop is the movie theater. We get there thirty minutes before our movie starts but it is sold out.

Our second choice is open so we buy our tickets and weave through the three long popcorn lines to make our way to our theater. We are the second couple in this small theater so we are there early enough to people watch.

The couple who arrived before us is right in front of us and she’s playing a game on her tablet. In walks couple number two who know couple number one.

Other couples filter in and my husband says, “Do you notice a certain demographic in here?”

There are three couples surrounding us who end up knowing each other. They start talking about going out to eat the night before and waiting three hours for a booth. They talk about what they are taking to the potluck.


I’m just sitting there feeling like I’m in Mayberry where everybody knows everybody else's business.


My image of our Hollywood romance date turns out to be right on target. 

Carlos from Turbo serves us while Frank Sinatra serenades. 

Cary Grant and his woman are playing out their own sitcom script right behind us while Jeanie and Major Nelson live out their own date night drama in front of us.

And there we are, like Tina Fey and Steve Carell, making up stories about the people on our date night.

Friday, February 14, 2014

What goes into good soil

I'm linking up again today with the community of awesome writers at Lisa Jo Baker's blog for Five Minute Friday. Fridays are the day to write for five minutes straight and not back track. It's a day to just write for the fun of it and see what happens. Head on over to Lisa's blog to read some other great stories with the prompt "garden".


My husband and my oldest son both planted their first gardens last spring. They got together more than once to talk gardening, dirt, what seeds are the best 

the gardeners discussing gardening

and what’s better, containers, the ground or raised beds. 

I heard more talk about gardening last spring than I have in my entire life.

prepare the soil

My son even did some winter sowing. He collected empty strawberry containers and other plastic boxes and planted seeds in the spring before it was even warm. 

I even think it snowed a couple of times, but those boxes of seeds sat out on his back porch in the early spring sunshine, 

and they sprouted.

winter sowing

Then one day, my husband went over and helped him plant those seedlings in the best dirt. 

My son made sure it was organic and he’d also put mulch in there for good measure.


How like this I want to be. 

I want to plant good seeds into good soil in my life. 

I want the good dirt, the organic dirt, so the seeds of love, compassion, joy, peace and all other good things can get a good start and keep growing and growing into maturity.

My one word for this year is Cultivate and how fitting. 

The seeds that have been planted in my soul, the good seed, I need to cultivate. I need to work that ground through making good choices and living my life one experience at a time.

I’m already working on my garden. 

I’m already 
preparing my soil.

I can’t wait till this spring when my husband and son start planting again.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

If your memory is one-sided

We all have memories that are sometimes stirred by an event, a scent or a conversation. 

Sometimes those memories are ones that we were trying hard to forget. 

Sometimes it takes some effort to remember the truth if it is a memory that causes pain.

Maybe you caused the pain.
Maybe not.

It’s in those times that we need to go back and remember the truth.

We’ve grown. 

We’ve come a long way. 

Most of all, we are forgiven. 

By God.

And, we must be willing to forgive ourselves, too.

God doesn’t remember the thing, the memory that I was trying to forget. If it was something I’m not proud of and have asked His forgiveness,

it’s done!

Hard to imagine that God forgets. But, thankfully He does! 

He says, "I will remember your sins no more!" {Isaiah 43:25}

God chooses to forget our sins, our mistakes. Why should we carry them around in our back pocket so that if our memory is triggered again, it is right there for the taking? 

Our mood gets low, maybe we even get depressed from this memory.

The enemy would love it if we would dwell on that memory that may cause guilt or sadness. But, the enemy has to flee when we know and believe and say the truth. 

That we are forgiven. 

Jesus already paid for the pain I caused either knowingly or unknowingly.

If He paid for my sin with His own life, I choose not to pay for it over and over again through guilt!
Believe me, there are many occasions in my past that if I let myself, I feel a great amount of guilt over. 

But, I know the truth.

And, the truth sets me free.

Actually, being reminded of that thing I am not proud of does trigger a low mood.

For a little while. 

But, then it drives me to gratitude. 

It drives me to remember Christ’s sacrifice for my sin.

It is good for me to remember that yes, He died for the wrong things I have done. 

He has forgiven My sin and taken away My shame. 

He is My Savior.

{Inspired by I John 1:9, John 8:32, John 3:16

I'm linking up today with Holley Gerth and other lovely writers at Coffee for Your Heart. Today's prompt is: "No matter what happens, you're going to be okay because..."

Also linking up Three Word Wednesday.

Monday, February 10, 2014

When you need to enjoy the journey

Last week I awoke on Tuesday morning to one of the most beautiful snowfalls I've ever seen. It actually took my breath away, it was so beautiful and peaceful. 

Six different writings poured out of me that morning. Several of them inspired by the snowfall. I posted one of the snowfall poems last week. I'd like to share another one.


I wake slowly.
Snow falling slow motion outside my window.
Like God is taking fists-full of snowflakes and tossing them down to earth on pillows of air.

Normally, the snow might bother me.
I'm not a winter lover, not really.
I hate being cold.

But, today, with the huge snowflakes coming down on pillows of air,
I am tempted to go out in it.
Tempted to let a snowflake land on my face
Tasting one, just for the sheer fun of it.
Feeling it melt on my tongue.

It's making blankets of white.
Painting our yard with a cloud-like frosting
Hiding the brown, dormant earth underneath.
At least for today.

This snow is pure

A reminder that my life doesn't have to move at the speed of light.

It shouldn't.
Rather, I want it to move and be as the speed of this quiet snowfall.

Moving at a pace where I can notice more
Moving with grace and beauty

resting in order to breathe

to enjoy life
instead of moving as a speeding train.

Enjoying the journey,
and not just obsessing over the destination that isn't here fast enough.

Blessings, friend.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Why I write

I'm putting fingers to keyboard today along with lots of other writers at lisa jo baker's blog for five minute friday where we write for five minutes straight. No worries about perfection, this is about writing for the joy of it. 

Come on over and check it out and if you decide to join in, watch out! You're going to be encouraged! Today's prompt is "write". 


My view of the FMF community

What do you do, when you feel you have multiple books inside of you, but you're not sure how to get them out?

Show up, Be seen. Live what I keep reminding myself on this little blog.

Yes, it takes lots of bravery for me, and now I'm realizing lots of us, to put pen to page, or hands to keyboard and let the passions, words, thoughts, emotions, dreams and desires flow out to let the world see them.

It's a love/hate, brave/scared proposition, this writing business! I so want to write with purpose, to encourage others in their journeys, in their faith walks.

I want to tell my story, and in the telling hopefully you'll see something and say, "Ahh, me, too!" And, you'll realize anew that you are not a drop in the big sea of life.

But, that you belong to a vast ocean of others who are on this journey called life.

You're not alone, but you belong!

That's my heart's desire.
So, I'm going to keep writing.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Stop. Savor. See.

I'm linking up with Holley Gerth today for Coffee for Your Heart. Today's prompt is "what would you most like to hear when you've had a bad day?"

Yesterday, I was very inspired by the gentle snowfall that I woke up to. I wrote a poem as a gentle reminder to myself. Maybe it can be a reminder to you as well. 


This snow is a surprise this morning for this non-news-watcher.
This blanket of white that greeted me upon waking.

The flakes clump together all cottonball-like
landing gently.

God's changing the look of His Iowa canvas today.

And, I'm savoring the messages that brings.

This snow speaks to me:


See me and breathe.

Copy my pace.

I'm in no hurry today.

I'm here to show beauty.
I'm here to remind the watchers that there is beauty to behold.


Take a cup of warmth in your hands and gaze.

Whatever you were in such a rush to do can wait just a few moments more.

to consider this moment

this beauty

this pace.

This, my snowfall pace will allow you to think and see.

Maybe you'll remember some beauty from your past that will bring a smile.
Maybe you'll breathe a little easier and deeper.
Maybe your shoulders will lower just a little more
and your brow be less furrowed.

Allow me to remind you of these things.
This pausing brings life to your harried and hurried self.


This peace,
this beauty,
this gift I bring today.

Blessings to you,


Also linking up with Three Word Wednesday.


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